Vagabund Log


Passage Salvador to Recife and


9th July 2013 Tuesday

We left at 14h30 for Recife It was spring tide and with the more than 2 m water level difference the water was flowing into Brazils biggest bay in with force. With the strong current, a 20-knot wind on the bow and only being able to use one motor we were battling to make progress to open water. Only when we passed an anchored fishing boat did we realize how slowly we are making progress. You can walk quicker on land. It took us two hours to get past the Southern danger buoy only three nautical miles from the fort. We wished we had timed our departure better to rather leave with the outflowing tide. 


At the southern turning point we raised the main sail and shortly after unfurled the screecher. We immediately increased speed from crawling to running and were touching nine knots. The already choppy sea turned the ride into an uncomfortable rock and roll, with the occasional deep dipper that stopped in Vagabund running through the top of an oncoming wave crest, throwing spry all over her deck and giving us a good spray down in the cockpit before we scrammed to zip close the plastic saloon windows overlooking deck. This is Vagabund at work. She will grind, moan and screech but bearing forward and taking what ever the sea is throwing at her. Our trustworthy work horse in which we trust to take us on the unbeaten tracks of the world.

I was glad I prepared food that morning otherwise our Captain would had two minute noodles again on his first day at sea.

It was a dark night with an overcast sky. The eastern shore line was lit up with the fading lights of Salvador. It was time for me to try and get some sleep and get back into the 24/7 shift modes. With the Vagabund rock and roll you can only sleep on your back or stomach with each arm and leg stretched out to the four corners of the bed to ensure maximum stability.

Waking up to a pull from the captain on my toe it took a few minutes to figure out where am I and what are we doing here. Making my appearance into the saloon a few minutes later I was given a briefing of the current weather, sail and boat traffic situation. Still struggling to focus my eyes I now had to get my brain started up as well with the information overload. 

Vagabund was still hard at work in a choppy sea. The wind has picked up further and the squalls started to come through. The Vagabund rock and roll was now more of a rodeo bull rides. The captain waited impatient for me to join him on the wet deck to furl in the screecher and slow Vagabund down. 

Easier said than done. The furling drum was stuck. To relieve pressure by letting out more sheet, with the apparent wind speed getting closer to 30 knots was resulted in the clew flapping thunderously around. The genoa was deployed in front of the screecher, the pull direction changed on the drum through some fancy stainless steel clippers’ we managed to furl in the screecher. Relieved but soaked returning to the saloon the man overboard alarm was triggered automatically. This happen when the MOB clip on sensors get soaked while on the bow. The next effort was reading quickly through the manual to disarm the alarm.

It was already after 23h00 when Zack went to sleep. Vagabund settled into a much more tamed movement with the smaller sail, the occasional wave will still splash over the bow and beam. The moment a squall chase in on you, your back in rodeo mode, chasing the wind direction changes with the autopilot. Trying to keep Vagabund to a close haul as the wind speed doubles. Fortunately the squalls only last for a few minutes but at least ten squalls can be expected every night.

With the sea angle the new stern extension on the port side get washed over almost continuously. Zack picked up that the extension was filling up with water. Fortunately it was the place where we stored the fenders and empty containers. There was something wrong with the bilge pump. On checking the electrical panel the bilge pump was tripped out. Reset the trip switch and moments later it tripped out again. Plan B: Take out the plug between the engine room and the extension so that the access water in the extension can drain out into the engine room. Problem the float switch in the engine room will not start the bilge pump. Plan C: Plug the half flooded engine room from the extension again. Place one of the emergency mobile pumps in the engine room, drain the water from the engine, remove the plug and drain the extension as well and wait for daylight to investigate the failure on the bilge pumps. Later that day the emergency pump packed up as well. 

10th July 2013 Wednesday

Plan C was failing as well. The manual pump was burned out. Now for plan D. The whole morning Zack was in and out of the port engine room. At the end he successfully wired a new float switch for the bilge pump. We also found the leak for the water in the port engine room. At the fitting for the emergency tiller the water was streaming in. Zack will seal it properly in Recife. 


In the afternoon the sea state was calmer and less squalls was coming through. Zack wake from a deserved nap with one of the fishing reels screaming. At the end of the line was a Dorado. Zack released her but with the releasing he cut himself with the gaff in his face. I cleaned the wound properly with hydrogen peroxide. It was a small hole but we not want to take any changes and I start him on antibiotics as well. Read the article on Fishermen Beware under Vagabund fishing (Selected photos on right hand side of web). 


We have only cold water with the port engine not working. I have to boil a kettle of water to have some lukewarm water in the tub to splash like a "mossie". But that is better than swimming in cold water like a cat. Hope we can be on a pontoon for warm water in Recife. 

The second night the sky was clear with the stars shining brightly. Fewer squalls were coming through and it was an easy night shift with the stars, steady wind and Vagabund gliding in 2000 m deep water. 


11th June 2013 Thursday

Thursday morning came, and I saw the yellow of the sun tingeing the clouds. The wind was blowing a steady 15 to 20 knots and we had an awesome sail for the night. 


Zack look fine and he did not have any fever, but have to finish the antibiotics. The whole day he was sleepy, but I think it is the after effects of the medicine. The wind died down and with the starboard motor running I could do two loads of washing and with enough power to vacuum cleaned the boat and to run the water maker to fill the tank again. When Zack woke up the washing was on the line, dishes cleaned, floors vacuumed and washed with vinegar water. At the end I use the left over vinegar water to clean the cockpit floor. 


The wind picks up again and we deployed the screecher. We are doing good sailing in a steady 14-18 knots of wind. Calculations of the estimated time of arrival in Recife and the arriving at about two to three hours before high tide to navigate in shallow channel we saw that we have to slow down. We switched the screecher for the genoa again. A few Dorado's fancied Zack's lures and we release them to swim again.

With the switch off of the water maker Zack forgets that he is running fresh water through the filter and after a while a whole tank of fresh water was empty. The water pump was running because of air in the system.  To get the Water pump to work again you have to get the air out. How glad I am that we have installed a hand pump to be used if the water pump packed up and also to be able to pump the air out. We had to use our precious water in the other tank for getting the air out. We have to run the water maker for 20 hours to fill the tank again. 

From midnight it start pouring with rain with the one squall after the other. Being in shallower water there were plenty of fisher boats. Some without lights and when you are about 100 meters from them they will flash a light. We divert to deeper water to easier coping with the squalls without fishing boats. Our VHF comes alive with a cargo ship calling us. We are getting to close on our new course when he is going to pass. We divert by 10 degrees. 

Being back in deep water, there were not any fishing boats and only the squalls to worry about.

12th July 2013 Friday

With the first daylight Zack start fishing on the drop off. The sea state was rough and he decided to run on engine to be easier for trawling.

The city, with its skyscrapers rises as if out of the sea to meet us after 4 days on the sea. We arrive midday in Recife and slowly navigate into the channel. This time with the tide (planned).

On approaching the port the white and red striped tower of Recife lighthouse is on the long riprap breakwater.

A little further we saw a collection of strange statues surrounding a tall column on the breakwater. This work by a local artist Francisco Brennar is Recife's way of demonstrating its interest in the arts.



We phoned Cabanga Iate Cub but could not get permission to enter the marina. We reached Pernambuco Iate Club. The guy from the Yacht Club met us with his little boat and helped us moored unto a buoy. It is a modest club with only the basics.  There is a restaurant but no Wi-Fi. We went with our dingy over to Cabanga Iate Club that is a modern club with many facilities. The reasons for them refusing entrance was self-explanatory as we entered the marina. A huge dredger pipe was dividing the marina in two leaving limited space for maneuvering. Vagabund will not clear the openings with her 7,45m beam.  On our return back to Pernambuco club we moored on a walk on mooring for R$50 per day with 220 V and water.


The marina manager Eduardo is very friendly and helps wherever he can. From the club you can easily reach all the destinations required. It is an old club that only recently upgrade with there first of three-leg walk on moorings. It was a modest club but the most friendliest and helpful. We wish them a good future. 


13th July 2013 Saturday

We have a few things to buy at a nautical shop and with a very friendly taxi driver we drive all over Recife to find a nautical shop. We end up at Regatta (Marechal Mascarenhas de Morais , Galpao C, 291. Fone (81) 3428 2690) and could buy all the spares we needed. The rest of the day we spend at Rio Mar Shopping Centre. We found a restaurant where you pay per weight of your dished up plate. I could look at all the different dishes and with my eyes decided which tasted good. (We found it much easier than ordering a meal and at the end the plate of food in front of you is always a surprise.)


14th July 2013 Sunday

Facts of Wikipedia

“Recife (Br-Recife.ogg) is the 5th largest Metropolitan area in Brazil with 3,768,902 inhabitants, the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions, the 4th largest metropolitan influence area in Brazil, and the capital of the state of Pernambuco. The population of the city proper was 1,561,659 in 2009. Recife is located where the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River to flow into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a major port on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Recife means "reef" in Portuguese, in allusion to the coral reefs that are present by the city's shores. In downtown Recife you witness the Dutch style architecture. Recife was ruled from 1630 to 1654 by the Dutch Prince Mauricio de Nassau and there are still today marks of the Dutch rule in the genetics of the local people and in other cultural aspects.”


I miss going to church. We found the people in Brazil to be very religious and the church we have attended open and welcoming but not understanding a word that is preached and the customs that we are not familiar with makes it difficult for us to attend. 

Walking along the breakwater you come along a graveyard for boats.


Late afternoon we stocked up at a local supermarket for our trip to Trinidad. A loaded taxi brought us back to the marina where Zack and our marina manager transfer all the stuff to Vagabund for me to unpack.


15th July 2013 Monday

A backpack with food, water, apples and snacks and we were ready to get our paperwork sorted out. By Recife our last official port in Brazil we have first to go to Immigration (Polícia Federal) to get our passports stamped. They are located inside the Port area. Our taxi dropped us in front of Polícia Federal in town, with the result that we have to walk to the office in the port. Sitting and wait for an hour without anybody at the office a friendly next-door officer helped us to call them on their cellphone. Just before twelve we got our saida and proceeded to the customs office (Receita Federal) that was between warehouse 5 and 6 in the port area. A very efficient officer helped us in English and in half an hour he has regularize our yacht papers. 

Finally we could do the harbour master (Capitania dos Portos) outside the port area, near the Malakoff Tower at Recife Antigo. Upon waiting for nearly two hours we unpacked our backpack and hold a picnic in their waiting room.


On our way back we strolls the streets and looked at all the buildings with their historic facias. We came across pavements with interesting mosaic work.


The ferryboat delivers us to our pontoon at the marina and we had 48 hours to be out of Recife on our way to Ilha Fernando de Foronha. 


16th July 2013 Tuesday

Zack had a day that he crawled in small places to seal all the holes that seawater cannot enter the extension at the stern. The bilge pump was replaced and a new float switch was installed. I used my sowing machine to fix the screecher. She is one of our hard working sails and we make sure that every small hole and tear is being fixed.