Tenerife to Brazil – Day 16

Reading: An Unsung Hero (Michael Smith) & started The Well at the World’s End – A J McKinnon (difficult to read Unsung Hero on deck as it is a paperback)
Weather: Wind decreased slightly – SE 3-4 – and shifted a little to the SE but not enough so had to tack.
Thought for the day: How come I haven’t started melting in bed?
Evening meal: Roast beef with roast potatoes, veg and salad.
Course: 210-220oC initially then tacked at 6pm onto about 080oC
Distance covered: At 1200 we had done 2,099 miles
Wildlife headcount: The boobies stuck with us and were joined by two frigate birds for the night. The frigate birds hassle the boobies when they catch a fish to try and make them throw it up. Second-hand lunch – doesn’t sound very enticing!

We are off watch always from 12-6 am and pm. This is when we get to sleep or rather should. At midday we have lunch and then head for bed. The issue with this is that now we are close-hauled all the hatches have had to be shut, so there is very little air getting through the boat. On deck the strong apparent wind is lovely and cooling, taking the edge off the heat, but down below it is sweltering (well to me anyway!). Sleeping proves interesting in this heat. We do have two electric fans but given that there are four of us trying to sleep, the maths doesn’t really work, so we alternate. Two people prefer the fans in the afternoon slot when inevitably we sleep slightly less. They are not so keen on the noise all night. Whereas I don’t care about the noise – anything to keep a little cooler, so I get the fan in the midnight to six am slot. It gets planted on the table next to my berth and aimed straight at me at medium power, so though it feels like sleeping outside in the wind, at least it is cooler – some small relief. We are just looking forward to bearing away and perhaps the seas going down a little so that we can open the hatches and get air through again.

Today has been a more routine day again. Because the wind hasn’t shifted as far as we hoped, we are only making about 190-205oC and this is not quite enough to clear a string of islands which stick out around 150 miles due east off the coast of Brazil. While it might be possible to weave between them, this doesn’t seem like a good plan given some slightly intricate navigation and the fact that close-hauled we only make around 55o off the wind, so at 6pm we tacked. Frustratingly 55o off the wind translates to a tacking angle of 110o, so the next 18 hours or so, we will effectively be going in the wrong direction for our destination, but that will set us up with some easting to clear the islands. As we get further south the winds should then start to shift more to the east (hopefully) and enable us to bear off a little to our destination in Brazil. This is apparently all sorted now and we are even going to have to set up an ‘open boat’ day where locals can come and gawp. The payback from this is no mooring fees, so it has to be worth it!

There is a Sunday evening routine on board at 6pm – watch changeover. Tecla is essentially a dry ship (though we can help ourselves if we choose to), but on a Sunday evening everyone gets together for a beer before supper. A nice chance for both watches to sit and chat together and relax a little.