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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Saturday 2:15pm Heaved to after weather warning received - if continued on course, the Low coming by on Tuesday would be right on top of us - with gusts around 45kt expected, so better to keep away.
Decided to wait overnight and see if forecast any better in the morning - really hoping not to have to move SW to keep safe but....

Made a nice curry to compensate for lack of progress - beef and spinach balti with basmati rice... Nice!

Sunday 6:30am Was up just after dawn - a lovely sunny morning. Seas have been well up overnight with the increased wind.
Weather news unchanged - so, regretfully, decided to 'retreat' a distance to the SW. With wind from NW at 24kt couldn't make hoped-for course but making as best as we can - 240T. Will heave to before sunset.
Back to my bunk for more sleep...

11am Sun still shining brightly but becoming overcast, wind increased to ~26kt, definitely feeling warmer. Close-hauled, so fell off the wind very slightly to give better speed - wind has backed a little more to W, althouh still from nearly NW. Seas well up and throwing us around on a regular basis.

Feeling a bit gutted to have to be doing this yet again - I really thought we were finally 'escaping' this region of persistent strong Lows to get to above 40S. I expected to have been making a beeline for Africa soon after rounding Cape Horn - as in my last trip this way, when that took under 4 weeks in total.. We're presently retracing our path from yesterday!

3.30pm Lovely to chat to Uku ('One and All') again - I'd forgotten he has a food problem - he needs to finish before his supplies run out! He had no wind this morning (lowered his main) but has light wind now so slowly sailing. I could only hear Mark ('Maverick') faintly in there but Uku relayed - he had good copy on Mark who is now within 500 miles of Jean-Luc and two days from the Cape Verdes - GO MARK, GO!! He's done amazingly well to make up so much of a deficit before the Horn and has been lucky with conditions in the Doldrums - you never know what you're going to get there!

My vivid memory of heading S through that area just S of the Cape Verdes in 2009 was of lightning bolts falling into the sea around Nereida overnight - not at all pleasant, waiting for us to be struck... (we weren't...TG)!

 

Photos of Nereida goose-winged and a Peale's dolphin - looks like dolphins seen last week (thanks, aggie!)

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 95. We made 50 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position. ... but heading backwards...grrr!!!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 95 (by daily DMGs): 9,246 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1112 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 690 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 665 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 765 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3048 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-03.30S LONGITUDE: 046-10.77W COURSE: 220T SPEED: 4.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1004.5hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Heading SW to avoid strong weather on Tuesday...

Friday 9:30pm Lovely starry night sky - Milky Way strewn across the sky and Southern Cross clear to view... Remaining pink-orange light of sunset low in West sky, along with some distant, dark clouds.

Finished gybing onto port tack and staysail is poled out - we're goose-winged (wing-on-wing) again, ready for overnight. Wind is 16-19 kt and we're sailing smoothly downwind at nearly 6kt.

Added some potato to the last of the ham and split pea soup to bulk it up nicely - enjoying it as I write this...

Will need to keep an eye on our course and adjust Fred from time to time - wind is forecast to veer a little overnight and end up from NW by Saturday evening as a High pressure system develops to our N and expands to the E over Saturday.

10:45pm Wind has died down to 12 kt - we've slowed to just 4.6 kt.

Later: Had a great radio session just after midnight on 7160kHz (0330GMT onward) Made new contacts in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil - to add to ones in Canada and USA. I really enjoy making these contacts with the countries I'm passing, just a few hundred miles away and several have come up regularly to send their greetings, which is really nice of them. Brings a smile!

Saturday 8:30am First reef line problem dealt with...! I'm more than ready for a quick breakfast and some sleep!

I've been up since 4am, downloading weather files, while propagation was good, and making a brief contact with Ian, VK3MO, wh0 gave me Uku's position and agreed to pass on a message to him, with Peter, ZL1PWM, acting as a relay between us.

Peter had already told me that my best chance of dealing with my first reef line problem was this morning, since that was when wind and seas would be least ... That was necessary since I had to perch high up in the cockpit to access the boom end (having centred the boom) to try to place a block there and tie in the new reef line around the boom, onto the block and then onto the sail's reefing point.

The swell was not too bad, although I had to make sure I was totally secure at all times, ready for the occasional big wave that came along, causing a lot of rolling around...

I placed a block at the boom end, a shackle was used to act as a guide halfway along the boom and another block was placed at the boom forward end, leading the line down to a mast foot block from where it leads back with the other reef lines to a clutch at the cockpit.

I had to take away from their clutches and leads both the sail outhaul and the pole downhaul lines, to make the necessary leads and clutch available for this extra reef line, so they had to be re-routed and tidied away also.

The line I've used is good and strong and very long. A small bit of line showing a chafed section at one end has been cut away. So the only difference from before is that the line is outside the boom and the luff and leech reef lines are separated - back to good, basic, reliable twin-line reefing!

When I first got the boat, I insisted that reef hooks and jammers at the for'd boom end were provided in case of need, so I could revert to simple slab reefing if the single-line reefing system should fail - here I am making use of one of those jammers for the sail outhaul.

I could have dispensed with the luff reef line and hooked the reef cringle in place, instead - but I prefer to lead all reef lines back to the cockpit to avoid having to go forward to reef in rough conditions. However, the option to reef at the mast, using the mast winches if necessary, is still there.

10:45am I've cleared up, had breakfast and I'm enjoying some fresh coffee before heading to my bunk. Wind was just W 8kt while I was working earlier but it has slowly increased - now 12kt - and is veering, so Fred needs adjusting every so often to keep us on course.

The sky had been clear but scattered cumulus is now spreading over from the W

- the direction the frequent Lows always come from. One is expected to develop on our path during Tuesday (8th). I can't get N of it to avoid it so I'm hoping the winds won't be too strong - they're presently expected to average just under 30kt, so likely to have gusts over that.

11:30am Wind almost NW 11-12kt - adjusted Fred for a beam reach - small, dark, white-rumped, Black-bellied storm petrel danced over the water astern very close by (poor thing - what a name!)

Bright blue sky - just one or two, tiny, fluffy white clouds... Ambling along at 4kt - a genoa would be handy. .... We'll be paying for this slow speed later, when the Low reaches us on Tuesday, but it's very pleasant, although the swell has never really laid down completely, so occasionally we're still rolling around - but nothing too violent. Feel really pleased to have solved the first reef problem. Back to my bunk - after adjusting Fred again - wind has veered a touch more and down to 10kt.

2pm What a beautiful day! As so often happens when the wind and seas calm down, the birds disappear. I visualise them, sitting on the surface in sociable groups somewhere in the vastness of this ocean, chatting to each other...! Under the vivid blue sky, it's become so warm, at 18C/64F, I've had to discard my fleece tops for ahort while - summer has arrived!

Wind is 12-14kt but from NNW. I've adjusted Fred so we're a little more close-hauled but don't want to cut down our speed much more..

3pm Wind is now up at NNW 18kt, so we're making better speed. Expecting 20+ knots by this evening. A small flock of prions have appeared, now the wind has increased and the sea surface is no longer so smooth.

Tried to contact Uku on the radio - but I seemed to hear Mark's voice on frequency - frustratingly, could only hear someone in the distance - impossible to make out their words... Will try again tonight

As I took down the staysail pole, which I'd left up in case needed, I noticed that my 'chafe protector' on the rod-kicker lashings had moved and was no longer protecting the line from the roughened trysail track edges. Got a hammer and managed to get it back into position - but clearly that's something to keep a constant eye on - it's all moving too much as the boom moves and I'll have to see if there's some (easy) way to stop that happening.

While things were relatively calm, took up the cockpit washboard and cleaned the scuppers' drain hole covers - amazing how quickly they get clogged up with fluff and that would stop water draining away - not good!

4pm Just heaved to - yet again... The latest updated weather info is showing the Low forming to the NW is expected to develop worse than forecast before - so waiting, stopped by weather warning, to decide what will be the best course of action...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 94. We made 111 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 93 (by daily DMGs): 9,196 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1170 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 740 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 624 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 772 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3019 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-30.90S LONGITUDE: 045-19.64W COURSE: 040T SPEED: 5.2kt

WIND_SPEED: 19kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 5%

BARO: 1009.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Bright sun. Heaved to at 1915Z - weather warning...

Thursday Strong winds and big seas throwing us around over afternoon and evening - to 30 kts, later reducing to 20-25kt, but then up again overnight into Friday around dawn.
Beautiful clear star-filled night sky early on was replaced later with cloud as new Low passing close by affects our weather.

4am Wind veered and increased to NW 30-32kt with rain... Lasted for quite a time before eventually down to 27-29kt, with occasional gusts, backing to WNW

10am Wind has backed further - had to trim sails and adjust Fred for broad reach. Really having to be careful moving around down below with the seas coming every 8 seconds or so. We suddenly lift and then heel one way and then the other - the rocking motion can be quite fast and violent at times and is a real test of whether or not things are well secured...

Midday Wind now around 20kt from WSW and seas still impressively big at around 5m/16ft but heading downwind always feel so much better and smoother than the rough and tumble of beating upwind as we were earlier - that was really not pleasant but all feels good now. The sun is even getting out again in between the big white clouds.

2.30pm ....So there I was, sipping a late morning coffee,trying to figure out where certain downloaded grib files are stored on my computer, feeling slightly guilty that I should have shaken out the third reef some time ago, with wind having generally eased to just under 20kt, when I realised we were speeding along at around 6.5kt - in wind of almost 30kt that had suddenly appeared from nowhere - well, maybe from a big grey cloud, well off to starboard...? A quick rethink... maybe we'll leave it in a bit longer!!! But gybing on to starboard is getting urgent - we're struggling to make NNE whereas NE would be good...must get on deck and not leave that any longer...

Having just finished my coffee, I noticed a lot of dried milk powder paste in the bottom of the mug. Clearly, the skimmed milk powder I'm using for tea and coffee instead of the equivalent UHT milk (liquid, long-life) I normally use, stowed for this trip in an effort to reduce weight on board, does not work as well as the Nestle milk powder that I just ran out of and got in Mexico. That might not be 100% milk powder but it dissolved far better and tasted fine... Oh well...!

3:45pm Lovely being in the cockpit in bright sunshine, watching the birds wheel around us close to the waves - not many, but the usual ones - a Black-browed albatross with its distinctive bright yellow bill, Antarctic prions with their dark 'collar', Gt shearwater - brown on top and mainly white below with distinctive black and white head markings, a dark white-chinned petrel. Of course, very difficult trying to get decent photos and as soon as I started to go down below, a Great shearwater came really close...grrr!!

Wind is dying down - that 3rd reef has to come out...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 93. We made 137 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position. Good speed in strong winds overnight until mid-morning.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 93 (by daily DMGs): 9,085 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1062 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 630 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 670 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 750 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3084 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-41.14S LONGITUDE: 047-16.93W COURSE: 050T SPEED: 5.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 19kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 40%
BARO: 1001.5hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 14.0C
COMMENT: Lovely sunny day, seas still big but lying down. Broad reach.

Wednesday 6:30pm Spotted first reef line had broken again, with sail slatting in the light wind. (Should have replaced it before leaving - hindsight is great, isn't it?!) This time the end of the line is way inside the boom - very difficult to get at while sailing. Reef strop is now essential for using first reef. Will leave in place for when in strong conditions coming up.

Tying in first reef from full sail will now require lowering sail to below first reef position so strop can be attached to leech cringle on sail. Will still have a line at the luff of the sail to use - but need to fix that in place now. Also spotted screw coming undone at boom end - have tightened with Loctite - need to keep an eye on that. Genoa will have to wait...

Still drifting in 3-4 kt of wind on starboard tack - wind presently from NNE or thereabouts...

Raincloud on N horizon... Cloud cover complete..

Later: Have replaced the line attached to reef cringle on luff of sail but have no way, as yet, of holding leech/clew back towards end of boom - working on it.. Fortunately have a strong strop to hold leech of reefed sail down to boom, so long as I can reach to fix it in place through reef cringle, but it needs to be pulled back as well, somehow...

10:30pm It's dark under the cloud cover - no moon visible, although moonlight seen around edges of clouds astern.

Tied in 2nd reef using headlamp - best done while on starboard tack and will be needed later in stronger wind when on port tack - so getting ready well in advance... Wind is building - now from E at 16kt.

Thursday 8:30am Was up 5am to make contact on radio with Ian, VK3MO, and Peter, ZL1PWM, and download latest grib (weather) files - shows we're on safe side of Uku's Low - but he's going to be in the middle of it over the next day with gusts to 50-60kt and seas of 7-8m. He'll be having a tough time and must be getting very tired. I think about what he must be going through constantly and feel sad knowing it was avoidable.

Raining now, with wind of 10kt, veered to SSE from earlier ESE, and seas of 3m or so - we're ambling NNE, waiting for the wind to increase to 20kt or more by early afternoon and then increasing more to 30kt with higher gusts possible for a few hours.

While in light conditions and on starboard tack, I've tied in the 3rd reef to be ready for the stronger winds. Means we'll be a little bit slower in the lighter wind but we're in the 'safe zone' now, with the big Low already to the E of us and heading ESE.

The small Low following directly behind is not looking too bsd and will be developing in the early hours tomorrow and giving winds of 20-30kt, possibly with higher gusts for a short time, as it passes to the E below us. Hoping it will give us wind to get NE and out of this unstable area - I can't wait...!

Time for a short nap before breakfast - I'm short on sleep hours. Can't sleep too long since we'll need to gybe at some point when the wind veers to SW, as forecast.

9:30am Wind has veered to SSW at 9kt. Time to gybe if we're to maintain our course.

Nice sunshine most of the morning - plenty of prions, shearwaters and petrels around.

2:30pm Went up to adjust Fred to bring us closer to the wind. To port and astern ... big grey rainclouds... To starboard and ahead ... the nice blue skies that we've had for the last few hours. Clearly, a change about to happen!

Within minutes, the wind was up to 30kt and we were rushing along under a cloudy, grey sky at 7-8kt - more when surfing slightly on waves which, of course, increase with the wind. We're getting the tail end of Uku's Low! The good news there is I gather he's still OK but having to head East, running with the storm - almost certainly with just a storm jib and no main.

Expect these strong winds to continue for several hours, with a short lull to 20kt before another small Low forms to S of us overnight tonight, probably giving similar conditions for a time in the morning.

4pm Lovely to see how the birds enjoy the stronger winds! Bright sunshine now but winds and seas still well up - no lull as yet...

The bonus of these winds is that we're now making good speed N - the direction that takes us away from all these frequent Lows with their strong, often nasty and dangerous, conditions.. We've had to stop too often and have got to know this part of the S.Atlantic far too well - time to move on...!

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 92. We made 77 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Mainly very light winds until two hours ago...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 92 (by daily DMGs): 8,871+? n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 923 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 494 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 785 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3132 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-34.74S LONGITUDE: 049-04.43W COURSE: 042T SPEED: 7.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 30kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 995.4hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT:Heading NE to get N away from all-too-frequent storms!

Tuesday 4:30am Still hove-to in WSW 16kt wind. Awoke to an alarm, to try to make contact with Uku via Ian, VK3MO, who was due to read Uku his NOAA weather report for the S. Atlantic at that time. Heard Ian reading out the weather, but not sure if Uku was on frequency. Heard Bob, VP8LP talking to Mark, but unreadable - too light a signal...
Checked emails and gribs. Had message from Peter, ZL1PWM, that would be good to get underway now and head N as fast as possible to get clear of Low following on behind present big Low system - now safely heading E-SE out of our path but almost certain to cause Uku a big problem still, with 50kt winds, gusting higher, very likely on his present path. Hope he gets through OK - another bad experience for him.
Got underway as soon as possible, after shaking out reefs, and enjoyed a good sail for several hours in WSW wind up to 20kt

Realised yesterday that we're into a new time zone. Having passed East of 52 30'W, we're now in Greenland time = Z-3hr = Falklands time (they keep perpetual 'summertime' all year round) and Buenos Aires summertime.
Getting closer to the Greenwich Meridian and GMT ...
Also, Magnetic variation is now 7 degrees W - so need to subtract 7 degrees now from compass readings to get True readings. ("East is least, West is best", I was taught, to help remember when looking at the compass readings)

11:30 am Enjoying the sunshine as we sail smoothly in lessening seas ... and also, unfortunately, lessening wind - now W-WSW at 12kt, down from the WSW 15kt of a couple of hours ago and forecast to get even lighter by this evening and into tomorrow.
Bonus is ....coffeepot is on again!

2pm Struggling to keep on going and on course in 5-7kt of wind under a bright blue sky - such a different scene from the grey sky and mountainous seas in the frequently stormy weather this same area must see....
A small flock of prions is busy nearby, and one or two(?) Great Shearwaters seem to have adopted us - have frequently seen one circling around for the last few days. As I came up on deck to start getting us underway this morning, a Wandering albatross came by - such huge but graceful birds!

Busy making some more split pea soup, in between adjusting Fred as the wind varies. Also plan to make another beef and spinach curry - the last one was excellent. Adding potato, surprisingly, to my mind, works well also.

4pm We're drifting in 3-4kt of highly variable wind, making 1.2 kt NE under a very cloudy sky.
Debating the genoa hoist possibility. Would be nice to have the use of it but still feel very trepidatious about starting on that - it's a long job with several possible pitfalls and, once started, needs to be completed all in one go...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 91. We made 52 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 91 (by daily DMGs): 8,871 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 847 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 423 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 825 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3143 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-45.36S LONGITUDE: 049-46.64W COURSE: 030T SPEED: 1.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 3kt SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1006.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in 3-4kt variable wind....

Monday Had quite an enjoyable New Year's Eve - the sky was totally clear all afternoon and so sunset was lovely, with wind and seas not too great.

Made lots of contacts on radio, so lots of New Year greetings exchanged, and being hove to made for a relaxed atmosphere on board to enjoy a little celebration.

Tuesday Was woken just before 7am by F7 winds from NW. Then I had a message to say that the nasty Low forming soon seemed to be expected slightly further S than previously forecast so it would be a good idea to move Nereida more to the SW so as not to be at risk from being too close. I was really pleased I'd taken the time to tie in the 2nd and 3rd reefs on heaving to yesterday, expecting stronger winds to arrive!

9am With winds forecast to back from NW to WSW, I had soon realised that, in order to head SW, there was no alternative but to move now! It was blowing around 30-32kt with total cloud cover and seas were 6m or so - pretty steep, rather close and often washing the decks - I got a dousing fairly soon! There was a flash of lightning and thunder - that worried me but I was relieved not to see or hear any more. So, we're now underway and have been sailing in big seas and 30kt winds ever since.

By midday, the wind had duly backed from NW to W so our course changed accordingly - we were as close-hauled as possible, trying to head SW and making 4-5 kt.

3pm The sun was out again and the sky had cleared but the wind and seas were still well up. Wind had been from WSW for a time and our course was finally becoming just E of due S so I felt we should stop rather than heading on any further. So we heaved to yet again - it's becoming a familiar routine...!

Seeing our drift was about 1.5kt to the SE, I then changed tack to drift, I hoped, to NW. As it turned out, we drifted more to the N, even just E of N, but only at 0.9kt so that was acceptable. Seas remained high all day long, so the boat was rocked quite violently at times, with seas washing the decks regularly, as we came off the top of one wave and heeled over into the trough before the next.

I'd had no breakfast as yet, so I was more than ready to settle down and catch up, both on sleep and food - writing up my log report would have to wait a bit - I was very tired after a late New Year's Eve...!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 90. We made 41 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions... we'd gone back on part of our previous day's track!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 90 (by daily DMGs): 8,819 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 815 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 383 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 857 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3145 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 47-35.74S LONGITUDE: 050-07.71W COURSE: 015T SPEED: 0.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 25kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 6.0m CLOUDS: 25%
BARO: 1001.3hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Heaved to again - on port tack, after moving a bit more SW.

Sunday 3pm Beautiful sunny day - temperature has reached 14C - unheard of warmth! Wind now SW 15kt so boat speed up to 6kt at times. Headed NE, goose-winged (aka 'wing-on-wing'), avoiding Uku's storm which is moving SE - should be well out of our way ahead by tomorrow, when we reach 47S.

7:30pm Sun is a bright orange ball about to sink down out of sight over the blue sea - a lovely sunset. Lots of birds wheeling around - a flock of prions, storm petrels, great shearwaters - all enjoying the wind and waves and clear blue sky, as we are.

Wind got up to over 20kt and we were making over 7kt - going well but with bigger seas and night falling, with maybe stronger wind ahead, I decided it was time to tie in the 2nd reef to make for a more relaxed night. Being on starboard tack meant the port side lazyjack was available to hold the folds of sail nicely until I could tie them in.

9pm Beautiful clear night sky with bright stars - Southern Cross high up as was Orion - upside down, as usual! Sirius almost overhead - so very high - normally low down in my usual haunts in the Northern hemisphere.

Monday - New Year's Eve 6am Lovely sunny morning with no clouds overhead - just a few above SW horizon. Birds circling around - always some nearby, now - lovely just to stand in companionway and watch them.
Shook out 2nd reef I'd tied in overnight - wind was down to 12kt earlier but up at 16-17kt now - so making better speed: 5.4kt.

Had weather discussion with Peter at 4am. Seems the two main weather models are not quite in agreement about a 'problem Low' ahead - one has it on my path in two day's time, the other has it nicely out of my way to the E. Will know better by tomorrow - hopefully we'll be able to continue on our present NE course, rather than head back S in a hurry to avoid the strong winds expected...

Always funny to think that Australia and NZ are shortly about to go into 2019 whereas I'm waiting a good 18 hours more to do so here!

Midday A glorious summer's day here in the Southern Atlantic! Air temperature is up to 15.5C/61F and sea is over 14C.

Weather ahead not looking good - likely to have to heave to again shortly for 2-3 days to avoid a nasty big Low expected in the New Year on my path. Welcome to the Southern Ocean...!

2.20pm Need to heave to but will keep going a small distance further to give a complete 24hr run - sailing well under clear blue sky - invigorating! Don't want to stop but must do to stay safe - the system coming up is looking pretty intense - winds to 50kt or so and covering a wide area.

Made 131n.ml. DMG in last 24hr - we were making 7kt for quite a time in WNW wind up to 19kt and one reef in main, seas are up also, of course.

/) /) /) /) /) /) /) /) /) /)
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Wherever you are - may I wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy New Year 2019!
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1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 89. We made 131 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 89 (by daily DMGs): 8,778 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 840 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 410 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 830 n.ml to NNW

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

TIME: 2018/12/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-56.95S LONGITUDE: 049-46.29W COURSE: 062T SPEED: 7.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 19kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 0%
BARO: 1005.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Bright sunny day. 131n.ml.DMG!!About to heave to - nasty system coming up

Saturday 7.30pm Some rain and grey skies. Wind, still from N, has got up some more but not too much - maybe 20-25kt - and seas much the same as earlier - about 3m or more, quite close together so keeping us rolling around a lot.

Just chatted on radio on 20m - propagation to Florida not too good now - a bit earlier would have been better but I forgot that we'd changed the timing! Will be on again soon, at 0000Z, to try to speak to the W coast and B.C. - had good propagation to there yesterday.

10:45pm Wave came crashing over Nereida's deck - always a lot of noise, but all OK. Wind up to maybe 20-25kt now, gusting more, maybe. Dark, now.... Sunset was just before 8pm - made for a good chat on 20m to Rick, VE7TK, in Victoria - we both had sunset occurring around the same time - so-called 'grey line' conditions for both of us - good for radio propagation between us. Also had Juan, LU4VL, come on from Argentina - always a very strong signal.

Sunday 4am Hoped to make contact with Uku - but was not on any frequency at usual time. Think he's probably got some pretty nasty conditions where he is now - high thirty knots with gusts in fifties quite likely and seas to match - not nice.... If he'd had access to proper weather info, he might well have avoided the system - but that was not allowed under GGR rules - I disagree thoroughly with that policy - leads unnecessarily to dangerous situations for the racers. How many are left...?? And how many completed the original race...?? Uku also does not have a Jordan Series Drogue which, properly deployed, keeps boats safe in strong conditions.

8:15am Wind display suddenly came alive - ESE 10kt was its reading.
Thick fog but then came rain with flickering lightning - I disconnected radio antenna and switched radio and several instruments off. Also put computer etc in steel-lined oven - a good Faraday cage!

11:30am Finally underway, heading NE - but not much wind. Nice that seas have died down. Total overcast sky, although getting brighter as sun tries to shine through.

2pm Sunshine and blue sky - always lifts the spirits! Been on deck for quite a time. Albatrosses, petrels and (Great) shearwaters around the boat as I was busy - shaking out reefs and dealing with other things. Making better speed now but almost dead downwind so must keep an eye on wind direction - presently SW at 10-12kt but if it veers any more to the W, we'll have to gybe the main.

Tried to contact Uku on 'One and All' again - but no reply on our usual frequency at this time. Wonder if he might still be heading S, running before strong N winds with just a storm jib hoisted....? Hope he's OK.

3pm Wind increased to SW 15kt and, with it, our boat speed - up to 6kt at times. Beautiful sunny day - temperature has reached 14C - unheard of!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 88. We mostly drifted another 11 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Would take forever to get around at that rate!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 88 (by daily DMGs): 8,647 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 720 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 290 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 835 n.ml to NNW

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

TIME: 2018/12/30 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 48-02.22S LONGITUDE: 052-33.56W COURSE: 051T SPEED: 5.8kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 5%
BARO: 993.8hPa TREND: 3 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 11.0C
COMMENT: Bright sunny day - underway.since 1530Z

Friday 3.45pm Making just 2kt - drifting in almost no wind, trying to head NE... frustrating!

Later - changed course to head NNW - Low pressure system coming is set to deepen rapidly and give strong winds ahead - so trying to avoid worst of it by not heading E.

Sunset - Heaved to with 3rd reef tied in. Drifting WSW at about 1.3kt. Nice to be able to sort out the boat in light winds and swell, preparing for the strong conditions coming up... Feeling very relaxed! Might be able to catch up now on the many emails waiting for me to reply to...!

Making a lot of Argentinian radio contacts now, many from Buenos Aires - nice to try out my (bad) Spanish which they don't seem to mind!

10:30pm So quiet and peaceful, hove to like this.. Definitely feeling like "the lull before the storm" - although this should not be too bad - heavy weather, rather than a real storm.

Enjoyed some delicious smoked wild salmon tonight - canned in Nanaimo - absolutely wonderfully tasty! Followed that with some nice chocolate - Rogers, of course! Christmas gifts from friends.

Swell is slightly more noticeable now - sign of winds on their way.

Saturday - soon after dawn. Woke up from a good sleep with sun shining in to the cabin - I actually felt too warm and had to remove my warm hat...! We'd drifted in a circle overnight - but only at under 1 kt. Cloud cover 50%, seas well down, at maybe just over 2m/6ft. Wind increased to about 15kt maybe (guesstimate since have no way to measure just now).

9.30am Bright sun, 20% cloud with big bank of white cloud to NW. Noticeable swell running from NNW, but not close together, so we're just rocking gently. Drifting just N of due W, at 1.4kt. Position is still just S of where we heaved to yesterday, so that's fine for now.

Time for late breakfast with some fresh coffee.... and then those emails, maybe.

Midday Delighted to have totally caught up with replies to emails! Feels good to be up to date just now, although not all have been sent. There were a lot of them and the radio connection this time of day is not the best - so quite a few will have to wait until tonight, when propagation is better. Made good use of time waiting around while hove to.

Seems we might be able to get underway again tomorrow afternoon - when the wind backs to the WSW-SW, the Low will have passed by and we'll be able to make a course to the NE - but keeping an eye out for the next lot of strong wind....

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 87. We drifted 14 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 87 (by daily DMGs): 8,636 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 710 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 280 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 855 n.ml to NNW

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

TIME: 2018/12/29 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 48-12.82S LONGITUDE: 052-35.51W COURSE: 214T SPEED: 0.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 25kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1000.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 11.0C

COMMENT: Hove to

Thursday 6pm Cooking some bean and barley soup - haricot beans + chopped onion + barley - might add some diced ham once the beans and barley are cooked..! Soaked the beans overnight in a bait jar with slotted lid that I bought with this in mind (and also for sprouting beans) - makes it easy to rinse them off before cooking.

Keep having to ease sheets and adjust Fred for wind just 'abaft the beam' - making good speed in N-NNW direction. Wind ESE now but continuing to veer.

Lots of birds around - tried to video them swooping around us - lovely to see so many close by - some Great Shearwaters among them now - specific to Atlantic... Joining Wandering and Black-browed albatross, white-chinned and storm petrels and occasional prions. Also another I caught sight of that I must ID. Similar to Shearwater and maybe a different kind. Several have adopted Nereida, I think!

7:15pm Still occasional light rain but clouds beginning to show some breaks - sun not far from setting. Enjoying a warming CupaSoup. It's nice, but cold, watching the birds from the cockpit - they've almost all disappeared now the sun is setting. Wind veering quite quickly so frequent trips needed to adjust Fred.

Friday 4am - Dawn a short while ago - Clear sky except for a grey bank of what looks like a seafog layer dead ahead, on the horizon. No birds seen, as yet. Adjusted Fred.

Went on deck to adjust Fred for broad reach again, after changing course last night - onto NE, finally!
Hoping to avoid system ahead soon and also one soon after the New Year - may have to heave to, in order to let one or maybe both pass by a distance away - we'll see. In the meantime, nice to see the bright sunshine!

5am Low grey cloud layer ahead has disappeared - must have been overnight sea fog. Back to my bunk for more sleep - keeping an alarm set to keep eye on our course relative to wind - still veering so will need to gybe at some point soon, in order to maintain course.

10am Gybed around earlier - wind now from WSW, fairly light. Poled out the staysail - nice to have it working downwind. Cloud layer has come over - saw it coming (photo), with a very straight edge - wondered if it were fog coming but it's definitely above us! Can still see the edge of it ahead. Temperature not so bad - 12C/54F

Later: Great Shearwater circling us with rapid wingbeats. Very few other birds - but a Black-bellied storm petrel (photo) is also circling the boat quite often - sometimes two or three of them close by - they like the disturbed water we produce.
Breakfast now and then back to my bunk - haven't had all my sleep hours yet.

2pm Wind has died ... Struggling to make 3.5kt

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 86. We made 99 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 86 (by daily DMGs): 8,622 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 715 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 280 n.ml. to SW

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

TIME: 2018/12/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 48-18.31S LONGITUDE: 052-16.84W COURSE: 052T SPEED: 3.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1004.8hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Heading NE, finally.. but wind has just died...

Wednesday 9:15pm Reported in to Pacific Seafarers' Net as usual, at 0310GMT on 14300kHz - Jane, NH7TZ, Net Control from Kauai, was clearer than she has been of late - she's happy to keep contact for as long as possible, even though we're now in the Atlantic.
Winds around 15kt from WNW - being on a close reach, headed just W of N, meant pounding into the seas ahead - never a comfortable point of sail.

Thursday 2:30am Close to dawn. Just changed on to starboard tack, in advance of wind veering to N from nearly NNW - the Low that will pass right over Uku, on 'One and All', will be passing E to our N sometime today but should only give us fairly light winds by comparison with the 30+ kt Uku will experience. I trust he'll stay safe - he's very experienced and ready for the event to happen - he said he'll keep going under just a storm jib probably (no mainsail - he'll drop that).

A beautiful sight when I went on deck to tack around .... Bright moon high up, ahead of us, a silver-bright Venus above the W end of the orange/yellow strip of light on the S horizon and a clear sky overhead. The wind and seas were well down and suddenly it felt so much more peaceful - I felt myself relaxing...

9:30am A solitary Black-browed albatross circles around. Clear sky has been replaced now by total grey overcast as the Low passing by to our N brings its cloud. Wind light just now and from N-NNE, with seas still well down - maybe 1-2m/3-6ft. We're just bouncing and rocking gently in the slight swell as we sail NW, close-hauled still, making just 3kt.

Wind could increase as the Low, heading E, passes closer - N wind now indicates it's still to our NW-NNW. When our wind is from the E, I'll know the Low is N of us.

Midday Wind NNE-NE so our course is now NNW. Total cloud cover still, slight rain.
Just got back down below - feels as though I must have been two hours on deck... Had to free the main halyard which I spotted a couple of days ago had got behind mast steps near mast top. Normally have strong twine in place between steps to stop that happening- but clearly not there now. Involved lowering mainsail completely, freeing halyard and finally raising mainsail again - without anything else getting caught anywhere. Suddenly realised that present very light wind gave an ideal time to sort it out. Sounds simple and quick - but was definitely not so!! All done now, ready for needing to hoist more sail later - as it was, I could not hoist full sail or even with a first reef - bad news in light winds!

2:45pm Just had a call from Megan Thomas, CBC Victoria - interview for an item updating on progress, to be broadcast later today or tomorrow. (Thanks to Luis Soltero and Redport/GMN for making that possible)
Wind has veered enough that we're nearly making our preferred course - will have to ease sheets from now until on a broad reach, as wind veers more over today and tonight.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 85. We made 58 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Daily DMGs getting smaller and smaller...!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 85 (by daily DMGs): 8,523 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 620 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 193 n.ml. to SW

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

TIME: 2018/12/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 49-42.17S LONGITUDE: 053-34.59W COURSE: 348T SPEED: 2.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 996.4hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: NE of Falklands: 200ml. Total cloud, drizzle, as Low passes over to N

Tuesday - Christmas Day 4pm Wind has now settled down from the sudden gusting up to 25-30kt of two hours ago . Had to abandon my chat with Uku and get up on deck in a hurry to reef down and gybe so we could make our course in the strong SW wind that piped up so very quickly.

Just as I was tensioning the starboard running backstay, I realised we had company - a small group of dolphins were leaping and twisting in the air off the rough waves - often landing in the sea on their backs! Several times, one would smack its tail loudly on the surface - they were clearly having a great time and were circling Nereida ... around and around... I managed a few photos - maybe someone can ID them for me? I stayed on deck to watch them for quite a time - what a lovely Christmas present!!

6pm Seas are well up - easily 4-5m/13-17ft - so we're moving about a lot. Sun tried to get out a short while ago and I can see some blue sky off to the NW - but not where we are... After the rain, it's feeling cold and damp. We're on a broad reach making our course of 061T to a waypoint at 45S 40W - trying to get well above most of the Lows that keep coming by with strong winds!

Later - a lot of contacts made on radio - plenty of "Merry Christmas!" and "Feliz Navidad!" exchanged!
Discussion on weather had with Peter, ZL1PWM. Not looking good ahead if we keep heading NE or even N - suggestion to head NW for a bit to avoid next problem Low coming and then head NE once that Low has passed over - then there's another really nasty Low expected by New Year or just after - a real 'beast', reaching up to around 40-43S...

Wednesday - Boxing Day 10am Tacked around early this morning - at about 5am - trying to head NW - but with wind from WNW, could only make NNW, in fact, we're only making just W of due N - time to tack around and head W.

Midday Feeling a tad frustrated - not possible to head NW (to avoid bad weather was the idea) against NW wind! And the courses we're having to make to tack upwind are horrible... We were heading almost SW before but have just tacked around again so we're now heading N again. Going upwind immediately means banging into the seas - so not having a very pleasant or comfortable time just now...

Slept a lot this morning, but also chatted to Uku. He's resigned to being clobbered tomorrow by the Low I'm hoping to avoid by this change of course. He'll be right in the path of the intenifying system and there's nothing he can do about it... With winds forecast to 30+ kt, gusts will be higher, with seas to match. I should be below the Low, in lighter winds, hopefully.

Nice to see the sun shining now - clear blue sky and good wind - pity we're banging into the seas all the time!

Magnetic variation has now switched over to 2 degrees W - so I have to remember to subtract it from compass/magnetic readings now, in order to get True values.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 84. We made 74 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. We lost 16 miles just in one tack to the NNW! Total would have been over 100ml, if path actually taken were used instead.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 84 (by daily DMGs): 8,465 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 608 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 195 n.ml. to WSW

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

TIME: 2018/12/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 50-33.39S LONGITUDE: 052-52.52W COURSE: 246T SPEED: 4.9kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 0%
BARO: 1008.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: ENE of Falklands: 195ml

Monday - Christmas Eve 5:40pm Still a lovely sunny afternoon - water's on for tea with some Christmas cake (actually Dundee, but that's close enough, except for the missing marzipan and icing). Missing also are Brussels sprouts and roast potatoes with the roast turkey and chestnut stuffing, mince pies and Christmas pudding ... next year!
Let out second reef to speed us up a bit in light NW wind. Fixed the Hydrovane problem (I hope!) - took a time, perched at stern of boat but seas well down so not feeling at risk at all. Also untangled the lazy running backstay - the line had got totally twisted around itself and had become very difficult to tension or release. Need to do the same on the other side when it's not in use.
Have dried one carpet, two jackets, my boots and my warm, woolly hat - all in the bright sunshine this afternoon. It actually felt warmer (air temperature not so high, in fact: 10C/50F!)

7pm The tea was so good I had another (Calm enough now to have it in your lovely mug, Louise!) Been getting out food 'goodies' to spoil myself - olives, pate, hummus, a tin of lovely wild salmon I'll have with asparagus tonight - and chocolate...
Wind has died more - but seas are a good 4m/13ft - I thought they might have died right down by now, but clearly not doing so. Having a good look around to check on things on deck while it's easy.
Sun is getting close to setting. This really feels like (mid)summer!
A pair of albatross rested in the water very close by - and were rubbing their beaks together in affection - 'spooning'!

Tuesday - Christmas Day Merry Christmas! 5am - some of us were up early! Downloading weather files and emails - lots of Christmas greetings - thank you! We've been ambling along rather slowly all night, raining now. At 2.30am, took a photo of the Southern horizon - thin line of bright gold - sun not far below, clearly! Back to my bunk for more sleep...

11.15am Magnetic variation ZERO - 'True' and Magnetic' (compass) readings the same!
Grey sky and fine drizzle. Suddenly found us heading S! The wind had died and gone into the ESE... Gybed around but with almost no wind, we're drifting 300T (W of NW) at 1.6kt, despite the bow pointing NNW and sails (and Fred) trimmed for a close reach... At least we're no longer heading S, but it would also be nice to head E, not W! Will just have to wait for the wind to strengthen some more so we have steerage.
The Low developing not far to our N is clearly doing just that and we're on its S side, with pressure having dropped now to 993.5hPa from its earlier 1000hPa. Eventually, it will veer to SW and strengthen - according to forecast, in just a few hours' time .... Coffee...! Merry Christmas from the S. Atlantic!

1.45pm Finally back on course - saw we were headed SW after a wind shift so, after gybing around again, we are now headed NE... Still grey and drizzly, with light wind still, but wind should now strengthen slowly.

Short while later...Wind came right up, for sure... but quickly ... more tomorrow...!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 83. We made just 58 n.ml. over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. No surprise that it's a low DMG...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 83 (by daily DMGs): 8,391 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 535 n.ml. to SW; Volunteer Pt penguin colony, on NE corner of E.Falkland: 130 n.ml. due W

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

TIME: 2018/12/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 51-27.09S LONGITUDE: 054-14.50W COURSE: 062T SPEED: 6.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 25kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 994hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 10.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: E of Falklands - Volunteer Pt 130 ml due W

Sunday 7:30pm What a difference a few hours makes! Such a wonderful day earlier ...and not long after, the once-blue sky was covered in grey rain clouds, the wind had veered to the N-NNE and we struggled to make 080T.

I'm not sure which way to head for the best- there seem to be problem Lows ahead - certainly on Tuesday (Christmas Day) night, not far from the Falklands, heading SE across our path unless I keep to the W of it - which I'll try to do. Presently, I'm tacking to get N against the headwind, so progress is slow.

Midnight Wind gusting to 30kt or so, rough seas - about 4m or so and close together .. Very noisy and uncomfortable! Tacked around earlier and took in 3rd reef as wind began to rise, well in advance - glad I did that - need that well-reefed sail now! Close-hauled at present, but will need to ease the sheets more as the wind backs overnight to NW and then to W in the morning.
Excused myself from 7160 'sched' but came back later from being on deck and made several contacts: Argentinian and Chilean - Feliz Navidad!
To my bunk now - I need more sleep than I'm getting...

5:20am Falklands now 80 miles to WNW. Uku now 55miles to our N. Foggy with NNW wind around 20kt and rough seas around 4m/12ft - close-hauled still, so banging into them and not very comfortable.
Spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in Stanley, on 80m and Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne, on 20m - good propagation to both on their frequencies. Trying to make NNE for time being to avoid stronger winds in Low on 25/26th to NE.
Magnetic variation has now reduced right down to 2E - just two degrees now! Means compass is virtually showing a true reading.

6:45 am Just shook out 3rd reef - wind down a lot.. Sun tried to get out - fog gone, clouds showing a few breaks... Seas still big and pounding into them and speed down as a result...

8:20am Scattered white clouds, wind less, seas still well up - expect very light wind to persist for most of the day now, backing to WSW soon, so hoping the seas will lie down soon also. If they lie down enough, and wind down also, might get the genoa in place - we'll see!
Went back up on deck, hoping to photograph small storm petrel close to Nereida while I was adjusting Fred, but it had gone - a white-chinned petrel was flying around instead.Back to my bunk now - need more sleep!

Midday Thin white, very broken cloud layer over NW part of the sky. Bright sun - put clothes and boots out to dry.
Chatted to Uku - he's about 75 miles due N of Nereida, has a good 15kt W wind and is making 6kt due north in clean air, also enjoying the sun and (relative! warmmth. He's well N of the Falklands now whereas I'm still in its lee - but seas well down so about to try to fix remaining small Hydrovane problem and then, if seas and wind down enough, will see about genoa - feeling rather trepidatious - it's big sail and not easy to hoist, even at the dock, single-handed in any wind at all...! We'll see if that happens or not - will take an age just to undo the lashing! Deliberately not hoisting more sail so jobs can be done in relative calm, even though it means we're not making the speed we could be.
Magnetic variation now just 1 degree East...
Feeling as though I'm having a holiday, weather and conditions are so nice just now - very relaxed! A nice Christmas present, even if only temporary...

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 82. We made 77 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 82 (by daily DMGs): 8,333 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 478 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falkland: 88 n.ml. to W

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

TIME: 2018/12/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 51-58.15S LONGITUDE: 055-31.76W COURSE: 040T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 25%
BARO: 998.2hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: E of Falklands - 83 ml off Lovely sunny afternoon - ambling in light breeze and getting jobs done

Apologies to many of you for belated email replies - have been busy onboard but will get to replying - even if briefly. Thanks for your supportive emails - much appreciated!

Saturday 5pm Seems I'm looking in the wrong hole in the Hydrovane for a grub screw that needs tightening...!! Will look again - with Loctite and Allen key in hand...

Has been a very pleasant day so far - winds just strong enough to make up to 6kt in the right direction in seas that have lain right down. Looking at weather files, it seems we're about to be becalmed again - possibly over the daytime tomorrow, rather than tonight - we'll see soon enough! And then again, early next week - caught between a high and a Low. Could be on Christmas Day...

7:40pm A low sun shining brightly from below edge of cloud layer in W - close to sunset. At present, we're sailing well at 6kt - just had to adjust Fred to bring us closer to the veered wind - coming now from WNW, not W, as is the slightly increased swell - 2-3m now, instead of the 1-2m it has been for most of the day.

Having some of the thick split green pea and ham soup I made this afternoon - decided I needed to take myself in hand and get back to 'proper' food (as well as plenty of sleep) - so made soup. It will last another day or so and is very filling. Dessert is drried apricots and prunes - maybe with some chocolate...

Waiting to see if the wind will die again soon, as it has done the last two nights around sunset. Maybe the weather forecast is correct - and it will not happen until around dawn tomorrow.

Will be monitoring the radio frequency 14160 at 0000Z (8pm LT), and then get a nap before the evening's 'scheds'. This afternoon's contact on 18115 did not work out well - too much static on frequency and too light to copy anyone - as I move further E, propagation changes. A contact in Montevideo, Uruguay, Diego, CX4DI, came booming in early this morning on 40m, though!

11:45pm A wonderful night now! A clear sky, with Southern Cross high up and the bright near-full moon throwing a path of light to us across the sea with its slight swell.
The wind had suddenly started backing around 9:30pm. First to WNW - so adjusted Fred for a broad reach .. but then backed quickly a lot more - had to gybe onto starboard tack and we were eventually on a beam reach in a S wind... A bit of further fine tuning as the wind slowly died down.... about to be becalmed again?? So far, we're making our course at 2.8-3kt... Seems like an all-too-familiar scenario....

E. Falkland is now 60 miles to our NW, with tiny Beauchene Island 40 miles to WW.

Sunday 1:45am Just noticed we were heading S at 2kt - the wind had done a U-turn - now from WNW... Had to gybe around to make our course again. But at least we're moving - at 3kt in the right direction.

6am A beautiful sunny day - still no cloud and a light wind from WNW - have managed to keep going up to now more or less on course! Wind expected to stay light over the day, strengthening later. Adjusted Fred a bit. Black-browed albatross came by and looked at me.. Back to my bunk...

8:30am Making 4kt on course in NW wind - expected to veer further to N by evening, and strengthen.
Thought to climb the mast to retrieve the end of the starboard lazyjack line from its small block on the mast - but realised there was more swell than i'd anticipated and the wind was possibly getting up, so decided it would have to wait a bit longer - it was also further up than I'd thought - well beyond the first spreader.
Still a beautiful calm day - not a cloud in the sky! Black-browed parents with their youngster and white-chinned petrels circling close by.
Enjoying guava juice, to be followed by fresh coffee, with my breakfast - will need to replenish galley with fruit juices and cereal. Boiling some eggs.

Midday Boat sailing gently at 4.4 kt in NW wind. Busy working on Genoa furler in bow, while sunny and light wind with small swell. All in bits, at present, about to try to fix end of line in place and then wrap the line around the drum, ready for sail to be hoisted at some point.

1:45pm All done! Step 1 completed! Had a few hiccups but everything worked out better than I expected. Wrapped the line on the drum the wrong way around initially - had to unwrap and rotate the drum the other way to store the line on the drum so that, on exiting, it lead correctly towards the cockpit - if I got that wrong (and it didn't seem to want to lead any other way), the worse that can happen is the UV strip on the sail edge is on the inside, not outside, of the sail when furled - no big deal at present... I'll soon find out when, eventually, I'm able to hoist the genoa again... Need VERY calm conditions for that to happen!

2pm Chatted to Uku - said gale expected just to N of Falklands Christmas Day- headed E so would cross our path if we keep NE. Also another deep Low expected on 26th - also to N of Falklands, headed E. Would be good if both could be avoided...

(PS 3pm - Wind from N - tacked around but will need to tack again soon - not a good course at present. Don't want to get too close to Falklands.)

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 81. We made 102 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Kept going overnight...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 81 (by daily DMGs): 8,256 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 406 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falkland: 88 n.ml. to NW

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

TIME: 2018/12/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 52-59.94S LONGITUDE: 056-98.22W COURSE: 296T SPEED: 3.2kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.0M CLOUDS: 50%
BARO: 1001.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 13.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: SE of Falklands - 60 ml off. Tacked around in N wind

Friday 4.30pm Soon after hoping not to have to gybe around, the wind backed more - so gybing was needed to keep our ENE course, passing S of the Falklands and N of Burdwood Bank.
Wind has died right down but the swell is really big - a good 4.5m/15ft, sometimes more. A preventer on the boom is essential in these conditions - but it adds to the time taken to gybe around.
A grey, totally cloudy sky - looks quite rainy but none as yet. Lots of birds - one Wandering albatross glided by and a lot of smaller birds are flitting about near the surface.

7pm The wind died completely and we are drifting around - just like last night -around sunset also.
Eventually, I noticed we were sailing in a straight line at 1.5-2kt - but due W! The wind had gone into the N. Had to gybe around and we're presently making almost no speed close-hauled - but at least we're making way in the right direction now. I hope the wind will come up soon, preferably not too strong... The forecast was for around 20kt from W this evening and around midnight.
Have a problem with Fred - a vital piece seems too loose - something is definitely wrong.

9pm We're still drifting - but no longer ENE - heading SSE instead - very frustrating!

10pm Gybed around to see what course we can make - SW! Boat is pointing NNW - N and drifting SW at 0.5kt - no matter what the boat's heading...

Saturday 1:40am Tried gybing around again - not sure that this is any better - drifting SE at 1-1.5kt with boat pointing NE - must be a SE-going current this way. Making Easting but also going S at a rate of knots... So very frustrating still....

4am Daylight. Wind has finally come up a bit from NNW - nice to be making our course, even if slowly - 4-4.5kt.
Tried to fix Hydrovane ('Fred') but seems a grub/set screw has gone missing from the vane adjuster - working just now but not sure for how long or how to deal with the problem - in contact with John Curry - always very helpful.

Back to my bunk for more sleep - must make sure I get plenty each day - have not been getting enough recently but must prioritize it.

10am Wind up nicely now from NNW at 15kt, maybe. Still have no wind display but we're making 5.6-6kt with wind just for'd of the beam - almost beam reaching. Seas are still very slight - only 1.5m/4-5ft. Sky is full of grey cloud but brighter than earlier.
Bob, VP8LP, has commented that the Falklands are expecting rain on Christmas Day - a present they badly need, in fact! The 'camps' (enormous fields of sparse grass where sheep graze) are very dry and brown now, in midsummer. I met Bob and explored E.Falkland a bit when I stopped in Stanley, in the Falklands, on my way from Ushuaia, in March 2011 - fascinating, very British(!), place with plenty of penguins to see - I saw Kings, Magellanic and Gentoo, with their moulting young, at the Volunteer Pt reserve.

11:30am Group of three storm petrels - all dark with white band on rump/top of tail close to water just astern - using our disturbed water to look for food?

Midday Wonderful! Got very excited to make contact with the Falklands! Just had a long chat with the crew on the RAF plane that flew low overhead, checking out the boat as part of a regular patrol of boats in and near Falklands waters.
They took photos and said they'd try to get them to me - I pointed them to my website and suggested sending to my website manager, Mike... That would be just great!

12:45pm It's so nice being in the cockpit watching the birds around - Wandering and Black-browed albatross soaring, Antarctic prions circling around, storm petrels dancing on the sea surface, white-chinned petrels zooming by - the usual crowd!! But it's so cold, especially in the wind. I've taken, and deleted, so many photos ... the birds always come really close when I'm not ready for the shot!
wind slowly backing - having to adjust Fred at regular intervals - but still very pleasant sailing with seas well down - 1.5-2m - we're just bouncing along on a broad reach now at around 6kt with 2 reefs in main and full staysail.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 80. We made just 70 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. More drifting in no wind overnight again - takes our daily distance run way down.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 80 (by daily DMGs): 8,154 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 308 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falklands: 120 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-24.26S LONGITUDE: 059-33.93W COURSE: 075T SPEED: 5.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 990.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Still passing N of Burdwood Bank, S of Falklands - 60ml off

Friend Steve Pointon was 'Walking for the Wounded' today (Friday) - 26 miles from work to home. Hope you managed the walk OK with no big blisters this time, Steve, but plenty collected for wounded veterans! Well done!

Thursday 4:30pm A lovely sunny day following on from the big 'blow' just before 2pm - a lot of blue sky around with broken cirrus up above. Feels very quiet and serene, bouncing along gently for a change, in calm seas now.

Later: Wind died away totally - we just drifted around under a blue sky with birds for company, unable to steer in any given direction and with sails doing nothing except slat...
Gybed several times in an attempt to get us moving as the almost non-existent wind shifted around - to no avail... Very frustrating! Was later told it looked as though Fred was having a party!

Lovely sunset .... and a slight wind came up - but from the NE - exactly our planned heading.
I tried heading each possible way - either we could head W or SSE - neither were good. "... that was a nice looking triangle you drew on the Aurora tracker today. What was happening ?", a friend asked later.

By midnight, we were heading roughly on course, tight to the wind making aroud 2-3kt.

Friday 4am Up for radio with Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne and Bob, VP8LP, in the Falklands who gave Uku his daily weather update for 'One and All' - pretty well the same for 'Nereida', we're still quite close and both now headed NE - or trying to!
NW wind had got up so we're making 6-7kt - and on course...!

7am Changed course to round Burdwood Bank - very shallow. I'd planned to avoid it in case of strong wind - which we're now getting - so I'm please my route planning has worked out well - it's bumpy enough, just now, without adding to the rough seas by crossing a shoal area for a minimum of 12 hours. Off to my bunk, now we're settled - will need to have a series of naps, in case wind shifts over next few hours.

10.40am Up again to trim mainsail and adjust Fred - mostly wind has been pretty consistent at F5, but has backed from NW to W. A gorgeous, sunny, but cold, day with blue sky above. Lots of smaller birds swooping close to the waves, enjoying the free uplift. 23 miles to my WP to round the shallow bank and start heading more E - keeping S of the Falklands Back to my bunk for another short nap - making up on recent lost sleep.

2pm Blue sky and sunshine disappeared a while back - totally cloudy sky now. Changed course -from NNE to ENE, around Burdwood Bank. Wind is W, although it feels rather lighter than earlier, so we can make our course on a very broad reach without gybing - excellent! Time for a very belated breakfast ... or brunch...?!

 

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 79. We made just 88 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Too much drifting in no wind plus headwind...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 79 (by daily DMGs): 8,084 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 246 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falklands: 174 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-35.23S LONGITUDE: 061-29.32W COURSE: 074T SPEED: 5.2kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 4.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 992.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Rounding Burdwood Bank to N.Big swell.Cloudy, cold, damp.

Wednesday 6pm A lovely blue sky with just a few whispy clouds. Seas around 4m/13ft so not exactly calm! W wind of most of today has just backed enough to WSW to have to gybe to keep on course.

Debating whether OK to cross the Burdwood Bank or not - if winds and seas not too strong, should be fine. Wind has been less, about 20kt now, perhaps, but will check weather forecast. It's 300 miles from here. Reading the S.America Pilot...

Wind instrument display suddenly came alive with sensible readings - but soon died again.

8:15pm Sun getting low - almost a clear sky still - just some white cloud low in S and W.

Having a problem sending the daily news/blog - took a long time and many attempts. Often the Iridium stellite system struggles to make, and keep, connections.

Thursday 12.30am = 8.30pm PST - party time in Victoria! Lovely to speak to my friends at RVYC having a celebration of my Cape rounding! Although middle of the night here, the sky was not dark - more twilight with a bright moon shining every now and then through gaps in the thin, broken cloud layer - and a line of light along the southern horizon in between the cloud layer there. I had a 'Dark and Stormy - Nereida version' ready to share a drink with the party - and again, just afterwards, with my Gibsons friends. It felt good to be celebrating!

4am Spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in the Falklands. He gave both Uku and myself a weather forecast for the next two days - basically no wind over the day today until much later or maybe this evening. 14-19kt WNW then, easing by midnight and on into morning but becoming strong by midday (W 21-29kt) tomorrow, as rain comes in possibly, easing by evening and dying away again by midnight tomorrow to 6-11kt from WNW.

Mark was also on air and heard both Uku and myself talking to Bob but not quite well enough for a chat - pity! I hear he's doing well and closing on J-L. Go, Mark!!

8am A lovely sunny day, making just 2.5kt in not much wind. A pair of Black-browed albatross and a white-chinned petrel keep circling the boat - sometimes close to - and a small dark storm petrel, Leach's or similar, with white band on its rump, is flitting around close to the water

My wind instrument has come alive and is saying there's 10kt of wind from 035T. I can believe the 10kt, since I just gybed the main and got us moving in the light wind, but we're making NNE - so the wind can't be from there... maybe it's from E-ENE, since we're very close-hauled on starboard tack.

I'm having a problem adjusting to sailing north, rather than south... and also having a problem with time - the daylight hours are so long and we've moved through several time zones recently... Uku asked Bob what his local time was - from Bob's answer, it seems that the Falklands keep Summer saving time - his time was one hour ahead of what I expected - but I'm not changing my 'local time' which is presently Atlantic Standard Time (in Canada): GMT-4hr. (52 30'W is longitude of next time zone change)

It's calm enough now for me to have a look at the genoa furler problem - I know it won't be easy but need to get started or it will never be fixed... I'd far rather be in my bunk, getting the rest of last night's sleep!

10am Well, I got out the manual to remind me how furler was put together - drinking some nice fresh coffee. Also had to keep an eye on our sails/course - didn't want to head W of N so we're very close hauled, cutting our speed. Sky is very overcast - looks like rain coming in.

Chocolate brown juvenile albatross is circling around with its parents - Black-browed albatrosses, mainly white body and head, with distinctive mark over the eyes, dark wings & upper body between and black-edged, well-marked underwings - a colony of them breed in the many islands around Cape Horn. Not as large as the Wandering or Royal albatrosses but still impressive as they glide around - rarely flapping their wings.

10.30am Foggy! Adjusted Fred off the wind more - speed up to 3.6kt but had no choice but to accept heading due N. Must keep an eye out that wind doesn't back further to send us NW.

Seeing a boat 'Under Way Sailing' on AIS scteen, just 13 miles away to NE, headed W making just 2.7kt - the "Tai An", fishing.

Midday Wind was taking us W of N - has clearly backed. Tried to tack around - not enough boat speed - so gybed around (always works!) Now close hauled on port tack, making over 5 kt in increased wind. Not quite making our course yet - but wind will possibly back some more soon.

1.30pm Wow! From drifting off course in no wind - suddenly the wind got up ... and up ... and up. We ended up speeding along at 8kt or more for quite a time! wind must have been well over 30kt for some time. Birds appeared in large numbers and were clearly excited by the strong wind - swooping around in small groups, often very close to Nereida. I was thrilled to see a Cape petrel among them - distinctive in its splattered black-and-white plumage. The first time I ever saw one was approaching New Zealand for the first time, at the end of a Tasman Sea crossing. There were lots of different albatross and petrels (but, interestingly, no prions).

Finally the wind started easing and slowly died down - to about 10kt or less giving boat speed of 3.5kt. We're now ambling along at 5kt in seas that are unusually calm.

After the wind had died down, many of the birds took a rest on the water - often in groups. A juvenile albatross had both parents with it. Quite an exciting event altogether...

Took lots of photos - but having a problem downloading them to post here - another project to work on now....

Will post some when I can.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 78. We made 89 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 78 (by daily DMGs): 7,996 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 160 n.ml. to SW; Staten Island: 26 n.ml. to WSW; Stanley, E.Falkland: 258 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-43.48S LONGITUDE: 063-05.20W COURSE: 036T SPEED: 5.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 993.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C

COMMENT: BIG gust under cloud - SOG 8kt for a time, until died down.Birds galore!;

Tuesday 4pm Finished speaking to radio friends on 17m a short while ago - was great to hear Tom, N5TW - a continuing help to me on making good contact via Winlink for many of my emails and weather downloads. Many thanks, Tom!
I should also take the opportunity to thank, once again, Luis Soltero for loaning the use of the Aurora/Redport terminal with its Iridium connection giving GPS tracker and phone connection, as well as an email facility - enabling sending of photos with my daily reports. I've been making good use of both systems while on passage.

The sun is shining after a brief shower and I'm feeling very happy - a major problem I was convinced I had several hours ago has vanished into thin air! It looked as though a mast-climb was unavoidable... The mainsail seemed to have become entangled somehow at the first spreader - I thought the main halyard and third reef line, being both looser than they should, together with being on almost a dead run most of the time recently, were the cause of the problem, together with the strong winds and the tossing about of the boat by the angry seas over the last few days. It seemed I'd have to climb the mast and reach out to the end of the first spreader to cut the sail away where I thought it was trapped and damaged - I couldn't see us gybing after Cape Horn, as we'd need to, without the sail tearing if I didn't cut it free beforehand... I got into my climbing gear to check it out, also deck harness and gri-gri, thinking to plan well ahead of the calm conditions hoped for near the Cape ... Then went on deck to trim the staysail for a beam reach - the main had freed itself in the SSW wind and was looking fine... What a reprieve!!!

Having tea with chocolate brownies to celebrate - and then organising a nice meal in the present slightly calmer seas - still the occasional big one coming by to test my handholds...

8:30pm Went to let out 3rd reef in the far lighter, very pleasant, conditions - spotted the lazy running backstay block lying on the side deck with no shackle there to hold it in place... Without it, we couldn't change tack since the running backstay is a strong line that helps support the mast when the staysail is in use - which it is all the time now that the genoa cannot be used. Had to deal with that immediately - searched my spares and found three possible shackles - two of the pins were just a tad too big but the third fitted fine - I've 'moused' the pin in place. I'm sure I 'moused' all the shasckles on deck so I'm surprised this happened... Maybe I missed one or two? I'll be checking tomorrow in good light. Had just enough light around sunset to see well enough.

Took a photo of the group of islands ahead that include Isla Hornos - light is fading and I wanted a record of something close to the big event!

Wednesday 12.30am Cape Horn light seen flashing on the grey 'mound' that is Cape Horn on Isla Hornos - 9 miles off to NE. Seas have got up a bit with increased wind - appropriate, I feel!
Moon shining brightly between a few clouds. Still a lot of light in the western sky.
Can't relax until well past the Cape...
Thanks to so many of you who have sent good wishes for a safe passage past Cape Horn.

2:43am AST Wonderful to be passing the Cape finally! Unbelievably at this hour, there was a lot of light around - it never really got dark and now, well before dawn, the Cape was clear to see, with its white flashing light low down. Took lots of photos in hope that one or two might turn out well. Wind and seas suddenly got up, as I'd been warned they would, and we were making good speed at the time of passing. The wind was cold but that didn't matter, the moon was shining between clouds - there was even an early albatross flying by... The whole setting was exhilarating...

2.45am Took a long time gybing around in big seas after passing the Cape. Caught sight of a sailing boat approaching unexpectedly - hsd to change course to avoid it! Wondered if it was 'One and All' - but Uku had passed the Cape a few hours earlier - close to, I was amused to see. (He'd claimed he wasn't interested in passing near the Cape but I'd pointed out that his friends would like to see photos, if possible - so he clearly dcided to get close - probably having reasonable light, not the darkness he'd expected, helped his decision.) Wind was well up at 25-30kt so I had to reef down again before gybing... Lots to do! Very ready for some sleep...

Wednesday 2pm LT (=GMT-4hr) - into the next time zone - actually crossed into Canadian Atlantic zone (GMT-4) on passing 67 30'W - just before Cape Horn which is at just over 67 15'W (67 15.245W to be precise!).

Now making for E of Staten Island (Isla Estados) and will then head W of the shallow Burdwood Bank - with big swells expected, somewhere to keep clear of. I'm hoping not to get too much swell inshore of it. Then S of the Falklands, past E. Falkland, heading finally NE, aiming to get further from and on the N side of the many strong weather systems down here.

Greetings to the Royal Victoria Y.C. members gathering this evening to celebrate my Cape Horn rounding - I'm honoured that you should do so and will be with you in spirit - I'm hoping to join you in a celebratory 'Dark and Stormy'!!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 77. We made 133 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 77 (by daily DMGs): 7,907 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): from Cape Horn LH: 72 n.ml.; to Staten Island: 68 n.ml.; to E of Stanley, E.Falklands: 298 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 55-32.50S LONGITUDE: 065-15.66W COURSE: 063T SPEED: 5.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1004.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 9.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Heading to E of Staten Isl. Seas up again in stronger wind than y'day.

Monday 5pm Wind is back up to 30kt - glad the third reef is still in place!
Finished chatting on radio and made a nice mug of hot soup - a big wave came along and half the soup went all over the stove top - so not only did I have half what I had looked forward to - but I then had the job of cleaning up the mess in these rough conditions... with galley sink seacock closed, of course, just to help matters along. Plastic kitchen bowl, emptied into head, and seawater (from dedicated pump) for rinsing the sponge used, to the rescue....
The fact that I'd been needing to clean the stove top anyway is neither here nor there... but at least that job got done at the same time - looks good again!
Bumstrap is an essential in the galley just now - difficult to do anything safely for any length of time without it.

While on the radio, I asked Jim, WB2REM, to place Nereida's position on Google Earth to see if we were on the continental shelf yet - seems we're not, but quite close - which would also partly explain the wave action - they pile up at the edge of the shelf as they head inshore so maybe that's adding to our swell. He said we're running parallel to the edge of it just now. Propagation today on 17m was excellent and several of us were able to have a decent conversation for quite a time - unlike some days.

It has been raining a lot today - grey overcast all day long... Why does the sky look miserable when it's rainy grey but the prions look so pretty in their grey and white plumage ?

Back to the galley - need to have some decent food tonight - last night's choice (a dehydrated meal) is definitely not to be repeated.

7.30pm Wind 30kt, gusting up to 35kt now

Tuesday 6am Presently, 115 miles from Cape Horn. It got very 'boisterous' at times overnight - I understand my tracker might be playing up after a particularly energetic 'wave event' - several have tossed us around vigorously.
Another victim was the wind transducer at the mast top. After wind from W at 30-35kt, gusting to 38kt around midnight, by 1am, I noticed the display was not behaving well and by 2am it had gone completely - a series of dashes on the wind display is all that there is to be seen now - damn!!!! It's very useful to see the wind angle to the boat when nearly dead downwind as we have been for the last few days and it's nice to know the wind speed and direction at a glance from down below.

I've been sent Uku's position ('One & All') at 0400Z and 0800Z today and see that he crossed ahead of us overnight - he's now to starboard of us, roughly ten miles to our S-SE.

Wind feels as though it has eased a bit. We've just crossed over onto the continental shelf where the depths rise up dramatically from thousands of metres to just hundreds.

7am Three Wandering albatross seen soaring gracefully and effortlessly, circling around Nereida under a grey sky. All-white underbody with black underwing tips, no 'splashes' of white on the dark wings but a white upper body in between, extending to just beyond the wing bases. A few prions busily swooping close to the sea and a white-chinned petrel also came gliding by. It's busy out here - breakfast time?

It hardly got dark last night - I've not seen the moon for a time so wonder if it's around full moon so it was lighting up the cloud layer from above? Otherwise, it's simply because we're well south and midsummer is only three days away down here.

Uku commented, during our radio chat yesterday evening, that he'd not seen the sun for several days to get a sight so he's running on dead reckoning. He knows our position and roughly where he is in relation to us which was maybe why he crossed over to get further offshore - there are a few islands ahead, inshore of our path to the Cape.

11:45am Seeing a small grey lump rising from the sea on the horizon off to port - Islas Ildefonso are 9-10 miles off - the reason Uku changed course overnight, no doubt. Wind must still be close to 30kt since we're still making 6kt SOG on a broad reach. One albatross is soaring nearby in the hazy sunlight - clouds are white, not grey, just now, and slightly broken.

2pm Spoke to Uku a short time ago - over VHF - 'One and All' is only 12 miles to our S - friends told him. No sign on my AIS display still.
I re-booted the wind display - readings came back - but total rubbish! No use at all.
Slowed a lot - need to trim sails ... and let out that hard-working third reef?!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 76. We made 145 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 75 (by daily DMGs): 7,629 7,774 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 62 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 55-58.34S LONGITUDE: 069-07.03W COURSE: 097T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 50%
BARO: 996.4hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Slowed down in less wind. Some sunshine and scattered cumulus. C.Horn 62ml



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