Posted by: powellpjc | October 9, 2012

South of the Equator and East of the Great Capes

01 22.1 S, 090 56.5′ E
South of the Equator and East of the Great Capes.

Been almost 2 weeks now since I left Thailand and I sure haven’t made it far. Very pleasant days, though, with smooth seas and light or no wind. Like 20 mile days. I have been thrifty with the diesel as I think I’ll need it to round the N. cape of Madagascar. I just run the engine to make water (once a week for 2 hours) and an hour here and there to fluff up the batteries.
Things improved a lot yesterday with a steady wind all day and into the night. I may have bitten into the edge of the trade winds. The next day or so will tell.
I had full sail up and snorting along at 7 knts well into the night. Of course I napped here and there but it was fun. Fun until a motherless squall slammed me at 4 am.
Put on all necessary gear: rain jacket (because it’s pouring now); chest harness with tether; rope gloves; deck shoes; headlamp and went to work. The squalls in the Pacific are short and nasty. Here they are not as bad but last much longer. I have to go to the mast to shorten sail so it’s tricky work at night. The deck lights help a lot and I hold on like hell.
I find using the engine in forward at very low revs helps me keep the ship into the wind long enough to get the reef in the main. I have 2 reef points in my new sail, dividing the sail in 3rds. First one is Ms Nervous and second one is Scaredy Cat. I put in Scaredy Cat last night.
All well by morning’s light and by noon I had full sail up again making the miles.
Two fishing lines out, baited with lovely lamb fat but so far the tuna don’t know what to make of the lamb. Only a matter of time.
I’ll be late for my permit to Chagos but can likely extend it with this 1200 baud email system (and I mean slow).
Crossed the equator a couple of nights ago in a dead sleep. There are no night food stalls set up there in any case.
02 00.1′ S, 089 25.3′ E
I’d meant to send this last night. I do my transmitting about 9 pm local as it seems to work best then but I ran into a ‘spot of bother’ as my pal, Farmer Vin Keane, likes to say.
Decided to reduce sail and tried an old trick of mine. It’s worked 2 out of 3 times but will never get another chance. I’m talking about blanketing the headsail to take the pressure off it while you furl it. Just outside Subic Bay I tried it and ruined a sail. I guess I’d forgotten about that so I tried it again last night. Same deal. Worked for a bit and then there were lines and sail everywhere, your real Colorado Snake Fight. Took me until midnight to sort it all but I did not lose a sail this time. NEVER try this ‘trick’ unless you have 3 other strong men to tend lines, steer and one advisor to tell you not to do it.
I went to my private place, had a small heart attack, a weepy nervous breakdown and a glass of scotch. All well with the world and sleep came easily.
Made 99 miles yesterday, so not all bad. I think I am on edge of the trades. I see cotton ball clouds.



  1. Hoping that the rest of this voyage omits that private place, but includes the glass of scotch. Tricky when you’re on your own…glad to see you are educating Indian Ocean tuna to eat red meat…..well, the fat of said…..

  2. Aside from the difference in latitude, you are pretty much exactly on the other side of the planet from T. Bay…or at least you were last night. The storms always be coming in the nighttime, don’t they.


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