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Surfing across the Indian Ocean

Surfing across the Indian Ocean
08 October 2012

Big seas! The view over the side of Anastasia yesterdayThe fleet are having a fast but bumpy ride across the Indian Ocean on Leg 11 of the World ARC rally, with several boats now just passing the half way mark.

It was a great start to the 2,350 mile crossing – one of the longest legs on the circumnavigation - from Cocos Keeling Islands to Mauritius, with boats flying downwind coloured sails for the whole of the first day and into the night. Jonathan and Heather Howard onboard their Hallberg Rassy 42E Matilda reported conditions quickly becoming tougher as they went into their first night however, forcing them to revert to white sails, calling it ‘frustrating’. The skies have since cleared a little though, and they are currently describing the trip – at the moment – as ‘Champagne Sailing’!

This leg of the rally is known for being one of the most challenging in terms of weather and sea state, and the boats were expecting some difficult conditions for the crossing. Lew Wallner onboard their family boat Brizo reported ‘we have been enjoying a fast passage but suffering an uncomfortable ride..’ Phil May on Anastasia reported their Catana 52 catamaran to be handling the waves well: ‘Every so often Anastasia decides to have a surf down a wave, which is quite like being on the log flume ride at Alton Towers!’

With over a week still left to go at sea for a lot of the boats, several crews are reflecting on the tranquillity and beauty of the Cocos Keeling Islands, which they left behind last Tuesday. The islands are often described by World ARC participants as one of their favourite destinations on the whole circuit, with stunning electric blue waters and friendly locals. ‘The beaches and tropical vegetation were the exact image most people have in their mind as to what the perfect tropical island should look like’ said the crew onboard Brizo yesterday. ‘We had a great time snorkelling and having beach-front barbecues’.

Despite bumpy seas and squalls blowing to 40 knots back in the Indian Ocean, the crews are generally fairing well however, with the strong conditions blowing everyone along quickly and the front boats easily clocking 200+mile days. The first World ARC boats expect to arrive in Mauritius at the weekend, with most of the fleet likely to be in by mid-next week.  

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