Notes on The Route
16 April 2009 | Salvador, Brazil
Leaving Punta del Este, Uruguay, the forecasts I had indicated five days of light winds. I needed to get a ways offshore to get away from fishing boat traffic and a part of the coast with few suitable harbors in case of easterly gales.
The Brazil current sets strongly southwards along the coast, and a long way offshore. There is a countercurrent going north very close to shore. With the light winds forecast, I doubted I could make much way against the Brazil current offshore, so kept close enough to land to use the countercurrent to get to about where Florianapolis is (point #6). I don't like being close to a coast, in case a storm comes up, and because there tends to be more traffic to deal with, but keeping relatively close to the coast also gave me an option to enter a port in Brazil and refuel if there was no wind and I motored a lot (in total, I motored about 100 miles, and fuel was not a problem).
When I got to near Florianapolis (point #6), the forecast was for light NE winds, going N along the coast to Rio de Janeiro. I figured the normal current and countercurrent were likely to be less than normal due to the winds having been not from the typical direction over the last few days (a gale in Rio de la Plata had affected the winds at this latitude).
If I stayed along the coast, using the countercurrent, I figured that the countercurrent would not be very strong, and the wind would be totally against me. Also, there is a military exercise area along that coast, and an offshore oil field off the corner (off Cabo Frio, near point #13).
Between Cabo Frio and the offshore oil field is a relatively shallow area full of fishing boats. Staying farther offshore would allow me to avoid a lot of traffic, and didn't seem like it would be significantly slower at this point to go against the Brazil current instead of with the countercurrent. I was alone for this trip, so the concerns about traffic I had would probably not be as great if I was not singlehanding.
Around point #11, the wind became more and more favorable, and around point #14, I was starting to get into the SE Trade Winds, which are really favorable for going north.