Equator on Port Tack 09.00.000N 025.05.000W

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Sat 5 Dec 2009 08:52
Our strategy of heading west seems to have given us better winds air than the majority of boats that turned south after the islands, but we had 1.5kts of current against us so although we had higher boat speeds I'm not sure if it has made that much difference.
Today I got an email from Francios "le professeur" to say they were heading west to 6N 26N as they think the ITCZ will be narrower there - and guess where we are heading on our more westerly route. Many boats seem to have sailed east because the wind backed for them, so I think our extra westing will be in our favour, although one boat, Auhema, passed us yesterday and looked like he was sailing the rhumb line to Brazil, a shorter route, but he may get headed by the winds off the coast and have to tack the last 500M.
We are now 500M north of the equator and 1/4 of the way to Brazil and all is going well. Lisa has been great, no sea sickness, has been very good on her watches, can drive the Raymarine, the Radar and AIS and has prepared and cooked the evening meals. It makes a real difference for Suzanne & I as we both get proper rest and sleep.
We may hit the ITCZ at around 4N, but will get some more forecasts to assess where to cross, because it is typically 200M - 400M wide and we will need to motor. Havanita told me last time he went through on the Minitransat (so called because they race 6.5m plywood epoxy boats) he expected to die, big squalls and terrifying electrical storms that hit the sea very close to him. The wind goes from 0kts to 50kts in just a few seconds in the squalls. This area is where the Tropical Waves start at the eastern edge of the ITCZ generated by the heat of Africa that then move west soaking up huge amounts of heat energy and water to become hurricanes heading for the Caribbean during the summer.
Dear old Suzie Too is just the best boat ever, just tracks like she is on rails shouldering the big waves aside as she makes her way south eating up the miles, giving us a safe and comfortable ride. We have 15kts of wind, are making 8kts and have barely 5 degrees of heel and the autopilot has only 2 degrees of rudder, she is so well balanced under all full white sails, main with preventer, yankee and stay sail.
Overnight we have the fastest average speed at 8.0kts ahead of African Seawing and Jomay (who blew there spinnaker out yesterday - that's at least 4) and achieved the second furthest distance in 24 hours 201M behind Harmonie - that's good sailing to average such high speeds, now heading out on deck to launch Big Blue and push on south
Best Regards
David, Suzanne & Lisa
Moody 49 "Suzie Too"
Iridium: 00881 631 570 846
David Mobile: 0044 (0) 7770 525 060
Suzanne Mobile: 0044 (0) 7770 742333
Web Blog: www.mailasail.com - Click "Diary" Click "Suzie Too"