Day 3 Sailing to Sri Lanka – sunset sailing through the Nicobar Islands


Thursday 25 February 2016

Sighting the Nicobars with perfect sailing conditions

Sighting the Nicobars with perfect sailing conditions

The winds throughout the day averaged 10-12 knots from behind, just perfect for the parasailor which flew happily all day long. With the light winds, our speed and resultant mileage is still on the low side but starting to improve with 133 nautical miles clocked for the day. Our thoughts are that we are in for a nine day passage – we’re now a quarter of a way into our trip by distance.

On pleasant days like these you can enjoy walking around the deck or sitting on the foredeck or doing some rigging checks to make sure everything is holding up. Much of the day was spent reading, sleeping and chatting.

Our planned route meant that we would sail between Little Nicobar Island and Great Nicobar Island. Sadly visitors are not welcome so we couldn’t stop – indeed there is even a story of a yacht having stones thrown at it when they tried to visit. Rumours abound that the islands are patrolled but we didn’t see a single thing – no fishing boats, no people with rocks. Our initial plans had us passing between the islands in daylight but with our slow speeds the sun was starting to set as we entered the passage. We had mulled over the logic of doing this in the dark but could think of no reason why not as the passage was certainly wide enough and deep enough. As it was the seas calmed, we had 12 knots of wind and enjoyed a beautiful sunset admiring what looked to be a deserted landscape. It was one of those sailing moments when life feels good, the sun was a deep orange as it set, the wind flickered on the water and the parasailor stood proudly as Adina sailed on. Absolute bliss. The forecast for the first part of the night looked good so we decided to keep the parasailor going.

And then paradise turned ugly as we headed out of the passage. The tide came ripping in and with 12-16 knots of wind against the tide it stirred up a very unpleasant sea. We were reduced to a crawl in a whipped up frothy sea with the parasailor up in the dark! So much for our belief we can cope with flying a spinnaker at night time in settled conditions (actually, we still stand by that). We hand-helmed Adina for an hour as we fought our way out and got into deeper water where we could finally enjoy our delayed dinner. Keeps you on your toes, keeps you wary.

Come midnight and with the tide again turning against a building wind, we decided it was time for the parasailor to come down. We always talk through our manoeuvres before we start, then with our bright foredeck light on and lifelines clipped to the deck we went forward. She came down easily and we dropped her through the foredeck hatch. With the wind directly behind us this meant it was time for wing-on-wing sailing – the big mainsail is pinned to the one side and the front genoa is pinned to the opposite side using a spinnaker pole. Some call it goose-winging, some call it the butterfly, we call it ugly; it means the boat will roll from side-to-side and no amount of people we have consulted can find a solution. Feeling confident from dropping the parasailor we opted to get the spinnaker pole up in the dark which meant more foredeck work. Of course this time lines got tangled and there was much moaning and grunting but we took our time, stayed clipped on, looked at what all the lines were doing, talked to each other, untangled them and got it all working.

The forecast for the coming day is for some lively winds; officially it’s saying two days of 20 knot winds but of course they are already up at 25 knots and we are settling in to the rolling motion of goose-winging with lumpy seas.

We won’t forget that beautiful sunset sailing through the steep lush Nicobar Islands, Adina relishing being on flat seas with wind sitting proud in her sails.

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3 responses to “Day 3 Sailing to Sri Lanka – sunset sailing through the Nicobar Islands

  1. Gareth says:

    I saw you went between the Nicobar Islands. They look completely uninhabited on google earth. Hope you are going to post your sunset (or should I say “Sundowner” photos when you reach wifi. Keep on truckin’.

  2. Tony & Jane says:

    Hello Susie And Tom
    Well there are choices. Our day was a coach trip from the New Forest to London, imperial war Museum. Leaving said London at 1630hrs is not the best of ideas . Whilst sitting in traffic for three hours fortyfive it was a pleasant interlude from a beautiful sunset heading southwest, intermingled with a never ending sight of tail lights in the distant M3, almost midge like and very pretty, to read your second email regarding the journey to Sri Lanka. It Puts it all in perspective really

    Safe journey

    Regards Tony &Jane

  3. Almost half way! Doing well!