Thursday, 17 March 2016

Caribbean Inbound Day 24

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 02 03N 046 08W, saillng at 6 knots on a course of 330M.  Our ground speed is 6.5-7.0 knots.  The wind is NE at 18-22 knots with a 1m sea and 1m N swell.  We are sailing under single-reefed main and triple-furled yankee.  Scattered small cumulus clouds with broken mid-level clouds above.  Our day's run was 116nm, our DMG was 121nm and we have 1289nm to go.

Dawn Today

Yesterday afternoon was overcast with rain squalls around.  At 1500 we found ourselves under a large cloud with no wind.  We motored for three hours to get out of there.  As we motored along tuna fish were jumping out of the water near the boat.  They were about 0.3m long so something big was chasing them.

We sailed from 1800 to 2330 in varying winds from 8-12 knots.  Lots of black rain clouds all around and hard to pick them out clearly due to the mid-level cloud above them.  At 2330 we were again becalmed and motored for another 3 hours until a breeze returned.  Since 0300 we've had a nice sailing breeze which gradually filled in.

Overnight we used the autopilot since winds were so variable and at times very light.  Whenever the wind is steady and strong enough we've been using the Aries vane gear very successfully.

We now have partly sunny skies but are not convinced we're clear of the ITCZ yet.  Regardless, we're making great progress straight down our route.  The latest MetArea V forecast shows the ITCZ south of us which is a hopeful sign.

We've had about a knot of current for the last 24 hours, sometimes with us and at other times flowing inshore.  We are off the mouth of the Amazon so I wonder if that is influencing the current.  The water is still clear blue and 29.5C.

Some of the cruisers sailing with us are starting to arrive in the Caribbean.  Boats are going to a variety of initial destinations, including Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and Martinique.  We're keeping our options open as to exactly where we make landfall but St Lucia is our current favourite.

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