S/V Nereida sails around the world

After posting my daily report yesterday, I realised the solar display seemed to be very low - at midday, in full sun at times, as the boat moves around, we were only getting half of what I expected to see. I went to check the fuses again - the circuit that had been fine before was still so but the circuit that had had a blown fuse was giving no power at all. I even changed the fuse twice over - but fuses were fine, circuit not. So now I have to chase the wiring and connections back to the panels - in present rolly conditions not something I fancy doing on the after-deck, perched over the stern with a multimeter and nothing much else to hold on to...

5pm Frigate bird flew by - but didn't stop... (They like to perch on mast tops overnight - often doing damage - they're big, heavy birds!) Very warm, blue sky, just a few clouds with a band of cloud over SE horizon. Winds have been fairly consistent at 16-17kt from NNE.

Making ~170T, heading for possible gap in ITCZ at 128-9W - if I'm lucky, that will work but will no doubt find squally weather soon after. ITCZ is not looking too good just now. We're well out of the path of the big Mexican hurricane - but it seems to be affecting the winds south of here - they're all looking a bit of a mess!

Went to make a quick visual inspection of the solar panels and their wiring - nothing untoward seen, so nothing achieved so far....

As sun was getting low, started cooking evening meal - perfect timing... all done in good light. Lovely sunset - decided not to post photo - how many gorgeous sunset photos can one post??! Noted sun had disappeared by 7.10pm PDT. Got to eat meal in last of daylight, well before checking in to Pacific Seafarers' Net. Good copy on Jane, NH7TZ, in Kauai so was able to give my report easily. Nice to speak to John, VK4DBJ, briefly - he's high up, inland from Brisbane, Australia.

Didn't sleep too well overnight - kept hearing strong wind and feeling big swell - so eventually took in a second reef and things calmed down. But then kept convincing myself the wind had changed direction and we were heading on a stupid course - got up several times to check ... Each time we were beautifully on course - so eventually got some sleep!

Monday Grey skies - we had RAIN overnight! First for a long time - a good rinse off for all the sticky salt deposits everywhere on deck! Winds were very light after that, so out came the 2nd reef I'd tied in during the early hours when winds were over 20kt for a time.

Still studying the frequent weather updates I'm asking for. Heading more towards 130W now - hoping to avoid a big area of convection to E of there as we near 10N. Photo shows Mexican hurricane - 'Nereida' is just off the photo to left of middle - well out of harm's way. I'm getting these satellie images regularly to see where the 'nasty' convection is - and try to avoid it. In the second photo, 'Nereida' is in the second (clear) square to left of the hurricane's centre - no bad weather here for a day or two.

1200 PDT - end of Day19. We made 139 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday. Slowing down now.

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

TIME: 2018/10/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 17-46.48N LONGITUDE: 128-00.44W COURSE: 195T SPEED: 5.5kt WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1015.2hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 25C SEA_TEMP: 32C COMMENT: Rain overnight, no big squalls- reef2 in 20kt winds.All reefs now out.

(Note to UK friends - I'll be chatting 'live' from 'Nereida' around 8.30am BST on BBC Solent Radio's "Breakfast Show" Tuesday 23rd Oct. Thanks to Redport/GMN for making that possible via the Aurora satellite terminal loaned to me with Iridium airtime)

It has got warm enough for me to have to discard my last fleece layer... 24C air temperature is quite pleasant. The sea is warmer - 30C at its surface. No wonder Mexico has hurricanes - they feed off the warm waters.

Sat 4pm Finished sorting out the pole - had to furl in the genoa and release the lines holding the pole - happy that I managed to avoid a 'genoa wrap' (close call!) and that I also avoided dragging the pole end in the sea - just! Wasn't too bad a task. Conditions have been a lot calmer today, in generally lighter wind than yesterday, so that's why it finally got done.

Next jobs are the galley locker door and the gate support in the port lifelines - another job to be done while it's fairly calm - likely to get more 'boisterous' in a day or so. For the moment, I've used 'Gorilla' tape to help keep the door in place when I open it!

But it's time for tea - and a quick chat with radio friends on 20m...

9.30pm Dealt with gate support missing screw and checked all the others before my evening meal at sunset - all tight and in place now. Lovely moonlit night - most of the clouds have disappeared. Took genoa off pole and over to starboard - wind has veered to ENE and want to keep on a southerly course - so needed to change course relative to the wind. While organising that, had to go forward to release genoa sheet - and spotted that the shackle at the foot of the staysail was undone so staysail was no longer held down. Will need very light wind to unfurl the staysail, release the staysail halyard and re-connect the shackle before tensioning the halyard again and furling the sail. Will also need to look carefully at the furling line - think it needs re-winding. Might have to wait for wind to be sufficiently light. Have tied down foot of staysail as best I can in the meantime.

Sunday

Just before sunrise, took first reef in mainsail - too much canvas in wind up to 17kt again- boat speed still ~6.5kt. Overnight, cloud cover had appeared to give a dark, moonless night but now it was clear again with cloud only on the E and W horizons. The sky stayed clear and sunny with just a few light clouds appearing by midday.

Busy morning trying to check on weather and best southerly course to make. With nasty convection to the W of here, reaching well down to the ITCZ, which is around 8-10N, I'm trying to avoid heading too close to 130W - my original plan. Also, there's another small Low to the E, around 120W - so I'm hoping to 'thread the needle', presently trying to make a course of roughly 170T. Another problem is the most unusual headwind - a S wind - being forecast just below the ITCZ, to the east of 130W, next week. Will decide how to tackle that problem nearer the time - I'm still about five days away from 10N.

10am PDT Three tropic birds came by - graceful white birds - but making a really croaky sound! Couldn't see whether red- or white-tailed ones - colour of tail streamers wasn't easily seen, as they circled the boat at a distance. Got the impression they would have landed if they could... From lack of black markings on wings, think they must have been red-tailed but my N. America birds reference only mentions red-billed - which these might have been if it weren't for them missing the black wing markings shown. So I'll have to be content with simply labelling them 'tropic birds'!

1200 PDT - end of Day18. We made 128 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday. Wind has been mostly from NNE - had to get on deck well after midnight to adjust Fred so we could make a better southerly course.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT): TIME: 2018/10/21 19:00 GMT LATITUDE: 20-06.46N LONGITUDE: 128-20.89W COURSE: 162T SPEED: 6.5kt WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1016.5 TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 30.0C COMMENT: Bright, sunny day. Rolly. Wind up-first reef in.

TIME: 2018/10/21 19:00 GMT LATITUDE: 20-06.46N LONGITUDE: 128-20.89W COURSE: 162T SPEED: 6.5kt WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1016.5 TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 30.0C COMMENT: Bright, sunny day. Rolly. Wind up-first reef in.

Fri 5pm Teatime... I keep fancying chocolate biscuits with my tea! A grey sky. No wonder we're rolling around - the swell is quite steep-to and only 7 seconds apart, so even though only 2-2.5m/6-8ft high, the effect is very noticeable - especially when an even larger one comes by. With little sunshine, the lovely deep blue of yesterday's sea has given way to a grey-green.

My joblist now only has one final item awaiting calmer conditions, being a deck job - renewing bungies on the deck blocks leading lines aft to a winch, cleat or clutch. I also checked the whiteboard over the chart table and decided that, of the jobs listed there, just about all of them were either done or irrelevant - so with great glee, I wiped the board completely clean! I know of three jobs that never made it onto the joblists. They're not relevant to this particular journey, being more to do with the cruising life I'm supposed to be leading.... so they can wait for quite a time. If they get done before I'm back, it will be a nice bonus.

Sunset around 7.30pm PDT - nothing spectacular tonight - lots of grey cloud around still with just a few breaks. Rain falling from under a big cloud in the distance encouraged me to replace the zippered clear storm screen I'd taken down last week - it gives good protection to the companionway in rain.

Actually, we had no rain, or even a hint of it.

Enjoyed a delicious asparagus omelette tonight...

9pm Suddenly, things went quiet - the strong wind had switched off and had eased to 12-14kt. Soon, everything felt a lot smoother, with just an occasional big wave giving a sudden violent motion. A short while later, in NE 14-16kt, we're making 6.7kt. I went up on deck to check - often on nearing a big raincloud, the wind drops ahead of it but then comes back suddenly with a vengeance.... No raincloud in sight. Just the bright moon, shining through a gap in the clouds. The wind is up and down but we make good speed. Time to get to my bunk.

Sat 7.30am PDT Red/orange sun rising behind line of broken cloud on E horizon. We're visited by a red-footed booby... Distinctive white bird with black markings on its upper wings . Circling around for quite a time but I couldn't get it framed in the camera...

10.30am Sky has clouded over - grey with a couple of small blue patches. Wind has remained down around 12 kt from NNE and swell has diminished. Ambling along, often headed due S.

Funny how all the days are undistinguished from each other out here - I have to remind myself of the day of the week. For 'normal' people, it being Saturday or Sunday matters - weekends are not the time to contact anyone at work! At least my time zone has remained unchanged - I'm still in PDT and expect to stay in that time zone for quite a time. It's a good thing I keep a regular, handwritten log, otherwise I might totally lose track of the date!

More woodwork repairs to make - galley door top hinge has lost its screws again and as I went to the mast to release the line holding the 1st reef cringle forward, before shaking out the first reef in these light winds, I noticed a strut beside the port gate in the lifelines had lost both its screws - so its back to being carpenter/handyman again today!

1200 PDT - end of Day17. We made 127 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday. Wil be less tomorrow, I'm thinking. Some sun getting out between clouds - gently ambling along still at 5-5.5kt.

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

TIME: 2018/10/20 19:00 LATITUDE: 22-13.26N LONGITUDE: 128-06.83W COURSE: 205T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 11kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 50% BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 1

AIR_TEMP: 23.0C SEA_TEMP: 30.0C COMMENT: A lot calmer but still rolling a lot... Warming up.

4pm What a wonderful sail we're having just now! We're broad-reaching in NE wind of around 15-18t, making over 6kt most of the time, in glorious sunshine. The sea is that clear, deep, deep blue of the Tropics and the swell is not much and from astern.... No sign of any squalls so far. (They will come soon enough, no doubt!)

Looking at weather files, the hurricane formation off Mexico expected over the weekend and into next week shouldn't affect us directly (fingers well crossed...) - but, clearly, that's something to pay close attention to. The systems are definitely affecting the weather patterns in this part of the Pacific.

In the meantime, I'm just enjoying thoroughly the great sailing of this part of my jouney - it might turn out to be the best overall!

5pm How easy it is to become complacent when running downwind! No sooner had I written that, overlooking the fact that we were now over-canvassed for the increased wind strength, than Fred was overpowered by an unfortunate combination of a big swell that knocked us over coinciding with pointing almost dead downwind at that moment - the mainsail was backed again - we were in 'irons'.... a now-familiar scenario... I reefed the mainsail and then the genoa and got us back on course.

Afer all that, we were still making over 6kt - yet again! I'd really like to get the genoa off the pole, but our course and general wind direction dictate that it stays in use in the shifty winds.

A further problem soon became apparent - the genoa had been flogging from heading upwind in order to reef down and the pole uplift shackle had come loose - the line (& shackle) started flying around madly. Luckily, it caught itself on a shroud and a stowed line, so I was able to grab it and stow it safely - but the pole is now held up by the genoa sheet alone, which will add an interesting twist, although shouldn't prove too difficult (I hope!), to when I come to take the genoa off the pole.

Tea time!

7.30pm PDT Decided to start cooking early - well before the sun began sinking into the W horizon. I'd left it too late yesterday and ended up not cooking at all, although I was quite happy finishing up some nicely ripe Brie on multigrain bread... Had a great meal of gammon, fried eggs and fried, diced potatoes with sweetcorn - all very tasty! I was famished, having missed lunch again.

2a.m. Friday Wind dropped so released all reefs. Not happy with the pole - having unfurled most of the genoa, it's looking quite drunken, with its end far too low down now and held down by genoa sheet and other lines. Will need to furl in the genoa and drop the pole at some point and re-attach the pole topping lift to give it the support it needs to bring it higher.

3.20a.m. Back down below after putting reef back in the mainsail again! That was clearly just a lull - main was backed almost immediately with increased wind of 18kt in the rolly swell conditions. It's presently around 16kt - just 'on the edge'... The hoisting and lowering of the main halyard involved several trips to the mast, both to check that all was free to move and also to tie in the first reef cringle forward to the mast to relieve tension on the sail slide above it. (Sailmakers never seem to read the Selden instructions about placing that first reef point above the boom more aft than the others.) The moon had set, orange-yellow, around 2.30am. Back to my bunk .....

11am We've been sailing in the NE Trades over the last few days. Yesterday, with fewer clouds around than at present (we've almost complete cover), there were clear lines of small clouds along the wind direction.

I found one squid right on top of the hard top over the companionway - they don't usually fly like flying fish so it must have been brought there by e strong wind and rough seas overnight.... We're rocking and rolling a lot in the bigger seas brought on by 18-20kt winds now but we're making good speed - around 6.5 kt..

11.45am Just finished today's clearing up in the galley... Always ends with the 'grand opening' of the galley seacock - good timing needed as we roll from side to side!

1200 PDT - end of Day16. We made 132 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday - better!

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

TIME: 2018/10/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 24-16.46N LONGITUDE: 127-31.30W COURSE: 190T SPEED: 6.5kt WIND_SPEED: 19kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90% BARO: 1019.6hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 8.0C COMMENT: Broken cloud. Rolling a lot... 850ml W of Bahia Magdalena, Baja

Wed 6.45pm

Enjoyed a cup of tea and some biscuits earlier. Sat out in the cockpit, savouring the sailing and the seascape - it's been a very pleasant day today, with bright sun and just a few clouds. A few more jobs were struck off my list. Occasional gusts have us suddenly rushing along and the wind does seem to have increased in general this afternoon, so our speed is averaging more than over the last couple of days. I'm seeing 16-17kt quite often - might have to reef down over night...

Now downloading a satellite image of the N.Pacific from Pt Reyes and will get some tropical weatherfaxes for this area from Honolulu later on - all done in real time using the Pactor modem and HF radio. I'm still exploring all sources of weather info available and how best to get it - and when.... Having to set alarms so as not to miss the broadcasts! Once I know which and when is most useful, I can ask for a copy of them from Saildocs.com. They are all made available on the Internet so it's a matter of knowing the URL and sending off the request using my Aurora terminal - makes for a very speedy download using the XGate software, rather than my SSB radio and does not use too much power. I often request at least one via my radio as a back up or try to listen and download in real time.. All in a constant state of flux as I travel on to new regions, so an ongoing process. Certainly keeps me busy!

7.35pm Just reefed down - we're still making over 6kt but with better control. Wind is definitely up again this evening - seeing 18kt now.

It was sunset just before I started reefing and the half-moon is high and, by the time I'd finished, was shining brightly. It will be another lovely starry night soon with only a few clouds around. Venus is shining in the W above the grey-pink post-sunset sky. I shall have a good look later for the Southern Cross - if not visible early in the night, it should be later on.

4.15am Wind died down - and the change in motion woke me up! Let out genoa to help our speed -will wait for daylight to release reef in mainsail - better able to check all OK. Rolling around a bit but motion is a lot less 'boisterous' than it was late last night.

Looked for Southern Cross but Sthn part of sky is either hazy or there's a line of cloud on the horizon - think I might be seeing it but not sure. Stars overhead and elsewhere are bright and clear - Swan (Cygnus) and Vega are overhead.

Back to my bunk after a short radio chat with several contacts on 7163kHz. Seems my new QRZ.com page that Jim, WB2REM, has just set up is getting a lot of visits!

10.15am Enjoying fresh coffee - sailing smoothly enough to be able to make a fresh pot in my Italian coffee-pot - can't risk using that if it's very rough!

1200 PDT - end of Day15. We made 117 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday due to stronger overnight wind... A rather better figure ....at least it's over 100ml.

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

TIME: 2018/10/18 19:00 LATITUDE: 26-21.81N LONGITUDE: 126-45.12W COURSE: 204T SPEED: 5.5kt WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: NNE SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 15% BARO: 1021.5hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C COMMENT: Sunny,wind picked up a bit later.Over 700 ml from Bahia San Juanito.

Tuesday 3:30pm - I seem to have spent an age checking weather info on view of the forecast hurricane situation off theMexican coast over the next week. Seems that so long as we maintain our SSW-SW course and keep moving, even at present speeds, we should keep out of harm's way. By ten days' time, when a nasty system will possibly be threatening Cabo San Lucas, we should be getting close to 10N, 130W. The next challenge, from there on, will be negotiating the ITCZ and its often-nasty, unpredictable, unstable weather....No telling how that will go until one is either very close or into it. But being further W is usually better than trying to cross it more to the E where the band of convection is usually wider.

The wind has not been very helpful today - it regularly swings around, making our course change as a result (Fred, our trusty Hydrovane, keeps us at a constant angle to the wind). The wind was NE earlier today, then it went NW for a time and it has now decided to come from the N-NNE. I had a worried email from a friend that maybe I was headed too close to the Mexican coast before I gybed around yet again because of the change in wind direction. I'm trying to keep going SW-SSW. I can't head due W since there is a big area of calms that way - that wouldn't help me to get anywhere! So it's a matter of keeping a constant eye on the wind direction.

The good news is that the wind strength has increased a bit, so we're presently making 4.5-5 kt, rather than a lot less. In fact, we're making 6kt as I write this, in 15kt wind - almost certainly a passing gust - another cloud nearby, probably. Speed will drop again once it has passed.

Spent an age cleaning out the fridge last evening (switched off and acting as a dry locker) - some hummus had leaked out and gone everywhere - what a mouldy mess - yuck! TG for the calm conditions while I worked on it.

Overnight, I was woken by the creaking of the boom preventer holding the mainsail as it was backed after a wind change. Because the genoa pole supports creak a bit normally, it took me a while to realise that this creaking was from the prevented boom/mainsail and not from the pole. We were effectively hove-to and had drifted NW quite a distance before I managed to get us out of 'irons' again. I had to furl in a lot of the poled-out genoa and centre the main before I could persuade the boat to respond to the helm but eventually we were able to gybe around enough to get things back under control and make way on our course again. (There's no question of being able to tack around with a boat speed of under 1 knot! The 'no motor allowed' part of the 'unassisted' label on my RTW solo nonstop attempt makes some things difficult to achieve easily and provides quite a few challenges!)

The bonus of all that was getting to enjoy a beautiful clear, starry sky - I looked for the Southern Cross, which should now be visible during part of the night-time, if not all, but it was hidden by the sails. Sirius (so easy to find using Orion's 'belt') is now very high up and so is all of its constellation of Canis Major (the Big Dog).

Wed 11:30am With the solar panels in full sunlight, it seemed odd that we were only getting an input of 7A. I'd been wondering why the solar power input had seemed a bit low for some days now - surely it normally gave more, even when shaded a bit? Suddenly, it came to me that I should have checked the fuses -there'd been a problem with one wire's outer cover being found to be slightly chafed before leaving. Sure enough, I checked them (one fuse per panel, TG!) - one fuse removed... zero input now, but 7A seen beforehand - so that panel and fuse were fine. Replaced that fuse, took out the other - no change in the displayed input. I replaced it with a fresh 30A fuse. Hey presto! - solar power input doubled! We've been struggling with battery power, having to run the small genset I recently mended quite often - more than I like. Hopefully, the solar panels will now be doing a good job in the sunshine expected as we near the Tropics.

1200 PDT - end of Day14. We made 89 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday. Our speed has been consistently 3.5-4kt in the mainly light winds - higher gusts have been infrequent. I really need to get the asymmetric out and add it into the mix to see if it helps - another challenge!

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

TIME: 2018/10/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 28-03.60N LONGITUDE: 125-43.53W COURSE: 200T SPEED: 4.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 1.0M CLOUDS: 40% BARO: 1021 TREND: 0

AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C COMMENT: Sunshine and clouds. Sailing gently in slight swell. 550ml W of Cedros, 750ml W of Guaymas.

Day13 Mon-Tues 15-16th October 2018

Monday evening: Wind 9kt, Speed over the ground (SOG) 4.5kt.... five minutes later: wind 13kt, SOG 5.1 kt Another strong gust on its way?? Wind has been really gusty and shifty all day long under a gloomy grey cloud cover... Frequently, we shoot up to 6.5 kt SOG in wind of over 16kt and Fred has trouble coping with the steering under full canvas, not surprisingly. Think I might reef down for overnight, even though it will probably slow us down - just to be safe.

I've been looking at a couple of strong weather systems forecast along the Mexican coast over the coming few days - a thoroughly good reason to be heading more away from there, on our present course of roughly SSW - 'roughly' because it varies depending on wind strength and direction - wind keepss swinging between just W of N and NNE at present.

8.30pm PDT Finished Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300kHz. Not many boats checking in at present - think I might be the only one tomorrow, with 'Banyan' and others having made landfall over last few days. There have been several boats I know from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico, earlier this year - they were preparing to make the three-week crossing over to French Polynesia from La Cruz in March/April.

Wind seems to be rather less gusty than earlier so I'll leave the full mainsail overnight. Wind direction should stay the same as now, so our course will continue to be SSW. If anything bad happens, I'll know immediately, even if I'm asleep at the time. I know every sound the boat makes as we sail along....

9.50pm A gust up to 18kt from N-NNE now.... but rare now, so I'll stay with present sail configuration overnight

Tuesday 3.30am Dark, dark, dark under cloud cover. Often feels a bit weird to be making way, charging into pitch black darkness in the middle of a vast expanse of seawater - but there are no rocks to hit and plenty of sea room to manoeuvre if something goes amiss...! Making 3.8kt SOG - glad I didn't put in the reef I was considering! Broad-reaching still in 10kt wind from N. At 4am, went on HF radio to 7163kHz - great signals from most East USA stations and I also just about managed to make contact with David in Ecuador, HC5DX, high up in the mountains, I gather! Then back to my bunk....

8.30am Was nice to see some bright sunshine from gaps in broken cloud. Started chatting to the 7155 Group on HF radio as I began making a log entry and realised the wind had veered a lot - to E of NE - we were heading due W! - that was definitely not on my plan! (High pressure calms lie in that direction.) Gave my apologies to the radio group for such a brief visit with them and hurried up on deck to gybe around.... Eventually made a course of S-SSW again - but the wind is still light and very shifty so I constantly need to keep an eye on our heading and adjust Fred occasionally

11.30am We're gliding along silently with faint burbling of water along the hull just audible. Not making much speed but the sun is out and we're roughly(!) on course... Life is good! Thinking about boat jobs still to do - presently packing my 'grab bag' - the item you hope you'll not need (like the life raft and EPIRB) but if you do, it needs to be ready to grab in an instant! Dug out my passport, cards and boat papers to add into it in a small waterproof box.

Seeing 4kt wind and 2.2kt SOG... Oh well... I knew the wind was likely to get very light around here - pressure is up to over 1020hPa. I'll get on with boat jobs, to make the most of the calm condtions. Would be nice if the list could reduce to zero! Up on deck to check things out....

One irritation is the leech line of the genoa - it has got stuck somehow and is pulled in too tightly so the leech of the genoa is gathered up instead of straight. While changing it over from starboard tack onto the pole to port, I was able to reach the leech line in an attempt to free it - but it would not come free.... It's stuck in the small cleat just above the clew... When the clew is lower - on another point of sail much closer to the wind, maybe - I might be able to reach it safely to investigate more. For the time being, I'll have to ignore it - but it does not look pretty!

1200 PDT - end of Day13. We made 103 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday - slow again.... Speed up slightly now (4kt) - varies a lot. Good to see the solar panels earning their keep finally - when not shaded by the sails. Heading S, I can tilt them to give a fair angle to maximise input - now 7A - not a lot, due to some shading, but "every little bit helps". Warmer now, so having to discard the fleece I've been wrearing recently. No wind input, at present.

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

TIME: 2018/10/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 29-19.61N LONGITUDE: 124-47.47W COURSE: 200T SPEED: 3.5kt WIND_SPEED: 6kt WIND_DIR: NNE SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.0M CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1020.7 TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 24.0C COMMENT: Bright sun, not many clouds, goose-winged. 103ml DMG in 24hr.

A productive, pleasant Sunday afternoon on deck, doing jobs I'd expected to have done before leaving. It was good to have been able to spend time feeling nicely relaxed as I worked on a fairly stable deck in sunshine - we were sailing fine, if a little slow in the lighter winds, soo the genoa pole could wait. Looking through my fridge, I discovered two small steaks I'd forgotten about - still OK - so it was steak and onions for dinner - a fitting end to a very pleasant day! The crescent moon is getting larger and higher around sunset now - just visible through some increasing cloud which made few stars visible. Monday morning dawned grey with cloud everywhere. Wind N-NNW 10kt which became ~6 kt apparent since we're headed downwind. Definitely time to pole out the genoa which had been sounding very unhappy for a time and try to head more directly downwind and hence more S. Took a time to remind myself of the leads and car position needed but finally was able to take the genoa over to port on the pole - a nice stable arrangment for downwind sailing. Or so I thought....! As I was writing this, on coming back down below, I saw we were suddenly making a better speed - over 5kt - and realised the wind had gusted up to ~15kt. I was just beginning to think I should pehaps reef down a touch, with Fred clearly getting overpowered, when the main was backed... We ended up 'in irons' and it took me some time to get us out of that mess - no engine allowed to help, of course!! It didn't help that a line was caught and kept the boom pinned... just to make sure things weren't as simple to sort out as they should have been. So now we're on starboard tack for the time being - the wind hasn't quite veered solidly past due N yet and we're making a good southerly course, Hopefully, the grey clouds all around won't hide another big one with wind under it to give another surprise too soon.... I'm finally getting a drink and my breakfast and it's gone 11 o'clock! Much as I love Mexico, we're getting too close for comfort, with tropical storms heading NW up its coast from the Tehuantepec quite often and always the chance of one developing into a hurricane - I wouldn't enjoy being in the direct path of one as it headed my way!! Already had two friends giving me a 'heads up' of that possibly happening this week although I was relieved to see the latest forecasts show the storm abating quickly and not posing us a threat. I hope that's right! 1200 PDT - end of Day12. We made just 96 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday - slowing down more. Gybing doesn't help the DMG ('distance made good') calculation because it's the straight line distance from yesterday's midday position to today's, never mind how many tacks or gybes we make, or how wiggly our path, in the meantime. Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT): TIME: 2018/10/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 30-51.06N LONGITUDE: 123-52.30W COURSE: 194T SPEED: 4.0kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1019.8 TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: 400 ml W Bahia San Ramon - just N of Isla San Martin/San Quintin, Baja, Mexico

4pm Saturday - Think I deserve a nice cuppa! Might even treat myself to a gingernut biscuit or two. (Thanks, Coryn!). I was busy clearing up in the galley when the under-sink door came off its top hinge - presumably because it has been flying open with a bigger wave and banging hard every time I forgot to lock it shut.. Located one screw and washer inside the locker but not the other so I had to find spares. It was a relatively straightforward job to screw it back into place (with the aid of two broken bits of match-stick in the holes - 'Lion of Africa' the matchbox said. It must have come from Cape Town!). Only problem was it being around a corner - so I was feeling like a blind person... All done - so back to clearing up... I've put the kettle on!

We're sailing gently in bright sunshine and 17kt of NW wind - I had to put a reef in to prevent Fred from being over-powered - we were charging along but swinging around a lot. Our course is slightly better now things are under better control.

9am Sunday Reef came out before dark, in wind down to around 12kt. With wind backing to WNW well after sunset, we gybed around onto starboard tack to make a course of SSE rather than the ESE, threatening E, it had become.

Looking at the weather files (gribs), we can't afford to stay on this course for long, and the wind is due to veer back towards N later today and go very light. So I'll prepare the pole after my breakfast is finished and then gybe around in a few hours' time. Don't think I can avoid the expected really light air completely but we'll do our best!

Just dug out some fruit juice to have with my breakfast since the lovely fresh grapefruit juice I've enjoyed since leaving came to an end yesterday - but guava sounds good! Having half of the last fresh banana and blueberries with my cereal.

Sky has just a few fluffy white (cumulus) clouds and shreds of a thin layer - mostly a blue sky but air feels cool at just under 20C/68F. (Clouds built soon after, to become widespread.)

Had an excellent HF radio session around 4am on 7163 with Jim, WB2REM, in Florida, and lots of company - up and down US West coast and interior - spoke to Woody, WW1WW, up in New Hampshire, who I met there early in 2014 along with some other ham contacts I'd spoken to regularly who were living nearby, and even spoke to a familiar voice near Melbourne, Australia! Radio propagation on 40m is not too bad, even though we're near the bottom of an eleven-year sunspot cycle, but 20m is often not too good. Since I have no Internet access out here, Jim had fun setting up a page on QRZ.com for my new callsign (VE0JS) - sounds as though he's done well!

11.30am I keep studying the weather updates! Looks as though this course we're on now is possibly the best for wind (or lack of it) ahead but we'll definitely need to gybe at some point when the wind veers into the north again - possibly overnight. All a bit of an unknown. I feel I should try the asymmetric to see if it gives us more speed - after all, it's on board for use in light winds... but we're doing quite well just now. Just have to organise a few lines to be ready. Maybe after my midday position/weather report - coming soon.

1200 PDT - end of Day11. We made 116n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday - slowing down... but very pleasant sunny, if cloudy, conditions with mainly gentle rolling and only the occcasional bigger wave to knock us about.

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

TIME: 2018/10/14 19:00 GMT LATITUDE: 32-01.18N LONGITUDE: 125-10.60W COURSE: 130T SPEED: 4.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5M CLOUDS: 60% BARO: 1016hPa TREND: 1

AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C COMMENT: 420ml W of Pta San Miguel, just north of Ensenada, Mexico

Fri 12th Oct: Genset is fixed!! I feel so relieved.... But what a pain.... I thought I'd never get the final pipe connection done - until I realised I needed to release the hose clamp totally and move it out of the way in order to push the rubber hose onto the pipe from the pump. Having done that, the clamp just wouldn't tighten back up as well as it needed to. I had filled the system with water beforehand as much as I could - good to be chef as well as mechanic! - I used a gravy pipette from my galley to transfer water into the small-bore pipe, after filling the seawater strainer. I opened the seacock, checked for leaks, held my breath and started the motor to see if it would run - it did... and kept on running until I stopped it, ten minutes later! I went up on deck to enjoy the sunset while it ran - but kept listening for the motor to falter from overheating, which it didn't. Yippee!! Delighted, I began replacing the faulty hose clamp - the connection had been leaking slightly but steadily onto some paper I'd put under it and the clamp was clearly damaged - it just wouldn't tighten any more. I removed it completely and found a similar one to replace it - not an easy task since that also had to be opened apart to fit it onto the hose (no way was I going to take that hose off the pipe again!). TG for vice grips that I used to clamp it together a bit so I could get the closure started...! Genset uses one-third the diesel for the same power output - so it's far more efficient. Solar power input has been minimal for some time - panels are mainly shaded by the sails as we head SE downwind. Windgen has been doing well, but output will suffer as wind dies more. (Photos show the completed job, the damaged impellor in the old pump, along with the damaged hose clamp - and a lovey sunset!) I celebrated over my meal later with a small glass of wine friend Louise had given me before leaving - I usually run a 'dry' boat but relax occasionally - this felt like a good time to do so! Sat 13th Oct We're passing Los Angeles now - 440 miles offshore but seeing shipping on the AIS screen, heading to/from either LA or Mexico (Ensenada) or Panama. It's great to see so much detail in addition to how close (and when) they expect to approach us most closely. The fact that they see Nereida's AIS transmission is a great help in avoidance. So far, I've not had to get on the VHF radio to make sure they've seen us, as has happened in the past, if they look to be getting rather too close. It was almost clear overnight, with plenty of stars - but hazy. The crescent moon is getting bigger amd was seen low on the W horizon soon after sunset. Great Bear is also low down. Today, also, the sky is almost clear - just a few small white clouds. It's a lot calmer than it has been up to now - the wind is clearly easing so the seas are lying down slowly. I'm looking around the cabin to see what needs tidying up - and thinking about doing some of the few boat jobs left over from when I started. I've been on the HF/SSB radio some mornings - good to make contact with people I've spoken to regularly over recent years, as well as making new contacts. (I spoke to a guy in Madagascar who I'd previously chatted to several times when he was in S.Africa a year or two ago.) Some are hoping to keep in touch all the way around - it's a challenge for them to make that happen and they enjoy that, as I do. My thanks to Rick, VE7TK, for helping to organise my new Canadian callsign of VE0JS - five years on, I'm now permitted to drop the final 'J' of my previous maritime callsign. Just been studying weather files again - we're still on a SEly course. My approximate WP is 30N, 122W to make best use of winds in the region and avoid a big area of almost no wind not so far away to the W & NW. Still expecting very light N wind by later on Sunday into Monday but it should then fill in - if we can keep moving. Likely to gybe around again after reaching 30N. No need for the whisker pole for the genoa - wind angle is fine, so far, but that might change - the wind is definitely tending to back slowly. 1200 PDT - end of Day10. We made 131 n.ml. (DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday. Magnetic variation is down to 13E from 16E on starting. Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT): TIME: 2018/10/13 19:00 LATITUDE: 33-27.24N LONGITUDE: 126-42.77W COURSE: 125T SPEED: 5.8kt WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 15% BARO: 1015hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C COMMENT: 400 ml W of Santa Catalina Island. 131 n.ml. DMG in 24hr

By mid-afternoon yesterday, we were well into a region of very large rain clouds - wind under the clouds went up to 24kt or so but in between them, it eased to 16-18kt. Very squally. Had two reefs in the main and eventually reduced the full genoa quite a bit so as not to be overpowered in the stronger winds. Made 6-7 kt generally, with higher speeds, 8kt or more, at times - we clearly surfed down one wave - I saw 9.5kt on display! In one squall after dark, at 9pm, I saw 28kt wind.

Swell was still around 2.5m/8ft and quite close at 7sec but I decided it was time to start on the genset - I'd do what I could and see how it went... Access is helped by my small hands but it's always a struggle. By 7pm, nearing sunset, I'd got the old pump out and had begun connecting up its replacement (I'd put a new impellor into it a few days ago). The first pipe connection went well but trying to fit the pump in position with a couple of bolts, not so - with the rolly conditions and difficult access, it was just too fiddly. I didn't want to lose the bolts to somewhere out of sight, so decided it was time to stop and start afresh on Friday, hoping it might be calmer then, as well.

By dawn, the sky was fairly clear but soon we were back into cloudy conditions - but no rainclouds, and somewhat less wind (~16kt) and swell. I spent ages on deck, firstly changing course to head more SE (trying to avoid ending up totally becalmed by Sunday) - variable, dying winds didn't help. I decided to release the two reefs we'd had in overnight. That would have been fine - but, somehow, the lowest fold of the sail caught badly on a 'horn' above the end of the boom and was holed slightly - fortunately, I don't think the damage will be a problem, being almost at the foot and in between well-strengthened parts of the sail but it took a time to release.

In doing that. I noticed that a ring holding one of the sail slides in place was missing - the pin was almost out...! I hate replacing those rings - another fiddly job. Fortunately, I had plenty of spares (it's a known problem) and, after a lot of cursing as the boat moved around in the swell, the new ring was eventually in place through a tiny hole. Next, I decided I should have left the first reef in - I lowered the halyard a little more and tied a line around the mast to pull the first reef cringle forward (hope you're reading this, Jeff!) before tensioning. Of course, the wind dropped more, quite soon afterwards, so - out with the reef...!

All this time, the wind has been flukey - backing and veering around N by about ten degrees. My planned SE course to keep us in fair wind for as long as possible became difficult to achieve - constant adjustments have been needed.

By 11.30am, I finally got some breakfast, with a fresh pot of coffee well after midday - and, no, I haven't got back to the genset yet!

Just been studying weather files - adjusted our course even more to SE. Should get out the whisker pole for the genoa - winds now (2.30pm) are nearly NNW and 14-16kt and the pole would help stabilise the genoa nicely over the next few days of downwind sailing...

1200 PDT - end of Day9. We made 137 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.

I added a banana to my late breakfast cereal - beefed it up to become 'brunch'.

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

TIME: 2018/10/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 34-38.09N LONGITUDE: 128-56.36W COURSE: 138T SPEED: 5.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 95%
BARO: 1015.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: 410ml W of Pt Conception.. 137ml DMG in 24hr

Wed 10th Oct: Lovely slim crescent moon tonight soon after sunset. I'll look forward to increasing moonlight from now on. There was a fair amount of sun getting through scattered large clouds this afternoon, so hopefully the night skies will become clear also, with lots of stars. Hadn't realised how hungry I was until after cooking a delicious meal of minced beef with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and sweetcorn. I'd started cooking while sun was still up and was going to make Spaghetti Bolognese but changed my mind to use potatoes and sweetcorn instead! Easier for re-heating. As I tucked into it, I remembered I'd missed lunch completely! There's plenty enough for two more meals, I reckon - had to cook up last of fresh meat while it was OK. Eggs can wait - I'm remembering to turn them most days. Thurs 11th Oct: 6am PDT Dark night still, speed down to 4.5kt in wind just under 20kt from just E of N. Wet cockpit from rain before, hint of fine rain in the air, what few stars to be seen are hazy, through gaps in the cloud. Unfurled full genoa to increase speed - gave us another knot or more. Rolling motion of boat is less extreme - seas are finally lying down as we leave area of strong wind but still have to hang on when moving around. Downloaded fresh weather info - a constant process of cancelling old areas and asking for new ones as we move south. Winds looking good now, although diminishing to ~10kt by end of weekend - looks as though it will be best to stay close to 128-130W over next few days. By 7am, first faint strip of rosy-yellow light over E horizon - enough to show broken cloud patches in E but fewer clouds geerally with clear sky overhead. Sunrise can't be far off. Running main engine in neutral to charge batteries. If the seas stay down, I'll hope to see to the genset problem later today. While engine was charging the batteries, I used my SSB/HF Icom radio to make contact with a few people - have been minimising radio use due to charging problem, apart from regular brief contact each evening (0310GMT/8:10pmPDT) with the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300 kHz to report position and weather. Was nice to make several contacts and chat a little to a few radio friends. 10:30am PDT Rain has cleared away completely, but plenty of white clouds around. Air feels cool, although it's nearly 20C/68F and humidity is up at over 80%. Still a lot of rolling around - going downwind, so that's not helping. Just relaxed over a coffee to write this, after preparing to work on genset: door tied back to stop it from banging in the swell, case removed, cushions placed on floor over nonslip pad to save my knees and maybe help in not sliding around too much with motion, spanners/wrenches and screwdrivers to hand, seacock turned off (!), water-bottle to hand to top up sea-water cooling pipework (if at all possible), paper towels, in case needed ... We'll see how that goes - always a fiddly job but usually works out OK - just takes a time. (See photo of seawater pump which will replace the present one with a damaged impellor - also an airlock in the hoses needing to be dealt with. First step is to remove belt.) I just heard my last news update didn't arrive - annoying since it was sent in good time (with photos) early yesterday afternoon. I've just sent it again - both with and wihout the photos - so hopefully something will arrive before it's time to send today's update.... Later: It arrived finally - must have got lost in the ether yesterday! 1200 PDT - end of Day 8. Sunshine in between large white clouds, occasionally mostly cloudy. 7 second interval between swells means still very rolly and occasionally still being knocked about. We made 135 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, despite wind easing overnight to ~20kt. Instead of wind veering more into NE, as I'd hoped, it has backed a little into N or even W of N at times. Ex-hurricane 'Sergio' further S has affected the wind pattern - but I'm hoping things will get back to 'normal' soon. Trying to keep in better wind by checking weather forecasts regularly. Time for my last avocado for lunch - with hummus - the two go well together! Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT): TIME: 2018/10/11 19:00 LATITUDE: 36-36.84N LONGITUDE: 130-19.84W COURSE: 140T SPEED: 6.2kt WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 2.5m SWELL_PER: 7sec CLOUDS: 80% BARO: 1017.5 TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C COMMENT: Rolling about still....Over 400 ml W of Monterey Bay.

Tues 9th Oct: evening

Wind still up around 20-24kt - not likely to subside for a day or more.

Seas are also still well up and making it difficult to do much on board - anything done takes several times longer than on land! Genset is still waiting for changing over of the seawater pump (in order to change the impellor - what a crazyy design feature....! In doing that, I'll make sure water is filling the system - presently has an airlock, it seems - that will get interesting - "open seacock, fill pipe, close seacock, fit pipe..."!!) Can't wedge myself firmly enough in these seas to manage to work on it - frequently being thrown around, in addition to the continual rolling. I'm surprised the Hydrovane windsteering is coping - although I did head us up on less of a broad reach to help it in these big seas after the mainsail was backed a couple of times following a particularly hard hit each time - a problem common to all wind steering systems. A good reason, among others, for having the preventer on the boom.

I've finally cracked the problem of how to send photos - even managed to reduce the file size so they're not too large, hopefully. They still take quite a time to send so I probably shan't send them every day.

Enjoyed a mushroom omelette tonight - don't think the mushrooms would have lasted much longer with no refrigeration. Had to throw away some fresh milk that had separated - interestingly, it neither smelled nor tasted off. On its way to becoming yoghurt, maybe?

Ran the engine for battery charging after midnight - seas are still well up. Almost no stars visible in the totally dark sky - mostly clouded over. New moon around now so no moonlight at present.

Wed: early morning

Dull grey overcast - not quite drizzling but feeling as though it's trying to! Wind has dropped quite a bit so unfurled all the genoa. Feeling a lot smoother now but still rolly with the occasional bigger wave hitting us still.

I've been checking weather info regularly and want to keep around 130W to stay in good wind as we head S - so I think it's time to gybe around, to head back that way.

Our course up to now has kept us away from the even stronger winds and possibly even rougher seas closer in to the Capes Blanco and Mendocino - 23-25kt was quite strong enough for me, given a choice!

Midday: Coffee finally!

Gybed onto port tack just over an hour ago - furled in some genoa to help balance - still two reefs in mainsail with wind still mainly over 20kt, often 24kt. Feels as though conditions are possibly slowly easing. The sun is managing to get out quite a bit, which warms me up nicely!

Had to spend time rearranging things in the cabin around my bunk on the (new) starboard side - that now being the lee side. Should stay on this tack for quite a time, with wind slowly veering to a little more to the E of N and our course slowly bringing us to 130W or thereabouts. I bought a great organiser recently in an auto store - holds all manner of things safely and conveniently. Instead of hanging behind a car's front seats, it's hanging nicely just above my bunk and is proving to be really useful. Of course, now we're heeling over the other way, I've had to retrieve and fix in place a few other items which happily tried to move across the cabin! All good for when we get into the really rough stuff!

I'll post a photo taken two days ago - of the big seas coming onto our stern. They were steep and only 4-5 seconds apart - which is why things have been so very rough.

1200 PDT - end of Day 7 We made 138 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period. If we hadn't gybed, it would have been 145 n.ml....

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

TIME: 2018/10/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-35.84N LONGITUDE: 131-41.16W COURSE: 158T

SPEED: 6.8kt WIND_SPEED: 24kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 2.5M

CLOUDS: 90% BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: 430 ml WNW of San Francisco 138/145 ml 24hr DMG (7ml lost to gybe)

Mon/Tues 8/9 October

Just before sunset yesterday, we were making 8kt on occasion, with one reef in the main - we were definitely going well, with one reef in winds around twenty knots.

I decided to play safe, seeing stronger winds forecast ahead, and took in another reef for overnight, as fine rain fell. The wind is slowly veering into the N, so our course is changing slightly with it so as to keep the genoa filled. It also means we keep well off Cape Mendocino and the even stronger winds and seas inshore of here.

Nereida is rockin' and rollin' again in N 23-25kt wind and steep seas only 5-6 sec apart as I write this Tues midday. Pessure seems to be rising a bit after heavy overnight rain which cleared away to give broken white cloud with occasional blue patches.

We're sailing well, still with two reefs in the main - I even managed to make some fresh coffee without spilling it everywhere!! Meant standing over the stove to keep an eye on it, held safely by my bumstrap to survive the constant strong movement, but it was worth it.

At some point soon, I'll pole out the genoa but will wait a bit - winds will finally go into the NE at some point and that will put us onto port tack if we head S, as opposed to the present starboard tack. By keeping on our present course, we're avoiding even stronger winds inshore of our path over the next few days.

Think I might have found a way of posting photos - not perfect or simple but I think it will work (means taking photos on my iPad which is then connected to my Windows PC... convoluted!) Once I've got it working, I'll be able to post them using the airtime kindly provided by Redport/GMN via Luis Soltero - a wonderful addition to the use of my faithful HF/SSB radio!

As I was writing this, I happened to glance out of a starboard portlight - and spotted a clevis pin on my emergency forward stay fitting was almost out .... Oops! I hurried on deck to investigate and managed, with difficulty, to persuade it back in place before grabbing some cable ties from down below and 'mousing' the pin and also using a couple to hold the fitting more securely in place - cable ties are so often worth their weight in gold!! I'll have to keep an eye on that now.

1200 PDT - end of Day 6. We made 154 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.

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

TIME: 2018/10/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-25.90N LONGITUDE: 129-52.82W

COURSE: 210T SPEED: 6.5kt WIND_SPEED: 23kt WIND_DIR: N

SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 3.0m SWELL_PER: 5 CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Passing Cape Mendocino, 250 ml off. Rolling around in steep, close-to seas

Wishing all my Canadian friends a belated Happy Thanksgiving on Sunday!

My Sunday was one of grey skies and rough seas. With the consistenly strong wind, seas remained up and, being just aft of the beam, were constantly testing my balance as we were knocked about by oncoming waves. Typically, as I write this on Monday morning, we're rocking and rolling most of the time with the wave action - but the wind and seas do both seem to be dying down slowly.

I was relieved to find that the wind generator, a German-made Superwind, was working well - the confirmation came overnight when the wind was strong and I could see a good charge coming in to the batteries. Solar charging has not been very good with the lack of sunshine so I've run the main engine in neutral occasionally. I still need to change the small genset's water-pump, with its newly-replaced impellor, before I can run that for any length of time. It's way more efficient for battery-charging than running the main engine - and, anyway, the main diesel engine doesn't like being run under no load. If the seas die down a touch more, I'll have a go at that.

I'm feeling rather frustrated at not being able to post photos. I'd not had enough time to go over all the possibilities just before leaving to realise there was a problem there, having been told that, in one case at least, there was a simple solution - but that didn't work out. I've been trying various alternatives and I'm either getting messages that I need to update or, where I have updated, there's now a problem as a result... or a computer is simply not 'seeing' another USB device and its photos.... Still a couple of possibilities to explore. I'd been lookng forward to being easily able to show scenes around Nereida as we travel on.

I must thank again GMN/Redport for their loan of an Aurora terminal giving a satellite connection for phone calls, tracking and emailing. The links to my track are given on my website Home page. I'm posting my own positions daily to Winlink because that shows my track for up to a year whereas the satellte one deletes positions after a short time - but it's automatic and hourly so very up-to-date.

We're passing Cape Blanco now - well over 150 miles off! The Oregon/California border is not far to S. Next is Cape Mendocino - another Cape, notorious for strong wind and bad seas, to be passed with a good offing.

A good way further south is Cape Arguello with Pt Conception close by - another area notorious for strong winds and rough seas. Reminds me of passing the Capes down the Atlantic coast of Portugal - a similar situation with winds invariably increasing a lot on approach - the 'Cape Effect' occurs all over the world! The effect here on the Pacific coast of California is enhanced by the geography behind the coast and the sea floor configuration.

Just after I shook out the two reefs in the mainsail earlier, getting us back to speeds of ~7kt, a group of large white-sided dolphins came rushing over, to play around Nereida - always so lovely to see them!

Sadder was finding a small bird fall on deck from the folds of sail as the reefs were released - all-dark-brown with a slightly lighter band on its wings, black eyes and beak - a storm petrel? Caught by the wind generator, I suspect.

I actually felt over-heated during the night! My hat is only worn on deck now and one warm layer has been positively put to one side...

1200 PDT - end of Day 5. We made 157 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.

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

TIME: 2018/10/08 20:25GMT LATITUDE: 42-34.07N LONGITUDE: 128-26.29W

COURSE: 199T SPEED: 7.0kt WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: 157ml in 24hrs. Passing Cape Blanco, on to Mendocino. Sky getting lighter, hint of sun

3.20pm PDT I've finally got to my morning coffee, having come down below after taking a second reef in the main - and we're still making 7knots! I'm clearly not getting all my priorities right.... should have had that coffee a lot earlier...

We were heeling a lot and winds had definitely increased to over twenty knots - and, according to the forecasts I've been looking at, might well increase more - so I thought it best to reduce sail. Funny that I was thinking about how reefing helps heel without always reducing speed as I started reefing down. Didn't really expect it to happen - but here we are, still making 7 kt....

I'm seeing a patch of blue sky now - hope it increases. Would make a nice change from the grey skies of this morning. It had been pleasantly sunny yesterday, although still rolly from the storm the day before and laterthere was a hazy sun - so not much solar power was coming in to batteries.

I spent a time yesterday afternoon, clearing up the mess of wet lines in the cockpit and, soon after dark, with NW winds eased to around 15kt, I let out the two reefs in the main - our speed had dropped to 4.5kt. Dark grey clouds - looking a bit rain-threatening, I had thought around sunset. No stars tonight. The wind backed into the W after midnight. but we kept up a good speed S.

By 3 a.m., the wind had backed more and had died to a hint of a southerly.. We drifted around in a big circle while I took a nap. Then, predictably, the wind played its tricks - I was awakened before dawn by the wind having got up - strongly enough for me to take in a reef in the rain that had come with the wind - from the S still - damn!! At that point we were heading E.

I was totally unclear as to my best course to steer - E or W - neither were good choices! I didn't want to get any closer to the coast because Cape Blanco lies not so far ahead (just under two days away) and a good offing is needed to avoid its usual strong winds and rough seas. I tacked around to head W but soon found us heading more N as the wind veered into the W- not good! I tacked back again in the increasing light.of a grey dawn.

Finally, the wind veered into the NW - and since then, we've been happily sailing south again....but in rough, quite steep, seas. I'm having to hold on tightly when I move around and every now and then we're hit sideways by a wave - and something I thought was stowed safely decides it's time to jump onto the cabin sole.... Rough seas on the beam, or nearly so, are the worse!

My ratatouille stew will finally be finished tonight - it's proved its worth as a meal prepared in advance of leaving on a long passage. You never know what weather to expect, never mind the forecasts, and it's so good to have a good instant meal that only needs heating, while settling down into sailing the boat again. I thought I was going to have a pleasant easy ride down to California - but it's proved anything but!

1200 PDT - end of Day 4. We made 106 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr perod - not too bad considerig we were making no way for three hours in a light S wind before dawn and soon after that were headed W and then N!.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink not long before midday PDT (1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/10/07 17:40GMT LATITUDE: 45-18.75N LONGITUDE: 127-04.53W

COURSE: 195T SPEED: 6.2kt WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW

SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1020hPa TREND: 0

AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C COMMENT: Grey sky, overnight rain stopped now

Friday5th October Strong winds of around 30-40 kt gusting to over 50kt at times and big, rough seas made moving about the boat very difficult all day long. Anything slightly loose jumped onto the cabin sole if it could and the best, safest place to be was in my warm bunk

It was difficult to read the wind display from a distance but I was amazed to see over 50kt at one point, with most readings being in 30s and 40s. Heeled well over and being bumped about regularly in the big seas that had built up makes for difficult movement down below - safer to stay well-cushioned in my bunk - moved over from the starboard side to be on the lee side.of the boat.

Being hove to with rather too much canvas meant that we made rather more speed than I expected - but our course was a safe one. We'd started off drifting E in the S wind that made me heave to in the first place and as the wind backed with the oncoming Low passing over, it went more into the E - driving us more N at greater speed in the stronger wind. I wasn't expecting to be caught by such strong E winds - with hindsight, it would have been better either to have deployed the JSD (series drogue) or to have tacked around (with deeper reefed mainsail) before heaving to - that would have made us drift S rather than N! (I'd learned that lesson in 2007 when I had ten days of hand-steering towards Trinidad from Fernando de Noronha and heaved to every seven hours for five hours of rest, food etc. Pity I didn't do it this time but I didn't expect to be hove to for so long....)

Job in daylight is to tidy up the mess of wet lines on the cockpit sole - hopefully the sky will stay clear and the sun will dry them all out. Good to have hot food ready-made - I'd added a handful of rice yesterday.

Sat 6th Oct

6:30am PDT - Pleiades are almost overhead, with Orion and Taurus on either side, of course, and the Great Bear is high up to the north. A lovely waning crescent moon is fairly high and lighting up the still-rough seas - they'll take a time to die down.

We're 90miles from Ocean City in Washington State, USA, slightly north of due west - nice to be making a good speed of 6kt in the 20kt wind.

1200 PDT - end of Day 3. We've made 78 nml. DMG over the 24 hr perod - not much but actual distance was well over 108 n.ml - we continued being taken north from midday yesterday, hove to in the storm, and then we headed south (from W of Cape Flattery!!), sailing to here.

Position & weather report just posted to Winlink:

TIME: 2018/10/06 19:00 LATITUDE: 47-17.00N LONGITUDE: 126-27.00W

COURSE: 191T SPEED: 6.2kt WIND_SPEED: 20kt WIND_DIR: NW

SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 40% BARO: 1021hPa TREND: 2

AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C COMMENT: Fluffy white cumulus. Seas still rolly,100ml W Westhaven Cove, nr. Ocean City

Seas are still well up and throwing us around at times but the sun is shining. I just discarded my overtousers - it's slowly getting warmer but not fast enough - I can't wait to discard the several layers I'm still wearing to stay warm, although at least I don't have to wear a hat all the time now.

The genset might have to wait another day - it's just too rolly to do that job but cockpit lines will be dealt with after my lunch of avocado - I hope the cool conditions will stop them from over-ripening too quicky.

I'm still trying to figure out how to post photos - a 'technical glitch' means it's not as quick and easy as it should be - pity! "Work in progress"

Friday 5th Oct 7pm PDT

Suddenly the wind has eased from the high 30s - 40s, gusting 50 something of earlier today. Big, rough seas were the norm but less now, although still quite rough.

I'd been watching the pressure earlier this afternoon - down to 1005.9, but beginning to edge upward - but winds were still in high 30s.

Now, at sunset, I'm working out how to get going - will probably have to gybe around to get out of 'irons' - no use of engine allowed so it's always an interesting exercise.

We've been forced well north of our original position by the strong winds.

Must get going while I've still some light left in the sky.

See my tracker and Shiptrak reports for position info (on website Home page)

Presently at 48 21N, 125 48W - lost a day or two...!



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