as21 South America to South Africa as22 Brazil to Tristan da Cunha as23 Tristan da Cunha to Cape Town as24 South America to Falkland Islands as25 South America to Magellan Strait as26 Magellan Strait to Falkland Islands as27 Falkland Islands to South America
The small number of routes in the South Atlantic is not due to a paucity of destinations as there are many interesting places to visit in South America. Nor is the weather itself an impediment as, particularly in the tropics, weather conditions can be very pleasant throughout the year with the added advantage that the area is not affected by tropical storms. In the past, most cruising boats reached South America as part of a longer voyage that, in most cases, had taken them through the Indian Ocean and South Africa or, less commonly, around Cape Horn. Nowadays, many circumnavigators
prefer the Red Sea route and so the boats that reach South America, and particularly Brazil, arrive from the North Atlantic, either from the Canaries direct or by way of a detour to West Africa. Not many boats sail further south than Rio de Janeiro before turning around and heading for the Caribbean. The southern half of South America is still to be discovered by cruising boats in any numbers and, although every year more boats venture to the Straits of Magellan, Falklands, Cape Horn, and even Antarctica, they are still the exception. Whereas passages in the northern half of the South
Atlantic can be undertaken at any time of the year, the weather in the southern part is not conducive to cruising during the months December to March.
In the River Plate estuary in the summer months from September through to March, the prevailing wind is from an easterly direction. The rest of the year a W to SW wind prevails in the entrance reaches, becoming more northerly in the river. The weather is usually fine when the wind is settled in the north. During June to October, strong SW squalls called pamperos can occur with little warning. Named because they blow across the pampas, these squalls bring rain and cold temperatures that can even change the rain to hail. Most frequent in the winter months, the pamperos can last two or three days, occasionally longer. In other months they are less frequent and do not last so long, but may pack a more violent wind. Although centred on the Rio de la Plata, the pamperos affect the surrounding coastal area between latitudes 310 and 40 eS and as far out to sea as 48 °W.
The southern coast of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro to Rio de la Plata has very variable winds with seasonal variations. From October through to April, winds from a NE direction predominate, which when strong are usually followed by calms and a SW wind. In April NW and SW winds blow in equal proportion to the NE winds, which after a few SE to SW gales give way to SW winds in May. These SW winds prevail until October. From July to September, westerly winds bring bad weather on rare occasions. NW squalls lasting several hours occur at this time near Rio de Janeiro.
Above Rio de Janeiro the lower east coast of Brazil enjoys NE winds, fine weather, and a clear sky for most of the year, the winds being strongest close to the coast from December to February. Off the capes of Frio and Sào Tomé the combination of fresh NE winds and strong currents can create rough seas. The NE winds are not felt so strongly west of Cape Frio as the mountains check their force. Higher up the coast the SE trade wind is felt from March to August as far south as Salvador (Bahia), although the rest of the year it reaches only as far as Recife (Pernambuco). Both the SE and NE winds sometimes give way to squally SW weather lasting a few days and bringing clouds and rain. This SW weather occurs particularly from April to August when the winds are usually lighter and more variable. The barometer usually falls 24 hours before the onset of SW winds. Although there are land and sea breezes all along the coast, the land breeze is normally short-lived and weak unless the sea breeze is strong.
On the north coast of Brazil towards the Amazon, the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone influences the weather bringing the SE trade wind, accompanied by fine weather, from August to October and the NE trade wind from November to March. This latter period is the wet season along this coast. Both of these winds have a more easterly component tending to be ESE and ENE. Between April and the onset of the SE trades in August, the wind first moves into the ESE and then gives way to a couple of months of dol-drum weather with calms, squalls, and variables.
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