The South Atlantic
24 February 2009
We departed Cape Town at 13:00 on Saturday after having problems with our navigation electronics. Somebody had reset our auto pilot and it kept on giving incorrect readings so we were delayed whilst Rolly Brown did his thing and re-commissioned the instruments. Thanks Rolly, you did an excellent set-up for us.
Our first night out was basically into a very light northwest breeze, with a rolling swell that was uncomfortable. However, nobody was seasick and we spent the night occasionally motor-sailing or beating under full sail. In the early hours of the morning we had a heavy rain squall, followed immediately by a change in the wind direction to south, slowly edging to southeast as the morning progressed. The pattern followed the prognosis we had received before departing Cape Town and by Monday midday we had a rising wind, that kept on rising throughout the day. We kept on reducing sail until during Sunday night we had 35 knots from the south-southeast and only a tiny piece of genoa out. And we were sometimes hitting 10 knots surfing down the waves! Today (Monday), things have calmed considerably but then the wind has also dropped to under 12 knots true. It is amazing that either it blows too hard or too softly - nothing in-between!
Richard is a fine cook and prepared a great meal of pasta with marinated chicken and sautéed vegetables for Sunday dinner. This was just what we needed as none of us were really comfortable enough to try any big solid meal. However, by Sunday morning everybody had fully gained their sea-legs and we had lamb cutlets with vegetables on the menu for our evening meal.
We are unable to make a connection for email with the HF radio on the boat - for some reason the special modem does not want to talk to the remote station in Durban properly and I am trying to get some assistance to check our setup of the system from Cape Town. In the mean time we are sending and receiving once a day via the Iridium satellite telephone, which is quite fast but does cost quite a bit for the airtime.
Last night we set our clocks back an hour as we had already passes our first time zone change. During this delivery we will have four time zone changes in total as Recife is four hours behind Cape Town or two hours behind UTC/GMT. We celebrated the occasion with one small drink each - a Windhoek Draft beer!
Our first full day at sea we had a noon to noon run of 256 nautical miles logged. Not bad considering the rough conditions! Today the sea has calmed considerably and we only managed a noon to noon run of 140 nautical miles.
If the sea state settles a bit more by tomorrow, I will rig a fishing line in the morning and see if we can get ourselves a nice tuna for dinner tomorrow. We are in tuna territory at the moment so our chances should be quite good - watch this space for an update. And talking of fish, today we have had our first flying fish darting away from the boat. They are quite far south for this time of the year so the water temperature must be quite warm for them to be around.
So folks, that's all from aboard "In The Wind" for now - greetings from Kyle, Richard and myself, John.