We are currently in position 23 45S 50 12E and sailng at 5.5 knots on a course of 260M. The wind is NNE at 15 knots with a 1m sea and shortish 1m E swell. There are scattered low cumulus clouds about and it is a lovely day. We are sailing under full main and double-furled yankee. The yankee is partly furled to keep it setting while heading on a broader reach. Our day's run was 127nm and we have 1055nm to run.
Last night we had good sailing conditions and had to put a reef in for several hours when the wind got up to around 20 knots and the sea became confused for a while. I think we went through an area with strong current against the wind which increased our apparent wind and created a "wind over tide" sea state. We had a couple of very light rain showers as large cumulus came by, but generally it was a very pleasant night.
This morning the wind moderated to 15 knots and has gradually backed around to the NNE. This is allowing us to set a much better course. Note that magnetic variation is 22W here, so 260M is 238T. We expect the wind to start veering back towards the east over the next day or so. When this happens we'll gybe again.
Although our course is 260M our COG is 240M. That's due to a SW current flow we've been heading west to find. It is the broad orange area closest to the Madagascar coast in the image below. Touch wood, our cunning plan is working out so far. Previously we had been stuck in the northerly flow SSW of Reunion before gybing to escape.
Ocean Current GRIB data (Madagascar on left)
We saw our first fishing boat today. It had no AIS transmitter and got closer than we'd have preferred. We'll be looking out more frequently for them now - this one was heading E at some speed. After we passed him we also passed a field of fishing bouys. They weren't in a line so have no idea of their purpose.
We're now reporting in on two HF radio nets. Each morning we're on the southern Indian Ocean crossers net and in the afternoon we're on the northern Indian Ocean crossers net. The latter was originally for those yachts which went from SE Asia to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Chagos etc but those boats are now mostly in Madagascar or the Mozambique Channel. Everyone's heading for Richard's Bay or Durban at the moment, although many in the Mozambique Channel are running for shelter in Mozambique as a southerly change approaches.
It's a big ocean out here and HF radio provides a fantastic means of position/situation reporting and just chatting with sailors in your area. This morning we chatted to US yacht Apogee. We met them during their stay in Fremantle. They are now in the Mozambique Channel and we could hear each other very clearly on 6227kHz this morning.
Trust all's well where you are!