Arabian Sea Day 4- Sunday 23 February

01:30 – the wind tonight has been more constant since sunset though from just east of north still. It fades occasionally but never completely drops. The seas are relatively flat enabling us to sail at between five and six knots most of the time, more if the wind is up. The reef is still in, the genoa is completely unfurled so Temptress is sailing fairly flat despite being on a reach and keeps going through the lulls.

The off watch has moved into the aft cabin for comfort and peace in a pillowed cocoon. Last night Temptress had just too much heel to enjoy the sprung mattress of the master cabin as your sleeping body would slide down to wedge under the bookshelf and the noises of water on the bow plus the lazy jib sheet slapping the dinghy from time to time meant a fairly disturbed three hours.

Our morning routine is now settling in, after breakfast we hook the sat phone up to the Red Box via cable, then a laptop to the Red Box via WiFi. Beforehand we get our text only emails ready to send, a daily position report to UKMTO and this passage log to our blog. If a weather forecast is required that request is emailed first as it takes a short while to process at MailaSail. A minute or so of satellite connection time and all are despatched. Usually the acknowledgement from UKMTO is received too in that time frame as is the GRIB if requested. The GRIB is transferred to the Axiom via SD card so we can refer to it later without the laptop.

A useful bit of software is an app called Freem for transferring files over local wifi. It enables my scribbles on an iPad to be sent to the laptop via the Redbox WiFi system. So useful and easy without recourse to iTunes and USB cables though it does allocate some odd user names; Prudent Mice, Sophisticated Cockroach?

We towed the pink bird or plane today, plish-ploshing along a few boat lengths behind us trailing a string of hooks concealed in rubber squid. The first bite had the line screaming off the reel even with full pressure on. The sails were swiftly released and as Temptress slowed from eight knots we could gain control. Large shapes were seen in the water along side the boat, porpoises? Slowly the line was wound in but to no avail, the hook broke and any prospect of a fish supper gone. We reset the line and late afternoon the skipper spotted the reel was empty! He’d not set the ratchet to sound the alarm and at some point a fish had unwound the hundreds of metres of line, a first in all the time we’ve been trolling. Fortunately the last loop held, it took some time to wind in. Yet again the hook gave way. Whatever we’d caught needs far bigger gear. Tomorrow Kevin will make up something with big hooks!

Complexity are now eighty or more miles back and report a much better wind angle, we still have a NNE’ly just forward of the beam. The VHF and AIS bring snatches of the world we left as we pick up signals from the Indian coast two and three hundred miles away. It’s odd how radio waves bounce around.

Supper was a chicken boat stew, uninspiring but tasty. It’s hard enough to manage food prep with everything at an angle and being rolled around by the seas. It’s not rough or a great angle of heel, just inconvenient and jolting, how we miss downwind sailing. Fry a chopped onion and garlic, add a chopped chicken breast (had to bone it out which was a challenge), a diced carrot, some bite sized chunks of new potato (didn’t bother peeling them) and a third of a green pepper chopped. Add water enough to cover the potatoes, a chicken oxo cube and some tarragon plus a pinch of mace. After ten mins add chopped green beans.Cook until the potatoes are done, thicken the gravy with cornflour and season, serve in bowls.

By late evening Temptress has just over nine hundred nautical miles to the eastern end of the Transit Corridor, six days sailing. We’ve seen a few ships nearby on the AIS during the day but none visible to the eye, our little world limited to a three mile horizon is empty except for occasional schools of porpoises who entertain with their acrobatics through the waves.

Noonday Run: 152nm
Noon Distance to Suez: 2870nm approx