S/V Nereida sails around the world

Saturday 11th August - Lots of work in Tsehum Harbour (Vancouver Island) - IT RAINED TODAY
 
I must thank Steve Illman, of RVYC, for taking me to on Wednesday to collect a hydro-tested dive tank, ready for filling with fresh air, and found they were donating three dry powder fire extinguishers, to replace the well-out-of-date Swedish ones that they couldn’t re-charge - a very kind gesture of support for my forthcoming trip around the globe (Very many thanks for that!!).

dry powder

 

People are unable to service or recharge European tanks and extinguishers here in North America - metric versus 'other' system - so parts are not available. So that was a very welcome solution to my problem- the powder had been in the extinguishers on board since early 2009 and might well not have worked if I'd had an emergency situation arise….

 

Of course, one minor detail for all three is to adapt the holders to take the slightly larger new tanks - another item added to my already very long job list!

Next stop was Wilson's Dive shop in Esquimalt - where the owner kindly gave me a whacking discount on the cost of a 'viz' (visual safety inspection) and an immediate air fill for my borrowed dive tank.

Wilsons dive shop 8Aug2018 copy

 

While waiting for the tank to be ready, Steve drove me through the dense forest around the remains of the historic fort guarding the approaches to Esquimalt naval base, close to Victoria, down to a lovely view over Strait of Juan de Fuca and a long, grey, sandy beach beach jammed with old logs that have been washed up over the years - a typical B.C. scene!

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On the way back from Esquimalt, I picked up the remainder of the dried milk and tinned chick peas that I needed to complete my long-term provisioning. (I also treated myself to some canned apricots - thinking of Christmas and the New Year when I’ll want to celebrate with something special!!)

I’ve been busy listing everything on a computer spreadsheet so I can see at a glance where I’ve stored each type of food item and also what each locker contains. What a long time all that food organisation has taken… It’s kept my vacuum-packer busy - with clothing also being looked over and re-organised, with quite a few items being vacuum packed to guarantee some dry clothing available - even if the boat is unlucky enough to get water down below …

vacuum packer

 

On the way back into Victoria, Steve realised that the new lifting 'blue bridge' was signalling a lift about to start up - a Seaspan barge and tow was waiting near the low bridge.... Sure enough, up it went, the barge passed through and then down it came - impressive!

lifting bridge 2

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It was good to get away from the dock (making good use of tides each time) - to Tsehum

Hbr and Long Hbr (on Saltspring Island) and then a pleasant, sunny trip to and from Friday Harbor. It was great to meet up with friends on San Juan Island that I’ve not seen for a while!

I was intending to work on fibre-glass backing plates for my big sheet winches over last weekend but was delighted when John Booth, well-known for being an expert when it comes to anything to do with boat construction, turned up at the dock in Long Hbr and offered to make them for me in aluminium. I must now make a template of the area beneath the sheet winches - an awkward task, involving getting into confined spaces both in the cockpit locker and above the head-lining of a hanging locker. I also need to check the length of the present bolts used in the winch bases, to see if I need to order slightly longer ones.

Entering Haro Straitleaving Spieden Channel copy

 

Had an enjoyable live radio interview on CFAX1070 on my return to Victoria last Monday - mostly to do with my food stores onboard. It always intrigues people that I have to take so much food with me, with no stopping allowed at shops on the way!!.

 

I’ve now come back to Tsehum Hbr - a peaceful place where I’ll be able to continue undisturbed with boat jobs over the next week. I actually flew a full genoa for a short while, with a 10 knot following wind on the way here, which boosted our speed a little - but that didn’t last long - I effectively motored all the way, but in nice, bright sunshine.


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Postcript from Tsehum Harbour - Tuesday 14 August 2018

Wonderful workshop available here at RVYC! I’d needed to adapt the fire extinguisher brackets that hold the dry powder tanks in place - with a good vice, crow-bar an d long pliers (and some useful help at one point from fellow-member Jerry) that was achieved yesterday for all three.

adapting bracket

The final outstanding problem is to lengthen the straps holding the tanks onto the brackets - a machining problem left to another day since it needs a short length of sturdy tape which I don’t have.

 

The next problem reared its head when I went to stow the sturdy bolts which are used to fix in place my emergency hatch and port light covers (intended for such time as strong breaking seas manage to break a hatch or light - so far, not needed, but you never know….)
emergency hatch cover fixings copy

 

I found they were rusty in places - and several nuts and wing screws didn’t want to budge - so that kept me busy last night and today - all now moving, clean and well-oiled - and stowed in an easily-accessible place.

Now for the winch bases I’ve been trying to get to….

Busy, busy, busy ... So much to sort out on board on my return to Victoria after a trip with lots of visits involving driving around a very warm and sunny England. The imposing sculpture in Vancouver airport never fails to impress.
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The sails are now back in place although there's still plenty more work needed on deck - hardware to be seen to, plenty of cleaning and polishing of surfaces, shackles and steelwork and all bungies need replacing.
 
The aft cabin sorting out is slowly nearing completion after having emptied all food lockers in the main cabin area to check on contents, list them all and then re-stow (or throw away!) Mexican long-life/UHT milk bought early last year all had to be disposed of - was well past its expiry date. Often that isn't important but, at this point in time (eight months on!), it clearly mattered. I finally retrieved the aft cabin cushions from AJ who has been storing them for me since last year - means I'm actually now able to sleep on the aft cabin bunk instead of on a small main cabin settee bunk...
 
Have been keeping the vacuum packer in action - both for dried food (beans, lentils, fruit etc) and also for spare clothing items, in case of water getting down below in rough seas (or tropical humidity or salty air affecting them). Will be nice to be able to rely on some dry clothing if everything else gets wet! All inside hull surfaces come across have needed thorough cleaning and I keep coming across items or jobs needing attention that I'd forgotten about - or which have only now reared their heads.
 
I fixed two Powerpulse battery maintenance items in place - one across two batteries and one across three batteries. Very simple to instal. The system has come well recommended and should help a lot in getting maximum use from the domestic battery bank. I also had to deal with re-positioning three hydraulic pipes from the autopilot which were in a bad place.

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Picked up the repaired bike from Oak Bay Bicycles - it's nice to have the use of it again!
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After checking over clothing, more vacuum-packing and stowing, i should be able to move very soon into tidying up in the main cabin and then in the forepeak where the main tools/spares locker has been emptied in readiness. It will take a time to go through all my spares and tools, cleaning as I go, and list them all, both there and elsewhere on board.
 
Once the boat has been tidied up down below, there'll be the question of dealing with ongoing maintenance and several small but important repairs. Those will probably be done in September when I'll need to haul out anyway to check that everything under the water-line is in good order.
 
It was great to get out sailing yesterday - Thursday night 'casual' racing at RVYC. Gusty (but sunny) conditions made the going exciting at times. I enjoyed playing the mainsheet but I found transferring quickly from one side to the other, on fast-tacking the speedy, lightweight, 'tippy' Olsen 30 'Fiasco', was quite testing to begin with. "Throw the mainsheet over first, then yourself!" was the excellent advice given by skipper Louise. That worked fine - two hands are always better than one for climbing up a steep incline - and, anyway, it's best to get over quickly, before it heels too much!
 
Back to work - I'm trying to sort out the boat well enough that I can get away from Victoria for a short time quite soon. The hope is to get in some gentle cruising and test myself sailing Nereida. I need to see I can handle the sails OK if I'm to sail south, as planned, around 1st October.

Good session this morning with physio Matt - he’s definitely getting my neck to rotate more with deep massage of some specific areas.  Have to keep up exercising in between my occasional visits.
Then on to Victoria International Marina by bus after a short walk via Victoria’s Chinatown.
Helped with checking sails before start of the Melges24 Worlds tomorrow until Friday morning- all boats and sails must comply with strict rules so there’s no difference between them and winning depends solely on ability (although in stronger winds, the newer and stiffer boats perform better!)


​Beautiful May weather has been enjoyed all month long...!!
 
I'm adding photos below of the opening days at Royal Victoria Y.C. on the Saturday and at the Canadian Forces S.A. the next day -  both Clubs very welcoming and both days were very enjoyable - good to get out on the water for each club's 'sail-past'!
 
I've been finding it difficult to get down to clearing up down below and dealing with quite a few boat jobs that are on quite a lengthy list - just too many other things to deal with!
 
One reason, more recently, has been acting as a Volunteer for the 75th Swiftsure Race - great fun and good to be useful but quite tiring - I was on 'duty' in the Radio Room Sat/Sun midnight-6am and then walked over to the Arrival/Inspection Dock, to welcome with hot soup and then check boats for Safety gea
 
r after they'd finished, from 6am-noon Sunday - and then again from midnight - 6am on Monday for the stragglers at the end of the Race.  I was really happy that several boats that had looked as though they would not make the 6am Monday cut-off as they drifted around in no wind trying to get to and around the Swiftsure mark just outside the Strait entrance overnight managed to get in before the deadline.  Some very happy and relieved crews!  TG for the increasingly strong wind from Sheringham Pt to around Race Rocks!!  (I caught up on sleep on Monday!)
 
One Sunday morning, fellow Club-member Steve kindly took me to Butchart Gardens.  He was a knowledgeable guide, who waited patiently while I took a lot of photos of the wonderful display of Spring flowers , and we carefully timed an early arrival there to miss the crowds that appeared by midday.
 
On a walk from UVic back to RVYC soon after, I spotted some lovely but tiny wild flowers in a grassy area.
 
Soon after that, my faithful fold-up Brompton bike was returned to me (the ex-Commodore Gordon and wife Maralyn had been storing it for me with a lot of other gear!) so I've been able to bike around - one time to Oak Bay for a sunny Saturday morning Alliance Francaise get-together to practise my French.  Then, last weekend, I biked (TG for Google Maps!) to Clover Point for the start of the Swiftsure Race.  Nearly two hundred boats made quite a spectacle as the RCN vessel 'Nanaimo' sounded each start - with a puff of gunfire seen from shore, the sound coming several seconds later - but race flags onshore were clear, with VHF radio contact between the Race Committee on 'Nanaimo' and the shore team filling the void.
 
Now I'm busy again - but this time with the Melges24 Worlds and the Canadian Nationals Racing - the racing taking place outside Victoria Harbour over the weekend (Canadian Nationals) and all next week (Melges Worlds).   Last night, I was over at the spanking new (and almost-finished...) Victoria International Marina in Esquimalt, helping fill the skippers' 'goody bags' and learning about my duties with Registration of the boats and crews on Friday and Monday afternoons - no overnights for small boat racing!!
 
So it's almost June - the evenings are staying light for longer, the weather is just great and I really need to ready 'Nereida' for sailing.   I'm feeing pretty well recovered from my fall, apart from needing to improve on my general fitness and 'work in progress' still on a stiff neck that is not quite rotating as well as I'd like.   I really want to get out over the summer to check that my boat-handling skills are OK!
 
 
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Californian poppies are in flower everywhere
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It was an unexpected pleasure to be back in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Banderas Bay mid-April - some consolation for not arriving in the Marquesas a week later, as had been expected.  The sun was getting increasingly hot around midday and fans, occasionally even the air conditioning, were often switched on during the day in the pleasant casita in Vista Pelicanos that I was able to go back to.   I got to almost the last Sunday market of this 'season'.
 
It was lovely to get out sailing a couple of times - both times, as it happens, on catamarans - first, with Richard & Dona and lots more people on 'Profligate' and a week later with Kevin, George and Luce on the far smaller 'Feet' - which had an unusual steering system, although eventually a tiller extension arm was produced to make things easier...!
 
On my way north to B.C., I stopped overnight in Belvedere, San Francisco.  I was able visit friends Torill and Bob and spend an enjoyable evening at the San Francisco Y.C. - a good thing in view of problems had with my next day's flights - severe delays, mechanical problems and an aborted take-off (before the wheels left the ground, TG!) from San Jose airport, resulted in another night spent in the Bay area - to be ready for my Friday onward flights to Vancouver and finally on to Victoria - a day late but in time for a great evening renewing acquaintances at the Royal Victoria Y.C. - dinner and dancing in readiness for Saturday's excellent, albeit slightly wet, Opening Day celebrations - and a very pleasant sail with Gord & Maralyn on 'Kendra' in Cadboro Bay.
 
I was also made very welcome at the Canadian Forces S.A. in Esquimalt on Sunday - another Opening Day (sunny and dry, this time) and a highly enjoyable, long, relaxed sail with Bob and Leslie on 'Duet'.  Thanks to Commodore Randy and wife Dree for kindly taking me there - not so easy to get to from Cadboro Bay by bus!
 
It's been a week of real Spring weather, with flowers everywhere and all the large trees turning green.  I've been promised a ticket to Buchart Gardens - their display is magnificent just now, I'm told so I'm looking forward to seeing that!
 
Work on board will keep me busy for quite a time - clearing, cleaning, sorting, stowing, listing...... and that's down below!  Sails are still in winter storage at Leitch & McBride, including a new staysail - the old one has seen frequent hard use over the last few years.  Some deck hardware is waiting to have parts replaced - mainly rubber or plastic that has perished from UV exposure - and there'll be plenty more items to see to once I look around carefully.
 
I'd like to thank the staff and members of the Royal Victoria Y.C. for their continuing friendly support - very much appreciated!
 
 



Tuesday 10th April 2018 - Sailing 'Epiphany' into Banderas Bay - landfall back in Mexico today.

11am Sky has cleared - blue everywhere! Having to motor NE with the wind just fine on the port bow - near enough on the nose. Genoa had to be furled in. Lovely sunny day with mountain range bordering the south side of Banderas Bay and ending in Cabo Corrientes just seen off to starboard in the low haze ahead.

If the usual afternoon onshore breeze kicks in, I'm hoping we'll end our passage sailing across the Bay to make landfall at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle - maybe into the marina there.

Yesterday and overnight until dawn today, we managed quite a bit of very pleasant sailing in the mainly NNW wind, although with occasional gusts. The wind slowly increased from a steady 6-7 kt all day yesterday to the present veered 12 kt - as forecast. If the wind hadn't veered quite so much, we could have kept sailing nicely this morning but we're trying to get in before dark.

Quite a few boobies kept coming by yesterday - a small group of all-brown ones (juveniles?) would often land as a group in the water well ahead, only to take off, circle around and then land again - all very sociable. They seem to have formed a club!

The batteries have been kept alive over the last week by dint of charging using the motor (mostly in neutral) overnight for 12 hours, with the bright tropical sunshine feeding the solar panels during the day. That has, in turn, kept all electronics, and items needing elecrical power, alive as well but radio use has been minimal - restricted mainly to brief evening Net reporting of position and "All's well on board" and some downloading of a few emails and weather info. Having to change my usual routine and learn to use new software, plus onboard connection problems, have kept me quite busy (and frustrated!) for several days this last week. The curse of tehnology!!

Sad not to have made it to the Marquesas - would have been nice to have got there again - but we've had some lovely relaxed sailing in bright sunshine and relatively calm

seas for the last several days of our return trip, so that has been a bonus and a small compensation - for me, at least, since the plan was to fly north from Tahiti quite soon after arriving in French Polynesia. George and Suzanne are thinking of heading south later in the year and maybe crossing over from Panama - it's all in the melting pot for them now. First the batteries have to be dealt with - and maybe instal a Hydrovane for reliable windsteering and/or a good wind generator...!!

We're now 10 miles NW of Cabo Corrientes and 27 miles SW of La Cruz - ETA there is around sunset.

Position now: 20 45'N, 105 22'W, COG: 065T, SOG: 4.2kt

Wind: N-NNE 13kt - pity we can't bear away - would be perfect for some good sailing

3pm Sunday 8th April

Lovely sunshine ...just found one wisp of cloud on the horizon astern. Seas are a lot calmer in the mostly light winds. Frequent red-footed boobies fly past - at midday, we were 100 miles due E of Isla Socorro and the other islands in its group which must be where they nest. An all-brown juvenile has kept us entertained a lot today - it hasn't yet changed its plumage to the handsome white with black wing tips of its elders.

Overnight motoring continues to be routine so as to keep the batteries charged when the sun has disappeared. They are fading fast, so need constant input to keep their voltage up . Most of last night, the wind angle was good enough to allow motor-sailiing with both main and headsail unfurled in the light winds from NNW.

Weather forecast is still looking very good - avoiding the need for thoughts of making landfall a lot further south than wished for. Winds are expected to continue to be consistently NNW-NW, possibly WNW, over the next few days, allowing an easy course to be laid towards Banderas Bay to the NE. Last night, and today, the wind allowed more northing to be made, to be sure of an easy passage on Monday and Tuesday - we hope to make landfall some time in the late afternoon.

Despite the rough conditions earlier this week and last week, as well as not getting enough sleep and often feeling less than 100%, Suzanne has produced great meals with far more variety than I'm used to on board 'Nereida'! We've also had a constant supply of fresh-baked corn-bread (a type of cake, to my mind!).

4pm position/conditions: 18 40'N, 109 13'W; COG:040T; SOG: 5.8kt;wind: NNW 6-7kt;cloud 1% !!

(See www.svnereida.com for link to website showing our track. P.S. Brief 'newsy' emails welcome using my Winlink address or my website 'Contact' page! No FB out here...)

4pm Thursday - passing well S of Isla Socorro

We've had several handsome black and white red-footed boobies flying close by, both juvenile and adult, over the last few days - presumably from the Islas Revillagegido to our north. Isla Socorro is the largest and presently lies 150 ml N of us.

Motoring worked well to give a good course in the usual very light overnight wind, with genoa furled in and main centred. The bright moon of Wed night was lost behind broken thick clouds so it was often very dark. It's so much nicer when stars and moon are out!

As the wind shifted, our course was adjusted to keep some wind in the sail - we were mostly on port tack but occasionally on starboard tack and so managed to keep heading NNE-NE - towards Banderas Bay - but not making a very good speed. That was a definite improvement over the daytime yesterday when we were mostly headed to Acapulco or points south in a wind too strong to do anything but sail as close-hauled as possible in quite rough seas..

After sunrise today, the wind increased and backed, so the motor was cut and we got sailng nicely on course - close-hauled, as usual. It's been a lovely sunny day with frequent bird visits and fairly calm seas, with the usual 1.5m/4-5ft swell from the north.

Looking at today's weather files, the outlook is good, with the wind increasingly favouring a course to Banderas Bay. We'll repeat the overnight motoring when the wind drops as expected, and make more northing again. With little wind, it's not possible to go any faster under sail and we can point higher under motor.

With bright sunlight, batteries are being kept charged during the day and motoring overnight keeps them charged then, also.

We've enough fuel to alternate motoring overnight with sailing during the day, so getting back to Banderas Bay is looking like an increasingly possible outcome. We had been looking at Manzanillo and Acapulco as options for landfall - which needs to be at an official Mexican Port of Entry since we cleared out of the country on leaving.

Position: 16 23'N, 111 38'W, COG: 086T, SOG: 6.1kt, wind: NNE 8kt (See my website, www.svnereida.com, for tracking/position links.)

Mon/Tues/Wed 2/3/4 April 2018

Well, unfortunately the battery problem has not been resolved satisfactorily. The other four were checked Monday .. and one of them was found to lose charge far faster than it should - so two had to be taken out of circuit (they're 6V 'golf cart' batteries, so work in pairs to give the 12V power needed on board). That left only half the total battery bank available for use.

Sailing had become excellent by mid-afernoon, with a good consistent N-NNW wind giving good speed towards our waypoint of 10N,130W - a nice change from overnight and the morning's flukey light winds. The spinnaker (cruising chute) has been very useful & has been in use a lot in the light winds - far quieter than when using the main and genoa, which flapped noisily in light conditions due to the boat being knocked around by the 1.5m/4-5ft northerly swell.

But still the batteries were being problematic - even the half bank of seemingly good batteries collapsed dramatically once their charge got below a certain point, so the engine was needed to charge up overnight. During periods of bright sunlight, the solar panels keep the charge well up - but overcast conditions in the daytime are unhelpful and these were frequent over Mon/Tues... Wed has been better.

By Tues morning, the decision had to be made - continue on or turn back....? The batteries provide power to the autopilot, lights, radio & instruments, in addition to fridge and freezer (holding a lot of fresh food still). Fuel to run the engine for charging, or for use in calm conditions, was becoming a worry - looking at the distance still to run to Polynesia, it was getting low, even allowing for turning off fridge & freezer overnight. Hand-steering a lot would help the situation but the worry was the batteries deteriorating even more - already they did not seem to be holding charge for as long as when we started out.

If so much had not been invested in fresh food, I was inclined to turn off fridge and freezer & continue on, with plenty of hand-steering - by late morning the decision had been made to abort and return to deal with the battery problem where help could be found and replaement batteries were readily available.

The only remaining problem was the wind - Banderas Bay lies NE of our position and the winds are mainly from N-NNE - so returning will not be simple... but we're making for Mexico, for sure - would be nice to get further north if possible - and weather files are looking hopeful nearer land.

At present - mid-afternoon Wed - we're making good speed, close-hauled in 15kt winds.

Posn: 15 22'N, 114 45W - see website position links

Saturday 31st March / Sunday 1st April 2018

Wind dies down at night so keeping cruising chute flying without it wrapping around the forestay, with its furled headsail, becomes problematic.... We ended up motoring in slow circles Friday night - and were lucky to get a bad wrap unfurled. Since then we've been really careful to avoid a repetition - the light winds over these last few days have made the spinnaker the best option.

Motored for 7 hrs in calm conditions after the Friday night wrap (boat speed had dropped to 1-2 kt!) - but soon realised that was not a realistic ongoing possiblility - too much fuel used. So last night, the light winds (always seems to be less than in daytime) kept the watch-keeper glued to the helm, adjusting our course as the fickle light wind moved around, to make sure of no further 'wraps'...

Batteries have not been holding charge as they ought to - meaning radio use has been severely curtailed. Today (Sunday), after discussing turning back (!), it was decided to explore the batteries - found two dud 6V batteries among the bank of four checked on ... They have now been taken out of circuit and we're hoping no more are found - the other bank of four will be checked later today, after seeing how things go with the six remaining batteries - if all looks good, no more testing will be needed (they're only just over one year old, I'm told). Fingers crossed we've beaten April Fool's Day....

It's 2100Z (Mexican time was 3pm but they just went into daylight saving overnight - so it's now 4pm in Banderas Bay)

Computer keeps playing up - the modem driver does NOT like Windows10!! I'm forever having to reboot the computer and re-start the radio to re-boot the modem in order to get a Winlink radio connection for weather info and weather-faxes. Time-wasting, power-consuming and frustrating!

We've just passed due S of Clarion Island, the furthest west of the Islas Revillagegido (try saying that in a hurry!). It's sunny, calm and peaceful - we're all now trying to catch up on a lot of lost sleep.

16 27'N, 114 47'W - see boat track using the positions posted to the link on www.svnereida.com (given on 'Home' page or 'Travels' page)

Good Friday: 30th March 2018 Happy Easter/Passover!

Wind was from well astern ('abaft the beam'!) overnight and speed dropped to 1.5-2 knots (engine was used to give better speed for a time). With frequent collapsing and filling of mainsail in 1.5m/4-5ft swell almost on the beam, it was noisy!

Fortunately, the wind later came up a touch so boatspeed got up to 3 kt or so - better!

This morning, the asymmetric spinnaker was raised and the main furled in (this boat has in-mast furling making that simple) - suddenly things got a lot more peaceful and smoother - the swell has died down a lot compared with our first 2-3 days, so that's helping.

As usual, the night was gorgeous in the calm conditions - full moonlight dancing on the waves and the Southern Cross in good view off to port, with Orion and Sirius ahead. There's a bright planet overhead - Saturn or Jupiter?? Venus is bright in the W just after sunset.

Battery power continues to be an ongoing problem - that's where 'Nereida' is set up so much better than 'Epiphany' for long passages: Hydrovane wind-steering (no battery power needed!), Superwind wind generator (giving power input overnight, when solar power input clearly isn't happening), no freezer, rare use of fridge (mostly a 'dry locker') and very rare use of mechanical/electronic autopilot (a big drain on battery power).

Skipper George is really regretting not having wind-steering on his boat! Just to keep up with present power needs, we're needing to run the engine twice a day for a good hour each time to charge the batteries. Radio use continues to be minimal - restricted to weather info and two evening Nets. None of my usual regular chats with ham radio friends in the mornings - I'm really missing that!

Having downloaded new weather files, it looks as though the present pleasant conditions will continue for several days... nice! The only slight worry is the chance of squalls - but, so far, no sign of any big clouds - long may that continue!

If you want to send an email, use the Contact page on my website - otherwise, you might need //WL2K as the subject line to overcome the Winlink 'spam filter' - there's no Facebook etc out here so (brief!) 'newsy' emails will be very welcome!

Thursday 29 March 2018

Continuing to be a pleasant sail - still making a fair speed, despite winds having become lighter overnight and today, but the wind has also been slowly veering - it's more 'abaft the beam' now, making for a lot less speed than when it's further forward as it was yesterday.. Seas have lain down a lot also so, which has made for smoother sailing, to the delight of my crew mates.

Near midday, we spotted Isla Socorro well off to starboard - a low conical mountain in the distant haze. It's a popular dive spot, needing a permit to dive in its protected waters, normally three days away from the coast. We've made very good time to get here over half a day early.

One red-footed (?) booby came by earlier, but otherwise no life has been seen - maybe nearer Socorro there would be lots but we're passing a good twenty miles off.

I was told there's a 'ham' on the island just now (call: 4B4B?) but I couldn't raise him on 7150kHz overnight. I'll try again soon - I must have a good ground-wave to him at present! Major problem on board is power which is limiting my radio time badly.

'Epiphany' has neither wind-steering nor a wind generator and is running the autopilot constantly in addition to a freezer/cold box and a fridge so the solar panels are just about making up battery power by mid-afternoon but only so long as I hardly use the radio - downloading weather/grib files and sending once-daily position reports only!

7.30pm - sunset - wind has really died - 6-8 kt - we're ost on a run, just about making way at 2.5 kt!

Wed 28th March 2018

Excellent wind since leaving Banderas Bay on way to Marquesas from Mexico - 'Epiphany is sailing at good speed - we're making 7kt or more SOG. Whales seen several times in the Bay as we sailed out yesterday moning.

Seas are well up at 2-3m so a bit rough but otherwise, all's well.

I flew to Banderas Bay early in January, leaving "Nereida" in

Victoria, with the 'all clear' from the neural specialist on repair of

the cervical vertebrae in my neck (C2 broken, C1/C2 join damaged) - it

was great finally to be rid of my neck brace after well over three

months.

Next problem was to get my neck rotating both sideways and up and down

- not an easy task, with it being so very stiff from being kept

stationary for so long.

I've been recuperating in the warmth of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle,

Nayarit, since then - helped by recent twice-weekly visits for

physiotherapy to Puerto Vallarta.

Neck movement is now much better, although regular exercising is still

needed to give more. My damaged rib cage area healed fine a while ago

- the operation I had there was definitely worthwhile for initial ease

of recovery!

Having been involved with both 'Women Who Sail' presentations and

'2018 Puddle Jump' seminars, my friends on 'Epiphany' asked me to join

them sailing over to the Marquesas. It didn't take me long to agree!

I've been missing being at sea, only having been out 2-3 times in the

Wednesday 'Beer Can' racing here in La Cruz in February.

So that's my main news - we hope to set sail early next week - well

before Easter causes a problem with clearing out of Mexico! I'm

looking forward to it - and it will give me a chance to check out

being on a boat at sea before I fly back to Victoria for summer in

British Columbia, back on board 'Nereida'.

I'll be posting daily position reports and news from 'Epiphany' as we

sail over - it should be fun!

 
 
Saturday 28th October

The weather has been amazingly good of late, with wonderful colourful foliage on the many trees nearby.  I've been managing to get out for several walks in the warm sunshine

 I left hospital two weeks ago to stay with friends here in Victoria - very many thanks to Roxy and Les for their kindness in caring for me.  I'm slowly recovering but still have a long way back to full mobility (neck brace is a nuisance!), although at least my spinal cord and all four limbs were undamaged - TG!

I was lucky to get to the Inner Harbour today to enjoy the celebrations on the final day of the Canada C3 expedition - the 'Polar Prince', an ex-Canadian Coastguard icebreaker, has taken 150 days from Toronto, traversing the three coasts of Canada (Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific), meeting people at stops along the way, carrying out scientific research and enabling a variety of people to join in the various legs of its journey - First Nations, youngsters, musicians, politicians and many others - all committed to bringing understanding and reconciliation to Canadians from all walks of life and backgrounds, as well as highlighting the coasts and oceans and related settlement and environmental issues.

After listening to speeches and music, Mike Webber, Chief Engineer, kindly gave me and a few others a tour of the ship which carries a total of up to 60 on board.  The engines are four 8-cylinder 1300hp giving electric power to the two prop-shafts - everything was impressively big!  The labs on board were used to investigate the daily samples of DNA and micro-plastic found in the oceans, among other research.   A well-presented protest against the fish farms was well received during the speeches - Atlantic salmon are being farmed in B.C. waters and causing major problems for the wild Pacific salmon which are decreasing in numbers as a result....

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Friday 6th October .....  A beautiful sunrise over the Strait this morning - we should have been nearing the entrance to the Strait , making for the Pacific....  Oh well....  All change. ..!

Thurs 5th October 
We should have been starting off from Victoria's lovely Inner Harbour Causeway Dock today...... but that has all changed as of my accident a week ago. ...

View is out of my hospital window over Oak Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards Washington....  A lovely sunset... Good to see the water!
Thanks to Susan and Saylor for swinging my bed around so I could enjoy the view when they visited this evening 
I'm free of all tubes now and getting up and about a bit, as pain permits.  Every day is one less with this neck brace  - 3 months is a long time to have it on but at least my spinal nerve is intact so that's the excellent news.
Everything will heal given time...
Lovely to be blessed with so many friends around - thanks to all of you for the many good wishes sent my way..


I spoke with Jeanne tonight and she is sore and in pain although limbs and nerves are all intact   She took a fall from  the top of a ladder while coming down off her boat in the boatyard    She is currently in hospital while she begins to recover from her injuries.   She will provide more details as soon as she is up to it.  Please keep her in your thoughts.

Thank you,
Mike

Wednesday 27th Sept - Westport Marina, Tsehum Hbr, B.C.

Departure date has now been set for next Thursday 5th October.... weather permitting.
Fresh eggs were ordered for next Wednesday from Firbank Farm - 11 dozen again.  With daily turning, they should last four months, kept out of the fridge (which will be turned off most of the time).
My original plan to launch from the hard at Westport marina on Friday morning, ready for a Monday departure from Victoria, was clearly not feasible. There's still work needed over the next few days - so I postponed our  'splash' to Sunday afternoon, ready for some Monday morning rigging work. When that's complete, Paul of Leitch & McBride will bring a new staysail and repaired mainsail to the boat and then I'll  make for Victoria.

Yesterday, Maggie wet sanded the keel after spending time on the propellor, Robert finished the AP rewiring, I cut out and then filled a small crack in the filler outside the rudder bearing (not structural... 'cosmetic', I was assured) and started replacement of all zincs.  
In the afternoon, Geoff came over from Blackline to see to a few small rigging issues (more to do on inner forestay when back in water soon), I had a few visits from friends ...and Darren nearly finished polishing the hull - it's looking good!

For checking on final provisioning needs, it's helpful having the small digital scales brought over by Elaine for measuring small portions so I can multiply up for 8 months or so...
 
Today the propeller and propshaft were made ready for a Propspeed application - I love the shining bronze of the cleaned bare metal of the Autoprop before the eco-friendly  clear silicone coating is applied.  I also prepared the Hydrovane rudder for a Coppercoat  repair to some small bare patches.

Robert re-made some diesel pipework incorporating a new filter below the cabin heater tank, fixed in place a difficult zinc and soldered the control cable connection to the Icom SSB/HF radio - more good jobs completed.
I was sorry when Maggie headed for the ferry - it's been great to have her here, albeit briefly.
Tonight's work is to stow everything that was moved from the aft cabin over the last few days so work could be done there.
Hopefully, I'll get the cabins back to some semblance of order soon! 


Flight from LHR to Seattle and finally on to Victoria.... after useful few days spent in Solent area and Southampton Boat Show getting boat stuff organised.

Many thanks to kindly BA staff for allowing the loading of Furlex parts in long (2.45m) cardboard tube to bring back to boat for replacing damaged foil parts on inner forestay. Was worried it might not have been allowed on flight but all went well at LHR.

Thanks to Derek Gilbert of Raymarine UK for enabling servicing (by Simon) of E120 plotter and liaising with Hy-Pro who sent replacement AP solenoid valves.

Thanks to David Grey of Jabsco for providing a replacement head toilet pump.

Thanks to Flash at Performance Rigging at Hamble Point for help with getting Furlex parts quickly.

Thanks to my friends Karen and Stuart of Commodore Yachting and Neil of Boatshed for looking after me.

Thanks to Dave Selby for his kind words and a signed copy of his amusingly-written 'Impractical Boat Owner' - I'm looking forward to reading it while at sea soon.

A long travelling day - started 9a.m.BST at Southampton Boat Show, on to Raymarine in Fareham to pick up plotter, then to LHR for 3:30 p.m. flight to Seatac..... Delayed flight on to Victoria due to cancelled 9.20p.m. Alaska flight - ETD now 11:15p.m. PDT, giving arrival in Victoria (YJJ) around midnight = 8 a.m. BST! Need to catch up on some sleep....

Wednesday 30th August  - another lovely sunny day in Victoria.
I spent a short time ambling around the shops in the historic Hudson Bay Centre .... A highly interesting old 'multiple clock' hangs high up, referencing the Imperial era when it was built (see photos). 
One reason for my trip into town was to buy ‪a good electronic cleaner for corrosion...for mast top connections on wind transducer & other small connectors on board.... I'd finally located a source here in Victoria.  I also visited several recommended sources for a spare solenoid valve for my autopilot, without any luck.


Friday 1st September 
Amazing how difficult getting four screws through four holes into wood can be when a) access is limited so the drill won't fit available space b) it's very difficult to mark the positions of the holes correctly c) you don't have long enough screws... ( See photo of replacement battery switch now installed)  But many thanks to Peter of RVYC Foreshore office for generously giving me the screws I needed - avoiding a bus trip into town. It still took quite a time to complete the job - but it's  done now. 

Peter later also helped out with a wiring problem I was having - he crimped on a heavy duty connection I needed but didn't have.  (Soldering was not working out as a makeshift solution to my problem - despite using lots of solder, it just demonstrated my lack of skill!!) 

Having finally resolved that problem, I was able to add in the antenna extension needed (via the below-deck  portion of the antenna feed wire to the tuner) to avoid a problem on 14300kHz that I unexpectedly found after replacing the tuner and control cable with the ones that Icom America so kindly provided.  I'm delighted to confirm success with that - the small extra length of cable added in to the antenna works to resolve the problem!!  My HF/SSB radio is now working beautifully on all frequencies - many thanks yet again to Icom America  for their generous support.

The mainsail was removed for checking over - it needs a few small repairs.  It's always so much easier and quicker to remove it with a friend's help - thank you, Andy ('Foolish Muse'), for coming by after work (and delivering it to the loft for me).

Making progress on locating a replacement solenoid valve for the autopilot - in UK...  Raymarine are being helpful... And also hoping to replace some broken (plastic) Lewmar parts soon - in contact with Lewmar USA.

Thanks to another RVYC member AJ ('Fiasco') for picking up my aft cabin cushions this morning.   Another step achieved in organising the boat better for the long trip coming up..... Now for some sorting out - it will be nice to get into a less chaotic state down below ....

Weather has been great again today -hope it keeps for the long holiday weekend here in N. America ....  

HAPPY LABOUR DAY WEEKEND TO ALL MY CANADIAN  & US FRIENDS!!









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