Thursday, September 28, 2006

Refeno Regatta from Recife to Fernando de Noronha

After a hectic week of organizing, the flag raising and the opening ceremony we were ready to go. Things I did not like and must mention were that not the Commodore or any other spokesman at these functions had the courtesy to welcome the foreign competitors to the regatta. All speeches were in Portuguese and all the functions started late. If you complain, you were told that this is Brazil. I would think that as they named the regatta the XV111 Regatta International Recife Fernando de Noronha they would consider the International Yachties.
Countries that were competing in this event were from South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Holland, France and Germany.
Yachts were competing in 5 groups and every group had a different starting time. After we sorted out the correct time, because some were using Recife time and some Fernando time (there is one hour difference} We were sent off in a very light breeze that prevailed until the late afternoon. Mother nature were kind and we had good winds all the way to the Island. It took Mila two days to cover the distance and she made good time. Unfortunately due to an error in the office they changed Mila's entry to the open class group, instead of the steel class. Mila had to compete against 60 and 55ft boats. If she was in the steel class, she would have won hands down, as the first steel boat crossed the finish line 5 hours after Mila.
At the party and the racing awards I was given a price for the yacht with the highest average age of the crew [being solo helped] to cross the finish line. There was a yachty aged 79 but he had a young crew member.
Fernando de Noronha has changed since 1989. To many tourist, new buildings and tar roads. I was disappointed to see this and would have preferred the Island as I saw it the first time. Those days they only allowed 70 tourist to visit the Island for a week.
It was nice to see 116 yachts anchored in the bay, and like in Salvador and Recife I found the residents friendly and helpful.
Our free time expires on the 29th and plans are to sail to the Atol Das Rocas, about 75 miles from here and then on to Fortaleza.
That's all for now, will update the web in Fortaleza

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Recife and the Cabanga Yacht club

Recife,like Salvador is divided in two areas. The old town with little shops and markets and the new developments on the South Coast. I have never seen so many apartment blocks under construction as here. All along the beachfront you find these beautiful and expensive apartments. The beach is not as nice as in South Africa, the water is muddy and not inviting. All along there are signs to warn that surfing and swimming is prohibited due to sharks.
Shopping Brazil, a shopping center is the biggest I have ever seen, I think it is as big as Canal Walk and Tygervallei Center together. Unfortunately, as for most shopping centers it is expensive as someone has to pay the rent.
The transport system is as good or better than the one in Salvador. The busses are new, well maintained, lots of them and cheap to use. People are friendly and they will go out of there way to help you. There are more people here that can speak English than in Salvador.
The only problem I have is that it is virtually impossible to find boat spares in Recife, and if you get something the price goes through the ceiling. I have been quoted 289 Rials [that is about R900.00] for an impeller that cost R90.00 in South Afrika.
I have mentioned the Cabanga Yacht Club and marina before, again the facilities are out standing and we have a great time here. The marina is filling with yachts coming for the regatta and we are daily meeting new friends from all over the world. They are expecting 110 yachts to participate in the rally, no idea were they are going to moor as the marina is not very big. I am glad we came early.
That's all for now

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