FROM 1-12. 26°S-Nose Brazil

Apr 23, 2005 - 0700hrs UTC

0700hrs 23 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 179

I’ve just crashed sailmail and lost the message I’d been working on for most of yesterday and tonight. So here goes all over:

Odd sort of birthday – from the sailing angle, no fun at all – becalmed most of the day in searing heat, boat a sweatbox, no escape. Redeemed by satphone calls from my family and the last 2 bottles of Dr Cooper’s special which we’d been cooling in our outside fridge ( a halyard bag hanging on the rail in the shade, bottles in a couple of wet socks, kept dampened, Coolgardie fashion. Works really well and cools by enough to make a big difference in yesterday’s heat). Still locked in by the wind pattern close in to the NE corner of Brazil – seems to be moving north at the same speed as we are and we just can’t break out.

We decided to park the boat last night and sleep – got her all snugged down and a little breeze came a-zephing along. Grew to about 18-20 kts and we were moving again – compass said 060, log said 6 knots. Huge pachydermatiferous lift of spirits. but only a tentative lower case wooohooo because the obsessively stern Examiner for this little headbang hasn’t let us stay happy for more that a few hours at a time.

Stunning, exhilararing night – almost full moon, right over head, some fluffy cumulus around, reflecting moonlight or etched around their edges as they passed across the moon – moon with spectral halo as the clouds passed (the night before, it had a huge misty halo, completely circular, radius perhaps 20 moon diameters – makes being out here rather special sometimes) and only first and second magnitude stars visible in the moonlight – just a wisp of the Milky Way around the Southern Cross. Light enough to read.

Later – I’ve been out there hand steering – we get little, tight local rain showers- often only 200 metres across, wind changes rapidly, Kevvo loses the plot and – usually – tacks us and needs rescuing. When the shower has passed, the wind drops to nothing for sometimes an hour or so and hand steering to keep the boat moving is the go. Gains all of a few boat lengths and I often wonder why we do it – psychologically better to be making progress, I suppose. All progress at the mo is right on the edge – hard on the wind and sometimes just heading to clear the corner of Brazil, sometimes not. The other tack is a definite loser but we may still need the bullet in the teeth later to get around. That Examiner again.

Lilian, thanks for birthday message and intercession with the Examiner – keep up the good work, we need all the help we can get!

Radio propagation abysmal, so you may not see this for some time.

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