Gulf passage 2 – Tuesday 3rd March

Day 13 – Tuesday 3 March

The only positives from there being no wind are that the air temperature at night is not so chilly and we are making progress. That said Temptress’ speed is still being reduced by almost a knot thanks to the current so the miles are taking longer to cover. It’s tedious. Perhaps when the sun comes up there will be enough breeze to put the spinnaker up again. The fuel tank will certainly need topping up from the remaining cans on deck.

Being in between the shipping lanes is painless as long as we stick there. Overnight the current has also been pushing the boat to starboard so a careful eye has to be kept on where we are relative to the southbound lane. Course alterations to port were needed a couple of times when ships coming up from behind seemed to be on a line to run us down; on checking the iPad we’d strayed into their lane by over a mile.

A new form of entertainment is the ships’ names; One Stork, Jolly Diamanté and Mr Tigris are just quirky but imagine having to use Chembulk Minneapolis over the radio! Then in the night Velsheda came past, sadly not the beautiful J Class yacht but a rather prosaic 229m cargo ship.

As we’ve moved north the days have become noticeably shorter, it being wintertime. So although Temptress has crossed into the next time zone UTC+3 we have decided not to flog the clocks quite yet. If we did, suppertime will be far too early as we like to eat whilst there is still enough light to see what’s on the plate.

Before departing India the news was of destructive locust swarms in Somalia, Yemen and other parts of the region we were about to sail through. This morning on the daily patrol around the deck for flying fish and squid the first mate came across our first locust. It was duly photographed and chased off. It’s been probably 50 years since a boxful was ‘accidentally’ released during a biology lesson but they are instantly recognisable.

Mid morning after our chores were done we hoisted the asym. Temptress doesn’t have enough fuel to get us all the way to Djibouti. Motoring against a 1-2
knot for the past 24 hours has proved that. So by noon we were ghosting along at the dizzy speed of 3.2 knots including half a knot or so of current which is finally going our way! We are also not heading quite the right direction so in a few miles will have to bear away to avoid the east bound traffic.

At 3 knots the 440 nm to Djibouti will take over six days but that’s kind of fine as we don’t want to arrive before Sunday morning. Complexity are battling 2 knots of current against them in the same light winds and so presumably are Speck. Frustrating for all the crews but then none of us sail for speedy arrivals! On a positive note Temptress has covered almost half the distance between Cochin and Suez though it’ll probably be tomorrow when we actually achieve this milestone.

An afternoon of ghosting along has been quite pleasant if rather hot. The skipper topped up the fuel tank with all but our last 60l of diesel, it’s now three quarters full again. I completed sleeve number two in record time and managed to combine body and sleeves on one circular needle ready to commence work on the yoke. Two aubergines, most of a tin of tomatoes, a handful of olives and some Chinese Duck Liver Sausage combined to make an excellent pasta sauce. The beauty of Chinese sausage is that it’s dried, keeps seemingly forever and is quite flavoursome. It’s protein value is possibly nil but who cares.

Noonday Run: 121nm
Noon Distance to Suez: 1800 approx