Friday, 30 October 2015

Richards Bay Inbound Day 9

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 29 00S 37 39E and motor-saillng at 6 knots on a course of 300M. The wind is NE at 6-10 knots with a 1.5m left-over sea from the E. We have the full main hoisted but it isn't adding much to our speed. Our day's run was 149nm and we have 290nm to go.

Yesterday afternoon we had quite a nice sail, broad reaching to the SSW in a 20-25 knot E breeze. We headed SSW to try to position ourselves for as much positive current as possible over the next 2 days. In the evening the wind started backing around towards the NE and lightening off. We gybed at our 2100 watch change, shook out one reef at 0000 and another at 0300. By dawn the wind was down to 8-10 knots and our course was directly towards Richards Bay.

Since yesterday we've been pretty confident a "southerly buster" is going to run up the SA coast on Monday. All the models show the buster arriving at Richards Bay in the early hours of Monday morning. So we're now on a mission to reach RIchards Bay before then. That's why we're motor-sailing now. The engine went on at 0730 this morning and we're making steady progress directly towards RB. We hope to arrive on Sunday afternoon but it may be Sunday evening.

The HF skeds over the last couple of days have focussed on the developing weather. One yacht 100nm behind us in now motoring hard to catch us and get to RB with us. They're bigger so can motor faster. Others much further back and still E of Madagascar are slowing down to let the front pass. Boats working another sked, most of whom are in the Mozambique Channel have been discussing whether to take shelter near Maputu in Mozambique rather than press on to RB. 3 or 4 of them are past Maputu and will get to RB easily.

We're not pushing our engine hard since there doesn't appear necessary at the moment. We could motor a little faster but use much more fuel. We're keeping a very close eye on the weather forecasts. We believe we should have some assistance from current but aren't banking on it.

For much of the last few days the skies have been either completely overcast or with only a few breaks in the cloud. Mostly the cloud has been low cumulostratus (I think that's what it's called). The moon shone through it last night so it isn't thick. An hour ago the sky cleared and we now have only scattered cumulus and alto-cumulus. Damp gear is arrayed around the cockpit to dry off. Nice to be catching some rays!

Trust all's well where you are!

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