The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sun 18 Jun 2017 03:54



19:43S  061:27E


So far we've done 115 miles with 224 miles to go. We did 115 miles in the last 20 hours.  We have 30% cloud cover and 5-10 knot SE winds.  We’re drifting along on a broad reach at 3-4 knots with 1 metre seas.   Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


17 June 2017   Rodrigues to Mauritius (Day 1)

There was hardly any wind in the morning with frequent showers - not the best weather to start our three day passage to Mauritius.  I looked at the weather forecast and it’s going to be another five days before the wind picks up again.  We’ve enjoyed Rodrigues, but we couldn’t face another week here, so we went ahead and cleared out, knowing that we’ll be motoring for the first 24 hours.


The simple clearance process was done in the small offices at the port entrance.  The Immigration officer was already waiting for us and he put exit stamps in our passports, despite the fact that Rodrigues is the same country as Mauritius - we will be issued with new visas when we get to Port Louis.  Customs turned up as soon as we’d finished with immigration and he handed over our port clearance.  There was only one form to be filled in by the coast guard, so we were done in 20 minutes.


Back at the boat, we prepared for sea – I lashed the dinghy on the front deck, while Glenys cooked up a lamb stew for the first two meals on passage.  We were on our way at 11:00.

The weather brightened up and it was sunny as we motored out of the harbour.  However, as forecast, there wasn’t much wind, so we motored for an hour to get away from the island and then tried to sail for a couple of hours.  I rigged up our spinnaker pole and we ran wing-on-wing for a while, but when our boat speed dropped below 3 knots, we had to turn the engine on.


By night fall, we’d rolled away all of our sails.  We normally leave our mainsail up when motoring to give us a little more drive and reduce rolling, but the apparent wind was going all over the place and causing the sail to crash and bang.  Fortunately, the waves were only about 1 metre and from our stern, so we didn’t roll too much without sails.


At our 01:00 watch change, the wind finally picked up to 7-10 knots from the SSE, which allowed us to sail on a starboard reach (after 20 minutes dancing on the front deck, swapping the pole from starboard to port.)  We then had a lovely sail for three hours, under a bright half-moon, but the wind gradually petered out and we motor-sailed for the rest of the night.