Reunion to Richards Bay Day 4 - A day of contrasts
Position 26:34.99 S 045:58.98 E
Date 2359 (UTC+4) Monday 07 November 2016
Distance run in 24hrs 183nm over the ground, 169nm through the water
Passage total 637nm over the ground, 589nm through the water
To go to Richards Bay, South Africa rhumb line 751nm (modified route)
Route distance 1,395nm as originally planned
What started as a reasonable downwind run with 24 knots true degenerated to 32 knots on the beam with an angry sea that left us feeling as if we were on the rinse cycle of a washing machine. Sleep becomes difficult when the boat is corkscrewing but there were benefits as our speed went up and we had 12 hours of 8-5 to 9.0 nm in each hour assisted by a favourable current which carried on after the wind eased and the seas calmed somewhat. The two Rally radio schedules, 0800- and 1800, reported similar conditions amongst the boats in our vicinity although I believe that we probably had the best of the current being somewhat to the north of the general fleet position.
And then, all of a sudden at 1800 it stopped and we fell into the wind hole that was forecast. Hoist the iron topsail and motor on with the wind now down to 4 to 5 knots. It is amazing how good sleep seems when you are not being thrown about.
There is a great deal of shipping about, the south end of Madagascar being a natural funnel on the oceans shipping routes. We talked to a number of ships, on the VHF radio, that looked as though they would pass near just to make sure that they had seen us. In each case they kindly altered their course slightly to ensure that we had safe clearance, preferably a minimum of a mile. Generally, we have been on either similar or reciprocal courses so the issue is not quite as difficult as when courses are crossing.
Tonight’s vitals – chicken curry with rice.