Well, having come last the only way is up (thanks Yazz!). It’s good to be back on the water and making fast progress to Rio. We were made to feel very welcome in Madeira, even having the president of the Island come to our prize-giving and providing us with amazing canapés and a free bar, he must have known the way to our hearts. I guess he also wasn’t too busy that evening as the island is only 50 miles long by 20 miles wide. Our boat didn’t get to see the island as we had too much to do on the boat, only Hector, our Mascot, made it on the island tour.
We’re currently sailing downwind, almost straight south to Rio. There are a couple of tropical storms we need to avoid and of course the Doldrums to negotiate but other than that it’s head south and keep going just don’t hit the Canaries on the way past. We’ve a force 7 blowing from behind and some big waves so we’re surfing along. Bazza had the ride of his life as he helmed us down one large wave at a boat speed of 20 knots. He’s a smiley guy but this grin was the biggest I’ve seen yet. Our sails are set now for the next few days so it’s just chafe (the enemy!) on the ropes that we are looking out for and being alert to rogue waves which sneak up on you from behind and pour sea water down your back when you’re least expecting it and leave the helm fighting a bit to get the boat back under control. Other than that it’s just trim, trim, trim to get the tiny bits of speed that will make us faster than the other boats on this leg to Rio.