Day 132 – Make and Mend*
Sun 24 Apr 2022 08:58
Course: NNE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: W F3 Sea: slight
Swell: NW 0.5m
Weather: mostly sunny, hot, humid
Day’s Run: 122nm
Yesterday afternoon continued lazily enough with light winds and Sylph ambling along at three to four knots. Until 1700, when we were overtaken by several rain squalls. The wind picked up from the west and I bore Sylph away to the ENE to reduce the relative wind and to put the light-weight genoa in the lee of the mainsail, thereby preventing if from overloading. And it started to rain and continued to rain, steadily. I started my water collection routine, in between which, as the increase in wind strength was persisting, I put a reef in the mainsail and rolled up most of the genoa. There was a whole line of thunderheads dropping their rain on us and soon I had every water container full, as well as two buckets. Sylph is now close to full water capacity and I have used the two buckets of fresh water to do a bit of laundry (I now have two clean T-shirts, a clean pillowslip, a sarong, two pairs of socks and a towel). I figure that with our usual rationing we have enough water to last another four months, which should be more than enough to see us through to the end of the voyage. Nonetheless, just to be safe I will continue to collect water and keep the tanks as full as possible and will only relax water rationing when we get much closer to home.
Once the rain clouds had passed, we found ourselves in a steady force three to four WNW air stream, more than I was expecting. I unrolled the genoa, shook out the reef in the main and resumed course to the NNE. The breeze has continued overnight and this forenoon. In fact, at 2300 I rolled up a bit of the genoa as we were bowling along at seven knots and once again I did not want to overload the old sail. This forenoon the wind has eased a little to a steady force three and the genoa is now fully set again.
This forenoon we crossed paths with two fishing vessels heading east. The first one altered course to intercept us and my initial thought was maybe they do a bit or pirating on the side (fishing and pirating in the off-season is a centuries old tradition in some parts of Asia). I altered course a couple of times, but each time I did so the fishing vessel also altered course to continue to intercept. As the vessel got closer I could make the vessel out to be a small brightly coloured and well-maintained fishing vessel, named Imula 1303 registered in Sri Lanka, not terribly piratical looking but maybe it was a good disguise. The vessel eventually fell in astern on Sylph’s starboard quarter. The crew were waving (I waved back) and shouting something which I could not understand. I think they were trying to get me to go alongside them. Perhaps they wanted to sell me some fish. Well, I didn’t want any fish and I was not going to stop or slow Sylph down, and I was certainly not going to tie up alongside them with a small but boisterous sea running. Eventually they gave up and continued on their way, presumably heading back home.
The second fishing vessel, according to AIS, was also called Imula but with a different number so I presume the two boats belonged to the same fleet. I was relieved that the second vessel did not alter course to close us but continued on its easterly heading, passing well ahead of us. I hope they both have had a prosperous trip with plenty of fish to sell.
Three boobies flew over Sylph at sunset yesterday. I wondered whether they were my hitchhiking companions but, if they were they seemed to be on a mission and did not stop. Perhaps they were also heading home.
Today’s run of 122 miles is very pleasing. Climate data from the Pilot Charts suggests that at this time of year the average wind is from the west at about ten knots so, with a bit of luck, we might continue to enjoy this steady breeze to take us to our next rounding mark, Minicoy Island, and beyond.
All is well.
* A ‘make and mend’ is a half day off given to the crew, traditionally so they could do their laundry and mend their clothes.