S/V Nereida sails around the world

Sunday 13th August 2017


Arrived Friday Hbr Saturday evening.... Lovely small town on San Juan Island.

Coming up from PT Townsend was an easy run, despite the ebb tide slowing us down over the last part of the trip.     


Photos show rocky islets just S of Cattle Pass leading to water between San Juan and Lopez Islands and view towards the Pass itself


Nice walk on Sunday from the harbour area. …..     Madrona tree in the sunlight.....   Harbour seal in the marina 




Saturday 19th August 2017 -  Victoria, B.C., Canada


The weather has been wonderful since arriving back here at the Royal Victoria Y.C. on Monday 14th August at the end of my journey north that started from Zihuatanejo,  Mexico, after enjoying their Guitar Fest in March.   It has been a real mix of being partly in 'ambling mode', with lots of stops on the way, seeing places, a touch of cruising in May in the southern Sea of Cortez from La Paz, meeting people ….and often getting boat jobs done.  But far too often, we’ve been in 'bash' mode - trying to head north in so-called 'weather windows' that usually resulted in motoring against mainly light winds (with occasional stronger headwinds and rough seas) or in calms, with frequent stops to await the next 'weather window' - mostly a matter of trying to avoid the strong northerlies that are so prevalent on the West coast of North America in the summer.


Jobs are still ongoing and any boat in constant use invariably has breakdowns and repairs adding in to the previous list.   I’m presently re-wiring the solar panels’ circuits with tinned wire (the untinned wire I found in use in part of the circuits is totally black with oxidation).  I replaced my Icom tuner on Thursday (my 75th birthday present to myself!) - many thanks to Icom America for their wonderful support.  They’re sending a new control cable with fresh connectors so I can connect the tuner to my Icom M801E radio.  I looked to see why one of my autopilots is not driving the rudder at all - the drive arm (ram) probably needs attention/servicing.   I have to investigate further a small fuel transfer pump problem - likely to be an impellor that needs changing, all bungies on deck, holding blocks etc in place, need replacing - and there are many other items still on the list to be dealt with, as well as items still to be bought - mainly spares to carry onboard.


Items already dealt with on my way north have included: 

VHF radio malfunction - many thanks to Navico/Simrad in Ensenada for their generous support in replacing the system;

sail shape improved by moving reefing lines aft on boom - simple but effective - thanks to Mark Butler in San Diego for his help;

water maker thoroughly serviced in Sausalito - now functioning well and in 'pickle' for time being; 

thorough cleaning and/or renewing of bilge, pumps, sensors and hoses in Sausalito;

engine serviced and oil changed in Ensenada and Sausalito;

diesel generator impellor changed in Ensenada (spare impellor I’d made use of was too old and so wasn’t working properly, causing overheating);

improved a new storm screen fixing in the cockpit in La Paz, making it easier to use or stow away; 

dealt with poor switch connections on the Superwind wind generator circuit in San Francisco - now working fine;

replaced a faulty fuse holder and re-made connections on solar panels’ circuit in San Diego - one circuit kept 'blowing' its fuse - behaving fine now;

shortened pennants on staysail in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (luff was too long so couldn’t be adequately tensioned) - need to get a new sail since this one was used so much in the Southern Ocean and it also suffered when lying to a storm last October;

dealt with erratic wind display - after remaking all connections, seems the top mast connection was slightly corroded - needs further cleaning and corrosion protection, although eventually behaved fine on trip here from San Francisco;


I’m finding there are never enough hours in the day to get done what I expect to - but it’s nice to be in friendly company - the Royal Victoria Y.C. have made me very welcome and are keen to help me in whatever way they can, which is very much appreciated.  There are always suggestions of someone useful to consult when I’m not sure how to tackle a problem or offers of practical help.





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Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus. Prima luce, cum quibus mons aliud  consensu ab eo. Nec dubitamus multa iter quae et nos invenerat. Etiam habebis sem dicantur magna mollis euismod. Qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi  dolor.
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Quisque ut dolor gravida, placerat libero vel, euismod. Ab illo tempore, ab est sed immemorabili. Morbi fringilla convallis sapien, id pulvinar odio volutpat.
Idque Caesaris facere voluntate liceret: sese habere. At nos hinc posthac, sitientis piros Afros. Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?
Quam temere in vitiis, legem sancimus haerentia. Ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequat. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation.

Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus. Prima luce, cum quibus mons aliud  consensu ab eo. Nec dubitamus multa iter quae et nos invenerat. Etiam habebis sem dicantur magna mollis euismod. Qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Tityre, tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi  dolor.
Paullum deliquit, ponderibus modulisque suis ratio utitur. Mercedem aut nummos unde unde extricat, amaras. Morbi odio eros, volutpat ut pharetra vitae, lobortis sed nibh. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation. Donec sed odio operae, eu vulputate felis rhoncus. Phasellus laoreet lorem vel dolor tempus vehicula.
Me non paenitet nullum festiviorem excogitasse ad hoc. Contra legem facit qui id facit quod lex prohibet. Plura mihi bona sunt, inclinet, amari petere vellent. Cras mattis iudicium purus sit amet fermentum.
Morbi fringilla convallis sapien, id pulvinar odio volutpat. Nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum? Curabitur est gravida et libero vitae dictum. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident culpa. Quis aute iure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse.

Mike Underwood
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Thursday 10th August 2017

Deepest thanks to Icom America - specifically to Dwayne Black who kindly enabled a replacement tuner (AT140) and control cable for my SSB/HF M801E radio to be provided, to ex-Brit Kevin who took a time carefully checking over my old tuner in detail, trying to find a faulty component.... and to cheerful, helpful Mary who made sure everything ran smoothly.

Many thanks also to my ham radio friend Eric, WA7LNH, who was my 'chauffeur' for the day - collecting me from the marina to take me in to Icom America's headquarters in Kirkland, not too far from Everett. Eric, a keen ham radio operator (and DX-er), was as interested as I was to see the radio museum displays in the relatively new and very pleasant HQ building before we left to return to 'Nereida' with the new tuner.

Eric was one of the USA 'hams' that I first made contact with on 16th February 2017 when I was passing well south of S. Africa as I made my way east through the Southern Ocean, eventually heading back to Victoria to complete my solo nonstop circumnavigation - and I was in radio contact with at least him and/or others daily for the remaining five months of that journey! Without those contacts, that voyage would have been far more lonely and difficult. Another bonus of having the radio was that, when my computers both became useless, the ham radio community came to my rescue and enabled 'emails' via voice contact - 1,000 emails were dealt with over two months - that was great!

I'm looking forward to installing the tuner but a slight hiccup lies in a slightly different connector needed to make that happen but that's a minor problem and one which will be sorted out within a few days. although I clearly can't use the radio in the meantime. So thanks to XGate for enabling me to use an Aurora terminal to send this update via the Iridium satellite network while underway. (Actually, another radio friend, Walt KM6MQ, was recently very generous in giving me a back up tuner when I stopped overnight in Los Angeles. I must find the time now to look at that in detail to see how to connect it up. It's not an automatic tuner, like the Icom AT140/141, but a good one nonetheless. No point in having back ups on board if I don't know how to make use of them!)

Friday 11th August From Everett to Port Townsend - AP is back working again!!

Having looked over the Commissioning instructions for the malfunctioning autopilot units last night, I saw that it was possible that the problem I had during our approach overnight to Cape Flattery might have been a passing glitch which might be easily fixed - so I changed back to the original autopilot motor and drive unit, hoping that it might work. To my delight, when I tested it out on leaving Everett this morning.... it did!! Yippee!!

It's a bright sunny day, although there's a bank of sea-fog ahead as we head up Admiralty Inlet around midday, enjoying a good ebb tide which is boosting our speed past long, convoluted Whidbey Island.

I'm hoping the fog might lift by the time we reach it or, at least, be thin - but, if not, radar works well to 'see' other boats and land around and the plotter shows vessels on AIS and we transmit to them - so we can stay pretty safe!

ETA Pt Townsend is early afternoon so I'll be able to pick up a couple of boat items I've had sent there, browse around the hardware store for a few other boat items and also meet some friends later on.

Tomorrow, we'll make for Friday Harbor, always a pleasant stop on San Juan Island.

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!!

Tuesday 8th August 2017 Up early and away by 6 a.m. Fog everywhere but no wind. Strong ebb tide cutting down progress - boat speed is well over 6 kt but we're only making 3.7 kt SOG. Hoping for better speed soon, as ebb slackens and turns to flood. Problem is not much flood tide, mainly ebb, due to outflow from rivers. So ETA Pt Angeles will be far later than hoped for - will be a night-time arrival. Can't leave helm position for more than a few moments very occasionally - need to keep constant eye on course and watch for other boats. Dripping wet from fog, windscreen needs regular clearing. Hazy sun seen through fog - sea fog is hugging the water with just a hint of blue sky above. Got some breakfast ready before leaving this morning - time for that now, if I can grab it! Already had juice and coffee while underway - had to get those prepared in advance... Photos from yesterday showing wind blowing fog away on way to Neah Bay.

Monday 7th August 2017 Fuel and an overnight stay in Neah Bay, Makah Marina

With both autopilots down and no wind, it was a slow finish with hand steering needed to get to Cape Flattery and on to Neah Bay - often in thick fog.

The good news was carrying the flood tide up to and around Cape Flattery - we made excellent speed past Tatoosh Island, which houses the Cape Flattery light, in calm conditions but with a noticeable current trying first to take us inshore and then towards Duncan Rock and its associated shallows. I managed to keep us well away from those, helped by having been made only too aware of the strong current last time I came by this way - a useful piece of knowledge.

Other highlights of Monday's arrival in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Neah Bay:

Thick fog patches - strong wind dispersing some fog near land - sunny at times - fishing boat appeared unexpectedly close by in the fog

Turned boat in tight circles while getting fenders and lines on both sides - no AP use to make things simple but space enough.

Usual strong S wind in Neah Bay - impossible to tie up to fuel dock downwind - strong ebb current there adding to wind problem - waited and just managed to tie up, with help, on shorter upwind side.

No response from Marina office - so tied up with difficulty to commercial dock - but was then asked to move. Wind still strong so made sure I got help to tie up to new slip - needed it! (Plenty of strong fishermen around!)

Enjoyed 1) short, deep sleep 2) lovely hot shower 3) fillet and onions etc etc...

Planned tomorrow's journey - difficult long passage to Pt Angeles, probably foggy, at least to start with, to fill up with diesel - price far better there but I now have enough spare diesel in tank to push motor hard if needed.

Up at 6am hoping to arrive before dark - a 15-hr journey, hand steering the entire way....

Hope to post photos separately while underway tomorrow...

Monday 7th August I'm sitting in the cockpit under the shelter of the spray hood as I write this because I'm constantly having to be at the helm to keep us on course - we've no wind to sail under wind-steering and no functioning autopilot. We had several hours of sailing yesterday in good wind although not on our preferred course so, from the time the wind died around midnight, we've been motoring almost due N. At one point I had to call the US Coast Guard to call the fishing vessel 'Raven' on my behalf because they were on clear collision course and not answering my VHF call. They eventually passed just a few hundred yards off, having assured us all that they would 'keep clear'...! Another fishing boat kept well away soon after - they would have heard the exchanges so knew I was close-hauled under sail in fickle wind conditions just then... In fact, a short time later, the wind had died and veered enough to have to turn on the motor again to keep heading N , rather than get too close inshore - this is a very rocky coast! The autopilot (AP) that has been in use so much of this year decided it had had enough of working hard and reliably and suddenly last night the message was displayed: "motor stalled" and I was soon unable to persuade it to work. I was getting tired, it was dark and cold and the air was wet with fog droplets... and there were several ships not far away to keep an eye on (TG for AIS & radar!). I was not a 'happy bunny'! As soon as it was safe to do so, I put us into 'drift mode' and went below to change over to my back-up AP, blessing the fact that I had it and it was so easy to do.... Changed over the drive ram connections to the steering quadrant arm and changed the electrical connections. It worked fine on 'Auto' after I resolved a small problem with rebooting the system (and it wanted calibrating, which clearly was not going to happen just then!) .... It refused to keep us 'on track' but was fine just steering on a heading ... No problem - I could live with that! Unfortunately, that didn't last long and around dawn, luckily after I'd had a couple of decent naps, I realized the AP was not driving the rudder anymore - for whatever reason, it was not in control at all. Rebooting didn't help, the electrical connections all seemed fine.... So here I am having to be close to the helm and keeping a constant eye on our heading. I've rigged up a line to tie off the wheel but we keep drifting off course, no matter how carefully I fine tune it... The ever-changing tidal current affects our heading... Passing Cape Alava as I write this at 10am, I'm relieved I placed a waypoint on the plotter well away from the off-lying rocks which suddenly appeared out of the far mist - looking rather nasty.. The current is clearly trying to take us inshore and I'm having to adjust our heading every few minutes. I'm thankful the AP failure didn't happen earlier on this trip from San Francisco (nearly seven days) - we're twelve miles S of Cape Flattery now and about six hours from the fuel dock at Neah Bay. I'll try to grab something to eat...

Sunday 6th August 2017

It's been grey, cold and dismal all day, with lumpy seas later on knocking us about. No sunshine!

Winds were fairly light until early afternoon, so we made reasonable progress under motor directly towards Cape Flattery, waiting for the wind to increase, as forecast...

The highlight of the day has been finally getting sailing, with the motor turned off, although we've had to bear off the wind & come away from our rhumb-line course towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca to get up a decent speed. Even now, the wind is gusty and seems to have veered more to the N (which, of course, is near our preferred direction!). As a result, we're headed towards the coast just S of Cape Johnson, well over 30 miles S of Flattery.

As we get closer, the wind could well change direction and, if one forecast is correct, it might die right down, so we could end up motoring again. If the wind doesn't die down, we'll just have to tack away out to sea again.

Being so much closer inshore, just over 20 miles off, has the disadvantage of being more in traffic. Just now, there are six big ships within 18 miles of us - and that's not counting any smaller fishing vessels that are not transmitting on AIS - there were several of those offshore last night. I might not get much sleep tonight....

It's nice to see the Superwind wind generator working well now - despite navigation lights and instruments etc I'm generally seeing a net charge into the batteries - without a lot of noise. There had been a simple bad connection that was attended to in SF.

10 p.m. A lull in the wind - dropped to 11 kt, now up to 14-16kt again. Boat speed suffers when that happens - it's varying a lot. Maybe the wind has already started to die?

Saturday 5th August 2017 - Full sail and good speed - for a time.....! Grey overcast all day today with a couple of small breaks in the cloud showing blue sky near sunset.q Came across a couple of small, commercial, white fishing boats this morning. Difficult to see them against the grey sky and sea - first one was quite close before I spotted it and the other came up at speed soon after. They probably saw Nereida on their AIS but they were not transmitting so I was not aware of them until we were close. Being well offshore, over 60 miles, they would be on the lookout for big ships while fishing so unlikely not to be equipped with an AIS receiver for their own safety. 3.30 p.m. Wind has died and veered again - down to 6 kt and more northerly. With full sail earlier, including staysail, I was very happy to see our speed up around 6 kt for quite a time, close hauled in wind of 10 kt from W-WNW - a vast improvement on the dismally slow speeds of yesterday, albeit with motor still helping to give a good apparent wind. If wind dies any more, I'll have to furl in the genoa and motor upwind to maintain best course.... Might do that anyway - all depends on how well the genoa will hold the wind - presently heading 20 degrees off course to maintain better speed - I don't want to keep on this course for too long. If I had all the time in the world, it would be easy - just drift around, tacking and making best northerly course possible under sail alone. But I'm well behind in my timing to have boat ready for Sept, having expected to get to B.C. by mid-July, if not earlier, so I want to push on north as fast as possible, making good use of this unusually benign weather window. Presently 60 ml W of Cape Meares and Cape Lookout, not far S of Tillamook, and 180 ml from C. Flattery. Experimented..... With headsail furled in and on course: speed (SOG) ~4.3kt. By heading a massive 60 degrees off to starboard of our rhumbline course, SOG finally reached 5kt - but the unfurled genoa was still not filling properly (wind had dropped to 4kt) - mainsail was doing the work. So genoa was furled in and we got back on course. Looking at new weather files, the two are more in agreement for wind from here to Cape Flattery - light NNW now until Sun afternoon, then 10-12 kt or so, NW becoming NNW, until after midnight, getting lighter from W until midday Mon, strengthening from W over Mon afternoon. To take advantage of the increased wind expected from NW-NNW over Sun/Mon, by getting a better angle to sail, given that wind direction, I've changed our course to just W of N for half the distance. (Adding just 5miles to our theoretical total .... 178 ml instead of 173 ml). All subject to change, of course!

Early Saturday 5th August 2017 A dilemma - weather forecasts contradict each other!!

I’m using both the COAMPS and NDFD forecasts, downloaded as attachments to email subscriptions from Saildocs, (Thanks to Jim Corenman and Stan Honey for generously organising that possibility as a free Sailmail service to all sailors!)

Since we’re running less than 100 miles off the coast, the US Navy’s COAMPS forecasts should be the more reliable since they take land effects into account. When available, the new NOAA NDFD forecasts are now generally more reliable for offshore than the GFS grib files, since they come from the daily weather forecasts produced by humans, not solely from computer programs, although I can’t say I’ve had a major problem recently with the GFS files. I get the impression that the NDFD files are possibly better near the coast than the GFS - but I’ve not been able to test my theory that much.

My problem now lies with the major discrepancy on my route between the two programs I’ve been using (COAMPS & NDFD) in a day’s time. They agree on what to expect for the coming 24 hrs or so, but then diverge completely after that - the one showing calm conditions near the coast for the following two days and the other showing strong winds spreading right in to the coast instead…

The problem is that my plan of action will be totally different for the two scenarios… In the one case, just keep on as we are now, in the other, head more offshore to position us to take advantage of the strong wind to sail back in … I’ve even noted the line where it would be good to tack around, assuming the forecast strong wind direction is correct… But there’s no point in adding miles by heading offshore if the wind is not then strong enough to make it worthwhile sailing back towards the coast… or, even worse, if there is then no wind to sail in!

I can only hope that over the coming day, the two are more in agreement on what to expect on Sunday and Monday.

Lovely sunshine from this morning - way better than the fog and overcast we've been in since leaving San Francisco. Meeting occasional traffic now - soon after sunrise, I called cargo vessel 'Global Discovery' after my AIS alarm went off in fog, to warn me it was due to come very close. Avoiding 'Nereida' by turning slightly to port, they finally overtook us just a mile off our port bow - in bright sunshine, with the fog bank left behind just then - see photo. The decks were dripping wet and took a time to dry out. It stayed sunny for most of the day but we're back to overcast now - 4pm. A fishing boat, 'Timmy Boy', is at work, 2 miles off to starboard, running on a parallel course now, after converging earlier - can't see it visually but we're both seeing each other on AIS and he assured me he'd stay clear! Have been checking the weather again regularly. Changed course after midnight to head for Cape Flattery directly - winds are forecast to be generally light and from ahead for the next day so that seems the best route for now. Wind is still expected to strengthen by Sunday afternoon so there's still a chance of sailing into the Strait of Juan de Fuca... That would be nice! Enjoying a ripe avocado with the last of a very nice Pt Reyes blue cheese - good to find there are some places in the USA where they make a good cheese!

Spent a long time this morning, after new weather grib files were downloaded, going over the next few days' weather forecasts and possible routing, checking fuel left & how long it would last and then going over routing possibilities again. My plan has been to motor in the first few days of very light winds, hoping to reach a point where wind is expected and from where I can sail towards Cape Flattery & the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I thought we had just four days of fuel left, which sounds a lot - but it will take us rather more than that to get to Cape Flattery. Neah Bay, just to the East, has fuel but I'm hoping we get wind to sail well beforehand. So I changed course to head due N for about 2 days since the wind should be lighter to motor against rather than further offshore. We might then have to motor or tack further offshore for a day until we can lay Cape Flattery to sail there in good wind... Totally wind-dependent plan & liable to change again! Had several good short naps this afternoon, catching up on sleep before spending time refuelling from jerry cans. A fabulous Jabsco fuel transfer pump lives in the cockpit locker with two sturdy large pipes permanently attached, one with a long steel pipe at its end for sucking out the fuel from the jerrycans stored in the same locker. The fuel filler is in the cockpit close by (one of the many changes I had made on Nereida from a standard N380 ). So once I've connected the power supply, it's just a matter of time and moving the filler pipe around before all jerrycans are emptied - the diesel gushes into a special Baja-type portable filter, separating any water and gunge from the fuel on its way into the main diesel tank below. I was feeling quite pleased, having just finished the transfer and was getting ready to stow away the displaced locker items, when I got a bit of a scare.... the instruments & autopilot started beeping madly.... "No data" was the message... I had to hand steer for a while, worried that this would be the scenario for the next several days of motoring.... Not a good thought ! (Given good wind, that wouldn't happen because the Hydrovane would take over the steering under sail, with the bonus of no power needed.) I 'rebooted' the autopilot by switching off and on but it didn't seem to have any effect... until I realized I hadn't reset the route being followed on the plotter ... So eventually, all has ended fine except that the cockpit plotter, which regularly misbehaves, seemed to have taken the other instruments down with it twice and that could happen again. At least I can work around the problem, so it's not too bad. The good news early this evening, well before 7 o'clock, was twofold.... The overcast 'marine layer' finally dissipated overhead so, for the first time since Monday, I saw some clear sky and pink clouds, as the low sun shone hazily near sunset, and the moon is now shining brightly high up. The other good news was remembering another source of fuel - 22 l (6 US gallons) in a heater day tank. It was drained out and added to the main tank... so giving a further eight hours of motoring, if needed - a nice 'cushion'! Daylight lingers so much later here than further south - that meant I could work in the cockpit two hours longer. We've just crossed over the Oregon/California border - we're in the 'Pacific North West'!

3pm Just finished over 1 1/2 hrs of effort to undo a major genoa wrap....! In light wind, I had decided to furl the sail in because it wasn't doing anything but I let the sheet (sturdy line holding it in place) get far too slack and a fold of the sail wrapped itself around the forestay from the wrong direction. Realizing I had a problem, I went forward and found the genoa was partly furled in and the two sheets were tangled in with the folds of the sail which was turned back on itself and wrapped tightly the wrong way - a total mess ...... The loose section of sail was flapping and jerking and trying its best to make things worse... Trying to unwrap the sheets twisted around the base, I found the sail trying to wrap further..... TG for lengths of Spectra line! First I had to tie down the furler base shackle to stop it from turning to make matters even worse and next, after a bit of a fight with the sail to persuade it to unwrap where it was doubled up on itself, I managed to hold down the clew of the sail with another line to stop it from wrapping any further (photo!). Then I was able to unwrap the sheets from around the base with the sail held firmly and re-run them back to the cockpit. I was then able to furl in the sail (untidily, but at least it furled OK...) using the bow cleat to hold the furling line, having slackened the sheet and line holding the clew. I then tensioned the sheet again to allow me to lead the slack in the furling line (from using the bow cleat) correctly back to the cockpit winch. ..... All a bit convoluted! Finally, I had to unfurl the sail in order to reach the extra line I'd attached to the clew and remove it - I decided against trying to do that by standing on the pulpit step (at the base of the forestay) - the clew was simply too high up and that would have threatened me with an unwanted swim in a cold sea with the movement of the boat in the swell.... Once that line was removed the sail was in action again so it's now being used, ready to be furled in again - but more carefully next time!

Tuesday 1st August 2017 It's 7p.m. and the fog that lifted over the day dropped down again earlier and is now getting thicker. The air is cold and damp...19C. The wind died completely some time ago, but I did manage a short motor sail with a full genoa adding to the mainsail and catching some breeze to help our speed just a little, until the apparent wind moved forward and died away again. I've been delighted to find three black-footed albatrosses keeping us company several times today. When I saw the first one flying our way this morning, its long, 'bent' wings caught my attention immediately but I'm so used to seeing albatross gliding 99% of the time in the Southern Ocean that I didn't believe I was seeing one - until I realized that, with almost no wind or uplift from waves to help it glide, it had no choice but to flap its wings if it wanted to move! In the calm sea, I've also seen a yellow and white jellyfish looking like a badly scrambled egg and a short while ago I spotted a disturbance in the water and part of a grey and white body appeared for a moment - either a very large solitary dolphin (unlikely) or a whale or shark... Of course, I made the usual mistake of rushing for my camera - and saw nothing more! Weather is still looking calm for several days but I'm aiming for a point 180 miles off Cape Meares, OR, hoping to sail NE in the NW wind that is being forecast to arrive by then - we'll see! Keeping a constant eye on weather forecasts, as usual when on passage... I doubt our fuel will allow us to reach further than Neah Bay, if that far, but I'm hoping to sail in good wind by the weekend. I was surprised to get a call on the VHF this afternoon, asking me to go the Baja Net frequency - where I chatted with Ken, KE6WC, and Jan, KM6G, both in Gualala - just a little further north from where we were. They knew Nereida had left SF last night and were not far off their shore from our AIS signal. The sea is now glassy calm but there's quite a large W swell. Time to get a meal before the light goes completely.... and put the hot air heater on before checking in to the Pacific Seafarers' Net shortly.

I can’t believe we’re only now making this final leg of our passage N to B.C.! But a lot of good jobs have been done on the way, in different places, so the job list has shortened.

Left SF at midnight under low overcast. 7kt of headwind until passing under the GG Bridge soon died down to give light wind and the deck was soon wet with heavy dew and threatening fog all night.

9 a.m. - Sun is struggling to get out, there are frequent patches of fog and the sea is glassy-surfaced. Pairs of small murrelets (like a sea duck with black top and pointed beak & white underbody) are often seen resting on the surface, in between diving for food. The state of tide has a noticeable effect on our speed over the ground (SOG) - LW now, so we should start picking up speed again as the flood tide picks up.

Checking the weather forecasts, light winds are expected off the coast for several days, so I changed my intended route to stay 50-100ml off the coast . I’ll be motoring mostly, so I’ll have to keep a careful eye on fuel use. To head more offshore by another 200-300 miles to sail where winds are stronger would be a waste of time since winds will be from N-NW so a lot of tacking would be needed to get N. Since I can use my engine to make better progress at present, I might as well do so! Hopefully, I’ll be able to sail once we get near to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Monday 31st July 2017. St Francis Y.C.

 

Busy day from 6am.... Wind gen (thanks, Chris!) & speed display both dealt with - both working fine now.

Wind info still not getting through from mast top to display.... Chasing after new display & transducer and checking wiring connections again....

Preparing to go offshore .... Hydrovane got ready for use - rudder and vane put in place - one of the easier jobs! Bimini cover removed for sailing in less sunny/hot climes...

Thanks to Robert for climbing mast twice in effort to sort out wind info.... corrosion on terminals not helping. Still not 100% but better now than it was, with a possible 'work around'.

Hoping to leave on tonight's ebb tide through Golden Gate - might be better than earlier today if strong headwind dies down overnight, as hoped.

Weather forecast looking quite good although might be motoring again initially. Hoping for some sailing wind also.

Thanks to so many people who have made this an enjoyable stay in the SF Bay area, despite so much work to do taking a lot longer than hoped for.
--

"Nereida"

www.svnereida.com

"Life is precious - make the most of it!"



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