Reunion to Richards Bay Day 6 - Just in time planning
Position 27:41.87 S 039:002.15 E
Date 2359 (UTC+4) Wednesday 09 November 2016
Distance run in 24hrs 184nm over the ground, 168nm through the water
Passage total 1,019nm over the ground, 928nm through the water
To go to Richards Bay, South Africa rhumb line 395nm (modified route)
Route distance 1,395nm as originally planned
The weather transition on Saturday when the wind goes from blowing old boots from the north east to doing precisely the same from the South West against a 2 to 3 knot current is not surprisingly focussing the minds of the skippers. For the non-sailors reading this, strong wind against strong current has the capacity to produce very bad if not dangerous sea conditions and is to be avoided. This transition is a regular occurrence on the east coast of South Africa and passages must be planned around it. Coming from 1,300 miles away limits the arrival planning but now we can see more clearly what is likely to happen. At some time, in between Saturday 1700 (UTC+4) and Sunday 0500 (UTC+4) the wind goes from force 6 from the north north east to force six from the south south west. We therefore require to be in and secure by Saturday 1400 (UTC+4) which is 1200 (Local time) and 1000 (UTC) and that is our plan.
It has been usual on passages that we have had to either slow down or speed up to time our arrival in daylight. This is different as we require to speed up over a period of 3 to 4 days in order to get our landing time correct, no prizes for being late. We are taking advantage of our diesel tanks in order to maintain a high, for us, hourly rate of progress and are monitoring the ETA calculated by the chart plotter, always allowing for contingencies that might slow us down.
In between all of this drama the United States have elected a President and Congress, the sun has been shining, the swell has been passive and all has been well in our part of the world. Elizabeth has had two busy watches dodging ships, fishing boats and another Rally yacht; they seem to wait in hiding for her watches. We have also been regularly setting sails, as the wind is variable, to try an provide as much sail assistance to our motoring as possible and generally been very busy. Contrary to the popular image of yachting there is no sitting in deck chairs sipping pina coladas on this passage.