Arabian Sea Day 1 – Thursday 20 February


Temptress departed her berth just after daybreak. Cochin Port Control gave us a quick quizzing as to whether we’d completed our port clearance, customs and immigration paperwork then we motored out with the tide. By nine thirty India had vanished into the haze. With the wind on the starboard quarter, Temptress set Big Blue and a course of 270 through the Nine Degree Channel to our first waypoint just west of the Lakshadweep Islands 240nm away. Complexity have their pink blue and white code zero set and the two boats were sailing along side by side at about five knots.

Before we had even untied the lines the skipper discovered a stanchion base was loose, the bolt heads gone. We’d probably missed it because it hadn’t leaked on our previous passage. On our way out the autopilot control head decided to play hooky, leaving us under autopilot control but with no means of adjusting it in the cockpit! Oops a quick on and off of the whole system resolved it but it happened a couple of times more once at sea. The skipper went to investigate and discovered a loose connection at the autopilot computer end. Then while setting up the spinnaker pole the ring on the opener for the jaws sheared off, it will require welding. Hopefully the gremlins have been left behind in India.

Sadly the wind only lasted a couple of hours before both boats had to return to motoring, at least Kevin and I had a bit of a workout hoisting and trimming the sail then packing it all away again. Ah well. Another decision had to be made; when to flog the clocks by thirty minutes to put ships time into the time zone as currently its set to IST which is UTC+5:30. We’ve decided noon tomorrow will be fine, giving us a couple days before the time zone becomes UTC+4:00 at longitude 067 50’ E.

So the rest of the daylight hours and into the night were spent motoring. We kept the revs down to enable Complexity to not loose touch with us, with the added bonus that fuel consumption is probably going to be lower too. Complexity is ten feet shorter than Temptress so slower though I’m not sure we realised quite how much slower, we are currently motoring at around 4.5-
5 knots, so a slowish passage in prospect unless we get some wind. Their fridge which delayed our departure by 24 hours when it stopped working earlier this week has apparently failed again despite being re-gassed on Tuesday. That will be hard for them.

Supper was a tasty mix of leeks, a carrot and some minced beef flavoured with garlic,herbs and an oxo cube, the pasta was cooked in with the mixture. Then just before dusk we took the Indian courtesy flag down having covered some sixty nautical miles during our first eleven or twelve hours at sea we judged ourselves to be in international waters. The watermaker has been running since the ocean turned blue, hopefully putting over 100l of fresh water in the forward tank.

Aside from the occasional ship and a few fishing boats there is very little out here except us. We trolled all day but caught nothing. The current is giving us a bit of a helping hand but also pushing Temptress more north than required. We don’t want to collide with the southernmost Lakshadweep atolls. One hundred and seventy miles the south of these islands lie the Maldives, sadly not on our itinerary this trip.

Towards the end nd of the first night watch the wind got up enough to sail. The Skipper came on deck to help but the fuller wouldn’t budge. After shining a torch up to the top of the forestay the problem was left til daybreak, except Kevin continued to ponder back in his bunk. Twenty minutes later he was up again with a brainwave. He wound the furled on some more and miraculously it then was persuaded to unfurl most of the way. A few more furling and unfurling attempts and it was fine again. The problem? Mud! We have anchored in some very muddy places recently including on our arrival in India. The furled sits below deck over the anchor well and sometimes gets covered in what ever comes off the anchor chain. A few buckets of water are in order tomorrow morning.

All is well onboard

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