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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.
Friday 13
John
13/03/2009

It has been hot and humid the past few days so, with flat calm seas and with no wind we have killed the engine and let the boat come to a stop. Over the side goes Kyle and Richard for their swim in the 4000 metre (13123 foot) deep swimming pool - the South Atlantic Ocean. Picture above.

Yes, today is Friday 13 but we do not feel it to be an unlucky day. Later today, all indications are that we should start picking up some breeze from the east-southeast which should develop over the next 24 hours. Already, as I type this blog report during my midnight to 3am watch, we have a dark cloud bank developing on the horizon to the northeast of us and our true wind speed has risen from 1 to 2 knots from everywhere to 4 to 5 knots from the east-southeast. Lets hope that the number 13 is a lucky one for us!

There has been some maintenance going on whilst we have had the flat calm seas. Kyle serviced both of our engines yesterday and we repaired the faulty fuel gauges which now show that the tanks hold just over a quarter of diesel. That fuel, together with the 60 odd litres in plastic drums is not sufficient to permit us to motor all the way to Recife. However, it will get us back into the wind belt over the next 48 hours and let us do some sailing for a change. At 2am (local time) this morning we only have 777 nautical miles to Recife - another lucky number. However, we will be doing a few more miles than that as we are slowly tracking further north to pick up the prevailing winds. It is still going to be a slow next few days!

Over the past few days we have had some shipping pass near us - near us means that we cannot actually see the ship but it is visible on radar and on the AIS system. Yesterday we had a tanker sailing from Nigeria en-route to Argentina pass about 10 miles away and it was just visible as a pin prick on the horizon.

Yesterday afternoon I also made up a second fishing line with a different lure in shape, colour and the way it is trailed behind the boat. Lets see if this day also brings us some fresh fish.

What today does bring is us crossing the 22 degree 30 minute west longitude meridian, which means that this evening at 6pm local time we put our clocks back one hour after crossing our fourth and last time zone for the trip. The significance or this (for us on board) is that this evening we have a double happy hour and thus two beers each instead of the normal one. This will go down extremely well with all on board due to the high heat and humidity we are experiencing.

Well, that's about all from aboard "In The Wind" at the moment - lets hope that her name plays out to be true later today and in the next few days. Regards from all aboard, John.

Under Motor
John
11/03/2009

Well, today is Wednesday, March 11, and we have been under motor for the last 48 hours and, looking at our weather predictions, will be under motor for at least another 48 hours. There is just no wind! We have under 4 knots of wind at the moment from the east, not enough to even make our sails flap, never mind fill them and get some drive out of them. As mentioned in a previous blog report, it makes no difference if we were 200 nm north of our position - there is even just as much wind there!

Today we are going to inspect our fuel tanks and assess our fuel situation. We "think" we have sufficient fuel to get us to Recife but you will notice the "think" above. This is because we know our fuel gauges are not working properly and our calculations are based on engine hours and not what we actually have in the tanks. We do still have a couple of plastic drums of spare fuel but need to know actual tank fuel remaining.

Fishing is still a "no takers" affair. We continue to trail our line and lure but even the fish seem to be taking things a bit slow - must be the heat or the fact that, due to the dead calm sea, they can see the lure perfectly and are laughing at us as they know it ain't real. Whatever, we will get one soon, I hope.

We were all full of ourselves the other day with predicting our date of arrival in Recife. It is a bit of fun doing so when you have little else to do. However, we will have to reassess our arrival date, never mind the time, in line with the wind situation and add a day or so onto the length of our trip. At noon today we have 955 nautical miles to go but our speed there with the weather conditions we have is anybody's guess.

Well, as you mot probably realise, there is not much going on aboard "In The Wind" and boredom is the word.

Until the next blog report, regards to all from Kyle, Richard and myself, John.

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.

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