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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Trade Winds

22nd November, the day of the last post, saw no winds. We were becalmed and I took the opportunity to take bath. It was only then that I realised that my skin was not dark because of tan but because of grime. Lynn says, the boat would move faster only if I washed off the weight of grime everyday. Somehow, there is a correlation - each time I have had a shower at sea, the boat has come out of its sluggish sloshing and gathered speed with a determination. No wonder sailors are a superstitious lot. Thank you, Lynn.

The Mhadei and I found the trade winds that very noon and almost two hours later, we were scudding alone at a healthy speed of 8 knots upwind despite the reef on the main. As usual, the onset was announced by gathering clouds. That day our southward plunge started and we were on our way to the Tropic of Capricorn and from there to the eastbound highway. We have been eating away latitudes ever since hitting the trades and as I write this, I am almost in the same latitude, albeit south of the Equator, as Mumbai.

The nights have been cloudless though and stars have come out in strength. Ever since the passing of Dewali, the moon has been waxing and nights have become lit with so much moonlight that I wished it was night all day long.

Things have been going on pretty well with the boat but for the generator which was continuously dogged by low oil pressure warning. I spent considerable time trying to find out the reason and it was certain that the lube oil was not the cause for we had only recently serviced the generator. Nevertheless, I checked the lube oil level which was well within limits. After much deliberation, I remembered the words of the mechanic from Laurenco Marine who had mentioned that lube oil could lose its viscosity if it became too hot and pressure might drop. That forced me to check the cooling system and sure enough, there lay the fault! After that, it was just a matter of minutes before the problem was resolved. Its working well now, as if we are not sailing at all but it was a Sunday in harbour.

Here is a short video of sailing in trade winds
Enter video caption here
Next up- Tropic of Capricorn


  1. will take few min to wash off the grim coating the gem within good going....keep it up take care

  2. So it seems the moral of the story is that every time things go flat you shower? If this is the case, we hope that you go round the world with the minimum showers - just make sure that you have a precautionary one before re-entering Mumbai :)

    1. I need flats too! Its good time to recuperate. Thanks for the wishes though!

  3. Amazing pic... as if clouds have gathered curiously to see you brave man!

  4. Bravo Zulu .. U engineer ..

    U deserve a BTECH Degree now..

    Take mine :)

    Keep going buddy ...

    1. Ha! Keep yours. My university doesn't give out degrees.

  5. It is sure fantastic that alls well and sincerely hope that u learn from your university, albeit these small learnings. Keep smiling as always

  6. Amazing -The Life of Tomy! Battle Speed!

    1. :) I would want to watch the Life of Pi when I get back for sure!

  7. One winter morn,our Adonis sailed
    On Gateway shore,we stood,prayed

    Soon,the Mhadei,a spec became
    Our sailor stood on the cusp of fame

    On Konkan,Goan,Malabar coast
    Sailors raised a silent toast

    Past Comorin,Serendip the Mhadei sailed
    Our Son of Neptune,towards Equator hailed

    Trades helped the eastward run
    Calm oceans made the ride full of fun

    Terra Australis,here comes the Indian son
    Cape Leeuwin,guide our lad eastward more

    The Roaring Forties mute your roar
    Dont trouble the Mhadei,protect her more

    Mighty Pacific,sleep well in peace
    Our sailor then,can sail in peace

    Cape Horn,Americas stay away from our boat
    In Atlantics bosom guide our hero

    Cape Aghulas,guide him Capricorn way
    Then Equator,back to welcome Bombay

    In April month,we await our sailor
    With Order of Magellan,our honor

    Dr Padmanabhan
    Mumbai India

    1. Here you are! and I was wondering where you were Dr. This is wonderful!

  8. In addition to your obvious talents with sheets and rudders, you have a gift for the pen too! Keep up the good work. Hopefully this will result in a book someday.

  9. I know this might sound silly to you. But I'd like to know how you have a bath while sailing solo? I mean do you swim in the sea or do you draw water from the sea and pour it on you while in the boat or on the deck? etc... I think what is bothering me is what if the boat sails away while you are swimming?