Indian Ocean Leg 2 Day Twelve 17 09.931S 068 41.167E

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 8 Oct 2013 11:30
No squalls last night! The cockpit would have been dry had it not been for the spray from waves trying to get on board and one that did. Not in a big way - it hit the side of the boat high up and while 90% of it went under the boat, the rest decided to come across the port deck, hit the cockpit combing and came to rest on top of me, looking out to starboard. Not a good start to the night. The one good thing was that I was in front of the engine controls and the cockpit radio mic at the time and saved them from a direct hit! We continued to run under just the staysail through the night until the wind and sea finally started to ease a bit and at our watch change at 04.30 it was replaced with a reefed working genoa. The forecast had been for a 'near gale' with seas rough, locally very rough and while the sea was still big, it was no longer breaking with the same degree of aggression. By morning the wind was down to 20kts and has stayed at that all day, but has gone round to swing between east southeast and east. A much kinder direction. The seas are still big partly due to the strength of wind we've been having and partly due to a strong weather system down in the Southern Ocean, so they're expected to stay up for a day or so longer. It's been a glorious day today; bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. So a great day for sitting in the cockpit and watching the spectacular seascape of deep blue sea, dancing white horses and swell/waves coming up behind and around the boat. It is a lovely sight, but it will nice when it's a little flatter and we can get more sail up. Having said that, we're making 6 to 7kts at the moment and our noon-to-noon run was 139 miles.
Throughout the rough weather the boats has been steered by the hydrovane, with some support from the autopilot (on it's lowest response setting) when needed. Prior to this passage we would never have thought that possible. It seems we have finally found how to get the best out of the hydrovane. With the wind and tow generators, and solar panels and hardly any use of the autopilot, the batteries are near 100% and we don't need to run the diesel generator to charge them (which we wouldn't want to do in rough seas). As we go south it's definitely getting colder. We're still in the tropics, but at night it's fleeces and full Musto wet weather gear (looking like a couple of budding lifeboat men). We need it to stay warm as well as dry (and yes, I was wearing it when the wave got me!) With all that on it may sound strange that we're still in bare feet. We haven't had shoes and socks on when on the boat since Cairns (back in July -that east coast was cool even in the tropics) and once we get used to it again, much prefer it, but if it gets any colder, that may change!

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