Settling in for the third night

Having shortened sail for the night we are still flying along, at once the joy and challenge of an easily driven boat with a big rig. A pod of about two dozen porpoises came out for a play in our bow wave at sunset and made us smile. We are now truly out there, having left the last vestiges of land in our wake hours ago. Ahead is another 1,900 miles to Djibouti. Exchanged positions with other cruising boats doing the same route. Arbutus, Joana, Libert‚ and Amenoz were on the SSB sked and it was comforting to plot their positions, but sobering to see just how far apart we are. Acalephe emailed us today and it appears we will get to the entry to the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) on the same day, albeit from slightly different directions – they are coming from Mal‚ in the Maldives.

Position 11° 55.855′ N 71° 03.772′ E
COG 281T
SOG 6.9kt

Lat 11.930917: Lon 71.062867

24 Hours of sailing

Feeling more positive about our diesel reserves now. We did 22 hours of motoring in the first 60 hours, using about 65 litres of the 600 litres we carry. Quick calc says we can motor on average 14 hours out of every 24 for 14 days until the last drop is gone. Having not run the engine for 24 hours and the forecast showing the current conditions to persist until around Socotra it’s looking pretty good. The wind is now well and truly on the beam and has strengthened to 15-18 knots. Took two reefs in the main at sunset and rolled about 20% of the No. 2 away, yet we are still seeing around 7.5 knots of boat speed, albeit with much less heel and spray.

Position 11° 53.771′ N 71° 17.539′ E
COG 277T
SOG 6.8kt

Lat 11.896183: Lon 71.292317

Beam wind and no current

Wind has veered to NNE as forecast and the true wind is on the beam at about 10-12 knots. No current so our speed over the ground is now consistently in the 7 to 7.5 knot range. With Bitra Islet a couple of miles to the south we now have clear water all the way to the Gulf of Aden. Depth should go up to about 4,000 meters over the course of the next 24 hours/120 miles. Seas still less than 1m from the north making for ideal sailing conditions. We are tracking well ahead of the PredictWind routing, which has us averaging 6.1 knots.

Position 11° 39.250′ N 72° 16.499′ E
COG 284T
SOG 6.4kt

Lat 11.654167: Lon 72.274983

DAY 3: Another 124 miles

SOG 6.7kt. Still close-hauled in 12-15kt NNW. Seas below 1m. Apart from needing one leg shorter than the other to compensate for the heel angle, not too uncomfortable. Sunrise noticeably later this morning so we must be making some distance west. Pity about the adverse current, probably cost us 25 miles in the last 24 hours.

Position 11° 30.501′ N 72° 38.993′ E
COG 294T
SOG 6.4kt
Log 8,032 nm
Engine 136.0 h

Lat 11.508350: Lon 72.649883