The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 26 May 2017 02:55



13:55S  069:45E


So far we've done 570 miles with 530 miles to go – over half way... We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 50% cloud cover and 15-20 knot SE winds.  We’re beating upwind into 2 metre seas.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


25 May 2017   Chagos to Rodrigues (Day 4)

At dawn, the sky looked like the depths of Mordor – dark and forbidding.  The wind veered by 20 degrees, so Glenys headed 20 degrees downwind, rolled away the genoa and pulled out the staysail, bracing herself for the storm.  The wind picked up by 3 knots and it rained a bit, then the wind dropped – a damp squib.


After breakfast, the wind dropped to 15-20 knots and the waves settled down a bit, so I tackled the sloppy rigging.  We ran downwind and I tightened all of the lower shrouds by one full turn each and tightened the cap shrouds by ½ turn. It seems to have sorted out my wobbly lower shroud.  The job took 20 minutes, so we only lost 2 miles of our precious easting.


During the day, we crossed the line of the Great Circle route from South Africa to South-east Asia, so we had dozens of big tankers and cargo ships crossing our path.  However, we only knew they were there from their AIS signals, we didn’t actually see any ships.


Life’s very tedious at the moment.  The motion is so chaotic that all we can do is read, eat and sleep (repeat three times a day).  We don’t feel seasick, just bored.  This morning, we started talking about living in a house on dry land – there must be a Freudian reason for that...


In the afternoon, the wind remained at 15-20 knots, but veered a tiny bit more, so that we could only just hold a course of 195° across the ground.  We had one strange event, where we went under a cloud and at the other side there was no wind at all.  We bobbed about, becalmed, for 15 minutes until the wind came back and then we were off again at 5-6 knots.


I’ve been having a SSB radio chat with “Jackster” every evening at 17:00, giving them a position report – it’s nice to know that other people are out there.  Dave & Jacqui are enjoying themselves so much that they’re going to extend their Chagos permit for a further week - they’ll catch us up in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday, I sent an email to our friends Graham and Karen on “Red Herring” giving them our radio schedule and I was delighted that they came up on air – we’ve not seen them for 18 months.  They’re in Cocoas Keeling and will be leaving for Rodrigues on the 30th May.  It’s a 2000 mile passage, so we should be seeing them in the middle of June.


The night was very pleasant with a 15-20 knot wind and mostly clear, starry skies – unfortunately no moon.  We went through a few patches of light winds every so often, but they only lasted a few minutes, presumably after clouds went over.  The waves were less rough than previous nights. Ships continued to trundle across our route and Glenys called one up in her 10-1 watch to check that he’d seen us.  He’d already spotted us on AIS, but immediately did a course change to stay well clear.