Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 21, 2014

Sailing to French Guyana

12.3.14 – Wednesday – It was 10 a.m as we turned north to go out of the Sao Luis vast estuary; we had 70 miles to go before we would be able to turn north-west to French Guyana. the wind was forecasted to come from 060, so I hoped we would be able to sail straight out. For about an hour we sailed close hauled, less than 40 degrees to the apparent wind, with the ebbing tide helping us to go out at 8 knots. I was already calculating a fast passage and an early arrival.

Wind against tide produced ugly seas, short waves making Two Oceans buck like a wild horse, the bridge-deck slamming nauseatingly. Slowly the wind crept back, pushing us towards the shoals to port. We had to furl the jib and motor-sail. The current turned against us as the tide started going in; at times our SOG was less than 4 knots. We re-shaped our track, agreeing to sail at depths of less than 10 meters so we could turn left and be able to use sail power only.

I was hoping for better conditions when we were finally out of the clutches of land but the sea was still rough, waves coming from 60 degrees off the bows. It was a fast, bumpy ride and Gili was not feeling well again. I made a simple spaghetti dinner and we went into our night watches system, Gili doing the one from midnight to 0300.

13.3.14 – Thursday – At 1000 we were 169 miles away from our departure point. Around noon we had a bank of big clouds closing in from our starboard; the true wind angle was 50 degrees and we could barely hold our required course, drifting a bit to port, towards land. As the clouds went away the wind freed, the sea became smoother and we were ready for the next excitement of the day – the crossing of the Equator; first time for Gili and Dany, third time for me.

Crossing the line was a big thing in olden times and sailors would have made an elaborate ceremony, with somebody masquerading as Poseidon initiating the rookies by anointing them with all sort of disgusting oils and refuse. We, of course, did nothing of that; we only took pictures and videos of the chart plotter but still the atmosphere of celebration was there.

עותק של IMG_5420

As evening approached the wind freshened, we were going close to 9 knots and banging into the waves made us all unhappy. First reef made a big difference in the ride and had very little effect on our speed which hovered between 7.5 and 8.5 all the time.

Dinner was now on the agenda. My idea of boat cooking is dishes that are fast to prepare; Gili retains her land home habits. So, while not feeling well enough to do the actual cooking she still maintained her command and control abilities, decided on preparing fish balls in oriental sauce to be served on a bed of couscous and had the sou-chef (moi) do the manual labour.

Let me tell you that we put in close to two hours of work, being thrown around the galley by the wild movement of the boat, which was doing more than 8 knots all the while. The outcome was really superb.

IMG_5424 - Copy

14.3.14 – Friday – 1000 showed that we did another 186 n.m. We were just passing abeam the Amazonas estuary and somehow I connected the worsening of the conditions to that locality. Big rain clouds with strong gusts were with us for a while and we had to reef to the second point but still going very fast aided by the current which, as the day wore on, reached 2 knots in our favour. At 1800 Dany calculated that we did 72 miles, an average of 9 knots in the last eight hours. At 2200 it was 111 n.m since 1000 which is even better.

15.3.14 – Saturday – At 1000 we were 110 miles from Degrad de Canne, our port of entry into French Guyana, signifying that we traveled 225 nautical miles in 24 hours. Granted- this was achieved with a 1-2 knots of current but I’ve never sailed that fast in one day, not even in the very fast leg from Richards bay to East London, where the current reached 4 knots for quite a while.

As we crossed the border line between Brazil and French Guayana we turned 24 degrees to the left, which gave us a better angle to the wind and seas. We were comfortably doing 9-10 knots all the time and at 2145 dropped our anchor in the lee of Le Pere island near the approach channel into Degrade. We did 690 miles in three and a half days – AMAZING!



  1. Right now almost 4am in Ashdod Marina. Sailed here on CarmelitArik participating in the Israel Cruising Club Spring Regata from Herzlia to Ashdod.
    18 boats participating.
    Had a big dinner in lo al resraurant wotj wine tasting as part of the ceremomy.
    Miri joined oneway and got a ride back home with Orr. I am spending the night onboard and will sail back. To Herz
    after potluck breakfast.
    Weather is great. Your experiences sound more interesting. …..
    Fair Winds for the resy of your voyage!


  2. ענק !!

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