Hauling Ass!, Day 6

Date: Nov. 11, 2016, noon Position: 27 11.56 S, 42 52.42 E

It was flat calm in the morning, motoring across very long-period swell coming up from the SW. It was also a “Red Sun in morning, sailor’s take warning” dawn. I took advantage of the quiet conditions and topped off our fuel tank (pouring jerry cans into deck fill) and put a smart double-reef in the mainsail.

The engine stayed on until noon, when the first front arrived. Our clear skies became misty with cloud scuttle, and a fresh wind popped up instantly from the south. We sheeted the yankee and staysail and took off on Privateer’s fastest tack ever! From 12 noon to midnight tonight we sailed well over 100 NM! As winds built to 20-24 knots forward of the beam, Privateer powered into the waves making solid 9-10 knots SOG. Our highest of the day was 15.4 knots! I’m still not quite sure how we did it, but the miles in our wake tell the tale. It’s the fastest I’ve ever sailed on any 36′ boat.

Making those miles is money in the bank for us. We must reach Richards Bay by Wednesday, or face the prospect of 3 extra days at sea, hove-to in potentially very nasty conditions. Each hour we sail at those speeds is one hour less on our ETA.

We’re pressing down south of the rhumb line now, to prepare for a more vigorous front on Sunday, which should bring more S-SW winds, rain, and possibly lightning. It was a wet enough ride today, heeled into the waves, and we want to be able to crack off a bit in this next frontal system. It’s a bit of a zig-zag path toward Richard’s Bay, but it only adds a few hours and greatly increases [relative] comfort on board. It was a deck-sweeper of a day today, waves continually booming down on deck & walls of spray as Privateer disintegrated the waves in front of her.

Taz was a good boy today & held on tight to his animals–the trio of Kitty, Kanga, and Kiwi, with the newest addition of his Mauritian “toilet kitty” which has already been chucked into the sea, into the toilet, and run over by a car & lost an eye.

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