Planning ahead

Reading: Swallowdale (Arthur Ransome)
Weather: Hot still – 22oC, though some rain in the morning (the rain usually seems to stay in the mountains)
Thought for the day: Would it just be easier to drive 5,500 miles instead?
Evening meal: Tapas – peppers, croquette potatoes, cheese, jamon …..

The boat I am on is called the Tecla. She was built in 1915 as a herring drifter, roaming the North Sea to follow the shoals of herring as they moved south from their spawning grounds. The drifters would work rapidly hoovering up the shoals as quickly as possible to get them ashore for processing – generally either salting or pickling. However, her time was relatively short-lived and by 1920 she had been laid up -the internal combustion engine rendering her redundant. She survived though, unlike many, and in 1935 was sold to the Danes who renamed her Marie and used her as a general cargo carrier right through to the 1970s. Her last port of registry was Aalborg in Denmark and there she was renamed again – the Tekla. In 1985 she returned to the Netherlands and was adapted for use as a charter vessel. In 2006 she changed hands once again and was bought by the Sluik family who still operate her.

The advent of the pandemic prompted a major refit and a section was cut out of her hull, a new one built and the hull dropped onto the new section. This was welded in place and the entire interior was stripped and rebuilt. She started sailing again August 2022 ….

This morning was a planning morning. Two of the crew are using the trip as part of their maritime qualifications, so they spent the time poring over charts and pilot guides. I was, for once, happy to watch. The routing and weather charts though made fascinating reading. The aim is to head west of the Cape Verde Islands using the NE trade winds and then over towards the coast of Brazil. The ITCZ (doldrums) look like being at their narrowest towards the coast of Brazil, though the zone is usually further south there as well. The land mass of Africa heats up and lowers the pressure moving the doldrums north along the African coast and forming a kind of a wave between South America and Africa. Not a friendly wave though as in the zone, it will be hot, occasionally wet, windless and generally uncomfortable. Once through the ITCZ we will keep at least 100 miles offshore as below the zone, the prevailing trade winds are SE, so the Brazilian coast becomes a lee shore. We stay fairly well offshore to miss a chain of islands and then, if time allows head in to Brazil for a while. That anyway is the plan, but as they say, best laid plans …..