Decisions, decisions

Pearl of Persia
Andrew Lock
Sat 22 Feb 2014 20:17
Three days out and we've been making good progress although it has taken a
little while to get used to the new motion of beating into the swell, the up
and down with the occasional slam as the bow hits into a wave, rather than
the side to side roll. We're four up for this leg, Oliver is back and
another friend Andrew, so watches are easier, especially at night. Well,
they would be easier if we were on a lonely ocean passage, but now we are
coastal sailing, with fishing boats everywhere. At one time last night we
counted 20 dotted around, twinkling white lights everywhere, so we had to
continually adjust our course to avoid them.
The boat is showing evidence of the many miles we have covered. The head
sail sheets (lines) have gradually worn and chaffed, so out came the new,
shiny ones which we had to swap out underway, and then more seriously,
yesterday morning I noticed one of the seams in the head sail had split.
About 2 feet long. With over 2000 miles to go we have to find a solution.
The head sail is our most important driving force, without it we would just
be limping along, and at any time the seam could open up completely and the
whole sail split in two. I briefly considered returning to Salvador, and
then moving close to the shore and finding a protected area where we could
anchor and attempt a repair, but the Brazilian coastline can be dangerous. A
lonely boat in a remote area could invite trouble. Finally we have decided
to make for some islands 200 miles off shore from the North East shoulder of
Brazil shown on our charts as the 'Ilha de Fernando de Noronha' .....the
Fernando Islands. It's part of Brazil, but a million miles from the dangers
of the mainland. It's shown as a protected marine area so we hope to anchor,
pull down the sail and if possible make a sufficiently strong repair to get
us to Grenada. It will be hard work.