This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Half Way, and Storm Trysail
At about 9 PM I went topside and wondered how the autopilot had managed to steer with the wind at 5 kt and boat speed less than 1.5 kt. As I started to roll in the headsail to lie ahull the autopilot alarm warned me that it had finally given up. We lay ahull all night to a gently SW wind and I was pleased to see that we were drifting to the NE at about 1 knot. During the night I saw one tanker pass 3.5 miles across our bow and another ship 8 miles to the south. But this second ship was not putting out an AIS signal, to my annoyance.
My last night check was at 4.30 AM. All was still quiet so I shut down the radar and did not reset the timer. At 7 AM I woke to the feel of a choppy agitation by the boat. Wind! It was at over 10 kt from the W. Breakfast could wait. The boat was pointing S so I freed the wheel, spun it over, and wore ship to get the wind off the port beam. I rolled out headsail to get some way, engaged the autopilot, then rolled out the headsail to almost the second mark. After fiddling with the heading I engaged the Monitor and we were on a broad reach making 5 kt on course 040, roughly parallel to the coast. With the wind abaft of the mast I was not interested in raising the mainsail. With the chart plotter I verified something I had noticed the previous day: the divergence between heading and actual course was now less than 20 degrees, a great improvement of the 40-45 degree spread when passing the River Plate.
We had drifted to the north of Rio Grande over night. Florianopolis, a large town and a Port of Entry, lay 265 miles to the NNE. I planned to bypass it and proceed to Ilha Bella for my clearance into Brazil because access by boat and access by me to the various officials appeared to be much easier.
There was another ship, to cross our bow at 2.5 miles. There were 3 other radar targets, at 20 miles to the east and 3 and 10 miles to the SW. This stretch of water from MdP had been as busy a shipping area as I had seen anywhere else. Eventually I got AIS data from the more distant target. It was the "Widar", a cargo ship headed for Bejaia, Algeria. It disturbed me that I got his AIS signal when he was less than 10 miles away. This is partly my fault because my AIS antenna is mounted low, off the bimini; but I rely on commercial ships having their antennas much higher. Until recently I had not first spotted an AIS target at less than 25 miles away, and off the US West Coast I spotted one 128 miles away. Not long after that a second ship followed in its wake, the Fortune Wing bound for Savona, Italy on course 039T. I realized then that I was in the shipping lane between the River Plate area and the Mediterranean, and probably Europe. I would have to be vigilant for the next two nights because I would be trying to make almost the same course, but once I got clear of Florianopolis I expected to be out of that shipping lane as I followed the coast more to the west.
Heavy overcast was advancing from the south. Probably another low sweeping across. I should resume the practice of recording barometric pressures. Time for a second cup of coffee.
At 9.30 AM our position was 31S44, 050W13. In 24 hours we had made 59 miles, which was surprisingly good considering that we lay ahull most of the night. We were 523 miles from MdP and 545 miles from Ilha Bella. After 6 days at sea we were 10 miles short of being half way through the passage.
The wind was gentle until the early afternoon. The grib file was predicting strong winds through the night - 25 knots but I expected more, given my recent experiences - from W to SW. I didn't like the prospect of sailing almost beam on to a strong wind with just the headsail, but I definitely did not want to put up the mainsail. I decided to put up the storm trysail because as I've said before, it is easy to manage, forgiving, and tough enough to carry me through - well, a storm. I can't heave to with it but I didn't expect to heave to this night because I would not be beating to windward.
At 2 PM I began the preparations for the night. I set the scene by rolling in half of the headsail to cut down our speed and make sure that we were not overpowered when I hoisted the trysail. After that the first task was to lash the boom amidships to the bimini frame to make sure that it could not swing because I would be leaning and draping myself over it and could not rely on just the mainsheet jam cleat to hold the boom steady. The next step was to tie the mainsail to the boom with ribbon fasteners that I have for the purpose, then drop the lazy jacks and get them completely out of the way. After consulting my notes on putting up the trysail (That's right: sheets enter the lower side of the spinnaker blocks then around to the spinnaker winches.) I connected the halyard to the trysail, got it started on its track, then put the boat slightly into the wind for the hoist. By then the wind was up to 20 kt and conditions at the mast were becoming unpleasant. I won't go into the details but will say that generally I avoided most of the traps although I made a few minor mistakes. At 4.20 PM the job was done (after a 20-minute tea break) and the boat was sailing comfortably on a broad reach doing about 5 knots at 060T, a good course for getting us away from the coast. It reminded me of the run to the Horn but better, because I no longer had to worry myself silly about that slit in the backup headsail getting bigger, or whether that jury rig port lower shroud would hold up. I felt ready for the night but instead of "Bring It On" I was more inclined to say "You will be gentle, won't you?"
At 6 PM we were at 31S17, 049W42, making 5.2 kt on course 050T. The boat was moving well, the cabin was cosy, and I was enjoying the smell of the stew as I heated it in the pressure cooker. I would finish the film "Patton" tonight and expected to be up very frequently until dawn looking for ships.
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- Official Clearance into Angra
- At Enseada de Sitio Forte
- At Marina Bracui 22S57.010, 044W23.687
- Ilha de Paqueta (2S59.586, 044W24.465)
- At Ilha Da Gipoia, 23S03.809, 044W21.321
- Another Night at Enseada de Sitio Forte
- A Day at Praia de Proveta
- At Ilha Grande
- Departure for Angra
- Last Day at Ilha Bella
- More Preparations
- Mercury Outboard Running
- Trapped On Board
- Clearance Into Brazil Done
- First day at Ilha Bella
- Safe on Mooring
- Final Run to the Anchorge
- Fair Wind and Following Sea
- Quieter Night, Great Day, Reasonable Progress
- Another Tough Night with Good Progress
- Half Way, and Storm Trysail
- Rough Night, Good Progress
- Hard Night
- Tracking for Pachuca - by Stephen
- Variable Wind, Fighting Current
- Difficult Night but Good Progress
- Sailing Well
- On the Way
- One More Night
- Cleared to Go
- Clearance Blues
- Fridge Follies and Boat Ready
- Firm Departure Time
- Settled Marina Account
- Wine Supply
- Progress with Refrigerator
- Saved My Bacon
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