As of yesterday afternoon, I officially found the "Trade Winds" which blow pretty consistently in this Southern part of the North Atlantic, from an Easterly direction. This means that my wind angle- with a course heading southeast towards the "Bulge of Brazil", is around 60-degrees, which is pretty close to "hard on the wind", so this results in a steep heel angle for the boat (about 25-degrees) and a lot of smashing and crashing going through or over 10' waves.... At times the boat launches off a big wave and comes crashing down on the flat forefoot with a nasty pancaking smash that sends a huge shudder through the whole boat. Hope my fillings don’t come loose from my teeth!
The other constant variable is squalls, which appear suddenly and bring sudden gusts of wind and torrential rains- although usually fairly brief- say 10 minutes. Then the wind goes light and we wallow around for a while, and then the wind comes back up to 20Kn, and off we go- hammerin' along- again. Repeat. For the next six days. Oi Vay with a schmear.
So it is tough to get things done on board like eating, drinking, maintenance and typing! Foul weather gear on- Fw gear off. Wipe up the water to try to keep the interior dry. I spend more time below than on deck and drive the boat via the auto-pilot set on true wind angle to adapt to the constantly changing conditions. I am dying for a little of "set it and forget it" conditions, but not sure when or if that will materialize in this area. But at least the wind direction is consistent!
I have not seen much in the way of birds or dolphins or whales or other ships at all. Just a vast expanse of open ocean for me and my friend GS2 to slide through. Because I am able to communicate daily by both voice and email, I don’t feel as isolated as you might think, but the reality is that I am a long way from anywhere right now, midway between Senegal and Mauritania to the East and French Guyana to the West. Heading for the Equator!
So happy day-before-Thanksgiving to all- hope you are getting your grocery shopping done and are beginning to prepare a fabulous feast!