10 January 2014

When I woke up this morning I thought at first we were at anchor. There was hardly any movement. But it must just have been a smooth patch we’d sailed through. The sea was slight though and that makes everything a lot easier.

By 1900 last night the wind had steadied enough to stop the sails flogging and get us moving. We ran goose winged before a NE F3 all night.
Marilyn had given me memory sticks full of music for my Christmas and birthday and this morning I spent a while copying it across to my ipod. There’s some really good stuff among it! Some artists I’d never heard of and some I’ll certainly try to hear more of in future. Thanks Marilyn!

Part of everyday just now is spent looking around Elsi to see how well prepared she is for the stronger winds of the south. Each day I find something that could be better stowed or lashed down or altered to suit the conditions. Today I swapped the winch handles on deck, my two best ones, for ones that are second best, just in case one happens to go over the side. I found a good place to put the biggest Spanish ham and the loose tins of coffee, tea, and odds and ends that usually lie loose around the galley.

There’s been a small zoo onboard today. We’ve had two, what looked like dragonflies, two moths and two of some other kind of fly. I’ve seen more insects this trip than I’ve seen whales!

I made a pan bannock from a recipe Mam had tucked away in a cookery book. It didn’t turn out as good as hers but it made a passable lunch for me.

The area we are sailing in to is interesting as far as weather goes. The area around the mouth of the river Plate is the place where the south going current running down the coast of Brazil meets the north going current coming up from the south. They split there are merge out into the south Atlantic.

The barometer needs to be watched closely. Low pressure systems can often deepen around this area before moving off E or SE. The geography also favours the development of secondary lows on a cold front and intensifies them. Strong SE winds, locally called Sudestadas, occasionally reach storm force.
Small anti-cyclones that pack a punch can also bring disturbed rather than fine weather to the area. These later become absorbed into the regular high pressure belt in mid ocean. This type of unstable weather rarely occurs anywhere else in the world.

Sudden storms locally called Pamperos can also form here. The cold front of a low pressure system can bring in a quick rising and violent wind from between south and west often with torrential rain. The worst of the wind is usually at the onset. About 20 Pamperos a year occur around the river Plate.

Certainly we can expect an end to the fine spell of northerly weather that has got us this far down the coast. The predominant wind from now on is likely to be from the west, from southwest to northwest.  It will make life interesting to be sure.

The wind now (1645) has backed into the west and fallen light. We are still moving but not making much headway. Hopefully it will pick up a bit later.

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