Thursday, April 22, 2010

Searching for Trade Winds

It has been over ten days since we said our good bye to the Southern Ocean and landed under a High Pressure system which seemed very reluctant to move in the usual Easterly direction and give us some decent wind. A couple of days of light winds were welcomed by the crew after the fury of the Southern Ocean and duly enjoyed lounging on the deck in the cool breeze having good food, doing a bit of maintenance and catching up on "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The cook got into action serving a wide variety, from the quintessential Bombay fare of Bhelpuri, to Thai curries, Pasta & Risotto! While the crew was having a whale of a time the Skipper was wondering about over 4000 Nm of Indian Ocean yet to be covered!

As the High pressure system slowly inched Eastward, the wind started picking up, unfortunately from North North East which is exactly the direction we want to go in. Thanks to the direction of the wind and the resultant swell we have been sailing close hauled for over a week now barely managing to do either a NNW or ESE course with frequent tacks, sail changes and the boat pitching all the time. While we are still about 300 Nm from the Tropic of Capricorn, the weather has already started showing signs of the tropics with day temperatures in the 30 Cs and occasional squalls which give gusty winds from any direction while they are around and take away most of the wind when they move on leaving us with a nice swell for company! The ever present Albatross have parted company and we should be entering the territory of Dolphins & Flying Fish soon.

The weather forecast is predicting NE winds for a few more days till we meet up with the steady SE Trade winds for making a dash to the Equator!

Been reading about Jessica and the weather she has been facing. Despite the slow progress we are making I don't envy her much for that! Looks like she is in for a fast run home!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Goodbye to the Southern Ocean

Having crossed the Agulhas Bank and current without getting into the Roaring Forties and seeing a big system moving in from the West we decided against going any further South and avoid getting into the Southern Ocean. No such luck! The Southern Ocean decided to move up a little and give us a last bit of hiding lest we forget it in a hurry! That meant almost three days of gale force winds with big seas that pushed us well to the North East. No complaints of course as things could have been worse had we stuck to the earlier plan of getting in the Forties. The shackle securing the brand new Stay sail to the furler decided to part company despite all the securing just as the gales started picking up and it was pointless trying to put a new one in those conditions so the sail was furled and Mhadei sailed with just the smallest size of main sail possible. I was surprised how well she managed to hold course at a brisk pace on a broad reach. After sailing her for over 25000 Nm I am still learning to sail her! The gales got us right under a High pressure system and vanished leaving us with very light and shifty winds. For a while the calm was good as it allowed things to be put in order both with the boat and the galley but now again we are looking out for some wind!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back to Sea - Homeward Bound!

We are back at sea again having left Cape Town at 1030 h on 03 Apr. Both Mhadei and her crew thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality and pampering lavished on us by the warm "Cape Townians"! Both of us would definitely love to come back here some day.

The plan was to head well to the South before turning East to keep clear of the Agulhas bank which is notorious for its West flowing Agulhas current and freak waves. As often happens, things didn't go quite as per plan with Southerly winds right after leaving Cape Town, that pushed us to the South West for the first day and night actually making us move in the direction we came from, that of Port Stanley! By Easter morning, the Skipper had had enough of slamming in the wrong direction and decided to head East taking advantage of light SE winds. The winds have remained a comfortable 10 to 15 kts SE through the day making slow but stead progress to the East. At this rate, in a couple of hours, we should be crossing Cape Agulhas, the Southernmost point of the African Continent and saying good bye to the Atlantic Ocean.