Day 171 – Still Punching

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 2 Jun 2022 07:16
Noon Position: 33 15.0 S 088 55.5 E
Course: S Speed: 4 knots
Wind: ESE Force 6
Sea: moderate Swell: SE 2 m
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Day’s Run: 96 nm

The wind freshened yesterday afternoon and at sunset we were down to two reefs in the main, the staysail and 30% jib.
An hour after sunset we came across two brightly lit fishing vessels. We continue to have problems with the batteries not holding charge and going flat relatively quickly, particularly now as the days are getting shorter and the skies have frequently been overcast. To reduce the drain on the batteries I have been turning off unnecessary equipment that use a fair bit of power, in particular the chart/AIS plotter during the day and the VHF radio, which in turn has meant keeping a better visual lookout. Consequently, I first detected the fishing boats by eye rather than by AIS as is usually the case these days. Then again, most fishing boats are lit up like small cities and the loom of their lights can be seen well over the horizon, even before Sylph’s AIS picks them up. Once I had spotted them I turned the plotter back on so I could monitor their movement. One of them, FV Bandar Nelayan 280, passed within two miles of us then tracked off to the east. I could see his lights reflecting in the clouds above him long after I lost sight of his deck lights over the horizon.
The wind continued to increase during the evening and at 2000 I rolled up the remainder of the jib and put a third reef in the main. We have been punching into the short boisterous sea under staysail and triple reefed main, our near minimum canvas, since then.
The forecast is for the wind to ease and back into the NE and north tomorrow. The sky has been clearing to a fair weather pale blue, with the barometer rising to 1030 hPa, so I figure we must be getting close to the centre of this high pressure system. With luck maybe tomorrow we will have the wind behind us.
We are starting to get back into Albatross territory – I just saw a Black Browed Albatross fly past, our first since rounding Amsterdam Island two months ago.
All is well.