FROM 1-11. South Atlantic-26°S

Apr 10, 2005 – 1900hrs UTC

1900hrs 10 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 161

Northward, ever northward, with enough easting to leave Cabo Frio, east of Rio, well to port. We saw a couple of fishing boats two nights ago further out than we expected, so we’re being much more systematic about keeping a regular lookout. It would be really nice to sail close in up the Brazilian coast, but far too much hassle avoiding other boats, probably fishing gear and just about every big ship that comes down this way.

Don’t want to bore you with dull weather reports, although they are anything but dull for us. Classic high pressure system conditions here, warm, humid, rain and showers, easterly wind – all indicating we are at the top of a high with its anticlockwise circulation bringing warm moist air from further out to sea. Getting quite close to the tropics – about 400 miles to go to Capricorn, roughly the latitude of Rio – and lovely Rockhampton too. We can’t get any weather faxes from Brazil – they do not seem to be transmitting them – so we rely on the grib files and what it looks like out of the window. Hoping fervently that we are past the worst but not yet relaxed by any means.

We have been talking to people I met some years ago in Sydney – Tom and Vicky Jackson, an English couple with a boat called Sunstone – quite famous – try if you are interested. They are following us up from Stanley where they arrived the day after we left, unfortunately, on their way to Rio. they are about a thousand miles behind, but their boat is bigger and faster. We will keep a radio sked with them and stay in email contact for as long as possible.

Lots of interesting reaction to my admitting to being a scaredy cat in the various storms – I think there is a point up to which a bit of fear and adrenaline is helpful and evolutionarily advantageous (how about that for a mouthful?) but I have seen people in storms way past that point – foetal position, thumb sucking scared – and that’s often a challenge for the skipper who has to try to care for the person and run the boat shorthanded. Luckily, Pete doesn’t suck his thumb and I don’t think I do either.

Now that things have eased a bit for really the first time since leaving Hobart, I find I can sit down and read a book. Trouble is, i read so fast, I now have to start rationing them. In Stanley, I bought almost the entire second hand book stock from the Church store, including about 10 National Geographics – perhaps 20 books, everything except the bodice rippers. We have some others all the way from Oz as well – perhaps another 20 – so just might last until we get far enough north to be distracted by other things.

And to those who keep asking, Fenwick is a real person – doddering old fart who drinks and scratches and thinks he’s funny. Well, we do laugh at him a lot. Perhaps Mal should post both sides of the conversation. But he is allowed to piss into wind, having been around the Horn. So he does, but he’s too silly to work out why his knees suddenly get warm. Owns a famous old Sydney Hobart veteran called Morning Tide, which he used to be able to sail before he started drinking. An S&S 34, as anyone who knows about the ‘Morning …’ boats will know. Ted Heath, ex British PM, – those of you old enough to remember him, take a bow – won the 1965 (I think) Sydney Hobart in his Morning Cloud. I expect Fenwick has to sail with Morning Sickness a fair bit these days.

If I keep rambling like this I will run out of things to talk about before we get to the equator – questions answered tomoz. See yez.

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