Brazil to The Falklands – Day 13

Reading: Act of Oblivion (Robert Harris)
Weather: Wind increasing up to NW6-7, Sunshine …..
Thought for the day: The first sign of land – floating bits of kelp ….
Evening meal: Pasta carbonara with asparagus
Course: 175-190oC
Distance covered: At 1200 we had covered 1,726 miles (Log 5,911) – at midnight the log read 5,999
Wildlife headcount: Growing number of birds as we hit the slightly shallower (2km deep!) waters of the Falklands. One new one today – a beautiful little bird called a Fairy Prion ….

Having a weather forecast is a mixed blessing. It is good to be able to prepare and perhaps plan to avoid the worst of it by routing around it, but once out here there is then no avoiding it. You can’t use the usual inshore strategies of waiting for the worst of it to go through or not going at all! So, you just sit anticipating it. Yesterday’s sailing was lovely and the main went up at the 6pm watch change. We then headed off with gradually increasing speeds. By the time we came on watch at 6am the mizzen was reefed and we were doing speeds of around 8-9 knots. For most of our morning watch this carried on but around 10am the wind (and seas) started building and so Jet was called. She helped us get the main down, so we were left with the jib, staysail and reefed mizzen and were still doing around 7 knots in a building sea.

The weather forecast was giving winds of 26-28 knots gusting 40, so the anticipation is always slightly nerve-wracking. The boat can (and does) take it fine, but there is always that nagging uncertainty about what it will be like. In the event the wind was not quite as high as forecast. It blew a healthy force six and for a few hours gusted seven, but nowhere near 40 knots. This gave lovely sailing. The sea was a bit confused, making steering a little challenging at times, but under the reduced rig we were going beautifully with bright sunshine making the sea a beautiful aquamarine blue. The sight of the skipper sat aft cradling a coffee and knitting is always a reassuring sight in heavy weather and helps with enjoying the weather …..