Saturday, October 23, 2010

Final rush

So to speak, as far as rush is concerned. We have been without wind
for three days solid and this constant motoring is not very good for
morale. Fortunately, fuel is not an issue.
With the engine at 2,000 rpm, no wind and calm seas, we do a little
better than 5.6 knots. At that speed we consume around 0.85 US Gallon
per hour and we carry 85 gallons in the tank, plus for safety one
jerrycan of 5 gallons on deck. In short, we have more than 500 miles
range, which is why I knew we would not have to call into Lobito for
fuel. But during those three days, we did not sit idle. We tried to take
advantage of every little puff of wind that came by to gain a few tenths
of a knot here and there. Obviously, that meant constant adjusting of
the sails.
I had no problem arriving in Luanda with an almost empty tank. But it
won't be the same story leaving directly for Cayenne. Given the light
winds around and off shore Luanda, we will have to go south to try and
find some wind and we will have to stop in Lobito to refuel. On the way
to Cayenne, we will have to sail across the equator and confront the
dreaded doldrums. Better arrive there with a full tank.
From the start, we had been looking for the famous Benguela current
that was supposed to push us all the way to Luanda but all we found was
cold water and cold air. And now that the temperature has gone up, we
are very often confronted with one of those ebbies that is robbing us of
sometimes as much as half a knot.
The change in temperature is quite amazing. In a matter of 5 days, sea
and air have gone up to the high 80's from the low 60's. Thermal
underwear, sweaters, woolen hats and foul weather gear has gone back in
and we are back in shorts and t-shirts.
We know that the National Captain of the Portugal Brotherhood of the
Coast is visiting Angola and will leave on Sunday, so we must arrive at
least before cocktail hour on Saturday.
And there is great hope that we will succeed. At 09:00 GMT+2 this
Saturday morning, we are 28 miles away from Palmeirinhas Point, where
some of the Angolan brothers will try and meet us to guide us to the
entrance of the channel leading to the island owned by the Brotherhood.
Hopefully, we will enter the channel at 6:00 p.m. local time which will
give us time to tie up and ready ourselves for drinks.
I think a great week lies ahead of us.

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