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S/V Nereida sails around the world

RTW Day 153 - wind steering rudder fell off as we got underway again....

Saturday 23rd March 2013

Was awoken before 6am, soon after dawn, from a short sleep while still hove-to by a banging on deck.   The wind generator, that I'd tied onto the stern arch temporarily in the dark last night after it had come off its pole, was again swinging freely in the big seas.   It's very heavy and threatens to do major damage when banging into things so I hurriedly got into my foulies and boots and went up to  lash it with a far stronger & longer line - difficult with seas still up around 5m or more and in wind  around 25kt, although both far less than overnight.  As soon as it's calm, I'll take the generator down below but it's far too heavy for me to move safely until these seas have lain right down.  (So that can't happen very soon!)

A little later, I was about toget back to sleep but realised that conditions seemed reasonable enough to get underway. Took a time to organise  but finally we got sailing - first of all on starboard tack and sometime later, in veered wind, goosewinged on port tack.  Used AP (hydraulic autopilot, acting on the main ship's rudder directly) initially, while I re-set Fred - wasn't behaving quite right, although I couldn't see why - ...  Sails became backed with boat heading wrongly soon after I turned off AP... Tried again - same thing happened - most odd...    Back onto AP - had just finished adjusting our course and was looking over to see why Fred was having such trouble coping - saw the rudder come free...!  Luckily, its safety leash held, despite some bad chafe, so I was able to retrieve it as it trailed behind the boat - but the sugarscoop (steps on stern) was really slippery, not making it any easier & my hands got smothered in black anti-fouling!   Goretex-lined Dubarry seaboots worked well when washed by seas!   So the Hydrovane rudder is now lying lashed on deck  - we're committed to the AP until seas are calm enough to get it back on - need fairly still water for that, so that's another thing that can't happen too soon!   I can only think that the security clip holding the pin in place that fixes the rudder to the post had broken or rusted away - it was really strong, so shouldn't have given rise to this problem.

Ran generator while I downloaded emails/grib files...  Should really do it beforehand, but I like to have batteries reasonably well charged once I've finished with radio - never know how long emailing will take since depends on whether fast or slow connections - unpredictable!  I'm conserving battery power by turning off anything not vital - e.g.the chart plotter takes 3-4A , I've found, so it's now turned on only rarely, and similarly, the laptop, conected to 12V,  is put into 'Sleep' mode whenever not in use.  Solar panels put in power nicely for a short while in sunshine this morning, but sky is mainly overcast, giving minimal input.

Snatched some more sleep before trying to contact Pacific Seafarers' Net at 10:30am- but Net Control, Jane, N7TZ, could not copy me (nor could anyone else), although I heard her just above my noise level - frustrating!   Emailed report and then got back to bunk for some more sleep before  downloading weatherfaxes from Wiluna, Aus, just before midday.

Sailing today has been far calmer, despite 4-5m seas, with pleasant WSW  F5 wind, veering to NW, for most of the day.   Tonight, seas are up slightly and might increase further as another deep Low passes by S of us, possibly also giving increased wind tomorrow.....

Highlight of today was spotting a Sooty albatross flying past - a juvenile with a pale grey 'collar', otherwise all dark.   Much smaller than the Royal albatross seen yesterday.

I'm about to have some of the meal- in-a-soup (beans, lentils, ham, with several vegetables) that I made earlier today in between a major clear-up in the galley area - should last me several days!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 62 n.ml.  (Hove-to overnight for 15-16 hr)  C. Leeuwin: 540 n.ml. (032T); WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 259 n.ml:  King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1555 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1637 n.ml.

RTW Day 152 - hove to overnight with damaged radar mount ... Windgen trashed

Friday 22nd March 2013

Up before dawn to gybe mains'l with increased, veered wind - now from NW.  Pressure was down - and kept dropping over the day to 1007 by nightfall - more than expected .... and wind stronger, also.

Rough conditions -  enormous swell of 6m or so, with wind waves on top,  foam streaks and lots of  'white horses' , wind 30+kt ...whistling in the rigging... mainly overcast with occasional weak sunshine getting through gaps in cloud.   Kept going  OK until about 4pm when heaved to after a wave had knocked us rather suddenly and damaged the radar mount - the  bracket welded on to the pole, holding the nice Scanstrut gimballed fitting, was skew and the radar was no longer level.

I tied the radar holder to keep it from moving too much in an effort to reduce stress on the weldd joint- the GPS is on the same fitting - I don't want to lose that.

We'd made good progress up to then but seas had built more with the constant strong wind.

I came below, as darkness was falling, to make up the log and prepare my usual daily position/weather report and then made some radio contacts.   Later, I heard an odd noise from on deck - the wind generator had come off its pole and was swinging around on its thick cable, banging into things.

It had already lost two blades and most of its tail and the third went as I prepared to go on deck (foulies, boots & harness take  time!).    I had to tie it off to prevent it moving - It was threatening to damage a solar panel and possibly the steel arch itself - it's a heavy item..

We'll stay hove to in the strong,  gusty conditions overnight and hope the wind and seas will reduce soon...

I'd watched the scene around us  a lot over the day..  Lots of the usual birds, enjoying the strong winds - but among them were two White-faced petrels very  close by- eye-catchingly different  from the many Soft-plumaged petrels.

As I was organising the boat to heave to, I noticed a lovely Royal albatross not far away - but I was too busy just then to pay it my usual attention...

DMG at 1100 GMT: 122 n.ml.    C. Leeuwin: 589 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 316 n.ml:  King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1612 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1689 n.ml.

RTW Day 151 - continuing big swell and good SW wind - and a trio of albatross!

Thursday 21st March 2013

7am Gybed the mains'l over to port side - back onto starb'd tack with stays'l off pole - becoming a bit of a routine!! SW wind of 20 kt or so. Nice sunshine , some cumulus.. Seas well up still at 4-5m/15ft ... Rolling about a lot...

Cloud increased over morning while I got some more sleep for a time - clearly not getting enough overnight, with having had to see to sail trim several times.

Very poor radio contact with S.A.M.M. Net - getting to limit of range from S.Africa now.

Heading more ENE for a time - not too far, but just to increase chance of less big swell tomorrow from deep Low passing to south now - might not be needed - but who knows? Since wind should be more as well, better to be in less big seas if possible.

6pm Went on deck to check weather conditions - three magnificent Wandering albatross soaring around on fixed wings - two mostly white with black outer wings and tail but the third clearly younger - still with brown mottling on back and a light brown breast band. Stopped to watch them for a time - wonderful!
Back up again to adjust Fred a little - they'd gone but there was an all-dark, good-sized bird with fairly slender wings & pale, dark-tipped bill soaring & circling - very possibly a Flesh-footed shearwater but I didn't see its feet!
Seems as though the skua around over last two days was an Antarctic Skua - appropriate for this area!

Magnetic variation has been dropping dramatically - down to 21W tonight.

Really being rolled & tossed around a lot with wind having dropped down - struggling to make 4-5kt - often far less... Good download of weatherfaxes today, confirming nice westerlies expected for several more days,with reasonable wind strength - nothing over 30kt forecast for this latitude - looking good still!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 132 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 684 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 433 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1727 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1798 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 150 - big swell and good W wind

Wednesday 20th March 2013

9am Up early to gybe the mains'l back onto starb'd and pole out headsail to go downwind in W wind of 15 kt or more (difficult to guestimate the wind strength but plenty of white horses!).
Had plenty of company under grey overcast skies - big skua was back again , chasing off some of the other birds - prions and petrels. Still heading ENE - aim is to get to 43S - don't want to get too close to Australia as I pass by to the S. Latest grib files just downloaded show that latitude should be fine for next few days of big swell. Threatening strong conditions in a few days' time look to be rather less at that latitude.. but there'll be other systems coming along, I'm sure - this is a stormy piece of ocean .. and all weather forecasts involve a big element of chance, with winds often a lot more than given.

Had good contact with E coast at 0015-0030 GMT this morning, but less good with W coast - possibly needs to be made slightly later there.

4pm Busy cooking! Felt famished come lunch-time and decided chili con carne would be nice. I'd also soaked some beans ready for a thick soup - so that has kept me busy in between downloading several weatherfaxes and replying to some emails - I'm way behind there...

Long contacts tonight on radio as we were tossed around in the ongoing big swell and wind of around 20kt... surfing often but not too much. Sunset was at 6:30 pm / 1130GMT - but hidden by cloud. Saw moon briefly, much later - but sky still mainly overcast.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 104 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 798 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 561 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1853 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1916 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 149 - Good speed early on ... slow by nightfall

Tuesday 19th March 2013

Decided to tie in third reef just after midnight last night... ...fine rain, tossed around a lot in big swell, dark.. wind well up and concerned it might increase more.. making 6.4kt after sail reduced... Changed course to 065T to pre-empt wind expected to back into SW with Front passing over.! Felt more comortable and got to my bunk for short sleep before up again to find wind had backed a lot - gybed mains'l in dark, well before dawn ... onto starb'd tack... Hint of first light in E as finished in slight rain and got back to bunk for another short sleep... Up again two hours later - Fred in charge - albatross came gliding by as I adjusted Fred to put wind abaft the beam in SSW wind ... Big seas and strong wind, ENE course ...

Sun tried to get out a few times over the mainly overcast day but rarely managed it for long until late afternoon, when bright sun for a short time... Long enough to get a good look at the many petrels and prions wheeling around... In bright sunlight and against dark background of sea surface, showed the upper parts of possibly soft-plumaged petrels - but problem is the completely dark, not grey, breast and dark tail beneath... Still need photos, but was impossible to get good enough ones, they move so very fast and the boat was being tossed around a lot in the big seas running.... Did get excellent photos of a big brown skua that came very close - looked as though it wanted to land and came so slowly that a few decent photos weren't too difficult to take...

By 4pm, pressure was well up - to over 1020 and climbing, and wind was very slowly dying - so speed is now well down again. We'd made a fairly good 24hr distance up to 1100GMT, but that won't be repeated tomorrow, for sure!

Spent some time disposing of unpleasant, rotten potatoes... a lovely job! :-( Going through all remaining 'fresh' items - not so fresh any more!! Had last of the eggs last night - threw most away as looking rather suspect, but one was fine.

Still making contact early morning and evening with US W and E coasts, also Australia and S.Africa - working the 'grey-line around sunrise/sunset for the US contact - fascinating, but needing regular change of timing to get good results - solar flare not helping this morning but often excellent signals sent and received. Was nice to make S.African contacts again tonight, despite some awful noise on frequency - thought I'd 'lost' them!

Gone midnight - wind has clearly backed quite a bit, to WSW-W (will need to gybe the mains'l back to starb'd again soon and pole out headsail to go downwind..) and we're only making 2.5 kt in very light wind now - pressure up to 1025 hPa, cabin temp 13C .... brrr!! (Had to pull out a vacuum-packed, dry, thick fleece top earlier - the nice one I'd been wearing got seawater splashed onto it - so was feeling perpetually damp... Nothing seems to dry in these cold temperatures - my pillows and bedding feel really damp to the touch.)

DMG at 1100 GMT: 134 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 897 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 653 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1946 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 2003 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 148 - Fast start & end to day - and solar flare disrupts radio comms...

Monday 18th March 2013

Magnetic variaton has recently started reducing from its high of 50W on 8th March, when NNE of Kerguelen at ~71E. It's now down to 33W, as of tonight, with the switch from zero E to W having been noted on 13th Jan at 52W, just east of the Falklands. From my passage this way last year, I expect the switch back to E variation (via zero!) to occur near 124-125E, about 1000 ml W of Hobart, as I'm crossing the Gt Australian Bight in about 10 days' time. In order to give true readings for course and wind direction, I'm constantly having to make the relevant addition or subtraction, which is why I keep a constant note in my logbook of the current value.

As expected, with the wind veering to the W, I had to gybe the mains'l to starboard again, just before midnight, and go goose-winged with poled-out headsail. Staysail was used, being overnight, although wind was only F4, so not so very strong at the time, but it increased overnight to around 20kt or more by early morning by which time we were making over 7kt in 4m seas - rough, bumpy conditions, with me on the verge of tying in the third reef....

Midday - grey, damp, cold , slight rain. Sun tried to get through the cloud a short while ago - looked hopeful but didn't manage it. Sea 12C, cabin 13-14C - just added another pair of fleece trousers! Wind from W ~20kt, seas well up - still easily 4m and not so far apart, so rather rough but we're making good speed, with slight surfing on top of the big waves.

2.30pm Tried to download weatherfax - but propagation causing a problem so nothing received - solar flare is really disrupting comms...
Still making good speed at over 6kt, but not being thrown around as much as we were earlier - slightly more comfortable! Suspect the wind might have eased a bit but not by much, judging from the sea-state - still a good F5... seas are still quite big at around 4m, but possibly spaced out further apart which definitely helps - was out in cockpit just now, watching them approach our stern - impressive to see these steep faces coming closer, with foam patches where tumbling crests have subsided!! Still grey and cold but slight drizzle has stopped.

Plenty of birds around -how they love the stronger conditions! A small storm petrel near the boat - forever circling. Dark upperparts with white rump and mainly white underbody... Darting around so fast always, very difficult to get a good look at details... never far above the water... long dangling dark legs, with feet forever pattering in the surface...fascinating to watch them, but I have to turn around constantly if I want to keep my eyes fixed on them. Taking a photo in these rough sea conditions combined with their fast movement is well nigh impossible!

Have been studying the' Atlantic petrels' I've been seeing around the boat - they're here again today - 3 or 4 of them. Dark upper parts, dark breast band, mainly dark underwings, dark tail underneath... Really need to get photos to identify them positively but that's so difficult just now... So much easier to take photos successfully in calm conditions... and the dull light is not helping matters.

Wind up again tonight - just a little, but means we're making 6.5-7 kt - hopefully, it won't increase any further -this much is plenty!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 137 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 1026 n.ml. (061T); WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 778 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait) : 2068 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 2117 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 147 - Back to ambling in light wind again -a pleasant day, but SLOW!

Sunday 17th March 2013 - Happy St Patrick's Day!

Midday A lot of blue sky, but cloud from N keeps trying to spread over... We've had a small flock of prions wheeling around all morning, with several Atlantic petrels and the occasional glimpse of an all-dark shearwater with long, thin wings - most likely a Sooty, but possibly Short-tailed (which breeds in S.Australia) - not sure which, but very distinct from the dark White-chinned petrels we've had around for so long. (Note: It's been suggested that the Atlantic petrels I've been mentioning are well outside accepted range and may in fact be Soft-plumaged - but they don't have the all-dark upperparts that I'm seeing on birds with dark breast band and underwings, but otherwise light underparts - will have to look more closely tomorrow, when they'll probably be around again, and note precisely their upper- and underparts' coloration/markings -maybe take photos, if at all possible)

I'd set an alarm when I settled down for the night soon after 1 a.m.. The rain ahead of the Cold Front was already with us, the wind was expected to back more to the W behind the Front and I knew our course under Fred's wind-steering would change with the wind. Already, I'd poled out the stays'l to port, goosewinged, with the mains'l fully sheeted out to starb'd - on preventer, as always ... I'd set us on our course of 095-100T, which was then close to dead downwind.

Three hours later, the Front had passed over, the moonless sky was full of bright stars and the Frontal cloud could be seen clearing away ahead. With the wind now from WSW, it was time to gybe the mains'l over to port, get the stays'l off the pole ... and get us back on course! By the time I'd finished, there was just a hint of pre-dawn light in the E sky.

Wind was much reduced so, under the early morning clear sky and lovely bright sunshine, I added in some genoa to increase our speed - we've been making mostly 4.5-5.5 kt since then, in slightly gusty conditions under frequent clouds... It's clearly time to shake out that third reef ....

I was able to download the latest grib files around 7.30 a.m., showing that these 10-20 kt WSW-WNW winds will continue, with possible brief stronger conditions late Wed ... and maybe again later in the week - but that's too far for accurate forecasting! Thought I was downloading the 0730Z weatherfax (at 1:30 p.m. LT) to confirm current weather situation ... Busied myself with other things while I listened to a very good signal - and then found nothing had been downloaded ... grrr!!! Checked the next wxfax to make sure it doesn't happen again... It started out fine, but halfway through it degraded to a messy blur as the signal faded. Band conditions were expected to be difficult today with Friday's solar flare affecting us now.

Seas are rolling us around at times - lots of small wind-waves on the surface, some white horses (showing wind is a F4!) and the underlying SW swell of just over 3m/10ft. Air feels quite cool - cabin temp was 13C overnight and, despite sunshine, has reached only 17C.

4:30 p.m. Ambling along in light wind, very pleasant ... sunny sky, rather rolly ... but slowed right down again... ~4-4.5 kt!

Sunset was not long after 6pm - we're not too far from moving our clock forward another hour again... Getting close to W. Australian time! With clear sky overhead just then, saw a lovely cresent moon - not seen the moon for quite a few days ... partly due to frequent overcast skies.

Made usual 40m contact with US W coast tonight - Seattle (Eric, WA7LNH) was clear and Oregon was not bad, but California (Mark in SD) was almost impossible - contact with S.A.M.M. Net was also bad earlier. That solar flare could be affecting the bands badly - we'll see what tomorrow brings... Soon after dawn, had made contact with E coast, despite Russian DX contest (!) and solar flare making things difficult for them - heard from Ivan, VE7IVN ... sent 73 to friends in Gt Northern Boaters' Net (Pacific NW - B.C. - Alaska)!

Time to go and adjust Fred to correct our course - we've been gradually starting to head SE in veered wind from W ... will possibly have to gybe the mains'l back to starboard side again soon and go goose-winged with poled-out headsail.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 110 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 1151 n.ml. (066T); WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 913 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait) : 2201 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 2244 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 146 - Good wind continues... an excellent 24hr run!

Saturday 16th March 2013

10am Going well at 7.5kt in NNW wind of over 20kt. Overcast sky but no fog. Just downloaded latest grib files - wind is looking good for coming week as I approach Gt Australian Bight... but will probably get nasty weather once it's reached, with Southern Ocean Lows pushing up against the Australian continental High to give a 'squash' zone of strong winds and correspondingly high swell - recipe for stormy conditions!

Seas were building by mid-morning with the consistent good wind - so it ws getting rather 'bumpy'! Overcast skies with some very weak sunshine over middle of day but no warm sunshine - a grey day with just a hint of fog.

By dusk, wind and seas had built quite a lot more and we were heeled over frequently in swell, so had eventually furled in last of genoa and soon after dark, decided it was probably best to tie in the third reef. A Cold Front was passing and we'd had rain on and off for a time.. Fronts often bring increased wind and we were already making well over 7 kt - best to be cautious overnight... it was already quite rough going...
With less sail, we were still making 6kt but it felt more comfortable and I felt more relaxed!

I was pleased to see our daily run to 1100GMT was way up at 167 n.ml. - showing our average speed to be 7 knots or more - I'd been seeing 7.3-7.8kt regularly today, despite the seas being on our beam and so not exactly comfortable!

At dawn, a Wandering albatross had passed by but otherwise only a pair of Atlantic petrels and a white-chinned petrel have been seen.

Tonight, it's raining but skies might clear once this Front has passed over and then the wind will probably back more to the W.

This morning's radio contact, and also midday's and this evening's, were all dogged by a lot of noise. Hopefully, things will be better tomorrow, although a solar flare is expected to arrive tonight and into tomorrow - so might make radio comms difficult again.

With the rough conditions over much of the day, I spent time reading and also tidying up the computer - deleted a lot of unnecessary files and duplicated photos that I'd come across!

Rain tonight has made it feel very cold - so another fleece went on... My bunk is the warmest place to be!

Wind is beginning to back so will need to keep an eye on our course overnight and gybe if necessary.

DMG at 1100GMT: 167 n.ml. - excellent ! C. Agulhas: 3238 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 1021 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 883 n.ml. (245T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 145 - Good wind at last! Fog again overnight.

Friday 15th March 2013

A quick note at just gone midnight - wind is up nicely - we're actually making around 6 knots - yippee!!

7.30am No fog, 95% broken cloud and sun not long up... A pair of Atlantic petrels nearby as I adjusted our course to come a little closer to the NNW wind for a beam reach and head us nearer to E. Seas not too bad at around 2m - a little bumpy in wind waves & slight chop. Full genoa and stays'l and 2nd reef in mains'l - as much canvas as I dare, due to ongoing problem with mast track insert. Making just over 5kt - so not too bad if it keeps up.
Made good contact on 40m, as usual, with Mark, AF6TC, in San Diego, and John, W1QS, in Maine and stations in Portsmouth, RI, and Michigan - not so many this morning but lovely clear signals just after my sunrise, around 0100-0120Z.

3pm Lovely sunny day up to now, although cloud has increased. Downloaded 0730Z weatherfax from Wiluna - shows centre of Indian Ocean High well S - centred well below 40S - which is amazing.... and basically the main reason for my lack of wind of late, although just now we're sailing well in NW-NNW wind, making 6 - 7+ kt -- best consistent speed since last Friday! There's a weak Cold Front approaching & behind the Front, early on Sunday maybe, the wind might ease as it backs, since the isobars are rather more spaced out than ahead of the Front ....

Was about to have some Brie for a light lunch earlier, when I realised I still had plenty of my thick soup waiting - so Brie is on hold for later... It was tinned and keeps well, but often the tinned can't be found in shops - I always stock up if I find it!

5pm Fog once more... Was standing in companionway an hour ago, before the fog arrived, having reduced the genoa quite a lot in stronger wind (we were making 7-8 kt!!), watching 4 Atlantic petrels swooping about, when suddenly along came a big brown skua - big, heavy-looking bird, flapping its wings a lot, unlike most of the other birds usually seen soaring around, with long white marking on outer half of upper- and underwings... otherwise, all dark..

Later: Still going well - SOG around 7kt ... great!! Hoping this keeps up for several days!

DMG AT 1100GMT: 121 n.ml. - that's more like it! ! C. Agulhas: 3081 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 1188 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 742 n.ml. (241T) Ile St Paul: 553 n.ml. (304T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 144 - Foggy again... a little more wind, but not much...

Thursday 14th March 2013

1:30am .... Wind disappeared almost - struggling to keep on course at 2.3 kt... Foggy still...

Midday Bright sunshine, after early morning overcast sky, calm sea with long, slow swell from W - two Wandering albatross joined some white-chinned petrels resting on water nearby... Adjusted Fred for a close reach - but almost no wind and it keeps swinging about, so difficult to keep a good course and for sails to be trimmed correctly - often flapping, doing nothing.... but we're generally managing to keep heading roughly E - so that's good - the bad news is our SOG of only 1-2 knots and tendency to drift SE, rather than E! Not getting very far again.

1pm Wind suddenly came up a little - just enough to get us moving a bit better - now making over 4 kt in NNW wind with maximum canvas.. Hazy sunshine - lurking low layer of fog-in-waiting...!
Group of white-chinned petrels chattering to each other on the water, not far away. Wandering albatross still not too far away - always come very close when my camera is out of reach!
It's so quiet - no noise of wind in the rigging - we're gliding along gently at ~3.5kt... sound of rippling water & of sails moving in swell with such little wind.
Last of washing has been rinsed through & is hanging out in cockpit to drip... - thought warm sunshine would help dry it but that didn't last long- fog in distance now... grey sky with sun still trying to get through thin layer.

4pm Fog has dropped down - a boat's length away.....grey and chilly - back on with two fleeces I'd removed! Beam reach in NNW wind, making just over 4kt which is an improvement over the 2-3 knots that we'd dropped down to for a time...

6pm Seems I can expect zero wind, possibly, at end of afternoon tomorrow (Friday) - I hope the forecast is wrong and I can keep moving - even slowly is better than drifting in circles or backwards...!! What a slow passage this is....
Just brought my washing down below - no longer dripping and air's getting damp on deck, with fog around... Have lines rigged up in main cabin for hanging wet gear.

10:30pm Have had to adjust Fred several times, with wind veering more to N from NNW, so our course changes accordingly. A few stars overhead, so maybe less fog now. Still only making around 4 knots with maximum canvas in light wind...Finished chatting a short while ago to HF radio contacts in USA/Australia/S.Africa - many have become familiar voices with familiar callsigns now - all very friendly and supportive!
Just finished O'Brien's "The Far Side of the World" - what a great story - and ending!!

DMG AT 1100GMT: 55 n.ml. - no surprise that it's so low, with speed of only 1-3 kt overnight and this morning! ! C. Agulhas: 2966 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 1309 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 644 n.ml. (237T) Ile St Paul: 451 n.ml. (313T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 143 - Fog again, as we crawl E in light breeze

Wednesday 13th March 2013 - Into a new time-zone: GMT + 6hr

Up early, as is becoming the norm these days, to make radio contact with US W and E coasts ...and some in between plus one Canadian station... quite a few on frequency this morning (their Tuesday evening). I need to keep a regular eye on our course & sail trim anyway so being up is not a problem and getting radio contact for emailing is best at this time also - I try to deal with emailing in between the 0100GMT ham radio contacts and the 0330GMT check-in with the Pacific Seafarers' Net... If I'm very lucky, I can also get an hour's sleep then, if I need to.

Time zone change again, on passing the longitude 82:30E - so we're now an hour on from before. All very confusing for my body and mind - I'm just having breakfast, at 11am local time, but I still feel as if it's near to dawn because I'm looking at GMT which is 0500, even though I've been busy rinsing out the washing I started yesterday and have done some other small jobs!

Chilly air again, totally overcast sky, with sun trying to get through but not managing. Sea temp, 13.9C, is slightly up, & no fog around this morning. Wind very light - around 5 knots, maybe a touch more - so we're making around 3kt. It's a good thing that whatever current there is, it's heading the same way! Quite a long westerly swell of 2m or more and small windwaves on the sea surface.

Small flock of 10-20 lovely Antarctic prions swooping around - they move so fast all the time... and a Great albatross in the distance - distinctive white between wings but not near enough to see whether a Royal or Wandering..

1:30pm Making around 4kt - speed slightly up! Downloading current Wiluna (Aus) weatherfax. Even at highest frequency, only rather blurred chart received, but good enough to show a slight ridge of high pressure down to where we are and a small Cold Front approaching from WSW - will possibly pass just to S of us but it's certainly giving the present cloud layer. To the W, there's a second H which will give us another 'no-wind' session a few days after this one has gone away... I'm resigned to a very slow passage.... trying not to dwell on that, it's so frustrating...! 'Furious Forties'???? ... tell me! I always say I'd rather have a bit too much wind than too little - at least with some wind you can move, albeit well-reefed down in big seas, but nothing you can do in no wind....

Having cooked beans and split peas last night, it's made a lovely thick warming soup - just right for the present cold air.

Still thinking about those impellor bits ... got email last night... seems I might be able to access heat exchanger end fairly easily by removing end-cap via two securing bolts - just not sure about possible complication with the gasket involved, so waiting for advice on that before trying it. If it's as straightforward as it sounds, would be good to get in beside input hose to remove as many bits as possible - one reason for keeping old impellor handy, so I can check on number of missing flange bits retrieved!

5 pm Thick fog - can't see much more than a boat's length away! After some rinsing of yeserday's washed clothing, spent most of the afternoon de-rusting and generally oiling/easing tools that have become badly rusted and/orjammed - amazing how quickly they go, when at sea, despite all my TLC not so long ago! All started when went to replace very rusty bolt-croppers beside companionway steps, now that seawater pump access not needed any more. Continued when looked at bolts securing cap to heat exchanger, wanting to figure out how to undo them - that lead to discovery of jammed & rusted tools and bits - now all sorted, after lots of oil squirted everywhere and judicious use of mallet in one bad case....

10pm Spoke to US, Australia and S.Africa tonight - getting to be a habit! Still foggy and damp out.

DMG AT 1100GMT: 88 n.ml. - crawling in very little wind....! C.Agulhas: 2 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1450 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 530 n.ml. (231T) Ile St Paul: 359 n.ml. (331T); Ile Amsterdam: 405 n.ml. (334T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 142 - wind dying again - fog tonight

Tuesday 12th March 2013

12.22am Tried to download 1915Z (12:15am LT) weather fax from Wiluna - current forecast for Indian Ocean - same message again, as last night... "THE SCHEDULED CHART IS NOT AVAILABLE" !!! .... why not?

8am Downloading emails - still plenty of advice on blocked cooling system coming through!.
Spoke to US W and E coasts earlier - near sunrise here... San Diego, Maine, Florida ... also Colorado.... Excellent copy, which quite quickly goes down, as sun here gets higher.
Wind is dying - speed down 4.5 kt or less and wind down to 10kt from WNW-NW... backing slightly. Expecting no wind by tomorrow - maybe earlier? Think we've turned into a seaslug... or maybe a turtle ...

5.30pm Very dull - foggy! And sea lying down - just 2m swell now .. very few birds seen - too calm for them! Was pleased to have confirmed that cooling water is definitely circulating OK and exiting via exhaust... impellor bits can wait until landfall, I hope - definitely not easy to retrieve! Getting to know my engine intimately!

Feeling decidedly chilly - sea temp has dropped to 11.7C, so whole boat is colder - cabin temp is only 15C - into several fleeces again. Went looking for base layer to add in under fleeces - no clean ones found - so later set to washing used ones... with fairly calm sea, doing laundry was possible - so lucky ... Presently dripping, hung on line in cockpit.

Did some cooking - had to throw away several more rotten potatoes - not taking kindly to being wrapped in foil - need air! Thick bean soup made, ready for some additions - ham etc - tomorrow. Had a beef stew with potatoes, sweetcorn and celery tonight.

Chatted on radio a few times over the day - all very sociable!

DMG: 117 n.ml. C.Agulhas: 2827 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1450 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 530 n.ml. (231T) Ile St Paul: 359 n.ml. (331T); Ile Amsterdam: 405 n.ml. (334T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 141 - consistent wind for a change... work on cooling circuit...

Monday 11th March 2013

12.22am Unbelievable - I'd had some very nice Brie while I enjoyed reading some more of O'Brien's "The Far Side of the World" before getting to sleep earlier, with alarm set to wake me up to download 1915Z (12:15am LT) weather fax from Wiluna - (48hr forecast for Indian Ocean) - but message came up: "SCHEDULED CHART IS NOT AVAILABLE" !!! Back to my bunk rather disgruntled, having woken up and achieved nothing!

9am Overcast sky ... a few birds circling - several white-chinned petrels and some Antarctic prions... NW wind up a little more so we're making near to 5 kt now in rather bigger NW swell of around 3m/10ft. More motion felt down below than yesterday but still not too bad since we're sailing downwind. Trying to finish downloading weather and emails, after connecting into Pacific Seafarers' Net - propagation not quite as good as yesterday. Earlier made good contact with both E and W coast of US.

Will finish breakfast and then get into engine compartment to undo fixings on pipes to/from seawater filter and lower it, before looking at impellor again - means removing companionway steps and front panels again - neither is easy, so will take some time and effort!

9.30am Wind just gusted up - we're now making over 5 kt - and I even saw 6 kt for a time... much better! Breakfast....

12:50 pm The 0730Z Indian Ocean current weatherfax from Wiluna was received twenty minutes ago - set an alarm so as not to miss it, since busy on engine at the time.
......Well, one step at a time - water IS flowing into seawater strainer from seacock. Having lowered holder & opened seacock, I could see easily into strainer, so by loosening top slightly to allow air in/out a fraction, I was able to see there was water in there now, for sure . I wondered if it were possible for it to have been full when running engine before and I didn't realise it - but I doubt that, somehow.... I'm sure the motion of the water through it should have been visible to me if it were happening... I've secured it upright .... Now for the difficult job - getting access to seawater pump & impellor, having closed the seacock... Seas have built, with consistent and increased wind, so we're rolling around a fair amount - makes moving heavy steps a bit of an issue .... Coffee break!

4:15pm Alarm for my imminent daily 1100Z weather & position report went offat 3:50pm, just as I finished putting steps back.... All went rather better than I expected in the seas running - found a way to move steps without threatening me, them or woodwork around, despite the swell rocking the boat ... and engine front panel came away rather more easily this second time around. Removed impellor cover on seawater pump - found impellor was absolutely fine - relief!! Turned on seacock and water immediately flowed out of seawater filterholder and hose and into pump cavity (and out onto floor of engine compartment...!) - so clearly no blockage worries in this section of the cooling circuit pipework... good news! (Of course, I then had to clear away the water under the engine, which also meant the whole area ended up looking very much cleaner than when I'd started!)
I felt very satisfied with the outcome... but when I ran engine to look for water coming from exhaust exit in side of hull, the ongoing swell, causing the boat to heel over that way every few seconds, meant it was impossible to confirm anything. However, the weather forecast is showing no wind on Wednesday (surprise...!!), so hopefully I'll be able to run the engine later that day in calm conditions to confirm cooling water is coming out with with the exhaust gases.

It feels good to be moving - but I'm not looking forward to yet another day of no wind on Wednesday - what a 'stop-go' passage this is turning into - so much slower than expected from my previous ones. We managed just over 100 miles today, in the 24 hr up to 1100GMT... but that's nothing like the 120-150 miles/day I'd normally expect in good wind!

A pair of Atlantic petrels and some Antarctic prions were flying around near sunset. Very little seen of the sun today - slightly broken cloud layer overhead all day long ... and no chance to spot the comet near the sun at sunset.. but still nearly a week for that.

DMG: 107 n.ml - a bit better! C.Agulhas: 2713 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1564 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 448 n.ml. (223T) Ile St Paul: 316 n.ml. (351T); Ile Amsterdam: 367 n.ml. (352T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 140 - wind slowly picke up - cooling water problem still

Sunday 10th March 2013

6.15am Wind only a hint of WNW, less than 5 kt... SOG only 0.8kt - still just drifting... Patchy fog in calm conditions around dawn.... but managed to keep us heading roughly east. Ran engine in hope that cooling wter would be seen coming from exhaust in side of hull - but no water seen - damn! While engine was running, looked into seawater filter holder - no sign of water passing through there -bad news since means new impellor isn't getting water up from seacock inlet and into heat exchanger still... so either the pipework is blocked or the new impellor has already broken down...

Checked anti-siphon loop - all looks OK there, so far as can be told... shares air vent high up with genset which is working fine, so presume not a problem there. Looks as though I'll have to check out the impellor again, with all the difficulties of access that involves ... damn again... We're not a happy bunny just now.... feeling I could do without this additional problem - on top of poor progess we've made over last two weeks .... so often slowed down, with light (or no) wind!!!

Made quick contact with Pacific Seafarers & also with US earlier, on radio - W coast 'long path' was working fine, but 'short path' from E coast not so good, so will try at an earlier time tomorrow.

Midday Feels like early morning ... have been'burning the candle at both ends recently' - so need more sleep but have been looking over Yanmar workshop manual & engine since breakfast and also downloaded emails etc - connection not too slow this morning - a nice change!
Had a good look at cooling circuit pipework - not easy to check for bits of impellor and wonder if I should lower the seawater filter to help input of seawater - it's very high at present so water not easily brought into system.
At least wind has now increased from WNW and we're now making 3.6kt E. Pressure still up at 1031 hPa and sky is overcast.
Smaller albatross came by - dark grey wings and back and light yellow bill - possibly a Shy but didn't see underwings to confirm... Decided more sleep was urgent - so off to bunk...

6pm Had over two hours' sleep earlier - feeling better but need a good meal! 1245Z (5:45pm) weatherfax from Wiluna wasn't transmitted - seems odd - wonder if changed timing? Wind still light but we're making way at close on 4 kt - so at least we're moving. Very dull overcast sky - and still fairly calm sea - was intending getting to work on engine while easier in far less swell than usual, but looks as though that's on hold until tomorrow - nearly dark here now.

11pm About to get to bunk - with alarm set for weatherfax download at 1915Z / 12:15amLT and then, after more sleep, up at 0115Z for wind, course & sail trim check, emailing and brief US radio contacts.

Have decided definitely need to lower seawater filter holder in engine compartment to sea level and check waterflow through to impellor when take cover off tomorrow to see if impellor still OK or not - long discussion on 40m with Eric and others on frequency! Looks like simplest way forward in troubleshooting problem.... Will definitely show if any blockage on seacock side of seawater pump. Had a long radio chat session tonight with Peter in Jo'burg, Seattle/San Diego and several other S African contacts - Sunday evening relaxation!

Still sailing gently at 4kt on course in about 10kt or so of WNW wind... goose-winged. 'Smiley' chart plotter gives ETA at waypoint S of Tasmania as 1st April - almost exactly the same timing as last year, when I made landfall on 2nd April in Hobart from Cape Town.... but that assumes I can keep going, with no diversions to N to avoid nasty weather and no lengthy heaving-to in stormy weather (both likely when crossing the Gt Australian Bight towards Tasmania) nor any more drifting around in calms.

DMG: 36 n.ml - what a depressingly bad day's run! C.Agulhas: 2610 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1670 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 391 n.ml. (213T) Ile St Paul: 308 n.ml. (012T); Ile Amsterdam: 359 n.ml. (011T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 139 - drifting in no wind again... genoa furling problem fixed

Saturday 9th March 2013

8am Sun getting out after fine rain and overcast skies - pressure well up & wind dying - backed overnight to SW. Had got up very early, to check on deck, with wind expected to back through the night - had to gybe onto starboad tack in order to head more E. Excellent radio contact with San Diego on long path - clear as a bell and very loud. Spent quite some time trying to make contact for emails and weather. Downloaded Australian weatherfax of southern Indian Ocean- useful.

Went to unfurl genoa, in lighter wind - wouldn't unfurl more than a small amount - repetition of previous problem - could be spare genoa halyard this time that's caught up at mast top in furling gear there. Need to release it and try to unravel it. Waiting for slightly less swell, to make that easier. In meantime, wind only around 10kt and speed down to 4kt - wind expected to be very light over today, but should increase by this evening and into tomorrow, from NW again, finally.

10:30am Wind has died completely - we're drifting at just over 1 knot in a breath of SW wind and swell is 2-3 m - so we're rolling around, often quite violently at times... Pressure up to 1032 hPa.... Cloud cleared away two hours ago to give bright sunshine, but the air feels cold. Too calm for birds - one storm petrel seen - clearly lost its way!!!

Tonight... we're still drifting in no wind... Drifted SE most of the day at 1 kt, but not always - frustrating not to be able to control boat heading, but with zero forward boatspeed, no steerage.... although, at times, keeping rudder off centre does help.

Was pleased eventually to resolve problem of genoa refusing to unfurl - gear at mast top was tangled by genoa spare halyard - as suspected. Fingers crossed, I think it's now OK - but, with swell not helping, took a time and some patience to free halyard and lead over to one side clear of other lines, away from mast foot where its end was normally shackled in place.

Opened engine seawater inlet seacock and started engine - but could see no sign of cooling water coming out of exhaust, as hoped and expected, although water was seen moving in clear pipe of loop to anti-siphon valve .... grrr!!! Wondered if seawater pump needed priming with seawater, since seawater strainer is high up and supply pipe to pump had been emptied when changed impellor... So closed off seacock and poured water into strainer holder until filled to above supply pipe to pump - looked to me as though there was already a fair amount there - so maybe that wasn't the problem... Hope impellor is still OK! Will start up engine again briefly tomorrow in daylight to check exhaust again, having checked anti-siphon valve is not blocked... All very trying.... Might yet have to start undoing hoses to find broken bits of impellor flanges.

At least one positive outcome was achieved over the day - so decided to celebrate that with an asparagus omelette! (Last dozen eggs taken out of store)

As I write this, I'm seeing the set of our drift, which had changed to SW from SE, is now S - I'd thought that what little breeze there is had veered into NW and was getting ready to gybe the mainsail and set us up ready for the forecast NW wind, but maybe I'll leave things and check again in 2-3 hrs ' time... Drift is 0.2-0.4 kt just now so we're going nowhere very fast!

DMG: 95 n.ml....another poor day's run, with tomorrow's looking similar, probably worse. C.Agulhas: 2575 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1706 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 377 n.ml. (208T) Ile Amsterdam: 362 n.ml. (017T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 138 - pleasant downwind sailing

Friday 8th March 2013

10:30am Still making good eastward progress at 5-6+ knots in NW wind, with swell increased to 3-4m from 2m of yesterday.. A solitary Atlantic petrel has been swooping about under the grey, overcast sky since dawn this morning - saw one last evening - probably the same one. .. Occasional spits of rain, sea temp down to 15C so air and cabin feeling cold now, despite fleeces - need to add another layer, I think! Went up on deck to adjust course, with slight windshift, and check on wind direction from ripplies on sea surface, using ship's compass. A majestic , mature, Wandering albatross glided by, peering down at me inquisitively, dwarfing a pair of white-chinned petrels just arrived.

We're only just over 300 ml NNE ml of Ile Kerguelen and just over 400 ml SSW of the tiny islands of St Paul and Amsterdam and the birds I've been seeing over these last few days probably breed there - they're all uninhabited, except for the scientific team in the French base on Kerguelen.

I was up early, around dawn, to check on long-path 40m radio contact with San Diego, which was good, although lot of static on frequency - quickly back to my bunk for some more sleep before making contact with US E.Coast at 0300Z (too long after my sunrise, I think- they had problem copying me, although I heard several of them clearly) and then checked in with Pacific Seafarers' Net on 20m at 0330Z(8:30 am) - good contact with Randy, KH6RC, in Hawaii. Have had to spend a very long time before finally managing to download emails and grib files for weather info - propagation (or sometimes antenna orientation, I suspect) not good, despite tables indicating good chance of contacts at certain times.

12:30pm Sun has got out nicely in clear blue sky, as cloud layer clears away to the NE. A few Antarctic prions have arrived to swoop about the boat - never far away. Downloading a current weatherfax from Wiluna, Australia which shows the India Ocean 1035 hPa High spreading all across the Indian Ocean to N, with the usual deep Southern Ocean Lows, with their tightly-packed isobars showing strong winds, heading E below us - their Fronts will pass over us, hopefully not too strongly. It's also showing slack air now, even light headwinds, across the Great Australian Bight, S of Australia, which will cause me a problem if still like that when I reach there. As it is, on Sunday, the forecast is for very light winds here also, as the High sends a ridge down this way - hopefully, short-lived.

6:35 pm (1335z) - Sunset... days seem to disappear, with far too much time spent trying to connect for emails & weather (grib) files in limited 'windows' - great pity satphone is down. On a very broad reach now, with wind from WNW and backing slowly - nearly DDW, goosewinged, of course. Still not really adjusted to local time.. tend to look at GMT, so badly out of sync - was surprised to see the sun close to setting! No chance of seeing the comet Panstarrs - cloud on horizon... Spoke to Graham, ZS2ABK on SAMM Net at 1145Z and then had a chat with John, VK4DBJ - propagation on 20m into Australia around midday GMT (5pm LT) seems to be excellent from here just now.

Four Atlantic petrels and one prion circling and swooping past...

Looking at pipework on engine - trying to follow cooling water pipe from seawater pump to heat exchanger and circuit beyond - not looking simple, especially with pipes leading off to cabin fan heater and hot water tank - both heated by cooling water pipes, although they must be on far (hot) side of circuit. Still debating feasibility of removing hose onto heat exchanger to find bits of impellor - not yet discovered if it's really necessary - maybe the bits can simply flush through the sytem - or will they get caught in pipework beyond the exchanger....?

DMG: 132 n.ml. ...near-decent distance run, for a change! C.Agulhas: 2480 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1794 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 329 n.ml. (197T) Ile Amsterdam: 412 n.ml. (030T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 137 - a lovely sunny day with fair wind.... impellor seen to.

Thursday 7th March 2013

2.30PM A big flock of Antarctic prions have been circling and swooping around us all day so far- easily 100 or so in bright sunshine. Finally,we've a good NW wind taking us E, having got down to 44S by mid-morning and then having gybed the mains'l, so we're goosewinged, with stays'l poled out ...

A really lovely day, only spoiled by the engine seawater-cooling problem... Spent an age looking through the Yanmar workshop manual - no mention of emergency manual fuel cut-off. Eventually, took bright torchlight to engine compartment and looked down to where I knew it was roughly. I knew it's normally completely out of sight, down on far side of engine, hemmed in by a wall, where oil and fuel filters are both also inconveniently located!! Found a big, bright red, rubber-covered push-button - impossible to miss if it were visible! Started engine, confirmed no seawater circulating - and operated cut-off switch to stop it, to check I'd got that right!

So next, had to move away the (heavy, awkward!) steps from cabin to cockpit, also the for'd engine panels beneath steps (another difficult item) and remove seawater pump cover to check impellor, .... having turned off seacock first! Very damaged - most rubber flanges gone - definitely in need of changing. TG for a tip from a mechanic in Cape Town about using two flat screwdrivers for easy removal of the impellor - and TG also for my large rubber mallet for helping to persuade the new one into position... Big problem now is the flange bits that have made their way towards the heat exchanger... Must I find them and remove them - or can I safely run the engine and leave that for a later date (like when I'm back!)? I managed to finish getting the panels and steps back just as sun was setting at 7pm.... but will think about things before running the engine to test it. At least now I could get up to the cockpit to adjust our course... we were headed ENE, rather than E, all this time!

Last night, a large yellow,crescent moon rose around midnight ... there's a clear sky again tonight, with Jupiter visible over the stern from the companionway, but was busy replacing steps at sunset so missed looking for the comet..

Had some good contacts over the day and this evening, although impellor job cut down radio use a lot - and caused my 1100Z position report not to be sent, with no good enough contact possible, despite lots of trying, later in the day. Will be delayed now until early tomorrow. Had a couple more B.C. contacts on 40m tonight, which was nice, as well as Australian and S. African, to add in to US ones. Also found myself talking to Japan and the Philippines!

Wind has died down somewhat, but direction is still good.... Should make fair progress for next few days, although likely on Saturday, & again early next week, to get very light winds again

Today's Report
TIME: 2013/03/07 11:00
LATITUDE: 44-00.46S LONGITUDE: 070-06.05E
BARO: 1025 TREND: 0
COMMENT: DMG 96 n.ml.;C.Agulhas:2348 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP:1919 n.ml.

Ile Kerguelen: 285 n.ml. (188T) Ile Amsterdam: 498 n.ml. (045T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 136 - Better progress in WSW winds .. and another time zone reached.

Wednesday 6th March 2013 We move into GMT + 5hr, on crossing 67:30E

6am Up around dawn - wind had shifted dramatically and increased - so body sensed change in boat's motion and I got up to investigate! We'd changed course (automatic with windsteering!) from SSW to slightly N of due E - in rain.. For next hour or so, I adjusted course as showers came and went - 'cloud effect' several times over! I'm happy to head SE still and we've made some good Southing - we're now at 42:30S so we've made some progress ... Would prefer to get to 43S or further S maybe - keeping an eye on gribs and weatherfaxes (from Wiluna, Aus). High pressure area just to N is still set to cause a problem for me for some time yet... but don't want to get caught out in 'furious fifties', or close to there, by the strong winds of a deep Low coming to where I'll be - as one surely will, at some point!

Interesting that Mark, AF6TC, in San Diego, was able to make better radio contact on 40m at 0130GMT by beaming over the North Pole for signals from him to me ... on 'long path', rather than 'short path' which uses the opposite way around the globe to me !! It's all a matter of where is most in darkness around sunset or sunrise for best path...!! Eric, WA7LNH, in Seattle, had worked that out but wasn't on frequency - I hadn't expected to be up at that time when he suggested it one or two evenings ago during our regular chat, together with Frank, N7EKD, in Portland, on 40m around 1540GMT...

I'm still finding it amazing that I can be chatting to N.America so clearly and regularly around sunrise and sunset times!! I'm hearing just about everyone clearly, although they don't always hear me well - a matter of how powerful their equipment is. A short time later, soon after 0300Z, Ed, KL4KN, in Virginia Beach, had good copy also .... No problem also with Randy, KH6RC, taking my report for Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0330Z - he came booming in from Hawaii! I mixed voice radio contact wih getting emails, which again were difficult to make good enough contact to upload and download - but early morning is the best time still to try to do that.

4pm A lovely sunny,warm afternoon - and we're continuing to make good progress SE, even though not very fast in 10-15kt of wind all day long - good to be reducing the mileage, at last! In noting details for position report, realised we're over halfway across the Indian Ocean towards passing S of Cape Leeuwin (SW Australia) from Cape Agulhas (S.Africa). Very few birds seen - just an occasional white-chinned petrel and Antarctic prion. Contacted the DX Net on 20m at 5pm - mostly Australian and US stations, often very clear, with US (Chesapeake/Ohio) tending to be clearer than Aus stations at present .

Sunset around 7:15pm No sighting of comet Panstarrs because of cloud low on horizon again, although sky was clear overhead. Excellent contact with W.coast US tonight from 1430-1600Z - and also with Bowen Island, B.C. - I was delighted when Bill, VA7ZOO, came up to make contact - he's just across the way from good friends in Gibsons... felt very special! Also, although I thought I'd lost evening contact with S.Africa, several familiar voices came up near to 1600Z tonight - so that was also nice.

Although swell was not so much, it was enough to make me disinclined to remove the heavy companionway steps to access the engine - and the seawater pump in particular - so the impellor has still not yet been checked on - but it's too urgent to leave much longer - tomorrow, I must 'bite the bullet' - before the swell builds more... Engine has to be useable with cooling water circulating OK, if only to be ready for possible emergency use, as well as a back up to generator for battery charging.

I've come to the conclusion that my log/speed impellor is gunged up - some growth on it, I reckon... It has frequently given boat speed of 0.0 kt on display when I can see us moving, albeit slowly, through the water - it's probably under-reading as well. If I felt it was urgent, I'd remove the impellor and clean it - but it's not a job that's high in priority just now, since SOG from GPS input is fine.... just means current display is wrong and should be disregarded, since basis of calculation is in error...

Wind slowly veering, so heading frequently needing to be adjusted for broader reach.... Will probably need to gybe tomorrow, if wind becomes WNW-NW, as forecast.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT : 92 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 2247 n.ml.; Ile Kerguelen: 354 n.ml. (171T) Ile Amsterdam: 542 n.ml. (060T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2056 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 135 - more drifting in little wind....

Tuesday 5th March 2013

9am We've had a good wind overnight and up to now-but it's finally dying away ... yet again! Suppose I shouldn't complain since didn't expect wind to be useful anyway... ! It followed the Cold Front of last night, on a Low of 1006 - but pressure now is up to 1012, fairly sunny sky with white cloud, ... backing wind - sending us close-hauled onto ENE... So much for getting further S to avoid being becalmed by this expanding High coming along.....

10am SOG: 3.0kt, COG: 070T...!! A pair of prions and of white-chinned petrels together with a white-faced, brown, juvenile Wandering albatross, are circling the boat under a cloudy sky.

3pm SOG: 2.8 kt, COG 100T ...course getting better as wind backs slowly ... but we're not getting S very fast!

Another highly frustrating day - no wind again, after overnight wind died mid-morning... so drifting again... and very rolly in swell. And another day of difficult radio contact for emails. All feels rather negative at present - several more days like this in prospect...

Beautiful starry sky after lovely sunset with magnificent Royal albatross soaring around with the usual group of petrels... but didn't see comet Panstarrs because of cloud low on horizon - will keep an eye out at sunset over this week.

Midnight: Finally making 4kt SSE ... wind up slightly and veered more - into WSW - W. Fingers crossed wind holds for a time.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT : 58 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 2188 n.ml.; Ile Kerguelen: 431 n.ml. (165T) Ile Amsterdam: 573 n.ml. (069T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2137 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 134 - Drifting in no wind all day.... until near midnight..

Monday 4th March 2013

9am After wind and rain of yesterday's Cold Front coming through, we're now drifting around in mixed swell and almost no wind - boat speed 0.0 kt, SOG (speed over the ground): 1.9kt...grrr!! Wind is coming in puffs from SSE and swell is coming both from N, at 3-4m, and from W, at 2m, making for a choppy sea and a rolly boat! A lthough I've trimmed sails for a very close reach, it's the current that seems to be dominating - taking us NE, at present. Sun just showed itself briefly though gap in overcast ....

Ten white-chinned petrels resting in the sea nearby, later...

8pm A highly frustrating day - quite apart from difficulty of trying to get the boat to head S or E, rather than N or W, in almost no wind all day long. We ended up driftng 12mls N before drifting back S again later... Had hoped to tackle boom/vang fitting - but apart from removing some wire from a previous 'fix', with boat moving a lot in swell making it difficult to work there, other problems arose to prevent that.

Decided to start the engine (in neutral) to get oil circulating -been a time since I'd last done so... Started OK but when I checked on cooling water - could see no sign of it ... checked in engine compartment - no sign of it in clear hose to anti-siphon valve. Went to turn off engine in a hurry - wouldn't stop...! Tried several times - kept running... Couldn't remember exactly where fuel cut-off was - although I knew it wasn't obvious... (remembered later how I'd been shown exactly where it was - out of sight, down behind far side of engine - thanks, Robert!) Out with manual... Tried switching off again a few times - finally stopped ... phew!! Checked water filter - OK. Went to turn off seacock allowing water from splitter to exit through hull low down ... meant unscrewing under-bunk top - problem with screw head - worn... Finally dealt with that and turned off seacock so exhaust could exit through hull side where visible. But need to check impellor - maybe it's stuck due to lack of use...?

I'd been looking forward to having lots of hot water for a shower - hadn't had one for ages and was going to take advantage of running motor to heat water while sea was relatively calm... Had my shower anyway, although it was a bit rolly still in swell - lovely to have clean hair and total change of clothes!!

Another day of difficult radio contact for emails- - unable to do much at all, this evening - will hope morning is better, as it usually is at present. Have decided on provisional 40m 'sched' - 7145 LSB at 1530Z - should hear S.African stations for a time, until I move too far East. East coast US contacts have needed to move earlier - now best around 1445Z.

10pm - Wind and rain! Went on deck to check wind and to change sail trim - ended up gybing mains'l and stays'l - wind is just abaft the beam now but I'll shortly need to change our heading to more off the wind to keep us on ESE course - wind is backing slowly.

Midnight - Cold Front just came through - I changed tack twice as it was passing by..and tensioned running backstays three times, having gone on deck originally to do so, with hint of wind getting up.. It was raining then.. but finally rain stopped as wind backed to W from NNW.. Beautifully clear sky ... bright stars and moon.. lovely! We're sailing again - ESE, in fair wind - I feel much better!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT on Sunday: 138 n.ml.
24hr DMG at 1100GMT on Monday: 63 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 2130 n.ml.; Ile Kerguelen: 449 n.ml. (159T) Ile Amsterdam: 625 n.ml. (072T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2192 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"