Day 358, Year 5 Passage to Richards Bay, Day 4
Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Weather: Sunny Day with White Puffy Clouds, Winds SSE 10-15
Latitude: 21 37.500 S
Longitude: 040 36.576 E
Miles Traveled: 318 (miles made good-261)
Miles to Go: ~ 42 to Europa / ~635 to Richards Bay

Our passage destination has changed. We have decided to turn on the motor to boost our speed and head directly for Richards Bay. We have conflicting weather information, but we are just going to keep going as fast as we can and try to beat a dreaded cold front coming into Richards Bay from the south sometime on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday, depending on the source of the projection. If we can keep up 6 knots we should make the 635 miles by Saturday evening the 23rd. We can keep up that speed today and probably tomorrow, but then the winds are supposed to drop considerably and we might have to increase the engine RPM’s. But at some point we’ll get into the fast moving south current and that should boost our speed considerably. So we have a shot at making it. If the southerlies come on the morning of the 24th as projected by BUOY WEATHER and we can’t keep up the 6 knots of speed, then we will head into the Inhaca (‘h’ is pronounced as a ‘y’) on the Mozambique Coast. If Graham on the Maritime Mobile Net is correct, we have until the 26th before the southerlies arrive. But the BUOY reports have been spot on for us since leaving the Barren Islands so we have no reason to think they are wrong and the Peri Peri Net, another weather net we listen to morning and evening is agreeing with the BUOYS. The weather, however, has its own idea about things, and will reveal its intentions as we draw closer. I am going to name this passage POWW–Passage of Weather Worries. We were told by seasoned sailors that there is no way to go from Madagascar to South Africa without hitting a cold front packing southerly winds. They told us if we wanted to avoid that we should fly. Now we know they were not being pessimistic, just honest and right on.

With all the weather worries, we completely forgot to celebrate the official end of our fifth year of the Voyage of Windbird (VOW). We got an email from our good friends Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg this morning reminding us of the oversight. At 5 am on October 18, 2005 we left Shipyard Quarters and sailed out of the Boston Harbor. We sailed from there to Quissett Harbor on Cape Cod and then took off for points south. We expect to get back to Quisset Harbor in time to celebrate the 4th of July next year and celebrate we will!! We will stop there instead of heading on to Boston as our daughter lives just a few miles from Quissett. In the meantime, we will continue Year 5 of VOW until we reach Richards Bay. Our arrival there will be the end of our 5th cruising season and there we will begin the final year of the VOW, Year 6. Now we just have to concentrate on getting there.