Easter at sea

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We've been at sea nearly 6 days, half the world is on holiday for a long
Easter weekend, for us it's been more wind and waves as we sail north east
hoping to soon reach the trade winds. Ahead of us the bottom corner of
Brasil with Rio de Janeiro and a tangle of variable light winds to deal

Progress has come as a very mixed pack of cards, after breaking away from
the coast of Uruguay we spent two days battling with strong headwinds,
bashing to windward never feels fun after any length of time spent ashore,
so it was uncomfortable and tiring, eventually a weather front came
through bringing strong gusty winds but also the long awaited wind shift,
the sails were freed and we started making faster progress to the north.

The winds were unsettled at first and this required endless adjustments to
the trim and sail changes which left me exhausted, when finally the wind
came aft we sailed conservatively at first but as the conditions
stabilised we started increasing sail, first with the small spinnaker,
then the medium and eventually we enjoyed a beautiful run in a sunny sky
under the big spinnaker.

During this period we managed to increase our lead over Phesheya and Sec
Hayai and nearly caught up Cessna, coming to within 4 miles of the
leaders, the winds had favoured us and our relative position to the others
to the left of the pack had paid off hansomely just for fortunes to be
reversed when their initial investment to the east started to pay
dividends. We found ourself sailing dead downwind towards our target
forcing us to gybe several times and losing ground both to the leading
boat and to the followers.

As the winds continue to shift our spinnaker run came to an end in
decreasing winds, in the space of half a day we went from sailing downwind
to beating upwind again, progress has been very slow since, especially as
we are pushing against the unfavourable Brasilian current which runs from
north to south decreasing our speed by nearly a knot. The wind is light
and very variable, often shifting by 20-30 degrees in the space of few
minutes, the leading boat seems to have found more stable winds throughout
and has progressively increased the lead, Phesheya once the last boat of
the fleet trailing us by over 60 miles has made excellent progress and is
now just over 15 miles behind.

We have another two-three days of light variable winds ahead which can
bring mixed fortunes to each boat, our eyes are firmly set on the easterly
trade winds a few days sailing ahead of us, once we manage to feel the
gentle flow of their predictable air we should start making fast progress
towards the equator and the doldrums, another challenging part of the

We're pleased with our progress so far hanging onto second place, we
incurred no damage during the strong gusty winds and managed to keep
control of Phesheya although we know that the next few days of light winds
could reshuffle positions at any time so we have to keep our focus.