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S/V Nereida sails around the world

RTW Day 133 - Cold Front comes through - with increased wind & rain - and then wind dies...

Sunday 3rd March 2013

6:30am Back down below after furling in a lot of genoa with both wind and swell up a lot - F6 and 4-5m seas - causing a lot of heeling and side-deck-washing!! Have left a scrap of genoa still unfurled - definitely helps boat speed just to have a little sail for'd in addition to stays'l in these conditions - don't want to kill our speed completely although it's nice not to be heeling in swell quite so much as we were.... Feeling a lot more comfortable now. 100% cloud, slight rain (heavy earlier), rough seas, one white-chinned petrel....

Got a radio connection to S.Africa before going on deck - managed to upload yesterday's log report, which I couldn't manage last night, and download grib files - so that' s good. Good connection to Pacific Seafarer's Net at 0330GMT/7.30amLT.

Midday Was delighted to get an excellent weatherfax showing Indian Ocean weather - from Wiluna, the Australian transmitter. So much better to get the isobaric charts, showing current positions of Fronts, Highs and Lows clearly - with 1- and 2-day forecasts due later in day. Having to make out a timetable so I don't miss them ... and radio 'scheds' also!

4pm - Small bit of genoa furled in and stays'l poled out to port... goosewinged on very broad reach, now. Wind not quite as strong as earlier - F5-6 now , seas well up - quite rough at times, occasional rain, grey overcast... Sea temp has dropped noticeably - 16-18C now we're further S. Outlook is for very little wind tomorrow & for a day or so - but hopefully, by being further S, in better direction.... we'll see. 4-5 whute-chinned petrels, one Atlantic petrel, one prion....

9.30pm Several chats on radio earlier - nice to make contact with people, although frustrating when band conditions such that signals aren't quite strong enough & you just hear a faint voice talking away in the far distance...!. Amazing to think I'm chatting to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Florida, Hawaii, S.Africa and Australia!! Some on 'long path', others on 'short path' - signals travelling opposite ways around the globe from them to me...

Catching up with emails - just noticed we're heading due E now, rather than the SE-ESE of earlier - wind clearly backing now. Will need to gybe onto starboard tack shortly, if not to be taken NE... but will adjust Fred to sail slightly by the lee first, for a while, since very light conditions just now... Still want to get further S if possible before present light wind disappears almost completely - forecast to become very light S'ly tomorrow.... Only making 4.5 kt now - will give a very poor DMG tomorrow!

10:30pm Well that turned into quite a pleasant exercise! No rain, although a bit rolly, wind prbably no more than F3, the occasional star getting through the cloud.. and warm air! I decided there was no point in not gybing now - there's so much involved in the change over... dealing with running backstays, pole, preventer, genoa furling line .... and mainsheet, of course... So that's all done and we're heading SE again , but on starboard tack, ready for wind to back slowly into the S when we'll probably end up very close-hauled - on to a close reach. Means I can get some sleep and just set an alarm for every couple of hours or so, to check on sail trim for the changed wind direction... So long as we keep heading roughly SE-E, that's all that matters.

RTW Day 132 - Good progress, helped by an excellent current over much of the da

Saturday 2nd March 2013

8:35am (0435GMT) - Was surprised to find I had no problem contacting Jane, NH7TZ, on the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300kHz at 0330GMT - for second day running... her beam antenna is working well! I'd got up at 0300GMT to check on deck again and also to download weather grib files as well as listening to see if usual radio contact with US East coast was possible. There's a major radio 'contest' over this weekend which is probably going to make normal contacts impossible - with Hams frantically trying to get as many contacts on all bands over that time as they can - a madhouse...!!!

We've a lovely east-flowing 1-2kt current adding into our boat speed to give an excellent SOG - it's associated with the prevailing strong Westerlies in these latitudes and is certainly very welcome! I'd reduced the genoa overnight when winds seemed to be piping up a bit - so I've now unfurled the genoa to full again - no point in not maximising the good current advantage ...

Midday It's become quite sunny and warm, after a dull, grey start to the day, although a lot of cloud still. With the NW wind from the anti-clockwise circulation of the High to the north, we're getting warm air from the Indian OCean (whereas S-SW winds bring cold Antactic air) - I've not needed to wear a warm fleece top for a couple of days now! Sea temp has been 20-22c.

An enormous juvenile Wandering albatross is circling around close by - unmistakeable .. Their pale bill is incredibly big on both Wandering and Royal albatrosses and the white face contrasting with the dark upper body is easily spotted from quite a distance... The underwings are like the adult's - white with black tips and thin black line on the trailing edges.

Still haven't managed to download the latest grib files, despite having been trying continually all morning - propagation is clearly not good today ... frustrating! Boatspeed 6-6.5kt... SOG 7.5-8kt!! Nice!! Would be good to believe these nice conditions will continue all across to Tasmania - but that would be highly wishful thinking!

4pm We've slowed right down in lighter wind... boat speed 4.8kt, SOG 5.2 kt - no big current gain at the moment - what current there is seems to be heading NE.. High pressure centre close by Tues/Wed will bring light wind from S and more light wind in days following - so will be edging slightly further S now, if speed not reduced too much by doing so, in an effort to keep from being becalmed, if possible. (I seem to have heard all that somewhere before!!) Few birds today.... a solitary Atlantic petrel and a white-chinned petrel this afternoon. Swell down with lighter wind.

Evening Wind and seas are up again - to F5 perhaps, just under 20kt, and we're just about on a broad reach, heading ESE now. The forecast is for wind to stay NW-NNW until later tomorrow when a Cold Front is expected come by - bringing raincloud and stronger, increasingly-backed wind ahead of it. Then the wind is expected to turn really light over Monday and into Tuesday - I just hope we'll be able to keep moving...

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 155 n.ml. - excellent!! Cape Agulhas: 1936 n.ml.; Ile Kerguelen: 579 n.ml. (144T) Ile Amsterdam: 809 n.ml. (081T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2390 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 131 - We're halfway around!!

Friday 1st March 2013 St David's Day- Welsh National Day - daffodils on display...!

5.30am (0130GMT) A bit of excitement...!! Was awoken with wind up and lots of heeling - looked at boat speed - 7.8kt! Clearly time to get on overtrousers, boots, hat and jacket to get on deck - and furl in lots of genoa in the pre-dawn, grey half-light (plus headlamp, as always) The leeward side deck was regularly being well washed by seawater as I winched in the furling line but it got less as the sail reduced in size... until,with just a small amount still out, we seemed to be making more sedate progress - boat speed down to around 6-6.5kt - definitely a good thing.... Heeling far, far less. All took only 15 minutes, although felt like a lot more!

Presumed we were seeing the stronger pre-frontal winds ahead of the Cold Front that had passed through Cape Town area a day ago - clearly up to 25kt or more - but pressure still 1026, unchanged for now. Wind down now from F6 to F5 - back to my bunk. with alarm set for 0250GMT, for some more sleep... Fortunately, the seas were not much increased - maybe to 3m or so from 2m, otherwise the heeling with the swell, added to wind effect, would have been even more....

0712GMT (11:12am LT) - We crossed our 'halfway longitude' of 056:37.8E - the exact opposite longitude, on the opposite side of the world, and in the Southern hemisphere, from the Causeway Dock, opposite the Empress Hotel and close by the Parliament building, in Victoria Harbour, B.C., Canada - where I started this attempt on 22nd October.... - we've come halfway around the globe via Cape Horn! Distance sailed so far, measured on a daily 'straight run' basis: 13,247 n.ml. Minimum possible miles to go: 12,700 - but it will be a lot more, in fact! Having a few 'treats' today, by way of celebration..and a few sips of a nice cognac this evening .... "Cheers!"

It's been a dull, grey day with a moist feel to the air and occasional very fine drizzle... Only seen a couple of white-chinned petrels today. Seas increased a little this evening, when wind also got up for a time, but in general, we've made around 6kt for most of the day in varying NW winds of 15-20kt - perfect! Winds are forecast to remain NW 15-20 kt for a few more days, maybe longer, and no major bad weather is expected for a time - but that could change!

Once I've tried to post this (might not succeed until tomorrow morning - emailing radio connection often difficult until after dawn, now), I'll snuggle up in my bunk with my book for a read before sleeping for a few hours... With wind shifting every now and then, I have to keep an eye on our course every so often....

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 137 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1781 n.ml.; Iles Crozet : 386 n.ml. (212T); Ile Kerguelen: 681 n.ml. (136T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2535 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 130 - close to halfway, on a warm, sunny day of good, gentle sailing....

Thursday 28th February 2013 Into a new Time Zone on passing 52:30W... now GMT + 4hr

Midday Blue sky with just a little cloud, warm sunshine, sailing nicely at over 6kt across a sparkling, unusually benign, Southern Ocean, on course due East towards Tasmania, presently just past due N of the Crozet islands, with Kerguelen 780 ml to SE.... With 10-15kt wind, just abaft the beam, and in seas slightly up on earlier 2m, we gently lift up and over as each wave comes by... And to cap it all, tomorrow, appropriately the first of a new month, we should pass our halfway mark, 056:37.8E - the exact opposite longitude, on the opposite side of the world in the Southern hemisphere, from the Causeway Dock, opposite the Empress Hotel and close by the Parliament building, in Victoria Harbour, B.C., Canada - where I started this attempt on 22nd October.... I'm thinking of having a little celebration tomorrow when we've passed from 056:37E to 056:38E, around midday ...... we'll have sailed nonstop solo halfway around the world via Cape Horn!

Life feels good as I sip my fresh coffee while enjoying crispbread with some home-made aged marmalade (my favourite!), given to me by a friend just before I left. When I go up on deck, I know there'll be the usual company of four white-chinned petrels (I've lost count of how long they've been with us!), possibly some pretty prions and, if not there now, then shortly after, one or more albatross will soar nearby - possibly a magnificent Great albatross - Wandering or Royal, maybe a chocolate-brown, white-faced juvenile, or perhaps a smaller Yellow-nosed albatross... How lucky and privileged can one person be to have all this to enjoy? It's definitely worth the payment of having to weather the occasional Southern Ocean strong conditions!!

We're in High pressure right now but the wind gods, so far, have been kind and it looks possible that over several days I'll follow the High as it moves E, keeping these good, mainly NW winds if I stay between 41-43S at roughly this speed - fingers tightly crossed! Even the Cold Front, now to our W and moving this way, shouldn't really affect us, we being this close to the Indian Ocean High....

8.30pm (1630GMT) The waning near-full moon is just rising, yellow, out of a line of cloud along the eastern horizon and the cloud of this afternoon has cleared away completely overhead to give lots of bright stars ...Bright Jupiter in Taurus and bright Sirius in Canis Major are on opposite sides from Orion - who, as usual in these parts, is doing a headstand. The Southern Cross is unmistakable & high up ... it's going to be a lovely night!

I'd gone on deck, after chatting on the radio for a time to US and S.African contacts, to adjust Fred so we keep heading due E. The generally NW wind keeps shifting slightly, so I have to keep an eye on our heading. Conditions on the radio band were horrible tonight - so much noise on frequency it was really difficult to copy any but the strongest of stations. ... but I did gather that one contact I made was calling from Moscow! Hopefully band conditions will improve. This morning 40m was far better and 20m to Australia early this afternoon was excellent. I

I'd eaten beforehand while there was still daylight to cook by - ham and eggs with fried onion and potato. When the swell is way down, as now, it's so much easier to move about on board. It was so much warmer over today (25C in the cabin!) that I was forced to discard my top and lower thick fleeces... I was stifling!

I'm still seeing Atlantic petrels occasionally, along with the regular birds.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 124 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1645 n.ml.; Marion Island: 780 n.ml. (238T); Iles Crozet : 332 n.ml. (207T); Ile Kerguelen: 780 n.ml. (131T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2660 n.ml. (by Gt Circle) Halfway point at 056:37.8E : 115 n.ml. ... tomorrow, hopefully!
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 129 - becalmed again - unbelievable... soooo frustrating!! But wind later...

Wednesday 27th February 2013

8am Have just adjusted sail trim and Fred for port tack close-hauled - but we're still drifting aimlessly in just a mere breath of wind...!!! I couldn't believe it - at 0300GMT (6am LT) we were happily sailing at about 4kt due East in 10kt of WNW-W wind.. and while I was busy on the radio we started rolling about a bit.. wind had dropped a bit more, I thought, but hadn't realised we'd stopped dead in our tracks... grrrr!!! Pressure is well up at 1020 and the gribs/weather forecast have clearly got it wrong - I'm trapped in the High pressure, without the forecast W wind to escape ... Rolling around in 2-3m seas and drifting at zero boat speed NE at 1.6kt SOG, in cold, damp fog - everything on deck is dripping wet... Difficult to keep us headed in the right direction.

Had good contact with Perth on WL2K after repeated failures with SA station... It's good that Phil, VK6KPS, is back on air now.

Amazing contacts on radio just now - after a short, early session this morning with US W coast, Australia (Bundaberg) and a few SA stations on 40m, I tried 14300 for PacSeaNet - and up came Steve, VA7SKM, on 'Silas Crosby', on passage from Isla Robinson Crusoe to the Gambiers (French Polynesia) - 11days out on a month-long passage. We last made contact the other way around the globe when I was halfway across the Atlantic! I also could just copy a New Zealand station - Gary, ZL2GLM (on PacSeaNet) could hear me with difficulty but I could make out his words despite his light signal.

11am Feeling much brighter now - glorious wind has arrived (with sunshine!) !! Not a lot - but we're now making 4-5kt in WNW wind of 10 kt. I'd finished my b'fast and cleared up in galley - went on deck with scewdrivers to tighten screw in mainsheet block fitting on boom end (another one I'd spotted was loose!) and the screw in the kicker/vang fitting (which was good and tight, TG) and realised we were moving quite gently! Just needed to trim the sails and adjust Fred for a broad reach - and relax!! Seas aren't too bad, so I'm celebrating with some fresh coffee - and some Tim Tams I still have from Tassie! Seems the small Low pressure area that caused the hiatus has passed on by, hopefully. But we're still likely to have light winds for a time - the Indian Ocean High is extending just N of us and there's another High just to the S - so as they coalesce, unless they move faster than us to the East, they'll trap us in the resulting big High.

1pm Juvenile Wandering & an Indian Yellow-nosed albatross soaring slowly close by earlier. Three white-chinned petrels decided to rest in the water and have a chin-wag.... they're clearly quite sociable birds.

I made up some pancake mix - I'd had the feeling I'd missed Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) - and, sure enough, it was two weeks ago -so I got out the maple syrup & butter and thoroughly enjoyed the pancakes. Not quite the same as my usual thin cr

RTW Day 128 - good sailing in mostly 4-5m seas

Tuesday 26th February 2013

9am Sun getting out from thin cloud after a period of grey skies and rain soon after dawn. Indian Yellow-nosed albatross circling.

More contact with Australia - John, VK4DBJ, (of Pacific Seafarers' Net) came up on 14316 for a chat at 1200GMT, after I'd finished discussing weather with Graham, ZS2ABK of S.A.M.M. Net ... and I'm now making good contact with the WL2K Perth station for emailing (and occasionally with Java). The S.Africa stn has become almost impossible, despite many repeated attempts, even though, in theory, it should still be in good range. Clearly, the antennae are not pointing this way!

4pm Changed course in bright sunshine after looking at weather info - aiming for 41S by midnight GMT - hoping to avoid likely flukey area of no-wind overnight. Always a bit of a lottery! Passing N of Les Crozets - one of the 'ice gates' for the Vendee Globe was just to the E of here ..... named after the isands, Iles Crozets, 230 ml S of here. Seas got up again - after being down to just 2.5m by dawn this morning, they increased to 4-5m with stronger wind and are now still around 4m - makes life a bit 'bumpy' but not a problem since wind now is only 15-20kt and the seas are well spaced apart.

As I was releasing stays'l from pole and taking it over to starboard, I noticed small flock of about 20 Antarctic prions wheeling around - such pretty birds, even though they're only black, white and grey - they have such lovely markings on top (big black 'M' across their blue-grey wings) and are mostly pure white underneath, with a grey 'collar' and black and white markings over their eyes. I got some clear photos the other day, for once! They're not exactly tiny, like the storm petrels, but look it when the white-chinned petrel comes by - twice their size - and that bird looked small by comparison with the Indian Yellow-nosed albatross that flew by.... looks like an immature one, with white head and dark bill.

It's feeling a lot warmer - cabin temperature is 19C, with no heating on, and there's no condensation on the metal portlight frames (usually drips on bedding, making it forever damp!) Making another thick bean and vegetable soup with chunks of ham... always welcome once ready!

Up until tonight, when absolutely no hint of anyone was heard, I've been managing to contact M.M.S.Net on 14300 at 10.30pm (1930GMT) - Rick, WA1RKT, has usually been there to beam his antenna my way from New Hampshire and take a position report, since I can't make contact from here with the Pacific Seafarers' Net at their usual time of 0330GMT. Despite repeated calling, no contact was made.... Radio propagation hasn't been so good today, with lots of noise, and I'm getting that much further away, of course...

Near-full moon is shining through gaps in the broken cloud cover. We're sailing well on a beam reach in fair seas of 3-4m - making 7 knots SOG, headed NE towards 41S - wind, so far, is good - I'm hoping it stays that way overnight and doesn't die, nor turn to the SE.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 141 n.ml. - much better daily run! Cape Agulhas: 1422 n.ml.; Marion Island: 563 n.ml. (to SW); Iles Crozets :230 n.ml. (to S); WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2848 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 127 - definitely in the'Roaring Forties' - hove to last night but calm tonight

Monday 25th February 2013

9am Still hove-to ... pressure is up to 1005 (from 994hPa at midnight - dropped 4hPa in 3hr to then and has now just risen 4hPa in 3 hr..) and cloud is more broken, no rain ... Thought SW wind was easing & we could sail on - but wind still very strong - must still be around 30kt or more, although that's far less than it has been. Will wait a little longer... Seas are very impressive!! Wandering albatross soaring nearby - has no problem with strong winds!

11:15am Underway again - winds still strong but probably just under 30kt now - seas still impressively big! A pair of Atlantic petrels have been swooping around for last few days - don't they know they're in the wrong Ocean?

1:30pm Noticed the last of the screws holding the rod-kicker to the boom had come loose - it was way out. Got to it with Allen key and, with difficulty, as the boom moved slightly in the big swell, managed to tighten it back up - but for how long? Would like to get another screw in place and maybe tie the head of the kicker in position somehow also - difficult on both counts...

3:30pm Tied the head of the kicker to each end of the boom with Spectra line - idea is that if(when!!) the last machine screw comes out, the kicker won't be free to slide around under the boom - I don't really want the mains'l to be 'scandalized' by the kicker being able to move for'd towards the mast so it pushes the end of the boom up... Was a bit difficult with the swell still being big (~4m) and not being able to clip myself anywhere safely - but it got done without mishap... So, at present, the boom is still being supported by the kicker - but I'm loathe to change or release the kicker in case it causes a problem. Fortunately, just now, reefing is a rare occurrence with the third reef in almost continuously, but when I adjust the mainsheet, that could also create a problem if the head of the kicker weren't fixed in place.... Instead of sheeting out, the boom might be free to move up at its aft end. Fingers crossed, the lines will do the trick!

8:30pm Had a busy, enjoyable time with 40m contacts on the radio - from US West coast around 1600GMT and not only with lots of S.African stations but three from Australia as well - lovely clear signals around 1630GMT - fantastic! Really makes me feel somehow that I'm headed that way! Friend Tony Purkiss is trying to organize sailing out to greet me as I pass close by Tasmania in April - that would be brilliant, if it could be made to happen! (Unlikely, if stormy at the time, though...)

Beautiful full moon shining brightly over a much calmer sea and Jupiter bright in NW also... but not much wind now either - can't win .. either it's too much or too little!! At least my sleep tonight is guaranteed to be peaceful. Excellent East-flowing current helping our SOG - just as well!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 81 n.ml. (Another poor DMG - too many!) Cape Agulhas: 1290 n.ml. Marion Island: 437 n.ml. (to SW). WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2962 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 126 - Sunny morning with strong WSW wind, easing. Very strong again overnight - we heave to

Sunday 24th February 2013

Midday Beautiful sunny morning with boat speed down to 5-6 knots from overnight 6-7 kt . Once a gentle SSW wind had finally arrived, around 10pm, it slowly strengthened and veered overnight so that by 4am, I had to furl in genoa. We were still making over 6kt, and surfing frequently to 8-10kt in big seas, on a very broad reach, in SW-WSW wind of well over 25kt. Wind has eased now - I just unfurled some genoa to increase our speed a little, watching a great Wandering albatross and three white-chinned petrels soaring around nearby as I did so.... Seas are still well up, at around 4m or so, every 6-8 seconds. As the steep face approaches our stern, it never fails to impress me how we lift up over it - doesn't look possible, somehow!

Had a fair contact with mainly US East coast stations at 6am this morning and with some S. African ones afterwards - but a lot of noise again today.

4pm Feeling a bit fed up .... ! Was gybing the mains'l with the wind more to WNW. Went to deal with the loose boom-kicker screw which seemed to have come down again - just came out completely. I was trying to screw it back with my fingers but it had got slightly skew and didn't want to go - got worried I'd lose it - it fell into my hands ... at least I've got it. My other 'fix' had rusted away - so neither of two for'd screws are in place in the kicker-boom fitting now - just one (aft) of the three is now holding head of the rod-kicker in place from sliding around under boom ... Seas are still too big to be able to work on the boom easily also... Will try cutting down an Allen key to use...! Hope mine are made from Chinese steel so they're easy to cut...!

Just to cheer me up later - 2 Wandering albatross came by to join the 5-6 petrels circling the boat... One had a lovely pure white on its body and wing markings but the other had brown mottling all over its white areas - looked quite dirty! But clearly a younger one than the first - they stayed close together and circled around for some time - nice to see these amazing birds so close to... they get very curious and often come to have a look over the boat and stare at me in the cockpit!

Good clear contact tonight on the radio - far better than last two days or so. Not so many US stations but lots of S.African ones -many wishing me well, which is really nice of them!

9.30pm Raining .... was getting into my foulies, just about to go on deck to reduce sail, with us rushing along at over 7 kt, surfing at 8-9kt or more, every so often, when suddenly things calmed down a bit .. So I've paused and I'm waiting to see if things stay less fraught - or if I need to reduce sail, as I'd intended - if in doubt, better to be under-canvassed (especially being overnight) than over-canvassed!

10.30pm Well, I reduced stays'l - but we were still going very fast, 7-8kt and surfing 10-11kt in big seas, and things were not settling down ... pressure had dropped to 996 (-4 in 3hr) and a short while later, to 994hPa... Time to heave to so I could sleep .... wind was just too strong to continue in comfort.... welll over30kt... We're now moving ENE nicely, at 2.8kt with current and windage, but with zero forward boat speed! Getting to my bunk now..

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 99 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1227 n.ml. Marion Island: 358 n.ml. (SW) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3012 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 125 - Overcast, rainy, headwind - then no wind and foggy...

Saturday 23rd February 2013

Up at 0400GMT / 7am - Making fair speed to SSE-SE, in E wind still, so that was good.... Gt albatross spotted as I checked on deck... Clearly yesterday's tactic of heading N to avoid headwinds hasn't worked out, although it means we shouldn't end up too far S now. Same situation exactly, with pressure down some more, at 9am, but with heay rain, followed by wind easing.... Beginning to think we must be S of Low, with this E wind, which means winds might veer, not back, as previously expected... or the Low might just dissipate, to leave nothing... (Not much wind at 10am, for sure...)

By time gribs were downloaded (with several connections needed - difficult today), I'd missed 6-7am time slot for good 40m radio connections to US E coast. Having been up very early yesterday and late into last night as well (with no naps in between!), I was tired - so it was back to my bunk for more sleep!

Radio propagation is clearly not good today - it took me lots of attempts, when trying to connect to send off my 1100GMT position & weather report and earlier, Robbie in Jacobsbaai had (unusually) found it impossible to hear Peter, in Jo'burg, well enough to chat on 20m. I had a good chat with Peter - he's trying to find out for me why South Africa is (yet again...) not transmitting the marine weather faxes on SSB from the Cape Naval radio station as it ought to be - it's a matter of safety at sea, basically. Not to have them available, so that mariners can see the current weather patterns in the S. Atlantic and S.W.Indian Oceans, is bad news and very irresponsible of someone in authority, to my mind.

2.30PM - Drifting around .. no wind...! A Wandering abatross and a white-chinned petrel both decided to rest in the sea nearby... A solitary Antarctic prion circled around really close by, for a time, as did a pair of black-bellied storm petrels... as I sat at the helm, trying to get us to stay headed roughly East after changing the sails around to put us on starboard tack, with the wind seeming to have changed direction somewhat.

Very moist air - almost fine drizzle - and fog in the near distance. Murky and grey... No sun today, as I'd hoped.

6pm Decided to cook a nice omelette to cheer up a miserable-looking day - lots of onion, some potato and lots of cheese ... mmm! Followed by some dark chocolate - I'm eking that out!

7pm Time for 40m band opening to US and also to SA stations - I have to say I'm enjoying the contacts - some familiar voices now, and usually a few new ones as well. Propagation not good to the US tonight (their morning!) so only spoke to Frank, N7EDK, in Portland, OR, and heard Eric, WA7LNH, in Tacoma, near Seattle - but he had a problem copying me. Otherwise, all S. African stations, with one in Maputo also coming in strongly - some about to have a braai (barbecue!), with lovely sunny weather there just now!

8.30pm Still waiting for wind.. still zero knots of boat speed!! .... "The Roaring Forties" ??? Not just now!! Just put my Eberspacher (hot air) heater on - it's feeling cold with the moist air.

Will curl up in my bunk shortly, with a book... Aubrey and Maturin were in Malta but have now just arrived in the Red Sea.... Good stories!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 66 n.ml.! (Actually much more, but headed N and then S) Cape Agulhas: 1129 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3108 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 124 - Ambling in dying wind - but bright sunny morning with lots of birds again all day

Friday 22nd February 2013

A beautiful sunrise! Up early - well before sunrise - tend to wake up at first light without any alarm. Was writing log entry sitting at chart table well before 0300Z (6am local time , having put clock forward one hour with time zone change - now in GMT+3hr Baghdad/Kuwait/Nairobi/ time). Turned on radio and, on 14m, lovely reception from lots of stations in USA - N, S, E, W!! Excellent copy on several SA stations also from Jo'burg to Richards Bay to Cape Town. Nice to greet so many people at the start of a bright, sunny, calm day....

The good sunshine continued, with a clear blue sky right into the early afternoon, when a layer of cloud spread over - but that gave plenty of time for me to enjoy thoroughly the company, yet again, of several different albatross and other birds ... I'd reminded myself that the chocolate brown juveniles were, in fact, Wandering albatrosses - the immature Royals are not much different in general colouring from the adults - just with more dark markings, many of which disappear with time. It was clear that some of the albatross I've been seeing were almost certainly adult and immature Salvin's - similar to the Shy albatross with fine black edges to their underwings and a pale bill (darker in the young) with a very noticeable dark tip and immatures with light grey on their head extending to their dark back and also forming a partial 'collar' - the photos were really useful! Today, in the calm conditions, three Indian (as opposed to Atlantic) Yellow-nosed albatross, with white heads, were flying around for some time - more useful close -up views and one or two good photos. Atlantic petrel, couple of Arctic prions and several white-chinned petrels were also seen - as yesterday. I spent most of the morning either watching or photographing the birds and, later, deleting lots of useless shots and enlarging and naming the better ones on my laptop. All pleasantly relaxing - but in a dying wind...

(Later - 3.30pm - boat speed down to around 1-2 kt..)

Still having a problem getting good radio connection over most of the day to download grib files. Having made quite a bit of northing yesterday and overnight, to avoid possible light headwinds today and into tomorrow, it was now time to get further S again slowly, so that in 2-3 days' time, we wouldn't be caught too far N by the light winds of a High expected to extend S ahead of us....! I quite enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out where to head so as to be in the right place for the best wind ahead - problem being that we depend on forecasts being correct & often we can't always sail in the preferred direction - or fast enough, not being Vend

RTW Day 123 - Hove-to overnight in rough seas and strong winds - which slowly eased by late afterno

Thursday 21st February 2013

Up at 2am, after several hours' sleep, to check on situation - winds clearly still way up with big, rough seas ... I decided to get back to my bunk for some more sleep and leave us hove-to for a bit longer. Around 6am, in good daylight, winds were still fairly strong (F6-7) but decided to get underway - daylight makes a big difference! ...and I felt we could always heave to again if things got too difficult ... In fact, we were able to keep going, although seas have been pretty rough - makes it difficult to move around!

By afternoon, the grey clouds had given way to broken white ones with lots of blue patches and sunshine. Seas were still rough and swell big - so we were often knocked about by wave crests. Wind from SSW and still strong, but easing slowly.

Had a big problem getting good radio connection to download grib files - but when finally I did, I decided that, with two Lows, one ahead (giving present strong winds) and one close behind, set to give headwinds in a day or two, we had best head more to north - so changed course to NE.

Weather has been getting quite complicated off S. Africa. TS 'Haruna' is off S. Madagascar, but now looks to be keeping out of our way, and Lows regularly form off the S.African coast and head SE ... Then there's the Indian Ocean High pressure area - which needs to be kept well to our N (to avoid light winds) but seems to be coming further S than in previous years. Then there are the usual deep Southern Ocean Lows passing every few days well to the S, with associated Cold Fronts to their north, affecting us. All keeps life interesting for us as we head East, trying all the time to keep out of the worst of the very strong winds near the centre of the Lows (as well as the resulting big swells), to be prepared for sudden changes of wind direction as the Fronts pass by and to avoid both calms and being headed, if at all possible.....

Being busy with sails and cooking a meal before dark, I missed the preferred time of 1600Z for my 'sched' on 14m with the US W coast and SA stns - came up very late but still managed a good contact with N7EDK, Frank, near Portland,OR, and several SA stns. Then back to gazing out at the sea and sky before writing this log report and trying to connect to post it (probably will have to wait for tomorrow morning to succeed in that)

Another glorious sunset this evening - but quite different from yesterday's. The sky had cleared in the W, so a glowing orange ball sank into the sea, leaving a long band of orange, shading paler and then into the deep blue of the darkening, clear sky above... a bright silver moon by contrast, high up in the east, with a path of silver in the sea leading to the boat.. a Royal albatross soaring nearby, with a young one, in the last of the light ..... and a rather calmer sea, with wind well down. This was to be a far more restful night than yesterday!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 85 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 916 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3307 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 122 - An increasingly rough day - with lotsofbirds!

Wednesday 20th February 2013

Wind died right down overnight on Tuesday, as lightning storm passed over.. At 10pm, I'd noticed the occasional lightning flash in the clouds to the N and the N wind had eased a lot, although we were still making ~4kt. At 2am, I woke to find us drifting (thought we'd gone hove-to!) at zero boat speed, with pressure up slightly from a low of 1000 hPa ..... and the most amazing display of sheet lightning all around, accompanying heavy rain.... Vivid lightning flickering all over the clouds overhead was fascinating to watch - but I'd earlier disconnected or turned off all instruments & radio - put laptop in metal-lined oven and covered the back-up in aluminium foil & stowed it away - in hope that if the pointy thing sticking up in the sky got hit, something might survive...!!

By 3am, I'd got us moving E again, DDW in light wind, with still occasional roll of distant thunder but with lightning dying - still left laptop in oven for safety, though!

By 7am, wind had backed right around - into S where it stayed all day long and into Wed night... On a beam reach initially but later close-hauled as the wind backed to SE and forced us onto a course of NE-NNE for a while. We were so close hauled our speed was killed for time until genoa was unfurled a little - then speed jumped up! Earlier, I was happy to head NE slowly because TS 'Haruna' was looking to be a real threat come Sunday, but after discussing latest weather forecast with Graham, ZS2ABK, on SAMM Net, the good news was that theTS was forecast to stay well N and head E, finally recurving as it dissipated... I hope the SA Weather Service have got that right! It meant I could resume our E course as soon as the wind direction veered to permit it.

A grey, rainy day, with increasingly rough seas and wind strengthening a lot more as night fell - to around 30kt or more.... but with a lot of birds around all day long... (We're passing not far N of Marion Island where many are likely to breed..) Wandering albatross - possibly a family group? - parents and their chocolate-brown young (two seen)... a small group of prions.... and several white-chinned petrels who stayed nearby all day long - they often came very close, in fact! And a yellow-nosed albatross - also came close several times... I stayed on deck a lot, despite the rain, partly for sail trimming and course adjustments but also just to watch them, they were so close, so often!

Sunset was glorious!!! Rain had stopped and there was a long gap in the clouds just above the W horizon..... Vivid orange clouds and sunbeams as the grey clouds were transformed into a fiery mass... with the birds still soaring nearby...

I made a late but brief radio contact with the US W. coast group and some S.African stns this evening. (This morning there had been a lot of static on the 40m band & I gave up quickly) But things were getting pretty rough by then - and soon after, around 8pm, having reduced the genoa & then furled it in completely, as winds seemed to be building more, I decided to heave to so I could relax, eat and get some sleep... so we're presently rocking gently, and I'm feeling more relaxed and far more rested after a few hours' sleep! My hot stew was very welcome earlier!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 85 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 916 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3307 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 120 - another sunny, slow day.

Monday 18th February 2013

Having heard the comment that at 6 am and 6 pm (S.African time!), radio propagation between N. America and S. Africa was excellent, I turned on the radio when I was up very early & I looked around on the 40m band - and found a group on the East US coast who I then contacted - amazingly clear signals! Spent a short time chatting to them - from New York to Miami - and also to some S.African stations, before sending/receiving emails - good connections again, in the early morning ... This evening, I again spoke to the W.coast group I'd made contact with yesterday, along with some more S.African stations... good signals in all cases and very sociable!.

Another sunny, warm day with not much wind - but in view of the Tropical Depression (TD) presently lurking not far S of Madagascar, that's probably just as well. TD is forecast to come SE to this latitude by Sunday, although fairly stationary now - so I'd rather keep well to W, behind it, out of its way!! Keeping a wary eye on it over next few days.... it's a bit worrying, to be honest. S.Africa's Cape Naval not transmitting is a nuisance, since weatherfaxes would show its current and forecast position nicely...

Most of the day, it has been was clear overhead, except for a band of cloud mid-afternoon and sunset was in a clear blue sky, turning deep orange - lovely colours. This evening, the wind has increased but, so far, not by much.

Not a lot to report except for a Wandering and three other albatross, around a lot over the day - spent a long time watching them this afternoon and trying to capture them on camera to help identify them. One was fairly young still, with dark bill and light grey 'collar' and I wondered if one of the others was either a parent or a partner - they seemed to keep together a lot. All had dark upper wings and back and underwings were white with a fine dark edge - - might be Shy albatross - I need to study my photos! Also saw a tiny storm petrel, a prion and white-chinned petrel - small area of white at base of bill, giving it its name, was clear. So much easier to get a good view when sea is so much calmer...

As the afternoon progressed so the wind veered, forcing us finally to head 120T, ESE- SE, despite being increasingly close-hauled (which cuts down our speed).

Found several rotten potatoes as I prepared for this evening's meal... so looked through... and found a few more... Also threw away a couple of eggs I wasn't convinced were good - no smell, but just didn't seem quite right.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 80 n.ml. - slow again Cape Agulhas: 765 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3458 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 119 - one of those 'special' days ! Thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing!

Sunday 17th February 2013

8.15am Just finished spending some time on emails - best time of day to start that now is just after dawn... Finding good connections, downloading, answering, uploading... several connections needed in all, taking a lot of time - not always easy to make.
Cloudy sky - but clouds thinning and breaking up, so sun beginning to get out.
Went on deck to adjust Fred in between radio, with wind veering towards NW from WNW, and ended up spending quite a time watching an enormous Wandering albatross circling close by - around and around - got my camera and succeeded in getting some shots - at last! Different from yesterday's - a more mature one - slight smudgy/dark marks on back but almost white there, like rest of body, except for black marks on 'shoulders' ahead of its wings.
Sea fairly calm after light winds of last couple of days... Creeping along at 2-3 kt!! All very peaceful... Back to my bunk now to catch up on more sleep before breakfast!

11am Warm on deck! Went up to adjust Fred again. Wind is from NW, and the sun,while not quite out from behind thin clouds, is definitely making its presence felt - and air is coming from direction of Africa now. Was able to unfurl more sail and sheet in on mains'l, being on a broad reach, not DDW ('dead downwind') now, so increased our speed a touch, to over 4 kt... :-)

3pm Very pleasant afternoon - warm still (cabin 22C, sea 16C) - top fleeces all removed!! Wind had increased for a bit, but we're back down from 5.5 kt to just 3-3.5 kt again... One white-chinned petrel and one Atlantic petrel soaring nearby ... Sea nearly calm - swell W-WNW at just 2m, 10s period. Had usual radio contacts at 1pm, 1.30pm and also, briefly, at 2.30pm with Scott, N6ABC, on 'Beachhouse' - coming into False Bay Y.C. fom Knysna in 25-30kt SE'er!! ... Typical summer wind in Cape area... when the (frequent) SE'er blows, it really blows! Hoping friend Eileen is also getting close to FBYC - she was hoping to help a friend get his catamaran off the beach y'day morning, from where it had been blown on at Struisbaai, NE of Agulhas, a short while ago - or that was the plan ....for high water. Good thing it was a sandy beach and a catamaran, not a monohull.... much easier to float off... presume they'd kedged out to help move when tide came in.... hoping to hear good news!

Sent off position/weather report - good, fast connection on radio. Took advantage of gentle conditions to re-run running backstays - from being on & off winches so often, they slowly get twisted and were becoming very difficult to tension - all straightened out now. Side-tracked in midst of job firstly by one albatross - possibly young grey-faced - and then by much larger, young Great albatross slowly passing by - they always strike me as looking a bit weird with their white face and light bill contrasting so with their dark body and upperwings!

Checked shackle pins - one slightly loose... Loose rodkicker screw - thought for a short while I'd resolved problem of access to screw head - but although Allen key passes through rodkicker top boom connection hole, the angle is wrong & it just won't fit into screw head to enable it to be tightened ... pity! (STUPID design flaw... grrr!!) Wondering whether I can cut the Allen key down, to get it into screw head from the side. At present, even the short end is too long.... yet another project...!

All in all, today has been a really enjoyable one - warm sunshine has definitely helped, together with calm conditions - and so many different albatross! Had several very sociable radio chats, finishing on 40m with the S.Africa - U.S. W. coast connection just before sunset - several excellent, clear contacts in the group there - it was a pleasure to 'meet' so many people - and San Diego stations were clearer just after 1600Z, as I'd been told yesterday they would be.

The sun has just gone down, fluffy clouds have turned sunset pink, the moon is shining brightly high up in a big clearing in the thin clouds... we're slowly and quietly ambling along to the sound of rippling water in calm seas... "It's a wonderful world!"

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 89 n.ml. - slow!! Cape Agulhas: 695 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3532 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 118 - grey, slow day - foggy afternoon

Saturday 16th February 2013

5.30am Dawn - sky cleared of grey clouds, just some broken thin cloud layer in places... Slowed right down in light wind.... 3.7 kt! Impossible to make radio contact for emails overnight now, so getting up early to make contact - works well at this time and up to mid-afternoon, but no later.

Sky became overcast and by mid-afternoon it was quite foggy - sea temperature had dropped from a high yesterday of 17.9C to just under 14C so that was probably why.. Fog gave way to slight drizzle which soon cleared up - sea was back up to 17C tonight and the evening air felt quite warm (but I'm still in several fleeces, so that's relative!)

Wind has died down - we've been struggling to make over 5 knots DDW, even with slight current help - slow!! Similar conditions for another day or two -and then a complicated weather scenario, with Lows coming off Africa and the remains of a Tropical Storm coming down from the Mozambique Channel - bringing heavy rain and probably some strong winds - but that's a few days away, so things could change... We're in the Indian Ocean cyclone season now.....

Very few birds around today - too calm! But among the few, an immature Wandering albatross passed by again - looking very much like yesterday's, with a lot of brown on its back.

Had fun on the radio quite a bit today! As well as my usual lunch-time contacts, I later listened in on the BBC World Service, having just been sent times and frequencies for Southern Africa by Peter, ZS6PHD. After the S.A.M.M. Net, I finally made contact with boat friend Scott, N6ABC, as he made his way to Simon's Town from Knysna and, in the late afternoon, chatted on 7163 and 7150 to both Sam and Matt in False Bay. I was taken aback a short time later, when I clearly heard, on 7150 LSB, people chatting - from Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA....!! I joined in and agreed to join them again tomorrow - Their signal was amazingly good, although that from San Diego not so - they said to come up slightly earlier, when propagation from California should be better!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 133 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 622 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3612 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 117 - rolling around DDW in big seas still ... BIRDS GALORE!

Friday 15th February 2013

Nightfall by 8.30pm - It had become a grey, rainy-looking evening after a lovely sunny morning and afternoon with some white clouds around. Sitting now with a mug of tea, dealing with emails and checking weather, after clearing up in galley after cooking cheese, onion and potato omelette - eggs still OK. Put some beans into soak overnight - will add in, to make a thick soup of remainder of my 'stew' tomorrow.

Seas are still well up and quite rough at times - at 4m or more. Had expected them to lie down more but they haven't... so we've been rolling around a lot and surfing occasionally in the following seas. Wind is from W and we're headed DDW - due E, goosewinged. Wind is expected to ease from its present 15-20 kt to ~15kt and slowly to veer more into NW tonight and tomorrow. Had some good, helpful current for several hours this afternoon - up to 2 knots at one point - nice!!

So many birds around today!! Rough seas are what they always seem to enjoy - when it's calm, rare to see many! Three different albatross - Royal ('splash' of white on dark upper wing, white tail & body, pale bill), Wandering (juvenile with a lot of brown on its light back, dark tail and slight 'collar') and a Yellow-nosed or Buller's (could see yellow/black on bill when passed close by and, from a distance, thin black edge to white underwing, dark upper wings and back, but saw too little of its head colouring, as it passed by quickly and unexpectedly, for a definite ID...). Also trio of Gt shearwaters, 3-4 Atlantic petrels, prions, white-chinned petrels - all swooping around together, most of the day! Tried to take some photos - impossible, in the big seas running and with their fast flight, to get a decent shot - as usual ... frustrating!

Spent quite a time this morning after getting a nasty shock on checking the boom-rodkicker connection - the for'd-most machine screw holding it in place was clearly out as far as it could go - only the metal of the connecting piece itself was stopping the screw from falling away completely... I'd seen it had moved yesterday, but not so far, but was totally unable to budge it with pliers to tighten it - it's impossible to get an Allen key properly into its head to do so... What a stupid design!! So .... big problem! The other (aftmost) screw I'd replaced recently with Loctite is holding fine - but for how long? - and there was a hole close to the problem screw where presumably a third one should have been...

Again, I couldn't move the loose screw at all and it was almost certainly not doing anything useful, so I decided to try to wedge something into the empty hole in an effort to stop the kicker connection from being able to slide along the boom should it try to do so if the 'good' screw should fail... the connection is constantly 'working' with the motion of the boat. Access looked almost impossible (I found , too late, that there were access holes in the head of the kicker connection beneath the two for'd holes - but the access beneath the problem screw was too narrow - wouldn't take a screwdriver shaft so I still couldn't tighten that screw - but I could have put another screw into the empty hole - but saw that too late....) Cut a long story short ... managed to wedge an Allen key up into hole... held it up in place with a hose clamp to rodkicker fitting and held hose clamp in place, from slippng back, with wire..!! After which I found that, miraculously, the problem screw was moving - managed to screw it completely into place - great!! Will keep an eye on it and have Loctite to hand next time I tighten it. Thinking of placing a metal piece over the screw head and wiring it tightly to the boom to stop it from coming down... A metalwork project... for a calmer day...!

Enjoyed a long chat on 14290kHz with S.Africans Robbie, ZS1RAP (in Jacobsbaai), and Peter, ZS6PHD ( near Jo'burg) - excellent copy on both - and later gave my weather conditions (to pass on to S.African Weather Service) & discussed weather outlook with Graham, ZS2ABK, of S.A.M.M. Net on 14316 - weather looks straightforward for next few days - good!

The sea (and cabin) temperature is 17C now we're in the warmer water coming down from the Indian Ocean - I might remove a fleece layer ...

Having switched yesterday to 1100 GMT position and weather reporting, there's now a 24hr interval from yesterday's daytime report.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 143 n.ml. (nice!) Cape Agulhas: 530 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3723 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 116 - big seas, strong wind.... small sails!

Thursday 14th February 2013

Light, but increasing, wind arrived last night around 1 a.m., pressure 994 hPa, down 10 from Wed morning. Around dawn, wind had increased to ~25kt with heavy rain, pressure 989 hPa - the Low centre by then must have just passed over on its way SSE, giving us W-WSW winds for the rest of today.

Seas got big and rough very quickly, with 5-6m swell, and we regularly surfed at 9-10 kt, from 6-7 kt otherwise. Fortunately , the seas were well-spaced and not breaking or we would have needed to heave to as the wind increased to 30 kt or more but things have been definitely 'boisterous' with lots of sudden lurching and rolling about in the waves, all day long. Wind by evening was more around 25kt - the strong winds are left behind but seas are still well up

Despite having got thoroughly wet last night while gybing and reducing sail, I felt reluctant to take off my wet outers as we kept going overnight - to be ready to jump on deck, just in case -- and I clearly wasn't going to climb into my bunk in my wet foulies and boots... So I got little proper sleep (just 2-3 hrs before gybing), deciding to sit at the chart table so I could keep an eye on things, companionway close by, with a pillow to lean my head on and close my eyes in the calmer intervals. Early this evening I had a two-hr sleep & felt really refreshed on waking. I'm back to my bunk soon!

Sky was beautifully clear and full of stars for a while but now it's turned cloudy - and gusty.

It's got cold again- I'm back into lots of fleeces - Michelin man again! - with a cabin temperature of 13C or so. The sea temperature, at 12C for most of the day, has shot up to 16C tonight (warmer water from the Indian Ocean) - but the boat still feels damp and cold - so wet things stay wet. I'll have to put on the heater soon, to try to dry them out. Things wet with seawater never seem to dry properly - they need a fresh water rinse and hanging up to drip dry... that's impossible just now. My hot stew has been very welcome.

I've switched to 1100 GMT position and weather reporting - so today there's a 12hr interval from last night's position and I'm back into a daytime report - more civilised!

12hr DMG at 1100GMT: 59 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 549 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3784 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 115 - strong weatherexpected tonight/tomorrow

Wednesday 13th February 2013

Midday Thick fog of earlier has thinned and sun was trying, not very successfully, to get through. Wind has died right down, so from overnight speed of 6 kt we're down to around 3kt - it was 5kt half an hour ago!

Have been studying gribs and weather info a lot last night and this morning. A Low is forming now off S. Africa directly to N and set to deepen rapidly as it heads S towards our position - should be deepening over us by tonight and head off SSE, deepening all the time, with very strong winds forming around it - so we're bound to be in its strong winds - and with present light winds up until it reaches us, not much we can do about it other than head slowly (on a close reach) NE now ! We headed due E in good wind overnight, in hope of getting more out of its path - futile hope!! Seas aren't expected to be too bad since the system will only have started to build for just a short time - maybe 5m or so. The bigger seas will form behind it when it has moved well away, so shouldn't affect us.

So I've been looking at the sequence of pressure and wind, to be able to judge when I might possibly need to deploy my series drogue in good time. My present plan is to heave to when the N wind ahead of the nearing Low gets stronger (pressure then expected to be ~990, presently 1004), which will then make it easy to drop the mains'l shortly afterwards. ... pressure is expected to drop further and strengthening winds will back into the W as its centre passes and deepens.

The other plan of the moment is to get a thick stew made in the pressure cooker!!

2pm Well, I've just been discussing latest weather forecast with Graham, ZS2ABK, of S.A.M.M. Net - and it looks as though that threatening Low might not be as bad as was first predicted - if things go as the S. African Weather Services think, then we might just get winds of up to 35kt and nothing like the 40+ kt, maybe even 50kt, first forecast . :-) Finger crossed that's so - might need to heave to, if seas get difficult, but can hopefully keep sailing E- well-reefed down... Will be amusing to see what actually happens!

8pm Sunset. Grey cloud except a for a long clearing just above the W horizon. No fog this afternoon but might come in again. Zero boatspeed and 0.3kt sOG - we've been drifting around in a big arc.. presently heading S... moved only 3 miles since the wind died completely .... It's so silent, with no wind in the rigging or water noises against the hull, that it feels weird .... in the middle of the ocean going nowhere! Seems as though this surreal existence could coninue until well into the darkness hours, with very little wind until gone 2am. Wer're now 53 ml from last night's 2300GMT position - and drifting towards it!

Finished making the stew and picked over some more apples I found - eight are still OK, two more were almost so they've been cut and enjoyed. Then decided it was tea-time - so relaxed with my book up to now....

2300 GMT Wind just arrived ...making 3 kt in SW 10kt , increasing... on port tack, heading E. Pressure 994 hPa

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 50 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 579 n.ml. Cape Leeuwin WP(Australia): 3794 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 114 - we pass Cape Agulhas in rough weather- into the Indian Ocean

Tuesday 12th February 2013

Passed S of Cape Agulhas at 1050 GMT this morning. Overnight calm seas saw us drifting gently NNE-N in a very slight S wind - which I was perfectly happy with, knowing that later today the wind was forecast to be strong NE-NNE - and so would drive us S for a time - at least until it backed more to the N at some point. So by this afternoon, conditions couldn't have been more different from yesterday's - rough seas and strong wind, close-hauled to make the best course possible , with lots of banging and crashing into and over the seas.... not very comfortable!! But the good news was that the High pressure cell must have moved S to the W of us, not ahead of us, so we drifted N in S winds overnight and early morning and then sailed an almost equal distance SE, then ESE, in the stronger ENE-NNE windS following.

It had been much pleasanter at dawn, when I went on deck to trim the sails in the light E-ESE wind as we headed N still - hardly a cloud but several birds.. Two hours later, cloud was increasing, as was the wind , which had backed more to NE. It took quite a time to gybe the mains'l, rather than tack, and get us on a reasonable course - one of the times when it would be nice to have the wind display working! The Windex at the mast top is OK - but in swell, it swings around a lot.. I have to admit to being sidetracked, as usual, when I spotted a Great albatross, possibly a Royal from what I could see of it, soaring not too far away. I was also pleased to see a pair of Great shearwaters - I'd begun to wonder if I'd see them again, having not seen any for several days.

7pm Heavy rain, as the wind finally backed more and our course is finally due E - for the time being, anyway.. I'd furled in the genoa and reduced the stays'l, expecting possibly even stronger winds soon. Ended up way under-canvassed for the conditions - easy to do! Wind should ease later tonight, so I'll need to increase the sails...I'll be in no rush to do that until I'm sure it's the right thing to do!

Later: Unfurled some genoa. More heavy rain - and wind died with it..! Difficult weather ahead over next few days - either gales or nothing...!! Wind is up - not much, but enough to give us SOG of 4-5 kt.

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 72 n.ml. (89 n.ml. if measured up to point where ENE kicked in) Cape Agulhas: 587 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 625 n.ml. ... Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3825 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
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