La Reunion to South Africa, Day 2

Date: Nov. 7, 2016, noon Position: 22 52.35 S, 53 2.22 E

We managed to sail 144 miles noon-to-noon in fairly light winds. At very first light, I set the pole, as the winds had swung around more to the north (behind us). The swells flattened out and a steady light wind made for some easy wing-on-wing sailing. Other boats are motoring, but Privateer did just fine, making 5-6 knots under sail most of the day. We really want to conserve our diesel as much as possible for the second half of the passage, as we close in on the South African coast. We’ll need as many cards in our hand as we can for the infamous Agulhas current.

The self-steering gear works wonderfully in light air, keeping us right on course at all times. We’ve nearly mastered the art of setting the vane, though we always learn something new each time we sail. Privateer–what a fine boat! Heavy weather, light airs, she handles them all in grace.

Taz sprang back into his sea routine today, devouring all food in sight. We had a marathon playdoh session until it devolved into Taz flicking little bits of the pink dough all around the bunk and mashing them into the cushions. Oh well…much better than yesterday’s vomit. Kelsey also has her appetite back, after turning the corner on her morning sickness (finally!)

We’ve been in constant contact with Mark (creator of this website) on “Tuuletar” and he’s devoting an extraordinary amount of time in giving us detailed weather forecasts, routing advice, and ocean current synopses. His help comes at a time when our Sailmail, GRIB, and WxFax reports are nil due to the poor SSB reception here. Thank you a million times over, Mark! We are also in contact with Sam, a local South African meteorologist who is also giving us reports (although less detailed, as he focuses primarily on HAM radio communications). And finally, another boat “Simmer Down” on passage with us has some sailor friends in Russell, NZ providing them with their synopses. We receive and trade all this info over our DeLorme inReach, a magic device that lets us text message from our iPad from anywhere on the planet. Every sailor can benefit greatly from the DeLorme inReach. “Simmer Down” uses one too, and contact with them is effortless. Repeat: every boat should have a Delorme inReach.

Right now it looks like we’ll have two frontal systems sweep past us, on Friday and Sunday, as/after we round Madagascar, with a large 4.2 meter swell arriving from the south, originating from a big low in the Southern Ocean. When we turn the corner around the bottom of Madagascar, our sailing will get a bit trickier. Luckily the first system looks to be pretty mild, and the second one more intense but moving through rapidly, with potential thunderstorms. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the barometer!

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