Day 229, Year 5 Arrival in Madagascar!!!
Date: Saturday, June 12, 2010
Weather: Sunny, Winds SSE 30-35 Knots, Gusts to 50
Latitude: 12 degrees 01.448 minutes S
Longitude: 049 degrees 12.057 minutes E

Passage Statistics:
1466 miles in 9 days 3.5 hours (219.5 hours)
Sailing Hours–216.5
Motor Sailing Hours–3
Average Speed-6.7 Knots
Fuel Usage–1.5 US gallons or about 6 liters

This was by far our fastest passage ever, but it was also the most challenging. Even now that we are at anchor we still have 30-35 knot winds. During the passage we had squall after squall and heavy winds which made for uncomfortable living conditions, but not until today did we feel the potential for serious problems. Conditions were not life threatening but I felt more unsafe than anytime since we left Boston in 2005. We had to be constantly alert as the seas were BIG and the winds were HIGH. We had 40 to 50 knots gusts a few times with winds typically above 30 knots. Seas were 12 to 15 feet and we found ourselves surfing down the waves and then sometimes while surfing we were hit broadsided by a rogue wave that would knock us violently sideways. Those were the scary ones and the ones that made a wreck of the inside of the boat. This really only happened twice, but twice was enough. For a time we were heading up the coast wing and wing with the wind behind us. We had an accidental gibe that blew one of the pulleys that attaches Gyb-Easy to the deck, so that gibe was not easy. The line and pulley flew into the plastic window of the new cockpit enclosure and ripped it two places. That will have to be replaced in South Africa. That same jibe also broke another pulley on the main sheet traveler. Basically this is a device that helps control the main sail. So we have a few things that need to be replaced, but nothing major. And that is why we are so thankful that we chose Windbird as the boat to take us around the world. She is steady and sturdy and very forgiving. We love you, Windbird.

Ed and Lynne also made it in today which is amazing considering that they have not had a head sail since the second or third day of the trip. Constance is also a steady, sturdy boat but today she was challenged when something hit her on the port side. They really didn’t know what had happened until they arrived here and Ed could get in the dinghy to look at the side of the boat and could see a gash in the hull, but what they did know earlier was that they had a leak into their main cabin. Ed put some epoxy in the cracked fiberglass near one of their scupper drains which helped, but they still have to isolate the real problem and figure out what to do. They also had a problem with a planned gibe that went wrong and broke something in their traveler.

So we are here and will slowly heal our wounds. We are hoping that the extremely high winds will settle in the next day or two so we can get in the dinghy and explore the land around this bay before moving further south. We had a beautiful sunset tonight and look forward to our first sunrise in Madagascar tomorrow morning.

I mentioned yesterday that my niece’s daughter graduated from high school. Today we got an email from our daughter telling us that Sam, our oldest grandchild, graduated from nursery school yesterday. Next fall he will be in preschool. Unbelievable. These babies grow up way too fast.

100612 Day 229– Passage Chagos to Madagascar