FROM THE LOG #67

From Thailand to the Maldives
Making speed records

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Flying fish
(Click on any photo or map for a blow up)

The journey from Phuket in Thailand to Uligan in the Maldives was a mixed bag. We had almost all kinds of weather, except rain! This time we would have loved some rain as we didn't have a chance to top up the water tanks since Christmas Eve. A whole month without any rain is pretty unusual in the tropics.

We took the route through Sombrero Passage north of Great Nicobar and thus avoided all the heavy traffic coming north through the Malacca strait and then turning west south of the Nicobars. We only saw 2 cargo ships during the first week.

The first days were calm and we motored for 72 hours. On the fifth day, sailing in very light winds, we recorded our shortest 24 hour distance ever: 107nm. Only a week later, reaching south of Sri Lanka, we clocked our best distance in a day, ever: 168 nm. For several hours, in only 22 kn of wind and with two reefs in the main and the genoa rolled in 10 turns, our average speed was around 9,5kn thanks to a favorable current, and we measured a record top speed of 10.7kn on a close reach. Thats the fastest I remember, except when surfing down waves on a run, when we have recorded much higher speeds.

Cruising is pump repairs
Replacing a reef line
Mission accomplished
Cruising is a lot about repairs and maintenance, and about pumps in particular (we have 23 on board). You may remember, that our departure from Phuket was delayed by (among other issues) a broken down bilge pump. Now, the deck wash pump cracked and started to leak water into the bilge (fortunately the bilge pump had been replaced). Having repaired the deck wash pump (which we use on passages for sea water showers on the deck) I had to replace a reef line which hade chafed through in the constantly rolling conditions. I wont bother you with the rest of my repairs, but the to-do-list was one A4-long when we arrived in the Maldives.
After passing Sri Lanka we finally got steadier and stronger winds, and typically more than we had bargained for. It is impossible to get a photo which correctly indicates the height of the waves, but maybe these pics give you an idea. Look at our faithful owl looking nervously over his shoulder (below right).

We anchored at Uligan island in the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, almost exactly 12 days after we left Phuket. The distance was roughly 1,550nm (as the bird flies when flying strait) so, in spite of having recorded both our slowest and fastest daily distance ever, our average speed was - as always on a longer passage - 5.3kn.

View the photos of this report as a (manual) slide show HERE.

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