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Join us as we sail around the world - share our joy, experiences, trials and tribulations as we proceed.
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JUN
25
0

New set of sails

We are about to order a new set of sails from Ullman for Revelations - mainsail, genoa and spinnaker. Considering all the available materials is complicated and complex - with no easy right or wrong answers, nor a "perfect" solution. For blue water cruising, sails simply have to last – it is false economy using a cheaper product if it fails mid ocean. Most of us have sailed with a spinnaker or cruising chute at some time and you may remember the sail is flying unsupported from the spars, hence occasionally the sail will fill and collapse. Often this can be be with quite a 'pop' and for this reason we want the sail to absorb some of that 'shock' and so we choose a slightly forgiving fabric.

Ullman

We usually choose Nylon as it has a little more elasticity as a fibre and it's usually woven in a form these days that we call Ripstop. Which means it has a square weave pattern that is formed by periodically twisting a few fibre together to increase tear strength, or occasionally by added a larger fibre into the weave at even spaces.

So, Nylon downwind sail fabric is very light, a little stretchy and surprisingly strong. The fabric weight is usually expressed firstly within a generic weight category - such as '3/4 ounce', or '1 1/2 ounce' and then as a style name with a more detailed weight that may well now be in grams.

Most importantly these materials are available in attractive colours so you can personalise your sail and keep the crew entertained! Either of the weight categories will 'fly' in quite light winds even as smaller sails - but often the heavier wind range sails (or more all purpose sails) will be in the 1 1/2 ounce weight range. Because the lightest material comes at the expensive of some durability and tear resistance if the sail handling isn't quite as slick as you had planned for!

In cruising sails usually 3/4 ounce is good for light symmetrical shaped spinnakers and 1 1/2 ounce is best for heavy symmetrical shaped spinnakers, asymmetric and cruising chutes. There are also heavier weights of downwind sail fabrics for bigger yachts and for racing sails there are lighter ones ... some are more heavily coated with a stabilising resin to make a harder 'crispier' feel and support that unsupported flying sail shape.

Upwind sail fabrics are more complex and since there are more variations in weight and factors of construction to consider. The absolutely most robust and longest lasting sailcloth available in the world is Dimension-Polyant ‘Hydra-Net’. If the boat is going to be extensively cruised, particularly long offshore or in adverse conditions we recommend a style of material called Hydra-net. This material is a woven mix of Polyester and Spectra producing the most rugged and reliable sailcloth available. This material is very low stretch and provides ultimate reliability; ‘Hydra-net’ therefore provides the most rugged long lasting Blue Water sail cloth available on the market. ‘Hydra-net’ is also the softest fabric option available and is therefore the easiest to handle; this is relevant whether the sails are for roller reefing or folded into Lazy Jack systems. All other materials will be quite firm and therefore bulkier than your existing older sails and would be harder to fold away, however ‘Hydra net’ is soft and pliable and easily rolled and folded, this means that ‘Hydra-net’ is ideally suited for short-handed cruising. The final advantage of ‘Hydra net’ is that it has excellent UV resistant properties. Hydra-net is the fabric of choice for blue water cruising yachts. The ‘Hydra-net’ fabric comes in two different styles, one suitable for cross cut sails and the other for radial constructed sails. The cross cut version is fairly balanced with Spectra/Dyneema running in both directions. This fabric is the absolutely most robust and softest/easiest to fold/roll fabric available on the market, for a Blue water cruising boat or an aging family crew where soft and easy to handle sails are desired then the cross cut version of ‘Hydra Net’ is absolutely perfect. This material also has a unique to Dimension-Polyant a UVi coating in the resin that helps to protect the sail from harmful UV exposure and can increase the materials lifespan by around 15%The fabric performs better than most woven Dacron but is stretchier and therefore inferior in shape retention when compared to laminates or the radial version. The stretch that does occur is fairly elastic so any elongation that does occur is not permanent, but it does mean that although a high quality product this material is aimed at ease of handling rather than performance.

‘Hydra-net Radial’ has far more Dyneema running along the warp and offers far superior shape retention and therefore performance, yet the fabric is almost as soft and easy to handle as the cross cut version. ‘Hydra-net Radial’ out performs all other woven materials including ‘Vectran’ and most laminates. For a blue water cruising yacht where performance and shape retention is desired ‘Hydra-net Radial’ is the perfect material. The radial version is far better suited for high aspect sails and this is the style we have quoted for This material also has a unique to Dimension-Polyant a UVi coating in the resin that helps to protect the sail from harmful UV exposure and can increase the materials lifespan by around 15%.

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JUL
20
3

Video sailing to French Guiana

We made a video compilation of our voyage from Cabedelo, Brazil to Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana spanning several days of sailing and events we encounter en route.

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JUL
16
0

Sailing to French Guiana

We left Cabedelo on the outgoing tide at around 09H00 and slowly motored down the river to the open sea - yacht Entheos not far behind us. As we got near the harbour mouth the the water started changing to a milky green colour and there was a slight swell. We motored for about 2 nautical miles off shore before first raising the main sail and then unfurling the jib - then setting the course north east away from the coast. We easily and quickly settled into the sailing routine and by day two, we were in good sailing rhythm and mode.

Sue would do the 18H00 to 24H00 hour shift allowing me to get some sleep and I would do the 24H00 to 06H00 shift. From 06H00 to around 09H00, Sue would steer the yacht whilst I catch a nap for a couple of hours and I would then take over until 18H00 allowing Sue time to take care of other yacht duties, prepare food and also take a break. It is hard work for two people alone to sail a big yacht like Revelations and it was tiring. For the first 5 days we had some good winds, mostly between 10 and 18 knots and we made good progress - on some days in excess of 180 nautical miles.

After rounding the corner of Brazil, now heading almost a straight line to French Guiana, we considered stopping at Forteleza and get the B&G technicians located in Salvador to come and fix the problematic auto pilot. After discussing this amongst ourselves for a while, we radioed Entheos about our intentions to which they indicated that it was a good consideration. As we got nearer to Forteleza, we realized that whilst we would enter the marina before sunset, Entheos who was some 20 nautical miles behind us would only arrive after dark and given all the problems (theft, break-ins, crime, etc.), this was not a good situation. This would mean that Entheos will have to anchor outside the marina and only enter in daylight the following day. It is whilst anchoring where almost all the yachts calling at Forteleza gets robbed and often get beaten up in the process by armed men. Sue and I then agreed to rather sail all the way to French Guiana and to skip Forteleza all together. I once again radioed Entheos to notify them of this problem, but whilst detailing the Forteleza problem to Bertie, he interrupted and out of nowhere announced that they intended sailing to a place called "Lencois" on the northern Brazil coast and stay there for about five days. Considering the several months we waited for them to get their yacht repaired whilst in Salvadore, this unilateral announcement came as a surprise. But we were happy with this new situation as there has been a number of incidents, under lying tensions and disagreements between us, best not dwelled upon - this meant that we could now finally forge ahead on our own.

We then changed course by some 20 degrees more northwards, headed for deeper water and a straight line to French Guiana. Contrary to the weather predictions, the wind was on our starboard beam and we had to drop the spinnaker and raise the main sail and unfurl the jib. We had some good speed runs and for the first 3 days we covered 160 to 190 nautical miles per day. As we got near the equator, the wind shifted and substantial dropped in speed - we were clearly entering the renown doldrums. We raised the spinnaker again and were content with the much slower pace - we were still making good boat speed in relation to the wind speed. At night, squalls (rain clouds) would overtake us and the wind speed would then increase dramatically - from a mundane 7 knots it would increase to 15 to 18 knots. For an hour or so each time, things would get a bit hectic as the boat speed increase accordingly and everything was wet.

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On a dark moon less and cloudy night, on the radar we saw another squall approaching us and I went through the usual preparations - close all the hatches, pack all the loose item in the cockpit away, put on our foul weather gear to prevent me from getting drenched. But as I found out later, this squall was very different and much more powerful than all the other squalls. The wind speed increased as expected, it went to 9 knots for a couple of minutes - steadily increasing to what I expected at around 18 knots. When the squall was directly overhead, the wind speed rapidly accelerated to 25 knots! That was when things started to really get hectic on Revelations - Sue was asleep and with the autopilot not working, I was at the helm working hard to keep the yacht on course. Unable to leave the helm to either call Sue to come and help or drop the spinnaker, all I could due was steer Revelations on a course where the full force of the wind had the least effect on the spinnaker. I managed this for around 10 minutes, but then the wind increased yet again - now blowing 30 knots and gusting close to 35 knots. It was during one of these gusts that all hell broke loose - the spinnaker exploded with a loud bang and were crazily flapping around in the wind. The already lumpy seas where whipped up in a state of confusion, it was pouring buckets of rain and the wind was howling - it took us an hour to lower the remains of the spinnaker, sort out the entangled sheets on the front deck and stow everything away. That was the end of our beloved spinnaker - a mistake on my part for under estimating the power of the squall.

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So it was back to the mainsail and jib, although we did not loose much boat speed it was not as easy steering Revelations as it was with the spinnaker. We sailed like this for another two days and then the topping lift (the sheet holding the boom up) broke. This did not effect anything much as the fully deployed main sail was holding the boom up. The remaining piece of the topping lift coming out on top of the mast entangled itself around one of the shrouds, this meant that it would not fall back down the mast and it would be easy to later run a new sheet through the mast back to the boom. We sailed like this for several days doing a mundane 4 to 5 knot in boat speed. Whilst the boom was swinging around occasionally in typical sailing fashion, I noticed that the base of the mast would move slightly every time the boom would come up short. I have never seen the mast doing this before, this was disconcerting and I decided to drop the main sail and proceed sailing with the jib only. Again, we did not loose much speed with only the jib powering Revelations and everything seemed alright. But two days later, when I looked up the mast, I noticed that the remaining topping lift untangled itself and fell down in the mast - so now we have a piled up sheet within the mast. I tried pulling out from the base of the mast - but it is stuck and any further pulling will probably caused additional damage.

We encountered a strange magnetic anomaly close the French Guiana continental shelve. The compass completely swung upside down - North now pointed to South and vice verse. For around an hour or so, we were stumped by all of this, with the chart plotter saying one thing and the compass saying the opposite - clearly something was badly wrong. But what is wrong, which instrument was incorrect and which one was correct or were they both wrong. In the middle of the night, overcast and with no moon causing complete darkness, unable to see land and take bearings - for awhile we felt completely lost. I was rattled and was quite concerned that we might be sailing to some unknown destination. We brought Revelations to lie a hull , now virtually standing still and drifting with the current, I rigged up a portable GPS device and connected it to my laptop and navigation software. That was when we found out that the compass was totally incorrect and that the now North was actually South. With this new found knowledge, we made a couple of mental adjustments and continued sailing - this time without taking much notice of the compass. Some 80 nautical miles later, the compass slowly swung to the correct heading and a couple of hours later, things went back to normal. But it was a strange and new experience - feeling completely lost.

Still three days away from Ilse du Salut, the port engine started using water. At first, I thought that the water pump sprung a leak due to a worn out bearing. So I filled the inter cooler up with fresh water - but one day later, the warning light once again came on. Upon closer inspection, I found oil within the inter cooler and this meant serious trouble - oil in the water cooling system and water in the lubricating oil. We shut the port engine down and for the rest of the voyage only used the starboard engine. We finally sailed into French Guiana waters and a day later tide up at a floating buoy at the Isle du Salut. We now have an extensive list of repairs to be done when we reach Trinidad & Tobago - although I will try and get the starboard engine overhauled whilst we are here.

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JUL
16
0

Insane thoughts of the human autopilot.

With the autopilot once again not working for the entire Cabedelo to French Guiana voyage, having turned the steering wheel thousands upon thousands of times to port and to starboard, non stop for 11 continuous days, for 16 hours average every day is enough to drive anyone insane. Eyes glued mostly to the compass, trying to steer a straight line in seas which throw the yacht around the same way a lion would toy with a mouse, at times fighting the wheel due to strong winds exerting strong counter pressure of the steering wheel, eyes frequently glancing at the other instruments, weariness setting in, the enivetable loss of focus, the body cramping with pain and the continuous steering corrections - all this takes a heavy toll and one is exhausted after a couple of days. So here is a small sample of thoughts whilst doing this - enough to drive you insane after days of this;

turn to starboard to 330 degrees, it's getting there but slowly, turn more, OK there she goes, now 300 degrees, ease up slightly on the wheel, now 320 degrees, ease up more, just a light more, 325 degrees, almost there, 330 degrees - spot on, oh shit - it's gone beyond, turn to port, more to port, OK back to 330 degrees, keep it there, it's going off course, turn to port, too much, back to starboard, just a little, damn - that wave threw us off course, now it's back to 320 degrees, get it back to 330 degrees, little increments, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees to go, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, check the tell tales, ease up a little on the jib, damn - we have gone 25 degrees off course, steer to starboard, more to starboard, ease up a little, almost there, just a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, hold it there, don't let it drift, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, micro correction to port, it's good, now again drifting to starboard, the wind is slacking, now at 340 degrees, turn to port, more to port, almost there, wind is up again, now steering 315 degrees, turn to starboard, a wind gust, much more to starboard, that's too much, back to port again, keep it there, turn a little to starboard, that's good, we are going off course, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, now 330 degrees, that's good, I need a cigarette, shit - 25 degrees off course, turn the wheel hard to port, ease up a little, 5 degrees back to port, slightly too much, check whether there are any lights out there, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, the AIS alarm is going off, check the AIS info, a cargo vessel coming up from behind - 10 nautical miles away, de-activate the alarm, back to the chartplotter, check the compass, oh shit we have gone way off course again, 30 degrees to starboard, 20 more degrees, 10 more degrees, ease up a little, over corrected, steer 5 degrees to port, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, what is the wind speed, damn - drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees, damn that wave, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, there it is, keep it there, a micro turn to starboard, the wind has shifted slightly, steer 10 degrees to port, there we go, a little to port, that's good, the wind is gusting, now at 345 degrees, turn to port, more to port, a little more to port, spot on, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, keep it there, hold it, hold it, turn to port, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, scan the horizon for lights, shit - 20 degrees off course, 15 degrees to starboard, 5 more degrees, that's good, check the AIS for that cargo ship, now 9 nautical miles away, she is no threat and will pass well to starboard, sails are flapping, we are 40 degrees off course, turn hard to starboard, more, more still, OK - she is swnging around, ease up on the wheel, just a liitle more, 330 degrees again, hold it there, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the wind indicator, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees, damn that wave, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, a little more to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 10 degrees to port, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310, turn to starboard, more to starboard, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees,again that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, check that cargo ship, now 8 nautical miles away far out on our port side , damn - 20 degrees off course, turn the wheel hard to starboard, now 10 more degrees back to starboard, ease up the last 5 degrees, slightly too much, steer back to port, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees to go, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, ease up a little, almost there, just a liitle more, 330 degrees again, hold it, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting again, steer 5 degrees to port, a bit more, spot on, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, off course by 10 degrees again, steer to starboard, 5 degrees more, almost there, on course, a little to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 5 degrees to port, too much, correct to starboard, 5 more degrees, that's good, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, drifted 5 degrees to starboard, steer a little to port, that's good, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course again, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard now, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, steer a bit to starboard, more to starboard, another wind gust, now 10 degrees off course, steer to port, easy now, a liitle bit more, that's it, back to 330 degrees, drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, back to 330 degrees, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 315 degrees, damn this sea, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 5 degrees to port, a few degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, slightly too much, correct to port, that's good, 330 degrees again, hold it there, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, check that cargo ship again, it's far out on our port side, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, ........ on and on and on and on .....

To get the real insane feeling of what it is like, you need to read the above a couple of thousand times ... over and over. Enough to drive anybody insane!

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443 Hits
JUL
02
0

Checked out of Brazil

We have now officially checked out of Brazil and will lift anchor at 06H00 (Brazil time) on 2 July 2015 and set course for Iles du Salut, French Guyana. We had some document difficulties with Customs this morning as they questioned us about the goods we imported from South Africa a couple of months ago. Then they wanted to see whether we have the goods and that it will be leaving with us. So it was all the way back to Revelations and we had to turn the boat upside down to retrieve the goods. Forty minutes later, sweating and swearing under our breaths, they were satisfied and then it was back to their offices to complete all the paperwork. At around 15H15 we were finally done and returned to Revelations which was now in a state of chaos.

We will not be able to communicate en-route due to equipment problems, nether will we be able to send updates nor position reports to this website. We should be at the “Iles Du Salut” islands in about 9 to 12 days from now. But we will only go ashore 5 to 8 days later to moor at a marina, do the check in procedures, then try and arrange internet access. If all goes well, you can expect to hear from us in about 16 to 20 days. Cheers until then!

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465 Hits
JUN
30
2

Anticipated departure date - 2 June 2015

We have been checking the weather and it seems that Thursday 2 June 2015 will be a good time to leave Cabedelo, Brazil and set sail for French Guyana. There are still a couple of things we have to do, pack things away, stock up on some food stuff and get Revelations ready for sea. If the weather holds, we will do our check out procedures this Wednesday coming and cast off the mooring lines early Thursday morning.

Unfortunately, due to equipment failure, we will not be able to post any updates nor position reports on this blog. We should arrive in French Guyana within 9 to 11 days from date of departure. However, before checking in at the official port in French Guyana and getting internet access again, we plan to visit some remote islands, called Iles Du Salut, for a couple of days - the same islands where the film "Papillon" was shot. The now abandoned prison is still there and it will make for an interesting stop. This means that we will only post messages here again around 15 days after leaving Cabedelo.

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964 Hits
JUN
29
0

Time to move on

We have been in Brazil for almost 5 months and we need to leave soon and continue our world cruise. We are now starting to look at our next destination, French Guyana which is about 1200 nautical miles sailing distance from Cabedelo, Brazil. We initially wanted to stop at Forteleza and then later at Belem in the Amazon, but having read many bad reports about crime, theft and several other issues, we decided to skip these destinations and head directly for French Gayana.

This will be the longest continuous voyage we have done by ourselves and we anticipate that the first couple of days will be tiring until we find our sea legs. The wind is mostly from behind and this will greatly assist in making this voyage more pleasant and comfortable - also less strain on Revelations. We pan on sailing well offshore and thereby not encounter all the coastal fishing boats.

FrenchGuyana

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976 Hits
MAY
24
0

Video leaving Salvador

I finally managed to get some video work done - this video was awhile back when we left the port of Salvador on our way to Recife.

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815 Hits
MAY
10
0

Arrived at Recife, Brazil

We cast off the mooring lines at 06H00 on 6 May 2015 and slowly motored out of Terminal de Nautico Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. Once out of the marina, we set course for the open sea and with one engine running, we engaged the autopilot. The autopilot repeatedly would not engaged and showed the one fault after the other. Just as we started fearing that we would have to hand steer all the way to Recife, the autopilot finally agreed to work and do it's job. We motored out of the Salvador bay and as we clear the last cardinal sign, we motored some 5 nautical mile off shore then steered to port and set a course of 50 degrees heading up the coast to Recife.

At 10 nautical miles off shore, we encountered clean blue water and it was time to start the water maker. We pumped all the fresh but undrinkable water out of our water tanks, then started the water maker and several hours later, we had 700 liters (full tanks) of almost pure fresh water. With 8 to 10 knots of winds, our boat speed was between 5 and 7 nautical miles per hour, it was time to troll some lures behind the yacht.

Several hours later, we had a strike on the bungee cord lure and caught a big male Dorado. Whilst reeling in the Dorado to the yacht, the Penn reel on the rod started screaming - strike two within a few minutes of each other. Sue ran over to the rod and started tightening the reel, perhaps a bit too tight as the line broke and that fish survived another day. What ever it was, judging from the speed the line was stripped from the reel, it was a really big fish. The Dorado we caught was the biggest we have caught to date and must have weighed between 15 and 20 kilograms. It was a real commotion cleaning, gutting and cutting up the fish in meal size portions - the fish yielded at least 14 meals each for the two of us. We caught another big Dorado on day two and yet another big Dorado on day three which we gave to Entheos as our freezers where full.

Due to the wind direction, we were beating most of the way and on two occasions, the wind kept pushing us closer to the land. We had to start the engines and motored for several hours each time heading offshore. We could then alter course and could start sailing again. Not having long distance sailed for several months, this leg of our journey was tiring, we only found our sea legs and got into sailing routine on day three. On Friday evening, we extensively furled in the jib so that Entheos could keep up with us and at sunrise we where 20 nautical miles away from Recife. At 11H00, we were inside the marina, Cabanga Iate Clube, where we securely moored Revelations in the tightest and most awkward mooring space ever.

RecifeRoute1

RecifeRoute2

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814 Hits
MAY
06
0

Enroute to Recife

We are finally leaving Salvador and heading to Recife - some 300 nautical miles north towards the Carribbean. Well, not quite yet ... we will be leaving in the next hour or so. We anticipated that we will be in Recife by Saturday or Sunday and well again post here once we arraged internet access. Cheers until then!

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827 Hits
MAY
04
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Scary moment

Sailing under spinnaker, we did around 11 knots with the wind almost directly from behind at around 15 to 18 knots. The waves were also coming from behind – about at 4 and 5 o’clock. All of a sudden, from this direction a big wave passed under the yacht lifting the starboard stern, the port bow dug deep into the water and with this, Revelations started surfing the wave doing over 15 knots and then started to broach to starboard. The yacht leaned over at one hell of an angle and for a couple of seconds it felt as if she was going to capsize. The starboard hull was clear out of the water and the autopilot was not quick enough to counter act by steering to port. By the time I sprung into action disengaging the autopilot and to steer to port, it was all over and the yacht correct herself. That was quite close! Too close! Next time around, when doing those speeds and with waves coming from that direction, I will have a drag device in the water.

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Flying at 11 knots

With my somewhat incapacitating injuries, we decided to head back to the bay of Salvador and once again visit Itaparica for the weekend. We motored out of Enseada de Garapua bay and after some distance from the shore, we turned north and once again headed towards Salvador. We raised the spinaker and within a couple of minutes adjusting the sail for optimum performance, we were sailing at 11 knots in 14 knots of wind. Although the sea state was rough and choppy from the strong winds the previous evening, it felt exhilirating and good to be on the move again.

11Knots

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Sailing to Morro de Sao Paulo

We left Salvador and headed south towards Morro de Sao Paulo on the island called "Ilha Gamboa". It was supposed to be a 30 nautical mile sail, as the crow flies, but we changed our plans en route and ended up doing around 50 nautical miles. Our water tanks were just about empty and the idea was to use the desalinator (watermaker) enroute and fill our tanks with drinkable water. Whilst sailing out of the bay of Salvador, I pumped the remaining fresh but undrinkable water out of our water tanks. With the tanks now empty and the water maker rigged up, we sail south waiting for blue clean sea water before we could start the desalinator. But several nautical miles later and still with very murky sea water all around us, it became clear that we will have to head offshore for us to find clean blue sea water. So we changed course and headed east in the direction of Africa - but this meant we were well off the planned route and that we would be sailing much further than anticipated. Now some 15 nautical miles offshore in much deeper water, we eventually found the much sought after clean seawater and we could start the desalinator - but this meant a detour of around 18 nautical miles.

For you guys who do not quite understand why we had to find clean sea water, a desalinator plant pumps sea water through very fine membranes filters. These filters allows freshwater molecules to pass through but prevents the much larger salt molecules from passing through. So at the one end, salt water is pumped into the machine and the membranes separates (for lack of a better word) some of the water molecules from the salt molecules. These filters are quite expensive and eventually they block up and have to be discarded. The life of these filters are very short if you pumped murky or dirty sea water through them and for this reason, it is best to always pump clean sea water through the filters.

We left Salvador around 10H00 in the morning and anticipated that we will arrive at Morro de Sao Paulo some 6 hours later - at 15H00 which allowed ample daylight time to find a suitable place to anchor. But with this 18 nautical mile detour our arrival was delayed and we arrived at dusk with rapidly failing light. We found the place to be quite busy with very little space to anchor along the narrow stretch of suitable water depth. This meant that we had to sail another 2 nautical miles to Gamboa and arrived in almost total darkness, not a comfortable situation - unknown and unfamiliar place in darkness is looking for trouble.

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Checking out of Salvador

In South Africa you can check in at a certain port in one province and then check out at a port in another province. Here in Brazil, when going to another province, you have to check out when leaving a province and then check in again when you arrive at a port in another province. We are just about done with Salvador and it is time to leave, so we grabbed the powerboards and set off to do the check out procedures at the Police Federal and Port Captain.

Unlike when we arrived in Brazil and walking our arses off in high humidity and oppressing heat, in pouring rain we zipped through the traffic and a couple of minutes later, we arrived at the offices of Police Federal - completely drenched. Kicking up water and mud, the spray from the powerboard wheels made us a sight for sore eyes. The officials took about thirty minutes to sort the paper work and we were sent on our way to the Port Captain. Once there, we were asked when we intend leaving and our next port of call - which is Morro de Sao Paulo then Camamu and then Recife.

We have now checked out of Salvador and plan on departing here on Friday (latest Saturday). Yeah! Laughing

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Next destination

We discussed our next destination with Bertie and Theresa from Entheos and before sailing directly to Recife, we agreed to first visit "Morro de Sao Paulo" and then "Camamu" some 30 and 60 nautical miles respectively South of Salvador. These are anchorages (not marinas), we will have to anchor and will be without electricity and other conveniences (internet, water, etc.) whilst we are there. We do not plan to stay there for long - at best, no longer than a week after which we will head North up the Brazilian coast to Recife. We are now preparing the yachts for this short voyage and will most likely depart here on Thursday or Friday - weather permitting.

NextDestination

 

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