after days and weeks at sea on long passages. Well, on Papy Jovial, we
never have time to get bored as there is always something going on to
The day before last, evening, just after dinner. It's pitch dark with no
moon, we are on broad reaching with more than 25 knots of wind and the
boat is going at more than 7.5 knots. This is the end of my watch. Then,
the dreaded sound of something crashing on deck. What is that ?
Well, that is the genoa that just fell on deck after the halyard broke
at the block on top of the mast. And very soon, it is all of it in the
water, dragging along, fortunately still secured to the boat by the tack
point. And the boat, under reefed down main is still going at 6 knots or
Fortunately, I had replaced the spare halyard that I did not like, with
a brand new one, which is in place. So, it took us half an hour of
frantic efforts, but without stopping the boat, we had the genoa back up
and running. It had been a little physical and I was almost out of
breath, but happy. I rewarded myself and Olivier with a shot of rum from
Next morning, still on my watch, we lost the wind. And this for almost
two and a half hour. We had to go motoring, since we have an appointment
with the Agulhas current. Fortunately, the wind came back, strong, and
we could resume sailing toward the south african coast.
We had been lazy trade winds passengers, leaving the steering of the
boat to Firmin, and having little change to make to the sails until we
hit that counter current on the east coast of Madagascar. Since then, we
are a lot more alert to the currents and we zigzag across the Mozambique
channel to try and minimize the effect of those "ebbies".
We are now around 10 hours from entering the famous, or infamous Agulhas
current which can be hell or heaven, depending on which direction the
wind is blowing. Obviously, we are trying to make it heaven and it looks
like we are going to be successful. So much so that if we get lucky, we
might be able to push on and make Port Elizabeth before the dreaded
South Westerly wind shows up which is forecast for Sunday morning 3 o'clock.
No matter how eager we are to make Port Elizabeth, we will play safe
anyway, as this is not the kind of circumstances where you want to take
We shall know very soon.