Wednesday, 9 March 2016

St Helena Outbound Day 16

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 07 00S 032 47W, saillng at 4.5 knots on a course of 300M.  The wind is SE at 8-10 knots with a slight sea and minimal swell.  We are sailing under double-reefed main and full yankee.  Scattered small cumulus.  Our day's run was 110nm, our DMG was 66nm (ugh!) and we have 2265nm to go.

The last 24 hours has seen slow progress.  The wind has been 6-10 knots throughout    We kept sailing, albeit slowly, and we had to head up to maintain even that speed.  We are about 150nm off the Brazllian coast.  We expect to gybe sometime this afternoon to head for our waypoint off Cabo Calcanhar, the NE point of South America.  The waypoint is about 160nm away.

The night sky last night was spectacular yet again.  No moon so the stars were very bright.  Quite a few shooting stars.  A couple of ships came by but were several miles away.

The afternoon HF/SSB net will be running at 2000utc from this afternoon.  We have to keep the net time in sync with the sun since the sun dictates HF propagation.  So as we move west the net's UTC time gets later.  The net will continue to run on 6224kHz with a backup of 6227kHz in case of conflicting traffic.

We haven't described our plans for this year previously.  Since we've done something like 4000nm on the water already perhaps I should.  Overall the plan is to sail to the UK, arriving in early July.  We plan the following stops:
  • St Helena
  • Lesser Antilles (eastern Caribbean)
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bermuda (maybe - see below)
  • Azores
  • UK
We departed South Africa at the beginning of February so have 5 months to complete the plan.  Total route mileage is just under 10,000nm, so we are already 40% of the way there!  Doesn't feel like it yet.

Below are this year's plans graphically.  Last year's plans were presented in terms of "bites of the elephant".  This year the pie is a large bowl of rum punch.  Sorry - best I could come up with but it reflects the reward we hope to enjoy in the Caribbean!

The chart below shows the relative lengths of the passages, labelled by destination.  The South Atlantic is big!

The chart below shows where the time is expected to be spent.  Each slice represents the time to get to the labelled location and the time we'll stay there.

The time getting to and spent in the BVI is our "Caribbean Cruise" which we expect to start in Antigua.  Looking forward to some day sailing and the occasional rum punch.

We'd like to visit Bermuda but whether we do so depends on weather at the time.  Often the best route to the Azores goes close past Bermuda, in which case we'd stop.  However if a weather window allowing a more direct route to the Azores comes up we'll take it.

Trust all's well where you are.

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