The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 13 Feb 2018 07:26



20:11S  02:46E


So far we've done 785 miles with 550 miles to go to St Helena. We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 90% cloud cover and 10-18 knot SSE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 6-7 knots with a 2 metre swell.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


12 February 2018   Namibia to St Helena (Day 6)

Dawn brought us 80% cloud cover and gentle 1.5 metre seas.  The 10-15 knot south-east winds put us sailing dead downwind wing-on-wing doing a comfortable 6 knots – it doesn’t get much better than this.  The weather forecast shows similar conditions for the next four days – fingers crossed.


I was very excited at 08:00, when I spotted Sabir’s red and white spinnaker on the horizon.  After five days of seeing nothing, I finally had a mission – intercept “Sabir” and take a photo.  Glenys didn’t share my joy at the chase and went to bed. 


“Sabir” were about 3 miles north of us, so I had to gybe the mainsail and turn 40 degrees to starboard.  It took me an hour to get onto their track, where I gybed back on course and the downwind chase began. 

Unfortunately, the wind dropped, so we were only doing 3-4 knots and only going ½ knot faster than them, so it took 4 hours to catch up. We slowly sailed within 20 metres; shouted out greetings; had an obligatory photo session and remorselessly drifted off ahead of them – we’ll see them again in 5 or 6 days’ time.


We passed the halfway point to St Helena, so Glenys produced some fruit cake as a celebration.  It was a very calm afternoon, so we ran the watermaker and Glenys washed a few smalls.  I popped off to bed for my afternoon nap and Glenys landed a small Dorado, which we had for dinner.


I was dragged out of bed after an hour, when Glenys spotted a Sperm Whale at the side of Alba.  We reckon that it was nearly as long as our boat, maybe 10-12 metres, and it followed us for five minutes before going off to do whale things.  I did a bit of reading on Sperm Whale behaviour and I think that it was a male – females travel in family groups with their calves and males are kicked out when they reach maturity.


The 8-15 knot winds continued after sunset giving us pleasant sailing conditions all night.