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The Delivery Guy
John delivers new catamarans mostly from Cape Town, South Africa, to various destinations around the world - follow his next trip from London, United Kingdom to Fort Lauderdale, USA.
An Interesting Few Days
John
10/03/2009

Since my last post to the blog, we have had some "up's" and "down's" regarding the wind - unfortunately, more "down's" than "up's". For our Sunday to Monday noon to noon run we managed 160 nautical miles with the spinnaker up the entire time. We had a good wind, varying between 13 and 18 knots from the southeast. In contrast, we are under motor as I type this (Tuesday, March 10), with not a breath of wind out there and flat seas.

Due to there being no wind, we are all dying of the heat and humidity, both of which are high. However, what the exact temperature is, is anybody's guess as we do not have a thermometer on board. The interior fans are working overtime to try and create some form of air circulation to keep us cool.

At noon today we have 1077 nautical miles to Recife. Looking at the GRIB files we download each day, we are not going to have much wind for the next few days and a lot of motoring and motor-sailing is on the cards. At the rate we are having to use the motor, we are just going to arrive in Recife with enough fuel to motor into the harbour and to the Cabanga Yacht Club! Oh, are we all looking forward to our arrival there!

We have had our fishing line out since Friday with not one strike. I think it time to change the lure from a bright pink one to a more subdued colour as the local fish seem not to like the bright coloured variety.

Richard is our main cook on board and has the continuing ability to concoct brilliant meals - a lot of them cooked on the BBQ on the stern rail. This has an independent LPG cylinder, which is fortunate as we only have two smallish LPG cylinders for the galley stove, one of which has been empty for a few days now. We should still have enough gas for the remainder of the trip but can always turn to the BBQ cylinder if need be.

Today has also been a washing and fixing day. At the moment the boat looks like a Chinese Laundry with washing hanging on a temporary line in the cockpit and on the side railings. Kyle has repaired a badly installed pipe which injects water into the main water tanks from the watermaker and has also cut off the end of jammer for our roller-reefing line. This was so badly installed by the factory that if it was in the locked position, Kyle could not open his main hatch in his cabin. There are a number of other small problems on board that we will get stuck into once we arrive in Recife.

So, lets hope for some wind in the next few days - we desperately need a good breeze to help us along to our destination. If we do dot get wind, we will have to add a day or two onto our arrival time to compensate for our slow progress at the moment.

To all the readers we wish you well. Regards from Kyle, Richard and myself, John.

Past the Half Way Mark
John
06/03/2009

Yesterday evening, March 5, we passed the halfway mark on our trip to Recife. It was celebrated with a cold beer whilst we motor-sailed with only a light breeze from the southeast. Our guess is an arrival in Recife around March 18.

I do not think that we are now too far off the route I had planned prior to departing - maybe we need to be about 100 nautical miles north of where we are at present. However, I mentioned the light winds. Each day I download weather files to see what the wind patterns and strengths are and, generally, the winds are light at the moment in the entire region. But conditions should start improving as we head northwest and we are able to sail more than motor.

We still have a good stock of food although the tuna has drastically reduced in quantity. Both Richard and Kyle enjoy their Sashimi and I leave them to it - I prefer my tuna cooked through and not raw. Richard still continues to concoct incredible meals and I must admit that we are eating like kings. Today he will also be baking French bread although I must admit that they will have to be quite short baguettes as the oven on board "In The Wind" is not one you would find in any bakery - it is rather on the small side!

We have had a few birds around the boat over the past few days - Storm Petrels, I think they are called. Otherwise we have seen very little sea life for the past week other than our daily dose of hundreds of thousands of flying fish. Yesterday we put out our fishing line again but had no takers. It is out again today but with a flat sea the fish seem uninterested. We are entering Wahoo and Dorado fishing territory and hopefully we catch a nice Dorado. Tuna on the menu gets a bit much after a while!

Generally, there is not too much to report - nothing broken on the boat other than Kyle's brand new filter coffee machine. No ships seen for a number of days, most likely due to us being well away from any major shipping lanes. And our HF radio email is still not working so this report goes out via Iridium Satellite telephone.

This evening we have our third time zone change which means our third "double happy hour" for the trip - two beers per person instead of one. We will now be one hour behind UTC/GMT or, three hours behind South African Standard Time (SAST). We have one more time zone change before we reach Recife.

May the wind Gods be with you - they certainly are not with us at present - until the next blog report, regards from Kyle, Richard and myself, John.

Oh, For Some Wind!
John
03/03/2009

Over the weekend we made the decision to skip our stop at the island of St Helena. The reason for this is that we have been experiencing very light winds and, taking into consideration that we need to be in Recife before March 21, the calculators came out and we found the stop in St Helena would put us too far behind schedule.

So, we have plotted a new route, cutting out the final section to St Helena and "cutting the corner" to head more west than north - more of a direct course for Recife. Generally, such a route is not advisable as it takes a person too close to the South Atlantic high pressure system, where there is no wind. However, the high is way south at the moment and there are adverse winds to the northwest, meaning that our "cutting the corner" may be the correct thing to do - we have to see in the next week what happens.

Yesterday, Monday March 2, we crossed from the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere when, at 07:08 UTC/GMT, we crossed the 0 deg. meridian. We motored across as there is such a light breeze from the east-southeast that there is not enough wind to sail with. We are downloading weather files each day and the South Atlantic, in general, really looks dismal as far as wind is concerned. However, the indication are that we should get a slight increase in wind over the next 24 to 48 hours, which in turn should permit us to sail under spinnaker and save our diesel. Lets see what happens!

Life aboard at the moment is quite boring - sleep, stand watch, sleep, eat, stand watch - and so the cycle continues. Richard is a brilliant cook and is keeping us supplied with great meals. Basically, we fend for ourselves for breakfast and lunch and have a cooked meal for dinner. Yesterday evening we had some rump steaks out the freezer as Kyle said he wants "beef". It was cooked on the BBQ on the stern of the boat (we have no problem with the gas flame being blown out - there was no wind, remember). Our freezer still has a plentiful supply of Tuna and we have not put out a fishing line since the long-fin was caught. It also contains a large variety of other frozen meats, some of which we have not even sampled yet - South African Boerewors for dinner tonight.

Kyle has started to update his blog which can be found at: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/inthewind/ Bookmark the page for his insight into the trip.

And before I close off the blog, a funny thing happened last night. Due to the rain squalls, we all had our hatches closed except for Richard. In the small hours of the morning he had an unexpected visitor, in the form of a flying fish, fly right through his open hatch and give him a nice slimy awakening. Not the most pleasant of experiences as the little buggers really smell bad.

So, as we plod along with very little breeze and rain squalls all around us, I bid you well until the next blog report. Regards from all aboard, John.

Weekend Edition
John
27/02/2009

Welcome to the "Weekend Edition" of the blog. It is Friday February 27, but it could be Friday 13. Around midnight (boat time) I was on watch and we were bouncing and banging along quite happily with one reef in the main sail, when the boat de-powered noticeably. I checked the usual things then noticed that the main sail was billowing - yep, our reef line had chaffed through. So, Kyle got an early wake-up and we dropped the main and spent the remainder of the night motor-sailing. This morning we will try and retrieve the end of the reefing line, which has slipped into the boom, and tie off a new reefing line.

Last night I made a curry for dinner but, from the photo above, you will guess that it may just be fish on the menu tonight. I was busy yesterday afternoon making dinner when Kyle noticed the strike on our fishing line. He pulled in the great long-fin tuna where after Richard expertly filleted the beast. We now have enough tuna in the freezer to last us the entire remainder of the trip.

"In The Wind" is equipped with a chartplotter, radar, and AIS system. We have just crossed the Valdivia Banks, a large shallow undersea mountain which is roughly half-way between Cape Town and St Helena Island. About 36 nautical miles northeast of us we can see, on the AIS system, a medium sized but slow moving vessel. It is most likely a long-line fishing boat, working the undersea ridge. There are most likely a few more fishing vessels out there which do not have their AIS beacons switched on.

And now a few hours later. . . . We have retrieved the reef line out of the boom and re-tied it and have the main up again and are sailing along, not quite where we want to go, but still reducing the miles to our waypoint at St Helena. At noon today we had a noon run of 149 nautical miles but, unfortunately, not all of them towards our waypoint.

The weather prognosis we receive has, for the past few days, indicated that we are going to go through a large area of light variable and adverse winds ahead of us. It looks like a lot of motoring coming up! Even if we had to skip stopping at St Helena, we would still have to get north of the light winds to catch the easterly winds to take us to Brazil. Lets hope that the weather guru has the prediction wrong or the small high pressure system causing the light winds changes before we get there.

Right, enough for now. May you all have a good weekend - regards from Richard, Kyle and myself, John.

Oh, For Some Breeze!
John
26/02/2009

It is Thursday, February 26 and we are motor-sailing. The prognosis was that the South Atlantic high had ridged over towards the African continent and that our wind would drop and become variable over the next few days. Whoever the forecaster was, was absolutely spot on! Through last night the wind slowly dropped and we motor-sailed on and off but today it is even lighter, with a 10 knot true wind out of the southeast.

Yesterday was a day of errors - we managed to get our fishing line entangles in our starboard propeller, which resulted in some anxious moments untangling it. It was successfully removed although it has now been laid to rest in the garbage. We do have extra line and a new line and lure is now out off the port hull.

Then we had a problem with the hoisting of the spinnaker and the tack line, which is too long, was accidentally dropped in the water, went under the boat and also ended up in the starboard propeller. Fortunately, the engine was put in neutral in time and the line was retrieved with no damage to the either the propeller or line.

Oh, and before all our mishaps, Richard caught our first fish of the trip - a small Dorado that was so small it was returned to the sea to grow a bit before somebody catches it again and makes a good meal out of it. There is a photo of it but, due to limited bandwidth on our email, we will rather not publish it with this blog report - the embarrassment in its size also plays a part in this decision.

The distance from Cape Town to St Helena is 1699 nautical miles. At noon today our navigation instruments read exactly 1000 nautical miles to our first waypoint at St Helena. From that waypoint it is another 7 nautical miles to the anchorage in James Bay. This should, considering current wind and sea conditions, mean an arrival at the island during the afternoon of Thursday March 5. Lets see how we progress over the next week!

Our course from Cape Town is north-west and as we progress west, we change time zones every 15 degrees we progress. If we take the Greenwich Meridian as the centre of our time zone, we add 7.5 degrees to each side of it and that will give us our "time zone" of UTC/GMT. Later this afternoon we will pass the 7.5 degrees east meridian and thus, as we are heading west, have to subtract one hour from our onboard clocks. This means a "double happy hour", which will be celebrated with not our usual evening single beer but one followed with a second. Ah, life at sea can be complicated but also has it's occasional perks.

In a future report I will post some information on the island of St Helena, for those that are reading this blog for the first time.

And now, before I finish off this report, the map on the right side of the blog page indicates our position for each report I post. This is not done every day but if you want another map of our daily position, click on the "Shiptrak" link a little down in the right hand column of the blog page - I do a daily post of our position and this should be indicated on a large world map.

So folks, that's all for now - regards from Richard, Kyle and myself, John, until the next blog post in a couple of days.

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