Captain's Log

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Day’s Run – 15 April 2019

Fired up the main engine at midday after winds pooped out all together. Looks like a couple days more at 7+ knots to steam out of these doldrums. Lots of rain last night and today. If we had an extra week or two we could sail out of these doldrums. Glad we have a good and big main engine.

Date: April 15, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, West Indies

Noon position: 03-42S / 034-46W

Course and speed: WxN x 1/2 N, or 287 degrees at 7.3 knots

Wind force and direction: winds all over the place and light

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE.  Pretty smooth

Barometer: 1015 steady

Sky: overcast all day – stationary rain squalls we motor through – winds fanning out underneath them

Water temperature: 28.2C – 83F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 92 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,903 nautical miles

Voyage log: 24,021 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 1,834 nautical miles as the shark swims

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Day’s Run – 14 April 2019

Shut down the main engine at midday with a decent sailing breeze. Hope it lasts, doubt it will. We sailed within sight of Fernando de Noronha Island at dawn. It was 26 nautical miles to the north. Picking up some current now. But not out of the doldrums yet. Sunday at sea. Dogging the watches today and switching out daymen.

Date: April 14, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies, Isles of the Blest Noon position: 04-08S / 033-17W

Course and speed: WxN or 280 degrees at 8.3 knots

Wind force and direction:  East and light at Force 1

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE. Also a northerly swell and a small SW swell. Pretty smooth

Barometer: 1014 steady – we are headed towards lower pressure in general but not towards any storm

Sky: Clear and nice at midday anyway

Water temperature: 28.8C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 199 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,811 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,939 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 1,955 nautical miles as the mahi mahi swims

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Day’s Run – 13 April 2019

Motoring still. Looks like a couple more days of this too in these equatorial calms. Could be a lot worse and looks like fresh trade winds on the other side of the equator. Got an email from King Neptune’s Scribe today. They are not amused that we have a bunch of Pollywogs aboard. Shudder….

Date: April 13, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies, Isles of the Blest

Noon position: 04-29S / 029-58W

Course and speed: WxN or 280 degrees at 7 knots

Wind force and direction: East and light at Force 1

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE. Also a northerly swell and a small SW swell. Pretty smooth

Barometer: 1015 steady – we are headed towards lower pressure in general but not towards any storm

Sky: Clear in the AM, a couple rain squalls overnight, mostly cloudy right now, light rain squalls about

Water temperature: 28.9C – 84F Distance made good in 24 hours: 174 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,612 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,740 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,135 nautical miles as the mahi mahi swims

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Day’s Run – April 12, 2019

Motoring now. Pretty calm. Big squalls last night. Head winds coming out of the west so we hove to. Saw no reason to sail back to Africa, as charming a land as it is. Torrential downpours. Sunny now. In the calms while steaming we loosed all sail to dry and just furled it. Drying out all around. I had a nice Captain’s dinner in the mess last night with Suzi, Brian, Dirk and John G. Looks like we will be motoring for a few hundred miles through calms. Now steering for a point south of Fernando de Noronha in order to catch the current along the coast.

Date: April 12, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies

Noon position: 04-48S / 027-07W we are now 312 nautical miles east of Fernando de Noronha

Course and speed: WxN or 280 degrees at 7 knots

Wind force and direction: East and light at Force 2

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE. Also a northerly swell. Pretty smooth

Barometer: 1015 steady – we are headed towards lower pressure in general but not towards any storm

Sky: cloudy and squally earlier today – nice clear skies now

Water temperature: 29C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 80 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,508 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,566 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,300 nautical miles as the frigate bird flies

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Day’s Run – 11 April 2019

Squally day today. But fair winds and a good drill for the gang to take in sail and set sails again after the squalls. We are well into the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the fancy modern name for the equatorial doldrums. So far, pretty good fair winds through this area. I still expect calms and motoring though. Soon.

On deck between squalls, sailmaking continues and Jack and Tyler are with sailmaker John. Arne and Carlos are working on setting up frames for our boat project. Deyan discovered that a porthole to the engine room door is brass so he got all excited and is stripping the paint off to polish it in amongst his more pressing projects. Today’s workshop is on determining wind direction – more complex than one would think – and then delving into the nuances of the compass, variation, deviation, etc.

Date: April 11, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies

Noon position: 05-15S / 025-54W – we are now 500 miles west of Natal, Brazil

Course and speed: WNW1/2N or 302° true at 4 knots

Wind force and direction: East South East (ESE) at force 3, more in squalls

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE. Also a northerly swell, a bit lumpy

Barometer: 1015 steady – we are headed towards lower pressure in general but not towards any storm

Sky: cloudy and squally today with periods of clear skies

Water temperature: 29C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 85 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,428 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,486 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,371 nautical miles as the frigate bird flies

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Day’s Run – 10 April 2019

At noon we are sailing along in nice winds, but surrounded by squalls. Took in royal in advance of a dark squall approaching from the starboard quarter. Yesterday afternoon winds laid down to nothing so we fired up the main engine and steamed through the night with a usable wind making up after dawn. Set sail and shut down. It could be like this the next few days. The strategy is to sail near to and north of Fernando De Noronha Island off the northeast corner of Brazil, then press on until we find the nice strong favourable currents along the coast to carry us on our way. Should see fresh northeasterly North Atlantic trades after crossing the Line.

Date: April 10, 2019

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies

Noon position: 06-00S / 024-40W

Course and speed: WNW1/2N or 302° true at 4.2 knots

Wind force and direction:  ESE at force 3

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1+ metre from the east and SE. Also a northerly swell. Must be from the NE trades across the equator

Barometer: 1016 steady

Sky: clear overhead, surrounded by rain squall clouds of cumulus vertical development

Water temperature: 29C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 134 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,343 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,401 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,458 nautical miles as the tropic bird flies

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Day’s Run – 9 April 2019

At midday we find ourselves in light easterly winds. This morning around dawn we were overtaken by a large wet squall. Not overly powerful but it covered a large patch of ocean. Lots of rain and a 90 degree wind shift  for a couple hours. Chief Mate Erin and her 4 to 8 watch did a fine job of squall management. But when the squall passed, it took our sailing breeze with it. At 7 degrees south, we are approaching the doldrums. Back in the day sailing ships could get stuck in these equatorial doldrums sometimes for weeks. Wind is the fuel of the sailing ship engine. Right now we are picking up speed to almost 3 knots so we are not doing badly at all. For now.

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies.

Date: April 9, 2019

Noon position: 07-04S / 022-41W

Course and speed: WNW or 294° true at 1.8 knots

Wind force and direction:  East at force 2

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1 – 2 metres from E and SE

Barometer: 1017 steady

Sky: Half covered with cloud, some cumulus vertical development, sunny, blue skies

Water temperature: 28.6C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 110 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,209 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,267 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,594 nautical miles as the barracuda swims

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Day’s Run – 8 April 2019

A fresh trade wind sailing day. Studding sails set again. On this blue water breezy day, we are making good westing towards the hump of Brazil, and we find ourselves surrounded by spinner dolphin. Work stops (don’t see much of this back on the farm), and the gang lines the rails to watch the antics of these aquatic acrobats. They seem to jump and frolic just for fun. Why not? This can last for hours.

Working on our Palmerston cutter, grinding the quarterdeck to get the years of old linseed oil off so we can start to oil the wood again instead of varnishing old oil. Sailmakers sewing away. Anne-Laure putting in a new plank on the quarterdeck too. Who knows what the engineers are doing in the engine room?

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: Grenada, Windward Isles, Eastern Caribbean of the West Indies

Date: April 8, 2019

Noon position: 07-12S / 020-50W

Course and speed: WxN or 280° true at 6 knots

Wind force and direction: ESE at force 4-5

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 2-3 metres from the SE

Barometer: 1016 steady

Sky: Half-covered with cloud, cumulus, sunny, blue skies

Water temperature: 28.6C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 134 nautical miles

Passage log: 1,099 nautical miles

Voyage log: 23,057 nautical miles

Distance to next port: 2,696 nautical miles as the barracuda swims

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Day’s Run – 7 April 2019

A fresh trade wind sailing day. Winds picked up overnight. Studding sails taken in. Light rain squalls, not much. Steering for what I think is the narrowest part of the equatorial doldrums near the eastern bump of Brazil for a quick transit to the region of the equator.

Make and mend Sunday. New gang working on sailmaking/ditty bags. Someone playing a flute up forward. Patches going on shorts. Thoughts going to an equator crossing and into the Caribbean. I think we will pick up speed as we get along the Brazil coast and the strong favourable current there will take us across the mouths of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers.
Some crew talking about staying for the summer trip into the Great Lakes. Very different than this but keenly valuable and interesting as well.

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: The West Indies – Grenada

Date: April 7, 2019

Noon position: 07-36S / 018-38W

Course and speed: WxN or 280° true at 6 knots

Wind force and direction: ESE at force 4-5

Seas/well: moderate seas of 2-3 metres from the SE

Barometer: 1017 steady

Sky: Half-covered with cloud, cumulus, sunny, blue skies

Water temperature: 28.4C – 84F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 130 nautical miles

Distance to next port: pretty far, 2,818 nautical miles as the barracuda swims

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Day’s Run – 6 April 2019

Day came in with low broken clouds and a beautiful sunrise. Winds had laid down overnight and a new swell had come from somewhere to the south to give us a roll. But deck wash down gets going anyway. Halyards and braces get a pull in the early morning light to renew the nip and get the slack out. The way of ship at sea carries on. We have been using too much fresh water, Engineer Deyan tells me. We have passed the word to all crew but have seen no change. We will need to tighten this up a bit. We make plenty of fresh water in our water makers but do not want to be running them all day. With strict rationing, we can go for four months with our tanks until they are dry. With no discipline at all the water could be gone in a week or two. It is getting warmer, showers are increasingly popular. On other fronts, ditty bags are coming along. Kimba, Sue, James, Corey, and Nicholas are out every day with the ship’s sextants, shooting the sun.

From: St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

Towards: The West Indies – Grenada

Date: April 6, 2019

Noon position: 07-59S / 016-28W

Course and speed: NW at 5.5 knots

Wind force and direction: ESE at force 4

Seas/swell: moderate seas of 1 to 2 metres from the SE

Barometer: 1017 steady

Sky: Half-covered with cloud, cumulus

Water temperature: 27.7C – 82F

Distance made good in 24 hours: 118 nautical miles

Distance to next port: pretty far, 2,948 miles as the albatross flies

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