19th January 03 30 GMT, night
After crossing the Equator, I downloaded a more-days forecast, which appears to be very interesting for the upcoming 3-4 days. The leaders (including GAES) have an advantageous “stripe” of wind that they can get away with to South-East. The rest of us are a little bit stuck.
RENAULT is trying to find their gateway to East, where there is a high chance of stopping too. The St Helena high pressure demands its “tolls” from everyone who goes there, even if it looks good.
The other two boats are sailing South — South-West. For a few days these trade winds are perfect for us to come closer to the others, and then we will start looking for ways to enter the South too. I hope the formula will be easier by the time we get there.
The picture here looks typical trade-wind-y, with the plainest sunsets. No colours, nothing of what I had in my memory. It’s quite hard to go nostalgic like this. Anyways, I make a nice cup of tea with honey.
I was awakened to C doing push-ups next to me in the cabin. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”— I asked. He feels there is not enough job to do and he’ll get soft. — “Don’t worry, soon we will have just enough. You should rather save your energy than waste it. — I said. Well, for sure I used to do the same. When C goes to sleep, I always do squats, as my legs work less than normally.
There are not much birds here, except one has been following us the whole day. I was a little bit worried as it was constantly flying in circles around the mast, between the beacons and antennas, where such 4-6 kg birds could make quite a damage. It was slim with grey feathers and brown patches, blueish grey eyes — beautiful creature. I realized it was hunting the fish that had been distracted by us. At 15-20 m it closes its wings and nosedives into the water.
18th January 09.30 GMT
Yesterday night the Easterly — South-Easterly trade winds had come, but I didn’t dare to speak too soon, as we’ve already thought it had come two other times before. First 12-13 knots — the main + J1 made the boat go super well. First we canted the keel, daggerboard down, then later we could feel this was the real trade wind, so we started to order the sails. For the first time I filled the windward water ballast tank, I works perfectly. I built it in exactly for these long marches on one tack. It was filled with 450 litres in 5 minutes.
We’re at 04° 18′ S, 29° 09 W already. From here, it will take an approximate 5-6 days on one tack to get down. It is impossible to find the perfect solution to dress. If I wear what I’d like — T-shirt, shorts, deck shoes — I’m completely drenched within a second and I’m wet the whole day. If I wear the drysuit, that feels like if I was doing physical work in ski-overalls in a sauna. Everything is wet, even the bed and the sleeping bag.
I have such nice memories about this place, watching sunsets, drinking hot-wine with tea. Now, I feel like there are no sunsets these days. Or maybe we just don’t have to for them.
If I’m not mistaken, we’ve managed to save 100SM on our distance at the Equator. Well, so far I don’t know about our spectacular “comeback”, but we’re doing our best even for small changes.
Before the START we were talking with Alex about the old wit: “to finish first, first to finish!”.
It’s heart-smothering to see them on the Brasilian coast on the map.
17th January 09 00 GMT
In the morning C shouts out in his own serious way “NNNaaandor !!!” — I jump up. “Change?”— I ask. — “That too, but we are leaking!!!”
Yesterday night when I was in bed, I heard wobbling from the keel’s direction, from somewhere inside. I climb in, try to check it, there is water under the recovery. I didn’t think too much, took a sponge and started to bail out the water, I filled a hole bucket. Then back to bed. I just managed to fall asleep when again: — “Nnnaaaandor !”
I jump again, 18 kts wind outside, we roll up the C0, C does the rest. The wobbling is even bigger, we bail out 4 buckets of water — this is not funny, within such a short time. In our mind’s eye we were already doing the “sikaflex”. We canted the keel in all directions, but we can’t see underneath. I push the camera inside, take a few picture, we can’t see anything wrong.
— Maybe it’s the “navel string” of the water maker.
— That can’t be — says C, I insulated everything, I checked that too.
I dried up all the water, closed the water maker, and I waited.
At 07.30 GMT we crossed the Equator. Nothing ceremonial yet, we might eat bit of chocolate later.
The Doldrums caught us two times. We got out of it, were sailing towards South with trade winds the whole day, then we found ourselves in the same conditions by the night again — the cumulonimbus confusing our winds.
Thank god, we weren’t leaking, it was just the water maker.