30/31 March (Days 22/23)

Tues/Wed 30/31 March 2010 (Days 22&23)

Wednesday.... Another beautiful day until late afternoon, following a bright, moonlit night.... of really pleasant sailing! I've been busy sail trimming, on & off, since before a lovely dawn this morning (Venus high up in E, full moon about to set in W), with wind up and down, trying to keep our speed up... I'm enjoying the warmth with not too big a swell, under a sunny sky. Lovely .... but no birds yesterday and just a couple of White-chinned Petrels today..... I think they all prefer the strong wind and waves, so they can soar on the updraughts...!

Magnetic variation around here is immense. It went up to 47W on Sunday & has just started to go down now - to 46W. Means that when I see a N swell, looking at the ship's compass, it's actually coming from the NW... that's quite a difference!

I'm now trying to get to the Start line of the Single-Handed TransPac Race to Hawaii in June, having had to pull in to Cape Town for repairs after 2 months at sea on my previous nonstop circumnavigation attempt - re-start now planned for October. I just heard that the North California PHRF have given "Nereida" (a Najad 380) a rating of 123. Similar-sized and rated boats are the Catalina 380 and Ericson 38 at 120, Cal 39 and Gibsea 42 at 123, and Beneteau 35S5 at 126. Interesting that they've rated us level with the Cal 39. Chances are slim that I'll make that start line (it's a long way from Cape Town - half the world & well over 13,000 mls!)... but I'm trying! By the time I get close to Hawaii on the way north, I'll know how I'm doing... but in the meantime, this is an excellent test run for "Nereida" - the job list is being made ready for eventual landfall!

One ongoing problem has been bad radio noise with the autopilot in use. (Being unable to use my windsteering gear until I can get the rudder back in place is really bad news ... It was so good on the way down from the Canaries through the S. Atlantic and power consumption is nil... so there's no radio interference problem!!) My radio transmission, I'm told, is excellent, having gone to great lengths to organize a good ground on the system when the boat was in build, so it's really frustrating not to be able to hear people on 14316 kHz and certain other frequencies, when they can hear me so clearly! I'd specified twisted, shielded wire to be used in the AP cable runs to avoid exactly this problem.... something to look at again... not there..? When I turned off the AP while Roy, VK6BO, was transmitting from Perth yesterday, it cleared the noise on frequency almost completely & I could hear him quite well...... but in strong conditions, unless I heave to, I can't afford to leave the AP off for any length of time. Stymied!

A fresh problem that appeared yesterday, on letting out the first reef in light winds - I noticed that the 2nd reef line was badly chafed in a place that did not allow me to just pull a section through to avoid the problem -the line is just not long enough... so I have to try to pull another reef line through the boom ... not something I fancy in mid-ocean but it has to be done sometime soon...... In case it gives way when in use in the meantime, when putting in the 2nd reef this morning, I used a strop to tie in the cringle, so I could, as is my habit now, release the tension on the reef line, and I also rigged a short 'emergency' reef line to reach from the cringle to the boom, so I've something to use to pull the reef down if needed. "Oh, what fun ....the life on the ocean wave... tra-la...!!" Always something to keep me busy...!! And people think I get bored with nothing to do out here...!!! Only problem with pulling a new reef line through the boom is that it requires pulling out the old one ... If the join goes, I'm stuck with my emergency system alone.... I'm not rushing into it just now...!! Pity it's not feasible to have a 'mouse' (spare thin line) running through the boom ready.... New thought.... How about attaching a mouse line to near the chafed area (which is near for'd end of boom) so that if it goes, it takes the 'mouse' into the boom with it... Hmmm...!! I wonder..... Worth looking into.... LATER: Bad news! It's not only the 2nd reef line, but also the 1st reef line, that's chafing - on the small sheaves' quite sharp edges, where they exit from the for'd end of the boom, because of the angle of the lines down to the mast base, it seems.... Two 'mice' will be needed.... fairly urgently. I must see if I can change the leads of those lines somehow.... A good thing both reefs have strops in place, taking the tension off those lines at present.... and today was such a lovely day..... Damn....

Jobs still waiting...
The steering cable is making a slight squeaking noise at the turning sheave below pedestal - to be lubricated.
Oil levels to be checked on Genset and main engine.
Sender wire to tachometer, at back of alternator on 'w' terminal, to be checked to see if loose.

Noon-to-noon DMG:
Tuesday: 151 n.ml.
Wednesday: 170 n.ml. !!

Written by : Mike

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