We are now on a course of 330M, sailing at 6.5knots in a 25knot ESE breeze. Still completely overcast. We have two reefs in the main and three in the headsail. Our position is 21 12S 107 59E. We have logged 155nm in the last 24 hours and 425nm in total. 155nm isn't bad for a 34 footer! We have 840nm to run to Cocos-Keeling.
Yesterday afternoon we continued to make good way to the west despite a rolly ride with the swell nearly on our beam. At 1800 we gybed and headed north. The difference with the swell behind us was huge - a much nicer ride. We sailed with one reef in the main and a well furled headsail for most of the night.
In the evening we did our normal HF sked with Vulcan Spirit then listened in to the Indian Ocean Crosser's net. Reception was good so when the net controller Minnie B asked for other yachts we jumped in and they could hear us quite well. Twas good to make contact with a boat at Cocos. Minnie B gave glowing reports of the lovely anchorage with turquoise water, sandy beach and sunshine. Sounds a million miles away given our weather!
In the early hours of this morning the wind gradually increased and the rain became persistent. We estimate it was blowing steadily over 30 knots. The boat handled it very well and we're very glad we invested in our new "cruising" main which has extremely deep reefs. Extreme Sails built it well. The ride below was very smooth and we both slept very well during our off watches. By 0600 the wind was getting closer to 40 knots and we tucked in the second reef in the main and reduced the headsail to No5 size. That was a good move and the boat was still doing 6knots and very comfortable. The autopilot is doing a magnificent job.
This morning the wind has moderated and the rain is now in showers rather than steady. Still 8/8ths cloud. We're keeping the second reef in the main and adjusting how much headsail is rolled out as the wind varies. The boat seems to like this configuration.
We're heading north of the rhumb line at present in hopes of breaking through this line of weather which appears to lie West to East. The trades have got to be up there somewhere! Vulcan Spirit texted us this morning saying "Reached Tropics. Weather Horrid". Couldn't have put it better myself!