The Passage From Heaven To The Passage From Hell

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Sun 15 Apr 2012 14:34

The Passage >From Heaven To The Passage From Hell


Position:  27:55S 047:32W

Date & Time :  15 April 2012 2215 (0115 UTC – 0215 BST)


After such a stunningly good passage from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, the laws of probability suggested that the laws of averages were going to catch up with us. And they have. This passage from Buenos Aires up the coast of Brazil has been the slowest, most frustrating I have ever experienced and, at 1100 miles, the third longest passage I have made, so the agony has gone on for ever.


By rights at this time of year we should have been enjoying balmy off-wind sailing all the way up, but for almost all of the time the wind has been absolutely slap bang on the nose. Given that we have a deadline to get Tom & Lawrence on their planes home (with sufficient time in port, I hope, to give me a hand with the heavy decommissioning jobs like getting all the sails down , flaked, bagged and stowed) slowly tacking our way up the coast – which would double the time and distance -was not an option. So we have had to either motor into the wind, or motor-sail just off the wind for most of the way. In the 92 hours since we left Rio Grande after our unscheduled stop there, we have had the motor running for a staggering 72 hours. The cost of the fuel aside, for someone who doesn’t like using his engine at all it has been hell on earth.


Last night took the biscuit. Lawrence, who was on watch at the time got a bit of a shock when, within literally one minute, the wind swung through 120 degrees and shot up from a benign 20 knots to a sail-tearing 55 knots. It was the cold front coming through from the depression that has been creeping up on us. Whilst the wind speed moderated again as quickly as it had sprung up, in its wake the cold front brought confused short boat-stopping seas, and wildly fluctuating wind speeds and wind directions. So for the next 12 hours it was a frustrating, continuous process of trim sails in; trim sails out; reefs in; reefs out, port 20°;starboard 30°; engine on; engine off. And all this in heavy drenching, muggy rain. We were also alarmingly close to spectacular and almost continuous thunder and lightning. It was loathsome and I was extremely far from gruntled. I think that part of the problem as far as I am concerned is that, psychologically, I finished the Great Adventure in Buenos Aires. So this is not a passage to another new cruising ground, it is a delivery trip to get Mina2 put to bed for the winter, and I now want to get it over and done with. The forecasts suggest good winds from behind us for the rest of the 170 miles, so I hope that the passage will at least end with some good sailing.


One of the few redeeming features of this whole passage is the terrific support and ever-cheerful company I’ve had from Tom & Lawrence (despite what earlier blogs might have suggested!).