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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dec. 21, 2010-A Good Sail Today

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Judy steers with the big sails up

You go,
you go out,
out to sea,
out to the blue sea,
out to the ocean.

You go out for
the sailing,
the fix,
the sailing fix,
the fix you need.

Out there on
the flat horizon,
the blue flat horizon,
where the wind blows,
where the sailing is good,
real good.

You put up the sails,
the big sails,
the really big sails.
and sheet them in,
sheet them in hard,
really hard.

You go up on the wind,
get right on the wind,
get really right onto the wind,
and then you’re sailing. Really sailing.

We sailed to Port Louis from Black River on Tuesday after a week anchored in that beautiful inlet on the SW side of Mauritius.

It was good to get out in the breeze and sheet the sails in hard. The power which comes on when the wind is up and the sails are in and we head up into the wind…that’s what gives me the sailing fix I’m talking about. It’s a great feeling and I need it once in a while.

The wind strength and angle surprised us though. The previous day a Beneteau 49 headed out and we watched as they found a light easterly outside the reef and took a good angle on starboard tack right up the coast.

We set sail today and when we got out the pass we found a northerly wind blowing instead of an easterly which meant a beat but we hoisted the big genoa and enjoyed the good sailing conditions for a while as we started upwind laying long tacks in the ocean towards Port Louis.

The wind was building and the genoa soon proved to be too much and we dropped it and while it was down we decided to put in a reef in the main. Sometimes you know what is going to feel right and what isn’t. Something told us that the small jib and a reef was going to be a better combination and it was.

We also set the baby stay due to the increasing chop.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Sailing Past Mauritius

Then for the next four hours, with everything ship shape and set for the conditions, we had a great sail in twenty knots of wind at 6.6kts boat speed and 40 degrees to the wind with sun, strong breeze, lots of spray flying and not too much pounding; it was true blue water sailing at its best. But it was tiring and after 18 miles and we were glad to crack off at the entrance to Port Louis and reach into the harbor.

By 16:00 we were tied up to the quay in La Caudan and ready for a cool drink and a shower.

But we’ll be ready for another sailing fix in a week or so.

Click here for more sailing shots.

Click here for photos of the fishing contest at Black River

Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in December 2010

Fred and Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dec 20, 2010-Merry Christmas

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Merry Christmas

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dec. 15, 2010-Riviere Noire

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Mountians of Mauritius

In the evening the wind comes offshore and our vessel swings toward the land to face the breeze.

Mount Tamarin and the hills of Black River Gorge rise over the small collection of houses known as Riviere Noire (Black River) where Wings is anchored. Beyond these lies the central plateau of Mauritius. These high land forms spawn the offshore breeze and the air which spills down from them each night is cooling and smells of earth.

Behind us a low surf can be heard on the outer reef and we know that local fishermen, including Rashid, who by day is our taxi driver from Port Louis and our friend, are out on the darkness tonight and most other nights unless the seas are up and in the morning they will each bring in a catch amounting to a dozen or so kilos of tuna and reef fish which they will sell to supplement the money they make from their day jobs.

We wonder where Rashid, whose family were shipped here from the Indian sub-continent by the British to work the sugar fields and were workers or farmers but certainly not fishermen, got his affinity for the sea. In Mauritius it is usually the African Creole men not Indians who we see going to sea in the small boats each evening or working the charter boats in Black River or Grand Bay. But Rashid’s work ethic does not surprise us: we saw that of the Indians in Fiji too and in Asia. And here, like in Fiji, the Indian population has swelled and they now dominate the electoral results. Unlike Fiji there have been no coups by indigenous people envious of the Indians'success, perhaps because there are no indigenous people here; everyone here has roots elsewhere.

We sailed from Port Louis to Riviere Noire on Tuesday to explore this new area. It was another lazy day of sailing as the fresh NE wind from behind carried us at six knots with only a mainsail and we didn’t care to set any other sails. We watched the island of Mauritius with its dark mountains and bright green sugar fields pass to port and had white wine with our lunch to toast its beauty.

As we neared Riviere Noire the wind shifted to the West: the geography here which results in an offshore breeze at night also provides a reliable onshore wind during the day. We sheeted in and reached toward the pass and then rode the breeze through the pass and into the bay where we anchored among the local charter boats and a few sailing yachts and admired the mountains. The views are nice.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Angler's Club, Riviere Noire

Since then we have been ashore a couple of times and found the Angler’s Club where a cold beer can be had for $1.00 and where in the afternoon the returning charter boats offer entertainment for free. We walked to the supermarket but it was closed on Wednesday afternoon. We met a family living on a small catamaran here who operate a business from their boat designing and marketing kites for kite surfing, which is big in this area, but their market is primarily in the US.

So we are finding Riviere Noire to be an interesting and peaceful place to hang out.

We’ll sail back to Port Louis in another week or so but in the meantime we are enjoying it here.

Click here to see some more shots of the trip to Riviere Noire

Click here for more pictures of the Angler's Club at Riviere Noire

Click here for photos of the fishing contest at Riviere Noire

Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in December 2010

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Riviere Noire, Mauritius

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