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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Sunday 5am Wind got up nicely with rain... We made good speed, over 6kt, for a time but wind has died down and backed, so we're now ambling along at just 4-4.5kt - sounds familiar...

Major problem with wi-fi reception from satphone connection means probably no photos possible with blog posts - maybe problem can be fixed but not sure. Will be sending all posts and emails via my Winlink SSB/HF radio connection for time being - at least I have that as a reliable back up!

Amazing! Wind display has decided to come back - showing apparent wind of 16kt from WNW... Sounds about right.

Must get some sleep - none so far - not good.

11:30am Just got back down below (no sleep!) after lowering trysail and stowing/tying it down ready for deploying the JSD (Jordan Series Drogue) later today - took a far longer time than expected to secure the sail well and a big swell, moving boat from side to side, made it very difficult.

Winds are expected to be over 35kt, gusting over 45 kt from later today through to Tuesday, with 6m seas - of short period, 7s, for a time, as well - so I decided to be safe, although I was really hoping to be able to keep going... Very disappointing... more time lost..

I missed being able to phone and speak to friends at RVYC with whom I'd hoped to share my celebrations with a toast to 'the 3rd Great Cape'.... Every time I tried to phone, once having got back off deck, the wi-fi signal went down so no connection was made, despite trying very many times - another disappointment. (I can receive incoming calls to a wired handset but there seems to be a problem with outgoing calls, not sure why.) I hope everyone is having a really good time at the THRASH Regatta evening (maybe after a good day's racing) at the Club.

12:50pm Speed dropping - now making 4kt in light wind. It's supposed to be just under 20kt now! Time for a very late breakfast/brunch - and then maybe some sleep would be good... That's one good thing about lying to the JSD - I can get plenty of sleep!

4pm Blue sunny sky earlier, then total cloud cover, but no rain, and now cloud breaking up again to give blue patches. Had a big gust under the cloud, so furled in genoa madly, thinking this was the 25-30kt wind coming in ... and now just unfurled some again with wind having dropped right down again... Making 3-4kt instead of the previous over 6kt... Certainly keeps me busy! Will try Making 5-6kt. to get some of the sleep I keep tallking about but not getting yet....

6:30pm Had a good, short nap. Daylight almost gone. Thin line of light above the W horizon where there's a break in between the grey clouds. Furled genoa away while still good light to see by. Making just under 4kt in 20-25kt wind under staysail alone. Seas NW 4m. Very noisy with wind moaning and whistling Enjoying a hot mug of soup.

7:50pm Raining.. Feeling much calmer and less noisy. Wind has been NW 25kt, but seems to be easing in the rain. Cold Front is approaching - but not with a major backing of wind to the SW, unusually - will just back to WNW. Expecting 25-30kt winds overnight, with possible gusts to 50-55kt - possibly under clouds but hopefully, short ones and, also hopefully, somewhere else!

Time to start my night sleep routine - Nereida seems to be doing fine and if conditions change dramatically, I'll be woken up.

The wi-fi signal is continuing to disappear most of the time, coming up only occasionally - and then not for long, so no downloads completed since very early morning. TG for Winlink and my Icom SSB/HF radio with Pactor modem! Have been trying to get up-to-date with email replies.

1900GMT (= 3 a.m. LT) - end of Day 193. We made 97 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 193 (by daily DMGs):17,054 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 379 n.ml. to NNW (126 n.ml. to WP due S - now passed); Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 1242 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 1302 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 2151 n.ml ESE.

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

TIME: 2019/04/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-18.12S LONGITUDE: 117-50.32E

COURSE: 088T SPEED: 4.5kt


BARO: 986.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Rolly, but not too bad. Wind up and down.


At 14/04/2019 19:00 (utc) our position was 4018.12'S 11750.32'E


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Saturday 4am LT (2000GMT Friday) The High pressure cell seems to be moving E of us for next few days, while we stay in strong winds which should give good progress.

Hoping to pass S of Cape Leeuwin sometime today.

Wind is now from NNW, ahead of a Front forecast to pass overnight on Sunday-Monday with strong winds through to Tuesday. Wind likely to be around 20kt today and expected to increase to 25kt Sat-Sun overnight when rain is expected - but might only be light.

Now making 4-5 kt, despite this not being a very good point of sail for us without mains'l, and a bit bumpy, with beam seas - not too comfortable!

Updated reports now posted - time to get back to my bunk...

8am Just finished sched on 7160 (moved forward to 2330Z) - quite a few US and Aussie stations calling in - thanks to all!

Still making 4-5kt in N wind - probably up to 20kt now, with apparent wind just forward of the beam.

Grey skies - looking like rain sometime, although the sun did manage to show its presence hazily through a slight thinning of the clouds just now - probably the only sign of the sun today. Pressure down at 1011.5hPa

8:45am Just furled in a touch more genoa to reduce our heeling. We're often being tossed around quite a bit in the 4m/13ft seas coming on to our beam. Still making 4-5kt or more...

Time for breakfast ...

10:40am Just unfurled a fair amount of genoa to speed us up - now making 5.5kt instead of the 4kt, sometimes less, I'd been seeing. Boisterous sailing! Heeling a bit more, and still the occasional bigger beam sea heeling us further and tossing us around, but I'll get to my bunk... Winds forecast to be around 20kt over today, until after nightfall, so pity not to make use of them. Will probably furl genoa in at sunset, ready for the increased wind expected overnight.

2pm Better speed didn't last long - wind has clearly died down for time being - we're only making 4kt and just under - but wind will surely be up again soon enough. Getting some lunch after a couple of radio scheds on 20m - with S. Africa and Australia.

2:30pm Wind is back - making 5.5-6kt...!

3:45pm That was a gust under a cloud! Wind has been right down since then - we've been lucky to make over 4kt. Frustrating, since I was expecting to pass Cape Leeuwin and have my celebration party in daylight...!

6:15pm A thin red line of lingering sunset colour over the W horizon, below the otherwise dull grey cloud layer, as daylight fades.

I'm feeling so very frustrated! Cape Leeuwin should have been passed hours ago but we've been crawling so much in a really light wind, barely making 3kt now, as rain starts up. The WP due S of the Cape, at the SW extremity of Western Australia, is just under 10 miles away now - but at 3kt, it will take well over another three hours to get past it - unless the wind gets up.

Looks as though the 20-24kt winds forecast for here now have moved further S and the band of light wind just off the coast has extended to here - although I'll keep an ear out - winds could suddenly appear with a vengeance and I'd then need to furl in the genoa in a hurry!

6:40pm We're down to 2.4kt...! Pressure is 1001.4hPa. Finishing my stew - must make that again soon - it was very good!

7:30pm Finished sched on 40m with USA and Australia - not so many tonight-early morning in USA. Cape Leeuwin WP just 6.4 n.ml. away..... At 3.1kt, that's two hours... should be one hour!

Seas are a lot less than earlier but it's dark now, so no mainsai repair possible.

I keep seeing our speed get up to 3.6kt and hope it's on the increase - but it drops back down again every time. Raining again...

Problem is - I want to get to sleep but I'm worried the wind will suddenly pick up and the genoa will need to be furled in hurriedly. I'll set an alarm and check at hourly intervals - if the wind picks up a lot in between, I'm sure I'll be woken in no time!

Have been having a major problem with downloading weather files and some emails today - Aurora wifi signal keeps disappearing. Was fine overnight but not since early morning. Has kept me very preoccupied, trying to figure out what the problem is and if there's anything I could do about it or simply keeping an eye on it and trying to nudge it along. Only just now realised where the problem lies.

8:45m Wind up around 4.5kt - definitely increasing, but very slowly so far.

Have been unable to sleep - we're so close to passing Cape Leeuwin I can't relax until we've done so! I'll take a photo of the moment... Longitude of the Cape light house is 115*08.191E

9:30pm We've passed Cape Leeuwin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Time, from photo, was 13:29:07 GMT - just before 9:30pm (LT W.Australia)... party time! Enjoying singing and dancing to Abba and Acker Bilk (jazz) as I enjoy some cashews, hummus on crackers and veggie straws (thanks, Leslie!) .....and a tiny 'Dark 'n' Stormy' la Nereida (actually green ginger wine and rum - pretty potent, so not having more than a few occasional sips). Went on deck and was pleased to see some stars and a bright half-moon - the rain clouds have mainly cleared away, leaving a thin, broken cloud layer overhead.

I'm putting a tiny sip of my 'Dark 'n' Stormy' aside for tomorrow when I'll be on the phone (if it works!) toasting the 'Third Great Cape' with friends at the Royal Victoria Y.C., who should be having an enjoyable evening after the day's racing... Cheers!

10:45pm Wind might finally be increasing - seeing mainly 4.5-5kt, often more, now. Pressure is down to 997.0hPa so Low mst be fairly close with its Front coming soon - expecting strong winds by tomorrow evening, continuing into Monday and Tuesday with strong gusts likely.

9pm Wind is up - with rain... Making good speed now - finally!

1900GMT (= 3 a.m. LT) - end of Day 192. We made 102 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Good ovenight speed ... dropped over the day.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 192 (by daily DMGs):16,957 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 373 n.ml. to NNE (72 n.ml. to WP due S); Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 1439 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 1487 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 2321 n.ml ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 4322 n.ml. to WNW.

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


At 13/04/2019 19:59 (utc) our position was 4028.37'S 11551.98'E


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Mon/Tues 8/9 October

Just before sunset yesterday, we were making 8kt on occasion, with one reef in the main - we were definitely going well, with one reef in winds around twenty knots.

I decided to play safe, seeing stronger winds forecast ahead, and took in another reef for overnight, as fine rain fell. The wind is slowly veering into the N, so our course is changing slightly with it so as to keep the genoa filled. It also means we keep well off Cape Mendocino and the even stronger winds and seas inshore of here.

Nereida is rockin' and rollin' again in N 23-25kt wind and steep seas only 5-6 sec apart as I write this Tues midday. Pessure seems to be rising a bit after heavy overnight rain which cleared away to give broken white cloud with occasional blue patches.

We're sailing well, still with two reefs in the main - I even managed to make some fresh coffee without spilling it everywhere!! Meant standing over the stove to keep an eye on it, held safely by my bumstrap to survive the constant strong movement, but it was worth it.

At some point soon, I'll pole out the genoa but will wait a bit - winds will finally go into the NE at some point and that will put us onto port tack if we head S, as opposed to the present starboard tack. By keeping on our present course, we're avoiding even stronger winds inshore of our path over the next few days.

Think I might have found a way of posting photos - not perfect or simple but I think it will work (means taking photos on my iPad which is then connected to my Windows PC... convoluted!) Once I've got it working, I'll be able to post them using the airtime kindly provided by Redport/GMN via Luis Soltero - a wonderful addition to the use of my faithful HF/SSB radio!

As I was writing this, I happened to glance out of a starboard portlight - and spotted a clevis pin on my emergency forward stay fitting was almost out .... Oops! I hurried on deck to investigate and managed, with difficulty, to persuade it back in place before grabbing some cable ties from down below and 'mousing' the pin and also using a couple to hold the fitting more securely in place - cable ties are so often worth their weight in gold!! I'll have to keep an eye on that now.

1200 PDT - end of Day 6. We made 154 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/10/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-25.90N LONGITUDE: 129-52.82W



BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Passing Cape Mendocino, 250 ml off. Rolling around in steep, close-to seas

Wishing all my Canadian friends a belated Happy Thanksgiving on Sunday!

My Sunday was one of grey skies and rough seas. With the consistenly strong wind, seas remained up and, being just aft of the beam, were constantly testing my balance as we were knocked about by oncoming waves. Typically, as I write this on Monday morning, we're rocking and rolling most of the time with the wave action - but the wind and seas do both seem to be dying down slowly.

I was relieved to find that the wind generator, a German-made Superwind, was working well - the confirmation came overnight when the wind was strong and I could see a good charge coming in to the batteries. Solar charging has not been very good with the lack of sunshine so I've run the main engine in neutral occasionally. I still need to change the small genset's water-pump, with its newly-replaced impellor, before I can run that for any length of time. It's way more efficient for battery-charging than running the main engine - and, anyway, the main diesel engine doesn't like being run under no load. If the seas die down a touch more, I'll have a go at that.

I'm feeling rather frustrated at not being able to post photos. I'd not had enough time to go over all the possibilities just before leaving to realise there was a problem there, having been told that, in one case at least, there was a simple solution - but that didn't work out. I've been trying various alternatives and I'm either getting messages that I need to update or, where I have updated, there's now a problem as a result... or a computer is simply not 'seeing' another USB device and its photos.... Still a couple of possibilities to explore. I'd been lookng forward to being easily able to show scenes around Nereida as we travel on.

I must thank again GMN/Redport for their loan of an Aurora terminal giving a satellite connection for phone calls, tracking and emailing. The links to my track are given on my website Home page. I'm posting my own positions daily to Winlink because that shows my track for up to a year whereas the satellte one deletes positions after a short time - but it's automatic and hourly so very up-to-date.

We're passing Cape Blanco now - well over 150 miles off! The Oregon/California border is not far to S. Next is Cape Mendocino - another Cape, notorious for strong wind and bad seas, to be passed with a good offing.

A good way further south is Cape Arguello with Pt Conception close by - another area notorious for strong winds and rough seas. Reminds me of passing the Capes down the Atlantic coast of Portugal - a similar situation with winds invariably increasing a lot on approach - the 'Cape Effect' occurs all over the world! The effect here on the Pacific coast of California is enhanced by the geography behind the coast and the sea floor configuration.

Just after I shook out the two reefs in the mainsail earlier, getting us back to speeds of ~7kt, a group of large white-sided dolphins came rushing over, to play around Nereida - always so lovely to see them!

Sadder was finding a small bird fall on deck from the folds of sail as the reefs were released - all-dark-brown with a slightly lighter band on its wings, black eyes and beak - a storm petrel? Caught by the wind generator, I suspect.

I actually felt over-heated during the night! My hat is only worn on deck now and one warm layer has been positively put to one side...

1200 PDT - end of Day 5. We made 157 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/10/08 20:25GMT LATITUDE: 42-34.07N LONGITUDE: 128-26.29W


BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: 157ml in 24hrs. Passing Cape Blanco, on to Mendocino. Sky getting lighter, hint of sun

3.20pm PDT I've finally got to my morning coffee, having come down below after taking a second reef in the main - and we're still making 7knots! I'm clearly not getting all my priorities right.... should have had that coffee a lot earlier...

We were heeling a lot and winds had definitely increased to over twenty knots - and, according to the forecasts I've been looking at, might well increase more - so I thought it best to reduce sail. Funny that I was thinking about how reefing helps heel without always reducing speed as I started reefing down. Didn't really expect it to happen - but here we are, still making 7 kt....

I'm seeing a patch of blue sky now - hope it increases. Would make a nice change from the grey skies of this morning. It had been pleasantly sunny yesterday, although still rolly from the storm the day before and laterthere was a hazy sun - so not much solar power was coming in to batteries.

I spent a time yesterday afternoon, clearing up the mess of wet lines in the cockpit and, soon after dark, with NW winds eased to around 15kt, I let out the two reefs in the main - our speed had dropped to 4.5kt. Dark grey clouds - looking a bit rain-threatening, I had thought around sunset. No stars tonight. The wind backed into the W after midnight. but we kept up a good speed S.

By 3 a.m., the wind had backed more and had died to a hint of a southerly.. We drifted around in a big circle while I took a nap. Then, predictably, the wind played its tricks - I was awakened before dawn by the wind having got up - strongly enough for me to take in a reef in the rain that had come with the wind - from the S still - damn!! At that point we were heading E.

I was totally unclear as to my best course to steer - E or W - neither were good choices! I didn't want to get any closer to the coast because Cape Blanco lies not so far ahead (just under two days away) and a good offing is needed to avoid its usual strong winds and rough seas. I tacked around to head W but soon found us heading more N as the wind veered into the W- not good! I tacked back again in the increasing light.of a grey dawn.

Finally, the wind veered into the NW - and since then, we've been happily sailing south again....but in rough, quite steep, seas. I'm having to hold on tightly when I move around and every now and then we're hit sideways by a wave - and something I thought was stowed safely decides it's time to jump onto the cabin sole.... Rough seas on the beam, or nearly so, are the worse!

My ratatouille stew will finally be finished tonight - it's proved its worth as a meal prepared in advance of leaving on a long passage. You never know what weather to expect, never mind the forecasts, and it's so good to have a good instant meal that only needs heating, while settling down into sailing the boat again. I thought I was going to have a pleasant easy ride down to California - but it's proved anything but!

1200 PDT - end of Day 4. We made 106 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr perod - not too bad considerig we were making no way for three hours in a light S wind before dawn and soon after that were headed W and then N!.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink not long before midday PDT (1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/10/07 17:40GMT LATITUDE: 45-18.75N LONGITUDE: 127-04.53W


SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0

AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C COMMENT: Grey sky, overnight rain stopped now

Friday5th October Strong winds of around 30-40 kt gusting to over 50kt at times and big, rough seas made moving about the boat very difficult all day long. Anything slightly loose jumped onto the cabin sole if it could and the best, safest place to be was in my warm bunk

It was difficult to read the wind display from a distance but I was amazed to see over 50kt at one point, with most readings being in 30s and 40s. Heeled well over and being bumped about regularly in the big seas that had built up makes for difficult movement down below - safer to stay well-cushioned in my bunk - moved over from the starboard side to be on the lee side.of the boat.

Being hove to with rather too much canvas meant that we made rather more speed than I expected - but our course was a safe one. We'd started off drifting E in the S wind that made me heave to in the first place and as the wind backed with the oncoming Low passing over, it went more into the E - driving us more N at greater speed in the stronger wind. I wasn't expecting to be caught by such strong E winds - with hindsight, it would have been better either to have deployed the JSD (series drogue) or to have tacked around (with deeper reefed mainsail) before heaving to - that would have made us drift S rather than N! (I'd learned that lesson in 2007 when I had ten days of hand-steering towards Trinidad from Fernando de Noronha and heaved to every seven hours for five hours of rest, food etc. Pity I didn't do it this time but I didn't expect to be hove to for so long....)

Job in daylight is to tidy up the mess of wet lines on the cockpit sole - hopefully the sky will stay clear and the sun will dry them all out. Good to have hot food ready-made - I'd added a handful of rice yesterday.

Sat 6th Oct

6:30am PDT - Pleiades are almost overhead, with Orion and Taurus on either side, of course, and the Great Bear is high up to the north. A lovely waning crescent moon is fairly high and lighting up the still-rough seas - they'll take a time to die down.

We're 90miles from Ocean City in Washington State, USA, slightly north of due west - nice to be making a good speed of 6kt in the 20kt wind.

1200 PDT - end of Day 3. We've made 78 nml. DMG over the 24 hr perod - not much but actual distance was well over 108 n.ml - we continued being taken north from midday yesterday, hove to in the storm, and then we headed south (from W of Cape Flattery!!), sailing to here.

Position & weather report just posted to Winlink:

TIME: 2018/10/06 19:00 LATITUDE: 47-17.00N LONGITUDE: 126-27.00W


SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 40% BARO: 1021hPa TREND: 2

AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C COMMENT: Fluffy white cumulus. Seas still rolly,100ml W Westhaven Cove, nr. Ocean City

Seas are still well up and throwing us around at times but the sun is shining. I just discarded my overtousers - it's slowly getting warmer but not fast enough - I can't wait to discard the several layers I'm still wearing to stay warm, although at least I don't have to wear a hat all the time now.

The genset might have to wait another day - it's just too rolly to do that job but cockpit lines will be dealt with after my lunch of avocado - I hope the cool conditions will stop them from over-ripening too quicky.

I'm still trying to figure out how to post photos - a 'technical glitch' means it's not as quick and easy as it should be - pity! "Work in progress"

Friday 5th Oct 7pm PDT

Suddenly the wind has eased from the high 30s - 40s, gusting 50 something of earlier today. Big, rough seas were the norm but less now, although still quite rough.

I'd been watching the pressure earlier this afternoon - down to 1005.9, but beginning to edge upward - but winds were still in high 30s.

Now, at sunset, I'm working out how to get going - will probably have to gybe around to get out of 'irons' - no use of engine allowed so it's always an interesting exercise.

We've been forced well north of our original position by the strong winds.

Must get going while I've still some light left in the sky.

See my tracker and Shiptrak reports for position info (on website Home page)

Presently at 48 21N, 125 48W - lost a day or two...!

More lovely sunshine over Thursday ... a glassy calm sea ... a generator problem. Then a Low passes over on Friday..

Thursday 10pm PDT Well, that 'last sight of land for several months' was visible faintly for most of today as we drifted SSW in bright sunshine, often just in a slight current. Running the autopilot because of all the frequent shipping passing by eventually meant the batteries needed charging so I finally ran the main engine for an hour while I got down to changing the genset impellor.

A clever design feature means that in order to do that the entire seawater pump needs to be removed - clearly some guy was chuckling as that was built in to the design.... I have a second pump so that the job should involve just a relatively quick exchange - but I store it without an impellor in place, hoping that way to extend the life of my spare impellors. So my first job was to insert a new impellor into the back up pump. It was quite a struggle to get it in place and I was convinced for some time that maybe it was not the right size... but I finally made it.

Soon after 8pm (0300GMT), I contacted the Pacific Seafarers Net as usual, on 14300 kHz, to give my position and weather (no wind, no swell) - being near the bottom end of the 11-year sunspot cycle just now makes for generally poor propagation and Randy on the 'big island' of Hawaii, KH6RC, had a hard time getting my report. Two others helped out - Jane in Kauai, NH7TZ, and Peter in New Zealand, ZL1PWM. I was in the middle of struggling with the impellor insertion at that time - but my ratatouille stew was warming up nicely so I was looking forward to that.

We're back saving battery power with Fred windsteering now - the wind is forecast to increase overnight with a Low passing over and is already showing signs of increasing, having veered to the East. I'm seeing our speed at ~4kt(SOG) and wind at ~8kt - a definite improvement! I adjusted Fred to put us on a close reach. I'll get some sleep soon - I might have to reef as the wind increases My headlamp lit up tiny sea-creatures while I was on deck - lovely bright orange-yellow specks of light floated past the boat.

The pump replacement will wait for completion tomorrow sometime - not an urgent job but needs to be done soon.

For now, I'm off to my bunk - while it's still fairly calm.

Friday 8:30am PDT Well, that was the intention but I later spent a long time on deck, watching the wind slowly increase. By 2:30am I was reefing down - one reef initially and then a precautionary second reef with the genoa (big headsail) also reduced - I wanted to get to my bunk but the wind was definitely on the increase and I'd seen 33kt forecast in one part of the Low, although I hoped to stay on its lesser-wind side.

The wind was then consistently almost from the S, which meant we were being forced west, so I decided to heave to, to avoid being set into the worst of the winds on the Low. I reduced the genoa more and tacked around, keeping the genoa sheets unchanged - I didn't feel the expected conditions warranted deploying the Jordan series drogue - I just wanted to get to my bunk for some sleep knowing we'd be safe when the wind increased as forecast. Conditions became a lot more calm and I got to sleep around 3:30am.

As expected, the small Low is now passing over us so we're being buffeted by strong wind and rough seas - very different from yesterday's conditions - the wind generator is putting in plenty of power to the batteries in wind of around 26kt and it's raining.

Now (9:30am), pressure is 1007.6 - 1009 was forecast at the Low's centre yesterday - so we're in the middle of things - and it's pretty rough!

When I woke earlier, we were heeling to port and my bunk was the starboard one - I've now moved over to the port bunk - impossible to stay on the 'uphill' bunk!

Difficult to decide what to do for the best, but for present we'll stay hove to, keeping an eye on our drift, until conditions improve later today. We've plenty of sea room so it's time to get some more sleep, if I can, in my nice warm sleeping bag....

There's a tracker in the Aurora terminal which is putting out hourly positions automatically - the link to that is on my website's 'Travels' page.

Thursday 4th Oct - Lovely sunshine, calm seas ... but what COLD air!

Just turned the eggs and I'm sipping a hot coffee after finishing a late breakfast of cereal with some fresh blueberries - I'll enjoy the fresh items on board for as long as they last - a real bonus.

My last sight of land for several months is the hazy outline of the Washington coast about 25 miles off to port.

What a delightful send-off I had yesterday - absolutely wonderful! For a start, the rain and W wind of Tuesday had cleared away to give occasional sun and there was a pleasant ENE wind to add to the ebb tide which helped me out through 60 miles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the open Pacific to the W.

Several friends and well-wishers came by to wish me good luck (as over the last few days, while I've been busy working on board at the Causeway Dock in Victoria Inner Harbour). The Prince of Whales whale-watching boat came to tie alongside for the tow I needed to my start line off Ogden Point breakwater (my engine had been sealed off last Friday so it could not be used to help me on my way through the Harbour - or at anytime until after my return next May/June).

Three of the tiny Victoria Hbr ferries (some of the famed 'ballet dancers'!) were to be part of my escort - they formed a 'V' ahead of us as we made our way to the fuel dock to top up the main tank (diesel needed for charging the batteries using either my small generator, or the main engine in neutral, when wind and solar power aren't enough) before continuing on to the Harbour entrance.

What a delight to see them ahead of me, with a Harbour Patrol boat ahead and astern of our convoy, blue lights flashing, and some friends in three saiboats who also kept me company - all the way to Race Rocks! Despite almost no sleep the night before, and not too much the prior two nights, I felt fine - there was so much friendship in the air - smiles and waves everywhere I looked! Absolutely wonderful! I can't thank the many Victorians (and several others elsewhere in B.C.) enough for all their help - a lot have offered and many have given me much-appreciated practical support over recent weeks and days of preparation.

I crossed my 'start line' off Ogden Pt at 11.42 a.m. PDT (local time) - under full sail in bright sunshine, with friends' boats close by. There had been big last hugs all round as the tow lines were released and I took off alone under sail.

So lovely to be underway at last, after several months of intensive work on board. Waves and 'thumbs-up' all around as my escort of tiny Victoria Harbour Ferry-boats and Hbr Patrol boats left and I continued on towards Race Rocks - the distinctive horizontal black-and-white stripes of the light-house beckoning.

The sail along the Strait was generally great. Although the wind was light at times, we made over 7 kt for quite a time and generally 5-6 kt otherwise. There was very little traffic and no fog.

Sunset was beautiful over Cape Flattery, with clearing skies which later gave a beautiful starry night sky. We cleared the Strait entrance around 1 a.m., in dying wind, and eventually turned to the south once the shipping lanes were cleared.

With lots of traffic around, I'm using the autopilot now, instead of 'Fred', the windsteering Hydrovane, to keep a constant course in the still-very-light winds (2-5kt) astern - too many ships are passing close by so I don't want to wander around and confuse them as to my intentions...! That uses battery power so I started up the little generator - the red temperature light came on after a few minutes and it stopped. Trying it again a short while later, the same result - has the seawater pump impellor gone already? It was changed very recently... I'll have to investigate and use the main engine for charging in the mean time. That's the beauty of wind-steering - no battery use!

I managed quite a few good naps overnight (and will take some more over the day also), so I'm feeling good - looking forward the the air getting warmer though, as we get further south - it's feeling very cold now.

Had hoped to post some photos from yesterday but I'm having a 'technology problem' which needs sorting out - I'll post them if and when I manage it.

Really enjoying this calm, sunny start and getting used to working the boat again - lovely to be back out at sea with the prospect of a long passage. Only slight fly in the ointment is the amount of shipping around - a problem I usually avoid by being a lot further offshore - TG for AIS - at least I 'see' them and they 'see' me and an alarm sounds if they look to be passing too close by.

My position report just before noon PDT (at the end of Day 1): TIME: 2018/10/04 17:41 LATITUDE: 48-07.51N LONGITUDE: 125-18.86W COURSE: 194T SPEED: 2.5 WIND_SPEED: 6 WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 0.3M CLOUDS: 1% BARO: 1014 TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 13.0C COMMENT: Goose-winged almost dead downwind in light air - 25ml off WA coast.

Wind now is ~2 kt... We're going to be just a bit (!) slow until it picks up - seems I'll get a chance to fly the red-and-white spinnaker soon - but just went to look at the generator problem. The intake seacock was closed, for some unknown reason, and strainer was empty of water so no cooling water was getting to seawater pump. Have opened it and filled the strainer - but now need to work on getting the water into the genset... At least it's a minor problem, not an insoluble-at-sea major one - I hope! Might need to change the impellor anyway since it's been running dry a bit.

I'll have a small nap for now and then work on it again - must get that cooling water flowing. Angled the solar panels - makes a big difference - now getting power into system despite the AP power use - that's good.

As well as posting my own noon (GMT) position and weather reports daily, there's a tracker in the Aurora terminal which is putting out hourly positions automatically - the link to that will shortly be on my website 'Travels' page if it's not there already.

Tuesday 10th April 2018 - Sailing 'Epiphany' into Banderas Bay - landfall back in Mexico today.

11am Sky has cleared - blue everywhere! Having to motor NE with the wind just fine on the port bow - near enough on the nose. Genoa had to be furled in. Lovely sunny day with mountain range bordering the south side of Banderas Bay and ending in Cabo Corrientes just seen off to starboard in the low haze ahead.

If the usual afternoon onshore breeze kicks in, I'm hoping we'll end our passage sailing across the Bay to make landfall at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle - maybe into the marina there.

Yesterday and overnight until dawn today, we managed quite a bit of very pleasant sailing in the mainly NNW wind, although with occasional gusts. The wind slowly increased from a steady 6-7 kt all day yesterday to the present veered 12 kt - as forecast. If the wind hadn't veered quite so much, we could have kept sailing nicely this morning but we're trying to get in before dark.

Quite a few boobies kept coming by yesterday - a small group of all-brown ones (juveniles?) would often land as a group in the water well ahead, only to take off, circle around and then land again - all very sociable. They seem to have formed a club!

The batteries have been kept alive over the last week by dint of charging using the motor (mostly in neutral) overnight for 12 hours, with the bright tropical sunshine feeding the solar panels during the day. That has, in turn, kept all electronics, and items needing elecrical power, alive as well but radio use has been minimal - restricted mainly to brief evening Net reporting of position and "All's well on board" and some downloading of a few emails and weather info. Having to change my usual routine and learn to use new software, plus onboard connection problems, have kept me quite busy (and frustrated!) for several days this last week. The curse of tehnology!!

Sad not to have made it to the Marquesas - would have been nice to have got there again - but we've had some lovely relaxed sailing in bright sunshine and relatively calm

seas for the last several days of our return trip, so that has been a bonus and a small compensation - for me, at least, since the plan was to fly north from Tahiti quite soon after arriving in French Polynesia. George and Suzanne are thinking of heading south later in the year and maybe crossing over from Panama - it's all in the melting pot for them now. First the batteries have to be dealt with - and maybe instal a Hydrovane for reliable windsteering and/or a good wind generator...!!

We're now 10 miles NW of Cabo Corrientes and 27 miles SW of La Cruz - ETA there is around sunset.

Position now: 20 45'N, 105 22'W, COG: 065T, SOG: 4.2kt

Wind: N-NNE 13kt - pity we can't bear away - would be perfect for some good sailing

3pm Sunday 8th April

Lovely sunshine ...just found one wisp of cloud on the horizon astern. Seas are a lot calmer in the mostly light winds. Frequent red-footed boobies fly past - at midday, we were 100 miles due E of Isla Socorro and the other islands in its group which must be where they nest. An all-brown juvenile has kept us entertained a lot today - it hasn't yet changed its plumage to the handsome white with black wing tips of its elders.

Overnight motoring continues to be routine so as to keep the batteries charged when the sun has disappeared. They are fading fast, so need constant input to keep their voltage up . Most of last night, the wind angle was good enough to allow motor-sailiing with both main and headsail unfurled in the light winds from NNW.

Weather forecast is still looking very good - avoiding the need for thoughts of making landfall a lot further south than wished for. Winds are expected to continue to be consistently NNW-NW, possibly WNW, over the next few days, allowing an easy course to be laid towards Banderas Bay to the NE. Last night, and today, the wind allowed more northing to be made, to be sure of an easy passage on Monday and Tuesday - we hope to make landfall some time in the late afternoon.

Despite the rough conditions earlier this week and last week, as well as not getting enough sleep and often feeling less than 100%, Suzanne has produced great meals with far more variety than I'm used to on board 'Nereida'! We've also had a constant supply of fresh-baked corn-bread (a type of cake, to my mind!).

4pm position/conditions: 18 40'N, 109 13'W; COG:040T; SOG: 5.8kt;wind: NNW 6-7kt;cloud 1% !!

(See www.svnereida.com for link to website showing our track. P.S. Brief 'newsy' emails welcome using my Winlink address or my website 'Contact' page! No FB out here...)

4pm Thursday - passing well S of Isla Socorro

We've had several handsome black and white red-footed boobies flying close by, both juvenile and adult, over the last few days - presumably from the Islas Revillagegido to our north. Isla Socorro is the largest and presently lies 150 ml N of us.

Motoring worked well to give a good course in the usual very light overnight wind, with genoa furled in and main centred. The bright moon of Wed night was lost behind broken thick clouds so it was often very dark. It's so much nicer when stars and moon are out!

As the wind shifted, our course was adjusted to keep some wind in the sail - we were mostly on port tack but occasionally on starboard tack and so managed to keep heading NNE-NE - towards Banderas Bay - but not making a very good speed. That was a definite improvement over the daytime yesterday when we were mostly headed to Acapulco or points south in a wind too strong to do anything but sail as close-hauled as possible in quite rough seas..

After sunrise today, the wind increased and backed, so the motor was cut and we got sailng nicely on course - close-hauled, as usual. It's been a lovely sunny day with frequent bird visits and fairly calm seas, with the usual 1.5m/4-5ft swell from the north.

Looking at today's weather files, the outlook is good, with the wind increasingly favouring a course to Banderas Bay. We'll repeat the overnight motoring when the wind drops as expected, and make more northing again. With little wind, it's not possible to go any faster under sail and we can point higher under motor.

With bright sunlight, batteries are being kept charged during the day and motoring overnight keeps them charged then, also.

We've enough fuel to alternate motoring overnight with sailing during the day, so getting back to Banderas Bay is looking like an increasingly possible outcome. We had been looking at Manzanillo and Acapulco as options for landfall - which needs to be at an official Mexican Port of Entry since we cleared out of the country on leaving.

Position: 16 23'N, 111 38'W, COG: 086T, SOG: 6.1kt, wind: NNE 8kt (See my website, www.svnereida.com, for tracking/position links.)

Mon/Tues/Wed 2/3/4 April 2018

Well, unfortunately the battery problem has not been resolved satisfactorily. The other four were checked Monday .. and one of them was found to lose charge far faster than it should - so two had to be taken out of circuit (they're 6V 'golf cart' batteries, so work in pairs to give the 12V power needed on board). That left only half the total battery bank available for use.

Sailing had become excellent by mid-afernoon, with a good consistent N-NNW wind giving good speed towards our waypoint of 10N,130W - a nice change from overnight and the morning's flukey light winds. The spinnaker (cruising chute) has been very useful & has been in use a lot in the light winds - far quieter than when using the main and genoa, which flapped noisily in light conditions due to the boat being knocked around by the 1.5m/4-5ft northerly swell.

But still the batteries were being problematic - even the half bank of seemingly good batteries collapsed dramatically once their charge got below a certain point, so the engine was needed to charge up overnight. During periods of bright sunlight, the solar panels keep the charge well up - but overcast conditions in the daytime are unhelpful and these were frequent over Mon/Tues... Wed has been better.

By Tues morning, the decision had to be made - continue on or turn back....? The batteries provide power to the autopilot, lights, radio & instruments, in addition to fridge and freezer (holding a lot of fresh food still). Fuel to run the engine for charging, or for use in calm conditions, was becoming a worry - looking at the distance still to run to Polynesia, it was getting low, even allowing for turning off fridge & freezer overnight. Hand-steering a lot would help the situation but the worry was the batteries deteriorating even more - already they did not seem to be holding charge for as long as when we started out.

If so much had not been invested in fresh food, I was inclined to turn off fridge and freezer & continue on, with plenty of hand-steering - by late morning the decision had been made to abort and return to deal with the battery problem where help could be found and replaement batteries were readily available.

The only remaining problem was the wind - Banderas Bay lies NE of our position and the winds are mainly from N-NNE - so returning will not be simple... but we're making for Mexico, for sure - would be nice to get further north if possible - and weather files are looking hopeful nearer land.

At present - mid-afternoon Wed - we're making good speed, close-hauled in 15kt winds.

Posn: 15 22'N, 114 45W - see website position links

Saturday 31st March / Sunday 1st April 2018

Wind dies down at night so keeping cruising chute flying without it wrapping around the forestay, with its furled headsail, becomes problematic.... We ended up motoring in slow circles Friday night - and were lucky to get a bad wrap unfurled. Since then we've been really careful to avoid a repetition - the light winds over these last few days have made the spinnaker the best option.

Motored for 7 hrs in calm conditions after the Friday night wrap (boat speed had dropped to 1-2 kt!) - but soon realised that was not a realistic ongoing possiblility - too much fuel used. So last night, the light winds (always seems to be less than in daytime) kept the watch-keeper glued to the helm, adjusting our course as the fickle light wind moved around, to make sure of no further 'wraps'...

Batteries have not been holding charge as they ought to - meaning radio use has been severely curtailed. Today (Sunday), after discussing turning back (!), it was decided to explore the batteries - found two dud 6V batteries among the bank of four checked on ... They have now been taken out of circuit and we're hoping no more are found - the other bank of four will be checked later today, after seeing how things go with the six remaining batteries - if all looks good, no more testing will be needed (they're only just over one year old, I'm told). Fingers crossed we've beaten April Fool's Day....

It's 2100Z (Mexican time was 3pm but they just went into daylight saving overnight - so it's now 4pm in Banderas Bay)

Computer keeps playing up - the modem driver does NOT like Windows10!! I'm forever having to reboot the computer and re-start the radio to re-boot the modem in order to get a Winlink radio connection for weather info and weather-faxes. Time-wasting, power-consuming and frustrating!

We've just passed due S of Clarion Island, the furthest west of the Islas Revillagegido (try saying that in a hurry!). It's sunny, calm and peaceful - we're all now trying to catch up on a lot of lost sleep.

16 27'N, 114 47'W - see boat track using the positions posted to the link on www.svnereida.com (given on 'Home' page or 'Travels' page)

Good Friday: 30th March 2018 Happy Easter/Passover!

Wind was from well astern ('abaft the beam'!) overnight and speed dropped to 1.5-2 knots (engine was used to give better speed for a time). With frequent collapsing and filling of mainsail in 1.5m/4-5ft swell almost on the beam, it was noisy!

Fortunately, the wind later came up a touch so boatspeed got up to 3 kt or so - better!

This morning, the asymmetric spinnaker was raised and the main furled in (this boat has in-mast furling making that simple) - suddenly things got a lot more peaceful and smoother - the swell has died down a lot compared with our first 2-3 days, so that's helping.

As usual, the night was gorgeous in the calm conditions - full moonlight dancing on the waves and the Southern Cross in good view off to port, with Orion and Sirius ahead. There's a bright planet overhead - Saturn or Jupiter?? Venus is bright in the W just after sunset.

Battery power continues to be an ongoing problem - that's where 'Nereida' is set up so much better than 'Epiphany' for long passages: Hydrovane wind-steering (no battery power needed!), Superwind wind generator (giving power input overnight, when solar power input clearly isn't happening), no freezer, rare use of fridge (mostly a 'dry locker') and very rare use of mechanical/electronic autopilot (a big drain on battery power).

Skipper George is really regretting not having wind-steering on his boat! Just to keep up with present power needs, we're needing to run the engine twice a day for a good hour each time to charge the batteries. Radio use continues to be minimal - restricted to weather info and two evening Nets. None of my usual regular chats with ham radio friends in the mornings - I'm really missing that!

Having downloaded new weather files, it looks as though the present pleasant conditions will continue for several days... nice! The only slight worry is the chance of squalls - but, so far, no sign of any big clouds - long may that continue!

If you want to send an email, use the Contact page on my website - otherwise, you might need //WL2K as the subject line to overcome the Winlink 'spam filter' - there's no Facebook etc out here so (brief!) 'newsy' emails will be very welcome!

Thursday 29 March 2018

Continuing to be a pleasant sail - still making a fair speed, despite winds having become lighter overnight and today, but the wind has also been slowly veering - it's more 'abaft the beam' now, making for a lot less speed than when it's further forward as it was yesterday.. Seas have lain down a lot also so, which has made for smoother sailing, to the delight of my crew mates.

Near midday, we spotted Isla Socorro well off to starboard - a low conical mountain in the distant haze. It's a popular dive spot, needing a permit to dive in its protected waters, normally three days away from the coast. We've made very good time to get here over half a day early.

One red-footed (?) booby came by earlier, but otherwise no life has been seen - maybe nearer Socorro there would be lots but we're passing a good twenty miles off.

I was told there's a 'ham' on the island just now (call: 4B4B?) but I couldn't raise him on 7150kHz overnight. I'll try again soon - I must have a good ground-wave to him at present! Major problem on board is power which is limiting my radio time badly.

'Epiphany' has neither wind-steering nor a wind generator and is running the autopilot constantly in addition to a freezer/cold box and a fridge so the solar panels are just about making up battery power by mid-afternoon but only so long as I hardly use the radio - downloading weather/grib files and sending once-daily position reports only!

7.30pm - sunset - wind has really died - 6-8 kt - we're ost on a run, just about making way at 2.5 kt!

Wed 28th March 2018

Excellent wind since leaving Banderas Bay on way to Marquesas from Mexico - 'Epiphany is sailing at good speed - we're making 7kt or more SOG. Whales seen several times in the Bay as we sailed out yesterday moning.

Seas are well up at 2-3m so a bit rough but otherwise, all's well.

Wednesday 9th August 2017 Excellent speed made, carrying the flood most of today....

No fog today, which was good news - but a lot of blue smoke haze at the end of today's trip due to the ongoing forest fires in B.C. and Washington state.

I knew the journey from Pt Angeles to Everett (just N of Seattle on the mainland) was going to be tiring and I timed it to make best use of the favourable flood tide but, even so, I was surprised at just how strong the tide was a lot of the time - and tried to position us to take best advantage of it, watching the water surface to see where there was the strongest current. As a result, we were often really quick over the ground with speeds of 8-9 kt- with a good 2-3 kt being due to the tide.

Surprisingly, being peak holiday season, there were very few boats seen on the water and we often had Puget Sound to ourselves - apart from the occasional white and green Washington State ferryboats with their distinctive shape and the many black and white murres and murrelets which abounded - often in rafts of up to a hundred on the water, quickly diving when we got close. The San Juan Islands make a lovely cruising ground for sailing boats, with plenty of anchorages and marinas to choose from - but the many shoal areas and strong tidal currents must be treated with caution.

The 60 mile trip was fairly straightforward so long as I stayed close to the helm to keep us on course (tying off the wheel only works for a very short time when under motor and the strong, often swirling, tidal flow added to the problem) so I was feeling very tired by the end of the eleven hours it took. (I hate to think how long it might have taken without the tide advantage.) Once this has been written and posted, I'm about to cook a fast easy meal of ham and eggs, accompanied by a Tecate light beer I just found, and hit my bunk a.s.a.p.!!

I took photos today which I'll post separately as being simpler for me to do... The long Dungeness Spit ending with its light house, as we left the large harbour of Port Angeles this morning; the large red buoy at the end of the same spit, with lots of cormorants flying off as we got close; Point Wilson near to Port Townsend;views of long Whidbey Island; finally, ...smoke haze gives beautiful sunsets - seen from the Everett dock, soon after arrival tonight.

Thanks to the unknown Brit on a sailing yacht I accosted, who helped me, over VHF, to find my way to the marina tonight - chart and reality didn't match up, with a large US Navy repair facility not helping, and I was totally confused!

Tuesday 8th August 2017 - Stll no sight of Vancouver Island through the fog

Late in the afternoon, on the approach to Pt Angeles, we gained from a flood tide - giving up to 7.5kt SOG - an excellent speed for a change!

Radar had been essential to avoid the small sport fishing boats and, even then, twice I found one of them appearing nearby but I hadn't spotted them beforehand - worrying! If I concentrated on the radar screen, I couldn't also concentrate on steering well enough - so we'd veer off course. Fog is very disorientating!

I had tied a line to the wheel in an effort to tie it down when we seemed to be keeping a good course - that worked quite well and allowed me to try to do something else (like check the nearby shipping lanes ... or the radar screen for tiny blobs indicting those small boats) - but eventually we'd always veer off. I still had to stay close by and couldn't afford to leave the helm for any length of time. Our course became a major wiggle!

The Pacific swell gets a long way into the Strait - near to Pt Angeles, it was still a good 2m/6ft but fairly well spaced apart. The car ferry between Pt Angeles and Victoria to the north is often badly affected and has a reputation for rolling about like mad when the swell gets up.

We managed to reach the marina fuel dock just before the attendant closed for the day - but my joy turned to disbelief when I heard the price - I should have filled up completely in Neah Bay - they'd increased the price here massively since last year!!

Thursday 1st June 2017 - A big overnight 'blow' last night!

Looking at latest COAMPS weather files for up to Sat 6pm LT (0000Z)... they show strong headwinds (WNW 14-16kt) around Cape Falso at that time - so that puts off going around the cape at Cabo San Lucas on Saturday, it seems.

So I'll stay on in Los Muertos today (Thursday) and maybe move to Los Frailes by tomorrow evening - Friday - ready to move on to San Jose and CSL over Saturday if Sunday winds look good - but could end up in Frailes another night if Sunday winds are still too strong to round the cape.... We'll see!

Had strong SW winds here overnight for quite a few hours. Began increasing from 10pm and quickly got to SW 20-22 kt for quite a time (I put out more rode at 10.30pm) before very slowly dying - still nearly 20kt at midnight. Got down to SW 8kt by 4am and then quickly died to almost nothing (2-3 kt) from NW by 4.45am. Similar picture of stronger winds over early evening than during daytime as was seen at La Ventana but nothing like as strong there as here last night. Due to strong winds getting over from the outside (Pacific side), I think - like a Coromuel? I was late to my bunk!

Heard there were strong winds last night in La Paz also.

I'll assume same pattern at Frailes when I go there... and will make sure I've plenty of scope out and the anchor is well dug in, ready for a repeat of Wednesday night's winds.

Seems that, once around the Cape, winds next week are looking fine for the rest of the long trip N - mainly calm or light, with frequent aftenoon/evening (onshore) W breezes to 15kt or so up as far as Isla Cedros and then mainly calm all the way to Ensenada and San Diego.

Dawn is breaking here - I'm off back to my bunk for more sleep!

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