Reunion to Richards Bay Day 5 - Step on the gas

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Wed 9 Nov 2016 02:15

Position                    27:12.04 S 042:22.18 E

Date                          2359 (UTC+4) Tuesday 08 November 2016

Distance run             in 24hrs 198nm over the ground, 171nm through the water

Passage total            835nm over the ground, 760nm through the water

To go to                    Richards Bay, South Africa rhumb line 556nm (modified route)

Route distance         1,395nm as originally planned


The day started with light winds and we continued to motor against a slight adverse current.  After dawn the current became favourable and with the wind increasing to a mighty 12 knots we could motor sail to great effect.  A favourable current that at times exceeded 2 knots is reflected in our distance over the ground for the day.  We have started to plot our estimated time of arrival at Richards Bay.  Using a planning speed of 6.5 knots, over the ground, means that anything better brings our ETA forward.  We are watching this carefully as we have been warned to get into Richards Bay as early as possible on Saturday to avoid worsening weather.  Over the 24 hours our ETA improved by nearly 12 hours which is a result and gives us some allowance for slippage when the current becomes adverse.  Speaking to other boats in the fleet there seems general agreement that if possible diesel should be expended to achieve this.


If all this seems rather “dry” the gentle reader should understand the fixation of those of us at sea.  This is not a passage for taking liberties with the elements.  On a positive note it is a strange feeling to be approaching what in Victorian times was referred to as the “dark continent”.


We are encountering a considerable amount of shipping and have on occasions had to take avoiding action to ensure that we pass at a safe distance.  One of the interests added by AIS is that ships show their destinations.  Most of those travelling eastwards seem to be going to Singapore.  Westward bound ships show a much greater range of destinations with ports in Argentina and the United States amongst others and my two favourites, which again harken back to a previous age of, “Cape of Good Hope” and very succinctly and not entirely within the spirit of the regulations “Africa”.  Yes, we are still eating, tonight it was chilli con carne


Screen shots of ships within a 50nm range of our position, noted as the red marker.  The black arrows are a forecast of current courtesy of the OSCAR source