We’re on the road again, the longest leg yet! Fourteen sailors aboard (plus one, more on that later) – each looking forward to the next four weeks with a different mixture of excitement and apprehension. On board, as per usual, Clare and James on 6-hour skippering rotation, and three watches: Jon, Sarah T, Lynda and Emma; Cliggy, Andy, Raffe and Bob; Nick, Sarah M, Alice and Rachel, working a 4/4/4/2/4/2/4 hour watch rotation midnight-to-midnight.
All aboard we arranged our stuff in our bunks and did the checks in the sweltering heat, taking donut breaks in the cockpit to cool off, while James braved the port authorities – setting a new longest record yet of five hours! Raffe helmed us out of Marina da Gloria against the stunning backdrop of the granite mountains rising vertically from the water, and we spent the afternoon motorsailing along the first of several 40-odd mile beaches.
Consensus is, we’re sorry to be leaving Brazil and the caipirinhas – even though energy levels are just a tad on the low side after some quality shore leave. We settled into our watch routines by nightfall, fuelled by noodle stir fry, and a freak cold spell that saw us unpack long-sleeve layers, and then sailed into the tropical sunrise of pink, orange-lined clouds.
But, excitingly, we have more souvenirs than we bargained for: meet our new crew member, Juan-Carlos! Nick discovered the rogue stowaway during the morning watch while trying to locate an electronic noise in the wet/electric locker, to find Juan-Carlos clawing at James’ posh Henry Lloyd salopettes and meowing! Juan-Carlos is clearly one of the marina strays who got locked in while scavenging. He’s a pretty cuddly young white-and-grey tabby, and has over the last few hours made himself quite at home on Elinca, soaking up the attention.
Just as well, because at nearly 100 miles out of port, we don’t have time to turn back – he’ll be crossing the Atlantic with us. He’s the first cat I’ve seen to show an interest in noodles (lucky, as nobody thought to stock up on cat food…). In the mean time, the chart table seems to be home turf, and he’s been “helping” with the plotters, which on day one is hilarious – we’ll see how soon the novelty wears off! The Portuguese port authorities (and James) will be delighted…