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Sailing to Windward
Mon Mar 8 6:30:00 EST 2010

I've been beating (sailing) dead to windward for three days now (this means sailing a zig-zag course against the wind, covering a much greater distance than you would if the wind was with you) in Force 4-6. While it enjoyable for the first few hours, after a couple of days it's about as exciting as watching paint dry (but less comfortable). The more wind, the bouncier the ride, the more waves across the deck, the more humid it gets below with all the ports closed.

When one of the frequent squalls (temporary high winds) hit and changed the wind so it was no longer coming right from where I wanted to go, it was great! Even if the favorable wind direction was only for many hours, it was great while I had it. I am sailing in the strong breezes that are north of the area where the gale I'd mentioned avoiding was.

Last night, just after midnight, another squall, a Force 8 one this time, changed the wind direction back to straight ahead. You can't get much rest when there are squalls about, as every time one hits you have to either reduce sail, or be ready to, so you pretty much need to be on deck or in the doghouse (shelter where the door to the cabin is on this boat). After the wind changed to no longer be favorable, I set the boat to fore-reach (sail very slowly) with a triple-reefed mainsail and the storm jib, and slept until the squalls stopped. While fore-reaching, the boat went away from the destination by several miles, but it was worth it, as it is much easier to deal with sailhandling when rested and when the wind is more constant.

Thu Mar 11 18:44:13 EST 2010 | George Ray
That new doghouse you built sure seems to be the "Bee's Knees"...
Thu Mar 11 18:44:22 EST 2010 | George Ray
That new doghouse you built sure seems to be the "Bee's Knees"...
Fri Mar 12 3:39:42 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
The doghouse is great. The picture was taken from outside the doghouse, with the camera in a ziploc baggie (hence the blurred image). The doghouse windows were well enough covered by the spray that I couldn't take the picture from inside.
Sat Mar 6 19:30:00 EST 2010

The weather system with the rain stayed with me another day, then I slowly moved north of it and saw the occasional bit of sun.

I considered stopping in Abrolhos, but it looked like the coming gale was going to be centered around there, and if I got north fast enough, I would just get strong winds instead of the gale. The latest forecast I have indicates there is now a low over Abrolhos, and it is developing to a gale. I'm pushing to get north, doing a lot of sail changes as it is quite squally (sudden bursts of strong winds) now.

Thu Mar 11 5:52:53 EST 2010 | George Ray
From what I can tell of the Wx, you are going hard to windward ...... how's it going?
How Sunny it Was
Thu Mar 4 9:30:00 EST 2010

This is how sunny it was many days ago. I'm still in the weather system that has much rain. I thought I'd be out of it today, but it seems to be expanding...I'm on the fringes of it now, so it only rains 30% of the time. It's warm, tropical rain, so not unpleasant to be outside in.

I'm not sure how visible it is from the map on the right, but I'm on the Abrolhos Bank now, an area of shallow water including the Arquipelago dos Abrolos. My original plan was to stay far enough east to be in deep water passing this area. A disadvantage of being in the shallow water near the coast is that there are far more fishing boats to avoid. A few days ago, the forecast for March 7 indicated a north gale coming. Forecasts that far away are not accurate, but I decided I wanted to be in a position to go somewhere for shelter if there was a gale on March 7. So I headed closer to shore, where there are a few places one can seek shelter from north winds. As of yesterday's forecast, it looks like it will be a strong breeze (not a gale) from the NW and N on March 8, so I may just keep sailing.

Thu Mar 4 13:31:49 EST 2010 | yann
abrolhos is the best place of Brazil for diving and snorkelling (after Fernando de Norona), if you are still close to these islands, stop and you will enjoy the place
some people live there to protect the park and are very kind
and open your eyes (abrolhos means abra os olhos = open your eyes), many shallow waters
Clearing Skies
Wed Mar 3 8:30:00 EST 2010

It's been a few days since I've seen the sun. Persistent overcast skies and rain with gusty winds have been the conditions the last few days. Towards sunset yesterday, breaks in the clouds started to appear. The weather forecast indicates that I'm in a Q-STNR. I'm not sure what a Q-STNR is, other than some stationary system with a lot of rain (I think O-STNR would be an occluded stationary front).

I've had basically favorable winds for the last several days, which has been great. Wind speeds and, to a lesser extent, direction have changed often while in this weather system. The first night in this system the winds were varying back and forth between Force 4 and 8, making for a lot of sail changes. The winds have lightened and continue to lighten, and are expected to become calm soon.

For the northbound passage that I am doing, the start is expected to be the most difficult part, when winds are variable (but usually against you) and the current is always against you, and there are few places available to sit out gales (which are also more common south). The farther north, the more consistent the winds get, as one gets into the trade winds. That said, of course, it all depends on the weather you actually get, not on what can be considered likely. So far, it's been easier the farther north I've gotten.

Thu Mar 4 7:00:48 EST 2010 | george Ray
Looks like your north of the sea mounts and and the most busy of the oil fields and just off shore of the continental shelf and well on your way to the getting into the trades.
Mon Mar 1 15:30:00 EST 2010

I'm away from the continental shelf, in 3000 metres of water, have seen very few birds (which live on fish) and hadn't expected there to be any fish. But I saw a couple of fish jump yesterday, so put out the fishing line. A few hours later this bluefish (I think it is a bluefish, despite the color) offered itself up for dinner.

Thu Mar 4 13:25:13 EST 2010 | Yann
hello Richard
such a nice dolphin fish! some reach 1.8 meters, but it would be much more than you can haul on the boat
Pleasant sailing
Sun Feb 28 9:30:00 EST 2010

Sailing to windward in a pleasant breeze a hundred miles offshore. Ship just visible to the left.

Sun Feb 28 18:47:26 EST 2010 | george Ray
As you head north and pass Cabo Frio it seems you are in the reputedly ' more difficult ' part of the passage north along the Brazilian coast. I look forward to your comments on the weather-wind conditions you encounter to try and understand what to expect in about 6 weeks when we sail the same route.
Best Wishes, Fair Winds ....
Mon Mar 1 15:14:57 EST 2010 | Yann
have a nice trip, my friend, and don't try to swim near cabo frio, es muy frio


Sunrise at sea
Sat Feb 27 9:30:00 EST 2010

Weather continues to be beautiful here, though the favorable wind I've had the last few days is slowing down and is forecast to be a headwind soon. It has been nice while it lasted, and a very welcome change from the weather at the start of the trip. Sorry to hear the weather in New York is not as pleasant.

Tue Mar 23 21:51:52 EDT 2010 | Mickey Perkins
I congratulate you on your adventurous spirit and courage. Thank you for keeping this b(log). What is your ultimate destination and where are you from? I also am wondering if you are sailing single handed as I wonder how it is going with sail handling.
Mon Mar 29 7:18:29 EDT 2010 | Richard Hudson
Thanks for the kind comments, Mickey.

I was sailing singlehanded from Uruguay to Salvador. I had crew for most of the coastal trip after Salvador. Sail handling is something that keeps one busy, but usually isn't a problem.

As to where I am from, I lived in New York for many years, before that, I lived in several places in Canada.

As to ultimate destination, I don't generally mention the intended destination until I'm close to it, as often reasons develop to change the planned destination. :)
Thu Feb 25 9:30:00 EST 2010

Have been getting some very welcome tailwinds the last few days. Most of the trip has been headwinds and occasional calms. The whole way there has been a current going the opposite direction, slowing the boat down by about 20 miles a day.

The picture is just a nice sunset, from beside the foremast...there was a light headwind when the picture was taken.

Thu Feb 25 21:11:33 EST 2010 | George Conk
Well it s*cks here in NYC. Heavy snow falling as slush - two days of it. 35 degrees F. Gusting to 36.9 kts at Ambrose light data buoy.
A pleasant day
Tue Feb 23 9:30:00 EST 2010

The weather is pretty consistently humid here, when it is windy, there is much spray as well. This is a pleasant sailing day, the wind is from ahead, but not directly, the waves are small, and there is a mix of sun and clouds so it isn't really hot.

All sails are set. The mainsail is the only sail not visible.

Using the storm jib
Sun Feb 21 9:30:00 EST 2010

In the picture, the storm jib (the sail with the orange parts) is setting nicely in the pleasant sailing conditions. I set the storm jib for the Force 7/8 wind that was expected the other night. I went far enough offshore to be clear of the continental shelf, to be in deep water. Waves coming from deep water into shallow water, as they would be with the expected wind direction and speed, get steep, unpleasant and dangerous.

The Force 7 (28-33 knots) subsequently arrived and we spent the night sailing to windward (it was coming from the direction I wanted to go in) in it. A lot of slamming and banging as the boat hit the waves and the waves hit the boat. Lots of spray keeping things wet. The sails performed well.

The following day the wind moderated to Force 6 (22-27 knots), and the following night to pleasant, light winds.

Once set, there seemed no reason to drop the storm jib, so, even in the very light breeze there is now, the storm jib is still set, along with all the other sails.

Wed Feb 24 5:35:17 EST 2010 | george Ray
What sort of Wx system gave you the the Force 7 winds? Did the winds have south in them and so allowed you to make progress on your northward journey or were you hove to and waiting?

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