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Day 269 Fri-Sat 28-29 June 2019 GMT

Saturday 8am NZT (Friday 2000GMT) Bright sunny day with quite a few large clouds around - so might be in for another gusty day. Swell still a good 3.5m/12ft from S, so plenty of motion but not too bad.

Finishing my breakfast cereal with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, with a glass of pineapple juice on the side (along with vitamins C and D), having posted my daily reports.

1:30pm Sky has a lot of cloud cover now and we're often rushing along at speed, heeled over on a close reach. Wind, from SE, is around 15kt, but much more in gusts - varies a lot under the clouds in strength and a little in direction. Sun is often getting out.

Actually saw two birds just now, as I trimmed the sails - possibly petrels, seemed to be all-dark, swooping around on slim, fixed wings. Hadn't seen any earlier today and put that down to lighter wind and maybe getting closer to tropical waters. Certainly, the water colour, when the sun was shining, was hinting at the lovely deep turquoise blue of the tourist brochures. We're presently well-heeled in the stronger wind under a cloud, so I'm sitting on the port (leeward) bunk - but on a cushion with a sheet of plastic below it, protecting it (and me!) from the settee which is still very damp from the knockdown. Cabin temperature is 21C, so air is not warm enough yet to dry much out.

Have spent a time clearing up a bit but can't do much with a lot of clothing and bedding which are still very damp from seawater - or from the sea air, which has almost the same effect.

Finished the lentil soup I made the evening before last, so now soaking some small white and larger pink beans ready for a thick, hearty meal-in-one soup. Will probably add a little barley together with chopped tomatoes & green beans, along with either chicken, ham or beef - I'll see what takes my fancy at the time.

Think I'll get some pancake mix ready for later - so easy to cook and very enjoyable although the maple syrup is finished - but maybe I'll use some honey instead, with a little of the raspberry sauce from Hobart. Think that's really meant for dribbling over ice cream - but there's none of that within quite a few hundred miles of here. I reckon some Nutella would work quite well as a chocolate flavour on the pancakes and might work very well with the raspberry sauce also.

It's really great that, for once, the weather is playing ball! The big, deep 1040hPa High over New Zealand, slowly drifting E, is giving this big area of settled SE wind that we're benefitting from. As we move NE, wind will slowly become more ESE, then E - at which point we'll be heading N towards Tahiti in strong SE Trades and then on towards Hawaii, crossing the Equator and the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone - or Doldrums) which is usually somewhere around 8N, on the way.

7:45pm Had a very enjoyable ham radio session on 7160 - lots of contacts with New Zealand and Australia. Batteries kept well up by wind generator (Superwind) so no power problem nowadays.

Was told by Al, ZL1AYH, that there will be a solar eclipse along my path around 1800GMT on Tuesday 2nd July ... Must look out for that on Wed morning (NZT) - hope it's not too cloudy! That's just past sunrise for my position near here.... Will check on path it will be taking - at best, I'll see a good partial eclipse, not totality.

9:30pm Wind keeps dying down a lot more than coming up under a cloud - not so many clouds now, perhaps? Means we've slowed down a lot.

Have had some useful suggestions by email on use of spinnaker halyard as topping lift and ways to avoid chafe... looking into them!

Sunday 6am (Sat 1800GMT) Sun rose a short while ago and is shining brightly through one of the few gaps in the light grey cloud that's covering most of the sky.

We've been at slow speed most of the night - wind now is only 9-10kt and we're making up and down around 4.4kt - slow progress just now...

Running generator for an hour, along with water-maker, and charging computer and iPhone - regular early morning events.

Pancake mix is waiting to be cooked for breakfast - didn't get around to frying in last night's rough seas - calmer now.

Speed has dropped again while I've been writing - to around a mere 3.7kt - we shan't be breaking any distance records for today's DMG!

Just had a note from Allen, ZL1AYH, about the eclipse on 2nd July:

" It will reach Chile but at sunset and the totality is shorter. In fact the Astronomers there are rather excited as it is the first time a total eclipse has ever passed over the largest telescopes in the world."

7am Lovely to see a Cape petrel attracted to 'Nereida' - kept circling around and then settled in water nearby. The other bird seen yesterday - solitary, all-dark, slim-winged, mainly gliding with only occasional flaps of wings - was also circling around, not so very far away. Shearwater? Petrel? Must check in my bird book...

I was on deck, checking direction of wind and swell, using ship's compass - one reason I keep a note of current Magnetic Variation all the time in my ship's logbook- presently standing at 18E, so 18 degrees needs to be added to compass readings to give True directions. (I can never understand why anyone even thinks of quoting a Magnetic course to others a distance away.... Only time it would be appropriate is to give a 'course to steer' to a helmsperson at the wheel, watching the ship's compass. )

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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 269. We made 109 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 269 (by daily DMGs):21,834 n.ml

Distances (at 1900GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 1254 n.ml. to SW; Tahiti: 869 n.ml. to NNE; Tubuai (Iles Australes): 601 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/06/29 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 30-06.08S LONGITUDE: 157-54.63W

COURSE: 055T SPEED: 4.4kt

WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: S

SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 4.0m SWELL_PER: 9s CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1024.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 24.0C

COMMENT: Dull, grey day with good-sized S swell and wind chop on top.

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