The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Fri 9 Mar 2018 10:57



10:52S 21:53W


So far we've done 1,620 miles with 190 miles to go to Jacaré, Brazil. We did 130 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have 10% cloud cover and 8-12 knot ESE winds.  We’re sailing wing-on-wing doing 5 knots with a 1 metre swell. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


8 March 2018   St Helena to Brazil (Day 13)

The 10-15 knot winds continued into the morning allowing us to sail at 5-6 knots.  At 07:00, we had 315 miles to go, so despite the slow conditions yesterday, we gained a bit of ground last night and we still have a chance of making port on the evening of Saturday 10th – our target remains at a frustrating 5.3 knots average.

The wind had veered overnight to finally put us on a broad reach, which is perfect for our asymmetrical spinnaker.  We dragged the beast out of the front cabin and it took me a couple of goes to get it up because the spinnaker was twisted in the sleeve.  Once we had the spinnaker inflated, our speed increased to a comfortable 6.5 to 7 knots.

It was Glenys’s birthday today, but it was sort of postponed until we get to Brazil.  However, we did have a piece of cake in the afternoon and Glenys had a glass of wine with her dinner.


I put out two fishing lures and, in the afternoon, the rod suddenly started screaming.  I was in bed, but Glenys briefly saw a huge silver fish leap in to the air.  It flailed away, landed in the water, the rod screamed again for a second and then it went quiet.  I hauled in the line to find that the 60 lb wire trace had been broken.  I guess it was a swordfish or a marlin, too big for us, but I lost a good lure.


The wind veered a little and dropped in the afternoon, but the spinnaker kept us going along at 5 to 6 knots.  The only problem was that, as the wind came more behind us, the mainsail was blanketing the spinnaker and making it collapse every five minutes, which was irritating.


After my afternoon nap, I read an article on using an asymmetrical spinnaker and decided that I needed to pole the tack of the sail out to windward. My timing was unfortunate because Glenys was making dinner and when she popped her head up to say it was ready, I was still messing about on the foredeck.  She was a bit annoyed and then got even more annoyed when I accidentally tripped the spinnaker and then had to spend 15 minutes stowing it away, while dinner was going cold.  I lost lots of Brownie points.


Although it’s been sunny, our solar panels are not quite keeping up with our energy usage.  We’re using the autopilot all the time and my laptop is constantly on because we use it as our main chart plotter.  However,  I think that it’s the hotter climate that is tipping us over the edge.  The sea water is now 27.5°C, which means that the water cooling on our fridges is not as efficient, so the compressors are running for longer.


Also the air temperature is much hotter, so we’re constantly running fans to keep cool down below.  There’s not enough wind to generate power from our wind generator, so I’m having to run the engine or the generator for an hour each evening, which is irritating in such idyllic sailing conditions.


It was another beautiful night with 8-15 knots of wind.  We were back to having the sails set wing-on-wing again and were pottering along doing 4.5 to 5.5 knots.