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Day 7: Sunday 20 Nov 2016 - Better course in W winds but still rough at times

5am - Saw wind had veered a lot, so was able to change our heading more towards SW from SSE. Want to get further W to reach area of NW winds arriving soon, so we can head due south, rather than be stuck in SSE-SE winds. Still very rough conditions - but getting plenty of sleep in my warm, cosy bunk!

8am So glad I didn't untie the second reef last night! We're making around 7 kt, close-hauled, fairly well heeled, in 16kt wind with full genoa and staysail - that's just fine.

Made contact on 7155 with the ham radio group there - nice to chat briefly but couldn't spend long with boat heeling a lot and being thrown around so much - makes life difficult unless I strap myself in or use the steel restraint bar - and I dearly wanted some breakfast! Good that the repeater station in Half Moon Bay was hearing me so well - meant that people who otherwise could not copy me could hear me using their computer, although likely still to have a problem transmitting my way over the radio.

11.30am Gusty conditions with clouds around. Had been very pleasant earlier this morning, with relatively calmer conditions for a time, although seas quite big still, but then had to furl in some genoa with wind increasing to 20+ kt - so it's feeling rougher again with lots of being tossed around added to our usual heeling. Course is still good, trying to make some more westing while it's possible in WNW wind.

6pm Had a nice hot stew again, followed by a fresh mandarin - lovely! Light is fading - noticeably later than further north now!

Changed course to head due S at 3 pm - resulted in an immediate lessening of the seas' effect as we headed downwind, although, of course, there's always a rolling effect whenever sailing downwind in swell. Wind got up even stronger, giving SOG ~7kt, but wind strength not noticeable heading down the waves, instead of into them. Wind presently ~23kt from WNW, gusting to 28-30kt with rainclouds around.

Soon we'll have passed Cape Mendocino (like C.Blanco, notorious for bad weather and seas) but well off - over 200 miles. Another Low and Cold Front will arrive to the N of our position Tues/Wed but we should be well S by then so hardly affected - except possibly getting becalmed on Wed and/orThurs before getting to the Trades!

(Heard we were making 7.8 kt in the strong winds earlier - that's going some! Aurora tracker gave:3:28:00 PM (EST?); 41.44N, 128.87W; Speed: 7.8 kt; Heading: 230°T )

Badly need some really calm weather to wash the cabin sole and get rid of the oily surface - getting dangerously slippery, especially as we lurch about....

Later: Seeing lots of stars now - overcast sky of daytime has cleared away, with just a few clouds in the W. Have been working on trying to post photos - still not happening so more effort needed.

Listened on 40m HF band - busy everywhere with a contest going on - no chatting this evening!

Sunday 7pm / Mon 21st Nov 0300GMT - Had good copy on Tom, K4XV, on Kauai, who took my position report on the Pacific Seafarers' Net. Chatted also briefly (propagation was so-so) with John, VK4DBJ - a long-time PacSeaNet radio friend in E. Australia.

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