We are currently in position 00 50N 044 30W, saillng at 34.5 knots on a course of 320M. Our ground speed is 6 knots. The wind is NE at 10-15 knots with a slight sea and 1m N swell. We are sailing under full main and single-furled yankee. Overcast sky with occasional light rain showers. Our day's run was 123nm, our DMG was 132nm and we have 1410nm to go.
We crossed the equator at 1530 local time (1830utc) yesterday afternoon. King Neptune got his tot of rum and our thanks. We whet our lips with a little rum only. Twasn't much of a party because the weather was inclement. Nevertheless we're very pleased to be in the northern hemisphere.
Crossing the Line
Yesterday afternoon wind increased to 18-22 knots as we crossed the line. The sky was overcast with rain showers but we were making excellent progress. By 2100 the wind had dropped out entirely. We were probably under a large rain cloud, these frequently have calms under them. We motored for a couple of hours to get clear and into some breeze, about 12 knots from the NE. At least the winds are staying between N and E now.
In the small hours of the morning the winds once more got up to 20 knots or so with showers and sheet lightning all around. We sailed on with a single reef in the main, furling and unfurling the yankee as the wind varied. By dawn the wind was down to 8-10 knots but we kept the boat moving OK.
We're looking forward to breaking out of this cloudy area. We think it will take a few days. Happily we have a nice current helping us along. At the moment it is about 1.5 knots. Also the overcast has lowered the temperature on board which is very welcome. Still very humid but not as hot. The wind conditions here are constantly varying so there's plenty of sail trimming practice going on.
On the provisions front, yesterday we discovered weavils in packets of rice and crisp bread. We think both were purchased in Mauritius which was some months ago now. One of the problems of provisioning is making sure we eat up before this type of development occurs. While on this subject we found weavils in muesli bars the hard way while enroute to St Helena - after taking a bite. Yuk! Foods don't keep long when stored in boats in warm water! On the other hand, the potatoes we bought in St Helena are still perfectly fresh. That's old-style "organic" produce for you.
The HF radio net are continuing with yachts starting to rejoin the net after departing Brazillian ports. Our evening net is now taking place at 2100utc on 6224kHz. Three of the boats are within 200nm of us at the moment. Amazingly we're actually catching one of them! That doesn't happen often when you're the smallest boat in the fleet!
Thanks to Anne for her comment on yesterday's blog. It seems our "pet" bird is in fact a brown noddy. No wonder he seemed bemused when I addressed him! ;) We really must find a good eBook (note the 'e') on sea birds of the world. Recommendations welcome.