We are currently in position 27 20S 42 08E and saillng at 6 knots on a course of 340M. Our course over the gound is 310M so we still have a significant W-flowing current. We're heading NW since the GRIBs show we should get into lighter wind and it's a toss-up as to which gybe is getting us towards Richards Bay quickest. The wind is E at 20-25 knots with a short 2m swell from the E. The wind does seem to be slowly moderating. We are sailing under double-reefed main and staysail. Our day's run was 130nm and we have 540nm to go. Not bad considering we were hove-to for 4 hours!
As my previous blog this morning noted, we had an exciting night. We were hove-to so we could check everything on deck in daylight before resuming our course. We also got some needed rest. During that time I got the AIS's GPS working again by restarting the AIS. So the only damage was to the primary autopilot or our log/depth instrument - both share our main Seatalk bus and the bus is not working at present. That's something to fix in harbour given our backup autopilot (which uses NMEA not Seatalk) is functioning well.
On reflection I don't think we were actually struck by lightning, we just had a very near miss. The lightning generated enough energy in some of our wiring to kill some circuitry. A lucky escape.
The electrical storms last night were the worst I've ever encountered at sea. The extensive sheet lightning was something I've never seen anywhere before. They were going off like faulty flourescent tubes all around us for 8 hours. During the peak hour there was nearly as much light as dark. The lightning bolts were impressive too. They did their flash-bang thing every few minutes but mostly there was a pause between the two. At the peak the flash-bangs became "flasang"s then a few "flang"s and finally one big BANG. I'm amazed we suffered so little damage.
At the HF sked this morning we learned that one vessel at the back of our group was abandonned at sea yesterday. The crew were taken off by a cargo ship and we understand them to be safe and well. Apparently they suffered multiple failures aboard and had to declare an emergency. Worldwide coverage of cargo ship positions via satellite AIS and other systems certainly seems to make rescue coordination very efficient. Everyone else in our group is doing OK with two additional boat having departed Reunion yesterday.
It's a tough road to Africa. Zen Again is taking it in her stride. Our respect for ST10.4 designer Ken Hayashi, builder Yamazaki Yachts and refitter Precision Shipwrights grows and grows.