Day 18: Unplanned short trip to Aden
Strong winds continued, Moya also today was flying over the waves. To reduce the wind pressure in our rigging, we pulled in our main sail and changed the sail configuration. We were hoisting the jib together with the poled out genoa and now were going in westsouthwesterly direction with two foresails and no main at all. Life on board was more comfortable now, Moya was almost moving at the same pace, but less rolling. Also with two set foresails our navigation capabilities are limited as it is just possible to go downwind.
Just after dusk, winds unexpectedly shifted to the SE. We briefly considered to change our sails again, but decided against the nightly work on the foredeck for the rough conditions. Instead we planned leaving the shipping lane and meeting her again later. The lane continues in WSW direction, but is turning to the NW not far from where we have been, thus moving directly to the west would be a shortcut with better wind angle at the same time. With the next gap in the line of cargo ships, we crossed and left the lane and switched our AIS transmitter off. Christian went for a nap and I set the timer for the nights watch. Outside of the lane I increased the time between the lookouts from 10 to 15 minutes, as I didn’t expect traffic.
The lack sleep over the last days must have been accumulating, as I must have been fallen asleep soon. My sleep was deep and sound and I didn’t hear the ringing of the timer. Usually, I’m waking Christian up at the end of my watch, but today I wasn’t. It was still dark, when I finally woke up. The timer was still ringing. I switched it off and went outside checking the sails and the traffic. All good, no light in sight. Looking on our GPS finally alerted me. It said course 303°, 4:31 am. I thought „That can’t be right!“ and tipped on our board computer waking it up from the standby mode. With a shock, I realised that it almost was dawn indeed and that I must have been asleep for most part of the night. Instead of sailing to the west, we have been sailing in northeasterly direction and now were located less than 10 miles from the coast of Yemen. Aden straight ahead. With shaking knees I went to wake up the captain.
Christian wasn’t sharing my shock. He had slept well and actually nothing happened really. „As we are here now, we could even go ahead visiting the town“. I’m not quite sure whether that’s the best idea, but he convinced me that we all needed a break and our empty vegi nets refilling. We are now lying at anchor in the port of Aden waiting for the officials. The land lies peacefully ahead.