The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 23 May 2017 02:55



07:15S  070:49E

So far we've done 150 miles with 970 miles to go. We did 150 miles in the last 23 hours.  We have blue skies and 18-22 knot SE winds.  We’re beating upwind into 2 metre seas.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


22 May 2017   Chagos to Rodrigues (Day 1)

It rained a little last night, but we woke to good weather, with a thin layer of cloud and a 10-15 knot South-east wind.  With an eight day passage ahead of us, we didn’t bother to set the alarm, but we were still up at 07:00 and pulled up the anchor an hour later. Despite rather poor light, we safely negotiated the various reefs in the atoll and crossed the fringing reef without any problems.


For the first 30 minutes, we were in the lee of the atoll, so with 12 knots of wind and flat seas, we had a lovely start to the passage.  The seas soon picked up to 1-2 metres and the wind increased to 15-20 knots from slightly south of south-east. This put us on a close reach with the wind at 60 degrees on the port bow, so the motion became bouncy, but we managed to sail at around 7 knots for most of the day. “Hokulea” left just after us, but being a 53 foot catamaran, they soon overtook us and disappeared ahead.


We took the western route around the Great Chagos Bank, so our course started off at 235 degrees and gradually changed to 200 degrees as we skirted the reefs and islands.  Fortunately, the wind backed during the day, so we remained at 60 degrees on the wind.

Just before sunset, we had 18-22 knots of wind and we were screaming along at 7.3 knots with a reef in the mainsail, a full genoa and staysail.  This was far too exciting for overnight, so we completely rolled away the genoa and had a much more relaxing motion at 6 to 6.5 knots.  It was a clear night, with lots of stars, but unfortunately, there was no moon.


After midnight, the wind dropped to 10-15 knots, so we had to unfurl some of the genoa to maintain 5.5 to 6 knots.  The waves also decreased a little, making it a very pleasant sail.