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Bulge of Brazil
December 1, 2015

Hello Sports Fans-

I'm coming to you live from the "Bulge of Brazil"- getting very close to the Equator! We (me and the boat) are roughly 430 miles away, so at a 10 knot average that would get me there in 43 hours, which would be the wee hours of Thursday morning. Crewed boats typically make a party of the Equator Crossing, with someone dressing up as King Neptune and crew members making offerings to placate the gods.

I am thinking of a Jameson and coffee with a fine cigar- a... "Gryphon"- courtesy of my good bud Jeff Hacker. So, as you can tell, I am looking forward to that- and will send a photo commemorating the moment that the GPS shows 0.00 degrees for latitude.

So life at sea here in the tropics goes on- 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. It is very warm and very windy- usually blowing about 20 knots- and the sea conditions are rough- so the boat gets very wet. It is almost comical, every time I go on deck, I am greeted by a large wall of water in the face. I feel like the clown in the circus when they do that comedy routine and some unsuspecting clown gets splattered with a bucket of water- that would be me. Usually I have just put on a clean shirt and shorts and I naively go on deck just for a little fresh air- and Wham- I get nailed with a wave in the face and get completely soaked.

So now I have shorts and t-shirts hanging everywhere in the cabin, which really don't dry in these rain-forest like conditions- and I find foul-weather gear just way too hot in this climate- so mostly I am naked (and afraid?) and nobody seems to mind. I am just covered in salt water and am really trying to avoid salt water sores, particularly on my butt, which is a common affliction for sailors. So, I will leave it there- looking for the next downpour of rain so I can run on deck and have a fresh water shower!

The boat is holding up well- I have had two reefs in the main and the Solent jib up for quite a while and the boat likes the combo of power from the jib without too much weather helm from the main. The auto-pilot steers 99% of the time and the hydro-generator puts out between 12 and 20 amps of power which is enough to run the AP's and electronics and keep the batteries topped up at over 13 volts. So I have not really had to focus on energy conservation much at all- and can use the computer and sat comms fairly freely- which is nice. If we slow down, this may change, and I am hoping the solar panels will then kick in, but they have not been major energy contributor so far. I have only run the diesel engine once so far, just to make sure it still worked.

So that’s my pre-Equator story- looking forward to visiting the southern hemisphere for only the second time under sail- the 2005 Transat Jacque Vabre from France to Salvadore, Brazil being the other time.

Stay thirsty my friends-
Joe



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