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Day 29 Wed-Thurs 31Oct-1Nov 2018 We lose displayed wind information

Wed 4.15pm Tea-time - it feels so wonderfully gentle and calm jut now, despite occasional quite big swell from the S and a bank of grey clouds ahead. The wind has died back after the last heavy downpour and us rushing along in strong wind and seas. The sun is trying hard to get out through the cloud layer, we're making a good SE course, beam reaching in W wind of 7kt, we've almost reached 6N... I can move about fairly easily, without needing to hold on tightly before taking another step, although I've needed an inboard preventer on the boom to keep it from crashing about in the swell and light wind. I've dealt with emails, looked at weather files, changed into clean, dry clothes and tidied up a bit. Thinking about readying food for tonight... Kettle's on. All's well with my world just now....

Well, tea was made later - but I never got to drinking much of it although, fortunately, I did make an early meal - shrimps and pasta in Alfredo sauce - which I enjoyed... The wind went very light and variable but mainly from the E and it was a struggle to keep the bow pointing SE-ish.

Just before dark, I was playing with the first reef tied in - trying to improve on my tying in of the 'nettles' - they'd not been tight enough last time and eventually, with a really prolonged downpour, the sail had 'bagged', holding a lot of rainwater again... In the very light wind and fair-sized swell, the boom was moving quite a lot, although I was using an inboard preventer to lessen the motion. But the sail kept flogging, despite that, and suddenly, with a particularly big swell passing by, - Bang! .... The first reef line snapped.

It was very fortunate that the end of the line did not disappear inside the boom because I was later able to re-tie the end of the reef line around the boom and through the reef cringle. But first I secured the sail to the boom with a length of Spectra that was to hand to stop it moving about in the wind & swell. Clearly, to prevent such a breakage happening, it's best to tie in the reef separately after reefing down, and then the reef line can be released so it has no stresses on it. I hadn't been doing that, unfortunately. It had been jerked on a lot with the sail flogging in the combination of very light wind & big seas. From now on, the first reef will be tied in separately, after reefing down! I hope the line will survive the rest of the trip. (If not, there's always a plan B!)

It was well dark by the time I'd finished sorting that all out - as a precaution against more heavy rain & squalls overnight, I left the reef tied in - simpler to leave it all safely secured. Overnight, well before dawn, the wind did get up - I furled in some genoa and we seemed to be doing fine.

Thursday morning, to my dismay, I looked over to the instruments from my bunk to find the wind display showing a set of dashes - no dislayed wind information whatsoever... Damn! Before leaving, I'd replaced the mast top transducer and its wire down inside the mast precisely to avoid this problem, which I had for six months during my last nonstop sail around .... It makes sail-handling so much simpler when the display is working. There's a Windex at the mast top, useful for changing tack and sail-trimming - but that only gives apparent wind direction, with no speed info, and you need to be on deck to see it. It's nice to have the display down below when a Cold Front is expected to pass by while in the Southern Ocean - they can occur suddenly and with strong winds - the display can give a useful warning that it's about to happen.

We're back to ambling in light winds again so the motion is generally much less down below. We do seem to have left the area of big rain clouds behind, although there's always the chance of an isolated squall in the Tropics.

I'll try to investigate the wind display and its wiring but.... it has power, nothing else. Not looking good!

1200 PDT - end of Day29. We made 94 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's noon position - result of the very light NW wind early yesterday afternoon, followed by light variable/ E - ESE - SSW winds yesterday evening, veering to SSW overnight. We've been trying to stay on a SE course to avoid the forecast calms to the W.

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

TIME: 2018/11/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 05-14.94N LONGITUDE: 126-50.66W COURSE: 122T SPEED: 3.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: S SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0M CLOUDS: 80%

BARO: 1014 TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 27.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C

COMMENT: Lost wind display - so 'guesstimates' for wind strength from now on...

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