By yesterday evening, Saturday 24th November 2018, we had sailed 778 nautical miles from Mindelo, Cabo Verde. Apart from the first three wind-less days, we have had steady NE (Trade) winds and have been running before them, or on a broad reach, with two sails flying. Often we reach 6-8 knots, which is fine for us. The waves and swell have been at cross-purposes, though, making life on board difficult. A couple of nights ago we lost our entire dinner, which flew from the stove all over the cabin floor. It was a special rendering of Penne Arabbiata which I love, and which I thought was suitable also for our crew of mixed vegetarians and meat eaters.
There was nothing for it but to clear up (which the crew manfully did) and start again using a recipe for pasta with a tuna sauce. But the boat was far from stable!
All in all it was not the best day as we also lost the generator, and so the means of charging batteries other than solar, which is not enough and does not charge the engine batteries. However Kim and I managed to fix that yesterday morning, and we now have power again.
We hit the Doldrums later in the evening. Suddenly the wind was all over the place, with violent gusts, and the rain came down in sheets, accompanied by some thunder and lightning in the distance. There was water everywhere, and the boat became very stuffy with all hatches closed.
Sunday 25th Nov.
By this morning, we appeared to have passed through the stormy section, and had a good gentle reach in a mostly ENE wind all day, allowing us all to catch up on much-needed sleep. The sky began to clear, and on reaching Sunday evening we seem to have gone south of the Doldrums for the moment. Tonight we hope to have some stars to steer by. Tomorrow we should pass quite close to the strange mid-Atlantic rocks of St Peter and St Paul, on our heading to the island of Fernando de Noronha, where we hope to be allowed to spend a few days at anchor to recover from the crossing! The island is inhabited, Brazilian, and said to be expensive. It is a nature reserve, and beautiful, and some 300 nm from the nearest Brazilian mainland coast. It has stunning landscapes, beaches and clear blue waters, and fresh food! We expect to arrive there on Wednesday afternoon, 28th November, and stay for 2-3 days if permission is granted. Since we are now only just over 2 degrees north of the Equator, we will have to give some offerings to Neptune in the next couple of days, and it is of course very hot and humid!
Monday 26th Nov.
What a night. Good wind, straightforward waves, no rain, a bright moon, and stars to steer by. Pegasus, chasing Orion through the heavens, was my best guide and quite clear for Kim and me for the second watch of the night. This was the best time for stars as often in our experience. Bright, beautiful Venus rose on our port beam, and cast her own delicate glow across the water. Now in the morning we are roughly abeam St Peter and Paul rocks, which lie to our port hand but are not visible. We have about 350 miles left to sail, and if we can keep up an average of 6 knots, then we will reach Fernando de Noronha by 1330 on Wednesday. I think that, although we have certainly had a good crossing and still have plenty of food, water and fuel, we all look forward to being in a sheltered anchorage for a few days, and being able to have a glass of gin and tonic with ice, or wine, again after our self-imposed abstinence during ocean crossings.
Igor, our resident musician, regales us with songs and tunes on his guitar, and is happy as I write because he is singing!
We expect to cross the Equator tonight, and plan an event to appease Neptune, and keep him on our side.