Franci’s take on our entry into Rio de Janeiro.

I haven’t written for quite a while, so i’m just going to go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. Bear with me.
When we were drawing near to South America my dad kept on telling us that THIS is what we are going to do when we reach the anchorage and exactly how the anchoring procedure would work. He got ready on deck the amount of anchor chain we would put out and kept on revising his plan to try and work out kinks.

The wind started picking up wonderfully and we were going at seven to nine knots constantly. It was at this speed that we entered the oil-mining area. The oil mines started appearing on the horizon at intervals around us as we entered their domain. What looked liked hundreds of red dots swarmed around on the GPS screen; and we were heading for the middle of them. The day had been well gone when we saw our first oil mine, so that by the time we were in the midst of them it was dark, and to make things a little more sinister the weather become mopey and sullen. For some reason oildrils just give me a forboding feeling – it probably has to do with watching too many movies – and I KNEW they were just inocent oil mines minding their own business, but man, with the wisp of fog and the mines lighting “torches” every-now-and-then, they DID look very forboding.

Our plans for getting in had all been shaped more-or-less like this: “Survive the oil mines and extra strong winds,sail carefully into the bay so as not to hit other boats, then anchore safely and successfully”. It was a very good plan, and we did use it eventually, it’s just that we hadn’t included the part where we GET to the bay. So, basically, we all had this idea we would reach Rio de Janeiro a day or so after we left the oil field. Yeah. Didn’t happen. We spent about four rather depressing days watching our tracks on the GPS make squiggly lines in a negative direction, then a few miles in the right direction, then a bit back again. It is suprinsing how fast 0.8-1.0 knots can feel if you have been doing -0.2 knots for while. Before any land had been sighted Sophia had asked my dad, “Will we see the land for a long time before getting there?”, and the irony of the situation was that the answer turned out to be “yes”.

Then finally my dad could not take the inaction any more and Shampoo was hooked up to tow Shang Du, as shown in the pictures. As we plodded closer to the mouth of the bay we started seeing fishing boats and birds. Because I am Franci there will be more about birds later. We plodded around two small islands, and an enormous containership anchored close to the islands, and entered the bay. They bay was a lot bigger than I had tought it would be, guess I was expecting something like Cape Town harbour. At this point the wind picked up enough for us to start sailing again and so that is how we entered the bay. The anchoring site and Iate Clube itself is located in an indentation in the main bay, so we had to turn into that and tack (zig zag) our way across its lengh to a suitable anchor spot. As we came closer to the anchoring place we kept on reefing the jib so as not to be overpowered when we anchored, but then having to un-reef it because we were now UNderpowered. We finally reefed the jib for the last time and took our positions as my dad steered us to an okay-looking place. We passed one of the other sailingboats with just a millimeter separating us – literally, I’m not even sure there WAS a millimeter – and managed to anchor safely.


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