Ahoy Dear Reader
Position: 2deg30S 038deg 19W, 74nm off the coast of Fortaleza, Brazil
Beginning of day 16. Is it already over two weeks? Time sure flies when you’re… well let’s just say passages over one week soon lose their novelty. Three days ago the most exciting thing was to gybe as we’d had the same winged configuration for the previous five days. We took our time to enjoy the moment. The second exciting thing was a 35kn squall on Wednesday night. As usual it happened on my watch at 0100 so I had to rouse the skipper from his deep sleep to help me reef the sails. After five minutes, we had reefed sails, a freshly rinsed deck, and the skipper returned below to complete his snooze. Still not sure if he was awake during the entire process… Yesterday though was an unusual flurry of activity aboard Blue Heeler. At 3degrees south of the equator and for the first time since leaving St Helena we had wind less than 10knots. In fact it was so light that with sails down and bare poles, Wayne jumped in to inspect the hull, after our collision with a UFO (unidentified floating object) about 1,000nm ago. Fortunately there is no visible damage so no need to haul out for repairs. Afterwards we decided to fly big spinny. Flying it in such light wind proved clumsy so we doused it and gave baby spinny a fly for a couple of hours This proved successful and our little blue/yellow kite propelled us along at the 8kn breeze. With a 1.5kn current we zipped along at 5.5knots! But of course never far away and looming on the horizon was a band of clouds approaching from the southeast. Quickly I made a lunch of egg cheese and tomato on freshly baked bread which we gobbled down just as the wind picked up to 13/14kn. Back on deck we dropped baby spinny and reverted to winged out sails. Within no time as the band of cloud moved over us and the wind blew up into the high teens. The weather is clammy and muggy and after all that running around we were hot and bothered. Very busy morning!
The equatorial current that runs west along the northern coast of Brazil is flowing around 1-2knots and with it we’ve managed to keep up a good average speed. I’m typing this at 2am and we are sailing along with 12kn of wind; the boat log displays 4.4kn but with a 2kn current, our SOG is 6.4kn. Sounds insignificant, but it all adds up – Two knots over 24 hours is 48nm, over 10 days that’s a lot of miles!
Although this journey is considerably bum-numbing, it is in no way mind-numbing. In addition to the steady flow of many humorous and interesting novels, my preoccupation with voyage stats and recording information keeps me quiet for a couple of hours each day which pleases the skipper no end. For the record we are now over 2065nm from St Helena, 3660nm from Cape Town, have three apples left, one chocolate bar (it’s mine!), 25 potatoes, 12 aniseed gobstoppers, and have caught zero fish. We have 1650nm to reach landfall (in around 12 days) and 3500nm to reach our ultimate destination New York. In around two days will cross the equator for the third time since leaving Australia in 2012. Leaving Cape Town on 11th February for a 7300nm journey to New York seemed like a mammoth task, but we are already over half way! Looking forward to some down time at a Caribbean island…