Ascension to Fernando de Noronha Island (Brazil)…..Day 4

Ascension to Fernando de Noronha Island (Brazil)…..Day 4

June 26th, written the morning of June 27th, 2013 (Western Hemisphere) Time: -1 on GMT

A most interesting day. It started with just enough wind not to have me put up the spinnaker and lasted that way till around 2 p.m. local time.
Then the winds started to drop into the mid teens and we decided to \”pop chute\”… Right after we did this, our first (and so far), only rain squall came by.
Beach House got a nice freshwater bath and the seas started to flatten out in the rain. We were honking along at 9 knots on a beam/broad reach on starboard tack.

Right after the rain, the wind got really light and we thought we might even have to motor! We gave it the \”10 minute rule\” (that is, wait 10 minutes to see what happens before making any changes), the wind came back and we\’ve been off to the races ever since. Yesterday, I figured out that we didn\’t have enough dagger board in the water to assist the steering to track easily. The dagger boards are our version of a keel without weight. Mostly, we use them up wind, but they greatly help in proving a \”foil\” surface for the rudders to work against in steering. We\’ve been sailing a pretty steady course ever since. Prior to that, Nikki and I had to make course corrections way too often with the auto pilot and it wasn\’t very restful and hard on the gear (hydraulic auto pilot pumps) as well.

First thing yesterday, we went to make coffee and discovered the stove\’s \”safety switch\” which detects propane leaks was not working. We had this happen last season and I had a voltage converter (24-12 volts) to fix it in spares. No such spare now and it again WAS the culprit as determined by our using a Volt/Ohm Meter.
Since the system is intrinsically 12 volt to start with, Nikki and I found an appropriate open breaker at the panel and just moved it. Voila, works like magic!

No ships last night, but what a night. Flat water, wind on the beam (at only 10-14 knots), the current behind us and we\’ve really been having \”that sail\” everyone sees in Cruising World Magazine on the cover every month….. It was very humid just before yesterdays rain squall but despite the outside temperature being 81 deg F (28 deg C), and the humidity at 94%!, it\’s actually pretty comfortable. We\’ll see around noon however.

We just received an email from old friends Jim and Pat on s/v \”Wetnose\” out of Marina del Rey, California. They just arrived at Fakarava Atoll in the Tuamotus after a 2600 mile passage from New Zealand skirting the Southern Ocean. A tough sail (they hove too for 3 days in a 50 knot gale), but they have arrived in paradise.

Fakarava was an absolute high light for me and Cindy. Diving there with the huge schools of Gray Reef Sharks was amazing and if you\’ve never seen it, go into the original website at my home page on the bottom left. Inside, go to the videos and look for the 3 minute or so video to music, \”The Sharks of Fakarava\”. It was a fabulous place and I wish we\’d spent many more days there.

We ended up having a good days run of 175 nm due to running the spinnaker for the last 14 hours and we\’re still at it. \”Jongilanga\” is about 220 miles behind us. Hard to believe as he left 3 hours before us! \”This Side Up\” is about 265 miles ahead of us, we\’re closing, but won\’t catch him and \”OZ\”, en route from St. Helena is about 900 miles back. We\’re having good success on our mini/daily radio net on 8137 USB. We share our positions, boat speed and current and past 24 hour weather conditions.

John on \”Jongilanga\” and Mike on \”This Side Up\” have no ability to get weather updates, so I give them too them on our net. I\’ll help Steve on \”OZ\” a bit as he\’s having radio to shore side connection issues. He\’s in between the two sailmail stations he can connect to via HF Radio. I get lazy and use the Satelite Telephone for weather a great deal as the files can be a bit big.

No more Flying Fish stories, but we are seeing lots of them. We\’ve been very fortunate on missing the squally areas so far and are continuing north of the Rhumb Line to try and avoid more. The winds should actually start to go ENE then NE before we reach Fernando due to a very weak low pressure system that will form to our south and east. 470 miles to go and we should arrive \”some time Saturday\” if all remains as it has been. A very pleasant 175 nm day, go Miss Piggy go!

Scott and Nikki