Indian Ocean Leg 2 Day Six 15 11.577S 083 09.454E

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 2 Oct 2013 11:38
Very pleasant sailing yesterday afternoon and today, making 5 to 6.5kts in light winds from the southeast or south southeast. Heading more south again as to keep up the boat speed in light winds we need to head more into wind to get the apparent wind speed up. As said before, light wind sailing is often more effort as we're constantly (maybe not quite that much!) adjusting the sails and direction to keep the speed up. Last night was not so good as the wind dropped right down (less than 8 kts) and for a few hours we struggled to make more than 3kts. The swell was still there, but otherwise the sea was right down. It was so quiet that Liz commented that it was a bit eerie, being in total darkness (no moon until about 05.00 and it's decreasing as we approach new moon) with the boat gently rising and falling to the swell, in what must be close to the middle of the southern Indian Ocean (in relation to the major land masses). It didn't stay quiet all night as it seems the squalls come out to play here at night. We had quite few with radar showing 6 or 7 at any one time. They were not big in terms of very high winds, but even a sudden increase from 8 to 20kts can give problems if, as we did, you have a lot of sail up. We only got caught once and had an 'exciting' 10 minutes! Need to keep vigilant if setting a lot of sail for very light winds. Something I forgot to mention the other day, a tropic bird had a false landing on the boat - it thought the solar panels would make a good runway to land on, but didn't account for the fact they're very smooth, so skidded across them and fell off the edge and into the sea. Luckily it missed the wind generator and it did fly off afterwards, so no damage done to it or the boat. It didn't try again! The noon-to-noon run was only 114.8 miles. A few hours of less than 3kts doesn't help! Have just seen our first ship on AIS in days and it's so big it's length is quoted in nautical miles! A conversion puts it at 1,034 feet, so too big for Panama, unless they've completed the new locks already. It's heading for China, presumably having come via South Africa (AIS only gives the destination port). Another excuse to celebrate this afternoon, we have less than 1,500 miles to go (1,480 to be precise!)

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