keskiviikko 16. toukokuuta 2012

May 16th 2012

Homeward Bound

On the 28th of April, we woke up to a cold and rainy day. Pekka spent the morning wheeling jerry cans from the marina gate to the boat and emptying their contents into the fuel tanks, 700 litres in all, while I did some highly essential last minute shopping: ten litres of Argentinian wine and four wine glasses.

We left the marina basin at the one o'clock opening of the swing bridge in a light drizzle and headed for the tawny-coloured waters of Rio de la Plata. Just after leaving the harbour basin, we were nearly run down by a Buquebus, a water bus plying between the ports of Argentina and Uruguay. It appeared behind us quite unexpectedly like a hideous roaring monster. There must have been something wrong with its driver (I wouldn't call him a Captain!) because the bus neither slowed down nor altered its course but went right past our boat leaving us bobbing up, down, and sideways in its whirlpool wake, in the midsts of the black exhaust fumes it left behind.

Sailing-wise, South American waters were a pain right from the start and, unfortunately, this state of affairs has not improved much now that we are sailing in the opposite direction. During the first couple of days, we made good progress but after that, we weren't able to find any winds to speak of, despite our vigorous efforts. What we did find this time though was the Brazilian Current that would have helped us when sailing down the coast had we found it at the time. Now, the current is one to two knots against us!

After almost two weeks of motor-sailing, we now have winds that are blowing sporadically and at a rapidly changing speed between 15 and 40+ knots. Although our motto has always been “Better sooner than later”, three days ago we failed to take down our cruising chute (gennaker) early enough, and it split in two. That was more than disappointing! We are now short of two good sails as we lost our foresail already weeks ago when its inner forestay T-terminal broke. In addition, before leaving Buenos Aires, the compressor of our so far trustworthy deep-freezer broke irreparably but, thank God, this happened a few days before we were supposed to fill it with Argentinian beef. So, no succulent steaks to brighten our days during the long and lonely weeks at sea. If this seems like whining, it is meant to be just that!!!

Although we had the most wonderful time in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro etc. I am feeling a bit down at the moment. We began this voyage from the Caribbean, as part of the passage to Alaska, with enthusiasm and high hopes but ever since we missed the bus to South Africa, so to speak, too many things have gone wrong. As both the winds and the currents here seem to be against us whichever way we go, and due to the numerous technical failures and other problems we have been facing lately, I have seriously come to think that maybe we were not meant to take this route in the first place.

We have now been almost three weeks at sea, and our current position is 19° 02,600' S, 37° 51,488 W.

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