We are almost up to the latitude of Rio de Janeiro, which will be a good milestone. After we get there, we’ll have to go through a series of areas where there may be quite a few oil rigs. We have them marked out in a broad region on the chart, so will have to be on high alert for about 75 miles or so, south to north.
Making pretty good time, today, with the genoa and full mainsail. It’s a beautiful sailing day, which we had last night also, all the way up until we didn’t. In the early evening the breeze dropped right down to zero. We had only had 5 or 7 knots of wind anyway, but it was out of the east and was supposed to be out of the northeast. Suddenly, we had southwest winds, 2 – 3 knots, very bizarre. The boat went in circles for 3 hours, and it was very frustrating.
We had to turn off the autopilot, and just as the sun was just about to go down, there were two clouds nearby, that just had torrential rain showers coming out of them. It looked like two huge shower heads in the sky. Not knowing if there was wind in them, and because one of them was taking a bead on us, I put in a reef. Of course, almost immediately thereafter, the shower part of it stopped, and the cloud went away. It’s such a big job, 285 grinds on the pedestal winch in the lowest gear, to then re-hoist from reef one to the full mainsail, but caution is always better.
Finally, after 4 hours of circles, the breeze started to come in from proper direction, and we got 5 knots of wind. When you have zero, 5 is quite a lot. You can sail on that, going in the right direction. It was very frustrating, to have that happen, in the middle of the GRIB files that were just showing consistent winds. So we learn. It was near an area where the wind was supposed to be changing direction and perhaps that’s a lesson: that you don’t want to ever be anywhere near curving isobars.
Today was a good day and we made a lot of progress. Alan Roura is up about 150 miles ahead, to the east some. There are two boats behind, they are closing in, 350 miles back. Fabrice and Arnaud have pulled away, to the north. We’re getting there, bit by bit. Getting past Rio will be a good job, a good milestone. Then, it will be on to Salvador, that will be the next milestone, then Recife will be next. Then, the equator!