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Sun Oct 19 11:15:00 EDT 2008

We are still in the Southeast Trade Winds, almost underneath the present latitude of the sun. Winds are still light to moderate, mostly blue skies, no squalls...pretty much perfect conditions for pleasant, easy sailing.

Great Winds
Fri Oct 17 18:55:00 EDT 2008

We have been making 150+ mile runs in the last couple of days, which was really nice. The wind has moderated a bit today (Force 2&3 instead of 3&4), so we'll only make 136 miles today. We continue to sail hard on the wind, into the Southeast Trade winds, which are very warm and pleasant. We've had some rain, but not enough to add any to the water tanks.

Across the Equator
Wed Oct 15 1:12:00 EDT 2008

We crossed the equator this morning at 0612 GMT, under a full moon, and are now in the South Atlantic ocean. The picture above shows the ocean at the equator, which looks just like the ocean anywhere else :).

Now we need to get used to winds going clockwise around lows and counter-clockwise around highs (opposite to the northern hemisphere), and start looking for the Southern Cross (four stars that can be used to find South).

Thu Oct 16 14:09:47 EDT 2008 | Scott
I was looking at the same moon from Rosemary Ruth. Beautiful pictures!
Windvane Repairs
Mon Oct 13 20:30:05 EDT 2008

Picture is of George doing a great job of fixing the windvane today. It got overloaded today during a sail change and an eyebolt ripped out of the plywood.

The windvane was built by the previous owner, from plans in a magazine, and has been quite reliable. Comparing this windvane with a commercial unit (Windpilot Pacific Plus) that I had on another boat, the commercial unit would be able to steer downwind in 3-5 knots less wind than this one (when there is lots of wind, all windvanes work, light air downwind is where the windvanes with least friction continue to work longest). Unlike the commercial unit, which required parts from Germany when anything broke, parts for this one can be obtained in most hardware stores.

ITCZ Rainbow
Sat Oct 11 19:15:05 EDT 2008

One of the nice things about the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, an area of calms, squalls, variable winds and rain) is the number of rainbows you see. Sailing thru the ITCZ is more work than in most places, as you need to frequently set, reef and douse sails. We hope to be out of the ITCZ and into the Southeast Trade Winds in another day or two.

Thu Oct 9 2:00:00 EDT 2008

We are in the ITCZ (doldrums), and have had good conditions so far...only one real squall, and not many hours of flat calm. We expect to be in the ITCZ for a few more days, so expect to see several more squalls. All day today we have been pleasantly beating into light headwinds from the south, with sunny skies and small waves.

Fri Oct 10 13:17:02 EDT 2008 | George Conk
The Volvo Ocean race starts in the morning from Vigo. They'll be overtaking you soon!
I have some great shots by Richard Langdon from the 97-98 Whitbread on my blog:, or just go to for the latest
- George
Tue Oct 7 9:00:00 EDT 2008

Went aloft yesterday to fix the AIS (more on this another time) antenna. Was very pleased that it was the easiest trip aloft I've ever done at sea (the steps on the mast are a great help). Yann, the previous owner, used to go aloft every time he set the fisherman (sail that sets up high, between the two masts, visible in the picture), as it had a roller furling system that jammed. The fisherman no longer has that roller furling system, so has not (yet) required any trips aloft.

In the picture, we are going downwind with fisherman, main staysail (below the fisherman) and two headsails, which are obscured by the fisherman. The mainsail is down to keep the sail area forward, making it easier for the wind vane to steer the boat.

We are getting closer to the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone), or Doldrums as they are also called. The sunny tradewind skies have been replaced more and more by squally, overcast conditions. We are doing a lot of sail changes, as the winds keep changing.

Mon Oct 6 0:00:00 EDT 2008

Exit (saida in Portuguese) papers from the Maritime Police that allow us to leave Cape Verde. The heat and humidity here in the tropics conspire to wilt any papers.

While we are at sea, comments to the blog will appear on the blog, but I won't be able to read them (I just have limited email access via satellite phone now) until we reach another port and find an internet cafe.

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