Rounding under Madagascar, Day 4

Date: Nov. 9, 2016, noon Position: 25 39.69 S, 48 26.96 E

The excellent sailing continued throughout the night, and into the morning and afternoon. We made 170 NM on our noon-to-noon! All under clear skies, steady wind, and low seas. We kept pace with the 56′ sailboat “Aliena”, keeping her sail on the horizon all day long. In the morning we crossed paths to within about 1/2 NM, snapped a few photos, and watched as her sails slowly diminished under the horizon. Aliena has decided to push further south before rounding Madagascar, while Privateer is sticking closer to the coast and the favorable currents.

The morning was heavily marred by the shocking election news from the USA. We feel like we do not have a country to sail home to anymore. What a sad, sad disgrace.

We hit an area of counter-current which Mark quickly routed us away from, and were soon back to the edge of the main flow. The Indian ocean current hits Madagascar like a big fire hose, creating a line of 1-3 knot current with associated back-eddies and counter-currents, just like water hitting a rock in a giant river. It’s important to know where to go, because it’s the difference between sailing at 8 knots with the current, or at two knots against.

As we round under Madagascar we’re sailing over a broken plateau of shallower water and many sea-mounts. In rough conditions this would be a dangerous lee shore with hazardous seas. Fortunately today, she’s a sleeping giant and we’re gliding along at 8-9 knots nearer the shore (within 70 NM) in the current stream and low seas.

Tomorrow, the swells are supposed to kick up, pumping in from the intense low in the Southern Ocean. The first front should pass over us after we’ve rounded Madagascar, then a second one on Sunday, followed by a developing system over Durban that we will keep a very close eye on, as we close with the S. African coast.

For the time being, we are still charging along downwind at 8-9 knots! It feels strange to make these boat speeds with less than 15 knots of wind.

I don’t know what else to say. Our thoughts are with our family and friends in the USA, and around the world, as we stumble into dangerous and uncharted waters.

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