The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Thu 15 Feb 2018 07:42



17:58S  01:43W


So far we've done 1073 miles with 262 miles to go to St Helena. We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 50% cloud cover and 8-12 knot SSE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 4-5 knots with a 1 metre swell.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


14 February 2018   Namibia to St Helena (Day 8)

It looks like we’ll have good wind today and tomorrow, but the 16th and 17th are forecast to have light 5 knot winds - I guess that we’ll be motoring into St Helena on the 17th. Only 3 nights to go.


At 10:29 UTC, we crossed the Greenwich Meridian, so we’re now in the Western hemisphere, directly south of our families in the UK.  Perhaps we were feeling a little homesick, but we’ve finally decided that we’ll leave the boat in Trinidad for the hurricane season and fly back to the UK for three months in July, returning to Trinidad in October.


We’re going to put Alba up for sale privately and if she sells, we’ll move back to the UK.  If she doesn’t sell, then next year, we’ll cruise up through the West Indies & the Bahamas  to the east coast of the USA.  Our current plan is to leave the boat for sale with the Hallberg Rassy dealer in Annapolis in September 2019.  We haven’t paid UK VAT on the boat, so if we sell Alba in Europe, it will cost us 25% tax whereas the import duty into the USA is only 1.5% + fees. (See www.yachtalba.com for boat details.)


Just before lunch, we spotted a set of sails on the horizon ahead of us.  We weren’t picking up their AIS position, so we didn’t know who they were, but we altered course slightly and gave chase.  It took us 5 hours to get level with them, but it was approaching sunset, so we didn’t want to get too close. 


We chatted to them on the VHF radio and found out that the boat is “Jomaro”.  We met Jos, his wife and their little girl briefly in Luderitz - they left with “Sabir”, 24 hours before us.  They are a 53 foot Amel, so I’m very surprised that we’ve managed to overtake them – we must be doing something right for a change.


We put out two fishing lines in the morning and didn’t hear a whisper from either line, but when I pulled in one of the lures, the stainless steel leader was in knots, so something has had a go at it.  I remade the lure and sharpened the hook, ready to catch a big one tomorrow.


It was another idyllic day, gliding downwind with 10-15 knots of wind doing 5.5 to 6.5 knots in comfortable 1 metre waves. Overnight, it wasn’t quite as good because the wind dropped a few knots, which was enough to make us roll every so often, making the sails slat and dropping our speed down to 4 to 5 knots.