Building seas

Date: Sept. 6, 2016, 4 a.m. Position: 18 15.29 S, 81 56.50 E

The Indian Ocean is showing its not-so-pretty face tonight. Several hours before sunset a stiff S-SE wind found us, bringing gusts of 30+ knots in the squalls. The seas are heaping, and at times the deck looks more submarine than sailboat. It’s a good thing we stowed everything away yesterday–the few items we forgot about became instantly known when they projectile-missiled themselves across the cabin. We clocked out a whopping 169 miles noon-to-noon.

At times like this I wish I could be as carefree as Taz. He’s completely oblivious to the gale, and even seems to perk up at times like these. There’s really not much to do except hold on, and remain at instant readiness in case something needs quick attention. “Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours” Gordon Lightfoot wrote. These words are so true. The worry is worse than the actual gale.

Privateer is of course handling the seas like a champ, blasting a path through the ugly cross-swells. At times like these I’d rather be on no other boat–her true form shines in moments like these. It looks like tonight will be the brunt of the heavier winds and seas, and then it should slowly taper off over the next several days.

We crossed the halfway-passage mile today! We’ve sailed 1,000 miles in 6.3 days (FAST!) since leaving Cocos Keeling, with another 1,000 miles to go now to Rodrigues. I had dreams of making a “halfway alfredo” for dinner as some friends on another boat do, but it’s too rough to cook tonight. Maybe I’ll try my luck at a 2/3 or 3/4 alfredo if conditions allow–something to look forward to anyway, as I gnaw on a granola bar for dinner…

We’re getting down near 20 degrees South now, and the nights are much cooler. The seawater is cooler as well. Best of all, the solar panels are more efficient in these “colder” temps and the fridge also doesn’t have to work as hard. And with the gale turning the wind generator, we’re quickly topping up our battery bank and able to use electricity without thinking about consumption. We hardly ever run our engine to charge batteries. We usually just fire it up to motor into an anchorage, and turn it off again after we put the sails up on our way out to sea again. It’s a great way to keep the engine room real tidy, too. We’ve burned only 4-5 gallons in the past 5,000 miles. So we get about 1,000 nautical miles per gallon–very fuel efficient!

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