Day 37-43

Carlile Adventures
Mark Carlile
Mon 13 Nov 2006 21:47
Strange things have happened all week. The weather has been unusual and I got naked.

Last week I talked about the notorious Doldrums. I feared that I would be stuck there amongst the calms bringing on madness. I thought it would be a fight to get through the 300mile stretch.

I was the only one who turned up for the fight. I had two hours of calm all week. My progress has been over 600 miles and I am through the doldrum zone. It has been area of great anticipation to go through an unusual part of the world.

This is what happened. I had light northerly winds for the first 120 miles. The clouds were building all the time and at night I could see lightning just on the horizon. Then I had a squall and the two hours of calm. Then I had south east winds - from the South Atlantic. South East winds is what I should get for the next 3 weeks as I proceed down the South Atlantic.

It was later that I had heavy rain. I eagerly dropped my pants. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I really needed a wash. The baby wipes I have used until now just isn't the same as feeling fresh rain dripping all over me. I lathered up quickly. I didn't want the rain to stop and for me to be stuck with dry soap glued to unwelcome parts. Washing my hair has never felt so good. This was the first time I have washed my hair in 40 days. Afterwards I was in very high spirits.

It hasn't been all good weather though. Once in the South Atlantic winds, I have had squall after squall after squall during the last 48 hours. The rain at times has been torrential. In one way this been good as my progress has been fast. On the other hand it means quite a lot of sail adjustment at all times of the day. Because squalls come with a lot of wind quickly, it means getting quickly on to the winches. It isn't that pleasant doing this when rain is coming horizontally. Last night I was woken by a squall. I had to act quickly. By the time I was done, I was soaked from head to toe. I shouldn't have worried about lathering up so quickly. I have been washed now numerous times. The temperatures have been about 28 degrees. The cloud cover has kept the temperatures down.

When I hit 6 degrees north, the crafty winds shifted south and I was delayed by 12 hours as I couldn't seem to make any better than due east or due west in the squalls. I woke early this morning to find I was heading North!

After sunrise today, the winds came back to the south east, and the skies cleared to bring out settled conditions again and steady sailing. My arms have been screaming for a rest. I have now passed the doldrums zone and the sailing should get better each day now as I push forward to the equator. I see I have quite a number of emails to reply to. Hopefully, I will get a chance to do that during the next week as things settle.

Favourable winds are on the western side of the South Atlantic. I will be closer to Brazil then Africa for the next few weeks.

I have seen plenty of dolphins as well this week.

There has been a couple of problems appear on the boat One of the lower guard rail pins had worked loose and I found the guard rail trailing in the water. I found a spare pin and was able to wire it securely again. The other problem has been power. Over the last couple of weeks, the batteries have slowly been draining whilst I was in the calms using the electric autopilot. The batteries have been recharging well now there is wind. I felt at the time that the 5 solar panels should have been doing a better job than that. The regulator for the panels is fairly difficult to get to - behind all of the food in the aft cabin. Yesterday I pulled out all the food. I discovered that only 3 of the panels have been working. The 2 main ones are not producing any power through the regulator. I suspect a loose wire somewhere as they are on the same circuit. When the weather is appropriate I will inspect the solar panel wiring. In the meantime the food is everywhere in the main cabin.

I should pass the equator in the next few days and that will be the main topic of my next blog.

It's been an eventful week.

That's a very good evening from Ingrid midway between Africa and South America


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