The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 17 Feb 2017 01:42



08:15N   086:06E


So far we've done 458 miles with 386 miles to go. We did 163 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 25% cloud cover and 15-20 knot NE winds.  We’re still rolling downwind with slightly smaller 1.5 metre seas.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


16 February 2017    Port Blair to Galle, Sri Lanka (Day 3)

Dawn brought us a pleasant day with 50% cloud cover and a very consistent 15-20 knot wind.  I downloaded a weather forecast and the wind is expected to increase by a few knots over the next couple of days, but will still die on the 19th.


I played with my qtVlm routing software, using it to calculate the fastest route with just the wind data and then another routing with the wind and current. Interestingly, the routing using only the wind data was mostly along the rhumb line, but the routing using the wind & current data looped about 50 miles south of the rhumb line – obviously to take advantage of the predicted 0.5 to 1 knot currents, which swirl around in this area.


The Wind-only route was 507 miles taking 3 days 21 hours 45 mins, whereas the Wind-and-Current route was 540 miles taking 3 days 20 hours 25 minutes.  That’s an 80 minute time saving (1.2%), but an extra 33 miles to travel.  However, IMHO, the tiny 1% difference is insignificant when compared to the accuracy of the GRIB forecasting, so we’re going to continue to plod along the rhumb line, which is the shortest distance.


We didn’t touch the sails all day, just rolled along with the wind behind us.  When I woke up from my afternoon nap, Glenys pointed out a small fishing boat that we’d passed a couple of miles back.  It seemed to be very small to be 400 miles away from anywhere, but I guess we’re in an even smaller boat.


The night was uneventful, sometimes we’d roll violently for a while, but most of the time we were peacefully gliding along under the moon and stars.  We didn’t see any other fishing boats or ships – we’re all alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean.