Day 139 – Unsettled

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 1 May 2022 08:36
Noon Position: 07 45.6 N 071 43.4 E
Course: NE Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: NW F3 Sea: slight
Swell: S 1.5m
Weather: overcast, hot, humid
Day’s Run: 106 nm

It has been another day of unsettled weather with the wind changing direction and strength every few hours, generally associated with passing cumulonimbus clouds, sometimes with rain and sometimes not. I won’t bore you with the details of sail trimming and the like, Friday’s blog entry gives you the idea. We did have a period of heavy rain at 2200 for about twenty minutes. I enjoyed a good soak, letting the cool fresh rainwater sluice over me. And we topped up all our water containers including a bucket, so this forenoon has been a laundry morning.
Minicoy Island is now only eighty miles ahead so, provided this unsettled tropical weather doesn’t leave us becalmed for any lengthy periods, we should pass our next major milestone sometime tomorrow. We have just had another thunderhead pass close by bringing a strong breeze, to which I have rolled up 50% of the genoa and put a reef in the main, but now it has passed and the wind has died again and we are left wallowing around in a sloppy sea. I need to go shake out the reef and unroll the genoa (as long as there are no more thunderheads bearing down on us).
Okay, that is done.
A friend from the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron provided me with some interesting information about Minicoy Island. In particular I found her description of the 'Battle of Minicoy Island' fascinating:

“The Battle of Minicoy Island - a single ship action January 2011 between Indian naval forces and Somali pirates. Pirates had captured the Thai fishing trawler Prantalay 14, the pirates resisted and attacked the Indian Navy warship Cankaro. The Indians sank the hostile trawler and rescued 20 captives. 4 of the original crew had died of starvation while the crew was kept hostage by the pirates. An Indian Coast Guard aircraft on routine surveillance had spotted 2 skiffs from the pirate trawler "mother" ship chasing a Bahamian registered cargo ship and alerted the navy, so 3 navy ships were sent to intervene. So be aware there could be pirates in this area.”

This is quite some time ago now and hopefully this little battle will have been effective in deterring Somalian pirates from venturing this close to Indian waters. I confess to being a bit anxious about pirates as there is really little I can do in the way of effective countermeasures. The most effective measure I can think of is to simply stay away from anywhere they are likely to be operating. To this end, when I was researching the change in my route plan I asked Sylph’s shore manager whether there had been any pirate activity in the regions in which we are sailing. He assured me that there has not been any recent activity so, bearing in mind that past events are only a weak inference for future events, hopefully the assessment will be accurate for our passage around the island.
I have another interesting more positive titbit about Minicoy Island but I will leave that for tomorrow.
All is well.