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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Magnetic variation has changed almost daily, sometimes twice daily, from 49W on 25th March (at 44S 077E) to 25W today (at 41S 098E) - having to check it every time I note our COG (true course over the ground).

We're about to change ship's time again - on passing 97*30'E, we moved into a local time zone (LT) of GMT+7hr. (I'll change my time here tomorrow.)

Thursday 8am Wind totally died away from around midnight - we were making 0.5-1 kt for a time and finally I furled in the genoa - its noise without enough wind to keep it filled was stopping me from sleeping as we were drifting around, trying to keep heading vaguely ENE...

Now the genoa is beginning to fill nicely and we're making ~3.2kt which should increase slowly, as the wind begins to pick up from NNW, putting us on port tack, heading ENE.

At 0100Z tried to make radio contact on 40m with usual group on E. coast - but that path seems to be disappearing now. They had difficult reception/copy and we'll try 0000Z tomorrow to see if that's any better - that was my sunrise time this morning (6am LT) so today we were one hour into my daylight and 40m works best in darkness hours.

3:50pm Finally back down below after another long sewing session - blue skies of earlier disappeared quite a while ago... Grey clouds everywhere now. Wind is from WNW still and we've been making around 4.5kt, but often 5kt now so seems wind is increasing.

Took an age to tie the sail back onto boom - but takes no time to release it!
Found a short machine screw on the port side deck - always a worry....where from?
Time to check for weather update and to have some food... a very late lunch...more like supper.

6:10pm Enjoying some hot soup - bean and barley with chunks of ham - tasty and satisfying...! Cabin temperature 17C - not too bad but I'm often wearing my warm hat - it's been feeling decidedly chilly and damp today.
Nice to see us making 5kt or more - wind has clearly increased a little - 18kt, maybe? (No wind display...!) Hope it continues for a good while.

1am (Friday LT) Brighter of the stars are showing, but hazy-looking, so maybe misty cloud around. No moon visible and wind slightly down. Will soon be in a Low trough between two Highs and then into another High over the weekend - two days of light wind - maybe I'll get the mainsail repair finished then??

Want to try to make sure my repair will last a time, so some reinforcing needed - and there's a small hole in the sail, near the leech, that I need to repair with a patch, also. Then it will be fun and games getting the sail hoisted - will need very light conditions to do that.

Just passed into Z+7hr time zone - same as in Bangkok, Hanoi and Jakarta - about to change the ship's clock one hour forward.

1900GMT (= 2 a.m.LT) - end of Day 183. We made 78 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Not too bad considering we were drifting around in no wind overnight for several hours.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 183 (by daily DMGs):16,120 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 898 n.ml. to ENE (792 n.ml. to pt due S); Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2144 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2156 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 2933 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3591 n.ml. to WNW.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/04/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-33.57S LONGITUDE: 097-53.46E
COURSE: 081T SPEED: 4.8kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m
BARO: 1021hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Starry sky, but hazy. No moon. No wind display.

Wednesday 2:40am LT (2030 Tues GMT) Just posted reports - blog, position, weather - and downloaded fresh weather files to look over.. Still expecting the Cold Front to pass over soon - overnight to just after dawn, possibly near 0100Z, wind will shift from WNW to SW-SSW, maybe quite quickly - will need to gybe onto starboard tack to maintain ENE course. Presently making around 5kt on ENE course.

Back to my bunk .... sleep.

7:45am Some breaks in the cloud cover - more white than grey now - cirrus.Excellent session on 7160 - pulling time forward has helped a lot - much better propagation nearer my sunrise. Maybe it should come forward a tad more?

Just seen that my wind indicator display has totally gone down now - just when it would be really useful for the big wind change coming up ... Oh well... (Later: 8:30am - it's back again - hope it stays... totally unreliable!)

12:45pm Gybed around onto starboard tack just before - wind had finally backed, as expected. Wind up nicely, so making ~5.5kt, with seas up a bit also: ~3.5m/10.5ft or more. Frontal rain has eased off and sun is trying to get out - not quite making it, but cloud cover isn't heavy so it's now quite a bit brighter than it was.

Cooking some white haricot beans ready for making a stew or thick soup later - it's really nice to have something like that ready just to heat up. I finished my ham and green pea soup last night.

Made a lot of Australian radio contacts an hour or so ago on 14183 - good, clear copy for several of them - nice to have 'easy listening'!

Think I'll finish the Brie for lunch and then take a nap - didn't sleep as much overnight as I should have done - thoughts relating to the Cold Front coming through ... when and how strong and/or sudden it would be ... kept coming into my mind.

3:10pm White haricot beans are cooked, so barley and a big chopped onion have been added in, ready for a little more cooking, to make bean and barley soup - will get thick over the 2-3 days or more that it will last. I might add something else, if I fancy.. some chopped ham, maybe.

Sun has been getting out, which was very pleasant, but a dark grey raincloud just came over - we got up a good speed for a time under it. Our speed keeps going up nicely, every so often, as we get a gust under a big cloud. Pity we can't keep up that speed all the time!

The remains of the cyclone I was trying to avoid, now a Low pressure system, is to our NW, blocked temporarily by the High pressure system we're just coming into now. It will finally get further S in a few days' time, once this High has moved on E - but it will be no different, by then, from all the other Lows that pass by in this part of the world.

7:20pm Having the bean and barley soup with ham - tastes good!

We're rolling around a lot in a dying wind - boat speed has dropped right down to around 3kt now - wind is forecast to go drop even further by dawn - to 3-4kt... Another night with little progress made. Wind should pick up again later in the morning.

1am Thursday LT (1900GMT Wed) Wind has totally died away now - we're making 0.5-1 kt.. Not expecting it to come up until midday... We'll be drifting around, trying to keep heading vaguely ENE until then... Was nice to see we made just over 100ml - 3 digits are good! Back to my bunk for some more sleep...

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 182. We made 101 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Good to see 3 digits!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 182 (by daily DMGs):16,042 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 976 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2217 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2225 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 2993 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3515 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/04/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-44.48S LONGITUDE: 096-11.35E

COURSE: 079T SPEED: 1.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 5kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 3.0m

BARO: 1025.2hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Wind has died overnight... Back tomorrow!

Tuesday 8:30am Totally overcast sky, dull day, swell rather less - hoping to get going on mainsail repair as soon as finished breakfast. Speed varying a lot: 1-3kt, but up from overnight 0.5-1kt .... :( Very poor progress made.
Poor radio propagation to E. coast USA just before - changing time on 7160 to 0100Z from now.

1:20pm Grey sky still - wind up to around 12kt, probably more, from WNW, so we're making ~4kt.
Just got back down below from sewing a section of mainsail - leaning myself against the hard top worked fairly well although was difficult to keep feet secure and stop from sliding away on side deck as we rolled in the swell...
Worked on the lowest section without undoing all of the sail ties and other ties holding loose sail slides securely. Takes quite a time to sew a short section although the method I've adopted is working well, with a bit of effort needed each time to push the needle through using a small block of wood with a recess in it to hold the needle eye in place and the lavender-filled pin cushion to push the needle into underneath the sail cloth on the surface below.
Having a one hour rest and some food before going back to do some more.

2:25pm Well, that was the plan - but the wind and seas have now built up, so I just finished tying the sail securely back onto the boom - sewing finished for today. Photos show position of sail repair area on boom above hard top and today's section being sewn - up to close to 2nd batten.
Wind is expected to build to around 20kt by this evening, ahead of a Front passing over, with wind backing to SW as it passes - likely to be a 90 degree, fairly quick wind shift during tomorrow morning sometime.
Now for some food and a nap.

Later: Sunset came in a grey sky - nothing seen of the sun as it set, just before 6pm. Made a few radio contacts - getting through to USA around 1115GMT now on 7163 but mostly not strong enough yet.

12:30am (Wed LT / 1800 Tues GMT) Alarm set to wake me up to check around... Dark night... No moon... Not many stars seen... just some overhead and astern... Making around 5kt ENE... Expecting wind to back to SW in a few hours' time. Downloading updated grib (weather) files to look at, as well as preparing this blog etc for Tues1900Z reports.

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 181. We made 85 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Another poor DMG :(

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 181 (by daily DMGs):15,941 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1077 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2307 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2306 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3061n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3415 n.ml. to WNW; St Paul Isl: 774 n.ml.to WNW

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/04/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-10.12S LONGITUDE: 094-02.40E
COURSE: 078T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 19kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 60%
BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Dark night, no moon, some stars. Wind up & down

Monday 2am Just posted reports and blog - seas very rough still, so being tossed around a lot. Definitely needing the removable steel 'armrest' on my left-hand side which keeps me from being thrown out of my seat as we heel over and bang around. Getting to my bunk for more sleep now...

7am SSE 15kt wind under grey, cloudy sky, on a close reach, only making 3.5-4 kt... Need to unfurl that genoa to speed us up - daylight mow. Will put on my foulie jacket first, though - even a damp one is better than none!

7:20am Full genoa - now making around 4.3-5.0 kt - a bit better than before. Seas still quite rough - short period still. Speed up to 5.6 kt in gust.
Noticed a slight headache overnight - sign of dehydration - must drink more fluids - easy not to do that when it's cold. Back to my warm, cosy bunk...

Midday Lovely to make good contact on 20m with several Australian stations - clear copy and several nice chats with guys from West to East coasts and in between! Looking forward to it being a daily event. We're now 1100 miles WSW of Cape Leeuwin which is on the SE corner of Australia, S of Fremantle and Perth.
Wind is light, from just E of S - so progress is very, very slow now, especially since it's upwind which is our worst point of sail in light winds without the mainsail to help.
A dull day, with 99% cloud - a couple of blue patches seen in small gaps between them.
Seas are still well up - in fact, looks as though swell is coming from several directions, so seas occasionally really lump up when they combine and we get thrown around big-time.
Still looking for a chance to sew the mainsail- but not looking as though it will be possible today. By tonight, the wind might have become light from W, which will put us on port tack, so, early tomorrow, there might be a chance to get to work before the winds pick up again later and back to the SW with a passing front - fingers crossed!
Time for a quick lunch of Brie on Ryvita and then a short nap. I found a small tin of Brie that's I'd forgotten about - it's not too bad, although a bit darker than usual and not as good as a fresh Brie would be - but I'm not complaining - nice to have it.

5:30pm LT / 1130GMT Red globe of the sun is setting into the green-blue/grey of the sea beautifully - not much cloud around. Wind is only about 5kt so we're not going anywhere very fast - wind generator blades not turning. Wind seems to be more from WSW now and has veered over the afternoon. We're only drifting at under 1 kt so heading almost becomes irrelevant, although it's always nice to be going in the preferred direction, however slowly...! Sipping a nice hot chocolate drink - outside air temperature is 13C but cabin temperature is 17C... not too bad, but I'm wearing plenty.

Radio communication has really taken off now - having made contact with the 20m ANZA Net earlier, there's a couple of other Nets also waiting to make contact as I get a little further E. I'm still talking to a few S.African stations on 20m over the day, and 40m at night, as well, although that's getting more difficult as I move E. I even just now made a poor contact on 40m with the E. coast USA - so that path is opening up at their sunrise also - K3MA, in Pennsylvania, came in strongly. The 40m path at 0200Z has been consistently good for several months to the E. coast USA near their sunset although we've had to move the time forward slightly a few times for better propagation as I've moved.

6:30pm Almost completely dark now but there's still some salmon-pink light over the W horizon. We're rolling around a lot in swell. The main, big one is from S at 3.5-4 m (12ft), every 8 seconds, but there are two smaller ones, from WSW and SE, which come in between and sometimes coincide - making for an uncomfortable time. I really hope they all diminish by the morning - I'm hoping to get started on the mainsail repair again soon after dawn and work most of the day, if all goes to plan and conditions permit.

Had a good nap earlier so will catch up on emails now, before having some ham & green pea soup and then getting some more sleep - I want to be ready for an early start on the sail in the morning!

8:10pm Just took the boom and genoa over to starboard - so we're theoretically on port tack - but wind is only 5kt still, from WSW, so making only 0.5kt with COG roughly NE - the wind should fill in more and go more to NW so our course and speed should improve over the night... In the meantime, we're making some Easting and Northing - both good for now and we're not so far off course anyway.
Soup is heating up - I'm hungry!

12:30am Tuesday LT (1830 GMT Monday) Date and time beginning to get a bit confusing! Wind has definitely settled into WNW and we've often been making 1-1.6kt, rather than just under 1kt - means we can hold our ENE course better - we had been wandering around earlier. About to make my daily reports - position, weather and news/blog - plus two photos today - one showing the tin of Brie I found and one of the sunset.

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 180. We made 59 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 180 (by daily DMGs):15,856 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1161 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2379 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2370 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3113 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3330 n.ml. to WNW; St Paul Isl: 697 n.ml.to WNW

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/04/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-37.04S LONGITUDE: 092-15.83E
COURSE: 065T SPEED: 1.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 7kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 3.0m
BARO: 1026.6hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 13.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Wind beginning to pick up slowly. Pressure down. On port tack.

Sunday 2am Wind has really died now - according to wind display, it's coming from just about all directions depending on which way the boat happens to be heeling/tossing... Just now, it should be from roughly S but wind display has it coming from N quadrant - back to being an unreliable indicator. The wind generator shows it to be definitely coming from S and that we're on a beam reach in light wind - its blades are just about turning fairly well but probably not enough to input much, if any, power. SOG is just 2-3 kt.

3am Unfurled full genoa, furled away staysail and released running backstay. Speed nearer 3kt than 2kt - but wind still very light. Clearly there had been some light rain earlier and sky still overcast. Back to my bunk for more sleep.

3:40am Great! Speed up to 4kt mow in slightly more wind...

8:20am Totally overcast sky, swell less. Wind 10-15 kt, so making 4.5-5.5 kt, seems to be increasing as I write... speed now 5.7kt and wind 17kt...

A Royal (?!) albatross came by, gliding on typically stiff, fixed wings! I need to check on tail feathers - might have been a Snowy (Wandering) but I think more likely a Royal albatross (Northern type).

Difficult to assign names to these big birds, there's so much variation in their plumage, even within types, and difficult also to catch sight of the important features when they just glide past at a distance and then disappear off. But this one had white body and head and all-dark upper wings with no white 'splashes' on it, nor white near the body - definitely not a mature Snowy, for sure, but could just have been an immature..

All Royals and the Snowy range over the entire Southern Ocean so present location gives no indication, except that it wouldn't have been a Tristan or New Zealand Wandering (far less extensive ranges) - but it didn't look like either of those anyway..

Had a very brief 'sched' on 7160 at 0200Z - was good to speak, as usual, to John W1QS and Rick K9VM, both in E.USA, and also to Daniel, VA2DF, a weekend regular, calling from Montreal. All signals were good but there's a major contest going on this weekend and a lot of people are frantically trying to make as many contacts as possible in a short time! It was very noisy, with a lot of people calling on nearby frequencies, so we cut it short. Will be better tomorrow, after the contest has ended at 2400Z today.

Breakfast and then maybe back to my bunk for another short nap - not quite had enough sleep yet... Wind has now dropped back down to 14kt and our speed to 4.7kt ... varying quite a lot.

1:30pm Bright sunshine and blue sky overhead - cloud is moving off to the N and E but air feels cold. Seas seem to have come up again so we're rolling around a lot now with a short period of around 5 seconds. They seemed to be lying down earlier, but not now.

6:15pm Sky had clouded over around 4pm but mainly cleared again in time for sunset just before 6pm. It's as though there are bands of cloud coming over.

Was nice to see several prions earlier - and a few petrels, of course!

Kept busy this afternoon making some more ham and green pea soup, after mending my ship's logbook which has been looking very sorry for itself after several falls from the chart table in rough conditions. Thought I'd bought a sturdy, good quality book for this voyage but it definitely does not like the sea air, is wearing badly and is feeling quite damp (like so many other things on board, in the cold sea air)

Had a short chat with Volker, ZS3Y, in S.Africa and Dom, E51DOM, in the expedition boat returning to Cape Town now with damage caused by a very nasty storm (85kt wind gust, 16m seas) when they were 70miles off Bouvet Island, several days' journey S of Cape Town, late last week. No injuries, so that was good, but all boat radio, GPS & radar antennas lost.

7:15pm Back down below - just had to run up on deck to furl in the genoa quite a bit - strong wind had come up unexpectedly. Clear above, cloud bank off to port.

Was sitting admiring Sirius afterward, high overhead among a lot of other bright stars, not far from upside-down Orion, when a wave came over and caught me fair and square on my back - no jacket - hurried down to grab a towel to dry... The trouble with getting doused in seawater is the garment never really dries and stays forever damp.

Making 6.5kt in 25kt wind... Think I'll leave the genoa furled this much for overnight.

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 179. We made 108 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 179 (by daily DMGs):15,797 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1217 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2432 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2419 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3155 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3273 n.ml. to WNW; St Paul Isl: 643 n.ml.to WNW

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

TIME: 2019/03/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-43.98S LONGITUDE: 090-57.82E

COURSE: 088T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 3.5m

BARO: 1023.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Wind up again. Seas quite rough - short period, being tossed around a lot

Saturday 8am Grey clouds everywhere with a few tiny blue patches. Wind still up around 25kt - from SSW - and seas still keeping us dancing around, often heeled well over each way rapidly, as a 4m/13ft wave passes under. We're making 5.6kt just N of due E, making good Easting but not too much Northing - don't want to get too far N in the High coming up behind us, to avoid the light headwinds of its Easterlies there. Three white-chinned petrels are soaring around in long figures of eight close by, low down and on fixed wings - no need to flap them in this wind -they're having an easy ride! Midday Still grey and cloudy with unchanged big swell and birds close by. Sun trying to get out from behind clouds. Time to unfurl the genoa in place of the staysail - speed is down to below 5kt too often, although wind display is showing 23kt on a beam reach ... or maybe just slightly from abaft the beam. Feeling very chilly - air outside is only 14C/57F - coming from the cold S due to air circulation around the Low to SE of us. Cabin temperature is 16C - so not much warmer. Pressure has climbed to 1023.9 hPa, as we start skirting the High to our N. 5:50pm Sun very low - close to setting. The grey edges of the broken cloud in the W are tinged with orange-pink. Seas impressively big but period is 8-10 seconds so not too bad, although we're certainly being moved around a lot. They're often on the beam and have maximum impact at that angle. Took some photos but I know they never really convey the size of them adequately. With half the genoa unfurled and added in to the staysail, we're moving along better - our speed had dropped down a lot before then but we're now often seeing well over 6kt. Petrels and prions are swooping around - often see the birds at sunset - as though they regard 'Nereida' as a marker. Chilly enough to need extra layers (also put on a second pair of ski socks!) and my warm hat again - air is 14C and feels a lot colder in the wind, when on deck. Nothing dries and everything feels damp, just now. Having a hot mug of soup - always very welcome! It occurred to me that being underway in good wind on starboard tack is going to prevent me from getting to the mainsail repair - with the boom out over the port side of the boat there's no way I can sew the sail on its port side - and that's where the repair section is... If the wind dies right down, as forecast for Monday, then I'll be able to centre the boom, since the trysail will be achieving nothing, and work on the sail - assuming these big seas have also lain down by then. Fingers crossed on that... 9pm Wind from just W of S and slowly dying down - we're making around 4.5kt. 1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 178. We made 109 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 178 (by daily DMGs):15,689 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1325 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2539 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2521 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3246 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3169 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 920 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 537 n.ml.to WNW Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/03/30 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-44.72S LONGITUDE: 088-42.58E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 2.4kt WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m BARO: 1024.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C COMMENT: Dark. Wind died right down - so speed down

Friday 1:40am Just posted daily 1900Z reports.

Wind WNW 26kt, being tossed around often, as usual in strong wind and resulting seas. Genoa furled away, so just staysail and trysail now - ready for strong winds and even stronger gusts expected sometime soon and into the daytime - approaching Cold Front is not far away now but, so far, no rain.

Back to my bunk - nothing further to be done to prepare now.

8:25am Rain just started and wind gusted up. Wind display went away for a short time but back again now - unreliable! But it's reading 31kt which seems about right... Wind has backed to W now - will back further soon enough.

8:40am Wind just under 30kt now , still from W, so on a broad reach now, making 5kt. This is just a lull - expect wind to pick up again as it backs more towards SW. Pressure down at 1009.9 hPa. Rain didn't last long, nor was it very heavy.

9am Things seem to have settled down for now ...to around 27-30kt, up and down, from just S of W, and we're making COG 060T at around 5.7kt, higher in gusts.. I'm changing our course as the wind backs, to stay on a broad reach and, when wind is steady from SW and can make ENE again, will gybe around onto starboard tack.

I'm not inclined to go back to my bunk, that can come later, but feel compelled to stay here at the chart table to keep an eye on wind direction so I'm sure I'm ready to act if it should change radically and suddenly, as is very possible. I'm in my foulies, ready to get on deck immediately, if needed. Seas aren't as bad as forecast, so far, but we're rolling a lot, as usual in fair-sized seas, and heeling more in stronger gusts.

10:30am Wind 21-24kt ...could be dying down. When it gusts up to 24kt, boat speed jumps up to 5.7kt from 4.8kt. Will wait a bit longer to unfurl some genoa. Time for breakfast...

11:30am Wind has died down to under 20kt from WSW. Still not sure if this will continue or if it's a lull... Tempted to unfurl some genoa to speed us up - we're making just under 4kt now.

Midday Raining! Wind came up again - now 23kt - so making 5-5.8kt on 040T. Could get gusty under rainclouds, so leaving genoa until conditions more settled. (Gusted to 29kt as I wrote this!)

Pressure has risen sharply to 1012.6hPa - so the Low is on it way off E now. Next in the procession comes a High...

12:45pm Just gusted up to 39kt under raincloud - glad I didn't unfurl the genoa! Wind now SW30kt and we're making 6.3kt. Gusty conditions likely to continue for a time...

1:45pm Wind highly variable 24-34kt - SOG up & down around 6kt.

3:30pm Blue sky overhead and scattered clouds - quite a nice sunny day, in fact. Birds are loving the strong wind and big seas - several petrels and prions soaring around and flying close to the waves...

Gybed onto starboard to get back on ENE course. With wind backing further to SSW eventually, should be good for quite a time. Wind display is giving totally impossible readings - has become erratic and unreliable... Pity! Was good to have it working these last few days.

Seas are impressively big now and quite close, so we're moving around a lot as each passes by.

6pm Unbelievably, a bowl of food went flying from one side of the cabin to the floor on the other side as we suddenly heeled madly one way and then the other - and 95% of its contents stayed in the bowl - what luck! I was at the radio, trying to make contact with Australia and N.America - but ended up chatting to Mohammed from Muscat, A41NN. His signal was so strong, and beamed exactly in my direction, that it drowned the others that I was trying to make contact with and he heard me calling them... A very friendly guy!

Almost dark now and pressure has been steadily rising - now at 1018.5 hPa - the High is getting closer and this Low is moving away. Wind is still often near to, if not at, 30kt, if my erratic display is to be believed, and SOG is 5.7kt just N of E, at present...

The big seas are really making it difficult to move around in safety - I have to judge carefully the moment to make a move and try to hold on to something as I do so.

Midnight Interesting chat with Vince, 3DA0VV, about his life in eSwatini (Swaziland) Recently-planted forest where once were open grasslands.

1am Seas still big and close together. Very dark with moon hidden behind clouds - occasional monshine seen. Wind still quite strong but slowly easing - will unfurl genoa in daylight. Back to my bunk for more sleep.

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 177. We made 112 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Course was a dog-leg so actually more.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 177 (by daily DMGs):15,580 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1435 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2639 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2614 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3326 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3060 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 822 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 443 n.ml.to NW

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

TIME: 2019/03/29 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-00.70S LONGITUDE: 086-07.28E

COURSE: 082T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 24kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 4.0m

CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1020.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Seas quite big and close together. Moon behind clouds.

Thursday 7:25am Daylight - a lot of light cloud around, so a bit dull. Short sched with USA on 7160 - propagation not so good today.

Wind NW at 24kt and our SOG (speed over ground) is 4.5kt, close reaching, making COG of 065T. Seas up more and we're pounding into them constantly - feeling very laboured...

8:40am Wind 24kt still. Furled genoa to reef 1 mark, unfurled staysail and sheeted out trysail - on beam reach. Off wind a touch more - making 070-075T at 5.6kt. Will furl in genoa again quite soon - we're heeling quite a lot still but making good speed - around 6kt at times. Will try to get a bit more sleep - might not get much tonight with weather coming up...

11am Much the same conditions as earlier - being tossed around in the seas and heeling a fair amount so moving around is a bit difficult and has to be done very carefully.

Did eventually snooze for a bit, so that was good. In these conditions, the best place to be is in my bunk - by far the safest and most comfortable place! Only downside is not being able to see the instruments - but I can see how much we're heeling so I'll know when to furl in the genoa further - no problem there! If in doubt, I'll furl in sooner rather than later but we're still making good speed - around 5.8 kt on a course of 075T in wind of around 23 kt. Pressure has dropped quite a bit - now 1019.7 hPa - and sun is shining between scattered light cloud - looking quite pleasant, in fact.

2.30pm Wind from NW at 21-24 kt and SOG 6.3 kt - waiting a bit longer for more consistently slightly higher wind to furl in genoa more since we're making good speed and course. Come nightfall, I'll furl away the genoa completely and just go with staysail since high gusts might arrive suddenly overnight.

5.15pm Was glad to have a jacket and hood on, with overtrousers, while on deck just now to furl in some more genoa (to 2nd reef mark). A wave came over the hard top into the cockpit and would have soaked me - but this time I was protected! Not even my hair got wet! Sun is getting low but wind is still around 22-23 kt. Although seas have built up and are almost on the beam, they're not too bad at present. If they get to be a problem later, we'll change course to run in front of them.

With less genoa, we're making around 6kt, instead of 6.6kt beforehand, but that's OK - I'll furl in more, maybe most of it, before long, to be ready for the 30kt or more wind and strong gusts expected overnight.

6:30pm Dark now. Have a hot Cuppasoup ready to sip and a freeze-dried 'Beef and Pasta Hotpot' waiting ready, for after the soup. In these rough conditions, unless I've one of my thick soups ready to warm up, those are the easy options. It's either that or open a tim of baked beans - which is the absolute fall-back...!! (I actually like baked beans a lot, so that's never a problem for me.)

Wind is down slightly, at 21-22kt, from NW and we're making ENE at just under 6kt... so all good there.

Just realised we're into the next time zone, Z+6, which began as we crossed the 82.5 degrees E line of longitude and we're now getting very close to 83E. Means a change of ship's time to that of Daccar and Omsk.... so it's really 7:30pm LT but I'll change my clock later, after posting this.

10:30pm (Z+5 time) Back down below after furling genoa away totally. Has cut our speed right down but wind still only 24-26kt - has yet to increase to the 30+ kt forecast, let alone the 40-50kt gusts overnight into tomorrow. Still making course of ENE. No rain yet - expect some to be heavy quite soon - a few bright stars are shining hazily through a thin cloud overhead with bigger clouds away on the horizon. No moon to be seen, so headlamp was useful. Seas quite rough now - just as last time on deck, one washed over the decks and hard top and into the cockpit - hooded jacket was excellent protection!

Back to my bunk for another short nap before a radio sched and my daily news, weather and position reports at 1900Z.

1900GMT (=0100LT) - end of Day 176. We made 110 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 176 (by daily DMGs):15,468 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1544 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2730 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2695 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3390n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2950 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 714 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 366 n.ml.to NW

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

TIME: 2019/03/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-37.07S LONGITUDE: 083-43.63E

COURSE: 070T SPEED: 4.2kt

WIND_SPEED: 26kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 3.5m

CLOUDS: 95% BARO: 1013.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Sail shortened ready for 'blow' coming up early tomorrow...

Wednesday 1am Dark, cloudy night with no moon visible. Seas still feeling calm - just bouncing about slightly most of the time... Attempting to send blog but having problem with connection at far end ("remote host closing connection"), so delayed ...

7:40am Finished radio sched on 7160 - fair-good copy still on a lot of US stations - amazing that we're still in good contact!

Daylight with overcast sky, pressure still well up at nearly 1028Hpa so still in middle of High and with very little wind, heading NE but making very little speed - only 1.4-1.7 kt.

Back to my bunk for some a couple of hours more sleep - still very tired, but hoping to work on sail later this morning.

3:30pm Sewing going well, with swell down a lot and no problem being caused by the wind. Sorted out how to start on the next half - not looking as bad for access to that part of the leech as I'd feared. Amount of material needed is precisely the amount available - amazing!

Dull day with total overcast. NW 11-13kt wind is giving SOG 3kt and COG 070T - better speed than earlier and yesterday.

6pm Light fading now - twilight under a grey overcast sky. Wind WNW mainly around 13kt all afternoon and expected to get up to NNW 20kt by midday tomorrow, increasing to over 30kt by Friday morning with a strong Cold Front passing over. We'll be well-reefed down, expecting some pretty rough weather....

Had a very productive day on the mainsail repair. Finished off the first half, for the time being, and I was delighted to find that I can, in fact, get to the remaining repair area to sew it without too much of a problem - so long as we're on port tack!

The second half of the 'tabling' material is now in place, held by a few stitches at intervals along its edge. Now I just need a few days of calm seas to sew it properly. I think I'll need to add a few more stitches at intervals along the first half also, as reinforcement.

7pm I'm often noticing that we're heading almost due E at times - the result, I think, of an E-flowing current and our low speed, despite trying to head NE, combined with difficulty sailing upwind or even on a beam reach - which we are now in the NW wind.

Dark now - had the rest of my green pea and ham soup - very thick! - and it's time to start my sleep routine if I'm to get enough in total overnight.

11:50pm Wind keeps gusting up to 20kt, so our speed has been getting up to 4kt - good to see the increase. Wind should stay at about 20kt, probably becoming just a bit more, overnight and then increase over tomorrow daytime towards 30kt later on...

Just chatted on 40m to Vince, 3DA0VV, in Swaziland, who has Internet access giving info on weather and he's been confirming the Cold Front coming through with strong winds over early Friday, into Friday night and then again over Saturday night. Will be nice when that system has passed on, out of the way - won't be very pleasant while the strong winds and big seas last!

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 175. We made 54 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Another slow day... but good work done!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 175 (by daily DMGs):15,358 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1653 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2821 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2777 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3454n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2840 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 610 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 319 n.ml.to NNW

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

TIME: 2019/03/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-10.97S LONGITUDE: 081-21.48E COURSE: 070T SPEED: 2.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1024.4hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Wind keeps gusting to 20kt, giving SOG 4kt. E current affecting boat heading & COG - difficult to head NE.

Tuesday 1am About to gybe around onto ENE after posting position, weather and news updates.... Wind about 12-15kt, and we're making 4.5kt at present under cloudy sky and in lessening wind, as we come into yet another High...

1:45am Gybed onto starboard - still making 4.5kt, headed ENE. Back to my bunk...

6:45am Daylight - grey and cloudy, with a heavy rain shower under steel grey clouds off to starboard, but dry here. Pressure building as we begin to pass through a High pressure cell.. Sea rolling us around a lot - will get a couple more hours of sleep after 0200Z sched on 7160 and hope it dies down a bit more. Would be good to get some more sewing done on the mainsail if I can since today is the best chance for a time.

8:30am Had no sleep but did have a good contact with the DX expedition boat to Bouvet Island at 0215Z/7:15LT - still 180ml away from landfall. I hadn't realised they'd be putting up their antennas on top of a glacier on the island. I knew it was cold there, being well S, but not that cold!! Spoke to Dom, E51DOM, and also Marcin, SP5ES, on board the boat at 52S 006E. Seas from E at 3m and wind N 10kt - let's hope they can land safely with all their gear in the 3 Zodiacs that will be taking them on to the rocky shore - a hazardous landing which may or may not be tomorrow, depending on the sea state - safe landings are paramount...

Sun is getting out a lot more now, in clearing cloud, and the moon is high up also. Seas still a good 3-4m, so still rolling around a lot.

Just gybed around, seeing W-WNW wind - and now I see it has promptly gone to WSW/240T - so we'll need to gybe around now, back onto starboard tack again... Oh well - back on deck!

9am Gybed back onto starboard - now making 075T, roughly ENE, at just under 3kt downwind on a very broad reach in WSW 9kt wind - this will not be a day of big DMG. Seems to me that the wind generator is a better, more reliable indicator of the apparent wind direction than the on-and-off wind display.

Slight drizzle starting up - grey cloud has come over to hide the sun but should pass over soon.

Time for breakfast.

2:20pm Gybed onto port after checking weather update - we're still dodging the remains of the cyclone when it gets down this way, so it's best to try to head NNE-NE as much as possible now, rather than E-ENE, given a choice. It looks as though the deep Low it will have become is expected to be just SW of our present position early next week.

Wind is WSW 6kt - not much to be done to improve our rate of progress from the 2kt we're making now! The wind generator is frequently not turning at all - a good indication of light or non-existent wind.

Occasional slight drizzle from the scattered big clouds around. Swell is making us roll a lot but I'm trying to get some sewing done on the more-easily-accessed section of the sail - near the top batten - having got it down on deck. Having to be careful to stay safe on deck while working in the swell.

6pm Getting dark now - sunset was a while ago. I just finished a section of sewing in time to put the sail away carefully as the sun was setting. I'm not sure if it will be possible to work on it tomorrow but it's looking hopeful.

The sewing was really difficult - every push of the needle through the layers of fabric takes a time, with a lot of effort needed to achieve the needle getting through to the other side - and then more effort to push it all the way through and out...! Not being able to push down onto a hard surface is a definite handicap and I'm not looking forward to stitching the next section of 'tabling' around the leech. I need to come up with a plan to keep myself safe when working above the hard top, or leaning on the sloping windscreen to work there - it's not going to be simple and definitely not fast!

We're right in the middle of the High now - pressure is 1026 hPa and the wind has been 4-6kt all day long - so speed has been well down at mostly just under 2kt, heading NE now, NNE for much of the day.

We should be able to stay on port tack for the next few days, with wind anywhere from N to SW as a Cold Font approaches and then passes over on Thursday into Friday. We could get another dose of very strong winds- 40kt or more, with very big seas for a time, but hopefully, I'll be more prepared this time, knowing it's a possibility. It would help if my wind display were to keep displaying!

7pm/1400GMT Time to have some thick soup and start on my sleep routine if I'm to work in the morning - it's all too easy to look at the GMT showing on my instruments and forget we're five hours ahead - 7am GMT = midday local time! (Next time zone, Z+6, will begin as we cross the 82.5 degrees E line of longitude later this week.)

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 174. We made 61 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 174 (by daily DMGs):15,304 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1704 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2862 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2813 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3480n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2787 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 558 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 314 n.ml.to N/NNW

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

TIME: 2019/03/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-33.02S LONGITUDE: 080-13.94E COURSE: 040T SPEED: 1.8kt

WIND_SPEED: 6kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 99%

BARO: 1026.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Calm sea in middle of High!

Monday 1:25am Had a good sleep but got up to make daily 1900Z position & weather report and news updates - now posted.

Wind down to 18-22kt from SW. Seas not too bad - occasional tossing around.. About to go on deck to unfurl genoa - speed up and down a lot - mainly down... around 4-5 kt... slow. Then back to bunk for more sleep - dark night now...

2am Bright moon shining from gaps in clouds, along with a few bright stars. Unfurled full genoa -saw speed get up to near 6kt but wind slowly easing so now seeing mostly 4.5-5.3 kt. Feeling cold in wind and damp night air of 16C. Was glad I had my jacket on when wave splashed into cockpit, my hair is still damp from earlier dowsing. Back to my warm bunk...

8am Broken cloud, making about 5kt, wind down at around 15kt (wind instrument seems to have gone down again!), seas still up quite a bit, so being tossed around... Getting back to bunk for more sleep after sched on 7160. Spoke to Dom, E51DOM, on Bouvet Island DX Expedition - on board boat headed down, presently at 49S 59E, two more days to landfall, rough conditions.

11:30am Feeling so very chilly now - 15.7C/60F in the main cabin - I need to put on another layer! Hot food and drinks are very welcome and the thought of a salad is not so appealing at present.

Grey clouds everywhere and seas are still fairly high at 4m/13ft - but not too close although still a lot of motion felt on board as they pass under.

SW wind at 16-18kt, making for 5kt boat peed - not too bad. Wind is forecast to veer slightly to W but stay fairly constant over today and then lessen but stay from W tomorrow as we are overtaken by the High presently W of us... The usual, never-ending sequence!

I'm hoping seas and wind tomorrow will be down enough to allow me to do some mainsail repair - I doubt that will be possible today but will take the chance if it comes. It takes a time to undo the sail ties and other places where tied down, in order to access the repair area and I doubt I can get most of the remaining portion down on deck, to make the sewing that much easier in a seaway - it's above the hard top and sloping wind screen above the companionway, so not so easy to work on.

2:30pm I always get so excited when seeing a Wandering or Royal albatross - and I just saw a beautiful Snowy albatross (a type of Wandering albatross) gliding around! Mostly white everywhere but with distinctive long dark tips to otherwise white upper wings. We're passing S of St Paul and Amsterdam Islands now - only 330 and 380 n.ml. away, respectively - protected nesting sites for the albatross and other seabirds.

Saw a bit of sunshine a short while ago, but has disappeared behind total light grey cloud cover again.

Wind is 20kt, we're broad reaching at 6 kt - excellent! Swinging around a lot in swell, though, so no chance to work on sail - not with that 20kt wind as well.

6:40pm Dark now, with total cloud cover. Wind has been slowly getting less - now 15kt from WSW. We've gybed onto NE course with the idea of heading more N from now on. One problem, after the High pressure cell we're just coming into, is avoiding very strong winds coming up early next week (gales, in fact!). So we need to head NE-ENE, now that the cyclone threat seems diminished, to reduce the impact of the stormy weather coming up. There's another Cold Front coming through beforehand over Thursday/Friday - I hope that won't be as bad as two nights ago!

I've been feeling the cold a lot - and it occurred to me that I should be wearing again my lovely warm Nepalese hat and a warm scarf - both presents from friends for the cold weather - thanks to both. Amazing the difference wearing the hat makes ...and the scarf keeps my neck warm also - lovely!

Time for some more of my lovely thick, hot, green pea and ham soup... and then a nap in my warm bunk. Everything feels damp to the touch at this temperature - bunk included, until I've warmed it up with my body heat.

7:40pm Wind keeps gusting up to well over 20kt from 15-16kt - one moment we're sailing along serenely at around 5-5.5 kt and then we've picked up speed and are suddenly galloping along around 6kt with the gust - typical 'cloud effect', as usual..! Nice to get more Easting!

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 173. We made 108 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 173 (by daily DMGs):15,243 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1763 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2910 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2855 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3586n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2727 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 500 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 316 n.ml.to N/NNW

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

TIME: 2019/03/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 44-54.71S LONGITUDE: 078-54.46E COURSE: 050T SPEED: 4.8kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1017.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Feeling cold - 15C in cabin. 108ml. DMG

Sunday 1am/2000GMT Posted yesterday's report. Still raining. Sounding very peaceful without the noise of strong wind and rough seas! Wind has died right down now, as expected with the Front passing over - only making just over 3kt now with occasional 4kt on a wave - down from the earlier 6.5kt or so and wind could well die more... Motion of boat very gentle now. Still waiting for wind to back into W forcing us to gybe onto starboard tack.... might be a time coming.

Enjoying a late meal before getting some more sleep - a wind shift will wake me up, for sure..

4am Wind has clearly shifted to W-WSW but is very, very light so we're effectively drifting at 1.4kt to the NE - but better than drifting NNW as we were before I gybed the headsail and tried to get us back on course. The wind should pick up, if forecasts are be believed, but it may be several hours before it does so...

We've been rolling around like mad in the left-over seas from before the wind died a few hours ago - I found it impossible to sleep for a long time, although I did finally drop off.

Nothing to do just now but get back to my bunk for some more sleep, if possible, and wait for the increased wind to help us onto a better course.

5:20am In fact, I went back on deck to try to get us headed better - raining hard so back down very wet to hang up foulies. Lashed the wheel to starboard a bit, to offset the headsail taking us to port - we're now heading ESE - but we could end up turning in a circle - we'll see soon enough! Back to my bunk - hope the wind picks up sooner than later - we're making 1.2kt...

7:30am Some blue patches have appeared in the sky - rain clearing away maybe? Wet decks, seas well down on yesterday, COG 124T, SOG ~1.4kt. Pleased to report that we didn't go around in a circle! Still no sign of the wind filling in. Had a brief raio sched on 7160 but contesters made things difficult for the US end although no problem for me - good to hear Montreal and Prince Edward Island coming in clearly. Back to my bunk for some more sleep while it's calm.

2pm Finished clearing up in galley - a necessary, frequent job that can't be ignored for long.

Still waiting for that wind to fill in... Making 3.4kt or less, ESE, seas from SW are still big and there seems to be another swell from E which mixes in with it so confused seas result at times.

Was quite sunny earlier but increasing cloud is giving little sunshine. Temperature is around 19C/66F and sea temperature is down at 16C/61F - making main cabin feel very cool since no heating used - keeping diesel for generator use.

4:15pm Tea-time! Sunny day still, as sun starts getting lower - almost no clouds around. Several petrels and a Yellow-nosed albatross pair - nice to see those since not so often seen. The white-chinned petrels seem to be my daily companions now.

Tried to let Fred take charge earlier and was fine for a time but when we were knocked slightly off course by a wave, he couldn't get us back again, as he normally does without a problem. The rudder seems to be moving independently of the vane - which it shouldn't. Looked at the three easily-seen axle nds and hey seem fine so will need to check the fourth one with awkward access astern of the unit. In the meantime, it's back onto the autopilot.

5:15pm A big bank of grey cloud was looming over the W horizon - and has just spread over the entire sky - gone is the clear blue, replaced by a mass of grey clouds - likely not to be a nice sunset seen today! Maybe it will bring better wind with it? We've been slowly creeping up in speed this afternoon - to 4kt or more - but don't seem to be going much faster under the cloud. It will come - just have to give it more time - but I'm getting impatient!

Making a thick soup of split green peas and chopped onions, with chopped ham to be added later, while there's still daylight - ready for the next round of rough weather, whenever it comes...

7:30pm That came a lot sooner than I expected... The grey cloud bank was hiding a nasty surprise come nightfall - some rain, with a strong wind of around 40-50kt, almost certainly gusting more. I don't know exactly, except that it was shrieking madly, the sea was very angry-looking, with foam flying, and we were heeled over far too much...toe rail in the sea often. It's died down now to 26-30kt.. I just had no choice but to get up into the cockpit and try to furl in the full genoa - difficult in such strong wind but little by little it had to come and eventually I got it down to a small enough size that we were heeling a lot less - cut our 7kt speed down as well, but that wasn't of concern. I had to keep reminding myself that 'Nereida' was a good sturdy boat and we were doing fine, despite the strong conditions....

I noticed, from the direction of the wind generator, that the wind had backed a lot so we were able to turn more downwind and run before it, which always helps. I was happier running ESE than the SSE we were heading in initially.

Of course I got a drenching several times - I'd just put on my over-trousers on realising it was raining and the wind had started increasing - but it then increased so very rapidly that I just had to get out there and didn't have time to put on a good rain-jacket - so I've been busy drying off and changing out of my wet top layers.

It's now 8:25pm, it feels a lot calmer and we're making 5.5-5.8 kt in 24-28 kt wind - my wind instrument has suddenly decided to work again - amazing! - wish I'd seen what it was reading earlier. I hope it's reliably telling me the correct wind direction and speed. If it is, the wind has finally backed to the S, from having veered to WNW just before the system came through. This is the second time that strong winds have seen it start working again - most odd!

Pressure has just started rising from the 1007hPa of this afternoon and early evening. I'm more than ready for some of that hot, thick soup - and a warm cosy bunk sounds nice also.

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 172. We made 71 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. No wind overnight, followed by some wind uring day, then too muchwind - but good speed...!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 172 (by daily DMGs):15,135 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1871 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3006 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2945 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3586n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2620 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 408 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 331 n.ml.to NNE

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

TIME: 2019/03/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 44-11.03S LONGITUDE: 076-26.29E COURSE: 098T SPEED: 5.5 kt

WIND_SPEED: 25kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1010.5 TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Big winds earlier with rain - 40-50+ kt for some time + seas+heeled lots! Well-reefed down now.

Saturday 7:30am Daylight. Grey overcast sky, fine drizzle and seas up but not tossing us about too much, although heeling quite well. Temperatures much lower now - 17.4C air and 15.4C sea. I can feel the chill on the air!

Wind back up again, so making 5kt on broad reach - downwind sailing, hoping to stay in good winds from W quadrant for next few days and avoid light headwinds of coming High system... Looks as though we'll just stay ahead of system if we can keep up speed of around 5kt - anything more will be a bonus!

Some good radio contacts made on 7160 with US E.coast, Maine to Florida, and inland.

Midday Earlier fog has lifted. Making well over 6kt just now - good to see some speed! Downwind with just the big headsail (genoa) in good wind is not a problem. It's when heading upwind that I need the mainsail to make any decent speed...

Seems the hurricane/cyclone (often called a 'typhoon' in Indian Ocean - three different names!) should arrive well to W of us, reducing to an 'ordinary' Low finally, if we can keep going as planned. Gives a good incentive to find good W winds for better speed downwind and to stay out of those Highs!

Problem is that I need some calm conditions to finish the mainsail sewing - one consequence of having to work on it in situ, on deck, rather than down below. That would have made the sewing so much simpler and quicker but was clearly not an option for me with such a large fully-battened sail.

3:30pm A really rough ride today! A lot of heeling, banging, crashing and being tossed around generally... We were so very heeled over in the strong wind that I decided, nice as it was to be seeing speeds touching 7kt and over, that I needed to furl in some genoa - if only to move around to get some food more easily! We promptly lost a knot of speed with genoa in between reef marks 1 and 2 - but seem now to have regained it. Probably the result of coming off a nearly dead downwind run so we're slightly more on the wind. Maybe also the wind is up even more - I have no instrument to tell me! I just know it's quite strong - in the mid-twenties - and we're making 6.5 kt, sometimes 7kt, as a result, which I'm happy to see.

I was delighted to get an email from Phil, who runs the Winlink VK6KPS station near Perth, telling me it was up and running again, after he'd fixed a problem with the equipment sooner than expected - thanks for that, Phil! So my radio emailing is back working well now (although long emails are, as usuaL, best avoided as using up precious battery power and radio time). Many thanks to Colin, ZS1RS, for the frequent use of his station in Cape Town for the last few weeks.

6:30pm Very murky and dull.... Light fading.

Decided to get tonight's food ready early - another nice Mexican version of chilli con carne - simple preparation - open two packets, into saucepan, heat when hungry ... eat! Buen provecho! Having a hot CuppaSoup in the meantime - really noticing the drop in air temperature.

Expecting a change in wind direction soon, as the Cold Front passes over, and wind backs from NW to W or WSW . Might be a slow transition, rather than the sometimes fast one I've encountered at times. Will need to change tack to starboard from present port tack.

11:45pm Wind has been down for a time now - we were only making 5-5.5kt, but I'm seeing an increase now, taking us to around 6kt and more. It's raining hard so the Front is very close to passing over and giving the wind shift I've been waiting for. I've got my rain gear ready - overtrousers are already on and jacket is waiting to be put on when I need to go on deck.

Time to heat up my food - I've not had anything yet but did get some sleep...

(Sunday 12:45am Wind has died right down now, as expected - only making 3.5kt - time to unfurl the genoa!)

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 171. We made 124 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Nice to see three digits!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 171 (by daily DMGs):15,064 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1938n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3077 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3014 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3651n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2554 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 377 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 333 n.ml.to NNE

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

TIME: 2019/03/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-54.35S LONGITUDE: 074-51.13E COURSE: 098T SPEED: 6.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1011.2hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Raining. Seas not quite so rough as earlier. Front imminent.

Friday 1:45am Making 4kt SE in ENE-NE wind - should keep backing further overnight. We'll change course with the change of wind direction.

Just finished updating log, sending weather/position reports to Winlink and posting news update to website with photo of mainsail leech 'tabling' I was busy sewing yesterday. Takes quite a long time - I'm ready for some sleep!

7:30am Thick fog, daylight. Still making SE course at around 3.5kt - steady progress... Good contact at 0200Z with a few E. coast USA stations - think some people haven't caught onto time change from 0230Z. Back to bunk for couple more hours of sleep - hope sun gets out and fog goes later...

1pm Was nice to chat to Julian Clegg on BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show just now. (The link to the entire Show is https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p071f0p and to just my item at 07:25 GMT is: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Eq9FRF9nqUtusarq_FicSywlCLXyVYRl)

The telephone chat was made possible as a result of having the Aurora wi-fi terminal on board, courtesy Global Marine Networks, GMN, who sent me the unit and gave me the airtime. Many thanks to them for their generosity since it gives me access to the Iridium satellite network and enables photos to be sent with my blogs as well as enabling big weather files to be downloaded fairly quickly - a definite plus when bad weather threatens.

4pm Nice to see a pair of prions flying around nearby - lovely-looking birds.

It's very murky - not quite foggy but might be again later. It's also getting quite rough now, with the increased wind giving rise to the usual increased seas, but we're making good speed, around 4.5-5kt, so no complaints.

My thoughts are constantly on weather and heading SE to avoid the possible cyclone problem next week. I keep looking at the weather grib files and updating them. With any luck it won't end up as a problem, but we need to get into, and stay in, good Westerlies to make sure of a decent speed in the right direction over the next few days to get ahead of where the system might be when it's down further S. It's presently forecast to move due S, not curving to the SE as they often do.

6:50pm Getting evening meal ready. Daylight almost gone. Very murky, gloomy day today but wind has been good and we're making good progress. Still headed SE at present but will be headed more ESE soon, once wind has backed further - to NNW.

10pm Well, despite forecast of 22-23 kt winds from NNW, we're only making well under 4kt SE in a much lighter wind... Seas are well up so it's become 'bucking bronco' time again. But progress generally today has been a lot better than over last two days.

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 170. We made 92 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 170 (by daily DMGs):14,940 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2057n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3200 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3135 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3763 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2438 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 345 n.ml. to SSW; St Paul Isl: 370 n.ml.to NE

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

TIME: 2019/03/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-21.49 LONGITUDE: 072-06.36E COURSE: 123T SPEED: 3.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1019hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: Speed has dropped right down now - was over 5kt much of the day

N.B. I'll be 'live' on BBC Radio Solent Friday morning at 7:25 a.m. - they heard I'd made it halfway!

Thursday 2.20am Just noticed that we've changed course and are now headed just W of S - wind has veered to ESE-SE so it's time to gybe around onto starboard tack - to head NE, hopefully. Wind has also dropped - we're making just over 1kt... Speedy!

3:30am Gybe complete and we're now on COG 020T at just over 2kt SOG. Wind not totally sure which direction it's supposed to be coming from. Beautiful, peaceful night with moon shining through gaps in the clouds. Seas well down.
Had a problem adjusting Fred for new wind direction - finally, had to sit on supports over stern steps to see what the problem was - a long pin had got jammed by the adjusting wheel and needed to be freed - didn't take long and then Fred was able to steer on course.
Back to my bunk...

7:30am Beginning of a lovely sunny day with broken cloud and not very much swell - but also not much wind ... and what is there is from the E! Making 2.3kt SOG with COG of 012T.
Hoping deck will dry in sunshine soon and sail will dry a bit more also. Then I can set to with needle and palm to continue with adding the 'tabling' to the leech of the mainsail around the torn area.
Jobs of the day include replenishing galley area while in calm conditions and checking weather info - next week's cyclone is a worry...

Midday Checked rudder grease gland - all dry and fine. Getting on deck to start sewing - first need to release the sail - the better it's secured, the longer that takes! Need to improve my system...
First have to gybe to head S again - need to get to 44-45S within next few days if want to be in good westerlies, and avoid also the light (head)winds of a High, to give good enough boat speed to avoid that cyclone... That does not require mainsail to be finished, fortunately, since will be heading downwind most of the time but will try to get it done as soon as possible.

3:40pm Nice sunny day still, with quite good wind - but we're headed into it, so slow. Thought I should check to see what the boat was up to - so taking a quick break from my mainsail sewing - slow but sure progress there - will take a time to finish.
Heading almost due S at 2.2kt on port tack - clearly the wind has not yet backed, as it is supposed to - but will happen at some point and then we'll be heading more SE. Want to head more S over next few days, anyway. Back to my sewing...

6:50pm Light fading, threatening-looking grey rain clouds everywhere. Blue sky disappeared while I was busy sewing the mainsail - didn't even notice the clouds coming although I did notice the wind getting up and then the sun getting low. Thought I'd better stop in time to tie away the sail before dark.
Almost finished sewing the one half piece of material in place around the leech. Sail was dry enough that the narrow double-sided sticky tape was useful in holding the extra material in place, to an extent, so it didn't fly around in the breeze - wind was quite noticeably trying to move the sail around as I was working on it.
Found an excellent use for a small lavender-filled pin-cushion - a present from a friend several years ago, celebrating St Valentine's Day in Mexico. I'm placing it behind the sail as I try to push the needle through with the palm - works well since needle gets pushed through a good distance into the pin-cushion perfectly safely and then I can finish off fairly easily with the palm - an essential tool for sewing the sail - I'd never get the needle through the layers of cloth without it.
Having a welcome hot soup - feels a lot chillier now, but was quite pleasant earlier, working on deck under a clear blue sky in the sunshine.

7:30pm Dark now. Was enjoying seeing 4kt a short time ago - but that must have been in a gust - we're back down to 3kt now... and our course has veered after the gust - a typical 'cloud effect'! (Later: Clearly in gusty conditions under those big grey clouds - keep speeding up and then slowing down again - changing course a little each time.)
Will have a meal and then start on my overnight sleep routine.

Photo showing 'tabling' being added to leech of mainsail over torn length - slow work sewing with needle and palm.

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 169. We made even less 'distance made good' today - just 16 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. E wind again all day/night...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 169 (by daily DMGs):14,848 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2134n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3290 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3227 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3854 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2367 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 375 n.ml. to S; St Paul Isl: 397 n.ml.to NE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-29.31S LONGITUDE: 070-22.85E COURSE: 138T SPEED: 4.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1022.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Wind slowly backing. Gusty.

Wednesday 2:10am Been studying latest weather update - seems we're going to be in the path of another cyclone around 28-29th March - will try to get well enough ahead of it to be safely clear but quite likely that we won't be able to, in which case we'll be delayed several days more by having to heave to well W of its path until it has passed by - curses!!!

Presently making 2.5kt in light SE wind on a NE course, having got under way after drifting in no wind for several hours overnight. Full moon lighting up the overcast sky, giving a twilight good enough to see by when I was on deck earlier.

9am Confused seas from change of wind direction - old and new swells mixing... Grey overcast - decks wet from recent rain. Heeling often, quite a lot. Trying to head NE - should be a beam reach but actually slightly upwind heading, due to leeway, so beating - banging into seas - not a very comfortable point of sail and, unfortunately, sewing of mainsail will have to wait for better conditions... Making 2.3kt, occasionally getting up to 3kt.

5:40pm Well, we're not making much progress today - an E wind is not at all helpful when you're trying to head E! Having headed NNE this morning and part of this afternoon, in a light SE-ESE wind, we gybed a short while ago onto port tack to head, I hoped, just E of S. But we struggled not to head W (backwards!) for a time, although a little better now - although only just, since we're making 165-170T - so not making much distance to E. Hardly surprising but still frustrating!

I'm also feeling frustrated because I'd really hoped to get some more mainsail sewing done today. The fine rain seems to have finally stopped and I could now be doing some sewing - the deck is not moving quite so much in the seas and is drying out. But the sail is too well tied down and it would take a time to release it ready for sewing (and then it must be tied away again) - and the light is rapidly beginning to fade as the sun sets behind a lot of dark grey clouds - I thought they were clearing away but the blue patch of sky I saw earlier disappeared.

6pm Back with Fred in charge and he's doing just fine - we're on a close reach, still heading slightly E of S at 2-3kt. I'm getting my evening meal ready - chicken and potatoes with sweetcorn... Early to sleep, in the hope of a good sewing day tomorrow...

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 168. We made very little 'distance made good' today - just 29 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. (Actual distance travelled was 58 n.ml. but in a 'v' due to gybing...!)

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 168 (by daily DMGs):14,832 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2148n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3305 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3341 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3867 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2354 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 377 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 407 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 652 n.ml. astern

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

TIME: 2019/03/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-27.36S LONGITUDE: 070-02.13E COURSE: 142T SPEED: 2.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1021.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Thin cloud cover - full moon shining brightly above - lighting up sky

Tuesday midday What a change from yesterday afternoon's lovely sunshine and clear sky! It's grey, chilly and raining quite hard at times. I saw 5kt for a short time, as the present rain came in, but we're down to 3.4kt now. Think it's going to be difficult today with wind backing from WNW to S, maybe SSE, at some point this evening, probably quite suddenly. From then, there's expected to be mainly 10kt E (head)winds of another High for the next two days... before the next big Southern Ocean Low starts getting close to give N-NW winds and rough conditions - but maybe some decent speed.

12:35pm Changed course slightly closer to wind to get more speed - nearer 4kt now.

1:40pm Seeing 5.5-6kt - great! Solid rain - this will be a wet day..

2pm Speed has dropped to below 5kt - about to gybe onto starboard to head S - don't want to end up too far N with S winds forecast later..

4pm As I went to gybe, the wind dropped and kept on dropping. We're now making about 1kt, often dropping below, and, although trying to head SSE, we're being taken a lot more E - which I'm quite happy to see! - so we're ending up with a COG of 100T. We're certainly not making much progress S, as was intended.
Still grey and chilly. The rain has reduced to almost nothing but I'm expecting more on its way. Also expecting the front to pass over and the wind to back quickly to the south.

The wind generator serves a very useful purpose as a wind direction indicator, visible from the main cabin - but with this little wind, it's showing the apparent wind to be ahead from the SW, rather than the true wind still coming, I believe, from WNW-W.

7pm Daylight has faded fast from a leaden sky - no hint of a sunset today. And no hint of anything but a zephyr of a breeze. Genoa has been furled in and we're drifting roughly E - 0.0-0.2kt SOG! Rolling about a lot in the swell - 3m/10ft still. Waiting for wind to fill in, as it must. We're in a small Low between two Highs - and the wind will probably fill in from the S-SE - lovely! Just what we (don't) want! Nothing to be done about it - so just have to go with the flow... When it comes, during the night sometime, we'll have to head NE, rather than SW - forecast is showing two days of SE-E wind....
A small group of petrels sits together astern of us - expectantly... hoping for something? Clearly not worried about being so close - they know the boat well now!
(With them coming so close, so often, managed some good photos of them.)
Having a mug of hot soup and will get to my bunk early - maybe tomorrow the rain will clear away to give some drying conditions for the sail, so I can get back to sewing if the wind is not too strong.
Feels like a 'non-event' type of day...

9.20pm Moon is high up, shining hazily through thin cloud layer... wind generator blades are still but it's pointing to S .... rocking in swell... eerily silent.
We've begun to drift N now, instead of ENE, so maybe the wind has backed into the S? We're drifting NE at 0.4kt.

Midnight Thin cloud cover with full moon lighting up the sky, out of sight behind clouds.
SSE wind has come up - but not by much - wind generator is turning but putting in very little power and we're making just 2.3kt ENE under close-hauled full genoa. We got under way, as distinct from just drifting, a short while ago.

 

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 167. We made 64 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Surprised it wasn't less!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 167 (by daily DMGs):14,803 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2177 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3327 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3381 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3880 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2324 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 363 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 438 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 620 n.ml. astern

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV)
TIME: 2019/03/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-41.19S LONGITUDE: 069-21.43E COURSE: 060T SPEED: 2.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: SSE CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1018.2ha TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Thin cloud cover & full moon lighting sky. Wind backed to E. Close reach.
-----
At 19/03/2019 20:25 (utc) our position was 42°39.69'S 069°23.82'E

Monday 6am Gybed onto port tack - wind forecast to be from further N soon, WNW at present. Making 4.5kt ENE.
Dull grey day with slightly broken but otherwise solid overcast. No rain now, but the clouds are threatening possible showers.
Solitary white-chinned petrel soaring around nearby.

7:15am Back with Fred in charge of steering - nice and peaceful without the autopilot motor running and he's coping well downwind. Still making 4.5kt ENE.
An enormous Wandering albatross glided close by as I was on deck - white 'splashes' on its dark grey upper wings, white body (either a Snowy, Tristan or New Zealand albatross, my reference bird book tells me) ... Lovely to see... Such large birds, but at major risk from long-liner fishing boats, especially illegal ones, who don't take care to set the hooks in a simple but particular way so the birds don't go for them and get caught by them.
It would be very sad if these wonderful birds became extinct simply due to a few fishermen's lack of care, as could well happen. Many of them are under threat, with their numbers plummeting due to being caught in the long liners' hooks. They mate for life and don't come to breeding maturity until they're over ten yers old.
When I was stopped by no wind close by, I was delighted to learn of the Gough Island project (not far from Tristan da Cunha in S.Atlantic) by the UK's RSPB who are funding three of the S. African scientific team members on the island to eradicate the mice who are threatening the Tristan albatross' survival by eating the small chicks there.
Their numbers have also gone down badly over the last few years as a result - so the project to save them is very welcome and should be successful. They're getting help in that eradication programme from New Zealanders who have had a lot of experience with overcoming the same problem on their own islands - mice introduced years ago from passing ships who stopped by. (Google 'Gough Island' or see www.goughisland.com)

9am 2303n.ml. from both Cape Town and from Treeton in W.Australia! Midway between - and not making good radio contact with either... Breakfast.

10:40am Bright but still a thin overcast cloud layer - sun not yet making it through. Feeling quite calm nd peaceful with a well-spaced swell and only a light wind.
Just had to make a big adjustment to Fred - the wind has veered into NW, maybe just N of NW. SOG has dropped to around 4kt but we're headed due E now, which is good!
As I was doing it (with no camera handy!), an albatross came by - very likely a male Snowy albatross but not the albatross with 'splashes' of white on its wings seen earlier. This one was conspicuously very white-looking, with lots of white on its inner upper wings and the usual dark grey further out. Exciting to see it! I need to try to look for the colour of its bill ( if I see it again. We're 400 miles N of Kerguelen Island and 530ml SW of St Paul Island, with Amsterdam Island not much further N, so I wonder if they are nesting on one of those?

Midday Repacked grease gland cover - no wonder the rudder was leaking - there was no more grease left in the holder... Explains why I was able to spend so long screwing it in - there was nothing there! Should be good for quite a time now but I'll need to check it and screw it in a touch more from time to time.
Going on deck now to remove a lot of the mainsail slides from the mast track they run in and organising the sail, ready for sewing.

6:45pm Celebrating the first few stitches made on the mainsail repair... Having a small G&T with some olives and cashews, while soup is in the making and the last of my Mexican meal is warmed up.
Turned into a bit of difficult job, persuading the slides to come down and exit the gate in the mast track, with the folded sail getting in the way and tying them together not helping - but perseverance and lateral thinking usually pay off...
Once I'd finished doing that, it turned out that two slides at the head of the sail were better replaced - done! Next step was tacking the 'tabling' material in place over leech of sail- easier said than done... I tried using a strip of sticky double-sided tape to hold the 'tabling' in place - but sail was too damp - otherwise would have been excellent.
Sunset was coming on and I was being reminded that leather palms seem to come in just one size - ginormous...!! The sewing was started... and kept going beyond sunset... Dolphins (Dusky?) spent some time nearby and several petrels also - fish around?
Suddenly, it was too dark to see and everything was getting very damp with heavy dew. I folded up the sail and tied it onto the boom = more sewing need another day - maybe tomorrow?

Into another time zone tonight: GMT + 5 hrs

Seeing weird AIS signals - suspect they are buoys?? Photo attached. Clearly not ships underway... Maybe AIS transmitters on fishing nets laid by the Chinese fishing vessel seen on AIS screen earlier this afternoon?

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 166. We made 77 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 166 (by daily DMGs):14,816 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2241 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3384 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3313 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3924 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2259 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 360 n.ml. to S; St Paul Isl: 498 n.ml.to NE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 557 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-46.31S LONGITUDE: 067-55.36E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 3.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.8m CLOUDS: 0%
BARO: 1023hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Clear sky. DUSKY DOLPHINS SEEN BEFORE SUNSET

Sunday 1 am Raining again! Wind well down - making just 2kt but heading due E.

7:15am Dull, solid grey sky - recent rain, deck wet, strip of blue on N and W horizon. Wind generator blades totally still - not turning at all - almost no wind - maybe 4-5kt at most?? We're going almost due E at 1.3-1.6kt - not going far just now!

Solitary storm petrel seen flying close to the sea surface, no other birds seen just now.

Just finished daily chat to N.America on 7160 - most were good and clear - good contact still.

Back to bunk for couple of hours more sleep - got to bed late yesterday...

Midday Sunny - lovely blue sky - very little cloud now. Pressure up again, to 1026hPa. Wind very light from WNW - making 3kt ENE.

Problem with Fred again - my fixing looks good so looking elsewhere now for resolution - taking hammer to make sure all axles are properly in place. Hope I can sort the problem out - not good if I can't rely on Fred for wind steering - no power needed and main rudder not moving - so less chance of leakage from rudder post seal.

3:30pm Blue sky virtually gone - clouds everywhere - a light shower - nothing much... Quite a good swell again today - quite rolly at times.

Side-tracked from Fred by weather and course considerations... All takes a time to look at carefully and mull over, deciding on best course of action over the day..

Also checked rudder shaft seal and everal other areas for any sign of water - delighted to see all bone dry and clearly no more water has come into the bilge - good news.

4:30pm I'm exhausted! Spent well over half an hour just trying to undo two long plastic so-called 'thumb-screws' - one of which did not want to come unscrewed, even using pliers to grip it tightly and get leverage... Not helped by the fact that it's right off the stern and out of sight behind the wind-steering mechanism (astern of Fred's innards, in fact!).

Unless I leaned right out over the stern steps and around the backside of it to get at it, which eventually I had to do, it was all happening - or not happening, to put it more accurately - by feel ... I hate plastic screws!! They flex and make it difficult to undo them.. If I'd realised how often I would be trying to move them, I'd have coated them with Teflon grease to make the job easier. As it is, they've salt crystals in the threads instead...

I'd clearly tightened them both too much last time, after getting to that part of Fred - this time, as last, to check on the end of an axle which was protruding and did need hammering back into place - another 'lean out and around, over the water' job! The purely cosmetic cover held in place by those plastic screws is NOT going back in place.... I'll not want a repeat of this afternoon's exercise - I'm off to my bunk for a quick recovery snooze...

7:45pm Gybed onto starboard in the last hint of daylight - now making SE at over 4kt.... Pity! That was just a gust... I was beginning to get quite excited... SOG is around 3.5kt.

Mexican meal tonight - heating up Chilorio carne de pavo con frijoles bayos enteros - "todos listos oara comer!" - excelente! A great quick'n'easy meal with the typical zesty taste of Mexico. Greetings to my Mexican friends (and to the cruisers down there) - buen provecho!

I'd hoped to get on with dealing with the mainsail and sail-slides today - but other jobs got in the way.

The swell was quite pronounced, making it quite rolly, most of the day and it has been quite showery this afternoon. Good to rinse some more of that salt off.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 165. We made 63 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Slow progress while trapped in High...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 165 (by daily DMGs): 14,739 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2317 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3455 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3381 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3983 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2184 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 381 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 566 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 480 n.ml. astern!

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

TIME: 2019/03/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-40.87S LONGITUDE: 066-11.52E COURSE: 120T

SPEED: 3.7k

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 3.0m

BARO: 1027.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C

COMMENT: Starboard tack. Slightly better SOG in more wind.Downwind sailing.

Saturday 1am Raining! Doesn't happen often down here... Making 4.7kt - wind up a touch.

7am Bright day with hazy sunshine through scattered thin clouds. Gybed around on to starboard tack to head more S to keep better wind for next day or so.. Making just 3-3.5kt jst now.

Made excellent contact a short time ago with N.American stations on HF radio - but, without fail, they all copied me better than I copied them -although they were all good and clear enough to me, they all reported my signal was louder to them - myteries of propagation!!

8:20am Back down after checking on Fred - still a problem with steering - ratio knob moving still! Needs more fixing ....

11:30am Writing this while having my usual late breakfast - was nice to open a fresh carton of long-life milk to go with my cereal.
A lovely sunny day, although plenty of thin cloud around. We're really rolling around a lot - probably partly due to running downwind - on a very broad reach - but also the swell period is much less so the waves are that much closer together. We're making 4kt SE in WSW wind of about 10-12kt.

On to deal with fixing the ratio knob ('gear' mechanism) on Fred - more wiring.... There has to come a point when the knob stays firmly put so that he can steer the boat well again, surely?! Fortunately, the sturdy supports give a good framework to stand inside or sit on to help me work off the stern in safety. It's too far to reach from the aft deck.

12:45pm Well, I got side-tracked, well and truly! I thought I'd 'just' check the bilge before seeing to Fred - and there was some water in there I was not expecting since the place I'd thought was the problem area was pretty well dry... So I had to look around to see where exactly the water was coming in from. Just to be helpful, the little hand pump I've been using decided not to play ball when I tried to get rid of the bilge water... and getting that last couple of inches of water out with a soup ladle just does not work!

I'd discussed the issue yesterday with Derek, of Yachting Sports at Hamble Point, who knows the boat well and he'd already suggested that my 'problem area' was probably OK and the water was coming in from somewhere further aft. I double-checked the engine compartment - dry, including around the prop shaft seal. So then I went to check the rudder area and definitely found water creeping in from the rudder stock. So I've tightened its grease gland as much as I could, spending quite a time on that - hope that will at least cut down the water coming in and preferably stop it. Something to keep a regular eye on, but at least I now know where the bilge water seems to be coming from.

3pm Looking rather rainy - can see showers falling nearby and clouds are very grey - think we're about to get wet... Good for washing off some of the sticky salt everywhere on deck.

Finally got to Fred to re-wire the ratio knob - doesn't look to me as though it can move but time will tell. Swell is quite big - 3m/10ft - just had to ignore it as I perched securely over the stern busy working... but it kept wetting my boots.

4pm Fred seems happy again - might need to tighten the wire one more time but, hopefully, not.
Rain clouds have cleared away to the N - blue sky overhead and bright sunshine.
Back to the mainsail - first time today, with other jobs getting in the way...

6:35pm Almost dark - sky cleared almost completely just before sunset.

Had a mug of soup before finishing my stew - an easy meal.

Finally have the sail material cut, folded in half lengthwise with a good sharp crease and all edges hot-knifed to seal them from fraying (not well done, but never mind! My excuse is rolling around in the swell...). Next step is to join the two long pieces.
Then it's on to deck work, readying the sail for access so I can sit on deck while I sew the material over the torn area at the leech of the sail between the two top battens... That can happen in stages, as and when it's calm enough to do the work on deck.
In between, I'll tie the sail away onto the boom, with the extra material in position, waiting to be sewn. The actual sewing could get difficult, since I'll be going through at least three layers of sail fabric but I'm thinking I'll make a quick, rough tacking stitch near the edges to hold it all in place first and then it will be easier to finish with proper stitching. I also have some narrow double-sided sticky tape to hold it in place which could be useful. Not looking for a thing of beauty, just looking for function - and to get it finished..!!

8:20pm Wind has backed a little - we're now making between E and ESE but the wind has also dropped so our speed is down around 3.5-4 kt - forecast to drop further overnight and into tomorrow.
Time for my sleep routine to begin, if I'm not to lose sleep hours tonight - I'll be up for my 1900Z report - at 11pm LT.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 164. We made 91 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 164 (by daily DMGs):14,676n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2380 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3513 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3437 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2122 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 406 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 623 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 420 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-36.56S LONGITUDE: 064-47.15E COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.5m
BARO: 1023hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C
COMMENT: Wind dying...



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