Monday, November 29, 2010

Tales of current

Since we passed Madagascar, we have had to deal with some of the world
renowned currents.
First, was the Agulhas current. We did not see much of it because of our
direct route to East London from Reunion, but we were in the current for
15 hours and we averaged 9 knots. So, not bad for this one. It deserves
its reputation.
Then, leaving from Saldanha for Luanda, we were told to watch out for
the Benguela current. All we had to do was to sail away from the coast
and when we would see the water temperature drop, we would be in the
Benguela current, pushing us north a 4 to 5 knots. We got the cold water
all right, at 150 miles from the coast, but no current. The best we ever
got was 0.25 knots, very much in line with what I had seen on the
various scientific papers available on the net.
Now, we are going from Cabedelo to Cayenne, and we were told that there
would be a conveyor belt, all the way to Cayenne, providing us with 3
knots of current. All we had to do was to go at the outside of the
continental shelf and follow it. Which is also what the Grib files from
Max Sea were saying. It is also where most of the north bound traffic
is. But the current, well, the best we got today was an average slightly
over 0.5 knots.
Maybe sailors inflate their stories about current the same way fishermen
talk about the fish that they nearly caught.

The air temperature remains high, somewhere in the high 80s and the
water temperature in the 90s, but I have some doubts about my
thermometer for the sea water. I will have to recalibrate it in Cayenne,
it seems to me to be on the high side.
We have been enjoying from the start an ESE wind 15 to 20, and we are
sailing under Gennaker alone, doing on average a little under 7 knots
through the water and a little over 7 knots over the ground. We have
another 1004 n.m. to go, and provided that the wind does not die north
of the Equator, which is a possibility that I saw on Internet before
leaving, then we might get to Cayenne either December 5th evening, or
6th in the morning. Still a long way to go.

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