The north easterlies at long last arrived!
Another drama as the wretched throttle wouldn’t engage, so with engine off, rocking and rolling we were during the process of raising the sails once more. A bit of investigation later, it turned out the second throttle in the cockpit had been knocked into gear, thereby blocking the action of the inside control. – phewwww….
Indian Ocean and Mozambique Currents, Mozambique Ridge and squalls: an awesome combination when the trio are simultaneously encountered.
This particular morning, rapid shallowing, combined with currents meeting and swirling, squalls racing through from all points of the compass, created a mass of confused seas. Gratis rocked from pillar to post, more bruises for we two. (I didn’t touch her I swear!) Even in these minor squalling conditions of twenty knots, one could easily understand the reason for this region being so dangerous during major storms.
A westerly for much of the time – what happened to those easterlies? Winds on the nose whilst the currents pushed us southward, forty five degrees off course.
Headsail furled, the decision to tack was made.
Tack, you say?
Anything but!! The one action I’ve always tended to oversteer. Highly aware of this foible, at Bob’s command I commenced the manoeuvre. AP unable to work against the power of the mighty wind and currents, off she went as I manually took over control.
A little more throttle and round glided Big G as she gradually passed through the wind. A little too much, a slight adjustment and she was right.
At the drop of a hat, the wind appeared to change and the wind instrument seemingly went loopy as Gratis passed through the wind once more.
Safely there, one would think, but Murphy was still at work as the wind direction continually altered.
Not assisting matters, wind instruments crazy; a click of the fingers and our girl commenced a graceful 360° pirouette to carry out a gybe. Frustration and disbelief aplenty, with the helm hard to starboard, I just couldn’t get the direction right!
Bob unhappy, in he came. It took a while, but at last relatively stable, Gratis heading southward as at the start.
Decision made, down came the main and round she turned.
At last our girl was on course once more. Radar off to fix the glitch.
Upon studying the chart, the light globe of comprehension dawned as we viewed the undersea Mozambique ridge below us just to port: this explained the confused seas, as currents from varying directions combined. It was an amalgamation of wind change and current that caused me such pain. More throttle was required: lesson learned.
Was that it for the day? Not this time, sails up, sails down numerous times before it was at last possible to dine.
Finally, as the sun set below the horizon, the NE settled in and Gratis began to sing as she settled into the groove.
Murphy returned overnight as the wind died and left us with speeds of 2 – 4 knots. Had that SW not been on its way, in normal conditions we would have sat back and enjoyed…….
A phone call from Damien this night provided us with the latest weather update in detail as followed:
00:00 Sunday:- NE 5 – 10kn, to more E ENE by daybreak
12:00:- E 10 – 15kn
15:00:- no change
18:00:- E NE 15 – 20kn
21:00 :- no change
00:00 Monday:- no change
03:00 Tuesday:- NE 15 – 20kn. No change through Tuesday night
03:00 Wednesday:- SW with 45kn winds predicted to arrive 30°S
09:00 Wednesday:- SW change to arrive at 25°S
Thanks to the conditions encountered, we were a day behind schedule and learning the predicted SW change had slowed its progress by a day sent relief streaming through the two of us.