Mauritius to South Africa Day Eight - 28 33.726S 042 20.789E

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 8 Nov 2013 15:41
What a morning! The wind had been backing all night and by this morning had reached the West, so dead on the nose and we were close hauled on starboard tack. It continued to back and it was time to tack and head to the north west. That all went well, or at least we thought it did until finding that the tow generator tow line had wrapped itself around the hydrovane rudder and was no longer turning (so no electricity from it). The only way to sort it out was to take the speed off almost completely and wallow while trying to unwrap it. Using the boat hook seemed promising and after 90 minutes of 'fishing' we finally freed it, pulled it in and reset it. On our way again, the wind had by now backed round to the South as forecast, but the forecast was for 15kts. By the time it reached early twenties it was time to start bringing in sail. By the time it was over 30 it was time to get the 3rd reef in the main and roll the genoa away completely. The skies were grey and menacing and the wind stayed at 28kts or above for a couple of hours, peaking at 37kts. The sea came up very quickly and was quite nasty for a while, with water cascading down the side decks. Not a good start to the day! With just the triple reefed main up, the only way to slow down was to take the wind on or just ahead of the beam (hence the water on the decks) and ease the sail out. That worked well, but was a little uncomfortable for a while. By early afternoon the wind was down to 10kts and we were struggling to make 5kts once again! As said before, the weather is very changeable down here! We currently have full main and full outer genoa up and making 5.4kts, in approximately the right direction. Our noon-to-noon run during all this commotion was 134.5, and we have a reason to celebrate - we've now covered over 1,000 miles on this passage.

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