Update #69 - 25th January 2001 (1.00am AEDST)
Position - 08°05' S, 30°18' W

270 miles east of Recife on the east coast of Brazil

We had major e-mail problem from Monday lunchtime to Wednesday morning, so for those of you who may have sent me messages in that time please do not think ill of me for not responding, because I did not get them. The system would not log in with the earth station at Perth. I spent ages on Radphone calls to the ever-patient Chris Puckeridge at Electrotech, and his decision was that it was fatal. Throughout Tuesday I formulated a back up plan for life after e-mail and then bingo ..... it came good.

Daily sponsors at this time are DON McCLOY from Belmont for days #96 and #97. Hi Don, hope you're going okay. BLACK WATCH BOATS own days #98 and #99, with EJE ARCHITECTURE boldly putting their name on days #1 and #100. Hi to the all hardworking creative people of King St COMPANION CREDIT UNION, looking after my financial affairs (they keep tally of my overdraft). Through David Gray they own days #105, #106, #107, #108, #109 and #110. David is a South African and I think of him regularly as I link up with Capetown Radio.

Since rounding St Peter and St Paul Rocks last Friday morning, I have been chipping away, making my way south, working into a SSE breeze that has settled at 20-25 knots. I am slowly being pushed towards Brazil as I get south but I'm banking on the breeze shifting to the E to allow me to head directly at Tristan Da Cunha, 2000 miles away.

Breaking free of the grip of the doldrums proved a time consuming task, with lots of changing of gears (sail changes) required to keep "Sal" moving. What a meteorologically confused place it is. I was glad to experience it and glad to leave. Shipping was around me in a vengeance. I reckon some traffic lights out here wouldn't go astray and I should have my very own Lollipop Lady to tell me when it's safe to cross. In the end I was setting the alarm at ½ hour intervals to get up and check. Alarmingly of the approximate 70 ships I've seen in this part of the world, ONLY 3 came up on VHF radio, and even then only 1 showed any interest. Not good seamanship.

My friend Mark Schroder won the Australian Masters Laser Title in Hobart in early January. Many of you know Mark and I'm sure will join me in congratulating him. Mark sent me an e-mail recently suggesting that I needed to seriously think about my future and what I'm going to do on return. I replied and said that after much serious thought the first thing I am going to do is drink all the beer in the world.

I spend ages (day or night) standing in the cockpit, feet apart and braced, hands on back edge of spray dodger watching the bow of the boat work her way through the ocean. No one wave strikes or is deflected by the bow the same as another. "Sal" continually pushes and forges her very own passage through the ocean, which disappears almost as soon as it is created. 60 seconds after we have passed there is virtually no sign of our being there. I can watch for hours. It sort of hypnotises me. I love it.

If you receive this update in time, you may like to watch "A Current Affair" on Friday evening, as I am to do an interview with them for Australia Day. Have a good long weekend all.

Take care,

Tony Mowbray