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S/V Nereida sails around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought this had been posted yesterday...

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

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

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

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

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

Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sat midday: 770 miles due W of Easter Island.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed 5pm A very relaxed day - no major projects underway! Mostly overcast, but thin cloud layer and with increasing breaks. Fairly settled conditions after last night's rain and strong wind followed by a lack of wind. The sun tried often to get out but never managed it for long - but it has been fairly bright despite that.

The weather files I've looked at indicate mainly light winds ~10kt for the next 2-3 days, increasingly from the N as we get closer to the High pressure area centred to our SE. We're under full canvas now, having earlier released the first reef I tied in overnight. Winds could become strong and/or variable on Sunday/Monday as we get close to a small Low (or trough) with associated rain. It's even possible that winds could become SE, and so head us for a time, unless we can keep well to the E as we head roughly SE now.

One of my minor projects dealt with today was rigging up a line to hold down the chopping board from flying around should we be so unlucky as to broach or turn turtle... I use the board often so the system had to be quick and easy to undo but holding it down firmly otherwise...

My other mini-project is to support the big JSD (Jordan Series Drogue) bag on the pushpit - it's looking rather droopy and I'd hate it to fall down while underway because the straps holding it in place have given way. I've found a good sturdy strap with a strong but easy-to-use closure - tomorrow's job.

6.45pm PST Getting dark - time to prepare for the Pacific Seafarers Net at 0300GMT.

Thurs 9.30am Ambling along under full sail at 5.5-6kt in ENE 10kt wind under a mainly overcast sky - rather grey to the W, with some tiny bits of blue elsewhere. Sun trying to get out. Seas relatively calm - still the usual E-ENE 2.5m/8ft swell but fairly gentle - well separated.

About to have my morning coffee and soon it's time to prepare my daily report. Running the small generator for a time - not much power coming in to batteries just now - from neither wind nor sun.

10.50am Well, we WERE ambling - but then I felt the boat heeling a lot as the wind suddenly increased - rain..! Reduced the genoa a touch to bring us more upright - the boat's getting a good washdown just now. Of course, soon afterwards the wind died right down for a time... At least I got to that coffee...

11.30am Wind keeps gusting up to 19kt or so as we come under another raincloud - speed up to 7.5kt or more... Mixed bag of speed and course just now... all depending whether we're under, or close to, a cloud or not. Sun trying to shine from patches of blue sky in between the showers. Definitely not a time to relax over my coffee!! I'm a little bit wet from several trips topside!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 43. We made 128 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position

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

TIME: 2018/11/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 23-31.44S LONGITUDE: 125-40.65W COURSE: 175T SPEED: 7.1kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 2.5m

BARO: 1019.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 30.0C

COMMENT: Lots of rain squalls around - SOG and COG highly variable!

Tues 3.30pm Just finished changing connection of ground wire from solar panels - that had not been done yesterday and needed to be - hopefully, now I'll see input to batteries from solar power. Nice to know they're working but even better to see a benefit!

Sky has become quite overcast but wind still consistently from NNE-ENE at 10-15kt - in fact, it has been for several days now.

Weather is looking fair for one or two more days but it seems that we might get becalmed later. Pressure has been steadily rising over the last day or so and we could find ourselves right in the centre of a High as it develops and its centre moves E across our path. Hopefully, we'll stay on the edge of it where there's some wind, however light. As a result, we might also even get S winds for a time- again not easy to avoid - I'll have to decide which way to head if that happens.

No longer as gentle a ride as earlier - still making a course just E of due S but heading more into NE seas now, with wind from ENE at present.

Time for tea and to think about tonight's meal. I've been so busy with wiring I've had nothing since mid-morning - I'm hungry! I'm thinking a 'chili con carne'of sorts sounds good and easy to fix - there'll be enough for tomorrow as well.

10pm Just had some rain! And strong wind... Reefed down and we were immediately far more comfortable, not heeling so much, and still making good speed. Wind veered ahead of rain and then slowly backed afterwards - we went in a semi-circle!

Gave the boat a good rinse off, I'm hoping... It needs one.

11pm Wind has veered to SE at 7kt! Makes it rather difficult to head just E of S, as we have been... Maybe another rain cloud lurking ahead...?

Wed 1.30am It certainly was! But with almost no wind - so quiet it felt weird! Gave me chance to wipe down the windscreen - had accumulated salt spots. We drifted around for a time while I played with first reef items. With the rainfall, sail had collected water, so hoisted it and then tied in first reef again, along with nettles, a mast tie-in on the luff reef cringle and a boom tie-in of leech reef cringle. Felt sure reef would be needed when wind came up again later, so was a good exercise for me to do all that in quiet, calm conditions - albeit by headlamp!

Missed a radio sched overnight - stopped the alarm and must have turned straight over to catch up on much-needed sleep...!

Soon after sunrise, the expected wind came up - 12-14kt. I was wakened by the noise of the genoa - it needed sheeting in and my tie-down on the wheel had moved out of position. I was pleased to see the wind was from ENE again, so we could make a good course. Trimmed sails, adjusted Fred - by 6:30am, we were underway nicely, making SSE at 6kt. Back to my bunk for couple of hours more sleep before breakfast.

Conditions have stayed the same all morning - overcast skies, with sun trying to get out in occasional breaks. Mainly ENE wind at 12-15kt, seas a bit lumpy but not too bad. Making good use of my sturdy 'bum strap' in the galley, to stay me safe and secure while working there, heeled over with the boat's motion.

Have been studying weather files, as usual - a mixed bag of high and low pressure systems, with strong wind and rain on Cold Fronts, as we head further S, out of the Tropics - difficult to decide which will be the best way to head, at times...

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 42. We made just 99 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position - the result of almost no wind for a time overnight and drifting around ...

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

TIME: 2018/11/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 21-30.59S LONGITUDE: 126-27.52W COURSE:164T SPEED: 6.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 3.0m

CLOUDS: 90% BARO: 1020.3hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 31.0C

COMMENT: Bright, sunny day - plenty of cloud but no rain in sight.Pitcairn:SW300ml

Just lost all I'd written as I was about to post it.... GRRR!!! So here's an abbreviated version....!

Many thanks to Bob N4PSK and Jim WB2REM, and others, for all their time and help over the last few days.

Fortunately, 'Nereida' sailed on serenely and smoothly, under full sail and bright sunshine, in very settled wind conditions so I was able to concentrate fully on the job in hand with only very occasional course adjustments needed due to wind shifts.

Cutting a very long story short:

We got together on 21234 kHz yesterday - excellent propagation from my position, 500 miles NNE of Pitcairn, to Jim's shack in Florida. Bob used Jim's antenna remotely while Gene used his own. Excellent copy for a long time, from when we started our session at 1pm PST (=2100 GMT). I checked voltages everywhere, having spent some time removing the charge controller, to access its terminals, the night before.

I was really delighted when I saw that the disconnected panels showed around 20V on both lines where they come into the fuse holder - it showed my efforts on a bouncy aft deck, replacing corroded connectors over the last few days, had been worthwhile!

With the panels working , the voltage at the controller was way down - showing a resistance somewhere that shouldn't be there. So I'm now putting the solar power directly into batteries via 15A fuses - the controller is clearly bad... Not as efficient as using a controller but 'beggars caan't be choosers' - it will give me some input as opposed to nothing!

In theory, this could overcharge the batteries if they are full and the panels keep feeding power. But that is not likely, given that the usage is at least as much as the input. Also, I always keep an eye on my battery voltage - the Mastervolt display is right by me at the chart table. So if needed, I can always go to the aft cabin and quickly remove the in-line fuses.

After we'd come to this conclusion, it took me quite a time to complete the necessary wiring changes - TG I have a big assortment of fuses and electrical spares and tools on board! I was tidying up, finally, around sunset - and decided to reward myself with a small (very dilute!) G&T with some cashews... Sitting out on deck, for the first time yesterday, in the refreshing breeze, sipping my sundowner as 'Nereida" sailed smoothly along in the deep blue ocean, was very enjoyable.

I'm feeling much better now that I know for sure my panels are working - but I've still a niggling query on the negative leads in the circuit. Hopefully, I'll be seeing the benefit of the work of the last few days very soon - at present, I'm seeing no noticeable increase in battery voltage, despite bright sunlight - so we're not quite 'home and dry'! I'll discuss that with Bob later today during our radio 'sched'.

Beautiful sailing at present ... The best!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day 41. We made 143 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

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

TIME: 2018/11/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 19-52.14S LONGITUDE: 126-41.54W COURSE: 172T SPEED: 6.1kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.5m

CLOUDS: 70% BARO: 1019.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 32.0C

COMMENT: Lovely smooth sailing under full canvas. Scattered cloud. 143ml DMG

Sunday

Wind was very much lighter for most of the day - around 10kt. So boat speed was well down as a consequence.

I was busy with various jobs on board and it was pleasant to have the relatively calm conditions to get on with them. Although the NNE swell was very pronounced, at 2.5-3m/10ft, it wasn't too close together and that makes a big difference.

With our speed having come down a lot, I was forced to release the first reef finally, in the middle of getting other things done but, before doing so, I needed a better way to secure the reef cringle to the boom when the first reef was tied in, so as to ease the load on the reefing line. Using a Spectra line wasn't too bad when tying it in but removing it was proving difficult - and both took quite a time. I needed a method using a shackle instead of tying knots. I already had a very sturdy piece of reinforced webbing, used previously for just the same job, and had some Spectra climbing loops, so I finally came up with a far simpler system, using a strong snap shackle, ready for next time.

Once we were sailing nicely again, albeit at only 4-5 knots in the light wind, I realised the sun was not so strong, the sky being fairly overcast. So I went to the foredeck and sat beside the staysail with some whipping twine, and slightly thicker line to cover it, to wrap around the staysail foot shackle. I'd wired that to keep it from coming open - as it had done soon after we'd started off. I wanted to prevent the exposed end of the wire from becoming a hazard - to the lazy genoa sheet, in particular, which normally curls around the staysail foot when in use. It was very pleasant on the foredaeck in the breeze and good to enjoy the sea air and relax for a while befoe getting back to work.

I had a long discussion with Bob, N4PSK, over the radio, about my various options for trying to get the solar panels working - or at least find where the fault lay. By the time we'd finished our discussion, he felt pretty sure the fault was possibly in the charge controller, not necessarily at the solar panels themselves. I was pleased in a way, because I'd been having a major problem in trying to figure out how to open the box behind the panels - and what problems I might cause in so doing...

By the end of the day, I was wrestling with the last screw in the charge controller's fascia panel - tucked right away in a corner and not wanting to budge - and with a very unhelpful damaged head! Long-nosed pliers to the rescue - but what a long time it took...

Bedtime - "tomorrow's another day" - looks as though I'll be removing all the terminals carefully and cleaning them - fingers crossed... that might solve the problem.

Mon 5:30am Up at first light - sun not far from rising. Too early to see if solar problem was resolved, so back for more sleep....

7:30am Up again- very disappointed to see no red light on solar regulator display - but then realised I'd left fuses out overnight... No change - still not working... except once or twice it blinked on for a bit.... Teasing me!

I set to, removing and cleaning all the terminal connectors on the regulator. Also, because the red light had blinked on when I touched a switch in the system, I made up a 'jumper' cable to replace the switch which looked bright and shiny - but maybe it was faulty? One less item to think about was my reasoning.

10:30am I stopped work to get breakfast, with no solar input still - I was parched! And then, suddenly it was time for my daily news and position report... I quickly did the necessary - but didn't get to finish writing this report.... So it's being posted rather late in the day... Fortunately, conditions were easy and 'Nereida' sailed herself with Fred at the helm, aided by my occasional intervention to make course changes needed after wind shifts...

1900 GMT (=1100 PST) - end of Day 40. We made 128 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position - despite mainly gentle winds...

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

TIME: 2018/11/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 17-31.17S LONGITUDE: 127-04.12W COURSE: 172T SPEED: 6.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 11kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m
CLOUDS: 40% BARO: 1017.8hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 32.0C
COMMENT: Bright, sunny.Working solidly on solar power issue

Sat 11:50a.m. PST As soon as my daily news, position report and weather were posted, I was ready to get on deck to the port-side solar panel's +ve connector, the plan being to replace the crimped butt connector with a screw-on connector and hope to restore input to the batteries...

12 midday The solar input just clicked off..... so back to nothing coming in... WHY?? I hate erratic faults.....

12:05p.m. Wind is gusting up - 17-18kt - think I'll tie in 1st reef before getting on with working on solar panel connectors.

1:30pm Took a time to tie in first reef - a few complications - including tying in of extra 'safety' line from reef cringle to the boom with some Spectra line I'm using... Wind now 18-20 knots - time for second reef if I'm to get to the solar panels job... Need to know boat is OK if I'm to be able to concentrate on that job... We're frequently making well over 7 knots at present.

Wind generator putting in some power - quite overcast now but line of clear blue over horizon ahead.

2:15pm Second reef tied in. Getting back to the aft deck to deal with port-hand solar panel +ve connector. Seas up a bit but not too much, I hope. Making ~6.3kt in NNE 18kt wind.

Later: It did get quite rolly in 18-20 kt wind that came up for several hours. More hanging on to the backstay for support while I worked on all four connectors. The port-side panel's +ve connector I changed completely - wire on one side came straight out of the butt connector - it had not been crimped properly - now well-secured with a screw-type connector instead. All four are now feeling very secure (can't pull them apart!) and showing continuity on testing across the wires at each end. Despite that, there was no input to the batteries via the regulator. Checking the voltage at the fuses did not give the expected 18V I was told I would find if panels were giving the expected output to that point. Thinking I'll need to somehow open the terminal box on the back of each panel to check for corrosion inside there - can't explain the erratic behaviour any other way... Possibly the (untinned) copper wire used there is corroded or their connections inside the box are. Feeling very frustrated that all my efforts are not giving a successful outcome. Not helped by, unexpectedly, near sunset, seeing the regulator's red light come on with a minimal input showing.... What/why/how??? I'll be looking tomorrow morning to see what happens as the sun rises higher.

A shackle pin was spotted lying on the side deck while reefing - normally bad news .... but luckily, I found the shackle not far away - and it wasn't in use just now, so didn't cause any problem - unusual!!.

8:30 pm Wind has died right down again, to ~11kt, and has backed into the NNE - had to adjust Fred for a very broad reach to maintain our S course. Released the second reef earlier but leaving the first reef in overnight as a precaution.

9pm RAIN! First for a few days... Wind veered to ENE but then backed to NNE again - didn't last long. Still 11 kt windspeed.

10.25pm Been busy studying weather info. Looks as though we should head slightly E of S for several days, to avoid calms and/or headwinds and keep in favourable, although light, winds.

Sun 8.30am No tiny red light has come on to show solar power coming in to batteries.... Not a great surorise, but would have been nice to see! Still wonder why it came on briefly late yesterday afternoon. Wondering about turning off instruments for periods of time, to reduce battery usage - it's certainly an option, in settled conditions. Keeping an eye on battery voltage. Wind generator can't do much downwind in light air.

Overcast, with thin cloud layer - hazy sun visible, trying to get through. Seems we're under a big swathe of cloud coming from a Low pressure system to the S of us.

10am Heard faint sound of motor - saw light grey vessel 3 miles away, on horizon, off port quarter - disappeared quite soon - naval? Not showing on AIS.

11:15am As I write this, fishing vessel ('Shin Jaan Shin No.66', MMSI: 416003105) is crossing our path E to W at 8kt - seen on AIS & likely to pass about 1/2 mile off in 45mins.

On Friday, I'd re-wired the staysail foot snapshackle in an attempt to prevent it from being snapped open again. Next job will be to cover the area with whipping so the genoa sheet doesn't catch there. Hoping to do that shortly today, but thoughts/emails about solar power problems this morning have been getting in the way. Must get that done now, though - it's too important to delay any further.

Later on, I'll see if I can access the box on the rear of the solar panels - not too clear how to do that but I'll investigate - has to be possible somehow!

1900 GMT (=1100PST) - end of Day39. We made 128 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position - despite work on solar panels...

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

TIME: 2018/11/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 15-39.47S LONGITUDE: 127-29.73W COURSE: 171T SPEED: 5.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 2.5m

CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1015.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C

COMMENT: Gentle sailing. Occasional vessel nearby - fishing or naval

Fri 12:30pm The fishing fleet saga continues - I've seen 7 vessels on my AIS screen so far... A fifth ship is 10miles off now. The original three are to W and E of us and another three more are ahead. We're right in the middle of them all - all MMSI numbers etc recorded in my ship's log...

Interestingly, they are clearly keeping well away, as one might expect, and although two were only just over 4 miles away for quite a time, and one later was within 3 miles, I could not see them for all my searching of the horizon with my binoculars! As I head towards them, they invariably turn away to keep out of my path.

There's also been no contact betwween themselves nor me on any VHF channel (I set my radio to 'scan' mode to see if they were talking to each other.... Finally, noise on Ch79... but I can't make out any speech.)

They're not displaying their callsign nor an IMO number and their 'status', which should, I now think, be displayed as 'Fishing' - is shown as 'Not defined' All of them are missing a lot of information in their AIS transmissions.

1.40pm I had thought I'd be working on deck today - but it didn't take long to realise that everything was too hot in the full sun, so I'm waiting for the foredeck to be shaded by the genoa so I can look at the staysail furler. The seas are quite a bit calmer but it's all relative - they're actually still running at 2-2.5m/6-8 ft and quite close, with occasional bigger waves arriving.

It's nice to have enough battery power to run a small fan over the chart table - temperature down below is over 31C/88F, so it's feeling very warm.

2:50pm Finished dealing with the staysail furler. It was actually quite pleasant working on the foredeck in the shade of the genoa and in the breeze! Turns out that one of the two locking block tabs had broken off at some point and a small tab on the drum line guide was also damaged - neither, I hope, too critical from the function point of view. All back together and the final screw tightened as well as I can manage to prevent any turning of the drum line guide. Fingers crossed...

Next, I tied in the coiled bitter ends of the halyards to the mast - they've been swinging about madly when heeled over and/or in swell and it will be nice to see them restrained!

Still no sign of the fishing fleet (except noises on VHF79) - if I hadn't seen them on my AIS display, I'd have been totally unaware of their existence!

Next to think about while the wind and therefore the seas are relatively down is the solar panel that's not giving any power input. Means taking off the 'gunge' I'd put around the problem connector - yuck! I think it's likely to be the last one I did - on the negative line - so I hope I get that right - it's going to be a messy job and I'd rather I didn't have to repeat it on the positive line...

4.30pm Just finished chatting to radio friends on HF radio - and noticed NO input from solar panels ... red light was off. Damn!!! Was about to go and try to re-do the second non-working one - and now the 'working' one has gone down... I checked the fuse... Fuses are both fine... Grrr!!!

So it's back to hugging the backstay (as well being tied on to it!) while I try to get at least one panel working. I had intended working on the -ve line to the non-working panel in an effort to get both working, since I was highly suspicious of my efforts on that butt connector whereas I had no good idea about the reason for the other panel suddenly giving up the ghost. I decided to go ahead - having pushed and pulled on all four connectors in case one gave way immediately ... no, that didn't wwrk out. Nor did it fix the problem - still no output from either....

So I tackled the suspect -ve connector - sure enough it wasn't crimped properly on one side and the wire came out almost immediately after removing the 'gunge' around it so I could get into it. I tried re-crimping it - no go... So on to plan B - a screw-in connector - no crimping needed... and a solid connection.

Some time later, I went down below to replace its fuse in the holder ... Would I see a red light when I came back into the main cabin where the regulator display sits beside the chart table .... YES!!!!! What a relief!! At least we're back to one panel working...

I went on top and replaced the black mastic gunge around the connector and then wrapped it all in insulating tape to protect the gunge. Sun was setting.... I'll look at the other panel's connectors tomorrow, if it's calm enough. I'm definitely celebrating tonight!!

6:30pm Time for food and then PacSeaNet check in....

Sat 9.40 a.m. Around sunrise, at 7am, I was disappointed to see no solar input - I thought the solar panel I fixed last night had gone down again. I was all prepared to look at the connection I made last night... But, by 8am, I realised we had some input - it had been too early in the day for the sun's rays to reach the panels effectively. Good news, in a way.

The wind is very light (10-11 kt) and the sea swell is fairly small, so conditions not too bad. Must cover myself up against the sun when busy with any deck work, though.

On futher investigating the solar inoput, I was very puzzled and decided I needed to confirm my understanding as to which fuse related to which panel since we seemed to have input from the starboard one and nothing from the port one I 'fixed' y'day and which gave power for a time then ...

All that took a long time, including covering the stbd panel with a well-tied towel to confirm input I'd been seeing was from that panel only. My assumptions were correct - so now I'll re-make the live connector on the port panel and hope to get it working again... I'm still puzzled by the stbd panel suddenly coming 'alive' - maybe my jiggling of the connectors last evening did some good? But that's bad news for down the line since that implies it could easily come loose again...

Coffee ... and then I'll put on my long-sleeved top and harness and get to work. TG it's very gentle sailing just now...

10.45am All set to go on deck - bag packed with every likely item/tool I might need, harness at the ready, specs cleaned (!), I've just cut off a single connector from the block they come as part of. Double-checked I'd not forgotten anything - cutters, sand paper, extra 'gunge', cable ties - and then realised it was getting close to my daily position recording and reporting... and posting this.

Wind has increased slightly to around 12-13kt, occasionally 14-15kt, from the earlier 10-11kt - and we're on a broad reach, heading S, as usual, with wind from NE. All very pleasant, under a slightly cloudy sky, with plenty of sun getting out. Solar input from the stbd panel is 4.5-5A - seems slightly down on what I'd expect, this close to midday, but it is rather hazy away from a cloud, so maybe it's as expected... At midday, in Mexico, total input would be regularly around 16A from the two panels.

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day38. We made 121 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position, despite gentle sailing.. Full canvas overnight, and up to now, in the lighter wind then. Sail trimming, as usual, for our present broad reach, gave increased speed!

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 13-33.14S LONGITUDE: 127-50.06W COURSE: 180T SPEED: 5.8kt
WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 2.0m
CLOUDS: 20% BARO: 1013.9hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C
COMMENT: Bright, sunny some cloud.. Working on solar panels

Thurs A lovely day's sail - bright sun, scattered clouds, wind and seas down a bit, although still the odd bigger wave to keep me on my toes... and wind strong enough, at 14-16kt, to keep us going at 5-6 kt. Having to keep an eye on the wind direction and our resulting course - still aiming for due S overall since that looks to give us least chance of ending up in very light winds or even headwinds in a few days' time. Wind is being very helpful in being mainly from N of E, so we're not too close-hauled but still doing OK.

5pm Feeling really pleased - decided conditions were light enough to release staysail halyard tension, as a result of which it was really easy to attach the foot of the sail to the shackle there. I'm 'mousing' the ring on the snapshackle pin with wire in a way that I hope will prevent it from being pulled open - I don't want to find the foot of the sail having been released again sometime in the future... I use the staysail almost all the time in the strong conditions of the Southern Ocean - it's a small sail with its centre of effort low down and close to the mast - perfect in strong conditions to reduce heeling compared with using a reefed-down genoa (a big headsail, set much further forward and with centre of effort higher up - especially when reduced).

Sunset not too far away so thinking about my evening meal. Having had the rest of last night' stew at lunch-time, I'll explore some well-ripened Saltspring goat's cheese and crackers.... maybe with some olives left over from my Equator-crossing party!

Stayed up rather late and had a good radio session on 40m with Mike, K6MYC, in California and several other contacts who came by - from Vancouver (B.C.) to Charlotte to Salt Lake City to the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. Turned out to be quite a good thing since the wind had backed quite a lot, from E to ENE, by the time I'd finished and I was able to adjust Fred to give a better course.

Fri 7.20am Interesting how, as the sun rises soon after sunrise, propagation goes way down on the HF radio 40m band, not helped by increased major static noise on frequency. The band was so much clearer last night. Made contact with Oregon, Alberta and Tasmania.

We're continuing to make good speed, with one reef in the main and full genoa, at over 6.5kt in wind of 15 kt from ENE in bright sunshine with 75% scattered cloud cover.

Time for breakfast...

11.20am Getting ready to post my position and news .-update - spotted two ships ten miles off on my AIS screen - headed away - glad I've my AIS on transmit! Both with weird MMSI numbers (111111650 (GS006009) and 111111651 (GS006010)) - most odd!! Naval vessels, maybe? One hardly moving: 0.2kt - surely fishing?? The other only making 3kt. Both not expected to get closer than 10 miles.

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day37. We made 140 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. Helped by consistent good wind and making a fairly straight course due S. Boat speed has been averaging well over 6kt but there seems to be a definite current heading W slowing us a little - the Equatorial Current, I presume.

Another ship just showed up 10 miles off - MMSI 111111639 (GS006008) - looks to be fishing - SOG 1.3k.

11.40am All now headed very slowly S or SSW, 6 miles away. We might catch two of them up and get to within 3 miles - unless they change their course, yet again. Will keep an eye out - hope they've seen our AIS signal to avoid us! Fishing seems the most likely scenario.... Interestingly, they're just outside the French Polynesia Fishery Zone - Chinese/Japanese fishing boats? Clearly in the same fleet but we're 600-700 miles East of Polynesia just now.

1155am - A fourth one just appeared - over 12 miles away - MMSI 1111112293 - also clearly in same fleet.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 11-31.97S LONGITUDE: 127-52.60W COURSE: 178T SPEED: 6.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: 055T SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5m

BARO: 1013.1hPa TREND: 0 CLOUD: 5% AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C

COMMENT: Bright, hot, nearly cloudless sky.

(Note to my Canadian friends - just did an interview with Chek TV News - should be going out today and will be on their website if you miss it.)

Wed Just enjoyed a beef stew with sweetcorn and fresh potato - some over for tomorrow. Had it ready just after sunset but then got involved with deck work - so it had to wait a couple of hours.

Early this afternoon I couldn't find a cloud anywhere - just a vivid blue sky, with lighter wind than usual and gentler seas - I felt obliged to shake out the second reef - no excuses!
The problem later was that I went to shake out the first reef and realised that I needed to work first on re-running the reefing line and I also needed to remove the extra line I'd put in place as a precaution after the first reef line had snapped a few days ago. But there was too much tension in the system - I had to drop the main to the second reef and tie it back in, so as to be able to work on the first reef...

Several hours later, in between adjust?ing Fred several times so as to keep our course roughly due S. I'd finally managed to undo all my knots in the first reef line and extra line, in the 'nettles' on the sail and in the extra line tied in around the mast (easing tension on the sail slide above the first reef luff point).

I'd also sorted out tying in the first reef line correctly and had finally raised the main fully, not long afterwards dropping it again to re-tie in the first reef...! We'd begun to heel a lot under full canvas and having the first reef in helped keep the boat rather more upright, so she sailed better and felt a lot more comfortable and it didn't seem to have reduced our speed noticeably.

I've lost count of the number of trips to the mast I made this afternoon! I'd been hoping that the lighter wind and smaller seas earlier would continue to abate - giving me the chance to work on the staysail - and maybe even have another go at the second solar panel connector - but the wind got up again - presently, it's back at 16kt or more, still from ENE.

Everything I touch on deck has a layer of sticky, sometimes crystalline, salt.

Not too surprisingly, I missed a radio 'sched' set for soon after the Paciic Seafarers' Net this evening - I was busy adjusting Fred again and tidying up the lines on deck... It all takes a time - especially moving about - a good handhold needed before the next step is taken, to avoid lurching across the cabin or cockpit as a wave throws us around..

I'm behind on emails and my logbook has run out of the columns I need for my log entries - I have to rule them myself for all the different data I make a note of in each log entry.

Thurs 8am PST 750 miles due East of the Marquesas - Nuku Hiva, to be exact. Just over 900 ml north of Pitcairn & Henderson Islands - about one week away.
Just finished checking emails/weather and chatting on HF radio - good propagation soon after sunrise but a lot of static on frequency giving a high noise level which increases as the sun rises higher.
Time for breakfast - not too bumpy so will make some coffee. I'll dig out some more fruit juices as well - like to start my day with some juice. We're sailing more gently now - wind is due E at ~15kt and we're making ~6.4kt. A few white clouds around.

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day36. We made 141 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. Always gives a better result if sailing in roughly a straight line!

Increasing cloud around - one or two typical long, grey ones (photo?) - give them some more time and they'll probably drop a shower or two later...

We're due East of the Marquesas - 650 ml from Hiva Oa - could be there within 5 days!

Enjoying a coffee as I catch up on emails and get ready to post this.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 09-12.42S LONGITUDE: 127-55.89W COURSE: 180T SPEED: 6.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5m
BARO: 1014.2hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C
COMMENT: Gentle sailing in bright sun, scattered clouds, mostly white.

Tues 5pm Another rain squall lies off to starboard affecting us... I was busy studying what weather information is available as we head further S towards Cape Horn and on... After the earlier strong squall, I was not feeling too inclined to shake out the 2nd reef I'd tied in, even though the wind came back down to around 12-15kt (from 25kt) for quite a time. We were clearly in an area of squally conditions and I felt it best to be cautious.

Our speed has been 4.5 kt at times, even with full genoa. Then the wind dropped right down and the boom started crashing around in the still quite good-sized swell - 3m/10ft - but with too little wind to fill the mainsail. Suddenly, we were drifting W at 1-2 kt - hove-to on starboard tack with the genoa backed....

I got us sailing again, still with the dark grey mass of raincloud off to starboard and the wind increased rapidly. We sailed alongside the cloud at speed and slowly the wind eased a little - to its present 16-18kt. The seas are quite lumpy and make for an uncomfortable ride upwind. But we're making 6kt on our preferred course, just E of S. ... until the next raincloud comes close! Typical of the Tropics.

The 2nd reef will stay in until I'm convinced there are no more rain squalls in the offing and I need to shake it out! In fact, at 6pm, nearing sunset, with plenty of grey clouds around still, I decided to furl in some genoa - full sail overnight might not be a good idea - so, erring on the side of caution again - never mind if it slows us down a bit - we're actually still making nearly 6kt in 17kt wind from NE-ENE.

Preparing food... onion and potato omelette. I missed starting it well before sunset and the Pacific Seafarers Net, which is very soon after, so I ended up cooking by headlamp!

Wed Well, we did have a squall come by overnight - so my caution was justified! Wind and seas have been very consistent - wind fom 060T, so between NE and ENE, and seas from ENE at 3m/10ft. A lot of motion all the time. Carrying full genoa.

Been busy exploring weather information again - a matter of requesting files to see what turns up - they don't always give what they seem to indicate. Saildocs is an excellent resource - I can request almost any file on the Internet so long as I have its correct URL - but, clearly, I can't follow any links given within it. So I'm looking at weather information available from French Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand for when I lose that available from NOAA (U.S.), which only goes down to 20S.

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day35. We made 124 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. Not bad considering we've had several squalls and been reefed down ... but in good wind.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 06-52.12S LONGITUDE: 127-49.74W COURSE: 174T SPEED: 7.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: 060T SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 3.0m
CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1013.8hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 26.0C SEA_TEMP: 32.0C
COMMENT: Bright sunny day - no squalls in sight!

Mon 5th Nov - Guy Fawkes in UK - I've one small sparkler I seem to have acquired which I was going to light tonight - but I think I'll leave it to celebrate seeing in the New Year - by then, we should be well past Cape Horn so that would really be something to celebrate!

4pm YAY!!! I've got all the instruments back working again! Excellent! Something else to celebrate... Maybe something later with my meal... I could not find a way to remove the plastic cover on the corroded spade terminal on the circuit-breaker, no matter how I tackled it ... so, in the end, I cut it partly so it could be pulled off but replaced later. The terminal is now looking shiny bright and I've coated it with a protective water-proof layer - did the negative terminal as well, while I was at it. Fingers crossed, it will now continue to behave fine... The wind display is working with everything else. I'm feeling really happy just now - despite the grey cloud overhead!

We were ambling along in a dying wind, after having been gradually slowing down since morning, from the 7-8kt boat speed we had then to more like 6-7kt and then, a short while ago, around 5kt. But we've suddenly picked up speed again - instead of a few small clouds in the sky, there's a very big grey raincloud ahead - giving us wind... Seas were becoming less enough for me to consider going on deck to begin to look at the staysail - several things of concern there - but not now - it's become quite 'bouncy' again.

Instead, I've been busily putting the three missing 1900GMT waypoints into the newly-reborn plotter - no more calculations will be needed now for distance made good (DMG) over each 24hr period!

Later: Wind has eased from 18kt to 16kt - we're making around 6kt due S and it feels a lot gentler. Waiting to see whether to unfurl the genoa some more - "Have a cup of tea," as one sailing instructor would always say....

Tues 0300Z (=1900PST Mon) Pacific Seafarers' Net Control (W6WAR in the USA) had big problem copying boats on the roll-call. Propagation just not good enough - contact was just too light for reports to be heard clearly enough. I chatted to Cliff on 'Sedna', headed to Opua, N.Z. from Minerva Reef, and also to Mark on 'Maverick' headed East across S. Pacific - both OK, Mark with strong winds at 45S, as usual. Couldn't quite copy what communication problem he said he had but SSB/HF radio is clearly working fine.

Soon after, chatted to several radio contacts in USA on 40m with good propagation - far better than on 20m.

Heading slightly E of due S now - want to get E of Pitcairn and Henderson Islands which are almost due S at present. To NW of Pitcairn are the Tuamotus and Gambiers - an area of reefs and coral atolls - definitely best to give them a big clearance!

Overnight, it was a very bumpy, dark night - so much so that I went on deck just before dawn (see photo) to head us more off the wind. Instantly, it felt far more comfortable as well as our speed picking up nicely!

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day34. We made 139 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. I now see I mis-calculated the DMG for yesterday's report - it should have been 160 n.ml - a very good 24hr run over Day33! Wind has just gusted up - raincloud ahead... Was about to post this - but had to get on deck in a hurry to take in a second reef in 25kt wind...and rain. Just towelling down after getting rather wet... I'd been thinking it would be quite nice to take a deck shower soon - but not just now... Wind has eased now to 16kt - rainsquall didn't last long... Sky is brightening...
I'll post this, get a dry top and tidy up lines in cockpit...and maybe get some lunch. Will probably have to shake out that reef I just tied in...

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 04-49.48S LONGITUDE: 128-05.77W COURSE: 170T SPEED: 6.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 3.5m
BARO: 1010.8hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 27.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C
COMMENT: Fair-sized swell, but good speed. Grey clouds overhead -showers.

Happy Guy Fawkes night to my UK friends!

And greetings to the friends at RVYC (and elsewhere) who I hear had a small celebration of my Equator-crossing last night!

Sun 3pm I didn't do much after crossing the Equator at 12:12pm PST, other than sit out in the shade in the cockpit and enjoy my situation - how many other peple are so lucky as to be sailing across the Equator at good speed in good winds and in such settled, bright, sunny conditions? I managed a lot of singing and even some dancing to the music I played during my Equator-crossing party time - useful to have a sturdy pole to hang onto while moving to the music down below when the boat is well heeled and bouncing around in the swell!

Having had so many boat problems to deal with since leaving Victoria, I felt that a little down time and relaxation wouldn't go amiss. I'm still looking at blank Speed, Depth, Wind displays in the cockpit .... (pause while I sing to 'Tom Dooley" "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" and "It Takes A Worried Man to Sing a Worried Song"!) ... and a blank chart plotter and Multi display down below. But, to be honest, so long as you know you're headed roughly S, weather is looking pretty settled and there's nothing in the way for a big distance, that's not a major problem! If I needed to, I could get out my sextant and play with that (latitude is really easy to find if the midday sun is out) but I actually have a GPS position from my AIS display and easily-accessible paper charts tucked away. It's good to have installed an independent GPS input to the AIS, separate from my other instruments (since they have now gone down!), and it's nice to know that the big ships (over 300 tons) can see our signal - not that I come across many ships, normally none, once we're this far S.

I also wanted to send a big "Thank you" to so many good friends who have given me their friendship and support over the last several years - again, I feel very lucky to have got to know so many lovely people. Makes a big contrast to hearing the daily news.... which I'm happy not to get while out here at sea!

My musical afternoon continues ... with classical guitar - lovely! Maybe later I'll look again at the instrmumentation problem - would be nice not to see all those blank screens but it's not so simple to resolve... I must dig out those paper charts for the Pacific... Tea-time...

6.15pm PST Sun is setting - we're still making good speed, over 6kt, under a partly (40%) cloudy sky - lots of slightly grey cumulus, lined up along the wind direction. Since we're heading S, on a close reach, i'm deducing that the wind direction is roughly ESE. Going up on deck, to get a more accurate direction while I can still see the tiny wind ripples on the sea surface, I just confirmed that - the wind is coming from exactly ESE, as is the swell.

I'm very happy with the state of the batteries - on one solar panel and the Superwind, it's actually over 13V! It's helped somewhat by the fact that so few instruments are in use and we're on wind-steering (Fred, the Hydrovane), of course...

Getting ready for my evening check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net - along with Mark on 'Maverick' and Uku on 'All in One', both in GGR. I'm first on the roll call and they're second and third respectively - a matter of who joined the roll call when...

Mon 3am Talking to Bob, N4PSK, on 7163kHz, about how to go about removal of plastic cover on spade terminal on the circuit breaker that keeps 'popping' - useful ... Will try later, in daylight - want to clean up the terminal as much as possible.
Checking out my (expired) Navionics charts on my iPad - have good coverage in a few places and can get GPS info into them from a bluetooth dongle, so hoping to manage displaying our track along with a decent COG readout - that would be useful to see since it's usually quite different from our boat heading. Otherwise, I'll be plotting positions onto a paper chart to deduce rough track and COG - always a back-up possibility.

Went on deck to adjust Fred - want to keep heading just E of S from here. Expect to pass not far from Pitcairn Island in just under two weeks' time.

9.50am PST Bright sunshine, a few small clouds. Just spent quite a time adjusting Fred, with the wind more in the East, and furling in a touch more genoa - we've been heeling quite a lot. We're making very good speed - around 7.5kt, often over 8kt. Wind must be well up - we're in the SE Trades!

Batteries are now up to 14V and solar panel regulator display light frequently 'blinks', showing it thinks the batteries are full - excellent!

Time for a late breakfast with fruit juice and then some coffee... Needing plenty of liquids. Then it's down to looking at the instrument problem... Photo shows the terminal giving a problem - but that might be one of many!

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day33. We made 152 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100PST position. (00 08.64N -> 02 31.67S, 128 29.80W -> 128 23.71W) - really needs almost no calculating since heading is almost due S! We've been making excellent speed, although pretty rough at times....

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 02-31.67S LONGITUDE: 128-23.71W COURSE: 180T SPEED: 7.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 3.0m
BARO: 1011.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C
COMMENT: Bright sun, scattered clouds. Good sailing.



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