FROM 2-13. Equator-Cape Town

Feral bottlebrush

Trade wind sailing – apart from all the tropical aspects without which I can earnestly do – is great if you are off the breeze and can ride the very lumpy sea at the optimum angle. When you are trying to keep the wind just ahead of the beam, it’s a different ballgame. Lumpy, thumpy, wet, noisy and uncomfortable. And hot! But we’re on the move.

We have been towing 40 metres of light floating line as a possible safety line if someone falls overboard. As Pete discovered last time, the generator impeller line we had trailing out the back was a powerful incentive to use his considerable swimming skill to get across and grab it. Yesterday, I looked at the bright yellow line and it seemed oddly different – I tried to pull it in and the drag was surprising but it had thousands and thousands of little barnacles growing on it – from a couple of millimetres to about 4cm long and so densely packed that it looked like a 40 metre bottlebrush. We spent the morning cleaning them off. They looked like baby versions of the big goose barnacles we sailed into Hobart with last time. My doddery eyes told me that each one had a tiny blue patch on it. How do they exist out here and how do they grab the ride?

More wild life – a couple of Trinidade Petrels. Big fishing boat a couple of days ago but no other humans air, space or waterborne. Except perhaps a laughing Aunt out here with us?

It appears from the latest GRIB that the S Atlantic High is at about 25 degrees directly south. I hope it moves east so that we can cut the corner a bit. Sagittarius and the galactic centre – or where the galactic centre isn’t – clearly visible last night before the moon rose. And Mintaka satisfactorily astern.

We’ve just done some practice noon sights to get back into practice, using the Winastro package on the computer to do the sums. Considering the conditions, not bad results. Tomorrow, the Merlin.

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