Indian Ocean Leg 2 Day Nine 16 33.513S 076 07.623E

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 5 Oct 2013 12:36
What a night! Something you may have read that seems appropriate for the weather on this passage: "Out of the gloom a voice said smile and be happy things could be worse. So I smiled and was happy and behold things did get worse!" The Indian Ocean clearly saves up it's worst for the night. Last night saw a significant increase in winds to 30kts or more and on top of that non-stop squalls queuing up behind us with lots of rain and more wind - over 40kts at times. We started with a triple reefed main and staysail and rolled the staysail away once the squalls started. The one good thing was that after one of the squalls there was quite a dramatic wind shift from south of southeast to east southeast. That put the wind behind us and made 30 to 40kt winds much easier to deal with. For once the sea didn't seem to be so much of a problem (it seemed the strong wind had it all going in the same direction for most of the time) and the boat sped along at 6 to 7kts quite comfortably. But 8kts was a bit too fast for us in those conditions, and when we started doing more that 8kts under just the triple reefed main it was time to act. With the wind behind it's not easy to slow down with the main up. We did it by taking the wind more on the beam to spill wind, which did slow us down, but also significantly increased the apparent wind and meant we were pointing more into the waves, and so shipped more water along the decks. So the main came down. Not easy in those conditions, but with the deck lit up (we have 3 spreader lights like car headlamps) it wasn't too bad - we have a well rehearsed system now and it proved itself again last night. From then on we ran down wind with just the storm staysail and were able to keep the speed between 5 and 6 knots, which was very comfortable. Today it's been blowing 20 to 25kts the whole time and the sun has been out most of the day. So a good day apart from the sea becoming very confused again, so we roll more than we would like, but the decks have stayed dry most of the time. The noon-to-noon run was 143 miles and we've passed the halfway point. We're also on a new paper chart and that actually has Mauritius on it, so we must be getting closer!

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