Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 7 Nov 2009 21:55
Position: 12 58.36 S 038 30.92 W
Alongside Sudesb Marina, Salvador, Brazil
Weather: Sunny, warm
Day's Run: 120 miles

We have made it to Brazil, and without using the GPS. This is actually a first for me, I have never made a landfall using celestial navigation before, technology overtook me, Last night I was very tempted to turn the GPS on but I told myself there was no reason not to have confidence in my sights, and I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I sailed for 28 days, about 2,700 miles using nothing but the sun and the stars and then use GPS for the last day just to be sure. I knew we were getting set south by the Brazil current and ended up further offshore than I initially intended, my morning stars put me to the east of Salvador and for most of the night and this morning we were running square, wing on wing. It was very gratifying to see the high rises of Salvador appear over the horizon off the starboard bow, I will admit not exactly where I expected them to be ( lacking a log and not having swung the compass in years didn't help my navigational accuracy) but close enough. We enjoyed a very nice sail in the freshening sea breeze into the bay, sailing right up to the marina before dropping sail and starting the motor after four weeks of silence, I should note that I had taken the precaution of completing engine checks including running it for a short while earlier this morning.

The marina is a Mediterranean moor type set up, definitely not my favorite, especially when single handing, but we are secure and didn't hit anything - there are a lot of small mini ocean racers all through the marina, most of them have their mast lashed on deck wrapped up in bubble wrap overhanging their bows by many feet and adding to the precariousness of the whole set up us I try to thread 11 tons of steel, wood, spars, rigging, stores, books and all the other stuff that is old Sylph in between them. Presumably they are preparing for a big race her very soon, I have already been asked for the loan of a drill - wrong voltage I am afraid.

One of the first things I do when I get alongside or to anchor is to put the cover on the mainsail. UV is what kills sails and I need the mainsail to last as long as possible. Unfortunately I think as of today we have now come the point where we have actually hit that long last possible moment. As I was stretching the sail along the boom the leach tore in my hands with virtually no force at all. Damn!

The came one of the biggest run arounds I have had in quite a while. I eventually found the Port Captains office, following the instruction on that most useful of cruising websites, Jimmy Cornell's "noonsite". Eventually the officer here made me understand that first I had to go to the Federal Police to complete immigration first, he actually ahd to ring someone who spoke English to translate for me. A long, tiring and completely fruitless hike ensued. I went to many places, including a building which and Federal Police written in big bold letters on it. By this stage I was feeling a little exhausted and not terribly happy with my first day back on land. People were all very nice just very few spoke English which is my problem not theirs. It is rather amazing how we will carry on talking and saying the same thing over and over knowing full well the other person hasn't got a clue what we are saying. Eventually having visited the necessary sites to clear in I have established that everything can wait until Monday.

No money, no beer, no credit cards, no mainsail, no potatoes, one onion left, and I am an illegal alien if I wander ashore. And I am a little tired.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Now skipper no problems, let me give you a piece of advice from a sage old feline, at tines like this just kick back and . . . Zzzzzzz.