Marco Nannini on the GOR: Struggling north

Marco Nannini on the GOR: Struggling north

Tuesday April 10 2012 Author: Marco Nannini Location: none selected

The last two days have been far from easy, as we approached the continental shelf off Cabo Frio near Rio de Janeiro we were met by the nasty Brazilian south-flowing current. The deep current is pushed to the surface and strengthens to a strong flow where the bottom of the ocean goes from thousands of meters to under a hundred in the space of few miles. The adverse flow reached nearly 2 knots just as the forecast indicated light winds ahead.

We had a tough choice to make, either head inshore in shallow waters or offshore in deep waters where the current would be less. Given the forecast at the time we headed offshore on a slow painful tack to the east as we watched Phesheya on the tracker take the opposite gamble and head inshore gainining initially many miles on us and overtaking us in the official rankings. To add to the complication a vast field of oil rigs to our north which would have been impossible to negotiate in light airs meant we had to head further east than originally planned, overnight we could see the glow of dozens of oil drilling platforms just over the horizon which looked like a distant shore of a busy coastline.

Yesterday as the wind died out we battled all day for every inch, we could have been forgiven to think we had already reached the doldrums as the conditions were very similar, windless patches broken by rain clouds and wildly variable winds, in the space of few hundred meters the wind could come from the south then from the north, 3 knots or 25. A part from the frustration progress was very poor. Overnight the situation seemed to stabilise and match the forecast easterly winds so we finally made some progress in the light air using our light winds code zero which kept us going in the elusive airs, so much so that we overtook Phesheya again.

With sunshine this morning however more rain clouds and variable airs, turning around the clock and in intensity. We wait painfully each position update, keeping our fingers crossed that the situation is just as difficult fore everyone, during the day sailing near the shore could offer some interesting local breezes so we are aware that despite a forecast that should favour our position relative to Phesheya local effects may give totally differnt sailing conditions during day time.

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