The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sun 4 Mar 2018 09:17



10:52S 21:53W


So far we've done 1,000 miles with 800 miles to go to Jacaré, Brazil. We did 115 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 10% cloud cover and 8-12 knot ESE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 4 to 5 knots with a 1 metre swell. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


3 March 2018   St Helena to Brazil (Day 8)

We woke to another beautiful day with a nice steady breeze, but the wind had veered about 15 degrees overnight forcing us six miles north of our rhumb line. After breakfast, we gybed the main over to starboard and then poled the genoa over to port.  We’ve been running wing-on-wing, more or less downwind since we left St Helena 7 days ago, it’s amazing sailing.


There’s not a lot to see out here apart from sun, sea and sky.  We had one Gannet circle us for 30 minutes yesterday and we disturb the occasional shoal of flying fish who glide off with their blue wings glinting in the sun.  The sea is a deep, deep blue and has now reached 25°C – a huge change from the 9°C we had along the coast of South Africa.  I spy with my little eye something beginning with “S”.


During the morning, we passed the halfway mark to Jacaré – it’s also the halfway point between Cape Town and Barbados.  I still can’t believe that we’ll be back in the West Indies in a couple of months’ time.  We had a piece of fruit cake to celebrate.


The wind backed during the morning, so after lunch, we had to gybe back onto port – that’s two sail changes in 24 hours, a very busy day.


This afternoon, I noticed a two metre swell rolling in from the north.  It has a period of 12 seconds, with 50 metres between each wave, so it has no effect on us at all.  We simply get lifted up and lowered down by 2 metres, which reveals the horizon and then hides it as the swell approaches us.  The motion of the boat is affected more by the one metre waves created by the wind, which are catching us from behind and rolling us around.


Glenys used up the last of the Dorado for dinner, making Pan-fried Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas - it would have been perfect with a pint of Sam Smiths Bitter.


I’ve been having an SSB radio schedule with “Jomara”, who left at the same time as us; and “Sabir” who left two days before us.  The propagation has been terrible, but I managed to get their positions this evening and we’ve gained 120 miles on both of them. They said that they’ve been motoring for a few hours today, so I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep sailing, albeit at only 4-5 knots.


We’ve just passed full moon, so I had to wait for an hour before the moon came up over the horizon, but once out, we had another beautiful moonlit sail.