The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 14 Apr 2018 13:00



11:18N 58:20W


So far we've done 440 miles with 235 miles to go to St Lucia. We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 20% cloud cover and 18-24 knot ENE winds.  We’re on a beam reach sailing at 6-7 knots with 1 knot adverse current and 3 metre seas.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


13 April 2018   French Guyana to St Lucia (Day 3)

We had a lovely start to the day, with a few scattered clouds, but mostly blue skies.  The winds were consistent at 18-24 knots and still from the ENE, keeping us on a beam reach. The 3 metre seas are the biggest problem because they’re hitting us side on. Most of the time, we get lifted up and rolled over to port to 30-40 degrees, which means that we have to hang on to something all the time – it’s very wearing.


Occasionally, we’ll get hit by a steep, monster wave, which will slam into the side of the boat, rattling the whole hull and sending a wall of water across the deck.  We have our sprayhood up; our side flaps zipped to the bimini; and Glenys has fitted a lee cloth to the guard rails at the windward side of the cockpit.  So far (touch wood), these preventative measures have kept the nasty seawater out of the cockpit.


The sun lasted until the afternoon, when the clouds rolled in.  However, the wind gradually veered to the East at 18-24, so it was 20 degrees behind the beam, which made the motion a little better, but the occasional roaring wave kept us hanging on. 


The clouds cleared around sunset and we had a pleasant night, sailing on a beam reach with 20 knots of wind. Earlier in the day, we’d escaped the counter-current, but it re-appeared and we spent most of the night with 1 knot against us.


We passed a few fishing boats, who didn’t have any AIS.  From the sound of the Spanish chatter on the VHF radio, I guess that they were Venezuelan boats.  With annual inflation running at 12,000% in Venezuela, I guess that there’s no chance that these fishermen could afford an AIS transceiver, but having to keep a track of their confusing lights makes life a bit more difficult for us. 


On my 1-4 watch, I had a close encounter with one of the fishing boats.  I was going at 90 degrees to his track, but he just kept on coming straight at me, presumably to come to have a look at us.  He passed about 200 metres behind us, which was very stressful because there wasn’t a lot I could do – there’s nothing worse than bored fishermen.