An inch at a time we fight to go north

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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.