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S/V Nereida sails around the world

I spoke with Jeanne tonight and she is sore and in pain although limbs and nerves are all intact   She took a fall from  the top of a ladder while coming down off her boat in the boatyard    She is currently in hospital while she begins to recover from her injuries.   She will provide more details as soon as she is up to it.  Please keep her in your thoughts.

Thank you,

Wednesday 27th Sept - Westport Marina, Tsehum Hbr, B.C.

Departure date has now been set for next Thursday 5th October.... weather permitting.
Fresh eggs were ordered for next Wednesday from Firbank Farm - 11 dozen again.  With daily turning, they should last four months, kept out of the fridge (which will be turned off most of the time).
My original plan to launch from the hard at Westport marina on Friday morning, ready for a Monday departure from Victoria, was clearly not feasible. There's still work needed over the next few days - so I postponed our  'splash' to Sunday afternoon, ready for some Monday morning rigging work. When that's complete, Paul of Leitch & McBride will bring a new staysail and repaired mainsail to the boat and then I'll  make for Victoria.

Yesterday, Maggie wet sanded the keel after spending time on the propellor, Robert finished the AP rewiring, I cut out and then filled a small crack in the filler outside the rudder bearing (not structural... 'cosmetic', I was assured) and started replacement of all zincs.  
In the afternoon, Geoff came over from Blackline to see to a few small rigging issues (more to do on inner forestay when back in water soon), I had a few visits from friends ...and Darren nearly finished polishing the hull - it's looking good!

For checking on final provisioning needs, it's helpful having the small digital scales brought over by Elaine for measuring small portions so I can multiply up for 8 months or so...
Today the propeller and propshaft were made ready for a Propspeed application - I love the shining bronze of the cleaned bare metal of the Autoprop before the eco-friendly  clear silicone coating is applied.  I also prepared the Hydrovane rudder for a Coppercoat  repair to some small bare patches.

Robert re-made some diesel pipework incorporating a new filter below the cabin heater tank, fixed in place a difficult zinc and soldered the control cable connection to the Icom SSB/HF radio - more good jobs completed.
I was sorry when Maggie headed for the ferry - it's been great to have her here, albeit briefly.
Tonight's work is to stow everything that was moved from the aft cabin over the last few days so work could be done there.
Hopefully, I'll get the cabins back to some semblance of order soon! 

Flight from LHR to Seattle and finally on to Victoria.... after useful few days spent in Solent area and Southampton Boat Show getting boat stuff organised.

Many thanks to kindly BA staff for allowing the loading of Furlex parts in long (2.45m) cardboard tube to bring back to boat for replacing damaged foil parts on inner forestay. Was worried it might not have been allowed on flight but all went well at LHR.

Thanks to Derek Gilbert of Raymarine UK for enabling servicing (by Simon) of E120 plotter and liaising with Hy-Pro who sent replacement AP solenoid valves.

Thanks to David Grey of Jabsco for providing a replacement head toilet pump.

Thanks to Flash at Performance Rigging at Hamble Point for help with getting Furlex parts quickly.

Thanks to my friends Karen and Stuart of Commodore Yachting and Neil of Boatshed for looking after me.

Thanks to Dave Selby for his kind words and a signed copy of his amusingly-written 'Impractical Boat Owner' - I'm looking forward to reading it while at sea soon.

A long travelling day - started 9a.m.BST at Southampton Boat Show, on to Raymarine in Fareham to pick up plotter, then to LHR for 3:30 p.m. flight to Seatac..... Delayed flight on to Victoria due to cancelled 9.20p.m. Alaska flight - ETD now 11:15p.m. PDT, giving arrival in Victoria (YJJ) around midnight = 8 a.m. BST! Need to catch up on some sleep....

Wednesday 30th August  - another lovely sunny day in Victoria.
I spent a short time ambling around the shops in the historic Hudson Bay Centre .... A highly interesting old 'multiple clock' hangs high up, referencing the Imperial era when it was built (see photos). 
One reason for my trip into town was to buy ‪a good electronic cleaner for corrosion...for mast top connections on wind transducer & other small connectors on board.... I'd finally located a source here in Victoria.  I also visited several recommended sources for a spare solenoid valve for my autopilot, without any luck.

Friday 1st September 
Amazing how difficult getting four screws through four holes into wood can be when a) access is limited so the drill won't fit available space b) it's very difficult to mark the positions of the holes correctly c) you don't have long enough screws... ( See photo of replacement battery switch now installed)  But many thanks to Peter of RVYC Foreshore office for generously giving me the screws I needed - avoiding a bus trip into town. It still took quite a time to complete the job - but it's  done now. 

Peter later also helped out with a wiring problem I was having - he crimped on a heavy duty connection I needed but didn't have.  (Soldering was not working out as a makeshift solution to my problem - despite using lots of solder, it just demonstrated my lack of skill!!) 

Having finally resolved that problem, I was able to add in the antenna extension needed (via the below-deck  portion of the antenna feed wire to the tuner) to avoid a problem on 14300kHz that I unexpectedly found after replacing the tuner and control cable with the ones that Icom America so kindly provided.  I'm delighted to confirm success with that - the small extra length of cable added in to the antenna works to resolve the problem!!  My HF/SSB radio is now working beautifully on all frequencies - many thanks yet again to Icom America  for their generous support.

The mainsail was removed for checking over - it needs a few small repairs.  It's always so much easier and quicker to remove it with a friend's help - thank you, Andy ('Foolish Muse'), for coming by after work (and delivering it to the loft for me).

Making progress on locating a replacement solenoid valve for the autopilot - in UK...  Raymarine are being helpful... And also hoping to replace some broken (plastic) Lewmar parts soon - in contact with Lewmar USA.

Thanks to another RVYC member AJ ('Fiasco') for picking up my aft cabin cushions this morning.   Another step achieved in organising the boat better for the long trip coming up..... Now for some sorting out - it will be nice to get into a less chaotic state down below ....

Weather has been great again today -hope it keeps for the long holiday weekend here in N. America ....  


Saturday 26th August 2017 - A good day's work on yet another beautiful summer's day!

I've made excellent use of the Victoria bus system over last week.   Using Google maps and a wifi Internet system on my phone, I'm able to find my way around town efficiently for shopping - so easy!  No longer any need to ask the driver to warn me on approaching my stop - although most are very helpful.
It was great to see Robert and Rose (Tillicum) again today and Robert finally sorted out my autopilot problem which turned out to be caused by a stuck solenoid valve on the ram (drive unit).  The advice was to use both drives in turn, rather than using one a lot, leaving the other idle most of the time.
We next turned to the radio and spliced lengths from two cables so as to give a good length with the correct (Molex) connectors at both ends.  Testing with the cable connecting the tuner to the radio was a little inconclusive.  It mainly seemed fine but I need to test it further by transmitting on different frequencies to live people, rather than just talking to myself!
Looking at the fuel transfer line to the cabin heater fuel tank got interesting!  Robert discovered a small dirty filter tucked away out of sight which I was totally unaware of (and which had been installed the wrong way around).   There was also another filter which also badly needed cleaning - and a flow valve handle which was in the  'off' position - no wonder no fuel was able to pass by!!  The arrangement is not satisfactory and needs improving to make both the 'on/off' valve and a better, bigger filter more visible and accessible.  Knowing the pump was fine saved a lot of money which I was all set to spend on a replacement.
Finally, a broken switch on the generator and the manual seawater  pump at the galley were both replaced - fairly quick and simple jobs at the end of a long, productive day.  I'll clean the old pump and change the vital parts using a spares kit so I have a working spare.
First thing tomorrow,  after coffee with friends Tony and Coryn who live nearby, I'll fix the new start motor battery switch in place - and then clear and tidy the boat before looking at other jobs on my list - the entire boat is now in chaos!
Hopefully, I'll find time for a walk - this great sunny weather is forecast to continue...
I hope my UK friends are enjoying a good Bank Holiday weekend.


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

A trip into town by bus, hoping to sort out a phone problem, led to discovering a large Canadian Tire store...  Browsing their Auto dept, I found lots of items good for the boat - useful that cars and boats  share a 12V system...
Back to finish off the rewiring project with some useful connectors I found there. 
Still haven't found the elechronic cleaner for corroded connections that I'm looking for, to use on the mast top wind transducer connection.

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.

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.

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