Wednesday 21st

This is it – this should be our final full day of sailing on this leg.  If we keep moving at a decent pace (we had given in and stuck the motor on just to keep ticking off the miles) in theory we'll cross the old finish line this evening and should be in to Rio by about 2am.  We are all starting to get excited  - and even Vic who for days has been saying “we'll never get to Bloody Rio” is now full of belief.  A new religion is born! We had just started to rejoice when a Brazilian fishing net crept out of nowhere and got over-friendly with our propeller. We spotted the very well disguised marker too late and after a quick side-step (that all Strictly Come Dancing Fans would be proud of), we had thought we'd shimmied around the obstacle.  A low rhythmic drumming and vibration told otherwise though and before we could figure out if the rhythm was a Brazilian samba, the engine ground to a halt and the voice of 'Fraser' from Dad's Army popped into my head proclaiming that we were “All Doooomed”!

Actually we weren't doomed.  The wind had picked up again so sail power came back into force but as we would need the engine to get us into the marina in Rio we were forced to seek shelter by a nearby Island enough to weigh our light anchor and send Tom overboard to try and cut the line and netting free.  After 45 minutes of diving, breath held and hacking away at the net, our hero Tom arrived back on deck looking like a smurf (he was covered in the blue anti-foul treatment that protects the hull of the boat) but modestly playing down his now new Super-hero status. By the time the engine was then checked, re-fuelled and 'coaxed' back into action another 6 hours had been added to our e.t.a. into civilisation.

By this point our spirits couldn't be dampened.  We could now see the coast, make out buildings, cars and other signs that there was 'life out there'. More importantly we could almost smell the beer! Guide books to Rio were studied with greater vigour, days off were nominated and being planned, the jobs and maintenance list for 'Umber was drawn up and the last evening meal of the leg had been eaten.  Rio here we come!