Reunion to South Africa - Day 1

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 4 Nov 2012 20:34
23:46.9S 051:00.8E  305 miles covered, 1080 to go
The leg started with a dash from the quayside to get to the start in time and then getting the sails up in the strong winds outside the port.  It was an exciting start, crashing over the waves.  We were all reefed quite heavily but even so we broke a jib sheet soon after the start.  One of the boats (1+1) broke a jib halyard and had to return to port to rethread it.
Our broken sheet just snapped in the middle, which is not something I have seen before.  Usually it is the knots that are the weak spots.  Looking closely at the break I think it snapped at a flaw in the braiding of the rope core.
Anyway we opted to take a more westerly (downwind) course to reduce the stress on the rigging.  It was not a problem because we expected the wind to back around before we hit Madagascar and it has done so quite nicely.  We are now back on the rhum line to the southern tip of Madagascar, heading south to give it a wide berth.  We have 17 knot of wind and relatively calm seas.
The generator failed to start this morning with a fault code indicating a water coolant problem.  Changing the impeller did not fix it so I spent a couple of hours in the port engine room trying to work out what was wrong, getting sick as a parrot in the process.  It looks like the water pump is leaking air through corroded bearings so it will not prime.  Something else to fix in South Africa.
Meanwhile we have to use one of the engines to charge the batteries and, if necessary, start using our smaller 24 volt watermaker to replenish water supplies.