Downhill Run

Date: Jan. 22, 2017, noon Position: 25 56.12 S, 7 20.91 E

At sunrise the breeze died down and I was awoken by the gentle slapping of windless sails. We had little choice but to fire up the engine, and were soon motoring along at 6-7 knots with our Benguela current assist. The day turned fine and we motored until mid-afternoon when just enough wind (7-8 knots) sprang up again to get going under sail again, wing-on-wing. It built to a gentle 10-12 knot breeze with low seas and hardly a whitecap on the ocean. We’re making 7 knots yet it feels like we’re tied to a dock, hardly any motion. Easy miles!

Nep and I spent a relaxing day reading and polishing the reading lamps with Brasso, which took me back to my days on the Brigantine. Only on the Brigantine, they made us use our bare fingers to polish the brass, and didn’t give us any rags. Today we buffed off a thick layer of tarnish to reveal shiny gold lamps underneath–satisfying work when you’ve got an empty horizon and a sunny day. At one point suddenly a line of thousands of tuna exploded out of the waves in a long line across the horizon. It was a shocking site at first, seeing all that white water in front of the boat! They must have been hunting in a pack, driving their prey with their unbroken chain formation.

The weather looks really good for the next few days–a bit more wind tomorrow and maybe building to 17-19 knots the day after, all from the SE (behind us). I feel the same way a cyclist must feel when they reach the top of a mountain pass–all that hard pedaling to get to the summit, rewarded by the long effortless descent down the other side. The Indian Ocean from Madagascar to Cape Agulhas was our mountain. Now Privateer can enjoy the 7,000 miles of downwind running! We passed mile 700 today, already 1/10th of the way to North America.

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