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Day 37 Thurs-Fri 8-9 Nov 2018 Few clouds, bright sun - hot!

Thurs A lovely day's sail - bright sun, scattered clouds, wind and seas down a bit, although still the odd bigger wave to keep me on my toes... and wind strong enough, at 14-16kt, to keep us going at 5-6 kt. Having to keep an eye on the wind direction and our resulting course - still aiming for due S overall since that looks to give us least chance of ending up in very light winds or even headwinds in a few days' time. Wind is being very helpful in being mainly from N of E, so we're not too close-hauled but still doing OK.

5pm Feeling really pleased - decided conditions were light enough to release staysail halyard tension, as a result of which it was really easy to attach the foot of the sail to the shackle there. I'm 'mousing' the ring on the snapshackle pin with wire in a way that I hope will prevent it from being pulled open - I don't want to find the foot of the sail having been released again sometime in the future... I use the staysail almost all the time in the strong conditions of the Southern Ocean - it's a small sail with its centre of effort low down and close to the mast - perfect in strong conditions to reduce heeling compared with using a reefed-down genoa (a big headsail, set much further forward and with centre of effort higher up - especially when reduced).

Sunset not too far away so thinking about my evening meal. Having had the rest of last night' stew at lunch-time, I'll explore some well-ripened Saltspring goat's cheese and crackers.... maybe with some olives left over from my Equator-crossing party!

Stayed up rather late and had a good radio session on 40m with Mike, K6MYC, in California and several other contacts who came by - from Vancouver (B.C.) to Charlotte to Salt Lake City to the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. Turned out to be quite a good thing since the wind had backed quite a lot, from E to ENE, by the time I'd finished and I was able to adjust Fred to give a better course.

Fri 7.20am Interesting how, as the sun rises soon after sunrise, propagation goes way down on the HF radio 40m band, not helped by increased major static noise on frequency. The band was so much clearer last night. Made contact with Oregon, Alberta and Tasmania.

We're continuing to make good speed, with one reef in the main and full genoa, at over 6.5kt in wind of 15 kt from ENE in bright sunshine with 75% scattered cloud cover.

Time for breakfast...

11.20am Getting ready to post my position and news .-update - spotted two ships ten miles off on my AIS screen - headed away - glad I've my AIS on transmit! Both with weird MMSI numbers (111111650 (GS006009) and 111111651 (GS006010)) - most odd!! Naval vessels, maybe? One hardly moving: 0.2kt - surely fishing?? The other only making 3kt. Both not expected to get closer than 10 miles.

1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day37. We made 140 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. Helped by consistent good wind and making a fairly straight course due S. Boat speed has been averaging well over 6kt but there seems to be a definite current heading W slowing us a little - the Equatorial Current, I presume.

Another ship just showed up 10 miles off - MMSI 111111639 (GS006008) - looks to be fishing - SOG 1.3k.

11.40am All now headed very slowly S or SSW, 6 miles away. We might catch two of them up and get to within 3 miles - unless they change their course, yet again. Will keep an eye out - hope they've seen our AIS signal to avoid us! Fishing seems the most likely scenario.... Interestingly, they're just outside the French Polynesia Fishery Zone - Chinese/Japanese fishing boats? Clearly in the same fleet but we're 600-700 miles East of Polynesia just now.

1155am - A fourth one just appeared - over 12 miles away - MMSI 1111112293 - also clearly in same fleet.

Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):

TIME: 2018/11/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 11-31.97S LONGITUDE: 127-52.60W COURSE: 178T SPEED: 6.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: 055T SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.5m

BARO: 1013.1hPa TREND: 0 CLOUD: 5% AIR_TEMP: 28.0C SEA_TEMP: 33.0C

COMMENT: Bright, hot, nearly cloudless sky.

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