Captain’s Log – Off Brazil in Fresh Winds

The circumperambulating Barque Picton Castle sailed dramatically out of sweet sunny SE tradewinds a few days ago and into the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ hereafter). For a couple days we had squalls every hour or so, and squalls with some good push in them as well. Got her going over 9 knots at times under t’gallants. But these wind increases came in surges, and did not smack us hard. The ITCZ is also called the “doldrums” and you can expect big patches of calms. This we are not seeing, so far excellent passage-making fair breezes. Still pretty cloudy though. And warm, both seas and air are 84F or 28C degrees. Seas good sized at 10 to 16 feet, 3 to 5 meters. The moon is down to a fingernail. Nights are dark and good for stargazing when clouds permit.

We have seen a lot of ships lately, including two Norwegian flag ships. We see lots of Danish owned (but not flagged) ships, Maersk Line, a big company. A number of ships 1,300 feet long and over 200 feet in the beam. That is HUGE!!!! As I write here at midday there is one called Amis Justice, IMO# 373361000, that is headed right for us. She be 10 miles away. We will be calling them up on the VHF soon, to find out how they intend on avoiding us so we do not jig into thier path in our efforts to avoid them. Just a few day ago a ship changed course to get a better look at this sailing ship from another era. Called us up and said all sorts of nice things about how this ship looked rolling down the tradewinds under sail. Nice to hear this once in a while. By the way, the Amis Justice decided not to collide with us after all, after Spring had a chat with them on the VHF radio. Good job.

Been catching some fish lately. A big wahoo followed by a couple skipjack.

Clara and Dan are working on the new t’gallant yard. 8″ square spruce timber 27 feet long is getting shaped into a new yard. Wood chips everywhere. It is set up on sawhorses on the main deck. Fun job to do. This timber has been stored for years in the starboard scuppers aft in the breezeway, chocked up, lashed and getting soaked with saltwater every day and seasoning as well. Should make a nice yard.

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