Cocos to Mauritius

Donald Begg
Sun 21 Oct 2018 13:34
2336 miles in 15.5 days, giving an average speed of 6.3 knots, which I consider to be respectable for an ocean passage. Some of it was faster, with top daily mileages of 166, 170, and 176. The wind was mostly Southeasterly, so a broad reach. Somehow, the Indian Ocean doesn’t seem as friendly as the Pacific, we had a lot of cloud, some rain, and some squalls. For two days the wind crept up to 25 and then 30 knots, with a surprisingly big sea behind and across it. We sailed with the staysail and about half the mainsail, which proved to be a reasonably comfortable heavy weather rig. We hit our nadir when the cockpit was swamped by a rogue wave. We didn’t have the washboard up in the main hatch, and seawater poured down onto the chart table, soaking charts and papers, writing off the old ship’s computer, and causing a number of electronic malfunctions which kept us busy, Simon especially, getting them all in order over the next few days. More seriously, the generator shut itself down. We didn’t know it then, but at time of writing it appears that seawater caused a short circuit which damaged it, and it has now been removed for workshop attention. That was a shame, because we didn’t need the main engine for propulsion, and it was a bore to have it thumping away as we charged batteries, not to speak of the worry of being at sea minus a vital piece of equipment.
On our last three days the wind backed and dropped to about 12 knots, giving us a dead downwind run for Mauritius. We put up the twin headsails and had an enjoyable sail, with sunshine and a very blue sea for a change. We came into Port Louis just before midnight, tied up, and got a little heavy-handed on the gin and tonic.
We saw little wildlife apart from numerous flying-fish, which penetrated everywhere. I had one Godfather moment. Coming off watch in the small hours I climbed into my bunk, prepared for sleep, and was arrested by a malodorous anomaly. I switched on the light and found a large flying-fish beside my pillow, four feet from a partially open window. “Tonight, you sleep with the fishes”.