The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 17 Mar 2017 01:57



06:41N 075:34E


So far we've done 285 miles with 160 miles to go. We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have blue skies and not a breath of wind.  We’re motoring with glassy, calm seas. We should be there by midday tomorrow  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


16 March 2017   Sri Lanka to Uligama, Maldives (Day 2)

Today, we had very changeable conditions.  Dawn brought us grey overcast skies, with low cloud and signs of darker rain squalls around us.  By 07:30, we had a 10 knot wind from the south-east, so we pulled out the sails and turned off the engine.  Half an hour later, the wind increased rapidly to 20-25 knots from the SSW, putting us hard on the wind and forcing us to reduce sail to 2 reefs in the main and just the staysail.


We had a romp of a sail for the next three hours, but the wind slowly dropped and veered, forcing us to let out more sail and bear away north of our rhumb line. On the plus side, the squalls seemed to be heading north, leaving brighter skies behind.  Eventually, we were being forced too far north, so I tacked south-west, started the engine and motor-sailed directly into the 2 metre waves, which was unpleasant, but at least we were heading towards brighter weather.


By midday, we were back on our rhumb-line course, motoring into a 10 knot west wind, with a horrible sloppy, confused sea, which was left over from the morning’s strong winds.  As the afternoon wore on, the seas calmed down and the wind dropped to 5 knots from the north-west, finally giving us a pleasant motor-sailing angle.


At sunset, we had clear skies above us and scattered clouds on the horizon, giving us a nice sunset.  On my 7-10 watch, the stars came out and I was able to see The Plough pointing north, the Southern Cross pointing south and Orion slowly leading us west.  To the north, I could see the loom of lights radiating from India even though the coast was 100 miles away – extreme light pollution.


The nearly-full moon came out just before our 22:00 watch change and the rest of the night was fabulous – nil wind, glassy seas, bright stars.  What a change from the misery of last night.