Friday, 22nd January, 2016
Daily run: 136 logged miles
The interior of St Helena is surprisingly verdant. A tour in a 1929 Chevrolet charabanc with a 6-cylinder Bedford engine took 10 people (including the driver) around the island and to Napoleon’s tomb. Napoleon, of course, was buried in Paris when the French decided that Paris was a more appropriate place to honour their hero than St Helena, which was and is British. St Helena is getting an airport. Everybody is quite excited about it in the island and the old Chevrolet took us to the construction site where the runway looks almost complete. A great feat of construction engineering in a very rugged environment. The runway is just over 2 km long and will only be able to take certain airplanes, but it will propel St Helena into the 21st century as, today, you could compare the style and pace of living with that in England in the1950s and 1960s.
We had been given 3 days for stopping in St Helena without incurring extra charges. Just as we arrived some of the bigger boats were making ready to leave the following day. We were thinking that perhaps the shelves had been bared of any fresh vegetables, but Julia was able to provision adequately for our near 3-week crossing of the Atlantic to Salvador. We had drawn a very nice Great Circle Route on our Mercator chart, but the wind does not allow us to sail the course. The feeble SE winds we are having today allow us only to sail a north westerly roundabout route, which will put a few extra days on our crossing. Being the smallest boat in the fleet, we are likely to get to Salvador about a week after everybody else. We hoisted our parasailor this morning as the mainsail and foresail would not stand in the feeble winds and were flapping and banging about ignominiously in the swell. The parasailor barely stands and the forecast is for even less wind….