Books have been written about the best times to cross the various oceans and the routes to follow to minimize one’s discomfort and maximize the efficiency of travel under sail. I’ve read a few of these and they are pretty much unanimous in the paucity of recommendations for sailing from Cape Town to Mauritius in July.
From this I can deduce that a) there isn’t much of a market for this information or that b) it is such a bad idea that it was never envisaged that anyone in their right mind would undertake such a passage. After 10 days of this trip, I’m beginning to think that b) is the more likely.
From a few hours into Day 1, we had contrary winds. We knew they were going to happen and we were comfortable with that. We needed to get south so a South Easter was not the end of the world. Three days of it, followed by a day of strong Easterly winds and then a week of howling North Westerlies with very large seas was really not in the plan!
I must commend my crew for their perseverance and maintaining of a sense of humor during some very unpleasant days. All this time Anita has kept us so well fed I believe we are putting on weight! I mean, who bakes muffins and bread heeled at 30 degrees with a boat lurching from side to side and the wind blowing at over 30 knots?
With the crew that are relatively new to sailing getting more and more competent, the watch system has been revised from two watches doing 3 hours on and 3 hours off at night and 4 hours on and 4 hours off during the day. We are now operating on 4 single person watches doing 2 hours on watch, 2 hours on standby and 4 hours off. This gives us more time to read and more importantly, to watch series like “Breaking Bad” or “Shameless”!
I somehow don’t think they had this sort of luxury on the square riggers of yesteryear? Those sailors were the real deal, not like us softies with our Goretex fabrics, GPS, AIS and down duvets! To say nothing of fridges and pressurized water.