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Day 138 Sun-Mon 17-18 Feb 2019 Wind dies completely - eventually kicks in, but very light again

Sunday 11pm Nearly full moon lighting up the sea and a few bright stars showing in between broken cloud cover. Wind fairly light, making boat speed of ~3kt. Back to slow progress as we get into yet another High system.

Monday 5.40am Clear sky overhead... A yellow-nosed albatross and several white-chinned petrels circle around as the sun rises - a vivid red ball above low grey cloud on the E horizon. Low bank of pink cloud to N. Boat speed 2.4kt. Air pressure 1021 hPa - High pressure area with light winds for a time.

9am Wind has backed further - to SE... Becoming difficult to make our course at a reasonable speed - now making under 2kt with COG roughly NE.

Sunny day, with a lot of high cirrus. Seas up a little more and quite choppy.

11:30am We were only making 1.5kt or less. so gybed around onto port tack and immediately noticed the Agulhas Current effect - we're now making SOG of 4kt, with COG just E of S, but only making about 1 kt through the water! The current is having a far greater effect than our boat speed resulting from sailing to the very light wind. I'm trying to edge us further E but the wind is in the E so we're just about making 165T. By this evening, the wind should freshen up from the NE more so, with better boat speed, we should make a better course - that is, a more Easterly course, with our better boat speed offsetting the speed and direction of the current somewhat... The current should diminish with time, as we get further S and E.

Uncomfortable motion, with choppy seas and heading into the waves.

3pm Sea has really calmed down now, so I'm getting a couple of quick'n'easy but important jobs done before starting on the major ones - don't know how long these calm conditions will last and there are more Highs coming up soon enough...

First job was to change over from an empty tank to a full propane tank for gas supply to galley cooker. Just needed a big spanner (wrench!) to undo the nut at the connection - awkward position in the aft lazarette but not a difficult job. Nice to be able to do it in relatively light conditions - rolly but not much wind. Had a coffee afterwards to check all was working OK - hot food & drink is good!

5:30pm Next job, just finished, was to give Fred a new cover - took a time to tension the lacing but just needed some time and a small amount of effort - looks good when finished. The Hydrovane vane is lightweight aluminium with a bright red, light fabric cover that gets stretched over the framework with lacing at the base. With no wind and drifting SE in the current, it seemed a good time to get it done - the top of the cover was damaged. Think I'd allowed it to rub on a solar panel very early on in the voyage and that had cut it slightly - not possible for that to happen now but the damage was done. It has slowly been wearing and coming apart ever since and has had me worried about it for quite a time. A good thing it's rip-stop nylon since it's survived relatively intact for quite a time remarkably well and hasn't prevented Fred from working fine.. So Fred is now back in action with a lovely new face-lift! Perching on the steps at the stern was involved so clearly I needed calm conditions to be safe while removing and, later, replacing the vane.

Light is beginning to fade now so further work on deck is difficult. Think we've got ourselves in middle of the High by not getting S fast enough earlier today... there was not enough wind for long enough - and the S-going current didn't stay strong enough either... So tomorrow might be another work day, although it's possible a NE wind might kick in this evening or tonight - I just don't know - will have to wait and see what happens....

We're presently drifting SE at 1kt in the current with the bow pointing N! Almost no discernible wind and sea is glassy although still a slight swell - great pity it isn't possible to work on deck overnight....

6:15pm Caught sight of my breakfast cereal still waiting to be eaten - a bit late in the day! Have had several drinks but no food - no wonder I'm feeling hungry! Jobs seemed more urgent to get done, while in these calm conditions, than food.

Just furled in genoa to stop it flogging in the swell with no wind. Had another look at the leech line - the cause of the UV strip problem. Somehow it got jammed quite a time ago in the small cleat near the foot of the sail that is there to hold it tensioned when in use - I've tried to release it several times but just cannot. In trying to release it, I only made things a bit worse - should have realised the resulting creasing along the leech would eventually cause a wear problem - just have no idea what to do about it, other than cutting the leech line in the cleat - always assuming I can access it there - it's high up for short people like me to get to. Don't want to cut the sail cloth - would cause another problem...

In the meantime, I now need to lower the genoa most of the way to the deck in order to try to repair the UV strip damage high up... Not something to do successfully single-handed if any wind at all and needs a fair amount of time for doing the repair on deck before hoisting the sail - again in no wind, preferably .... All a definite challenge.... and light is fading fast now so can't even start it.

7:30pm Usual evening 'sked' on 7105 - quite a few S.African contacts made.

9pm NE wind just kicked in - having to unfurl genoa and try to get us underway - difficult - wind very light...

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 138. We made just 35 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Headed N, then back S - so not far in E direction!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 138 (by daily DMGs): 12,933 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3995 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4799 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 497 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 593 n.ml. to N.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-26.19S LONGITUDE: 028-38.37E COURSE: 140T SPEED: 3.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1020.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Wind kicked in but rather light.Current effect still dominating

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