Blog Post 5 by Jon Sanders: 29th November 2016
The west coast of Australia is now a long way behind. Then it was 3 reefs in the mainsail. Windy.
A wind one gets in the region – history shows it has been the same over the past 400 years – Southerlies.
Soon the wind bends and we get the South East trades proper.
For the first 1,000 Nautical Miles, the Trades were what I expected. (What I had found in former years).
I.E.: very strong southerlies leaving the Australian shore (Shark Bay) and quickly becoming SE & ESE light and light moderate.
Half way across the Indian Ocean the winds became fresh, sometimes strong – near gale. Rough ride…
Further on more moderate.
As in the past, nearing Mauritius, Rodriguez & Reunion region the wind tends northeast, light and light-moderate. Now two days from Reunion spells of none at all. Zilch. Nice cruising anyway.
For those first 1,500 NM the temperature is good. T-shirt on during the day. A couple of shirts at night – and a light rug. Washing up water cool. (like me).
It is the first portion of the ocean the ‘Australian Current’ flows from the colder south to north at 0.5 to 1 knots.
As one continues to sail further west, it slowly warms; t-shirt off during the day.
The last 600NM towards Mauritius and Reunion are hot during the day, truly tropical, tropical hot. The fans over the chart table and cabin are fully employed, whirling around and around, but night time OK. Comfortable.
First of November is the start of the Cyclone Season. Just now bit cool, me thinks. But this is very much Cyclone territory.
Sails. I always maintain my idea of cruising rig. Ain’t changing. Viz permanent one reef in the mainsail. More wind; put the second reef in early. (Or a 3rd).
The cruising jib (front sail) does not go full hoist. (Not all the way up the forestay – to mast top). It is not a big sail. It is hoisted on a Harken furler (designed for 50ft, this yacht is 39ft). It can roll the jib on the forestay. And make it whatever size smaller. 3/4. Or half. Or tiny. Or weeny. Or a snippet. Or should that read ‘Twig of a sail’?
Sven Cornelius chief of Rolly Tasker Sails, based in Thailand, thought, when I used the words ‘snippet of a sail’, something awful might have happened to the sail. (German translation I blame).
No Sven, my sails you made, are bullet proof. They are superb.
My sails are beige coloured (called cream). I like the colour, and they are non-glare! Eyes.
On Monday, two days before port arrival I fetched a light moderate NE wind. A quiet broad reach. In the afternoon the wind backed to the north and faded. By nightfall the wind had carked it. Non – Zilch. 8:15 pm the stars were reflecting in an oily calm.
Excellent. Doing 5 1/2 knot boat speed with the 50HP Yanmar Diesel purring, in gear, at quiet revs. 1,300 RPM. The Simrad (B&G) pilot – automatic steering.
Perie Banou has wheel steering. It only takes a minute to fit the stand by tiller and the Simrad, tiller pilot.
The tiller pilot is new. So I had to calibrate it. One presses buttons two at a time, motor the yacht slowly whilst the Auto Pilot makes a slow circle. (Read the manual!)
Done all that, put it on course, pressed Auto.
I think it is steering course! It is steering course! Straighter than straight.
I am a genius. (Haven’t a clue what the guy who invented the thing is).
And, Jonathon Clough and his loyal offsider who set it up, wired it, etc.. In fact, he rewired the whole boat. ‘Neat as’. Never been like that before. Thanks, Jon and Jay.
Reunion is coming up as you read this.
Kindest regards to all.
__ Jon __
Notes from Robin
As this is written Jon would be in sight of a haze-covered craggy landscape appearing over the horizon – Reunion Island. He is no-doubt contemplating a few days of R&R in Le Port, located on the NW flank of this volcanic island.
Reunion is made up of two very substantial volcanoes, Piton des Neiges (10,070 ft) and Piton de la Fournaise (8,635 ft). The combined volcanoes make up an emergent and active oceanic volcanic edifice that reaches 23,000 ft and forms the highest point within the Indian Ocean seabed. That is, the same height as K2 in the Karakoram Range between China and Pakistan, the second highest peak after Mt Everest.
For Australians who are used to the topography and geomorphic features of an ancient and eroded landscape, Reunion Island is VERY different. The average elevation in Australia is approximately 1,000 ft (330 m) with Mt Kosciuoszko, the highest point in Australia, reaching a modest 7,300 ft.
Piton des Neiges (Snow Peak) has been dormant for 20,000 years. Piton de la Fournaise (Furnace Peak) is one of the most active volcanoes on our planet. The most recent eruption commenced earlier this year…
Le Port is located across what amounts to a small and very active river delta – approximately 13,000 ft up the flank of an active volcano. One of only a few ‘flattish’ areas on Reunion.
Crickey! Enjoy that beer Jon…
For Jon and Perie Banou II: “You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that’s all”. Bernard Moitessier
__ Robin Morritt __