We are now 1/3 of the way to our destination in Brazil – Jacare near Cabedelo, and a pattern to the weather is finally emerging. Happily we have more wind than during the passage to St Helena, but the wind direction and speed is very variable. During the day it backs to about 110-120T, and then veers during darkness to 140-150T. As we are using the auto pilot in wind angle mode, that means that as the wind changes direction, so does Pipistrelle, so we do not have to worry too much about gybing, where the wind direction alters across her stern. The biggest problem is when the wind speed drops to <10 kn, and the boat rolling causes the mainsail to slat badly, we then put in a reef, harden up and start motoring in the worst case, until the wind fills in again. Ugh, horrible!
So currently, 10.00 UTC we are about 50nm north of our rhumb line, now steering 317T. Think we will stay on this until late afternoon, and then gybe, which involves poling out the genny on the other side, but no big deal. We will probably stay on that tack for the next 48 hours. Reckon if we are lucky it will be another 8 days to Brazil. We have 1200nm + to run.
Pipistrelle is rolling, but not too badly. The biggest problem is the combination of a big swell, and a drop in the wind, which creates huge slatting of the main. So at night we come up into the wind by 20-25 degrees, and harden the main, which doesn’t help the course, but means we can sleep between watches. This where a square rig would help enormously, providing Harry Potter were on board and could magically transform Pipistrelle back to a sloop rig in the Caribbean!
We are now sailing at between 6-7.5kn, and fishing at these speeds is ok, big tuna and mahi mahi look for a squid they can chase after! The problem is slowing down quickly enough to avoid breaking the line or tackle, with a poled out genny and preventer on the main. So currently having lost two lures and accompanying tackle, we have dumped the rod in favour of our original hoops which Tim Goodwin will remember well!
Frequent showers, some of them heavy, come through during the night and early morning. As we are running before the wind, this means putting our acrylic hatches in place, and closing up all other hatches, so it is stuffy for a while down below.
Otherwise all’s well on board. Will provide another update in a few days.