Day 88 – A Nice Day

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 11 Mar 2022 12:19
Noon Position: 42 11.1 S 018 20.1 E
Course: ESE Speed: 5.5 knots
Wind: NW, F4 Sea: moderate
Swell: WSW 2 m Current: W 1 knots
Weather: sunny, warm
Day’s Run: 154 nm sailed (136nm of Easting)

We continued SE until 1745 when the GPS speed jumped up almost two knots to match the log speed and the log showed the water temperature dropping back down to 12 degrees. The change happened in about an hour so the current boundary must be quite sheer. Not wanting to go further south then necessary, I dropped the pole and brought Sylph onto a broad reach to the NNW’ly breeze.
We continued on a reach overnight under a clear sky full of stars, the moon’s half face low in the sky to the north, looking west towards the set sun. At midnight I put a precautionary reef in the mainsail. I almost felt guilty doing it. Sylph was rushing along, her wake a steady swoosh astern sounding as smooth as silk. But I was feeling a little anxious. We have a long way to go yet. Sylph was pushing close to eight knots and I was worried about the load on her rig. So, after filling out the log with the midnight position, I donned foul weather gear and did the deed. When I returned below it felt like Sylph had lost some of her zest. The wake sounded more fitful, bubbly, and her motion, while more upright, was less stable, rolling and yawing slightly, with the waves now able to push her about more. Still, I figured I would sleep better.
And sleep I did, but I awoke occasionally and could hear that the wind had picked up a little and Sylph was once more happy, gliding firm and steady through the seas, the sound of her wake one continuous hiss astern.
This morning has dawned a beautiful day. The sun is shining warmly, the sky blue and cloudless, the breeze steady from the NW and the sea deep dark blue, broken by numerous whitecaps.
Interestingly, we have once more strayed into the Agulhas currents, or offshoots thereof, for the sea temperature is back up to 17 degrees. I figure we now have about a knot of current against us so I have once more altered course to starboard to get clear of the contrary current, the jib poled out to port and the main single reefed.
Again we will continue SE until we are out of the warm Indian Ocean waters and in the cooler waters coming from the Southern Ocean, then continue east. We are now due south of the Cape of Good Hope but I won’t consider that we have rounded it until we are well to its east and beyond the tentacles of its infamous current.
All is well.