29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
The last month aboard matilda has been like living aboard a hospital ship. My cold started just as we left Cape Town almost a month ago, and Heather has been struck down since we left St Helena. I seem to be having a relapse, so with all the coughing and complaining going on, there's no place we'd rather be... in fact pretty much anywhere would do.
The 26th of january was Australia Day, and we celebrated by officially completing our circumnavigation. We passed the line of longitude for Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, which is as far East as we sailed matilda during our shake down in 2011. So whatever happens now, we have at least ticked "sail around the world" off our bucket lists.
Thoughts of Barbados are keeping us going at the moment. There is a nice new marina there and they say they have room for us in February - all we have to do is get there in time. Barbados is the home of by favourite tipple, Mount Gay rum. So we will definitely be paying the distillery, just outside Bridge Town a visit whilst there.
We are having the slowest leg ever at the moment, with incredibly low daily distances covered. Just our luck for this to happen on our longest leg (3,650 nautical miles!). The wind has been a steady 8 to 10 knots most of the time, which is enough to fly our parasailor, but only just. We have had the parasailor up day and night for the last week (we have been at sea for one week now) and we have been making slow progress. We didn't want to run the engine as we will probably need all the diesel we have for the dead zone near the equator. We are running the engine now, motorsailing to charge the batteries back up to 100%. This is the first time we've had to do this as the Duogen has been performing brilliantly as usual.
Unfortunately we had a little accident with the parasailor last night. The webbing straps which hold the wing in place have been sun damaged at the top, and each one failed in spectacular fashion just before night fall. It shouldn't be too hard to fix, as we have lost of new webbing - just a very laborious sewing job to do it right. What's more we can only use our white sails now, which are incredibly slow downwind. We do have a spare spinnaker, but it's buried under the forward bunk and I'm not sure I can be bothered setting it all up - might as well spend the time fixing the parasailor.
Despite the sickness aboard, we are managing to stay fairly chipper. We can still pick up some of the rest of the fleet occasionally on the radio nets, which is nice. It's looking like it will be a very long passage, which we may decide to cut down by stopping in Fortaleza depending on how our provisions are looking as we approach the Brazilian coast. Just keep thinking of that rum punch on the beach in Barbados...