South Atlantic - Days 13-16

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sun 27 Jan 2013 02:38
12:46S 020:07W  882 miles covered
At 11 oclock this morning we will have been sailing for a week.  In normal conditions we should have covered about 1400 miles, with just 500 to go.  As it is, we are not yet half way there, with over 1000 miles left.  There is not much we can do about it, it is too far to motor even if we did want to burn up about a ton of diesel.  We will get there, it will just take a week longer than expected.  Andrea has agreed to not ask if we are nearly there until we have passed the half way mark.  She is already down to the dregs of our audiobooks and is studiously working on her South African crossword puzzle book.

At least we have lots of ice.  We will make a fresh batch tomorrow, ready to celebrate the half way point sometime in the evening.
Some boats don’t have the choice of drifting along on whatever wind there is, because they have people flying in to Salvador to meet them.  Margaret is flying in on 30th to join Herve on Ruby.  He has had the engine on for about five days solid to try and get there in time.  He should do it, just.  Margaret has kindly agreed to bring out some new bearings for our starboard rudder, which is making nasty clunking noises as it flops from side to side in its housing.  I am hoping the Catana factory can send them to her by express mail on Monday because she is flying out to Salvador on Wednesday.  If we manage to get them to Brazil OK then apparently a diver can replace the bearings without needing a haulout. 
We have tried various sail plans to squeeze some extra speed from Anastasia.  We tried with asymmmetric + mainsail, but the asymmetric needs too much tending to leave it alone for long.  It quietly wrapped itself around a forestay when noone was looking, so we decided it is not worth the hassle.  We also tried goosewinging the Parasailor and code0, much to Andrea's disgust.  (“It will end in tears”)  The code0 just kept collapsing and hooking round the radar dome, so not a great success.

The problem is that, with 9 knots of wind directly from behind, once you are moving forward at 4 knots then the apparent wind drops to 5 knots, so there is not much wind energy to work with.  As you increase boat speed you decrease the apparent wind so it would take about double the sail area to move Anastasia at 5 knots in the same wind.  It is just not possible.
Aside from looking for a route that has more wind (which hasn’t worked so far) our only other option is to sail at an angle to the wind so we do not lose a knot of wind for every knot of speed we gain.  We could try ducking down onto the top of the high pressure ridge, which would give us a better wind angle but is forecast at only 6 to 8 knots.  There is too much risk down there of losing the wind completely.  We will just keep plugging on our northward arc and hope for more wind.
On the plus side, the days are warm and sunny and the sea is calm, so very pleasant conditions for sailing, if not the most exciting.  Do we want to put more stress on a floppy rudder anyway?
We got a nice sunset this evening.