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
Monday, July 9, 2012
Variable Wind, Fighting Current
Thirty minutes before dawn I was wake by the fretting mainsail. At the cockpit I saw that the wind had dropped to 10 kt and Jeff had simply lost his way. The battery bank was down to 12.0V so I started the engine and switched to autopilot to have another quiet hour until daylight. After daylight I decided that there was no point in motoring under sail almost due east when I could motor without sail NNE, the best direction for me, so I rolled in the headsail and motored more or less into the wind with the mainsail up.
Moving under engine in various directions confirmed what had been suspecting since reaching the mouth of the River Plate. I've been dealing with a strong current set to the SE. I was seeing differences in over 40 degrees between my heading and my actual course over the ground. This had been tolerable until now because I had been able to sail on a heading close to true north, giving me an actual course to the NE, but with a weak wind from the north I would have to either motor, making only 1.7 kt when I would have expected over 3 kt, or sail toward the east. Every sailor has his style. I'd rather be sailing at 3 knots toward the east rather than motoring at 1.7 kt to the NE.
I raised the mainsail fully and rolled out the jib to the first mark and found myself sailing peacefully at 3.3 kt at a surprisingly good 070T. The direction and speed were not ideal but I must admit that it was outstanding sailing. The boat was sailing itself gently under a clear, blue and sunny sky. At dawn I had been escorted briefly by a group of dolphins which had brightened my spirits.
The current is no mystery. I was aware from the current chart that there is a current coming down from the north and another current coming up from the south that meet in the MdP-River Plate area and then head out toward Africa. Another factor may be the outflow from the River Plate estuary.
At 9.30 AM we were 305 miles from Mar del Plata at 35S07, 052W22, off the continental shelf, and entering the latitudes of Uruguay. That meant that I had made a surprising 110 miles in the last 24 hours. Of more relevance was the distance to Ilha Bella and Sao Sebastiano in Brazil, where I plan to make my entry into the country. We were 775 miles from Ilha Bella.
To my surprise and pleasure the wind backed and strengthened during the afternoon, contrary to the grib file prediction. At 2.30 PM when the wind speed had started to touch 18 knots I reefed the main and rolled in headsail. This reduced our speed from over 6 kt to 5 kt but boat had less heel, had stopped pounding into the oncoming waves, and "felt" right. We were making a course of about 065T, not ideal but good enough under the circumstances. I was looking forward to the prediction of a backing wind to NW and W in the coming day.
During the reefing operation I went to the mast to have a good look around and noticed that the leeward shrouds were much too loose. During the brief stay in MdP of Max and Sandy in their boat Volo out of Sydney, Max told me that it was OK for the leeward shrouds to feel loose to the touch, but they should never be visibly slack and floppy. I'll definitely be tightening the rigging in Brazil, when the boat is quiet and I can made record everything that I do. Max warned me that it would take a year to settle the rig down.
The new North Sail was performing magnificently. I wish that I had had it when I left Australia. I have yet to have to fully roll it out.
At 5 PM the boat was sailing unbelievably smoothly doing 4.5 kt off a 15 kt wind. The wind had veered and we were making a dismal course of 085T, and I suspect that the tranquility was due to the boat meeting the waves less directly. Our position was 34S56, 051W46 and we were 110 miles off the coast of Uruguay and outside of the continental shelf. I was relaxed enough about our situation, the boat, its equipment, and my becoming re acquainted with managing it to enjoy a Sundowner of coffee liqueur. I would go into the night with 1 reef in the main, prepared to drop down to the 2nd reef in the unlikely event that the wind hit 24 knots. I had not seen a ship or fishing boat all day and was looking forward to a hassle free night.
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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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