Just a step to the Left!
Or so the song was written but for us we took a little turn to the left on, of all dates, the thirteenth of March. Having a North North Easterly heading for the past few weeks was good particularly with the winds blowing from the West however it was a welcome change to start heading more in tune with our final destination for this voyage.
Interestingly we completed the journey up the East coast of South America on one tack apart for half of one day when we needed to Gibe.
So as expected as we reached the top of the Eastern corner of South America the winds shifted to the East North East meaning we changed to a Starboard tack and there we have remained for the past six days and look like staying on this tack until we reach Antigua.
Actually I must admit we did drop all sails and start the motor as we were approached by a small Brazilian fishing vessel. This tiny little boat of about thirty feet was fully crewed up with about a dozen men long poling for Tuna. The kindly offered us some fresh fish in return for some Alcohol. We are a dry boat however Peter came up trumps when he came to the deck with a small bottle of Polish beer. Peter was saving it for us to share as we crossed the equator but the thought of very fresh fish meant we parted with the beer. The captain of the fishing boat was ecstatic and laughed out loudly as he turned his little fishing boat away and on to the horizon.
Some time later in fact the next day there was a heck of a jolt and the boat heaved to one side. We were all a little startled however it was Simon who alerted us to the fact that we had just passed over the equator. No beer to celebrate but we thanked King Neptune and asked for his continued guidance.
The fresh fish was very welcome but as one would expect no matter as soon as we received this fish our fishing lines started to dance. Over the days we caught on average one fish a day so this has been very very welcome. Out food supply is still good and of course with our water maker we are quite well fed and comfortable.
The sailing since the corner has been fantastic. Most days the winds are blowing at around fifteen knot however in this region you must be very careful of rain squalls. Thankfully you can see them coming but by golly when you see one on the horizon it@@apos@@s time to reef and reef fast. Mostly the winds in these squalls are relatively mild reaching twenty five to thirty five knot however every so often on will come through and hit us with 45 knot winds. It keeps the crew on their toes particularly at night however over the past few nights the squalls are becoming less.
Shipping has been very quite with usually one or two ships going past during the night. Often we see fishing boats lit up around us. Mostly I believe they may be built of timber for rarely do they set off the Active Echo System and never do we see them on Radar. But it is nice to know there are others among us out here.
At present we are just North East of the Amazons about 275 nm off shore. The conditions today are again perfect with sixteen to eighteen knot of wind. We are sailing rather conservatively with our full solent out and one reef in the main. At night I like to roll in the solent and un-furl the Stay Sail. This combined with a second reef in the main provides us with enough security should an unexpected squall hit us. Besides over the past weeks reducing to this sail plan has only meant a very small reduction in speed of about one to one and a half Knot.
The wild life are out and about now with many birds, flying fish making spectacular landings on our decks and of course lots of dolphins. A few days ago we attracted a pod of dolphins that we all estimated to be in the vicinity of several hundreds. Standing at the bow looking out to the horizon the sea was awash with dolphins. A spectacular sight with often eight to ten vying for position under our bow.
Our yacht is performing well with no breakages apart from one rudder stock showing some signs of wear however it does not concern me greatly.
We now have one thousand one hunded nautical miles till Antigua so I am expecting that we will arrive on the date I predicted some weeks ago. The twenty fourth of this month. More luck than good management I should say.
My next report will be from Antigua and I guess this will be completed whilst I enjoy a cold beer and a juicy steak.