The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sun 25 Feb 2018 08:04



15:22S 07:29W


So far we've done 105 miles with 1,685 miles to go to Jacaré, Brazil. We did 105 miles in the last 21 hours.  We have 10% cloud cover and 8-14 knot SSE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 6 knots with a 1 metre swell. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


24 February 2018   St Helena to Brazil (Day 1)

After a lazy start to the morning, we pottered about getting the boat ready for the 1,800 mile trip to Brazil.  While I still had the dinghy in the water, I attached the Hydrovane rudder and untied the mooring lines, looping them through the mooring ring for easy release.  After lashing the dinghy on deck, we dropped our mooring at 10:30.


St Helena is a large, high island and severely disrupts the prevailing SE winds, so we had a frustrating time for the first 4 hours, with the wind veering around all over place.  We motored for an hour and then tried to sail, but after gybing a few times, we gave up and motored-sailed until 14:00.  By this time, the wind had settled down to ESE 6-12 knots and we were able to sail wing-on-wing with the genoa poled out to port, albeit only at 3 to 5 knots.


As soon as we’d left the mooring, I put out two fishing lines, hoping to catch something while we were close to land.  A Brown Booby took an interest in our lures and dived down to catch one.  Unfortunately, it managed to get the hook through its wing.   I reeled in the squawking bird and lifted it on to the aft deck.


The Booby was not happy, snapping with its vicious 3 inch long beak at the lure and at me as I tried to get close.  After several attempts , I managed to drape a towel over its head and pin it down so that I could extract the hook from its wing.  I lobbed the bird overboard and it seemed to be okay, floating for a minute and then flying off towards land.


The light winds continued throughout the afternoon and into the night - at times we’d manage 5.5 knots, but at other times we’d be down to 3 knots.  I suspect that this is going to be a long slow trip. If we’re lucky we might be able to average 5 knots, which would mean 15 days at sea – an average of 4 knots will be 19 days.


For once, we seem to be starting a passage at a good phase of the moon.  We had just over half a moon tonight, with a full moon in 6 days’ time, so we should have moonlight on most nights.  Tonight was lovely, with 50% cloud cover.  A one point on my 7-10 watch, I heard the blow of dolphins and could just see them, jumping out of the moon-dappled water at the side of the boat.