Leaving for Brazil

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Thu 3 Dec 2009 11:48
As we watched our family of friends go on Monday and Tuesday it was all quite emotional, people we have grown to know very well heading off on their big adventure and we were going to really miss them. There is a big tradition of hoots, fog horns, whistles, cheering, shouting and waving as each boat leaves.
As we prepared to leave the water pump on the fridge packed up, so I had to flush the system, change the anodes and jury rig a new pump to stay on all the time - not good for power consumption, but we have a lot of food in the freezer, so Suzanne wants to keep it really cold. Then even after a bottom clean by two divers in Mindelo the speed log wasn't working so a quick clean for that and then we find one of the 2 winches I didn't service is not working, it won't lock - had one look and greased it, but needs a bit more sorting.
We left at 0900z on Wed and sailed out under genoa only, into the channel between Sao Vicente and Sao Antao and into the acceleration zone, making 10kts in 30kts downwind. Jean the Mini Transat guy says he lost 100M in his race, he came through the islands to get the wind acceleration and then turned south too soon and picked up the wind shadow from the 3,000m high mountains on the islands. His advice is that the wind shadow may extend up to 100M, so we had a waypoint at 50M west and had a fast run out. Have look at Havanita in Group 2 as he left about 4 hours behind the first boats to see if he made up ground.
At that point you could see the sea had changed and the wind began to ease at the end of the zone, so we came round onto a reach to head south, gradually powering up on port tack around 180 to stay 50M west of the next islands in the archipelago 120M south of us. The winds are steady, around 20kts and we are making 9kts heading for the equator and Jimmy Cornell's waypoint of 6N 25W for the ITCZ Doldrums crossing. We seem to have over 1kt of current against us, which was confirmed by our friends Andy & Sue on Spruce as we overtook them in the channel on their way to Barbados.
Suzie Too is the Group 3 Radio Net Controller, but at 1830z I could raise no one on the radio, only Tim on the Oyster Mina 2, so I think we are much further west and need to see if my westing has given us an advantage when the first position logs come in on Thu morning, cos I can't see the web on the Iridium, the bandwidth is too low.
Once again our 50kg wire trace has been bitten though and it's a sad  day, cos we lost Sid the plastic squid, he's been so good to us and caught a lot of fish. We have a couple of his mates left, but may end up using the dead flying fish from the deck. Spruce has been using our fishing technique and they caugh a Dorade which they had for dinner last night.
Lisa did her first solo watch last night 2000z - 0000z and did a great job, very vigilant and confident, so Suzanne and I can now get more rest, possibly 8 hours sleep per day. We even had a full moon last night, after so many pitch black nights at sea it was nice to sail in the moonlight.
Best wishes
Suzie Too and Crew