S/V Nereida sails around the world

RTW Day 191: In S.Pacific: Squalls, rain, big seas - not a pleasant day...

Great progress made in strong conditions  yesterday and overnight to mid-morning: 148 n.ml. over the 24hrs up to 11am LT.  If we could have been sailing like this for last few months, would be almost 'home'by  now!   Nearly 7kt average speed.

Seas got bigger today - up to 4m, so impressively large and reminiscent of Southern Ocean ... but interval better, at around 6 secs, so not feeling as rough as yesterday's 3m seas with very short interval which knocked us about far more all day long.    Instead, the problem today was suden squalls which added to already strong wind of 20-25kt... Wind gusted up even more as big rainclouds came over ... We heeled madly and rounded up as Fred was overpowered and I had to get on deck hurriedly to reduce canvas - keeping very low & feeling rather vulnerable with the extreme angle of heel as I furled in quite a lot of the full genoa.    When second squall came along later, I furled it in completely and we still made over 6kt.    The third squall, later in the afternoon, passed without too much drama - sails were about right and we simply heeled a bit more when it arrived and increased speed, although, as earlier, I did put us off the wind a bit when at its strongest, to reduce heeling by reducing apparent wind speed and angle.   Good to have the searoom to do that ( - a good reason to be downwind of any nearby hard bits in squally conditions.)

With the heeled boat, wave action and regular squalls, difficult again to achieve much - generator repair put on hold again until tomorrow and main engine run in neutral to charge batteries.  Spent a time trying to figure out how to put Pactor modem in 'BIOS mode' in order to try to get weatherfax situation improved by clearing the RAM .. still not got there, due to interruptions - another job 'on hold'!

By early evening, things were definitely feeling a bit calmer ... seas are still large, at 3-4m, but more spaced out, wind has dropped a lot and sky is clearer with plenty of bright stars and waning but bright moon shining through quite big gaps in clouds and lighting up the scene.  I even felt comfortable unfurling some genoa for overnight to increase our speed which had dropped to under 5kt.

Sea temperature is way up at 32C, air feels humid and warm and fleeces are most definitely a thing of the past.   I've been seeing a lot of bits floating in the sea surface.  Some have come on board with seas washing over the decks and got caught in the scuppers along with small flying fish.    They look like the beginnings of gooseneck barnacles, waiting to attach to surfaces to grow there - we've lots under our stern growing along the waterline, in the aerated water they love just there - slowing us down!   If we're becalmed, I've in mind to tak a dip and cut them off...

Had some good radio contacts again over today and this evening - all very sociable!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 11am LT:  148 n.ml. - brilliant & a nice change!   Sydney: 1309 n.ml. (237T); New Zealand's North Cape: 650 n.ml. (181T);  New Caledonia: 360 n.ml. (280T);   Fiji (Viti Levu): 397 n.ml. (035T).  Ile Hunter:  98 n.ml.(316T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 190: In S.Pacific: Back up to speed in good wind but rough seas

Monday 29th April 2013

11:30am Downloaded fresh weather info - looks OK to make good speed - so now making around 6kt on 020T - beam reach on starboard tack in E wind of 15kt or more.
Ran main engine in neutral to charge batteries - takes twice the diesel of the little generator and not good for engine to run under no load so hope to fix generator a.s.a.p. - but too rough today.

6pm Sunset close - it will be dark by 7pm. We've been making 7kt for quite a time - nice to see a good speed! Seas have been consistently up at around 3m & on beam, so throwing us around quite often.... difficult to get much done when it's rough like this. it's not so much the wave height as the fact that the distance apart is not much - only about a 4 second interval. It looks as though the deep Low forming over the Fiji area is all set to move off SSE by the time we get closer - our slowing down has helped avoid the bad weather but now I'm trying to make the most of the wind while we've got it - by the end of the week, when we're passing NW of Fiji, it could well have died away, it seems.

Was late getting to Pacific Seafarers' Net - lay down for a rest for an hour or so - came to at 3:45pm - 15mins late - and no details ready yet either... so hurriedly put the data together and called in. Gary, ZL2GLM, relayed to Jane, NH7TZ, Net Control, who kindly took my report almost immediately. I've been checking in daily since halfway across the Indian Ocean so I've been first on the rollcall for some time now - it's a worry for them if I miss my check-in.
Afterwards, had a chat with Canadian friends Sue & Doug on 'Longshot II' with their youngsters. We met up in Honolulu last year and they've just spent the NZ summer & cyclone season in the North Island, getting boat projects done, in addition to exploring New Zealand. We'll meet up again in Victoria after they get back in late August, ready for the new school year, having taken a year out for their kids to sail the Pacific together and school them on board- what a great education they've had!

11.:30pm Speed down from 7kt to 6kt or less - reduced genoa for less heel and less bumpy ride overnight. Weather outlook seems good. If less rough tomorrow, hope to get to genset repair. Bright moon peeking through ragged clouds... a few stars visible also.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 11am LT: 81 n.ml. Sydney: 1192 n.ml. (241T); New Zealand's North Cape: 515 n.ml. (176T); New Caledonia: 358 n.ml. (305T); Fiji (Viti Levu): 541 n.ml. (033T).
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 189: In the S.Pacific: studying weather, weather, ....and more weather

Sunday 28th April 2013

Complete change today from previous days of sunshine - overcast grey skies all day long with increasing wind and very choppy seas - not at all calm! Two good-sized flying fish this morning - and another found late at night while sheeting in mains'l.

Our greenfinch visitor flew off this morning - I'm not convinced that it meant to, but being disturbed as I headed into the cockpit for sail adjustments, I think it flew astern a bit more than intended - and it couldn't get back onboard with the stronger wind and faster boat speed just then. But at least it stood a good chance, having fed well on sunflower seeds and having had plenty of water...

I spent a long, long time - most of today, in fact, either adjusting sails in an effort to keep our speed down to 4kt or less, or studying grib files, asking for fresh ones and trying to deal with a weatherfax problem on the computer - getting garbled rubbish just now and unable to get anything sensible when trying to download weatherfaxes. Means I'm dependent on the dedicated weatherfax machine - at least I have that... It was always intended partly as a back up , in case of computer problems, and that's what it has become! Have to make sure I'm not talking on the radio at the same time since an interference problem is caused.

Actually heaved to at one point, while deciding on tactics for today - took the opportunity to relax over breakfast but then decided I needed to keep us moving N - especially when I heard reference to a possible cyclone forming off Cape York (the 'pointy' N tip of NE Australia) - that's the last thing I need! It does look as though I should be able to avoid a big, long area of heavy convection (i.e. nasty rainclouds with strong squally conditions) around 20S by going fsirly slowly now. Hopefully, by the time I get there, the clouds and squalls will have dissipated or moved away E-SE.

Just started up generator - thought it sounded a bit odd - sure enough not long after, it stopped - 'temperature' alarm light stayed on - water pump problem maybe... impeller possibly... job for tomorrow, it seems - but sleep for now... wind steering takes no power... Will switch off plotter to minimize power usage overnight.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 11am LT: 90 n.ml. Sydney: 1140 n.ml. (2449T); New Zealand's North Cape: 439 n.ml. (173T); Norfolk Island: 241 n.ml. (242T); Fiji (Viti Levu): 618 n.ml. (030T).
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 188: In the S.Pacific: One contented greenfinch takes up residence..

Saturday 27th April 2013

greenfinch in cockpit 26Apr2013
greenfinch on mainsheet 26 Apr 2013

Another very pleasant day with lots of sun, blue skies and not much cloud, although building a bit more towards evening. A bright moon - still almost full and very bright, making deckwork overnight very easy. Seas have been up more today, becoming quite choppy.

Spent a time again, checking route possibilities and looking out for small, hard obstacles in our way north - lots of reefs, atolls and islands around to avoid. Also downloaded several weather faxes... High pressure still very extensive where we are.

The greenfinch has taken up residence in the cockpit area, after I persuaded it to take some sunflower seeds early this morning and also some water - so its survival chances are much better and it's been looking quite perky, eating frequently over the day. It's sleeping overnight on the cockpit coaming, beside the sheet winch, so I'm leaving taking in some genoa until morning -seems a pity to disturb it! I was sad to find one dead goldfinch on deck this afternoon - I'd thought the pair had flown off early this morning, after resting overnight - maybe the other one made it safelty to an island somewhere, but I don't think they'd eaten or drunk any of the seeds or water I left out overnight....

We were goosewinged until midday but the wind slowly backed some more, so we finally had to lower the genoa pole and gybe the mainsail - we're now on a broad reaach, on starboard tack with both sails over to port. Speed had slowly increased today, as wind strength went up - but looking at the weather ahead, it now seems that we don't want to make too good a speed... An area of strong convection lies ahead, about 300 mls away, for the next 3 days or so, so if we can reach that point in 3 days' time, with any luck most of the strong weather (30-40kt winds and heavy rain) will have died down... Means keeping our speed down to under 4kt, so I furled in some genoa - ironic to have to be reducing speed when we're finally able to get going nicely!

Making some regular, enjoyable radio contacts over the day. 20m is noticeably so much clearer than 40m, with very little noise - a pleasure to use the band. Several boats I know are checking in, as I do, with the Pacific Seafarers' Net daily - gives an easy way of knowing exactly where they are as they head their different ways and we can easily exchange greetings or news when we wish.

Finally got around to removing the radio and Pactor modem to check on the connections behind, with calmer conditions. All connections were looking good and the problem I have is still there - with automatic changes of frequency still not happening. I'm having to input frequencies manually for emailing or weatherfaxes - a real time-consuming nuisance!

Had a minor incident with the container vessel "HS Berlioz" on a converging course tonight - came far too close - told me on VHF 16 that it would change course to avoid me - I asked it to pass our stern - it did no such thing & kept straight on. Taupo Radio were contacted on my behalf and spoke to them. They could have easily done the seamanllike thing and altered course early on if they'd wanted to.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 11am LT: 79 n.ml. Sydney: 1107 n.ml. (259T); New Zealand's North Cape: 349 n.ml. (171T); Norfolk Island: 217 n.ml. (265T); Fiji (Viti Levu): 695 n.ml. (024T).
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 187: Hotel Nereida has overnight guests .... and the galley is back in

Friday 26th April 2013

4:15pm Just went up on deck - and disturbed a tiny gaily-coloured bird - a goldfinch. One of a pair, it turned out... they investigated all around on deck and in the rigging... and finally chose the protection of a fold of the mainsail near the mast for their overnight roosting place as the sun was setting. I went forward to watch a large group of dolphins cruising in twos and threes around us as the finches were settling down .... and also to double check on the pair's hiding place. As I returned to the cockpit, I noticed a solitary greenfinch - not so brightly coloured. Finches often move about in mixed flocks but I was hardly expecting to see the birds I used to see in my back garden in London over the winter here in the S. Pacific on board Nereida for the night! The greenfinch was far more unafraid than the goldfinches - perching on me and my camera as I was trying to take photos of it in the cockpit. I put out sunflower seeds and water but so far they've not taken any - I'll look in the morning.

goldfinch on running backstay26Apr2013
Pair of goldfinches 26 Apr 2013

A large, bright moon rose in the E as the finches settled down for the night and in the W, the sky and a few clouds were still coloured rosy-grey. Just after dawn this morning, I'd gybed the mains'l... and later gybed it back again to resume being goose-winged almost DDW, with the genoa poled out to port, as we tried to keep a course just E of due N in a light S wind for the rest of today.. Weather next week is looking a bit threatening in places ahead, with typical Tropical nasties brewing up as we head to just W of Fiji, but hopefully we can avoid the worst of them. Our course is pretty well on the Gt Circle route to the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the moment, but that probably won't last for long, with weather systems to avoid or take advantage of, over the coming weeks ...

I wasn't looking forward to dealing with the galley gas supply problem, feeling sure the pipe connections would prove mixed Imperial and metric and so cause me a big problem - always assuming I could undo the connections in the first place. But it turned out to be a simple fix - the connections unscrewed relatively easily - too easily, in fact - I think the connections, with no PTFE tape having been used, had possibly been leaking... there'd been a slight smell of gas each time I'd opened the locker. The solenoid valve was easily removed from between regulator and gas supply pipe and the direct connection was made with very little problem - the same thread exactly - but I used some PTFE tape specifically for gas fittings to avoid leaks. So I'm enjoying having the regular gas supply to the galley flowing nicely again, using the manual shut-off tap by the stove in between uses..... and the little camping stove has been put away for another day. It's proved a really useful item to have had as a back up but I don't have too many of the disposable cartridges it uses.

I felt sure I'd resolved the solar panels' wiring problem last night, but was not too pleased when, on checking this morning, clearly the additional panels were making no difference to the input charge. As usual, first stop is to check any fuses in the circuit - sure enough, the 20A blade fuse had blown - quickly replaced - and our input to the batteries jumped up from 7A to 14-15A - lovely! The panels can only be tilted fore and aft, not sideways - but that's still a lot better than being fixed horizontally.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 11am LT: A mere 56 n.ml.- SOG has been consistently way down again, to around 1-4kt in the light winds of a High pressure ridge. Sydney: 1070 n.ml. (252T); New Zealand's North Cape: 275 n.ml. (167T); Norfolk Island: 210 n.ml. (285T); Fiji (Viti Levu): 772 n.ml. (025T).
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 186: Solar panel wiring problem dealt with in calm, sunny conditions

Thursday 25th April 2013 Happy ANZAC DAY! Remember them...

m_flying fish April 2013
m_rolling hitch april2013

Photos of flying fish that arrived overnight Mon/Tues and of rolling hitch used temporarily to attach extra line to damaged genoa sheet , to lead on to winch.

1:30pm Spending an age trying to get a radio connection for emails - nothing so far - possibly a busy time and middle of day is a notoriously bad time to try, despite what propagation tables are saying......! But propagation is also not good anyway, today.

6:45pm Just finished re-connecting what had been a broken, corroded wire which should have been bringing power down from starboard pair of solar panels... With lots of gentle persistence, I unexpectedly persuaded the loose end of the broken wire inside the pole to peek out so it could be held on to and pulled out more. I'd actually given up on the idea but decided to give it one last try since the job would be so much easier if I could succeed in that. I tried to maximise the length of wire available by cutting the butt connector close to its broken end in half and then cutting away the outer crimped section - took a time and a lot of effort but managed it finally and it was worthwhile for the extra bit of bright, uncorroded wire it gave. Had to cut away about 2cm/1" of the other broken end, it was so corroded, but then was able to use a fresh butt connector surrounded in adhesive heat shrink to make a good, well-protected join (see photo). Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll see twice as much power coming in from the solar panels. In daylight, I'll protect the wires from the sharp edge of the hole in the metal of the pole.

m_solar panels' wiring repair

Tomorrow's job, if it's still as calm as expected, will be to look at the gas supply to the galley - presently not flowing and the gas solenoid valve is the prime suspect....

It's been a mainly bright, almost cloudless, sunny day, although there was a light, short shower mid-afternoon - all very pleasant and it got quite hot in the sun, especially under the companionway awning. Warm enough to have a cold meal tonight of tuna with chick peas and mayonnaise - easy and quick with no cooking & so no gas needed.

Tonight, the wind backed further - to SW from W, so we're now goose-winged, with genoa poled out to port and boom well out to starboard on preventer, sailing slightly by the lee to stay on course. Will almost certainly need to gybe tomorrow morning, as wind backs even further with High moving slightly W.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: Just 68n.ml. Sydney: 1040 n.ml. (255T); New Zealand's North Cape: 227 n.ml. (161T) Norfolk Island: 217 n.ml. (300T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 185: Exit from the Tasman Sea into Pacific 'proper' .. more problems to

Wednesday 24th April 2013

Closehauled in rough seas this morning, so well heeled also - no way any deck work on solar panels' wiring or renewing of joined genoa sheet was going to take place...
Instead spent a long time sorting out NZ weather fax schedule and which frequency to listen to when - not easy since they don't transmit on all frequencies simultaneously but instead on one at a time, 15 mins apart - so had to listen to all transmissions to find out which was best here and now - and that will change anyway. Programmed frequencies into radio for ease of use in future.

Second length of rope connected to genoa sheet with a rolling hitch gave way eventually, with rough seas and continual jerking of the line and stress on the knot... Not a major problem since forunately still had original sheet on winch... had to furl in genoa somewhat due to short line though.

Still only putting in half the amps we should be from solar panels ... Tomorrow looks to be calm so will try to deal with re-connecting chafed/cut wire that should be taking solar power to down below.

Had several one-hour naps over the day - have been missing out on sleep for quite a time now so must make a priority of getting daily quota in snatches.. Can't afford to be over-tired too often.

Still trying to catch up with big backlog of unanswered emails. Slow-going with so many other problems to contend with each day.... and weather info and optimising of sailing - course and sail trim - to keep on top of...

Was put out to find gas supply to galley cooker had failed tonight- suspect the solenoid cut-off valve... Another problem to look at tomorrow. In meantime, got out back-up little camping stove to boil kettle and re-hydrated a freeze-dried meal tonight - TG for both those and the little back-up burner!! Hope I can get gas flowing again soon - don't have too many of the disposable gas cartidges available. At least it's warmer now.

Heading NNE-N - but wind has died with incoming, building, High pressure system - so only making 1-2 kt overnight after earlier rainshower. Lovely near-full bright moon in clear sky now... Rolling gently in calm sea - so very different from earlier in the day...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 92 n.ml. slow, slow, slow..... more light wind . Sydney: 1008 n.ml. (258T); New Zealand's North Cape: 175 n.ml. (118T) Norfolk Island: 243 n.ml. (316T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 184: Across the Tasman Sea - Big flying fish for lunch! Rolling hitch

Tuesday 23rd April 2013

Celebrated six months at sea with nice meal last night--- tasty, tender lamb shank (lower half of leg of lamb) with oodles of gravy and potatoes and peas - a Sunday dinner one day delyed!  Dessert was pineapple and mandarin with thick cream, followed by coffee with dark chocolate and some Tim Tams (Australian choc biscuits) & a few sips of a nice cognac.   Lovely night with clear sky and increasingly calm seas - swell a lot less than it had been, at around 2m - conditions which continued into the day.

Midday - beautifully sunny and fresh - not too hot!   Finally changed course to head for waypoint W of Tonga.  Full sail, genoa off overnight pole, making 4.5-5kt NE.
Later:  .....Oh well!    So much for my plan to get as far E now as possible - doesn't look likely to happen....   After looking at latest long-term gribs, soon changed course.    Fiji seems to be brewing up some nasty weather quite soon - and sending it onto my intended path W of Tonga over several days - we'd end up right in the middle of it, if we kept going NE, or so the grib files indicate.   Things might well change, but in the meantime, we're as close-hauled as possible, making as near to N as we can, aiming to avoid the nasty weather - possibly by passing W of Fiji - someting I was trying not to have to do...   If we continue like this, will just have to make Easting furher N, maybe after the NE Trades.
In order to be so close-hauled, needed to tension genoa sheet more - but sheet bend, joining two sections of genoa sheet, was in the way - so took another length of rope and connected to sheet with a rolling hitch - and then took tension on that rope to tension genoa sufficiently - as always, the rolling hitch, when correctly tied, worked wonderfully to take the load off the problem rope!

In these calm conditions, was able to walk around easily on deck and check things over.   Found we were only putting in half the amps we should be from solar panels ...  One of the pair of wires taking power to down below had been badly chafed by the edge of the hole it passed through in the pole - it was completely cut and corroded - another job waiting to be done as soon as possible - tomorrow, hopefully.

Swallow came by near sunset - looked as though thinking of stopping but could find no still resting place,  so eventually flew on.... Pity!   Also a white-chinned petrel and petrel with white, black-tipped underwing and dark upper body - haven't checked on it yet.

Still well behind on replying to emails - seem to have had a lot of problems, checking of weather and sail-handling to attend to, as well as catching up on sleep, so not enough time in the day to reply to many - apologies to those kept waiting....

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 89 n.ml. -more light wind .   Hobart: 1216 n.ml. (234T) ;Sydney: 934 n.ml. (262T); New Zealand's North Cape: 175 n.ml. (118T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 183: Across the Tasman Sea - I celebrate the six-month anniversary

Monday 22nd April 2013    Into New Zealand time - clock is now exactly 12 hours ahead of GMT - makes for easy reckoning!

Lovely clear sky overnight and into morning.   By midday, quite a lot of cloud had spread over - but still mainly sunny.  Wind backed to the WSW - gybed sails well before first light - at 4.30am.   Swell still big and tossing us around overnight but by morning, conditions were far less rough.
Wind dropped right down for most of the night and we were still heading due E, nearly on a dead downwind run... so speed was well down - to around only 2kt which really cut down our daily DMG ('distance made good' in a straight line over 24hrs)

2pm  Back down to have the mug  of fresh cofee I thought I'd enjoy an hour or so back... but had found the genoa flapping loose again - the genoa sheet in use had gone again - torn apart at the car.   Looks to me as though the cars are all orientated incorrectly on the track.   They were all removed when the genoa track was re-bedded to prevent the leaks through the deck that I'd been suffering from on my previous RTW trip.  Looking at the supports on the cars for the sheaves taking the genoa sheets to the winch, it seemed possible to change them over fairly easily - when I tried it, that was certainly the case - wasn't as difficult a job to change them over as I'd feared.... took all of half an hour and I'm hoping we don't get a repeat of that problem.

Soon after sunset, with the wind seeming to have veered into the W,  I decided to pole out the genoa after gybing the mainsail.   Took a time, with the pole twisting  at the top support a few times, just to make life difficult for me , but finally got it organised and raised the pole OK, so we're now goosewinged with the genoa and pole to port & mainsail to starboard. - feels so much more stable now.   Speed also increased with genoa working better now.

Beautiful sunny day and balmy night - full of stars and a bright moon to help light up th scene when dealing with the pole.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 93 n.ml. - down due to light wind for a long time overnight.   Hobart: 1142 n.ml. (233T) ;Sydney: 845 n.ml. (262T); New Zealand's North Cape: 255 n.ml. (109T)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 182: Across the Tasman Sea - First flying fish found! Good wind

Sunday 21st April 2013   First flying fish found on deck - proof of warmer seas!

It's been good to have decent wind for a change - we've been making around 7 kt overnight and into this morning and around 6kt at midday.   The wind has slowly backed - to NW and then WNW this afternoon - and was definitely nothing like as strong by the time the sun was getting low, around 5pm.   Apart from a very short time of light rain mid-afternoon, with a few clouds threatening more, it's been a very pleasant, warm, sunny day .... but the swell has been impressively large and steep-faced at times - very reminiscent of the Southern Ocean I've not long left behind.

Had excellent clear radio contact on 20m with US this morning and a more difficult one with US/Aus/NZ on 40m last night, due to running the  autopilot & instruments which interfere a lot on certain frequencies.  Radio contact has become an important part of my day - nice to chat to friendly people and it's probably helped to keep me half-sane!  Can't believe I've been at sea for six months now - that's half a year...!!!

On plotting our position just after midday on the paper chart, rather than depending solely on the  chart-plotter, which gave no detail of ocean contours hereabouts, I suddenly realised that we were heading rather close to a shallow area on the Wanganella Bank, to the NW of Cape Reinga which is  due W of the North Cape of New Zealand.   The Bank rises up abruptly from deep ocean depths of 2000-3000m at its edges and generally has depths of 200-300m,     It's an important fishing ground, as many coastal banks are.   Just downwind and very near to our planned path was an area with just 62m depth - no problem in calm conditions but had me concerned in the fairly rough conditions of 3m/10ft or more swell and strong wind at the time...   Decided to change course & head due East - which would minimise the shallow water effect on the prevailing seas since we'd be going over depth noted as 267m, so rather less shallow.  Diverting around the extensive Bank didn't seem like an option - wind was from N-NNW, so impossible to head upwind around it, and I didn't fancy a big detour SSE.

4pm    Nice sunshine still, although sun getting low now, .... broken cloud.   Wind has backed further and died quite a lot  - good speed was nice while we had it but now we're back to struggling to make 3-4kt downwind.   Will possibly need to gybe at some point soon and pole out the genoa....    We're over the Wanganella Bank now and passing SSW of the shallow area, but that's not a big problem in the present lighter wind, although seas are still well up and rolling us around a lot all the time.

I'm continually downloading updated grib (weather) files, as well as weatherfaxes from Wiluna, Australia... spending a lot of time each day on that.  Seems as though best plan is to keep heading East for next few days in order to keep some semblance of helpful wind N of New Zealand, before heading up towards the Tropics and Equator - where calms are almost guaranteed.   Long-term planning for this section of route is almost impossible just now - I know what I'd like to do - but I also know that the weather will dictate what's possible in practice - I'd like to think I could avoid slopping about in more calms - but that's bound to happen again....

Several white-chinned petrels around again today - also another petrel - dark on top, with with black tipped white underwings, white underbody and white area on dark head- need to get my book out to check what it might be....   Similar to Soft-plumaged petrel.

9pm   SOG (speed over the ground):  2.7kt. (Later died to 1kt...)  Wind has definitely died right away and what there is comes from astern so less effective.   Lovely bright moon lighting up the seascape and starry sky - Southern Cross overhead, as is Sagittarius, the Archer, with bright Arcturus in the constellation.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 123 n.ml. - better, despite yesterday's light wind for a time.   Hobart: 1060 n.ml. (244T) ;Sydney: 752 n.ml. (due W); New Zealand's North Cape: 340 n.ml. (279T)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 181: Across the Tasman Sea - sunny morning, cloudy, with rain, later

Saturday 20th April 2013

9.30am After more drifting around earlier at about 1kt or less, wind has finally got up from NNW. So we're making reasonable speed - on course, with nearly full genoa and stays'l . We're on a close reach, but wind seems to be slowly backing so having to ease sheets and adjust Fred from time to time. Sun is getting out at times ... good to be moving again - and I just love seeing the genoa being put to good use after yesterday's problem!

Midday Wind dropped and veered - still only managing about 4kt with full genoa and stays'l, closehauled.. but at least we're moving.

4pm An enormous dark grey raincloud astern (upwind) ... Wind totally died all of a sudden - I seriously wondered if we'd picked up something that was slowing us down, speed dropped so suddenly from 5kt and we were struggling to make 1-2 kt.... Drifted around for a long time with no wind, even after the cloud had passed on...

6.20pm Raining - but I suddenly noticed we were moving along well..... In fact, our speed got up to well over 7kt ... great! Went up to adjust Fred when rain stopped. Wind had died down - but not totally... Lots of clouds around - hopefully, we'll keep some wind overnight.

Have spent a lot of time looking over weather - asking for and downloading grib files - all takes time... Looking a bit difficult to decide on good tactics to get to the Equator without being becalmed too much... the SE Trades are never as settled and reliable as the NE Trades. Also, have been keeping an eye on our course, with frequent adjustments needed as the wind has shifted. The day seems to have disappeared!

A small flock of white-chinned petrels have been around at times - and I was pleased to catch sight again of a distnctive, white-backed, Great albatross, gliding low over the water in the near distance .....

1.30am Went for a short nap before the evening radio scheds - but missed several.... instead of half an hour, slept for 3-4 hrs - until 1340Z! But speed well up now - making around 7 kt in good wind - much better!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 31 n.ml. - even worse than yesterday! Hobart: 940 n.ml. (231T) ;Sydney: 637 n.ml. (due W); New Zealand's North Cape: 444 n.ml. (due E)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 179: Across the Tasman Sea - drifting in big circles, difficult to keep

Thursday 18th April 2013

9:30am Bright sunny start to the day, light wind, long SE 2m swell... feeling warm and fairly calm, with just a gentle rocking...
Just tacked around, after lowering and stowing the pole I'd left out... and then tacked back again, each taking a long time in the light wind! With wind from due E now, my choices were to sail due S (or slightly W of S) or due N - so choice was clear ... but we're sometimes moving slightly W of N - how I hate going backwards!! My preferred course is ENE... so this is the best we can do at present until the Low giving the present E wind moves on. Seems I'm having to get my head around idea of heading N - and tacking to get there, what's more! Wind directions are not forecast to be very helpful - and remaining light.
Time for some breakfast, been up since 7am. Radio contact on 20m has been excellent this morning, with very little noise on frequency.

7:30pm Day became increasingly cloudy but with plenty of sun getting through until late afternoon. Furled in genoa soon after sunset, having tacked around yet again in almost no wind ... Have tacked several times today, in an effort to keep heading N or E - but we've spent most of the day just drifting around at 1kt, often due W or NW, once SW - so frustrating! We seem to be in the middle of a Low pressure system - no wind to go anywhere after last night's strong conditions when at least, with wind, we could make way. Supposedly, we're expecting NW wind at some point, so I decided that, if we're to continue drifting around, it should be with Fred trying to keep us on port tack, so that if the NW wind does come up, we'll head in a good direction, rather than losing hard-won ground.
Present speed is 0.7kt! At that rate, direction becomes irrelevant, although it's nice to see us heading E for a change, as I write this. Have left mains'l to give better motion - helps stop excessive rolling in the mixed 2m swell that we're in.
Spent more time today looking over weather and routeing options for getting N - all looking highly uncertain since so much depends on weather systems encountered and no guarantee of helpful winds to get further E, as I'd hoped. Certainly, so far in the Tasman Sea, I've been forced to sail in unexpected directions due to the wind we've had. Priority is now simply heading N or E, rather than S or W, and light winds make achieving a good course that much more difficult. We're now 12 miles N of where we were 12hrs ago - but 5 miles further W - gets difficult to stay feeling positive!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 89 n.ml. Hobart: 858 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 567 n.ml. (W); New Zealand's North Cape: 513 n.ml. (E)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 180: Across the Tasman Sea - headsail sheet comes adrift - 'genoa wrap'

Friday 19th April 2013

Well, at 5.30am, all was fine...& no ships were showing within 20ml on A.I.S. screen - have seen several on display now. The wind was still up, veered a little overnight from S to SSW , and we were on a broad reach, heading due E at just over 4kt, with the beginning of first light over the E horizon. Funny how 4kt feels quite fast when you've been drifting around at just 1 or 2 knots the day before!
Back to my bunk for a couple of hours' sleep before the morning radio 'scheds' (starting with position report to Taupo Maritime Radio at 7:15am LT) - woken early by an odd noise I couldn't understand, although clearly coming from the sails. Quickly on deck -the big headsail (genoa) was flapping like mad and had wrapped itself partly around the forestay - the sheet (rope that holds it in place) was cut where it met the genoa car that holds it down to the deck before going to the winch - cut as though a knife had been taken to it - and this was new - replaced just 2-3 weeks ago... I'd noticed chafe on the other genoa sheet and was keeping an eye on that one - but this one had shown no sign of chafe - until now!
Fortunately, the other sheet was holding the genoa to an extent, or the wrap would have been far worse. It was difficult enough unwrapping it in order to try to furl it in neatly - I finally managed most of it - but not very well. Tied the two parts of the cut sheet together, lead the line back to the winch and came down below for a short while to pick up some things. Back on deck, I found my double sheet bend hadn't been tied tightly enough - the slippery line had slipped & the genoa was again flapping loose. I tried to turn the furling drum to furl in the genoa -managed a bit but then it stuck tight - just would not budge far, even by hand, with both sheets & furling line completely loose... Now what to do? Checked on halyards at mast head near to top furling part - they seemed to be moving OK & not fouling the furler. Decided time to pause, get some more sleep and come back to the problem... Not feeling too happy at thought of no genoa available for next two months...
Had another go at furler - still not budging... Decided to move 2nd (spare) genoa halyard to aft of top spreader on mast to be quite certain it wasn't causing the problem at the mast head... Back to bow, to try to move drum again... vigorous twisting,... I felt something give ... it was turning freely ...it was back in action... yippee! 3pm: Was able to report success back to the Pacific Seafarers' Net: furler finally moving .. now for the sheets... Took another two-and-a-half hours to deal with those !! Had to unfurl the sail in order to bring the clew down to within my reach, to tie on the sheets and get rid of damaged lines.
How lucky that the day was sunny and warm, with little wind! I kept thinking how impossible it all would have been in stronger conditions. I'd started preparing the genoa pole early on this morning, but later stowed it away again when I realised the second sheet was also badly chafed and the furler was giving trouble. Poled out the stays'l instead while I worked on the problem - at least we could keep sailing, although the wind slowly died down.. We're back to 1.5kt since nightfall, struggling to maintain a downwind course in SW swell - rolling us about a lot...

Around 6pm, was checking around on deck after a lovely sunset and looking at the changing colours and clouds - when along came a magnificent Wandering albatross - a delight to see one this far N. New Zealand has lots of bird life and plenty of islands and rocky coastline for the birds to breed successfully. While I was busy on the foredeck in the bright sunshine this afternoon, a pair of White-chinned petrels were flying around - their yellow bill and some white at its base were very clear. Overhead, an almost clear sky, with some small clouds ahead, but astern, to the SW, a big bank of dark grey raincloud low on the horizon, showing the Low that is centred that way, not far away.

Evening - clear sky, lots of bright stars, bright moon.... but very little wind and lots more rolling about... drifting again... Pressure has been fairly steady at 1000 hPa. I'm getting regular updated short-term grib files to see what the weather is up to - it's so very changeable, but no good wind is forecast for several days.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 51 n.ml. - not moving very far! Hobart: 909 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 608 n.ml. (due W); New Zealand's North Cape: 472 n.ml. (due E)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 179: Across the Tasman Sea - drifting in big circles, difficult to keep

Thursday 18th April 2013

9:30am Bright sunny start to the day, light wind, long SE 2m swell... feeling warm and fairly calm, with just a gentle rocking...
Just tacked around, after lowering and stowing the pole I'd left out... and then tacked back again, each taking a long time in the light wind! With wind from due E now, my choices were to sail due S (or slightly W of S) or due N - so choice was clear ... but we're sometimes moving slightly W of N - how I hate going backwards!! My preferred course is ENE... so this is the best we can do at present until the Low giving the present E wind moves on. Seems I'm having to get my head around idea of heading N - and tacking to get there, what's more! Wind directions are not forecast to be very helpful - and remaining light.
Time for some breakfast, been up since 7am. Radio contact on 20m has been excellent this morning, with very little noise on frequency.

7:30pm Day became increasingly cloudy but with plenty of sun getting through until late afternoon. Furled in genoa soon after sunset, having tacked around yet again in almost no wind ... Have tacked several times today, in an effort to keep heading N or E - but we've spent most of the day just drifting around at 1kt, often due W or NW, once SW - so frustrating! We seem to be in the middle of a Low pressure system - no wind to go anywhere after last night's strong conditions when at least, with wind, we could make way. Supposedly, we're expecting NW wind at some point, so I decided that, if we're to continue drifting around, it should be with Fred trying to keep us on port tack, so that if the NW wind does come up, we'll head in a good direction, rather than losing hard-won ground.
Present speed is 0.7kt! At that rate, direction becomes irrelevant, although it's nice to see us heading E for a change, as I write this. Have left mains'l to give better motion - helps stop excessive rolling in the mixed 2m swell that we're in.
Spent more time today looking over weather and routeing options for getting N - all looking highly uncertain since so much depends on weather systems encountered and no guarantee of helpful winds to get further E, as I'd hoped. Certainly, so far in the Tasman Sea, I've been forced to sail in unexpected directions due to the wind we've had. Priority is now simply heading N or E, rather than S or W, and light winds make achieving a good course that much more difficult. We're now 12 miles N of where we were 12hrs ago - but 5 miles further W - gets difficult to stay feeling positive!

10:15pm The wind has just come up nicely - from the S, not from the NW... so we're on starboard tack, making 4-5 knots heading NE - and I'm feeling so much better to be sailing again! I was seated at the chart table and suddenly realised that there was the noise of wind in the rigging - not much, but enough to get me on deck to check things out, adjust Fred and unfurl the headsails... Good news!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 89 n.ml. Hobart: 858 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 567 n.ml. (W); New Zealand's North Cape: 513 n.ml. (E)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 178: Across the Tasman Sea - Grey, cool day - and a very wet 'n' windy

Wednesday 17th April 2013

8am Overcast & cool this morning - dark grey band of cloud off to the N. Ship (fishing) just 4 miles away, heading SW, off to starboard - but I've not been able to see it - just over horizon, quite big, at 197ft long....'Pingtairong71".

Weather is looking complicated - again! - with Lows getting in my way to N not far away, threatening to give headwinds from E, although so far, all is fine and progress at 4-5kt is slow but OK, although speed is definitely dropping - yet again. Wind is now from SE, so we're making nearer NE, rather than the preferred ENE. Still a long, slow, 2.5-3m swell from S but it's feeling a lot calmer so moving about is much easier.

Well, it's 12pm, the wind is way down and has backed more - so we're drifting at 2.5kt heading ENE... Talk about trying my patience...!!!
20 minutes later - wind came up - yippee! Making 5.8kt on 035T .. better, although a bit N...!

4:45pm Squall...!! Was just studying fresh weatherfaxes  when realised it was getting rather noisy and we were heeling rather a lot...! Wind had got up and, with it, our speed - all very good to be making over 6kt for a change ... but heeling way too much. Hurriedly furled in some genoa - which was full, as was stays'l... Didn't last very long and by the time I'd finished, wind had dropped, so we're now ambling along at 4-5 kt. Will probably unfurl genoa when sure another squall won't come by - but too many dark grey clouds around just now so will leave it for the time being...

7:10pm Waiting to give position report to Taupo Maritime Radio (twice-daily check-in) Dark now - just as darkness was falling , wind got up again, so furled in most of genoa - reduces speed in lighter wind but will probably leave now until daylight. ..... Amazing how fast the wind can veer! We were heading NNE about 10-15 minutes ago - but with wind veering (shifting clockwise), we're now making ENE - which is our preferred course anyway! It means we're now banging into the seas, since they're still coming from old wind direction. It's very likely wind will continue to veer as Low moves E. so will need to keep an eye on our course, ready to ease sheets to keep us headed correctly,

7:55pm Wow! That was quite a downpour...!! A good thing it was already raining so I'd put on my foulies and boots before going up - they did a good job!! Went up to adjust Fred just as wind got up strongly again...with HEAVY rain... Definitely gave the boat and sails a good wash down! Furled last of genoa away and eased sheets on mains'l and stays'l as we headed a lot more off the wind as it and the seas increased. A dark cloud... After it had eased, I thought that was it, but although wind is far less, the rain has started again and the wind has backed a lot - must be E now, so we're heading NE..... and NNE soon after.

9pm Oh well ... This is clearly going to be a long, wet, squally night!! Just had another downpour although not so much wind as earlier... Difficult not to get the water streaming down inside the jacket sleeves when looking up at the mast top with a torch, trying to see where the wind is, holding on as we bang into the seas ... Wind keeps swinging all over, anywhere from ESE to NE - best to be steering to the wind under these conditions - although course swings around, at least the sails are set for a given wind direction - presently for a close reach, with wind well for'd of the beam. On average, we're tending NNE at 4-5 kt.

I'm glad I'd had my meal earlier - it was just ready, nice and hot, when the first squall came through... but it was still warm enough when I got to it.

I'll post this early - there'll not be much different to report for the rest of tonight from what's already happened - rain, light or heavy, wind up and down and swinging around, seas ahead so being banged into, .. more rain ... wet gear getting wetter... Found a cuttlefish beside the big port sheet winch - must have come with seas washing over the decks at some point! Didn't feel like cooking calamari just now so threw it back into the sea...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 106 n.ml.- still not very good.... Hobart: 772 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 521 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 573 n.ml. (083T)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 177 - Lovely day of warm sun and blue sky - summer weather at last!

Tuesday 16th April 2013

9.30am White-chinned petrel nearby as I spent a long time organising the big pole (hasn't been used for quite some time) and lines, so as to pole out the genoa for downwind sailing, having earlier gybed the mains'l and furled in the stays'l. Wind has backed to WSW and I want to maintain course of about 176T - partly to get E for weather reasons but also simply to be on course to round Cape Reiniga and the North Cape of New Zealand.
Spoke to Aus and NZ on Tony's Net and made a late contact with Taupo Maritime Radio to report my position. Sky cleared soon after - blue sky and sparkling water, with big well-rounded rollers - a good 3m or so, every 9 seconds, we roll around a lot quite frequently. Solar panels are putting in just over 5A - they're not angled quite correctly for sun's rays now, but will give a fair amount over the day. Time for a late breakfast...

Seeing ships on AIS - presently 'British Gannet', 20ml away, a tanker on passage to Whangarei. My present route must be a well-frequented one for shipping - from S.Australia to around New Zealand and possibly on over towards America via the S.Pacific islands... It's nice to know they can see us - we transmit on AIS so they can see our name, course, speed and that we're a sailing vessel ... They tend to stay clear - especially if I get on the radio to the rare one that is looking to come close and inform them we're strictly under sail & have no engine available!! Sleep is going to be a lot more interrupted, now we're out of the deserted Southern Ocesn.
As I went up to adjust Fred one time, a young Wandering albatross passed by, still quite a lot of brown on its otherwise white body - clearly it had come over to give us the once over! Of course, as usual, it came very close when I didn't have a camera handy! But it was nice to see yet another albatross - won't see any quite soon, I'm thinking...

8.30pm It's been a really good day! Lovely warm sunshine and mostly blue sky until shortly before sunset when grey clouds began to spread over from the W - stripped off all my top layers and found a cotton top to wear - felt like summer weather! Tonight, the sky has mainly cleared again to give another starry night with a crescent moon - it's getting brighter as it waxes but it's not in view for very long... Wind has been backing slowly over the day to SSW and increased this afternoon, when I had to take the genoa off the pole and over to port, to join the mains'l. Our speed has become reasonable - over 5 kt now.

Spent most of the morning clearing and cleaning in the galley - there seemed a lot to do, especially having sorted through some foil-wrapped mandarins and potatoes well past their prime, the other day! I cleaned & rinsed the foil so it could be recycled on my return. This afternoon was spent transferring diesel from jerrycans into the main tank so it was available for the generator. With well over 240 litres in there now, there seems to be plenty for the remaining two months or so of this passage - the genset only takes just over 1 litre per hour and I run it about 1-2 hours each day, depending on radio use for voice and emails/weather etc and whether autopilot is being used in overcast conditions - in bright sun, solar input provides enough for AP. I also emptied the diesel from the Sigmar heater daytank and put it into jerrycans so it's available for back-up emergency use.

Had a nice meal tonight - chicken in a white sauce with potatoes and peas - tasty and different! Usual sociable end to the day with several radio chat sessions.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 97 n.ml. - another slow one.... Hobart: 668 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 441 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 675 n.ml. (082T)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 176 - Slow progress - Light wind and sunshine, rainclouds in afternoon

Monday 15th April 2013 Another hour forward in time! Crossed 157:30E so now into GMT + 11hr time zone.

Excellent contact on 20m at 6:20am with US E coast and, unexpectedly, good contact with UK: Paul, M1DPU (mobile), near Norwich - not far from the sailmaker that made my headsails - said he'd pop in tomorrow for me and say "Hi!" to them.

8:30am Another bright, sunny morning - several birds seen - black-browed albatross, soaring on its fixed, slightly bent, long wings... bright yellow bill, white body dark upperwings and thick black edge to white underwings... white-rumped storm petrel.... a white-chinned petrel (confirmed ID with photos later today) - all much as last evening - so maybe the same birds that have stayed close by overnight?
A noticeably long, rounded, slow swell from the N, every 9 seconds.... probably from the Low heading into North Island, New Zealand now.

Time for breakfast... hope the milk opened y'day is still OK. With temperature up to over 20C, had to throw some milk away yesterday. Might have to start up the small fridge I brought along - but takes a lot of power and not very well insulated so reluctant to do so, if avoidable. Might try cooling milk using a damp cloth over it instead .... latent heat of evaporation works to give a cooling effect but doesn't always bring temperature down by quite enough!

Missed Pacific Seafarers Net at 2:30pm - was taking a short nap to make up on sleep after getting to bunk very late last night, while weatherfaxes downloaded beforehand, thinking I'd set alarm earlier - but clearly hadn't!

5pm Grey cloud spread over from SW and rain was falling from one big, spreading cloud nearby. Wind dropped right down so we were struggling to make way at 2-2.5 kt. Rolling around in a big 2.5-3m swell from N.... Sails often noisy from having gone slack as we rolled in the light, light wind... Then the rain spread over and rinsed off the deck and sails with a short, heavy downpour while our speed jumped up for a few minutes to around 6 kt under a temporarily veered wind.... Back on course at 4.5kt, dropping soon to 2.5kt once more, after cloud had passed by. Dull & grey ...

6pm Well, we're into highly changeable conditions under this region of rainclouds - wind keeps swinging around and wind is up and down all the time, as clouds pass over... often with mostly light rain. Light fading - sun set a short while ago.
Five petrels have been flying around all afternoon, several times resting in water close to boat, with pair of storm petrels nearby at times also.

9pm A SHIP seen on AIS screen!! Haven't seen one for ages on AIS, let alone in plain view... "Trans Future 7" (what a name!!) Headed in same direction, 19 miles off, at just under 20kt, whereas we're making under 5kt..
Rainclouds cleared away before last light had faded from sky after sunset. Wind has now picked up a little - making 5kt closehauled, on ENE course in N-NNE wind. Just saw to generator - topped up oil and checked actuator spindle was free to move - released nut that felt a bit tight, so would excite OK and charge batteries. All takes a time..

1am(!!).. A beautiful starry sky with cloud on horizon - lightning flickering..... A meteorite shot across towards the Southern Cross ... Was up on deck to ease the sheets and trim the sails so we could make a better speed on a beam reach - making ~3kt... Too nice not to stay and gaze around, enjoying the scene and the pleasant night air - not so cold now! (Sea temp up to 26C!!)

Was sent this link today - haven't seen the item myself (no Internet access out here!) but gather it refers to my rounding of SE Cape of Tasmania:

http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/index.cfm?SEID=2&Nid=108293&SRCID=0&ntid=39&tickeruid=0&tickerCID=0

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 93 n.ml. - slow yesterday. Hobart: 574 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 380 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 769 n.ml. (081T)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 175 - Bright, sunny, increasingly-calm day, as wind dies.

Sunday 14th April 2013

5pm Sun nearing the W horizon - a vivid orange ball sinking down over a deep blue sea... Silver crescent moon not far away, up in the NW... a star not far from its two cusps.... Two all-dark birds with pale, dark-tipped bills circling around in the gathering dusk ... a white-rumped storm petrel close to the water... no sign of the black-browed albatross seen twice earlier today.

I've spent a lot of time both yesterday and today, checking weather forecasts, studying grib (weather) files and doing some provisional but more detailed route-planning, using paper charts for ease of passage planning - back to pencil and parallel rule! Had a good look for shallow areas, sea-mounts, tiny atolls, etc on proposed route. Often mark them on chart-plotter with skull & crossbones so not overlooked! Have to allow for SE Trades north of New Zealand (quite likely to be ESE in fact) and I'm aiming for a waypoint well S of Hawaii. From there, we'll head north across the Equator, on to the unstable air of the ITCZ, with its probable squally conditions, before reaching the NE Trades, keeping W of Kauai in the Hawaiian chain. All can and will change with winds that will probably be different from those expected. At present, if possible, I'm hoping our route will take us just W of Tonga and E of Samoa - but we might not manage to get that far East - time will tell! The only certainty is of mainly heading into winds close-hauled, giving an uncomfortable ride for a lot of this last portion of the journey north...

8pm Finished evening meal as weatherfaxes were downloaded on laptop - current forecast & for next four days. Drinking coffee, along with some remnants of the choc-chip cookies found last week - some whole but mostly bits and crumbs! But still tasting fine...
Getting close to another time-zone ....tomorrow, into Z + 11hr, not far from NZ time, when 2am GMT = 2pm NZ time - easy conversion!
Speed is now down to just over 3kt SOG (actual speed over the ground), in dying wind. Moon has disappeared and sky is full of bright stars with Southern Cross in the Milky Way high overhead... lightning is flickering in a bank of clouds low on the SW horizon, astern... All very calm and peaceful... just the gurgle of water along the hull - no sound of any wind in the rigging....

As usual, finished evening with chats on radio - very sociable and friendly. Hoping for calm day with little swell to get some projects done tomorrow - pull out radio to check on rear connections to Pactor modem, fuel transfer into main tank, oil top-up in genset, tidy up in galley & main cabin and more catching up on email replies - way behind still... Not expecting much wind so might have to keep persuading boat to keep heading in right direction....

Still managing to hang onto ENE course, despite very light N wind.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 130 n.ml. - Sign of good speed made yesterday and overnight. Hobart: 486 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 330 n.ml. (NW); New Zealand's North Cape: 861 n.ml. (ENE)
..............................................................................................................................................
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 174 - Lovely clear skies and bright sun - but more rough seas.....

Saturday 13th April 2013

The sun was close to setting at just gone 5pm & I spent quite a time enjoying the day's end and the changing sunset colours. A hazy crescent moon appeared briefly among thr clouds in the W - must be waxing, so we'll enjoy some moonlight overnight soon. It's been generally quite a pleasant sunny day, with good N-NNW wind and lovely clear blue sky this morning, following a night sky full of brilliant stars and a beautiful sunrise just before 6:20am, when I was giving my position to Taupo Maritime Radio.

Seas were rather rough earlier in the day , as a result of the wind being fairly strong, calmed down a quite a bit by mid-afternoon, but then came up again very noticeably tonight with the boat really being flung around and seas frequently washing the decks - and over the sprayhood! I wonder if we're getting swell from the Low to our N that's heading towards New Zealand in addition to the swell caused by the NNW wind.

We've maintained our course of ENE all day and hope to continue for some time more, although the forecast is for the wind to die right down within a day or two and stay down for at least a day - more drifting around...! But then the wind will be good again for several days more and we should be able to continue roughly ENE to around the North Cape of New Zealand.

Made a stew of sorts tonight - boiled some diced fresh potatoes and added a tin of chunky steak in a good gravy, along with a tin of sweetcorn - enough for tomorrow as well. Tasty & filling, but fairly quick and easy!

Had an enjoyable, long session on the radio tonight - lots of contacts from Tasmania and Aus 'mainland' (including one from beside a camp-fire not far from Perth!), often with questions about my sailing and the boat. A lot of very friendly and supportive people out there - thanks to all of you!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 89 n.ml. Deceptive! Was actually far more since made two long tacks - NNW over daytime y'day, then gybed onto present ENE tack at sunset last night - all in 15-20kt winds from NNE (y'day) to N overnight/this morning
Hobart:365 n.ml. (225T) ;Sydney:310 n.ml. (342T); New Zealand's North Cape: 988 n.ml. (081T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/