Saturday, 27 December 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Ilha Bon Jesus Anchorage:
What you don't see here is the thousand bright
red parrots in the trees!

After picking up Tanya in Salvador, and a few days playing tourist, we left the marina to find somewhere a bit more quaint for Christmas. We chose an island in the North of the Salvador Bay area called (perhaps appropriately?) Ilha Bom Jesus – “Good Jesus”. Not a familiar setting for Christmas – mangroves, palms and parrots :)

Monday, 22 December 2014

A Ballad of many Sails

While sailing thousands of miles in our Ballad, we had a chance to try various sail combinations and test the rig in most weather conditions. Some things worked as intended, some didn't. I am hoping that an in-depth summary of our experience can be of use to other small yacht sailors - whether you are sailing an Albin Ballad or a different make, whether cruising in coastal waters or crossing oceans.
Sailing downwind in a gale
The scope of this article is somewhat ambitious, especially considering the shear number of books written on the subjects of sail trim, heavy weather sailing and cruising rigs. So I will stick to what we learned ourselves, with a few speculations on potentially desirable improvements thrown in for good measure.

Road Trippin - in Boa Vista, Sal

The posts on our blog are organized by labels - and "maintenance" is still the most frequent one, followed by "sailing". With gigabytes of unprocessed photos and videos from some amazing islands, we are hoping that eventually a new label - "places" - will win the upper hand. After all, yachting has been described as "fixing the boat in some exotic locations".

As a small foretaste, I have managed to upload some photos from Boa Vista - one of the islands we visited while exploring the Cape Verde islands.  To the restless, a rented scooter offers a Wild West feel. Upon leaving behind the capital, Sal Rei (a typical mix of the beach-side surf schools, souvenir shops and poor WiFi, and beyond - Brakka, a slum with its own mix of cultures, religions and music, a place to have a beer and play table football and to witness a unique Sufi service - combining Islam with traditional African music and tribal rites - in the same evening), the road shows the islands contrasting nature - changing from Autobahn quality to Portugese cobble stone road to dirt track and back repeatedly.

Across the Line

For the delivery from Cape Verde to Brazil - our longest passage to date, we were joined by our friend Simon. Simon promised to make an appearance as a guest writer on our blog, recapping his first ocean sailing experience. In the meantime I would like to mention a memorable highlight of the trip - crossing the equator!
For centuries, this event had a special significance for every sailor, especially those crossing the line for the first time - a.k.a. the slimy pollywogs (us!). Unexpectedly, it turned out that Simon was a trusty shellback - i.e. someone who has crossed the equator before, and has been subjected to the associated induction ceremony (aged 4). It was thus only natural for him to take charge of the proceedings.