The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 30 Mar 2018 14:38



01:51N 44.33W


So far we've done 805 miles with 540 miles to go to French Guyana. We did 120 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 90% cloud cover and 12-18 knot north-east winds.  We’re close-hauled sailing at 5-6 knots with ½ knot current against us and 1 metre seas.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


29 March 2018   Brazil to French Guyana (Day 6)

Just after dawn we passed the halfway point with 670 miles to go.  The morning was a little more pleasant than yesterday with lighter 10-15 knot winds and slightly calmer seas - we had no current at all, so perhaps yesterday’s steeper seas were caused by a wind against current effect.  The wind had backed by 15° putting us very hard on the wind, but this wasn’t a problem in the milder conditions.  We even ran the watermaker for an hour.


Yesterday, I had problem with the satellite phone again – it took 6 minutes to get a weather forecast despite having 4-5 bars signal strength.  Today, I only wanted to publish my “at sea” blog, so I didn’t bother to connect to our email.  Tomorrow, I’ll wait until midday to see if the time of day is affecting the data connection.


Just before lunch, I’d powered up the sail plan by adding the staysail because we were being stopped by steep waves again.  When Glenys arose from her morning nap, she was a bit grumpy with the bouncy motion and being heeled over at 20 degrees.  She went below to make pan-fried fish sandwiches and had a sense of humour failure when a particularly large roll of the boat slid the cooked fish into the galley sink.  The air was blue with expletives.  I quickly rolled away the staysail and depowered the main before she turned her frustration onto me.


We had ½ to 1 knot of current against us all afternoon, which was irritating – if we’d stayed closer to shore, following the 500m contour, then I think that we’d have had 1-2 knots of favourable current.  However, we’re now sailing hard on the wind and if we were closer to shore, we might have been struggling to sail out of the shallows – I think I’d rather have the 50 miles extra sea room and take a bit longer.


Overnight, the skies were overcast with some large cloud systems, but we only had one light shower and a couple of short episodes where the wind picked up to 20 knots and then died on us for 10 minutes before returning to the normal 12-18 knots.  Despite having to beat upwind, it wasn’t too bad.