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Day 268 Thurs-Fri 27-28 June 2019 GMT Gusty conditions under big clouds make for another 'stop-start' day

Friday 8:45am NZT (Thurs 2045GMT) Wind has just picked up and we're now galloping along at around 6kt. Looks as though this could be a gusty day with spurts of speed and lulls in between. Sky has lots of large, light grey clouds, with sun getting out between them, and several light showers can be seen falling not so far away - there's even a faint rainbow in the distance, well astern. Cabin temperature just got up to 20C/68F but it feels cool - not discarding all my fleeces just yet.

Albatross and a few other birds are soaring around nearby.

Have been chatting twice daily to cruisers in the Fiji area on S.Pacific Cruisers net - they're all hunkering down for a big 'blow' expected in two days' time - several moved anchorage to be protected from the expected wind (and seas) direction - up to 50kt gusts forecast this morning for Sunday. I'm also in contact with a Net in French Polynesia. Means I can keep in touch with cruising friends down this way - lovely to have a long chat with friends last seen in Mexico a year or more ago, before they started on their Pacific crossing.

SSB/HF radio on board cruising boats is, to my mind, an essential, both for safety reasons and for communication. The Nets provide a useful way for a group of people to share information on events/places in the area and help each other dealing with equipment problems, as well as sharing weather info and, most importantly, warnings of dangers. Not something that can be done via a one-to-one personal telephone/satellite connection.

Most of the day was a repeat of this morning's strong wind in a prolonged gust, speeding along and heeling well to port under a cloud, possibly bringing some light rain, with the time in between gusts spent struggling to make way in light wind .. until the next acceleration was felt starting up, as we came under the influence of another big, grey cloud. All in quite a big S swell which had us rolling around a lot, very often.

8:30pm Just had to adjust our course to 070T (from 060T) and ease the mainsheet - wind has dropped and veered far more to S, from SSE-SE over most of the day, so sails were nearly backed a few times before I got on deck to sort things out.

Dark night with no moon and only very hazy stars seen. Still some thin clouds around but not so many large ones as earlier during the day, so mainly just ambling along at low speed - around 3-4kt only.

Saturday 3:30am NZT (Fri 1530 GMT) Sailing well in wind from SSE-SE, so adjusted heading to get back on rhumb-line course to 25S 150W - just SSW of Tubuai, in the Iles Australs of French Polynesia. We were making 5.8kt when adjusted course, but now wind is down again, so speed has dropped to around 5.3kt. Swell clearly well up, judging from SOG which varies a lot depending on whether we're being taken along by a wave or slowed down, as we drop down on the back of a wave.

Mainly clear sky, with stars of Southern Cross 'pointers' clear astern and bright crescent moon high up, almost dead ahead, behind the sails.

Checked for, and replied to, emails - back to my bunk ....

6:45am Bright sunny day with a few clouds around - maybe 20%. Swell still a good 3.5m/12ft from S, so plenty of motion but not too bad.

Having my breakfast cereal with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, with a glass of pineapple juice on the side (along with vitamins C and D), while I get reports ready for posting after 1900z.

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While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

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1900GMT (= 7 a.m. NZT) - end of Day 268. We made 118 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Disappointing - I'd hoped for better but we too often slowed down a lot in between the frequent strong gusts.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 268 (by daily DMGs):21,725 n.ml

Distances (at 1900GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 1145 n.ml. to SW; Tahiti: 973 n.ml. to NNE; Tubuai (Iles Australes): 712 n.ml. to NE

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/06/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 31-05.85S LONGITUDE: 159-41.21W

COURSE: 056T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: SSE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 20%

BARO: 1025.3hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Not too many clouds around so maybe less gusty today?

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