Saturday, 16 August 2014

First Voyage - Buenos Aires to Rio Grande, Brazil

Pikin, Memo, Ian, Santiago and Pippa!
     After a final sail on the River Plata, feverish provisioning of Zooropa and a farewell celebration (asado) with all the folks at Antares Buenos Aires it was time to sail away. Years of planning were coming to fruition, the whole thing feeling surreal as we stepped onboard Zooropa with our sail captain Pikin and crew member Anna on the afternoon of Monday, August 11

      Our weeks in San Fernando (a suburb west of Buenos Aires) had been taken up with familiarization with our new home and the numerous systems that make her tick. Provisioning took Philippa many trips to local supermarkets. Three shakedown day cruises helped identify potential issues. Throughout the process, Memo and Santiago, the two key players at Antares Buenos Aires, were incredibly helpful and responsive to our concerns and needs ensuring final touch ups, fixes and alterations happened efficiently.  Rob Poirier of Anatares Yachts also took the time to fly down to Argentina to smooth out the final process.  Thanks Rob.

      Our only regret was that, as a consequence of boat readiness and a reasonable approaching weather window, we had to leave before we could tick off bucket list items such as downtown Buenos Aires and Igauzu Falls.

Strong winds from South West
     With light winds and little wave action, we motored along the southern coast of Uraguay past Montivedeo and Punta del Este before entering the South Atlantic and heading North East. Then the winds picked up - 35 to 40 knots, with gusts topping out at 46 K. Fortunately, both winds and waves were following, producing an exhilarating sail, with sail plans running from full main and genoa to a handkerchief from the forestay. Pikin didn't get much sleep for a couple of days ensuring Zooropa and her inexperienced owners behaved themselves.

Busy place, this South Atlantic

     We had hoped to sail on to Florinanopolis along the Brazilian coast but the winds were projected to turn sharply to the NorthEast (on the nose) and therefore captain Pikin decided discretion  was the order of the day, and we turned for Rio Grande - entering this busy port Wednesday night.

      We have spent a few days here at the Rio Grande Yacht Club. Winds are projected to weaken Monday and the plan is to motor on towards Angra.

Phase one of three - checkin Rio Grande Policia Federale

     All our communication equipment appears in order (except SSB radio which we have not tried yet) - our KVH satellite phone/internet; Iridium Extreme sat phone; UHF radio; LAN with WiFi booster as well as cellular internet thanks to a Brazilian sim card. Consequently, we have been in easy communication with friends and family. We have now activated our SPOT tracking device allowing position information to be transmitted to the net.

     Pikin has been troubleshooting a few hiccups as well as entertaining us with his bon vivant.   We have had technical input from Memo and Santiago from BA and the gremlins seem to have been slayed.  Key component, the water maker, appears to be working well.

Adios, Tchau and cheers    Ian

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