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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Friday 7:30pm Sun has just set behind a bank of grey cloud astern. Clear overhead at moment but another bank of grey cloud ahead. Making just under 4kt close-hauled - wind is from S now.

Trying to avoid heading any further N - otherwise, will end up with headwinds in a High pressure area in a few days' time. Bad enough that we'll have light winds without the added problem of them heading us.

Hoping the High pressure area will give a chance to repair mainsail.

Saturday 3am Just spent a time adjusting Fred, up and down several times... Difficult to get it right in such light winds - we're only making 3kt, often less.

Chilly air tonight - only 13.3C, cold compared with several nights of 19C. Antarctic cold air coming up on the S wind.
Bright moon shining through thin cloud layer, Southern Cross high up in clear view, Venus and Jupiter close together, both very bright in the SE - a lovely night but cold.

Was nice to make quite a few familiar radio contacts on 40m earlier, from both N. and S.America and Switzerland also - many sending encouraging good wishes!

Back to my bunk for more sleep....

5:45am Up to check on course being made and send off weather and position report while radio contact possible - not long after dawn. Sky mostly clouded over, speed 2.3kt, making way on course - roughly. Swell down in light wind, air temperature 13C, air temperature 16C (56F/61F).

9am Bright, but no sun visible - a cloud layer covering the sky - not quite foggy but almost. I'd been hoping for sunshine and maybe even warmth - even dreaming about it! - this is not going to help dry the sail... Air temperature 20C/68F so maybe, being optimistic, the sail might dry out a bit if I release the sail ties and expose the torn area - at least there are no grey rainclouds around to threaten rain just now...

Almost no wind - we're only making around 1.2 kt ... soon we'll be drifting in circles. I'm amazed that Fred has kept us roughly on course up to now. Looks as though what wind there is is coming from SSE - makes 098T course difficult.

Time for breakfast and hope the sun gets out while I'm having it. Feeling frustrated!

10am AIS alarm went off - cargo vessel 'Luenho' heading towards us and making 12kt on way to Pt Elizabeth in S. Africa - coming to within 0.3ml. Called them on VHF - very pleasant officer with good English said they'd keep clear. Later: Can see them diverting to starboard so they pass S of us - excellent!

Went to check sail and open it up a little - pleased to find it's actually feeling fairly dry but needs trimming of loose frayed ends with scissors before doing anything else - step 1 for today...

Can see large cargo vessel 'Luenho' on S horizon, passing upwind of us - will be just over 2 miles away at closest point.

3pm Got started very soon after 10am - trimmed loose threads and then set to with Gorilla tape - REALLY difficult perched up high, even though the swell is only 5-6ft/2m. Had to lean on sail on boom for a stable, secure position to 'pre-unstick' the tape, it sticks so well to itself on the reel, and then tape was stuck in place in overlapping sections. If dealing with the one side wasn't too bad, the other side was that much more awkward to access... Very slow going.

Have taken a break now to check on our course (actually OK - amazing!) and have a drink, having taped about half the tear on both sides. Will try to complete this initial taping and see how much tape is left. Next section of tear will be even more demanding since it's over the sloping, slippery windscreen area with no handholds other than the tied-down sail itself and/or boom.

Not totally convinced the taping will last very long - but we'll see... Hope to reinforce with tape around leech and at right angles onto body of the sail.

Wind is dying which in this situation is good since should mean swell will stay right down. We're making 1.8kt - but on course!

3.30pm Well - we were on course! Was about to adjust Fred to sail off the wind more. on seeing us heading SE.... but then saw we were almost back on course again - good old Fred! At 1.5kt, it doesn't really matter where we go - it's such a small distance over a short time - but it's psychological - I just prefer to keep heading in the right direction!

Back to the taping....

6.30pm Finished with initial taping - 3/4 hr before sunset. 7 hours of work. All torn edges now held together on both sides. Needs reinforcing to help it not to come undone. Lower/2nd batten end area slightly torn - will need extra reinforcing. Tied sail to boom for overnight.

Wind came up a bit, along with swell, as I was finishing - but then died with sunset - so furled in genoa to stop it flapping uselessly and wearing itself out.

Will be having a nice 'ready-made' meal tonight to celebrate getting well started on mainsail job.

While I was finishing, heard an eerie, loud, quite long call - must have been from a large bird although I couldn't see one - came twice.

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 115. 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 115 (by daily DMGs): 10,909 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2268 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2008 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1831 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1775 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1647 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 192n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/26 19:30GMT LATITUDE: 40-01.34S LONGITUDE: 014-09.72W COURSE: 043T SPEED: 0.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 4kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1032.0hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in high pressure & almost no wind from SE...

Thursday 8pm Fog disappeared just before sunset - nice not to have the damp air and to see clear sky above! Expecting Cold Front to come through in a few hours' time with 15-20 kt wind from NW, backing to SW quite quickly - will need to gybe the genoa but should make better speed for a time. Noticing more of a swell now, ahead of the stronger wind.

9:30pm Radio contact with Florida on 20m not working too well - far better on 40m overnight (0300Z). Had to abandon 14160 kHz - too much static on frequency and signals too weak as well.

Friday 1am Wind behind Cold Front has backed to W/WSW so gybed the genoa and changed course from ENE to ESE - we'd followed the wind around, being under Fred's wind steering, so time to get back on course. Wind expected to back to SW by around dawn and on to SSW later in morning. Moon shining through cloud layer (foggy?) made a headlamp unnecessary - bright enough to see by. Very moist air and wet on deck.

7am Sunny sky with some cloud and no fog around. Now in SW wind but expected to back more - to SSW.. Made 5.7kt for a time, just before, but now making 4.7kt - wind varies a lot...

8am Well, so much for clearing skies and sunshine - back under total grey cloud cover and moisture in the air - but wind is up, so making around 5.7-6 kt now.

Several white-chinned petrels around.

2pm Bright sunshine and a few fluffy white cumulus. A few prions and white-chinned petrels - definitely no short-sighted ones...! Some sail trimming, as always, made for better speed in the S wind. Seas are a lot bigger and closer - so very rolly, especially since they're on the beam and steep.

Tried contacting the South African Maritime Mobile Net (SAMM Net) at 1100Z on 14316 but nothing heard - maybe they weren't expecting my call? Still a good distance away but a good rig should enable contact. Will try again tomorrow.

5pm Frequent adjustments of wind-steering (Fred) needed in shifty wind - partly caused by nearby clouds - some grey and threatening showers, although none have fallen so far. With S wind bringing colder air, air and sea temperatures are down - definitely feels cooler on deck now, even when sun is shining. Seas still well up although wind has dropped quite a bit.

Frequent birds around are prions and petrels - still none with spectacles, though...!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 114. We made 88 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 114 (by daily DMGs): 10,848 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2227 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1949 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2054 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1775 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1707 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 255n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-56.03S LONGITUDE: 015-29.49W COURSE: 098T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 60%
BARO: 1025.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Sunny day with plenty of cloud - some grey.

Thursday 2:30am Wind totally down to almost nothing - just about making 1.1kt - difficult to keep sail filled and to keep going in right direction! Wind is also forecast to veer slowly more to WNW/NW so will need to gybe the genoa onto port tack very soon.

Waiting to make radio contact with a pilot en route from Sao Paolo to Buenas Aires - will be an aeronautical mobile to maritime mobile contact if we make it!
3:05am Well we made contact but not quite as good as we were hoping - will try again at 6am - back to my bunk in the meantime!

8am Foggy, becalmed - SOG 0.3kt COG: all over the place! Everything is dripping wet... Rolling around in swell but water surface is glassy smooth.

Went on deck thinking to gybe around - but soon realised there really is NO wind - so furled in genoa - it was doing nothing but flapping around uselessly. Turned my face around to find where any wind was coming from - the only breeze I felt was when we rolled over in the swell - then I felt an apparent slight breeze on my face for a few moments!!

Made good contact at 6am with a pilot for DHL delivering to varous cities in S. and C. America - they were coming in to Buenas Aires from Sao Paolo - had good propagation on 40m so we had a long chat.

Downloaded latest gribs/weather files and emails and sent in position & weather report. Difficult making contact over radio with shore stations for emailing now - very few 'windows' when it's possible - mostly overnight - and then, even if I'm lucky, downloads are often very slow. At present, the only station of any use is in Nova Scotia, Canada - a long 'skip' up and down the Earth's lines of magnetic force! Thanks to Neil, VE1YZ, for time spent keeping his Winlink station near Halifax working so well.

10:45am Sun seemed to be getting out, with patch of blue sky above, so released sail tie enough to expose torn edge and leech strip in hope they might dry out a bit. Of course, as soon as done, sun disappeared - can feel moisture droplets in the air.

Also a touch of wind from N quadrant so unfurled genoa to get us sailing - had to put some weather helm on the wheel to make our course in such light wind with only a headsail - will need to keep a careful eye on that or we could go badly off course as wind increases. Can see I'm going to get a lot of exercise today - up and down to adjust Fred!

11:30am Albatross and Gt Shearwater both circling around - mostly at a distance but often coming close. Want to get a good view of the albatross - might not be Black-browed but a Yellow-nosed, possibly. Sun still not getting through the (lifted) fog layer. Better wind - making 4kt at times!

1:30pm Slight rain but not for long - fog layer lurking in the near distance.

Checking out any white-chinned petrels that fly close enough - looking for a Spectacled petrel - easy to spot the white 'spectacles' if close enough.
Getting plenty of leg exercise - wind is very shifty so frequent adjustment of Fred needed to stay on course. No helm to weather on wheel now - trying to manage without. Wind down again - only making 2.7kt, at most.

Outlook for a fast passage to and past Africa looking bad. Forecast is showing high pressure on top of us for quite a time over the coming days, so light winds will mainly continue - with some occasional rain also. Reason for heading slightly S of E is to keep in a good wind flow, however, light, rather than facing head winds, by being in right place - to S of the High's centre. If head much further S, chances of very strong wind are increased and also chances of mending sail decreased.

3pm Raining...as forecast, likely from now until morning. Wind up a little - making 4.5 kt.

Just tucked away, as much as possible, the exposed torn edges of mainsail to protect them since clearly no chance of repair today.

5:30pm Fog has come down again and wind has veered to N - adjusted Fred yet again - the wind has constantly shifted around today! Everything wet on deck. Hazy sun showing through the fog and reflecting on the water... Picture in shades of grey....

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 113. We made 52 n.ml. DMG, with a lot of drifting in no wind overnight, 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 113 (by daily DMGs): 10,760 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2172 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1862 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1967 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1692 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1795 n.ml. to ENE Gough Island: 339n.ml. to ESE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/01/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-43.74S LONGITUDE: 017-23.17W COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 7kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1011.8hPa TREND: - AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Fog has come down again. Wind shifty and light all day

Tuesday A dull, grey, rainy day - even a hint of fog later on towards nightfall. But wind came up again, so good speed, around 6kt, was being made, despite only genoa.

8pm Had a nice chat with Uku - propagation was in our favour, for a change! He's finally got to the Trade Winds so a lot happier to be sailing well after several days in a 'wind hole' in the High pressure area (St Helena High)

Wednesday 2pm Continued to be grey and rainy until mid-morning, but then the wind dropped and backed into W so our course described a nice arc of a circle, ending up totally off course (NE!). Had to gybe onto starboard in order to make course toward Gough Island, 210 ml SSE of Tristan da Cunha. It's on our route anyway, so seems a pity to miss seeing it again, if weather permits. Its birdlife is spectacular and the rock formations and steep cliffs around its coast are amazing - it's a truly isolated, uninhabited, green wilderness in the middle of the S.Atlantic Ocean. Last time I was there, adrift while taking in the surroundings and birdlife, a Tristan albatross rested in the sea close by, gazing at me and wondering what we were doing there...!

Only making 4.2kt just now and the sun is struggling, mostly unsuccessfully, to get out from behind a thin white cloud layer. After all the overnight rain, the mainsail is soaking wet - no chance to stick anything by way of repair tape on it just now - it needs to dry thoroughly first. Not an easy thing to achieve but working on ways and means... Thanks to those of you who have made some useful suggestions.

4pm Went up on deck to check on weather - but saw a bird resting in the water, drifting by - rushed to get my camera - none of the shots I took were any good (but best of a bad bunch is shown here!) Looked like a Great Shearwater relaxing.

Sky is mostly cloudy and there are definite patches of rain around and a big area of rain astern - so no point to even thinking about dealing with the mainsail repair just yet.
Cooking a soup - lentils with ham - a change from green pea soup. Will add in to it so it makes a few easy meals.
Wind is really down - well under 10kt - and from astern so speed is down to 3-3.5kt. 24hr DMG won't be breaking any records today or tomorrow!

Photo of moon just before totality during lunar eclipse two days ago - 'upside down' compared to view from Northern hemisphere!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 112. We made 121 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Not as bad as I feared!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 112 (by daily DMGs): 10,708 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2145 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1815 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1920 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1644 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1845 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-30.68S LONGITUDE: 018-28.44W COURSE: 102T SPEED: 3.5kt WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.8m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1017hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Slow going in light wind from astern. Grey sky, occasional shower.

Monday afternoon A good job done on torn area of mainsail - thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water and wiped down firstly with wet cloth and then with paper towels to remove excess water. Now leaving to dry before applying tape - Wednesday, probably. Windy tomorrow - 20-25kt expected as Low passes by.

Wind has been dying since sunset, ahead of strong winds later. Only making 2.5-3kt in veering wind, become slowly more northerly - keep having to adjust Fred so as to keep heading E.

Tuesday 1:30am Bright moon shining from in between light, broken cirrus layer - light enough to adjust Fred in veering wind and go to mast to tighten main halyard and re-do the tie holding down the sail. Wind up a little - our speed has increased to 5kt. Spoke to a few radio contacts just before - including ones in Switzerland and South Africa. Back to my bunk now!

7:30am Total cloud cover - no hint of sun. Adjusted Fred again - off the wind a little, this time - back heading E again, at 5.1kt. Had furled in some genoa earlier, in increased wind, and have been close-hauled since then, pounding into waves somewhat. Back for some more sleep....

2pm Have been making good speed, around 6kt all morning, but a bumpy ride with N-NNW 20kt wind and rough, beam seas. Occasionally, a wave will wash the deck - I just hope the sea water stays clear of my freshly-rinsed mainsail area. Everything is damp and moving around is a matter of looking for the next good handhold and being very careful. Same conditions expected through to tomorrow morning, when it should ease by midday as the Low to the S of us, that's giving this strong wind, passes on to the East.

Difficult to do anything when not at chart table or on deck adjusting Fred but stay in bunk where it's soft and safe as boat moves around in these rough seas.

Occurred to me that we'd passed the 22.5 degrees West marker for moving into the next time zone - so local time on board 'Nereida' is now just one hour behind Greenwich Mean Time - Azores Time (not that my iPhone knows that the Azores exist!).

4:45pm Suddenly, after a big gust, the wind has eased - we're making 5.5kt instead of 6.3kt... Five minutes later: That was a lull! Wind soon got back up to give us SOG of well over 6kt again.

Later: Wind beginning to get increasingly gusty - must be dropping...? Speed suddenly went right down....

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 111. We made 112 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 111 (by daily DMGs): 10,587 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2062 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1694 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1800 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1537 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1965 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-26.35S LONGITUDE: 021-04.30W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.4kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1016.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Dull, grey day. Light rain. Wind beginning to drop?

Sunday 6pm Feeling a lot cooler now. The blue sky and sunshine disappeared slowly this afternoon while I was working on the mainsail - mostly a cloudy sky now, as the sun gets low before setting.

For overnight, I've tied up the sail in the damaged area to protect it but must try to rinse it off tomorrow before the wind gets up in the evening and overnight, as a Low passes by.

11pm Will be looking at the full moon to see if the total eclipse occurs here - might only be partial here in the S. Atlantic. 4.40Z is time of totality on Bonaire, in the Caribbean, I was told tonight by Steve, PJ4DX, who now lives there and was on the radio this evening. A lot of thin cloud around but hoping to see it well enough. If he hadn't told me, I'd have probably missed it - was unaware of the event, after midnight hereabouts.

Monday 1.30am/0330Z Top right part of the moon is in shadow - will look later to see if more will be in shadow during the lunar eclipse happening tonight. Might not be total here, might only be partial but sky is clear overhead so good view of moon.

Making better speed at 4.5kt.

2:45am/0445Z Almost total - 95%... The moon is deep orange except for the very bottom edge which is brighter than the rest of it. Must be because we're far S on Earth that we see a different portion than friends in Canada - who saw the lower portion go into shadow first, not the top section as I saw here - fascinating, the difference it makes due to where on Earth one is watching it!

3:30am All the moon is orange - totality! Slightly brighter orange on right hand edge .. First light of imminent dawn is showing in opposite part of sky - line of light on E horizon where sun is soon to appear.

4:30am Right-hand side of moon is back in light, left-hand side still in darkness. Moon is in the NW and light of dawn is to be seen in the East - interesting conjunction of events!

10:30am Bright sunshine. Making 4-4.5kt E-ENE - downwind under genoa alone.

Finishing breakfast before starting on mainsail - still a lot of rocking around, not calm at all, so will need to tie myself in very well to be able to work safely while trying to rinse salt off the torn area of sail.

Have seen two ships on AIS screen so far today - one will be ten miles away in 3hrs' time, the other is well off. Both heading E-W or W-E ... one to Recalada (S.America) from Jakarta, the other from Argentina, Uruguay or Brazil towards S. Africa.

2:45pm Finished rinsing and wiping down the torn area of mainsail - quite difficult since little to hold onto and it's not anywhere near as calm as I'd have liked - and there's no nonslip on deck just there. A good thing I could tie myself onto the boom.

After giving a good, firm wipe on both sides with a very wet cloth I ended up dousing it all with fresh water and then drying off again with paper towels to get rid of excess water. It's now drying in the sun and wind - mainly wind since quite hazy now but temperature is 21C or more. The torn edges are well exposed to dry thoroughly - I hope!.

The final step of applying Gorilla tape to hold the damaged area together is not going to be easy - that much I've now confirmed. Will have to start at one end and work my way along in small sections. Hopefully, there'll be less swell when I do it.

Later today, I'll tie that section of sail in to the boom again, since strong winds are expected overnight and tomorrow.

As I was just getting started, I radioed to the cargo vessel 'Siana', also headed E, which was soon to overtake us, coming fairly (but not too) close. They said they saw 'Nereida' on AIS, having checked our MMSI number, and they confirmed they'd stay clear and pass to starboard. I was amused when they came back to me a short time later asking for our course - being under sail and wind steering, we're not moving as much in a straight line as they undoubtedly are!

They diverted slightly to come fairly close - probably wanted to get a sighting of this small sailing vessel in the middle of the Atlantic heading East. (I told them we were under sail with no engine!)

3pm Was delighted to find a spare pair of reading glasses I've been missing for several weeks - safely tucked into the pocket of a jacket I've not needed to wear for ages.

Wind is now dying and sky is mainly overcast. Instead of 4.5kt we're only making 3.5kt. Will have a short nap, after some food, to make up for overnight sleep lost to the eclipse.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 110. We made 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 110 (by daily DMGs): 10,379+? n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1910 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1487 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1592 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1375 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2170 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-24.95S LONGITUDE: 023-28.59W COURSE: 092T SPEED: 3.2kt

WIND_SPEED: 9kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1024.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C

COMMENT: Overcast, gloomy. Slowed right down in light wind

Saturday Sunset around 8pm - went to adjust Fred - a pair of storm petrels dancing on the water surface astern of 'Nereida' - using the disturbed water to find food, I suppose... Their feet must continually get wet, they're so close, so much of the time.
Really slow - making 4 kt if we're lucky, in WSW wind...

11:30pm No need for a headlamp when adjusting Fred - the moon is so bright, it's lighting up everything clearly.

Was delighted to find an excellent connection tonight for radio emailing with Ian, VE1YZ , who runs a Winlink station near Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Earth's magnetic field helps the connection - and 'Nereida' is almost due S of his station just now so we're effectively making use of the N-S lines of magnetic force - works brilliantly even though he's so far away!

Getting some sleep before the 'late night shift' at 0300Z on 7160kHz.

Sunday 1:50am Unfurled most of genoa and adjusted Fred for nearly a beam reach - wind has backed into SSW now. Making better speed - had dropped to 3.5kt but now around 5kt. Back to my bunk...

4:45am Course adjusted - wind keeps shifting a little and want to keep heading E. To N is High pressure with light wind, to S is stronger wind - not good for damaged mainsail. Sent off Position and weather report and checked on radio emails while have connection - lose that by morning, until later in day.

6am Had long discussion with Peter on weather outlook - need to keep heading due E for time being so as to avoid stronger winds on edge of Low passing by to S. Will give short window to work on sail before stronger winds of Low come along and then winds will die back down again, giving possibility of sail repair later, in lesser seas also. Another Low coming on 25th so might not have time to do all the repair needed - will have to see how that goes at the time.

10am Bright, sunny day with just a few small white clouds but seas still well up. No birds to be seen. Adjusted Fred to keep E course. Wind dying and veering to WSW - only making 2.5kt now.

1pm still bright and sunny - would be enjoyable, even though we're really slow, if if it were not for the mainsail problem ...
Feeling very frustrated - wind has died down quite a bit but we're rolling around a lot still in big seas so working while standing on deck is difficult and forecast doesn't show swell diminishing much over next few days.... Still have just over a day, before Low with strong winds comes by overnight tomorrow, to try to rinse the torn sail area. Need to remove salt on sail and hope it will dry enough for adhesive to stick later in week. Will try lowering sail soon just to assess the situation for access to torn area for repair and hope to wet it - if not today, then early tomorrow - pity no heavy rain just now!! The Low might bring some very light rain - but likely not enough.

5pm Just finished lowering mainsail - took quite a time, having to be careful with main halyard, not to let it catch on mast steps and tying in sail also took a lot of time in swell. So far have left damaged area untied, to give access, but will need to tie it in when the wind gets up more - wind is only about 10kt now. Gybed onto port tack.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 109. We made 81 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 109 (by daily DMGs): 10,379 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1910 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1487 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1592 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1375 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2170 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-33.51S LONGITUDE: 025-32.53W COURSE: 082T SPEED: 3.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 70%
BARO: 1025.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Mainsail lowered and tied, ready for repair - under headsail (genoa) alone.

Friday 6pm Slowing down - seas still well up but further apart so feeling less rough.

Good to see several different birds close by as the sun gets low - albatrosses, prions, petrels. Looking out now for a Spectacled petrel (a type of White-chinned petrel with white 'spectacles') - endemic to these waters around Tristan da Cunha and the further off incredible wilderness of Gough Island with its amazing birdlife. It's surrounded by cliffs so access is difficult and the only people there form a S.African team of scientists - they're helicoptered in for a 6-9 months' (or more) stay, coming in by the freighter that supplies Tristan from Cape Town. The convoluted rocky formations off its coast and the birds everywhere make for an amazing experience when passing close by - as I have twice before.

9:30pm Moon shining brightly in between clouds. Slowed right down - clearly, wind has dropped. Struggling to make 4kt, mostly less.

Saturday 1:30am Wind has suddenly picked up so we're now making 6kt or more, instead of struggling to make over 3kt - excellent!

Had brief contact tonight with US stations and also Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil - strong signals so good clear contacts made.. Poor signal from Lugano, Switzerland: Richard, HB9FHV, was too weak tonight but often comes up.

4am Just furled in the genoa which was being blanketed by the main and flapping uselessly, wearing itself out.. Just coming in to first light and not good enough light to pole it out. Think the wind is backing more anyway, so best to wait and change tack if and when wind goes WNW. Grey cloudy sky - looks like rainclouds but no rain so far - decks are completely dry - not even any dew.

9:30am Making way downwind in 15kt from the W. Some sunshine peeking through the clearing, broken, light cloud overhead, with heavier clouds in the distance. Swell still 3-4m, so continuing with plenty of rolling round ...

Busy thinking through how I might do a deck repair to the sail... The more I think about removing the sail to bring it down below, the more fraught with difficulties that seems. Have been looking at the sail, seeing where exactly the damaged area will lower to the boom for access to the damage. So many steps to think about - including making myself safe by tying myself in to the boom and maybe from several other directions while I do it! Monday and Thursday are 'least-swell' days - but 2.8-2.6m (9ft) on Monday is not as good as 2.0-2.3m (7ft) on Thursday.

Breakfast with fresh coffee - I'll treat myself! - while I think more about the possible timeline, steps and materials needed .... and likely complications.

Midday Slowly tidying up and clearing away. Galley duties have been somewhat neglected of late and other items not stowed away neatly as they should have been - so have been busy doing all that. Too warm (23C/72F) for my top fleeces - have had to discard them...

Weather is looking settled for a day or two, before a Low passes to S of us on Tuesday - possibly bringing some light rain which will last all through to Wednesday. Would rinse off the mainsail, if heavy enough, but would prevent me from doing anything around that time other than making use of the fresh-water rinse-off - need a dry sail for the tape to stick to. Thursday is looking good for light wind and less swell but is quickly followed on Friday by heavy rain and strong wind, as another small Low passes directly over us so would need to complete quickly.

My thoughts are with my mainsail most of my waking hours....!

I'm glad I'm not attending any functions just now - my nails are a total mess, so many are broken! Lost sight of my nail clippers after using them a long time ago ("How can that be?", you ask. Easy, they're so small!) so I'll be using the galley scissors and a nail file to deal with them now. A guy asked me some time ago to look at my nails when I'd finished telling him of some job I'd just done on board - the fact that they were broken and not presentable convinced him my story was genuine!

2pm Hazy sunshine through light cloud layer. Wind about 15kt from W - making 4.5kt or more, due E. Wind display gone totally now - not even the wind direction is showing correctly any more. Only the Windex is working - and my eyeballing the ripples on the water for true wind direction from the cockpit compass.

Sliced potatoes boiling and chopped onions already nicely browned, ready for beginning of a big stew - with celery, sweetcorn & green beans and beef chunks - should last several days. Have not been eating too well last few days, so decided time to do something about that while in settled conditions. Galley clean and tidy and cabin (and nails!) looking neater also.

Later - the beef stew tastes wonderful!

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 108. We made 103 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 108 (by daily DMGs): 10,298 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1853 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1405 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1510 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1314 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2251 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.72S LONGITUDE: 027-17.70W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 1016.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Ambling alog DDW - sunny sky, seas still up but lessening slowly

Thursday 2:30pm Underway, at last, headed ESE towards 40S in W wind. Expecting wind to back to SW by morning, as Cold Front moves E. Seas still very big but feel so much kindlier when headed downwind.

Friday 1:45am Wind suddenly came up half an hour ago... We increasingly picked up speed until making well over 7kt. To my relief, although we frequently surfed on a wave to 8-9 kt, we did not seem to go any faster. The wind noise in the rigging was loud - wind probably around 30kt, gusting higher at times. I forced myself to leave the speed display and lie down to relax and close my eyes! I wanted to keep going E, if possible, rather than heaving to again - progress has been so slow since Cape Horn.

5:30am Daylight ... and seas still very steep but in slightly less wind, from SSW now - 20-25kt? Still strong conditions but nice to be making a good amount of Easting at 6 kt. Back to my bunk.

9am Unfurled some genoa - speed had dropped in maybe 15-20kt wind from SSW but we were soon back up to 6kt. Sun trying to get out, seas still big.

Spending a lot of my time thinking about practicalities of removing sail and bringing down below for repair - very complicated and not a task I'm looking forward to. Trying to look ahead to possible problems I'll need to overcome and figure out ways to make it easier, if that's possible... Pondering best way to make repair itself, as well. Options really depend on contents of my spares lockers and I might not have the very best choice possible since have no 5200 on board, unfortunately. But I do have Gorilla tape! Fingers crossed, that will stick to the salty sail... I'll be checking to see if on-deck repair is at all feasible...

3pm Ambling along in gentler winds - 12kt? - from W-WSW under mainly sunny sky - very pleasant! Have been increasing the genoa as the wind has died down and backed again - making around 5kt now.

5pm Lovely to see a couple of albatross flying close by - they've been missing for a bit - one a juvenile - kept coming really close - no camera to hand... Also other birds - petrels, prions and shearwaters. Seas not calmed down enough - still quite rough - so they enjoy the uplift they get from the waves, despite the lighter wind.

Looking out now for a Spectacled petrel - endemic to these waters alone, not far from Tristan da Cunha and nearby Gough Island - incredible for its wilderness and birdlife

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 107. We made 119 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 107 (by daily DMGs): 10,195 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1780 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1301 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1407 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1243 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2354 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.87S LONGITUDE: 029-30.82W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.8kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 80%

BARO: 1014.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Wind down Seas very big still

Thursday 2am After heaving to late afternoon, and then changing tack, prepared boat for strong conditions by securing all loose items and got to sleep.
Woken up at 1am by the quietness - wind had died temporarily! Wind now from NNE... Pressure has dropped right down to 1005hPa.. System has still not passed over but centre close by now.

Lots of static on frequency when tried usual radio 'sched at 0330Z on 7160 - difficult to copy many stations that are normally very loud and clear - unusual! Put it down to Low nearby us and similar bsd weather in Florida and on East coast of USA. South African stations had good reception.

Raining now. Back to bunk while wait for Low to pass over - will probably have to stay hove to until much later today.

5am Nearly completed a full circle with boat drifting! Raining ... First light. Drifting WNW at 0.5kt in N wind 60 degrees to starboard. Rocking around in swell. Wind howling in rigging.

8am Again woken by silence and lack of motion - no rain, no howling of wind in rigging and no swell - but not for long. Wind and swell were back soon after - within half an hour, in fact. Looked out on deck - mainsail was fluttering in one place - a length along the leech edge has torn and separated from the body of the sail between the top two battens. Will need stitching back into place with reinforcing as soon as possible - not sure when, since will need to remove the entire sail from the mast to do the work down below...not simple or easy when at sea... not good news.

Thought the wind, now from WNW, was down - but not so and seas are still very big - 4-5m/15ft - and close together, so steep-faced. Will wait a bit longer before heading E. Still expecting the Cold Front to come through later tonight, with 30kt wind.

2:30pm Underway, headed ESE towards 40S. Expecting wind to back to SW by morning, as Cold Front moves E. Seas still very big but feel so much kindlier when headed downwind.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 106. We made 23 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 106 (by daily DMGs): 10,076 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1696 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1185 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1290 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1173 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2470 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-37.43S LONGITUDE: 032-04.79W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 4.5M CLOUDS: 95%
BARO: 1000hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C
COMMENT: Wind lighter and slowly backing. Seas very big still

Missed changing into a new time zone on Sunday! On passing East of 37*30'W (on 13th Jan), we moved into GMT-2hr so our LT is now one hour forward.

9:30pm Very quiet and peaceful - totally becalmed, with sails lowered still. Slight breeze coming from SE - the direction I'd lke us to be heading in.

Just lashed the wheel to starb'd instead of to port - has headed us more into the wind and slowed our drift from 1.1kt to 0.3kt - both give drift WSW - which is astern just now!

10pm Cargo vessel 'Silvermine', headed E to Singapore, is passing 5.9 n.miles to N of us at 12.1kt - well clear!

Wed 1.45am Underway again in NE wind around 10kt or so... Headed nearly SSE, banging into swell a bit. Wind is forecast to back slowly so course should become more SE, as Low approaches from WNW.

Missed radio sched with being on deck, getting organised - apologies!

7:30am Thin, broken cloud cover and hazy sun. Adjusted Fred and sent position report. Wind has backed some more so making SSE course at 4.5kt. Pounding into waves - swell is from E at 2.5m/8ft and waves are quite close together so rough going.

Back to my bunk for more sleep....

10:30am Wind has backed , as forecast, so our course is now SE.

Magnetic variation has increased to 20W hereabouts - not something to ignore when going between reading the compass and using a chart or giving a course to someone off the boat. There's so often a big difference between 'true' and 'magnetic' values which is the reason why courses (COG) and headings are normally best noted as 'true', rather than 'magnetic' - unless being given to someone at the wheel, handsteering by compass.

Midday Slight change of tactic - trying to head further S for a few hours, until we heave to. The imminent Low will have less winds on its S than on its N side, so if I'm below it when it passes over (which it will soon, for sure) then winds will be that much less. Don't want to go too far S (the reason I was happy to head S slowly earlier), but in about 3-4 hours that won't happen. Following on soon, behind this Low, is a big system, centred to the S, whose Cold Front will pass over this area with strong winds - the further S, the stronger the winds... So heading far enough but not too far S now is good!

I've already tied in the third reef and the genoa is partly furled, ready for the winds to increase further ahead of the Front - we're still making over 5kt SOG but we're ready to heave to as and when that looks to be needed.

Time for coffee and a very late breakfast....maybe I should call it brunch?

3:45pm Getting close to where I planned to heave to. Downloaded latest grib files and thinking to head a bit further S - all a bit of a lottery...! Making 7kt headed SSE with two reefs in genoa and 3 reefs in main.

5pm Hove to - received two separate warnings of gusts to 40-50kt both here and especially if head further S. ..... I thought I was dodging the worst of the oncoming Low by getting below it - but being told that's not so....

Wasn't too happy once I'd heaved to on port tack - we were frequently beam on to the seas and our drift was 2 knots SSE! So finally gybed around to be on stbd tack instead - much better wind angle and drift is only about 0.7kt although direction is SW (I'd hoped to be drifting more N) Looking at the two directions of drift, I'm deducing the wind is from ENE - midway betwee the two drift directions.

Making sure as much as possible is stowed away or can't move.... Seas will probably get up a lot with the strong wind coming, so it will get pretty rough... Also protecting certain important items from getting wet - just in case... :-) Having some food now and keeping fingers firmly crossed...

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 105. 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 105 (by daily DMGs): 10,053 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1692 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1163 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1270 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1151 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2490 n.ml. to ENE

Second position & weather report, for soon after 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/01/16 19:36GMT LATITUDE: 39-24.71S LONGITUDE: 032-28.77W COURSE: 248T SPEED: 0.8kt

WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1015.1hPa TREND: -4 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Hove to on opposite tack- stbd now - slower drift & better wind angle

Monday 10:20pm Sat in the cockpit for a time, after adjusting sails and Fred - a beautiful evening. A bright half moon sending a path of light across the sea to Nereida - refreshing, cool night air - not feeling cold at all... A few clouds... Calm, peaceful....

We're creeping along at 3kt under full sail and wind is likely to lighten even more.

Time for some sleep before the evening radio scheds.

Tuesday 12:10am Dark sky with no moon - plenty of stars but a bit hazy and some cloud near horizons.

Tried to check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net - very light signal - could hardly copy Jane, NH7TZ, in Kauai - will have to wait until back in Pacific (or nearly so) to resume check-ins. But did make contact with Susanne on 'Nehaj' - difficult copy on 40m but good enough to know she's OK.

4am First light - dawn soon. Saw Jupiter overnight when on deck, adjusting Fred - definitely the planet seen soon after the 'Chinese fishing vessel' incident!

6:30am Totally overcast sky now, very light wind from NNW - trimmed sails for a close reach, trying to make some way - only 2kt.

8:15am Grey cloudy sky still. Wind has picked up from N - we're making 5.5-6.0 kt, close-hauled. Nothing like what is forecast in the gribs - according to them, we're in almost no wind from WNW... That's OK - I'm happy to be making good speed, more-or-less on course!

10:20am A big (3-4m/10-12ft) swell from SW - clearly, there's a big weather system down that way. We're still making 5.5-6 kt in a N wind, heading NE.

One lone white-chinned petrel seen occasionally. All the other birds are nowhere to be seen.

Midday Wind really has died now and backed to WNW - we're struggling to make 2-2.5kt and keeping on course downwind is difficult. We're finally getting the forecast wind - unfortunately! We were lucky to get the wind we did, earlier, and make the speed we did for a few hours. Decided to change course slightly to make the best of the wind - heading NNE and making just over 3kt.

3pm Decided to drop the mainsail - there's no wind, and the full sails were 'slatting' in the swell - not good for the sails. Followed Uku's example - he's frequently dropped his mainsail when becalmed in a High pressure system - so I thought maybe I should try it... A lot of work but better than the sail getting damaged - and a lot quieter. Would have been a lot easier with the starboard lazyjack in place. I basically had to put all reefs in as I lowered it, to help hold the sail in place on the boom, and then add in sail ties.

If I thought we'd be in no wind for just a short time, I wouldn't have bothered but it looks like well over six hoursmore.

I also don't really want to go any further N - the Westerlies are below 40S for most of the time and by going further N, the High pressure area I'm seeing is giving Easterlies and even more very light wind - not helpful for heading towards Africa! The original idea behind heading NE, rather than ENE, was to avoid a nasty Low expected soon - but that's looking less of a problem now and, if necessary, I can always heave to for a short time again.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 104. We made 86 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 104 (by daily DMGs): 9,992 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1727 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1144 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1250 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1094 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2517 n.ml. to ENE

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/01/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-24.71S LONGITUDE: 032-47.10W COURSE: 325T SPEED: 0.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 2kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 5%
BARO: 1017.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 23.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Drifting with mainsail lowered and genoa furled in - no wind. Sunny, warm.

Sunday Excellent speed continuing to be made - frequently seeing SOG just over 8kt and mostly in the 7-8kt range - making really good progress NE!

Monday 4am Usual position and weather report sent and updates downloaded - dawn beginning - wind and seas getting less - wind expected to become almost nothing in a day or so - High pressure system is moving E so its centre will be over us.

6am Definitely slowing down in less wind - making 6.4kt now, not over 7kt, as overnight. Full genoa, about to shake out 2nd reef in main.

6:30am Back up to 7kt with one reef in main. Found a big squid on deck while going to mast to free sail which had caught on a clutch while being hoisted. Back to bunk for more sleep...

11:40am Breakfasted at 9:30am - a very civilised hour!

We're still skirting the same High pressure system which is moving slowly E as we are - so we're staying in its easterly wind flow for several days but will run into light winds eventually - by tonight, probably. Then will be overtaken by yet another Low system - later on Thursday into Friday. We're trying to head NE to keep it below us at that time - but all depends on how well we can keep up speed...

Wonderfully peaceful sailing under partly blue sky, part thin, broken cloud layer - small, fluffy, white - cirrus, I think. Making 7.3-8kt with one reef in main and full genoa...excellent speed again! Wind was expected to lessen and seemed to for a time- but clearly it has come up again. Feeling thoroughly relaxed and enjoying the passage. The boat is moving so smoothly to the gushing of the water along her sides... sailing at its best!

Mornings are very good times. Much as I enjoy the radio contacts, it's also good to be alone with the vastness of the open sea and the sky. Time for relaxation and reflection... This is what ocean crossings are really about - away from the hustle and bustle - and stresses - of life back on shore.

Caught up on a lot of overdue email replies.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 103. We made a fabulous 164 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. WOW!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 103 (by daily DMGs): 9,906 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1649 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1076 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1180 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1190 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2578 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-07.57S LONGITUDE: 034-22.23W COURSE: 061T SPEED: 7.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5 CLOUDS: 35%
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 24.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Lovely bright sunny day with good wind and small seas..

Saturday 7pm Another colourful sunset tonight - very similar colouring and nearby clouds to yesterday's. Sat out in the cockpit to relax and enjoy the scene - wind still light but we were sailing gently and smoothly at 3-4kt and seas were well down - all very pleasant...

Sunday 12.30am AIS alarm went off - a fishing vessel was coming our way at over 12kt and effectively on a collision course. Chinese? Name: Shen Zu 86; MMSI: 12421145; callsign: BZUK2 Closest approach predicted was just a couple of hundred feet - no reply to repeated calls on VHF radio when within range. Brightly lit all along her sides. Had me very worried...

Had no option but to unlash the wheel (Fred was in charge of wind steering at that point), turn on the autopilot and add twenty degrees to our course to be sure of avoiding a collision and keep a straight course. They made no effort to change course or speed. I switched on the navigation lights (in addition to the masthead tricolour) and fore-deck light - that lights up the genoa beautifully and makes us highly visible!
I stayed by the wheel until we'd passed each other a mile apart, but my change of course worked fine. Never mind that we were under sail and they were under power so should have given way to us - with no communication happening, bottom line of the Colision Regs is - avoid a collision!

1:30am Cold Front passing over from dawn onward (only two hours away), so decided to reef down overnight to prevent any unwanted excitement due to bigger gusts than expected - can always shake the reef out again in the light of day.

Saw very bright light low down in the E - a ship? But decided it was a planet maybe...? Kept an eye on it - it was just above the horizon and not moving. Looked just like a bright top light on the mast of a boat very close by - but no dark shape below it - turned on radar just to confirm! Eventually relaxed - but was difficult - so very bright and looked to be so close! Can someone ID the planet? Not Venus because yellow in colour and too bright for Mars, I think - Saturn or Jupiter?

10am Bright sun in clear blue sky with almost no clouds. NW wind well up - around 20kt? Trimmed sails earlier so now making good speed on beam reach with full genoa and two reefs in main: 6.5-7.5kt ... Excellent speed! Time for a late breakfast.

3pm Wonderful sailing just now in bright sun still, very good solid WNW wind - we're making a consistent 7kt or more - often hitting 8kt or just over! This is just like Trade Wind sailing but we're not in the Trades... It's also feeling very warm - 22C air temperature but in the sun it feels more.

Just spoke to Uku on 'One and All' - he has almost no wind now - making only 2kt, so it's frustrating for him - I know the feeling well! I asked if he would clean the boat again but he said he has no need to yet - maybe near the Equator. Propagation was not good - difficult to hesr him over the static on frequency so we just confirmed that "all was well on board" and we'll speak again later today.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 102. We made 127 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Fast second 12hr period.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 102 (by daily DMGs): 9,742 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1490 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 954 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 1057 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1095 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2700 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-31.10S LONGITUDE: 037-25.53W COURSE: 062T SPEED: 7.9kt
WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 40%
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: 2 reefs in main and genoa Bright sun. Warm!

Friday 7:20pm Sunset a short while ago, and a Wandering albatross circles the boat, as yesterday, under a clearing sky. From the mighty to the tiny - by contrast, I spotted a storm petrel also circling us - so small by comparison. A slender crescent moon is high up above a long line of dark grey cloud astern, contrasting with the orange-pink on the western horizon... We're even making a good speed, for a change ... and on course ... wonderful... Exhilarating!! I don't need a sundowner to make me feel good... I'm drinking in the scene....

Time for my evening meal and some sleep before the 'night shift' as Matt, WiMBB, calls it - Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0310Z (12:10am LT) and a radio sched on 7160 at 0330Z.

I was delighted to make contact yesterday with the US South Pole station - marvellous to chat with KC4AAA in Antarctica just yards from the Pole!! Felt very special, somehow. I have previously made contact with KC4AAA, near the McMurdo Sound US Antarctic station, and their other station on the peninsula S of Drake Passage - but that was in Jan 2011 on my approach to Cape Horn, just before my knockdown...

Saturday 1:25am Beautiful starry night - almost no cloud to be seen, although always difficult to spot clouds in dark of night, with no moon just now. Adjusted Fred to head more off the wind - necessary in order to make a better ENE course.
Had a good radio session on 7160 an hour ago - excellent propagation tonight. Back to my bunk...

3:30am Dawn already! Line of gold along E horizon, with a line of grey clouds over. Adjusted Fred - light conditions - then back to sleep.

6am Radio weather session for Mark and Uku - I could hear Mark well but had no copy on Uku at all. Later gybed around - trying to make a bit more northing.
Downloaded emails and weather files - looks as though this slow progress will continue for several days as we skirt around a developing High pressure system - no avoiding it and winds will be very light. Frustrating!
Lovely sunshine again with just a few scattered white clouds. Making 3.5kt in W-WSW light wind.
Making up on sleep in short timed sessions - wind varies too much for long naps.

Spent quite some time trying to remove one of the remaining rivets in the kicker-to-mast connection - moved it a lot but it won't quite come out - has part of a lip inside still, I think. Keep re-positioning the anti-chafe lashing protector which keeps moving.

2pm Going even slower now in dying wind - 2.5kt, swell rolling us around often.
Getting warm on deck in the bright sunlight - too warm for fleece tops.
Trying to organise more anti-chafe for rod-kicker lashings on mast.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 101. We made just 83 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Another very slow day in light winds.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 101 (by daily DMGs): 9,615 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1372 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 947 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 865 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 947 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1130 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2798 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-30.91S LONGITUDE: 039-54.41W COURSE: 051T
SPEED: 3.0kt WIND_SPEED: 6kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 20%
BARO: 1017.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Another very slow day, skirting High pressure system. Sunny,warm.

Thursday 7:30pm A lovely sunset - and a magnificent Wandering albatross glided by, circled around and came back to have another look!
Went to the mast to have a look at a problem with the lowest mainsail batten - the complete slide has pulled out of the mast track... Will need to lower the sail to that point, in calm conditions and minimal wind, to put the slide back - it should not have been able to pull out of the track insert.

Wind is far less now - we're making just 5kt in SW wind of 10kt maybe.

Friday 6am - soon after dawn. Grey, slight fine, misty drizzle. Checking over latest weather reports and hearing Jean-Luc, Uku and Mark on radio - receiving their weather also. Position and weather report sent to Winlink.

Slow progress to NE in light wind from SE - very close-hauled, making 3.2kt. Forecast is for same for rest of day - becoming light variable - even worse!

1:30pm Success - batten end slide back in place! Realised we were in almost no wind and swell was right down - so got to work in a hurry. Was very unsure I'd manage it - had slept badly overnight, thinking about it...

Had to lower main and remove slides below that one - relieved to find only two other slides below. Couldn't remove ring from track end-stop pin, however hard I tried - but then found the other end of the pin had its ring missing...! Good news, since at least that meant I could remove it and the end-stop and deal with the three slides, but could well have been bad news if the pin had come away by itself... all the sail slides would have slid out and I'd have lost the end stop overboard, no doubt!!

Track is damaged where batten end slide sits just now - expecting it to come out again if sail 'slatting' a lot in light winds - will have to try to avoid that but difficult with so much swell always.

2:30pm We're drifting at 1-2kt, roughly on our ENE course - not 'speedy Gonzales' for sure, today! Constantly having to adjust Fred in the highly variable wind - getting frequent rain showers and sky is totally grey.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 100. We made 79 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 100 (by daily DMGs): 9,532 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1305 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 805 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 796 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 893 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1132 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2873 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-46.49S LONGITUDE: 041-43.07W COURSE: 079T SPEED: 3.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: SSE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1012.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Variable light winds under grey showery clouds. Very little swell.

Wednesday 11pm Underway - wind has backed into the N at 20kt so we can make a course upwind to ENE. Dark, rainy, bashing into the seas - uncomfortable, as always! Suddenly heard a noise - the removable inner forestay was swinging around - it had come away from where it was lashed down to the foot of a shroud. Had to take a line forward and tie it down again.

Thursday 6am Up at 4am to check on things in first light and send position/weather report- all well before dawn. Unfurled full genoa to add in to staysail and main. One reef in main but wind dropping from 19kt to 12 kt so speed now down to 4.5kt. Will need to shake out 1st reef if wind stays down.

Grey, rainy-looking sky - clearly rained overnight. Adjusting Fred to make a course can get time-consuming - the wind constantly varies anyway so best to accept a course that's roughly correct and adjust occasionally at longer intervals.

9am Wind from NW - adjusting Fred and trimming sails for beam reach. Sun trying to get out but not having much success - total overcast.

10:30am Dull, fine drizzle. Wind has backed further - from WSW now and still light - 9kt. Staysail furled away - of no use, now that we're on a very broad reach. Will need to gybe very soon to get back on course..

Midday Well, I could have done without the sustained flurry of activity I just went through! With the wind backing quite quickly to SW, I should have connected that fact with a Cold Front (or deep trough?) coming by - often with strong wind - as just happened...!

Having let out the 1st reef earlier in light wind, I had to centre the full main as much as I could, in order to gybe and get back on course. But the wind was gusting up to 20-25kt (wind display has just gone down again so no precise info) and that proved very difficult...

Furled in some genoa to lessen our heeling, got the main in a good way and then gybed onto port tack. Headed upwind a bit more and the main was dropped enough to tie in the first reef, although a couple of trips to the mast were needed to help things along.

Good to see that my recent first reef line 'fix' works well. As it was all being finished, the wind began to ease - to 15-20kt, maybe - and we're now making 6kt on our ENE course. Our speed had gone up to well over 7kt for quite a time.

Annoying to be without the wind display again. Clearly it didn't like the strong conditions we just went through. Last time it went down was also in strong wind... On the analogue display in the cockpit, wind direction still seems to be showing correctly.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 99. We made 84 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 98 (by daily DMGs): 9,453 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1230 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 805 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 760 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 855 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 2926 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-28.87S LONGITUDE: 043-12.70W COURSE: 078T SPEED: 5.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 1002.5hPa TREND: -4 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Front came thro' before - wind gusted to 25kt.. wind display gone

Tuesday A lovely clear blue sky all afternoon and a pleasant sail in light winds. Made good use of the genoa..

5pm Wind WNW 5kt - heading downwind... but not going very fast!

8pm Sunset was glorious - a clear pink-blue sky and lovely orange setting sun. Almost immediately, a thin broken cloud layer spread over but I spotted the sliver of the new moon just above the W horizon, almost too slender a crescent to see.

9pm The wind seems to have settled into the NNW at 15kt. We're making over 6kt, heading ENE, and seas aren't too bad - it's feeling relatively smooth, in fact. Finished my curry earlier, so time to get to my bunk - can't sleep too long at a stretch since the wind is forecast to be all over the place - so regular checks are needed and Fred (the wind-steering Hydrovane) adjusted if we're to stay heading roughly NE-ENE. I use a timer with a loud chime to wake me up.

Tuesday 3am Up on deck to adjust Fred - nearly dawn and Southern Cross almost overhead. Lots of bright stars. Wind backing to W, so course too far N before being changed. Also sails needed trimming for new point of sail - very broad reach now in W 8kt, making 3.5kt now - slowed down a lot from around midnight when making 6kt in NW 18kt.

By 4am, a line of pink on E horizon and plenty of light to see by. Back to bunk for another short sleep.

5:30am Glorious sunshine, little swell, heavy dew.. Received fresh gribs (weather files) and adjusted Fred - nearly dead downwind now - will need to gybe around soon to maintain course in backing, very light wind - just 6 kt from WSW now and we're struggling to make 2kt.

8:30 am On radio. Uku, followed by Mark, getting their usual daily weather report from Bob, VP8LP, on 20m radio band. I could not hear Uku, but at 2000Z (5pmLT) copy was good yesterday and he was also able to chat to Mark and relay to me - so I'll do that again, later today.

Ian, VK3MO came on freq later and changed frequency to give me update on the five racers - nice to have. Mark just 306 miles behind Jean-Luc at 0900Z.

7:30am Just gybed back again after gybing onto starboard tack a short while ago. Wind looked as though it had backed and was coming from the WSW so I'd gybed around, hoping to maintain our course - but the wind promptly veered to WNW again - so had to gybe back again. Wind is very light, at 4kt, so that's probably why - it's just being fickle!

Back to my bunk for some more sleep - with timer set.

10:45am Bright sunny day, few clouds around. Wind has decided to veer into the NNE-NE ... so difficult to head ENE. Fortunately, it's still very light, at 6-7 kt, so we're effectively drifting ESE at about 1.7 kt. Time for coffee...

12:30pm I decided that it was pointless heading SE at 2 kt in the present 10kt NNE wind, forecast to remain for several more hours, so I have just furled in the genoa, sheeted out the main a little more, turned the helm into the wind - and we're now hove-to, making 0.3kt - effectively stopped. The fact that we're drifting downwind is almost irrelevant since our SOG (speed) is so low - better than making 2kt SE. East would be fine but I've no desire to head any more S just now than is avoidable.

I like this way of heaving to - when I want to get back underway, all I have to do is to unfurl the genoa (or staysail), sheet in on the mainsail, turn the wheel to point us in the direction required - and we're away.

It's feeling very peaceful, drifting in the bright sun of a southern hemisphere summer day...

3:30pm Sun has disappeared behind a cloud layer and wind has increased to a little and backed very slightly to NNE.
Had a good long chat with Uku - nice to find a good frequency and have good propagation so a sensible conversation can be carried out! He's in a S wind just now, so making fair progress.

Waiting for the wind here to back to N at ~15kt - maybe in a few more hours' time - so then we can get underway again and sail E, hopefully.

Getting a few jobs done around the boat. Adjusted the rod-kicker lashing's 'chafe protector' which keeps moving - not happy about that and trying to figure out what I can do.

A problem I noticed yesterday was that one of the genoa car sheaves has broken - could give a big chafe problem. I'm trying to keep the car more upright to stop the genoa sheet (rope!) getting onto that broken side and chafing - a difficult problem to overcome.
Another minor problem, easily overcome but annoying, was that both zipper tags on the storm screen zip broke off on the same day - aluminium is not good in a salty environment and corrodes quickly.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 98. We made 63 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 98 (by daily DMGs): 9,369 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1170 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 740 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 660 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 787 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3007 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-38.79S LONGITUDE: 045-04.70W COURSE: 181T SPEED: 1.2kt
WIND_SPEED: 11kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1012.5hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Hove to, so as to prevent faster movement to S if sailing

Monday 4:15pm Have to repeat it - SUCCESS!!! The genoa sheets were undone and organised - important to have them ready, to restrain the sail in case the wind got up. Lashings holding genoa down onto the deck were removed - not as difficult as I'd feared, but took a time. What then took a long time, but was vital to get right, was following both the foot and the luff of the sail and making sure they were straightened out, being very twisted. The sail having been doubled and then doubled again, head to foot, in order for it to fit on deck when lashed down, didn't make it easy, nor the fact that it's a big, heavy sail to move about. The foot of the sail was then moved to the port (leeward) side deck, as far as possible - the sail being on the windward deck, just to make things awkward ...!

Next job was to insert the luff bolt-rope at the head of the sail into the foil on the forestay and raise the sail by its halyard, using a mast winch. A pre-feeder was really useful in keeping the loose sail close to the foil as it fed into its groove. Hoisting it took a long time and involved lots of trips between sail and mast, to make sure the sail was free to hoist but also make sure it didn't catch in the wind which had got up more by then. I had to lash it down temporarily a couple of times - no way was I going to let it get anywhere near the water or blow in the wind, out of control! Finlly, once hoisted, it was furled up - without ending back in the sea and with plenty of turns still on the drum! Winching it up got really difficult - the halyard was very tight on the winch but, even so, it didn't seem quite tensioned enough, looking at the sail - I'll check it next time it's unfurled. Took nearly five hours in total with the wind slowly increasing from 10kt to 14kt - just to help things along (!)... I was more than ready for a nap but that had to wait a bit...!

Great to have the sail in place again and available for use!! Dealing with it made good use of the time while hove to today, going nowhere - well, actually having gone backwards and then in a circle.... There's one very 'happy bunny' on board Nereida just now!

6:20pm Tidied up on deck just as light rain started under a very grey sky. The wind is now 20kt from E so the nearby Low must be due N of us as it heads SE. Hopefully, we're far away enough from its centre not to see its very strong winds.

The bad news is that the next Low is only two days later - and is beginning to look too threatening to ignore. I thought I'd be able to head N as the present Low passes on and get far enough away not to be affected by the next Low but there are light winds in between the two systems so not enough wind to help us to escape N.

11pm Raining gently ... and the swell has become a lot more noticeable - we're rocking from side to side all the time and occasionally a wave breaks onto us - not so very big, but noisy! Wind is 22kt from just S of E so Low is just E of directly N of us.

Had an excellent 3-hour sleep so feeling very refreshed. About to have a CupaSoup and then some of my curry before start of Pacific Seafarers Net at 0310Z (= ten minutes after midnight LT !).

Tuesday 5:30am Up to send position/weather report and check on wind - SE 20kt - not too bad...

9:30am Sun is shining, wind is 21kt from SSW - the Low has passed over - time to shake out third reef and get sailing. The next Low is no longer looking threatening - so we can head NE without worry.

11:30am We were underway by 10:20am, running downwind. It took a short time to decide to shake out the 2nd reef also but that might have been premature since the wind from SSW has gone from 17kt to 20-22kt - hopefully, that's a gust and not a sign the wind is inceasing - it's supposed to be getting less...

It did! Flying the genoa was great and definitely helped our speed, especially when the wind died later.
Lovely sunshine and a clear blue sky - pressure's up - probably meaning wind will stay down for a bit.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 97. Drifting, hove-to again for quite a lot of the time... We made just 33 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 97 (by daily DMGs): 9,306 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1125 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 695 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 660 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 745 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3060 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-51.54S LONGITUDE: 046-29.14W COURSE: 082T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 9kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 75%
BARO: 1004.8hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Underway. Sunny in between clouds

Sunday - sunset was around 8pm local time (GMT-3hr) and I'd decided that we'd heave to around then - always better to have daylight, if possible. Lines get caught or tangled and other problems too often arise when working in the dark, even with a good headlamp. We were within 10 miles of the WP I'd been aiming for, but the wind had really got up - it had been NW 24kt for a few hours and, having finally shaken out the third reef in the light winds a while back, we were making good speed - but seas had also increased and got rougher, of course.

I was due on 14160kHz around that time - a regular schedule with excellent propagation and very little noise just now - but I made that very brief with just a few 73s exchanged - I needed to get on deck - dealing with the boat must have priority!

Once hove to, it was still extremely rough with the seas trying to throw us around - but Nereida has plenty of handholds for those conditions, so it's not too difficult to stay safe. There's usually also a warning 'lifting up' of the boat as we rise on a big wave before the strong heeling occurs as we come down on the far side. We had plenty of rocking and rolling...!

It was very nice to have my curry ready and waiting just to warm up - no effort needed in the galley while we were being tossed around - great!

Another radio schedule on 7160 later on - getting quite a few 'regulars' on frequency which is very nice - from USA, Canada, Switzerland, S.Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay...more recently, Brazil and even Germany and UK occasionally (mobile - "Coming along the M4," Rob, M0KPD, said last night... I know it well!)

Monday 11am Woke earlier to a quite different scene - we've been drifting around almost in a circle, the wind and seas are far less and I'm even thinking about the genoa - if these conditions continue, maybe I can deal with that. I'll check the weather files I downloaded around dawn - I'm up at 5am daily to do that while 40m radio propagation is still good and fresh weather files (gribs) are available. I need to see if winds are expected to increase soon because once I've spent quite a time removing all the many lashings holding the sail onto the deck, I'm committed to hoisting it and, in even a very light wind, that could get difficult by myself. Having a coffee while I visualise all the steps I need to take - must make sure I'm prepared and do everything correctly.

4:15pm SUCCESS!!! Genoa unlashed, off the deck, untwisted(!), hoisted on to the forestay foil and furled up - without ending back in the sea and with plenty of furling line turns still on the drum! Has taken nearly five hours in total with wind slowly increasing from 10kt to 14kt just to help things along(!)... I'm more than ready for a nap - I'm exhausted!
Winching it up got really difficult - the halyard is very tight but, even so, it didn't seem quite tensioned enough - I'll check it next time it's unfurled. Great to have it in place again and available for use!! A bit of tidying up of lines still to do. Made good use of time while hove to today, going nowhere and actually having gone backwards.... One very 'happy bunny' on board Nereida just now!

 

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 96. Drifting, hove-to, again for quite a lot of the time... We made just 27 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 96 (by daily DMGs): 9,223 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1093 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 662 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 678 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 760 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3060 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/07 19:15GMT LATITUDE: 43-24.06S LONGITUDE: 046-35.10W COURSE: 151T SPEED: 0.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1004.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Just finished hoisting (and furling) GENOA - YIPPEE!!!!! Hove to still



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