Equatorial Transitions and Brazilian Bulges

I’ve been receiving a lot of notes lately from people telling me how much they’re enjoying the updates and to keep them coming. That’s great to hear … but I wonder sometimes … cause out here there is a pretty mundane side to things … day after day, sailing in the same direction, dodging the same weather squalls, adjusting sails to the same patterns, etc. But I guess, that’s not necessarily mundane, if you’re not the one doing it! Anyway, thanks for following along … it lifts my spirits big time knowing you’re out there … and keep those notes coming in too!

Equatorial SquallView with squall approaching  … a pretty frequent view of late. 44.0007W, 18.7773N

Bodacious Dream and I are in a bit of a transition zone these days – on a number of fronts. Monday morning marked the longest period of time I’ve ever been out at sea without pulling into harbor. Last year, on the Trans-Atlantic crossing, the trip from Madeira on the Cape Verde Islands to Antigua, in the Virgin Islands took 18 days. Not counting the four days it took me to get from Cascais, Portugal to Madeira (and I was only in Madeira for about 4 hours) – this new marker is a personal record of sorts … and part of the trip log.

Secondly, we are presently transitioning between the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic, and soon to be crossing the equator. I’ve flown over the equator, as I’m sure some of you have, but I’ve never crossed it by surface before, so that will be a first for me as well. In addition to that, we are progressing through the remaining trade winds of the Northern Atlantic and entering those of the Southern Atlantic. So, in that sense, there is a lot going on, even though none of it is happening at a very fast pace.

The equator is about 450 miles south of me at the time I am writing this on Monday the 4th … and between here and there lay the final bands of North Atlantic trade winds we have to cross. We are figuring most of it will be decent sailing, but the actual degree of difficulty will depend on the direction of those winds.

Here’s a video I had to wait a few days to upload that has me explaining how the squalls we’ve been experiencing so many of and the trade winds work together to both hasten and slow down our progress.

Here I go talking those squall and trade winds blues again … 

So, moving forwards, here’s the thinking. We’re sailing now down around the bulge on Brazil and we don’t want to end up too far west and “pinned” against the Brazilian coast and so have to work too hard to push away from it. So, we’ll be doing what we can at the front-end here to stay as far east as we can, and so sail past the bulge and pick up the Southern Atlantic trade winds, which we’re hoping will shift direction in our favor.

November 6, 2013Here’s where we are … as of today, Nov. 6, 2013

The course we are plotting to get to Cape Town will cover over 5000 more miles. Typically, a sailing boat will head down the South American coast to take advantage of the better winds and favorable current until they reach a point about 40 degrees south of the Equator, before they turn for Cape Town and hook into the westerly prevailing winds in the Southern Atlantic. Cape Town is actually at 34 degrees south, so you end up sailing a bit northeast to get to Cape Town once you’ve made that turn. I know it sounds a bit odd, but actually, it’s faster sailing the 5000 miles that way than the shorter more direct course of 3800 miles, which is mostly upwind.

While I’m working through these trade winds and keeping a constant eye on the weather forecasts and the horizon, sometimes I just have to sleep. Last night, I was particularly tired and had fallen into a deep dream where I and someone else I didn’t know were on the coast of Maine right above the water and we were trying hard to climb to higher ground as a storm tide was threatening to wash us both off a cliff. At that point, I suddenly woke up to serious rain falling on me. I had fallen asleep on the cockpit floor and was getting soaked. Coming out of a deep sleep like that had me confused, as well as wet and scrambling, for a few moments trying to figure out which wet was the real one and which wasn’t. A little “imaginary” excitement there – all good fun, once I settled back into my senses and felt the fresh water rain (the obviously preferred form of wet) fall on my tired body.

Dave sleepin'So, if I’m sleeping, who took the photo? 42.1396W, 16.3378N 

Well, as happens everyday around this time … it’s dinnertime here at Chez Dave! A little less of a milestone than days at sea, is the fact that I’ve now sampled all my freeze-dried dinners … and I have decided on my favorites. Now I know THIS is mundane stuff … but for the next 25 nights, I will be rotating the selection, so that when I get down or especially tired or worried about weather and routes, I can save one of my favorites for that night. Tonight the menu is one of my favs … rice with chicken. No really, it’s actually pretty good. Thankfully, I did bring a bottle of Worcestershire sauce! Now, let me tell you … THAT was thinking ahead.

So, I gotta get that water boiling, so I’ll close it up here.

Again, thanks so much for following along, and those of you who are forwarding and “sharing” our stories on Facebook or Twitter, a special thanks. From my perspective – contemplating this rehydrating rice with chicken, more sounds a whole lot merrier!|

– Dave and Bodacious Dream
33.12411W, 4.50334N

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