Break On Through to the Other Side -

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 26 Oct 2009 14:21
Position: 05 51.7 N 027 26.2 W
Course: Southwest; 3 knots
Wind: South sou' east, gentle breeze
Weather: Overcast, warm
Day's Run: 68 miles

We're through! Hooray! Only trouble is on this side of the doldrums is . guess what? .. headwinds.

We had our last rain squall go through yesterday afternoon, it was a windy one so I had to put a reef in the mainsail and partially furl the headsail. While putting the reef in I glanced up to the head of the jib and noticed a torn seam towards the top. "Oh bother," I thought to myself. We furled the headsail completely and waited for the squall to pass. One thing about these thunder cells going over is that once the rain starts belting down the wind stops and it stays relatively calm for about 20 minutes after the rain has stopped. As the rain eased I took the opportunity to drop the lightweight jib and put the heavy weight jib back up. It was a good thing I did so because a short while later the wind kicked in fresh from the south and had us closed hauled, sheets tight hard on the wind with a reef in the main and the jib furled to about 70%. And it was to stay that way for much of the night. Towards dawn the wind started to ease so after sunrise I shook the reef out of the main and set the full jib. I looked around, the lightening sky greeted me, small puffy cotton balls of fair weather cumulus dotted the sky, some feathery wisps of cirrus up on high and a little alto-stratus in between; not a thunderhead anywhere to be seen. I think even my pessimist will concede that barring any really sneaky stuff from the ITCZ we can safely say the doldrums are behind us.

Fortunately the wind has backed a little, for much of the night we were not making anything better than due west which is not the way we need to go if we are going to get to the east coast of Brazil anytime before Christmas. So while we sailed 68 miles in the last 24 hours we have actually only made good 21 miles due south. We are now making good a course of southwest and hopefully as we get further south the winds will back a little further and our ETA Brazil will be closer to this side of Christmas.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Look at me, all this heat, hard tack and sailing stuff, I am as thin as a reef point! Feel mostly good though for a 19 year old cat. The key to my longevity, you guessed it . . . Zzzzzzz.