South Atlantic - Days 19/20

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Thu 31 Jan 2013 02:10
11:32 S 028:58 W  1424 miles covered
With about 600 miles left to go we have just passed a psychological milestone.  The chart plotter is now showing a coastline with crinkly bits and towns and cities, rather than just the outline of South America.  We are not quite smelling the land yet, but it feels like we are getting there.
We had a great day of sailing today.  The wind got up to 16 knots so we put up the old asymmetric spinnaker, which was written off by the sailmaker in Mauritius after it exploded in the Indian Ocean, but which was beautifully repaired by Quantum sails in South Africa.  We set the autohelm to the optimum wind angle and let the written-off rag pull us along at 9 or 10 knots for a few hours.  It made a change from plodding along dead downwind, which is what we have been doing for days now.  However pleasant the past few calm and sunny days have been, everyone’s spirits are lifted when there is a roar from the wake streaming out behind Anastasia. 
The only problem is that going too far in that direction will place us down south with the the rest of the fleet where they are saying there is no wind, so we have switched back to the Parasailor for the night.  If we keep heading west at this rate we will hit Brazil hundreds of miles north of Salvador before we turn and head south, but it is better to stay in the good wind than risk having to turn the engine on.  A dogleg will cost us miles, but we can handle a 45 degree bend and still break even time-wise, given the speed increase from the better wind angle.  Our course may look crazy but sticking in the wind zone does make sense.
I got an email from Herve today. “Hi Phil! Parcel is arrived and in Margaret's luggage!”.  The rudder bearings are on their way!