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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Tuesday Spoke to Mark on 'Maverick' again overnight - he was in nasty seas - like a 'tidal rip' he said - and the wind has been highly variable in direction - not very helpful. A NE wind forced him to the W of the Falklands - little choice. Amazing how he keeps going in difficult, strong conditions - but he really wants to beat Jean-Luc!! He's been working hard at repairing a bad rip in his staysail - he wants to make a really good, strong job of it so it lasts to Les Sables d'Olonne.

2:30pm LT (GMT-6hr) Making good speed, ~6.3kt, in 17kt wind, slowly building, from just W of N - we're almost beam reaching due E. (The wind is actually just 'abaft the beam'!) The only problem with a beam reach in present conditions is that the seas are likely to be on the beam also - so the 'getting-knocked-about' factor is pretty high!
Just moved my sleeping bag over to the starboard bunk - on the lee side of 'Nereida' now. I got away with ignoring being on port tack last night, with the seas being well down, but that won't work now... When it gets rough, the safest place to be is in my warm, soft bunk - preferably with a hot mug or bowl of something nourishing! My beef and spinach curry was great yesterday - and there's plenty more ready for tonight.

Midday Wednesday Been sleeping a lot, recovering from exertions last night....
Got a satphone call just over 2 hrs ago to let me know of Susie's pitchpole and dismasting at 1515Z plus a knock on the head... She was concussed and the boat is in a mess but both more-or-less OK - I hope she recovers OK from her concussion. Two days before any ship can get to her. She was, and Uku probably is now, in the middle of the system that I'm N of - the reason I headed E for the last day or so was to stay N of the same system that was heading SE, to avoid the stronger winds and seas expected to my S.

Well before sunset, I unfurled the small staysail and furled in the genoa, ready for winds to increase. As I went to put a turn of the sheets (lines!) around the furled genoa to keep it safe in strong winds, I heard a noise - the end of the furling line had become disconnected from its drum below the sail. The big headsail rapidly unfurled itself and began madly flapping in the wind, with its sheets lashing out at everything around.... Nightmare! I had to stop it from flogging and get it down somehow...
I heaved to (had to gybe around and sheet in on the main...) and pulled in on the upwind genoa sheet to keep as much of the sail inboard as possible. The problem with getting it down was that it could all end up being blown into the sea - probably heeling the boat over badly...
I had to get out on deck to release the halyard bit by bit, going forward in between to try to grab as much of the loose sail blowing in the wind as I could and bring it inboard, lashing it down if I could (I'd taken some line and sail ties with me) - it was determined to take a swim. All a bit of a struggle, with daylight fading fast.

I got a radio email message, asking if all was OK from Peter Mott, ZL1PWM: "Looks like you stopped making way at 050117 UTC and are now drifting." I'd missed the 0300Z Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0300Z so he'd looked for my AIS signal report. I didn't get back down below until 0400Z so I'd spent nearly three hours trying to tame the genoa.
The best I could do was to get most of it inboard but some ended up in the sea and it becomes impossible then to raise it with all the seawater it holds. I got some up but I'll have to wait for less big seas, causing us to roll around a lot less, to get the remainder up. It was also completely dark when I stopped trying unsuccessfully to raise any more of the sail out of the water. It's not causing too much of a problem just now, while we're hove to but I can't move on before it's all on deck and stowed securely.
That still leaves the furling line problem - it needs to be fixed back securely onto the drum, with plenty of spare turns so the problem doesn't repeat, if the genoa is to be used again.... Not as simple a job as it sounds so it won't happen this side of Cape Horn, I'm thinking.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 63. We ended up 37 n.ml.(DMG), measured in a straight line between the two points over the 24 hr period, from yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Sailed E 43 ml at a good speed and then drifted SW 28 ml at 1.5-2kt! (Total of 71ml)

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 63 (by daily DMGs): 6,613 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,218 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-15.86S LONGITUDE: 096-00.85W COURSE: 207T SPEED: 1.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 28kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 4.0m
BARO: 1017.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Hove-to, drifting, still & until system passes and genoa dealt with securely.

Monday 3pm Lovely to see so much sunshine peeking between the broken clouds this afternoon.
Just finished a radio chat on 17m - nice when propagation is good, as it was today - can have a proper chat with no noise on frequency.
I was pleased I'd left the first reef in when the wind gusted up to the low twenties for a time under a cloud - we were galloping away at 6.5kt or so but are now ambling along more sedately at 5-5.5kt in WSW wind of 14-16kt.

With temperatures down to 11C/52F in the evenings now, I'm about to make a beef curry again - the last one was excellent, with potato and spinach added - it lasted easily two main meals and is really tasty! The ambient temperature is low enough now for me not to fancy cold meals of an evening...

5:30pm Curry made ready, to have with Basmati rice and mango and lime pickles. Was hoping to have it after enjoying a lovely sunset, with it having been so sunny for most of the day and an almost clear sky this afternoon but a cloud layer has spread over half the sky from the W.

Will leave sail trim as it is for overnight, although will have to gybe onto port tack as and when wind veers into NNW as forecast. We've light winds at present, close to the High pressure system we're skirting around (pressure has been building over the day and is now 1020 hPa)

Light is fading now. Will have my food while it's hot.

9:45pm Well, sunset did go well, in the end, with the area of low, grey cloud away from the sun just then. The cloud was a marine layer - very low down, waiting to drop as fog, given half a chance, and far lower than the cirrus layer above it.

We're now grinding to a halt - or nearly so - making only 3 kt in 6-7kt of W wind. We're clearly not far from centre of the High pressure system to our NE. The strong N wind is forecast to arrive around late afternoon Tuesday. Seas are right down, with very occasional rolling as a bigger wave finds us.

On the radio I've made excellent contacts on 40m, two nights running now, with stations in Chile - both from in or near the capital Santiago which is about 1,500 miles to the NE.

Midnight Gybed around to head E after taking in 2nd reef - not so simple now starboard lazyjack is missing so took quite a time - decided to do it now while it was easy - we're still making nearly 4kt - I'm quite happy to go slowly in view of weather forecast over next few days.

9am Still heading E in 11kt wind just slightly W of N, making ~5kt on a beam reach. Back to overcast sky. Waiting for wind to begin to build more and will then reef down again ready for the expected 30kt winds for the next day or more. Still full genoa to help boat speed. Seas down quite a bit in the consistent fairly light wind.

Tuesday 12:20GMT = 6:20am LT Just sailed E of 97.5W - into new local time zone .... GMT-6hr (Central Time in N. America)! Adjusted Fred just after sunrise to keep heading East - wind now from NNW at 11kt. Making 5kt SOG under overcast sky.

1800GMT = 1200 LT (GMT-6hr) Just got back down below after tidying away the lines in the cockpit - feel I've deserved the breakfast coffee I'm having now! I'd checked the weather, having downloaded fresh files, and with wind slowly building, we tacked around. Then I put in the 3rd reef - well ahead of time while it was easier to do in the lesser seas. Tying in the reef on starboard tack worked fine and we didn't lose much way, despite our heading being NW, because the boat slowed right down while it was being done. The port side lazyjack held the sail up as usual and I added a sail tie to hold the sail in to the boom before taking up on the reefing line. It's a real pain not having the starboard lazyjack available...

Having finished, we tacked back onto our course - due E - and we're now making almost 6kt, in wind just W of N at 15-16kt, with full genoa. When the wind gets up a lot, I'll change down from genoa to the much smaller staysail.

The sun is trying to get out so it's fairly bright. The solar panels are putting in over 14A - very pleasing!

Interestingly, the magnetic variation, which had steadily increased from 16 degrees E when I started out to 25 degrees E up to midday yesterday, has now dropped back down to 24 degrees E - I suspect that's because we've been heading due E.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 62. We made 100 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Expected a low DMG today... Change of course doesn't help - would have been more otherwise.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 62 (by daily DMGs): 6,576 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,255 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-51.71S LONGITUDE: 096-42.22W COURSE: 092T SPEED: 5.9kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 98%
BARO: 1022.7hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Sun gettng out occasionally - cirrus above low marine cloud layer

Sunday 1:15pm LT Back to a cloudy sky - the blue sky and sunshine of this morning didn't last long. I was amazed at how quickly the edge of the cloud layer came over - bringing with it a gust to almost 30kt and a veering wind. Things have settled down now to a fairly steady 20-22kt wind, which backed to WSW, shortly after the big gust. Weather changes very rapidly down here - we're in the 'Roaring Forties' now...

1:40pm A mainly blue sky and sunshine again - wind WSW 24-25kt. 4m/13ft seas are throwing us around as they pass us, even though they're more on our starboard quarter than abeam.

11:50pm Went up to adjust Fred - a beautiful, but chilly, starry sky - spotted the Southern Cross with its Pointers - unmistakeable...
Trying to keep a bit E of rhumb-line course to the Cape - hoping to keep out of strongest winds over Tuesday night into Wednesday. Might have to head more E nearer the time - we'll see!

Monday 4:25am Just gone dawn, raincloud passed by but no big gust - just to 21kt. Scattered white cloud now - 80% cover. Wind in W but only 17-19kt now. Sailing more gently but occasional wave still knocks boat around.

8am Replaced genoa with staysail - on a broad reach, so can't fly both. Having breakfast while I think about shaking out a reef and check the weather...

11am Having coffee - a measure of the seas having lain down a bit is feeling I can safely put on the coffee pot (if I stay close by)! Sun is getting out quite often. There's a thin cirrus layer overhead and blue sky on the horizon - a pleasant day.
Took an age earlier to release the 'nettles' and reef strop before shaking out the reef - having attached them from the opposite side, it was difficult getting to them, not helped by being perched up in the cockpit in the fair-sized swell... I decided to leave reef1 in after looking at the weather forecast for the coming few days, although that means we're a bit slow.

There's a system passing by overnight tomorrow (Tuesday) into Wednesday which I'll be trying to avoid the worst of by heading East for a time from tonight. It will reach the Cape area on Saturday, with a 'squashing' effect resulting in even more strong winds as it passes below the Cape - I'm hoping to stay well to its N, out of the strong winds, as it heads SE.

Then, as we get nearer to the Cape early next week, there's a really big system following close behind that looks almost impossible to avoid, it's expected to be so widespread, with 40+ kt winds, gusting higher, and 8m+ seas. It's expected to begin to arrive at the Cape soon after next Monday. I might have to heave to or, more likely, deploy my Jordan Series Drogue (JSD/series drogue) to stop the boat and stay safe if we expect to be in the middle of such strong conditions. 8m/26ft seas, probably close-to and therefore steep, are nasty!

See photo of grib file for evening next Sunday 9th Dec - system is moving left to right (W to E), colours show swell height, arrows 'fly' with wind, barbs show strength, top left grey area shows rain in another small Low there. The green boat icon shows possible position of 'Nereida' at dawn next Monday and the path shown dwon to Cape Horn will take roughly 5-7 days to sail.

Weather changes very quickly down here but the system is almost certain to arrive pretty well as forecast. All I can do is to try to avoid the immediate threat while keeping an eye on possible future problems. Not being a racer, my priority is to stay safe, even if that means stopping or going slowly at times - no problem!

Second photo (by request!) shows my 'ham shack' - my chart table area in the main cabin with HF/SSB Icom radio and Pactor modem.

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 61. We made 135 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Good speed made yesterday and overnight.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 61 (by daily DMGs): 6,476 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,348 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-21.04S LONGITUDE: 098-58.52W COURSE: 130T SPEED: 5.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: 302T SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Sun shining thro' thin cirrus layer. Seas lying down a little - not so close and steep

Saturday 5:15pm LT Slight drizzle from usual grey overcast sky. Took a time to sort all lines etc out but, with wind eased and backed, finally gybed around onto starboard tack to make rhumb-line course towards Cape Horn again.
Running the staysail means the extra job of changing over the running backstays in addition to changing over the boom preventers since we're running downwind on a broad reach. Having had to shorten the boom ends of the preventer lines makes them slightly more awkward to reach in order to make the changeover, even though the boom is centred midships as we gybe over. Would be nice to be slightly taller at times!

Looks as though the wind will be around 22-23kt from WNW for a time now. Seas are heaping up a lot astern - always fascinates me to see how we lift up over their steep faces as they pass under us! They're easily 4m/13ft now, probably more - always difficult to judge their height.

The next strong blow is likely to be Tuesday evening and then Friday overnight into Saturday is looking even stronger.

Occasionally see a colourful patch of lighter aquamarine with streaks of white foam on the sea surface where a tumbling crest has collapsed into a lot of air-bubbles. Generally, everything is grey - both sea and sky.

7pm Raining and getting dark. Finished shaking out 3rd reef - well overdue, with wind definitely having moderated a lot from mid-twenties earlier. The big problem with getting wet is that things never seem to dry. I hang them up and when I next look at them, they're likely to be still wet or, if partly dried, they stay forever damp. Makes Goretex, or similar, pretty vital for comfort.

Spoke to Susanne on 'Nehaj' after the Pacific Seafarers' Net - she's lying to her Jordan Series Drogue, staying safe in 50kt winds. She'd deployed it five hours earlier and is likely to lie to it for a day in all. Good to be safe in big seas and strong wind....

Mark on 'Maverick' is trying to round Cape Horn. He had gusts of 50-60kt winds and 7m seas today but kept going - but now those winds have died completely and he's got ten miles to go but only 10 kots of wind with the same big waves. Frustrating for him! He must be pretty tired..

9.30pm Just ended a half-hour radio session on 7160 - someone had posted that I was on frequency and that brought in a lot of new contacts to add to the usual ones. Propagation to Florida and up to Minnesota is clearly good at this time - a lot of strong, clear signals.

Sunday 03:30am LT On radio to Mark - he'd rounded the Cape in light winds but they just got up to 35kt from the NNW - he's had to reef down again but is happy to have made it OK. As I was talking, I saw our wind suddenly gust up to 30kt... I cursed becasue I'd not long shaken out the 3rd reef and here it seemed I needed it in again... As I got into my foulies to go on deck, I saw the wind begin to ease a little - but it then backed to SW from NW. A Front must have passed through. The wind eased to 22kt but stayed SW - so, thankfully, I simply needed to adjust Fred to change our heading relative to the wind and take up on the sheets. We're now close-hauled but expecting the wind slowly to veer again - it should be from due W by tonight, if not before.
It's getting light and there's a streak of clear sky on the horizon...

7am It's a lovely sunny day with scattered white cumulus - unusual! Wind ~20kt from just W of SW, still slowly veering - adjusted Fred a touch more. Pressure has jumped to 1009 from 1005hPa.
Studying the weather files - a constant preoccupation... several times a day, as the wind changes. Still expecting strong wind on Wednesday.

11am Another Fred adjustment needed - as the wind keeps veering, so I have to adjust our angle to the wind - Fred is a wind steering entity that keeps our angle to the wind constant, so if I want us to keep to a particular course, I have to adjust the vane angle whenever the wind shifts a fair and then eased to 25kt,.

Midday - Unbelievable! In no time, a band of cloud spread over the blue sky bringing really gusty conditions - wind veered to W and gusted nearly to 30kt. Finally settled back down to ~24kt, backing again to WSW. Adjusted course and trimmed sails for broader reach...and then had to undo it a short time later...

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 60. We made 124 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 60 (by daily DMGs): 6,341 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,482 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 44-03.55S LONGITUDE: 101-34.03W COURSE: 122T SPEED: 6.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 25kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 95%
BARO: 1011hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 13.0C
COMMENT: Wind 24-28kt...Gusty under cloud - just spread over blue sky...

Friday 1pm LT Sun trying so very hard to peep out from behind cloud layer - just not managing... NW wind of 18kt, sailing nicely on a broad reach, pretty much on course for Cape Horn - just over two weeks away, I'm hoping. Weather looking not bad for next few days - maybe up to 25kt, so possibly gusting 30kt, still from NW, for a short time overnight and into tomorrow morning, easing off and then maybe up to around 25kt again, from W-WSW, over Sunday, during the day. But on Tuesday, 30kt or more is forecast over the daytime, easing to 23kt overnight and building again on Thursday to 38kt or more...

Finishing off some Saltspring Island soft goat's cheese for lunch - very ripe....!

4PM Foggy - not a thick fog - but lots of moisture in the air and visibility is only a few boat lengths. Cool air so cooking a thick broth in the pressure cooker - split (dried) green peas, diced ham, onion, potatoes, sweetcorn, tomatoes - anything I can think of to add in! The green peas should make it nice and thick and it will thicken even more over time. Should last me a few days and will make very welcome, easy meals.

7pm Fog has thickebed - can only just see one or two boat lengths away. We're now gliding silently and smoothly through the water into the fog. Quite a different sensation from when heading upwind and bashing into the seas! Wind and seas are less now, which helps - from WNW at around 16kts.

10pm Reefed down, furled in genoa and unfurled small staysail. All after gybing around to head more east than south, with idea of avoiding worst of Low passing just S of our position over next 12-18hrs. Possibility of gusts to 50kt - definitely something to avoid if possible!

With missing lazyjack, problem with tying in the excess sail once sail lowered to take in reef. Need to adjust the reef line position where tied around the boom so that, as reef taken in, the sail is, at least partly, held in by the reef line - presently it's way too far aft on the boom and doesn't take in any of the sail whatsoever - so the sail dangles and needs to be tied in - tried to do that with a sail tie but not easy in a big swell and 22kt wind, even though the boom was brought in close to the cockpit to try to do it....

Saturday 4:30am Grey daylight, soon after dawn. So far, no sign of Low passing by to S. Still has time to show up since chance of higher gusts not forecast to have finished until about 3pm later today.

930am Sailing well at up to 6.3kt, making ESE in 24-28kt of NW wind - still with 3rd reef and staysail. Quite rolly in prevailing seas but downwind so relatively smooth. Occasional 'biggie' gets the boat swerving back and forth as Fred gets us back on course after we've been hit rather harder.

Midday Wind has backed a tad, so course has changed in line with the wind shift. Will wait a short while before gybing around. "All's well on board"..!

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 59. We made 127 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 59 (by daily DMGs): 6,217 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,605 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-42.47S LONGITUDE: 103-43.25W COURSE: 105T SPEED: 5.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 26kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1011.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 14.0C

COMMENT: Wind up a bit. Low still passing - pressure low. Seas up..

Thursday 0045GMT Midday, the sun came out for a time and a small blue patch of sky was seen - but it didn't last long. Now, it's very dull and light is beginning to fade a touch. It feels much later than 4pm PST. We just passed E of 108 W but we moved into a new time zone on passing 112.5 W - we're now one hour ahead of PST - into Mountain Time in N.America - no wonder it feels late! I'm going to change my timing into LT - Local Time. So my present local time is GMT-7 ... until we reach 97.5 W.

There's the usual overcast grey sky and very lumpy seas - we were being thrown around a lot on a close reach, banging into the seas quite a bit and the seas have been frequently washing over the decks and even over the hard top, into the cockpit. Wind has backed into NE and increased at times from 18kt to 21kt and still backing, so I changed course slightly relative to the wind - adjusted Fred to head more off the wind (nearly on a beam reach now) and eased the sheets. Also furled in some more genoa. We're still making over 6kt.

Time to start cooking before the light goes completely... cheese and onion omelette tonight. I couldn't do it without my bumstrap in these conditions....

8pm LT Enjoyed my omelette! Amazing the difference bearing away, more off the wind, makes... Suddenly. things are a lot smoother and it's a lot quieter! Still getting thrown around occasionally by a big wave hitting the boat and still having to be very careful moving around - but you can sense a big wave as it starts arriving, to get ready and hold on tight as the boat lifts up.

Friday 6am LT Sunrise was around 5am - hidden by grey cloud and rain. So much smoother a ride heading downwind, as we are now. Making good speed, ~ 6.5kt, but slightly to east of preferred course. No problem, since we'll be needing to gybe around later today if the wind backs further, as forecast, and then we'll get back on course. Wind from NNW at 20-22 kt. Murky, misty in frequent rain.

11am Just finished my morning (fresh-brewed!) coffee after gybing on to starboard tack - course towards Cape Horn is very good now. (It was feeling relatively smooth enough to risk putting on the coffee pot while I was close by, getting my breakfast - managed without any spills - lovely!) We had been finally heading ESE in NW wind just before gybing around - I'd been waiting for the wind to back sufficiently before changing tack. We'll be mainly on this tack for quite a time now, with just occasional adjustment of Fred needed if a Front comes through to change the wind direction to SW from NW. Meant changing my sleeping bag over to the other side of the cabin - the lee side of 'Nereida' is now the port side... That's where I'm sitting now, to write this in comfort.

Took photos (by request!) of the seascape yesterday afternoon, trying to show the rough seas - they never look as dramatic as in reality! Also noticed I'd forgotten to post a lovely sunset on Wednesday evening when I was down below and the whole cabin was lit up with the orange light coming through the clear companionway washboard. Caught my attention and I went up on deck to enjoy it - don't often see the sun these days. The best that happens is the cloud layer occasionally gets a lot brighter - but the sun rarely shines through completely. (Solar power coming in pretty well, despite that.)

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 58. We made 142 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 58 (by daily DMGs): 6090 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,730 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/11/30 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-32.74S LONGITUDE: 106-05.65W COURSE: 147T SPEED: 5.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1019.6hPa TREND: AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Gybed onto stbd tack short time ago. Smoother downwind...

Wednesday Finally decided to get underway around sunset with the wind having backed into the ENE - nice to be sailing again, even though we were headed S initially!

Made good use of time while hove-to... Moved some provisons into the galley area, checked my lashings around the mast and used the topping lift to raise the boom end some more - needed a rolling hitch on another piece of line to do that, using an adjacent mast winch.

Taped around the top of the cockpit windscreen front windows which seem to have been leaking very slightly in rain. We'll be having plenty of seas washing over them in the rough weather to come, so I'm hoping to have stopped any leaks into the cockpit - even the smallest are a nuisance.

Looked through my paper charts to find the ones of the Cape Horn area and later checked the positions of waypoints with deepest water around the Cape and beyond. It's all Continental shelf in Drake Passage - between the Cape in Chile over to Antarctica - so in bad weather, the seas heap up even more, being relatively shallow compared with the oceans on either side.

I found the waypoints already marked from my last rounding, in December 2012, so that saved some time. They're marked in the deepest water around, also avoiding the occasional sea mount ('mountain' below the sea) which rises up steeply from deep water to quite close to the surface - again, somewhere to avoid in bad weather because they give rise to nasty seas.

The other place to avoid just after rounding the Cape, for the same reason, is the shallow Burdwood Bank to the S and SE of the Falklands. To the East of that lies the extensive W-E Nova Scotia Range of sea mounts - I prefer to make my way to the W of those before heading N and NE away from the Cape area, on into the S. Atlantic. Of course, in calm weather, no problem - but it's not often calm in this area, except for brief periods in between the strong weather of the Lows that come by every few days. My first time around, we were badly knocked down (I had to make for Ushuaia for repairs) but last time, we passed S of Cape Horn in a flat calm in between two storms!

I'm on the radio several times over the day, several times on 'ham' radio frequencies to friends and people who call in, to the regular Pacific Seafarers' Net, to give my position and weather, and to a couple of Golden Globe Race evening 'scheds'. That's when they're given their weather forecasts for the coming days by Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne, Australia, (prepared by Peter Mott, ZL1PWM, in New Zealand) or get 'Don updates' (on Wednesdays) giving them an overview of how the race is going and how the various boats are doing. As part of that, they're able to confirm their positions, which is useful! The use of voice over SSB radio has proved really important to the racers and I was pleased to be able to pass on information after contacting Mike Scheck of Scanmar in San Francisco to get advice to Susie for the better functioning of her Monitor wind steering system which has been playing up.

Thursday Usual grey overcast sky. Continuing to sail nicely in ENE-NE wind of around 18kt.

I had to laugh at myself this morning - soon after dawn I went on deck to adjust Fred, my Hydrovane wind steering, to get us off the wind a bit more. We'd been making really slow speed overnight due to being too close to the wind, wanting to head S rather than SW, so I wanted to bear away to get better speed, now that the wind had backed further.

I had a real problem making the adjustment using the 'fine-tuning' line to the cockpit. I went aft to get closer and make the adjustment there - and suddenly realised that poor Fred was trying in vain to steer to the wind on the wrong side of the boat... I'd not adjusted it correctly earlier and, in effect, Nereida had been steering herself all night, close-hauled - as well-balanced boats are perfectly happy doing! The wind steering rudder, trying to steer us the wrong way, had been acting as a drag and slowing us down more... Once that situation was remedied, we picked up speed to around the 6 kt we should have been making earlier.... LOL!!

Feeling cold now and temperatures will drop a lot more as I head further S. Looked over my clothing to check what is there and get out some skin layers to add in - they really help. Also dug out my really thick fleeces - I'll be needing those soon. (Had a thick, hot Clam Chowder last night!)

1900GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 57. We made 72 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. If I'd adjusted Fred correctly when we finally got underway at sunset, it would probably have been over 100ml...

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) after 1900 GMT:

TIME: 2018/11/29 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-59.20S LONGITUDE: 108-26.31W COURSE: 143T SPEED: 6.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1025.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Usual overcast sky. Being thrown around by seas...

Tuesday 4.30pm Dull grey sky and steady rain this afternoon. Wind consistently 20-22kt from NW - giving good boat speed of 6-7.5kt - with occasional surfing on waves to over 8kt for just a short while! Feeling very cool at 17C/62F. We're skirting a large High pressure area on its SW edge - but likely tomorrow to be overtaken by the centre of the High dropping over us - will give light winds, maybe headwinds... Seas also pretty constant at about 3m/10ft from NNW.

9pm Well, the High is spreading over us - wind has slowly died down to 14kt since darkness fell and has backed to WNW. Just had to gybe around to avoid heading due East! Very moist air with droplets of moisture caught in the beam of my headlamp - an essential item for night-time sail handling. We're now on a broad reach on starboard tack - so still sailing downwind.

10pm Wind has slowly died and backed further. .. now W-WSW 11-12kt.

Wednesday 4am Around dawn - saw a thin streak of pink half an hour ago but all a dull solid grey cloud layer now. Very wet everywhere on deck but not raining
Sheeting in on starboard tack a short while ago seemed good - got us heading SE instead of NE - but wind continued to back further, and died right down to 8kt, so we soon ended up heading E. So we tacked around onto port tack, expecting wind to back further at some point (soon hopefully!), so we'll then head SW and, finally, S or maybe even SE...! Not much that can be done to head in a better direction - the High has moved over to right on top of us and we just have to wait to see where the wind comes from and adjust accordingly.

5am I hate going backwards! Decided to heave to so we can drift more to E, maybe even ESE or better, rather than head W at 3.5kt as we were...! Playing a waiting game while High moves to wherever it's going and we can sensibly get under way again.... Wind is from due S just now...

Twice I went on deck to look for a ship nearby - convinced I could hear the low hum of engines - but nothing there. It's the humming of the rigging in the wind!!

6am Added topping lift to boom end. Then raised boom more with topping lift using another line to winch with a rolling hitch so I could cleat off the topping lift when boom raised more - not much but taking it off the bimini metalwork. The rod-kicker gas-filled rod is clearly not doing its job of pushing on the boom to raise it up when the kicker/vang is released - the boom was held rather loosely.
We're drifting SE at 1.2kt - at least that's in a better direction...

Later: Wind SE now - we're drifting East now so not too bad. Waiting for wind to back into a better direction to move away.

1900GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 56. We made 86 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. We were going fine yesterday until the High moved over us!!

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

TIME: 2018/11/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-53.88S LONGITUDE: 109-05.92W COURSE: 102T SPEED: 0.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 11kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1025hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Still hove-to - wind SE11kt, drifting.... Waiting for High to move away.

Monday 3.20pm It's fairly bright but we're now in fog. The sun tried to get out earlier through the usual overcast.. Must be a thin sea-fog because the sun is often almost visible. The outside air is full of tiny droplets, anything metal on deck is covered in drops of water and I'm definitely feeling cold.

The wind is anywhere between N and NNW - it keeps shifting... enough to need to make frequent small changes to the windsteering (Fred!)

I finally had some breakfast at lunch time having had nothing this morning, while busy working (always a worry that stronger weather will come in before I've finished), and I'm still drinking my coffee.

It's pleasing to have had a productive morning but I'll need to keep an eye on my lashings to make sure the kicker stays in place.

4pm Well, the wind is really backing steadily - now from NW. We're presently headed on a very broad reach and I'm waiting to see if we will soon need to gybe around...

Was nice to chat with Rick, VE7TK, on 14160kHz - propagation to British Columbia is often not bad around this time.

6.30pm Still thin fog around as darkness is falling - it's usually dark by 7pm.

8.30pm Wind has stayed pretty consistently from NW but has been at 18-22kt for a while now - so we're making good speed in roughly the right direction - always good!

Chatted to other boats not too far away after giving position and weather report to Pacific Seafarers' Net - Mark (1300ml away) on 'Maverick', Susie (1600ml away) on 'Starlight and Susanne (800ml away) on 'Nehaj'. Uku (1250ml away) on 'One and All' is also nice and clear during the regular Golden Globe weather update session that I listen in to an hour before. Good propagation between all of us just now on 20m and also on 40m maritime bands. Susie is having a problem with her wind steering system - I'll speak to her shortly to see if I can help her in some way. Also made a few contacts on 7160kHz afterwards - Matt, W1MBB, is very obliging and people know they can come there for a quick chat, if they wish.

Tuesday 10am The sun has not quite managed to get through either the earlier thin white layer of sea fog nor the present light cloud layer but it's quite bright out. We're still sailing downwind and seas are a good 3m/10ft or so, making it quite rolly. Wind has stayed consistently up at 18-20kt from the NW, overnight and into this morning. From weather info, that looks set to continue for a while, possibly backing more to WNW later today. Occasionally, it gusts to 24kt - we're making good speed!

1900GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 55. We made 138 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. A good day's run...

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

TIME: 2018/11/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-21.26S LONGITUDE: 110-48.27W COURSE: 117T SPEED: 6.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1016.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Early thin sea fog, now overcast and dull

Sunday 6pm Very pleasant sunshine most of the afternoon, but with increasing grey cloud towards the evening, endig up as totally grey skies as darkness was falling. Several useful things done this afternoon, while ambling along at 3-3.5 kt in little wind but pleasant sunshine. For anti-chafe on the lashing at the rod-kicker base, I used a PTFE item I've been storing, waiting for the day it would prove useful - its day came today! It's doing a good job, keeping the lashing off the trysail track as it passes over it on its way around the mast. Cable ties make sure the lashing won't slip off the PTFE.

I also tried to remove or make less proud or sharp the remaining rivets that are still sticking out, using hammer and pliers without much effect. Actually, writing that, it occurred to me that I should be trying to drill out the remaining rivets...much easier and guaranteed a good result. Next time it's calm enough - if not tomorrow then Wednesday. Unfortunately, I can neither replace any rivets nor tap thread in order to use machine screws in place of the rivets. So I'm stuck with the lashings. I did find another useful pair of items which I'm hoping I can use to raise the kicker connection - it's far too low at present and it would be great if I could get it higher.

Monday 11am Been on deck solidly since before 8am, when not below finding items needed on deck... Managed to drill out several remaining rivet parts (not quite as easy as I'd envisaged!) and hammered, then filed down, a couple of more uncooperative ones - all well recessed now. Next, I fixed the kicker foot lashing better.
I also wanted to raise the foot and used the winches on either side of the mast to help do that - made it much easier to raise into position initially than it might otherwise have been, using the two sturdy hooks that I found yesterday to attach to the kicker fitting. Once the kicker had been raised as far as possible (almost back to its original position) I was able to tie Spectra line around the mast winch bases from the same two hooks on the rod-kicker base fitting to secure it in position. I'm pleased I found a way to raise the kicker foot - it was far too low before and was too often resting on the bimini metalwork - using it as a 'gallows' it was never built for. I hope my efforts all work out as intended.

The wind got up for a time this morning - we were making over 6kt at one point while I was working on deck and the seas got up as well - but it's died back down now. Midway through the morning, I gybed around - partly in order to access the mast on the other side of the kicker fitting - but we needed to gybe around anyway so we could head more SE. Now I can get some very late breakfast and think about sailing 'Nereida' properly - as much as this light wind allows - we're heading downwind so have very little apparent wind.

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 54. We made 80 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. A slow day, in light wind, but I was busy working and not paying too much attention - I was pleased to have the calm conditions ... Fred was definitely in charge!

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

TIME: 2018/11/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 37-07.86S LONGITUDE: 113-15.85W COURSE: 124T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Busy on deck all morning, fixing kicker to mast connection.

Sat 3.50pm PST Finished on deck - Preventer lines on boom shortened and tensioned with bungie loops to hold close to the boom - hopefully, they won't be able to cause a problem there any longer.

Port side lazyjack - I decided to prevent the line from high on the mast from getting caught up in the rigging, as the starboard one did yesterday, should a line break. I've attached a separate line, with a convenient small shackle on its end, to that line's end eye so if any one of the lower lines breaks, there won't be any problem retrieving that line up the mast - it's tied down so it can't 'escape'! The starboard line end has ended up at the small block high up on the mast - no way to retrieve it without a climb up the mast. But at least it's not tangled up with other rigging lines or shrouds....

The sun has come out - there's a big patch of blue sky showing. It's actually feeling warm - lovely!

5.30pm By the time I'd finished my work on deck, we were drifting almost due E while still hove-to in NNW wind of 16-18kt. Definitely time to get underway... Now we're making 6 kt SE in WNW-NW wind - it's good to be sailing again although the 3m seas are coming onto our beam so we're really rolling about a lot.

According to my weather info, sailing will be good until Wednesday-Friday when we could find ourselves in the light-zero winds of a High pressure system again..... But that forecast is for several days away and things could change totally by then.

Sunday 5:30am Nice to chat briefly to friends on 7163kHz around dawn - propagation good then. Then up on deck to gybe onto starboard tack - wind now from W, still around 18kt, gusting 20kt. Making 6.5kt just on a broad reach, nearly on a beam reach. New length preventer lines working OK - centred main, as usual, to deal with preventers as we gybed around - bungies doing a good job!

Grey sky, damp and murky - no sign of sun yet but very light now. Seas are from W and slightly down on last night - under 3m maybe - but it's still very rolly. Getting back to my bunk for a bit more sleep.

11am Wind died totally one hour ago - sky a lot brighter with broken light overcast and blue streaks on horizon - seeing 15A coming in from PV panels when sun shines between cloud! Not enough apparent wind to turn generator blades.

Creeping along now in under 10kt wind from 'abaft the beam'. Seas have lain down a lot - feels a lot gentler. Time for a late coffee - and think about what jobs I can get done while it's relatively calm. Will be looking again at the rod-kicker base fitting on mast....

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 53. We made 100 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 35-48.87S LONGITUDE: 113-33.48W COURSE: 147T SPEED: 3.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 9kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1018.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: Wind died 1hr ago..! 100 ml DMG Sunny, bright broken cloud layer

I thought I'd posted my report yesterday, as usual, having got it all ready - but missed out on the last step - actually hitting the 'Send' button...!

The reason was undoubtedly the stressful situation on board at the time - I was not feeling too happy late yesterday afternoon...

I'd earlier connected up the solar controller and removed all the extraneous bits of wire no longer needed - something I made a priority, although most of my report was written and I made sure to note the 1900GMT weather and position on time. It was awaiting a final editing before posting and I was enjoying seeing an excellent, regulated input to the batteries, despite the overcast sky, now that all the corroded bits and pieces in the circuitry had finally been got rid of.

Around 4pm, with the bigger seas and increased wind (18-20kt) giving frequent increased heeling, I decided I should reef the mainsail - especially being aware of the compromised mast-to-kicker fitting. I sheeted out and started to take in the second reef. While taking up on the reefing line, I heard a sudden noise and the boom fell a bit more... I checked the kicker - the fitting looked fine (relief!) but it took me a time to realise that the reason the loose sail was dangling far lower than usual, on the downwind side of the boom, was that the starboard lazyjack lines, that normally hold the sail in to the boom when reefing, were flying around - they'd broken... I managed to grab one end near the cockpit but saw the loose, higher section making a macrame pattern high up in the shrouds - it is still well out of reach and the eye at its end is totally tangled high up.

I finished tying in the reef and then added in a strong reef strop around the boom. Not having a lazyjack to hold the sail in from flopping all over the place while reefing is not the end of the world ... but it certainly makes the procedure a lot quicker and easier. I looked up at the port side lazyjack - I think it needs that same section of line replaced before it, too, gives way due to chafe.

Another problem caused by the lower boom, now that the kicker fitting is slightly lower at the mast than previously, is that my boom-end preventer line sections are liable to catch badly on my bimini metalwork when the boom swings over on changing tack. I'd solved that problem a few weeks back using some bungie cord to tension the short lengths of line when stowed on the underside of the boom and not in use, but now that the boom is lower, that isn't working well enough. Last night, as I lay not sleeping, I came up with a solution - shorten the lines a lot at the boom end, keeping their shackle ends, when not in use, safely stowed under the boom where easily reached, with the lines again tensioned using a loop of bungie cord... A simple solution to that problem... To be done this afternoon, before we move away... Hopefully, the bowlines at the boom end will come undone without too much of a struggle!

So work to be done.... The wind does seem to be slowly backing more to the north but I'll not move away before dealing with those items - no rush.... I'm not in a race! My priorities are keeping 'Nereida' functioning well and staying safe. The seas are still quite big, at easily 3m/10ft, so I need to take care working on deck... but both wind and seas seem to be possibly dying down a little - that would be helpful!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 52. We made 49 n.ml.(DMG) in a straight line between the two points, while drifting mostly S, hove-to, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 35-09.44S LONGITUDE: 115-26.18W COURSE: 140T SPEED: 2.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1014.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Hove-to still, but drifting SE pretty well! Wind backing now?? 24hr DMG 49 n.ml.

Thought this had been posted yesterday...

Thurs 3pm PST Despite overcast skies, the sun did brighten things up occasionally earlier, when the cloud layer thinned, and I'd see up to 6A net gain into the batteries from the PV panels. Voltage is slightly up but not by much - too much power usage!

We remain hove-to - I can't see any point to moving on if it's not in our preferred direction, or at least roughly so. So we're 'holding station', waiting for good wind, rather than going 'backwards'....

According to the gribs (weather files) that I'm seeing, we're north of a High pressure ridge, in a complex weather system with mainly light winds from every which way for the next few days while a strong Low system moves E below 43S (We're at 34S, so that would be 4-5 days away if we were able to head S at a decent speed). Not until 3-4 days' time am I seeing a good wind forecast for this area to enable us to head away from here.... Seeing SW 4kt and 1019hPa as I writw this. Things can change - I'll be keeping an eye on the wind and forecasts all the time.. I'll find plenty to do in the meantime, I'm sure.

Two amusing snippets from the GGR - Susie, 'Starlight'. was saying she hit something the other day - the boat came to a dead halt in no time from 5-6kt - maybe a whale? She doesn't know for sure - couldn't see anything around. Luckily, no obvious damage to her boat. And Uku, 'One & All', was saying that he had almost finished cleaning the bottom when he caught sight of a shark circling his boat - he got out fast and isn't keen to get back in! They all chat together on the radio every evening for quite a time. I'm very envious of Mark Slats - he tells me his solar panels (3x100W) are very efficient and have kept his batteries fully charged most of the time. (He left his wind generator behind as being too heavy!) Admittedly, his electronics on board are minimal but he likes to chat and is on the radio transmitting frequently each day - and that takes a lot of power.

Early this morning, I spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in Stanley, E.Falkland. I met him in March 2011 when he and his wife helped me tie up in Stanley harbour, before having a pizza and wine together, after my passage from the Beagle Channel between Argentina and Chile. He often helps boats with weather information - especially those rounding the Horn where the weather can be particularly nasty.

Friday

I was very happy to see 8-10A coming into the batteries this morning - mainly from the PV panels, with a little help from the wind generator. That was the result of a bright but totally overcast sky and battery voltage was creeping up nicely as a result.

I'd been thinking about the possibility of getting underway tomorrow and the probable rough weather ahead. That made me decide to check out the solar regulator now, while conditions were gentle, in the hope it would turn out to be working fine. It's not easy doing any 'fixing' when conditions are rough - almost impossible, in fact.

So I moved the PV earth wire back to its dedicated regulator terminal and took the live PV wires from the batteries, which they've been feeding directly, and re-connected them to lead to the regulator. Success! The regulator is working fine, slightly increasing the amps put into the batteries compared with the current at the panels (the voltages are slightly different) while keeping the battery voltage in check. The problem all along was corrosion in so many places - above deck, in all four of the connections that I re-made there (some twice over!) and also in the very last place I checked just two days ago- the earth connection where the wires come down into the boat - a connection that looked fine at first glance but most definitely was not. I've reminded myself of a lot of wiring details in the aft cabin, having traced so many wires there now!

Many thanks to Bob, N4PSK, for his cheerful patience and helpful discussions.

Seas have got up a lot - the swell has become quite impressive but the waves are well apart. Getting close to Southern Ocean standards - but not as big as they often are there!

It's very grey and often drizzly, with wind still in the E, which prevents any thought of heading SE. temperatures have dropped noticeably these past few days - sea temperature is above air temperature just now! As mentioned, Saturday is looking hopeful but even then there's a threat of more calms in a few more days further S - but not for long... We'll move on if the wind is favourable...

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 51. We made 30 n.ml.(DMG) in a straight line between the two points, while drifting around, hove-to, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 34-21.15S LONGITUDE: 115-36.71W COURSE: 185T SPEED: 1.9kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5M CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1018.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Hove-to still, but drifting S - DMG 30ml since y'day.

Wednesday
Grey, murky day with hardly any sight of the sun and occasional rain.

Had the usual radio chats both during the day and in the evening - becoming a regular part of my day and it's nice to hear familiar voices coming up to ask how things are going. Discussed solar panel wiring with Bob (decided not to use wind generator regulator for the time being), spoke to Mark on 'Maverik' and Susanne on 'Nehaj'. Listened in to the weather forecasts given to the various boats in the Golden Globe fleet by Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne and chatted afterward.

Spent more time checking the panels. At Bob's suggestion, "Back to basics!", I'd tested the panels and deduced, with the help of a small 12V boat fan, that they are both putting in power, even when very little sunshine, so that was good, but their working voltage was very low, indicating a problem in the circuit somewhere. Hence my careful re-tracing and checking of the earth lines to see if I could find a bad spot..

Thursday
'oh-so-dark' 3.30am! Wind gusted up to 24kt and backed to WNW from NW 16kt - we were heading SE but are now heading E-ESE. Waiting to see if wind shifts back again. If not, we'll need to gybe round and head more S.

5am First light - gybed to get onto starboard tack and not long after the boom had swung over, it jerked upward and I soon saw that the rod-kicker (that supports the boom) had come away from the mast - the connection had failed. I reefed the mainsail, as I'd intended anyway - and more so now, to put less stress on the boom while i investigated the situation and thought over my options - I was not a 'happy bunny' at this point....

The fitting had basically torn all the rivets out so one thing that needed to be done was to get rid of the remaining protruding rivet bits - out with the hammer! Clearly, the fitting was not going to go back snugly where it had been - but I decided I could lash it around the mast so that it would be more or less in place, moving very little ... So I set to - and by 6.30am was satisfied that I'd lashed it reasonably well, using Spectra line..

I was making a log entry, noting what had happened when I glanced over at the voltage/amps display for the batteries - instead of showibg the usual discharge of around 3amps it was showing a net charge of 2-4 amps - wonderful!!

That definitely made me feel quite a bit better! I'd spent all yesterday working on the solar panels wiring and had ended up replacing a connection on the two earth lines down fom the panels It was corroded, although not too obviously so from the outside. Only because I now examined it closely did I spot a tiny bit of green - copper sulphate... corrosion... if I could see it on the outside, it had to be far worse on the inside.

By the time I'd finished replacing the connection with a totally different, sturdy one, it was dark - so I had to wait for sunlight today to see if my efforts had turned out well. YES!! It is great to see a charge of 5A going in now, despite the sun struggling to shine through the overcast sky. I'll be keeping a careful eye on the battery voltage - ready to 'pull the plug' if needed...

Back to this morning's big problem... Having seen what had happened to the rod-kicker connection, I felt sure the boom connection could fail in a similar way. It is similarly riveted and subject to the same stresses caused by the sail jerking around in the swell, in light winds, jerking the boom as it does so.

Not wanting to risk a repeat failure and losing use of the boom, I've now lashed the goose-neck fitting to the mast with some thick Spectra line. If the rivets fail, at least the lashing will hold the boom in place, I hope.

9am Time for breakfast - and maybe a short nap while conditions are easy... We're making just under 5 kt in W wind of 10kt - but first I must lower and stow the genoa pole ....

10.45am Having dealt with the pole, I had a short nap, having been up since 5am... The wind must have seen me - it went to a light SSE while I slept - I woke up to find us heading NE!! Got the boat moving as best as possible - SW... Not a direction I particularly wanted to head in, losing miles gained so far towards the Horn.

(Later: Eventually, with no sign of any change in the wind direction and confirmed by the weather files as being settled like this for quite a time, I decided to heave to - I stopped the boat! It's peaceful and relaxing and I can tidy up, sleep, maybe even have a sundowner to celebrate my solar panels' input to the batteries (and reciprocate the many "Happy Thanksgiving!" greetings from my US friends.

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 50. We made 100 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. (I'm still seeing 6A net gain into the batteries, even though the sun is behnd a cloud layer.)

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

TIME: 2018/11/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 33-53.51S LONGITUDE: 115-24.20W COURSE: 245T SPEED: 3.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 7kt WIND_DIR: SSE CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1018.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: 7kt SSE wind! Might heave to - 'best' course is SW. Foggy/misty

Tuesday midday - Going to have to gybe around - wind seems finally to have decided to come determinedly from SW. I don't really want to head NE so need to adjust our sail plan and head in a more sensible direction!

2:30pm Just hung up my dripping outerwear after finishing gybing and lowering the genoa pole - everything on deck is soaking wet from previous heavy rain. Total overcast - murky, dull grey sky - and slight drizzle- just enough to make sure you get thoroughly wet! Found that one pair of deck shoes is definitely NOT waterproof... Wet hair, of course. Having a major re-think about what I should now be wearing - total change of mindset. Digging out the stored-away layers and wet-weather gear...

Wind is very light - 4.4kt - from mainly WSW, although it's obviously not too sure where it's supposed to be coming from. So we're no longer speeding along - in fact, we're lucky to be able to keep making way in a given direction at all! Fortunately, Fred is pretty good at keeping us headed on a beam reach in light conditions - I just hope the wind doesn't die completely... Course: ESE SOG: 1.3kt!!

3.30pm Just finished wax-polishing one boot, had made a warming Cup-a-Soup for in between starting on the second boot... Glanced over to check how we were doing - we're heading SW at 2.5kt in NW 7kt wind...... Being on stbd tack, we just turned with the wind...

On deck we go - need to get us on to a broad reach... Later: All done - ambling gently in intermittent fine drizzle or heavy rain. Making 2.8kt SSE in 7kt NW wind. Back to waxing/polishing that second boot - going to need it - hopefully, it'll be fairly waterproof!

9.30pm Wind has just come up - to 12-15kt from NW. So we're actually making around 5kt - up and down a bit with the wind which keeps varying in strength. Still overcast but dark, of course, now.

Swell has not died down much so it's been fairly noisy as well as uncomfortable with little wind, until now, to keep the sails filled as we roll around in the swell.

Wed 6.30am PST Sun trying to get out from overcast sky - it's actually quite bright. Wind stayed fairly constant but light from NW overnight but we were slow - trying to make SSE without poling out the genoa was not good and our speed suffered. About to gybe around and use pole for genoa to make a better course - presently making almost due S at 5.1kt. Wind possibly increasing - now 14-15kt.

8am Takes a long time to organise and double-check everything when changing things around...
Of course, wind has died back now, to 11kt, so speed is down to 4.5kt but our course is SE, not due S. Hope we benefit for a reasonable time from my efforts - I'm more than ready for breakfast!

Weather looking very mixed for next few days. By time we finally get close to the Westerlies, it looks as though it could well be just in time to get caught by some very strong winds...

10am Occurred to me that now, while not enough apparent wind for wind generator to make use of, was a perfect time to get to my solar panel re-wiring. Plan B is to feed one 150W PV panel into the Superwind regulator (as allowed for by manufacturer). Had a good look at the regulator terminals involved and it looks very straightforward. I've plenty of the ring and spade terminals that I'll need, as well as enough wire for the job. It's a bit rolly, but shouldn't make the job too difficult. Best to grab the opportunity while in reasonable conditions - not a job to do in stormy weather, for sure!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 49. We made just 79 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Win some, lose some...! Poor wind yesterday and overnight....

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

TIME: 2018/11/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 32-44.36S LONGITUDE: 116-54.53W COURSE: 122T SPEED: 6.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1016.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 23.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C
COMMENT: Sun trying to get out. Working on solar panel wiring again! 79ml DMG

Mon 2.30pm Seas are quite close and their faces are very steep-to as they approach our stern - impressive! Not as big as they will be further S and very difficult to get a photo that really shows them well. We occasionally surf on them as they pass by... Wind is consistently 18-20kt or so - from NW now so we're headed SE. More East than originally planned but since we're likely to be forced S or even SW soon by winds heading us, that's fine. Wind generator is doing well in the stronger wind but I'm still needing to run the small diesel generator 2-3 times a day for half an hour each time to enable my radio use and for charging computer etc.

Getting a meal ready for tonight - always nice if it's ready in advance.

5.30pm PST Sunset not far away. Finished making a beef curry for tonight's meal - and tomorrow's as well!
A bank of grey cloud is off to starboard - to the west - and broken cloud with patches of bue sky in the opposite direction... It's been a lovely sunny day but a Cold Front with cloud and rain is coming in from the W. Not sure that the wind will strengthen - according to the weather files, not at all - but rainclouds normally bring stronger, gusty conditions .. so I'm waiting to see how it goes. We're making ~6.3kt and our SE course has changed very little since midday.

Pressure has been falling steadily as the Low gets closer - now down to 1014 from 1020 this time yesterday.

Wind has died down a little - now only 16-18kt, still from NW - and the seas are less also, but it's still quite rolly when a bigger one comes along. I've made good use of the 'bumstrap' in the galley - would have been thrown all over the place, while preparing food, without it. Keeps me safe.

The smell of my curry is too enticing - I'll have an early meal tonight!

Tues 6:30am RAIN! And with it, of course, the wind backed to the W, so we started heading E, rather than SE. But as the rain passed over, I expected the wind to veer a lot and possibly die down, so I'm playing a waiting game - let's see what the wind does! I could have gybed and headed S on starboard tack - but the wind is forecast to veer totally around very soon - until it comes from the E, in which case we'd need to be on port tack in order to head S... as we are now.

If we're very lucky, we'll turn to starboard with the wind as it veers. The pressure has risen a little, from the low of 1011 that I saw at 4am this morning to 1014 now

In the meantime - we're heading ESE, which is not too bad, and it's time for some breakfast! Then I'll check the weather forecasts again.

9:30am Well my ploy of 'wait and see' seems to have been the right thing to do. The wind has slowly veered from due W to its present NW and we're back to making a SE course at around 6.2kt in 18-20kt wind. By tomorrow, it's likely the wind will become SE-E at some point, as we find ourselves on the S side of the Low dominating our weather at present, so we'll have to head S then.

10.45am Complete change of climate! It feels cold and damp (it's raining again!) and I'm having to wear a zippered fleece jacket to stay warm - shorts and top alone are no longer enough... I'm clasping my warm mug of coffee and thinking about digging out some socks. The thought of a nice hot meal later on is very appealing... We're definitely not in the Tropics any longer!

I've replaced the towels that have done good service, making my chart table seat and back comfortable in hot weather, with waterproof vinyl covers to protect the upholstery from my wet foul weather gear - I'll be wearing that a lot from now.

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 48. We made 156 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Excellent mileage giving average speed (SOG) of 6.5kt.
Presently watching the wind as I write this, ready for posting. It seems to be jumping every which way - see tomorrow's report....

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

TIME: 2018/11/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 31-35.07S LONGITUDE: 117-39.73W COURSE: 125T SPEED: 6.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1014.3hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 25.0C
COMMENT: Feels cold & damp. Jacket on. Raining... Low over us

Sunday Sunny and bright most of the day, despite overcast sky - thin cloud layer let sun's brightness through and was well broken at times during the afternoon, although not so later on.

Rigged the genoa pole and finally went goose-winged ('wing-on-wing') later this afternoon - so made a better course and speed. Not that's there's much point in rushing... Strong winds tomorrow (Monday), along with rain Monday and Tuesday will be followed by headwinds for a day or more - likely to force us to head S or even SSW for a while. Calms are a strong possibility as well, at some point - a real mixed bag of conditions coming up, before we reach the strong Westerlies that will lead towards Cape Horn.

Have been busy this afternoon on a possible solar wiring project.

Has been suggested that I can get more solar power into batteries if, in low sunlight conditons, I put the panels in series - with in-line suitable fuses, of course,... Interesting idea but needing some work to figure it out in practice. Still in the preliminary stages, but have dug out the wire and connectors I need. Work in progress. (No need to email me about it - I'll be taking all necessary precautions!!) Also debating the use of my wind generator contoller which can take one 150W solar panel input - just found the manual in among my boat folders... Seems like quite a good option for one of my panels.

6pm Time to cook, to be ready well before Pacific SeaFarers' Net - an onion omelette tonight - one large onion I took out of storage yesterday desperately needed my attention......

8.40pm Finished with radio 'scheds' a while back. Getting really rolly - having to hang on tightly quite often as we're tossed from side to side. Wind up to 16kt now, from NN

Spoke to Uku on 'One and All' around 10pm as he waited for weather info from Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne, Austrlia. he reminded me that we'd met in Simon's Town, S. Africa, at the False Bay Y.C some years back. He'd had tea on 'Nereida', also a meal together another time - must have been 2011 or earlier! There were several single-handers that met up there at that time. A very nice place with friendly, helpful people and good for getting work done. Feel of an English village with its stone-built frontages in the quiet High Street. The main S.African Navy Base is right next door - the old British Naval base - with a dry dock whose walls are still covered in the carefully painted emblems of navy ships that have used it - a real bit of history!! 'Britannia' visited more than once and people there still have stories about meeting the Queen and Prince Philip (right, Baden..?!).

Monday 3.30am I didn't tie in 2nd reef late last night, as I was tempted to, with wind regularly up to 20-21kt. We did fine wih the one reef I'd tied in at sunset and wind is no stronger now - still 17-20kt from NW. Still very rolly, though. Making 7.4 kt and more, at times.

Posting a Winlink position/weather report now and made contact on 7163 - lots of static but better propagation later on. As I got back to my bunk afer 4am, sky was just turning grey with the first hint of daylight.

8.30am Mostly overcast sky with broken light grey clouds and very little blue showing - no rain threatening so far. Seas are getting quite big and close together, which means their faces get quite steep as they approach our stern... Plenty of white caps everywhere.

Nearly tied in the second reef again - but, once on deck, all ready to go, decided we were doing fine. Slightly 'on the edge' but, unless wind increases from its present maximum of 21kt (often down at 18-19kt), we're making good speed and Fred is managing to cope OK, although we're swinging around a bit showing he's a bit overpowered at times. (He'd probably prefer me to tie in that 2nd reef!). Forecast I just looked at is for little change over today so I'll just keep an eye on wind speed and reassess if needed. Just now, I need my breakfast!

10.20am The sun is getting out - a large area of blue sky above - and the wind is rarely getting above 20 kt! I'm feeling pleased I didn't reef down any further, although it might yet be needed when the forecast line of rain clouds gets here - if it does... Coffee has just come through...

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 47. We made 141 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Good wind gave good speed overnight, downwind, goose-winged. Pressure is still fairly high so we might be closer to High pressure area than forecasts suggest.

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

TIME: 2018/11/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 30-22.35S LONGITUDE: 120-20.65W COURSE: 122T SPEED: 7.1kt

WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 20%

BARO: 1015.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 23.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C

COMMENT: Bright sunny day - goose-winged, rolling a lot.

Sat midday: 770 miles due W of Easter Island.

One job I came up with was to add up my daily runs (DMG) to keep a running total of distance travelled since 3rd October. I normally have a place at the back of my logbook for that - giving weekly totals also.... Organising and doing that will keep me occupied for a time!

I also have to rule some more columns on the pages of my logbook - should have organised a run of pre-printed sheets before I left but had more important things to think about...

About to check weather files again to see if a course change would be a good thing or not. Heading almost SE at present. (Later: staying on this course - looks good for next dew days)

4pm Lovely sunshine and we're gliding smoothly through the water... so very gently that, at times, I think we've stopped!

Strong sunlight this afternoon - but I'm just not seeing any evidence of it getting into my batteries - so have been looking for the solar panels' earth lead(s). Very glad I did! I've just come away from working in the aft cabin where I found a single earth lead coming from the panels into under the aft bunk - clearly there's a connection inside the boat just below the pole which leads the wires to down below. But the earth and two postive wires were totally tangled up with my autopilot (AP) rams - with the back-up ram in particular. Everything - several other wires as well as the vital hydraulic AP line - was in a mess in that area - just where the steering quadrant and AP rams need room to move freely...

So I found myself a pretty important job - sorting it all out! And I'm really pleased to have happened to have looked there now, when it's relatively calm and I've no urgent need of the electronic autopilot system... That could have turned into a big problem down the line.... Having a cup of tea while I finish tidying up that area before looking at the solar panels' earth lead situation under the pole.

Just tried to make contact on 20m with Sid K7SID, near Phoenix - but not quite able to - I heard him fine but my signal was too weak for him to copy me. Earlier, on 15m, had excellent propagation to Florida and then, a bit later, on 17m. The result being a long chat with Jim, WB2REM, and also Bob, N4PSK.

8.30pm Had usual 'radio 'scheds' tonight - getting into a routine now: Pacific Seafarers' Net check-in at 0310GMT, giving position and weather, followed, after the Net, by chat with Mark on 'Maverick' (GGR) and Susanne on 'Nehaj', followed by going to 7160 - was an unexpected pleasure to hear Fred, W3ZU, there. He used to be a regular relay on PacSeaNet - think I must have first heard him there in 2006!

Later, I tuned in to listen to Ian, VK3MO, giving weather info from Melbourne, Australia, to the GG racers: Tapio, Susie, Uku and both Marks. Peter Mott, ZL1PWM, very generously spends a lot of time getting the weather info ready for the GG racers each day - not something the original racers had the benefit of, for sure! They have two 'scheds' each day and chat to each other after weather info has been relayed individually to each racer by Ian. The SSB radio proving its worth on board, yet again! So many think an Iridium phone or text facility is all they need these days, when underway - but you can't have a group chat or help session except using the SSB/HF radio, when everyone hears what's being said and can chip in if they wish to... And all at zero cost!

9pm PST Wonderfully bright moon - shining like a lantern high up. Clear sky - the brighter stars can also be seen, despite the moonshine. Wind is picking up a little and has also veered a touch. Now 12-13kt, rather than the earlier 9-10kt, so giving better boatspeed - up to 5.5kt at times.

Sun 3.30am PST Dark night - moon has set. Bright stars in clear sky - Sirius dead overhead close to Orion doing his usual Southern hemisphere headstand - funny to see! Went up on deck to adjust Fred - with wind having gone W of N, we were beginning to head ESE so needed to head more downwind. That immediately cut our speed down - from 5.5kt to 4.3kt, but it ended up not too bad, with SOG nearer to 5.0kt and COG SE. Likely to be headed on a broad reach for several days until we reach the Westerlies further S.

6.45am I just angled the solar panels for a better angle to the sun, which is low down in the E still (it's not long after sunrise). I can tilt the panels fore and aft (but not sideways), so now they're 'looking' at the sun in a much better way. I think shadowing caused by the wind generator above the panels has an effect, so not as much charging as hoped for and we're missing the 'smart' regulator now, of course, but any input is welcome.

Will probably need to pole out the genoa soon - will be far more efficient and stable for running deeper before the wind.

9am Coffee - just finished galley chores. Lovely, sunny day. About to organise the pole for the genoa - always takes a time and easier playing around on the foredeck when conditions are calmer. A bit rolly with seas almost on the beam but not too bad.

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 46. We made 122 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 28-44.45S LONGITUDE: 122-19.38W COURSE: 128T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: 340T SWELL_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 50%

BARO: 1022hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 27.0C

COMMENT: Bright, sunny day. Thin clouds. Rolly.

Fri 1:45pm PST Very smooth sailing just now because we're heading slightly downwind and conditions are lighter. The wind is NNE 12kt and expected slowly to back over the next day or so so we'll be sailing downwind for quite a time (unless rain clouds appear!)

Just finished chatting to several contacts on the HF radio - excellent propagation for well over half an hour on 21234kHz between Florida and here in the S.Pacific.

Before that, I'd decided it was time to finish the (very!) well-ripened soft Saltspring Island goat's cheese I started last week - with some very nice crackers (thanks to Paula and Elaine!). Had some eggs boiling for later - Yes, I'm remembering to turn the stored eggs every day...!

6pm One hour more daylight... Spent quite a time on deck, checking around ... One tiny fish ended its days up on the coachroof. Enjoyed the fresh cool breeze and found the gentle motion of the boat almost hypnotic while sitting on the foredeck, just enjoying being out on the ocean... Love the deep blue of the sea when the sun is shining...

Back down below, I replenished the galley supplies of fresh onions and potatoes from the forepeak, where they're stored in crates, and coffee also. Generally cleaned around ... 'housework' exists, even out here!

Simple dinner tonight - boiled eggs and potatoes with sweet corn - a 'salad' - dice the first two and add mayonnaise!

N.B. Change of radio 'sched' - will be on 7160, not 7150, at 0400Z (2000PST Sat) onward

Wind slowly dying, as expected. It's from just 'abaft the beam' and down to NNE 8kt ... SOG struggling to stay over 4kt. Fred coping fine and keeping course.

10pm Looked over weather files - we're coming under a long swathe of cloud stretching right across our path from1 40S,110W to 20S,150W - combination of Cold Front with Trough extending from it. Light winds initially, strong winds overnight Sunday into Monday & onward, followed by rain, it seems..

Sat 10am Coffee... Checking emails and getting ready to post update. Still very gentle conditions with well-spaced seas. Heading downwind, but only just (10-11kt wind is still just 'abaft the beam'!). Feeling nicely warm still, with air temp of 27C/80F but sea noticeably a bit cooler now - consistently just under 30C over the last 36hrs.

Sun is trying hard to shine through a thin cloud layer, broken in places with shreds of blue among the white. Wind has slowly continued to back overnight to now - presently between N and NNE (at 10T) Deliberately heading more E of my previously-planned course since it looks as though we'll be forced to head S at some point in the next couple of days or so. Also, this might avoid light headwinds coming up just to our W soon. All very hypothetical...! We'll see how it turns out in practice.

Trying to find more jobs to do - might have to start reading...!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 45. We made 117 n.ml.(DMG) - more than I feared! - over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 27-17.05S LONGITUDE: 123-52.62W COURSE: 141T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: 010T
SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1020.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 27.0C SEA_TEMP: 28.0C
COMMENT: Slowly making way. Hazy sunshine. 117ml 24hr DMG - not so bad!

Thurs 12:45pm Sun shining - no rain clouds close by! Possibly in distance but not for a while at least.. Making excellent speed, 7.1kt, in NE 16kt, heading SSE. A bit bouncy, heading slightly upwind, but nice to see the blue sky back again, with scattered white clouds.

Had interview with Sharon, KD2GUT, in New York, at 1pm PST for a ham radio audio magazine - made possible by Jim, WB2REM. We made good contact on HF radio on 21234kHz - propagation just got better and better and was excellent - really clear - by 1:20pm/2130GMT and after.

2.45pm Yay!! Definitely seeing some solar input into batteries - 4-6A net gain! Great to see it.... Sun is shining brightly as I write this. I went up on deck to adjust angle of panels - think it helped input.

Fri 10am Checking weather info over coffee after usual morning clear-up in the galley.

At midnight, we were passing the small atoll named Ducie Island - well-known in ham radio 'DX Expeditions' circles - one of many remote places hams go to and set up transceivers to make contact with other hams all over the world. 10,000 (maybe 100,000?!) or so contacts made during the fortnight of the last expedition there, not so long ago. Callsign was VP9D. Nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn, which lies 280 ml to our W as I write this now.

No more rain overnight nor today - clear sky at sunrise with increasing scattered cloud over the morning - now 30%.

Wind got up last evening - we were making well over 7kt, well-heeled in 18kt wind for quite a time and Fred was struggling to maintain our course - finally put a reef in just before sunset. Had a small problem adding the first reef 'strap' around the boom - had to extend it slightly, to reach the reef cringle, with another Spectra climbing loop. Of course, predictably, once I'd gone to all that effort, the wind eased a lot a few hours later! Being night-time, thought best to leave it in - but come sunrise and a clear sky, it came out very fast... Wind is still fairly light but better - 12kt. With full sail, we're making 5.5kt on a beam reach. According to forecast, wind will be slowly dying over the day and backing.

Easter Island is 830 ml to our SE - we'll be passing due W of it early tomorrow morning, if we keep up our present speed. After that, the next islands close by our track will be on the coast of Chile - over 2,500 ml to the SE now.

Today's mini-project has been to support the big JSD (Jordan Series Drogue) bag on the pushpit - it's looking rather droopy and I'd hate it to fall down while underway (or when deployed) because the straps holding it in place have given way. I've found a good sturdy strap with a strong but easy-to-use closure - that was today's important job. Feel more relaxed knowing the JSD bag is well-supported.

Being so far S in the Pacific, I'm having a few problems making contact on the HF radio now. I'm maintaining a couple of 'scheds' during the day - at 2100Z on 21384kHz (often excellent) and at 0000Z on 14160kHz (often poor). I've started coming up, for a brief session after Pacific Seafarers' Net, on 7150kHz at 0400Z (usually good to N.America) and get up overnight to try 7163kHz around 1030-1130Z but propagation is highly variable - sometimes good, sometimes useless...

One radio session just started, that's working out quite well, is between myself, Mark on 'Maverick' and Susanne on 'Nehaj' - we're all headed towards the Horn and not too far apart, so radio contact is quite good. I'm just over 1,000 ml to the N of the two of them. Susanne is not in the Golden Globe Race but is at 45S, with Mark 570 mls ahead of her and Uku on 'One and All' over 1,000 ml behind her.

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 44. We made 129 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Likely to be less tomorrow - we're slowing down and the wind is backing... Very gentle conditions which is pleasant - nice not to be banging and crashing around for a time - gives me a chance to look around and tidy up, if needed. Trying to head to 40S, 120W (or further E) but we'll see what the wind allows!

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

TIME: 2018/11/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 25-33.32S LONGITUDE: 124-53.22W COURSE: 152T SPEED: 5.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 11kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 3.0m SWELL_PER: 7 CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 27.0C SEA_TEMP: 30.0C
COMMENT: Bright day, broken cloud. Wind backing.



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