Misto - November 4-5 2018: ".... and here is the weather forecast"


How often have we heard the weather introduced on the TV or radio with ".... and here is the weather forecast"? We take it for granted that when on land it is easy to obtain up to the minute weather information. When at sea, where weather information is crucial, it's a bit different and there are various ways of obtaining weather information - either via the SSB radio or satellite communications with VHF and mobile phones only useful close inshore. In the Atlantic and Pacific we were very successful with the SSB radio but here in the Indian Ocean it has become increasingly difficult to get a good enough connection to download any files of significant size and so, with Martin's help, we have now connected the sat phone to the system and are using that as well. In addition to what we can access we also have a private weather router to help us with this technically difficult passage.

However even with the best available information the reality is proving different to the theory and we have had wind from all sorts of unexpected directions and at different wind strengths. Just last night our routing software indicated we should have been motoring in light winds from a northish direction, but instead we found ourselves sailing in 15-20 knots from the southeast. Seas have been lumpy and uncomfortable and although they have settled down somewhat tonight, we do expect the area south of Madagascar to be uncomfortable with large swells and waves up to 10'.

Last night we also encountered severe squalls - which were definitely forecasted! We spent about 4 hours in a huge thunderstorm cell surrounded by lightening, torrential rain and with wind on the nose. Evasive action was not really possible as it seemed to just close in around us over a period of about 15 minutes from a couple of small squall cells that we could have motored around. We tried to motor though it as quickly as possible, but it stuck with us for a long time.

It all just goes to show that nature is still King and sailors have to rely heavily on what they see and feel and not always on technology.

We have seen a lot of commercial shipping on our route. They are usually going north to Singapore or south to South Africa, and possibly beyond. I've seen several make small course changes to avoid the fleet, which is greatly appreciated. I suspect that they are surprised to see so many small vessels popping up on their radar and AIS in this part of the world.
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At 11/5/2018 10:55 AM (utc) our position was 24°05.60'S 049°36.05'E
Our course and speed are 233T at 7.5kts