Maurtius to South Africa Day Two -23 10.423S 054 28.584E

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 2 Nov 2013 12:34
Light winds (around 12kts) have continue throughout the last 24 hours, but have shifted (backed) from ENE to NNE. We're riding on the back of a high pressure, which is just what we wanted as it puts the winds behind us and we are continuing to run with both headsails poled out and no main, making anything from 4 to 6kts depending on wind strength and current. Have had a good half a knot with us most of the time. The noon-to-noon run was 125 miles, which is okay for the light conditions. And light is okay on this passage! The 4 yachts that came across from Cocos Keeling around the same time as us left Mauritius last Saturday and had really bad conditions a couple of days out. The forecast didn't look too bad (20-25kts), but the direction was not good and the sea state was terrible. So light will do. Having been delayed by the rigging problems, we're sailing this passage on our own. We're still in contact with the other boats by SSB once a day, but they're 5 days ahead of us. We do have a new boat that joined the net last night and they're a day behind us. So not all alone and more boats will be following next week. Mauritius is in the cyclone belt so all visiting yachts will soon leave as the cyclone season is approaching. We're running the net at the moment as we seem to have the best signal, even when in the marina (which is not normally good with masts and other structures around).

As I write we have 10 miles to go to leave the tropics and we'll also be leaving the tradewinds behind. From now on the winds will be determined by the highs and lows making their way east round the South African cape. This nice high that we're on at the moment is forecast to move east tomorrow and the winds will switch to the south. The northerly winds we have at the moment are warm and it's been a hot and sunny day. We're expecting the winds from the south to be quite a bit cooler. Magnetic variation is large here. In the UK it's a few degrees West, here it's 24 degrees West, so makes a big difference when looking at the compass or taking bearings. In New Zealand it was something like 24 degrees East so we are used to adding/subtracting big numbers. There's quite a bit of shipping around, more than we thought. There seems to be 3 or 4 ships showing on the AIS all the time. Further south our friends have reported it considerably busier with up to 25 showing on AIS.

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