The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 17 Feb 2018 07:10



15:59S 05:30W


So far we've done 1,320 miles with 15 miles to go to St Helena. We did 125 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 50% cloud cover and 6-10 knot SSE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 3-4 knots with a ½ metre swell.  We should be in by lunchtime.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


16 February 2018   Namibia to St Helena (Day 10)

At 07:00, we had 135 miles to go, which if we can maintain an average of 5 knots, puts us in James Town tomorrow morning.  The forecast was for light winds this afternoon and evening, but we might have a chance at sailing after midnight.  I emailed the Harbour Master and told him that we’d be arriving at midday.


As forecast, the wind slowly died during the morning, but the sea was calm, so we managed to bob along under sail.  We took advantage of the calm conditions to run the generator and watermaker for 90 minutes and our water tanks are now brimming full.


By 11:00, the wind fell below 5 knots, so I had to turn on the engine and we started motor-sailing.  A small Dorado took one of our lines at lunchtime and briefly interrupted our meal of Fish Tortillas – eat one, catch one, the sustainable way.  Later in the afternoon, we caught a larger, male Dorado – about 6 lb.


In the evening, I chatted to Stefan on “Sabir” who are now 80 miles behind us and also motor-sailing.  They’re aiming to get in early on the 18th.  I don’t know where “Jomaro” are, but they should be in late tomorrow.

The wind slowly picked up after dark and I was able to get sailing again at 20:00.  By the time Glenys came on watch at 22:00, we were on a beam reach with 8-10 knots of wind doing 5 to 6 knots. 


At our 01:00 watch change, we were 38 miles from the south-east coast of the island and could just make out red and white lights on the horizon. I wasn’t sure if it was the island or a fishing fleet without AIS, but flicking on the radar showed no targets within 32 miles.  The red lights seem to be a series of warning beacons on the hills around the new airport.


After dawn, we were only 15 miles away and could see the flat-topped, rugged island shrouded by clouds - very exciting.