FROM 1-12. 26°S-Nose Brazil &1st circumnavigation

Apr 27, 2005 – 0820hrs UTC

0820hrs 27 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 186

We are about to enter day 33 of this leg so we’ve been at sea for just over a month. Perhaps a few numbers are worth putting down. On a voyage like this, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about half way in miles or days – you can do it directly off the chart, in which case, half way is at about 2 degrees south, given that the Falklands are at about 55 south and Falmouth is at 50 north. The size of the job ahead was driven home earlier this evening as I looked with some fondness at the Great Bear – now upside down in the bottom 15 degrees or so of the northern horizon. We have to climb around the globe underneath it till it is right way up in the bottom 40 degrees or so of our then southern horizon. Imagine, if you can, being a very small flea on its daily stroll from its home in the crease at the top of an elephant’s hind leg, around the vast expanse of rump through the skin flakes, hair, dried grot  and other wild life into its sunbaking spot in the sun up above the tail. That’s us, and we haven’t yet quite reached the vertical part of the rump – we’re still ‘underneath’ the curve.

We will actually sail perhaps 30% more than the chart distance. Our GPS trip log reads 3413 miles – slightly under the actual, as the GPS was off for a few miles. The autohelm ‘through the water’ log distance travelled is 3634 miles (also slightly under – perhaps 20 miles) and we are 2740 miles from Port Stanley in a straight line. We are also 4030 from Falmouth in a straight line. Half of (2740+4030) 6770 is 3385 miles, so we are still 322 miles, roughly, from half way in straight lines. We estimated 70 days so we are a bit behind schedule but not too bad, and I hope the North Atlantic is a bit kinder that the South has been. Say another 33 days – and June 4 is looking good.

At 1209 deg. south, we are 729 miles from the equator. Still! That will put us officially half way round the world. Perhaps the Examiner will relent a little as we go north. Right now, we are heading east and just – just – holding the line and not losing ground. When we tack, in about 12 hours or when the wind heads us, we should be pointing at the equator at about 33 west. We are much too far away to predict whether we will be able to aim straight for the Azores  on a true NE wind or have to go further west with the more Northerly component of the NE trades which seems to dominate up there at the moment.

Have I bored you all glassy eyed? All this factored into the return trip to Sydney makes our enterprise look very shaky indeed. To get back in time for the Hobart race, we must average a bit under 5 knots for the return voyage – we will need a very slack Examiner and a lot of luck but it is just possible. About 0.1 probability, perhaps. Anyone care to run a book?

And, in the words of a wise old bird not far from BrisVegas, mental half way for the whole venture (Sydney to Sydney) will be at Cape Leeuwin. Seems to be at about 40k in marathon terms, so about right!

Comments are closed.