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Schooner Yard at Camamu
Sat Mar 27 1:30:00 EDT 2010, Camamu, Bahia, Brazil

Two 25m wooden schooners under construction in the boatyard Estaleiro Camarada at Camamu. The owner, Elpidio Caetano, kindly gave us a lift to the boatyard (Camamu is very shallow) and showed us around.

On the schooner in the foreground, the frames (ribs) are made of piki, the middle, yellow plank is tatajouba, and both the upper (brown) plank and rubrail (red) are massaranduba. Though the keel cannot be seen, it is made of oiti. Massaranduba is an extremely strong, rot-resistant wood, which is quite difficult to put nails into (it dulls them). Tatajouba is rot-resistant and strong. Oiti is resistant to both rot and worms "after the boat dies, the keel continues". All fasteners are galvanized.

Sun Mar 28 5:39:29 EDT 2010 | george Ray
Wonderful stuff, there is a great book (?eBook?) in all this boat/schooner/building/wood information, very cool. How about some scantling/design info. Maybe you will post more pictures in your picassa album
Tue Mar 30 17:15:59 EDT 2010 | Richard Hudson
I have no design or scantling information, but asked the owner whether or not they use plans to build the boats. He said all the boats were built to plans (as opposed to built by eye).
Schooner awaiting repair
Fri Mar 26 6:30:00 EDT 2010, Baia de Camamu, Bahia, Brazil

A schooner awaits repairs in the backwaters of the schooner yard at Camamu.

Sat Mar 27 5:21:44 EDT 2010 | george Ray
Awesome picture, would love to see/know more about that boat and the repair yard.
Mon Mar 29 6:52:10 EDT 2010 | Richard Hudson
I don't know any more about that particular boat. I will put up a little more about the boatyard, and about a town of schooner yards.
Fishermen in Dugout Canoe
Wed Mar 24 9:30:00 EDT 2010, Baia de Camamu, Bahia, Brazil

Another dugout canoe used for fishing in Baia de Camamu.

Fishermen in Dugout Canoe
Tue Mar 23 9:30:00 EDT 2010, Baia de Camamu, Bahia, Brazil

Baia de Camamu is a shallow bay 65 miles south of Salvador. Fishing in the well-protected waters is mostly done from dugout canoes like this one.

Wed Mar 24 6:44:07 EDT 2010 | will vandorp
i love these dugouts!! i can't recall the name but there's a german company that retails them in the european market, primitive chic
Mon Mar 29 6:49:38 EDT 2010 | Richard Hudson
Interesting to hear dugouts are sold in Europe.

I've been impressed by how well-used these dugouts are...seems most places I go I see some dugouts being used
Better Hats
Mon Mar 22 10:00:00 EDT 2010, Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil

For a hot place (like most of Brazil), these boxes seem a lot cooler way of moving stuff than using a backpack. I haven't tried it myself, though.

George, George and Yann, thanks for your comments.

I've been mostly working on the boat and relaxing in Itaparica. Del flew in from Rio to join me for the short sail south to the remote town of Camamu (more on this next entry), and then the sail north.

Fri Mar 12 0:00:00 EST 2010, Salvador, Brazil

I arrived in Salvador Tuesday, and have concentrated on sleeping instead of blogging, so am late with the blog entry :).

Fri Mar 12 6:42:16 EST 2010 | George Ray
Where in Salvador area do you find to be a nice place to stay and provision if needed?
Sat Mar 13 4:15:26 EST 2010 | Richard Hudson
I'm staying in Itaparica at the town anchorage, which is a very nice place to stay. There is a marina here as well.

Provisioning in Itaparica is adequate.

In Salvador itself, the new, expensive Bahia Marina is an option (they have space), but many people have been mugged on the street outside it, and they strongly advise always taking taxis. You can either anchor or dock at Centro Nautico, in a somewhat better area of the city. I've heard good things about Ribeira Marina, farther in than Centro Nautico, but I'm not entirely sure of the location.

In Salvador, there is the huge Salvador Market, an experience unto itself. You can get pretty much any food there...if you want chicken, you can buy one live or have it killed in front of you. Not much refrigerated stuff there, but lots of dried and salted meats that don't need refrigeration.

Salvador also has Mercado Rodriguez, near the Salvador Market, which is a big store, selling big quantities of stuff, something l
Mon Mar 15 4:43:31 EDT 2010 | George Ray
Congratulations on getting so far north.
How do you view the remaining portion of the coast of Brazil up to the corner where the winds (ITZ excepted) and the currents will be more favorable for your destination of Carrib and North America? Are the winds north of Salavador much more favorable?
As for the ITZ, what is your expected strategy?
Any thoughts of Amazon? I seem to recall that March-April was high water floods and lots of rain, but I'm not sure about that.
Fri Mar 19 21:51:35 EDT 2010 | George Conk
Congratulations, Richard, on your safe return to Salvador.

- George
Sat Mar 20 17:03:47 EDT 2010 | yann
the boat must be happy to be back in Bahia de Salvador!we spent a lot of time in the bay.
I imagine your trip against the wind, with the rather high temperature, ...
you probably feel happy to be anchoring
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.

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