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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 159 Sun-Mon 10-11 March 2019 Lovely sunny day. Strong winds and seas later tonight and tomorrow

Day 159 Sun-Mon 10-11 March 2019 Lovely sunny day. Strong winds and seas later tonight and tomorrow

Monday 12:45am Wind has suddenly died - we're making just 2.5kt and struggling to make our course in the breath of wind that has appeared..
12:48am Speed now under 2kt ...1.5kt ... Someone just switched the wind right off....!
12:57am 3.8kt ..4.4kt... maybe not quite so bad...?
12:59am Settled to SOG of 4.2kt :-)

Trying to edge down S a bit more - but difficult with SSE wind.

1am Just connected to Andrey in Moscow - Winlink sysop... Sending remaining emails, I hope! (Later: No joy - no more emails sent since connection made last evening)

4am Lovely starry sky with almost no cloud. Wind very light - we're making just 3kt on a close reach.
Tried connecting to send emails again - no luck - no connections made.

10:30am Lovely sunny day - small white clouds all over the bright blue sky! If we weren't trying to sail at a good speed, it would be just lovely - but we're struggling to make any way at all - SOG only around 1kt, often well below - difficult to maintain our course in such light wind.... But at least it's not heading us ... yet!!
Having breakfast and then getting on with preparatory work needed to make mainsail repair - main cabin table to be cleared, ready to work on...! Will also check that Fred is OK.

Expect wind to start veering towards SW/W tonight and increase - becoming around 20kt from W tomorrow and then becoming SW, reducing, on Wednesday. Big swells arriving - up to 5-6m/20ft. Then back into another big fat High - no avoiding that - and likely to get light headwinds for a time after that. Need to be at 42S to catch W winds below the H centre - but difficult to get there. Will need to try to do that tomorrow in the stronger W wind...

12:45pm Bright sun and hardly any clouds now - only on horizon. Put a couple of damp jackets in the sun to dry. Wind generator totally still - virtually no breeze. Drifting in current, I think - at 1.6kt, trying to head ESE. Sail not really filling - looking very slack - but wind should slowly fill in.

5pm Have been busy emptying bilge again - not that much in there but it did occur to me, while working on mainsail work preparations, that a) I should check it fairly often and b) the heavy weather of a few days ago would probably have caused water ingress again and it needed checking out. When I did, I promptly started to empty it again - unfortunately, the little 12V electric pump I'd used last time has stopped working - power is getting to it but achieving nothing. So it was back to the bucket and little cheap but reliable plastic hand pump - so useful!! I now know that 22cm/9" depth of liquid in the bilge equates to 33l - that's quite a lot to come in during the heavy weather we had recently. I also checked the automatic pump to make sure it works with the float switch activated - all good.

Fred still had problems and had definitely not yet got over his headache - had to remove one lot of wire and re-wire so that the ratio knob (i.e. 'gear control') was rigid and unable to move - it was preventing Fred from keeping a good course after being adjusted. Seems a lot better and he is steering fine now.

I decided to have a CupaSoup and relax for a short while after finishing emptying the bilge - and the mug promptly tipped over as one of the rare waves hit us and spilled the whole lot over the galley counter - I was not happy!! Made another after mopping up.. and made sure I set it on the gimballed cooker top to avoid a repetition.

Also remembered I needed to check on some fruit juices that had got wet, stored under the cabin sole (floor!) - seem OK, although a couple of cartons are slightly damaged on outside but contents seem to be fine.

The mainsail work hasn't got very far today - too many other urgent items to see to. I want try to hot cut along a edge to see how that goes - need to practise a bit to make sure I do a reaonable, not necessarily perfect, job on the spare material I'm using for the 'tabling' which will cover the main repair to the torn part of the sail and protect it.

Sunset at 6:45pm - beautiful orange and pink colours, contrasting with the deepening blue-green of the sea with just a very few tiny clouds but lots of birds. Dark petrels and a couple of albatross are swooping around beneath a bright silver crescent of moon high up. Light beginning to fade - can't do much more today.

Wind is slowly veering - now SW and should veer more, to W, and begin to increase quite soon - to 20kt or more tomorrow - so we should make good speed tomorrow but it will definitely not be as calm and relaxing!

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 159. We made 56 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 159 (by daily DMGs):14,219 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2829 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3945 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3853 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1680 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 753 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1047 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 18 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-05.60S LONGITUDE: 054-52.41E COURSE: 130T SPEED: 4.2kt
BARO: 1017.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Boat speed slowly increasing . Swell increased.

Day 158 Sat-Sun 9-10 March 2019 Rough conditions as strong Front passes over

Sunday 1am Wind has got up a lot more - we're making over 4kt on a beam reach, making ESE on port tack with boat heading due E (current effect!). Front has not yet passed over since wind has clearly not yet backed into SW - but must be imminent since increased wind being felt.
Think I'll gybe soon, since otherwise I can't get to sleep.

1:30am We were just making over 5.5kt... Wind was up a lot - a real gust as rain started! Back down to 4.6kt. About to gybe...

2:30am Still raining quite heavily ahead of the expected Front. Gybed onto starboard tack, ready for windshift to S quadrant sometime soon. Will have to sleep in snatches to be ready for adjusting sail trim and course and generally to check all OK as wind changes direction. Presently making around 5kt on course of 170T.

5am VERY sudden windshift to SSE from WNW - in no time at all, genoa was backed and I had a problem getting us back on course with boat speed down so much... Glad I'd furled in genoa to 1st reef mark.
Making over 6kt in rough seas - very uncomfortable! Wind getting up to around 20kt, maybe more.

10am Had intended chatting on radio earlier to Ian & Volker but we were heeled over like mad, banging around, and the wind was screaming - clearly around 25-30kt, gusting more. Needed to get on deck and reduce sail. Although it was nice to see our speed hitting over 7kt, the boat was heeled far too much in the strong conditions.
With great difficulty, because of the motion of the boat, I had to put back on the overtrousers I'd not long removed and struggle into my heavy jacket - seas were constantly washing the decks, rushing over the hard top & into the cockpit.

Seas are impressive at 5-6m/16-20ft and covered with foam patches. Would be more comfortable if they were not almost on the beam... But the petrels are happy - they get a free ride in these conditions.
Our course is due E, so it's nice to know we're making a fair distance in the right direction, for a change.... What a difference from yesterday!

Trying to make a log entry - to stop myself falling out of the heeled-over seat, I've lowered the stainless steel foam-covered 'arm rest' - keeps me safe while at the chart table. It's also good to have some cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit and bottles of water within easy reach - my breakfast today.

We've just crossed into the next time zone: GMT + 4hr, on passing E of 52 30'E.. I'll change to the correct local time later.

Time to get back to my bunk - much more comfortable and safe there! Can't wait for the wind to veer from S to W - downwind is such a more pleasant point of sail than being on a beam reach in these conditions.

11am Sudden lull in the wind - things went very quiet - but not for long, although wind definitely seems to be less, now.

3pm/1200GMT Wind still SSE but a lot less - 15-20kt perhaps. Seas still well up at 4-5m/~15ft so still a very bumpy ride, no less because we're constantly banging into the seas, being on a close reach still. Making due E at 4-5kt after unfurling full genoa - we needed more sail, with our speed having dropped way down with less wind.
It's a good thing I looked at Fred yesterday - by now we'd have lost the rudder (although it's tied on with a safety leash) and there's no way I could have done the work on Fred that I did then in the present big seas and generally rough conditions.

Expecting conditions to ease and wind to veer very slowly to SSW by tomorrow and to SW, becoming W, by Tuesday. Soon after that, might well get into a High again once the new Low to the S has completely passed on E.

9pm Still very bumpy - seas not so enormous now but a lot of 'wind waves' on top - so feeling quite rough since we're headed into them.
Making 4-5kt due E - varies somewhat, depending on wind direction.

Have been catching up on email replies again - although I'm not sure when they'll be sent since radio connection to shore station in Cape Town is getting very uncertain - mostly not happening but I keep trying - and every now and then I get a connection. The Winlink sysop in Moscow was astonished by my use of his station last week - might try him later tonight if Cape Town remains unreachable. (Later: That worked again! But only a few were sent - connection went down...) Otherwise, my replies will have to wait to be sent until I get closer to Treeton , W. Australia - a good station but still just too far away to be usable at present.
Photo: Dressed for work in wet weather on deck - wet after coming back down below!

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 157. We made 96 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 158 (by daily DMGs):14,163 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2883 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3998 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3903 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1629 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 802 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1098 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 69 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-50.48S LONGITUDE: 053-41.11E COURSE: 095T SPEED: 4.5kt
BARO: 1018.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Banging into seas still, close reach, full genoa

Day 157 Fri-Sat 8-9 March 2019 Disaster averted - Fred's rudder nearly lost!

Saturday 5:30am Sunrise - sun just peeking from below solid grey cloud cover everywhere else - misty slight rain.
Lots of noise on radio at 0230Z making difficult copy of stations normally heard very well on 7160kHz - poor propagation today!
Back for more sleep, having sent weather & position report.

10:30am We were making 4.1kt for a time - I almost got excited, getting hopeful of making some half-decent progress... but we've now dropped to 3.2kt. Pity better speed didn't last long -- but 3kt is better than 1-2 kt ... Maybe we're getting closer to that elusive wind? Adjusted Fred for slightly more E of SSE course.

Breakfast and then to work on preparing for mainsail repair - lots of different jobs needing to be done by way of preparation, several on deck, a few down below, before I can actually get to sewing the 'tabling' (material added to both sides, around leech) onto the mainsail.

2:30pm Making 3.0kt still. Sun shining hazily through thin cloud layer. Working at mast, looking at organising tying of mainsail to enable releasing the top section to work on, while seas relatively calm.

Expecting wind to back towards S this evening, as a Front passes by.

6:15pm Back down below as light is fading, rather wet around my legs and feet. They got a very good wash as I leaned over from the steps of the stern 'sugar scoop' while seeing to Fred. I paused my work at the mast connected with the mainsail problem, because the swell is so smooth and I remembered that Fred needed attention also. A good thing I went to have a look - the wind steering rudder was about to fall off!!

The long pin holding it in place on the rudder stock had lost its security clip and was half out.... Phew!! It was quickly pushed back into place and then I wired through the hole where the security clip goes - and then noticed the clip was dangling nearby on its leash. I'd used an 'R' clip and it had worked its way loose and out - most odd to think how it managed to do that - somehow it must have been pulled to make that happen.

I'd gone to check on another problem - TG I did!

As I was leaning out working over the stern, getting rather splashed, a white-chinned petrel decided to sit nearby and keep me company!

After my wiring of the 'gear lever' in place, I'd been in touch with John Curry of Hydrovane to check what I could do further. As a result, I took a hammer and screwdriver to bang another pin back into place that was protruding far too much - an axle was loose. Access to the head of the pin was not easy - that's why the flat end of the screwdriver was needed. A very good thing there is not a lot of swell just now - could only do it safely in fairly calm conditions since it involved leaning out over the stern and around the far side of the Hydrovane, holding the flat screwdriver head in place while I banged on it with the hammer. There are times when being stuck in a High pressure system has its benefits! Hopefully, Fred will no longer have a 'headache' and will behave better now. He was definitely having trouble coping earlier today.
Sea temperature is 22C, so not too cold, but I'm looking forward to some hot soup and dry clothing....

8pm Feeling much warmer now - dry clothes and hot soup work wonders - and my feet and ankles are really clean and enjoying fresh socks! Having a dehydrated meal - quick and easy - and not too bad tasting...

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 157. We made 55 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Better than expected!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 157 (by daily DMGs):14,067 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2981 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4090 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3991 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1531 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 887 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1196 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 166 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-31.85S LONGITUDE: 051-36.83E
COURSE: 115T SPEED: 3.4kt
BARO: 1011.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Windshift expected soon - to SSW?

Day 156 Thurs-Fri 7-8 March 2019 More drifting in High pressure area. Radio problem dealt with.

Friday 5am Woke up to find us having gone nowhere - under five miles S of our 10pm position last night. In such light wind, we were now crawling W instead of S... Wind is so light, difficult to keep on any heading, but finally gybed around to try to head S - worked for a very short time but only moving at just over half a knot ...SE now...

Excellent session on 7160 - getting W coast, as well as E coast, US stations clearly now - not too surprising since we're on antipode from W coast now... 12 hours time difference!

10:30am Have gybed around several times to see what course we can best make - wind keeps dying - windgen often not even turning at all. Have ended up on port tack, making ESE at around 2-2.5kt (3kt if any wind at all) - there must be an E-going current of around 2kt just here!

Will have breakfast and then start on jobs for today: 1) radio connections 2) mainsail leech repair. Seas are not too big with this light wind.

Midday Very, very quiet and feeling oh-so-smooth just now! Almost no swell but also almost no wind... so almost no noise! Wind generator hardly turning at all. Makes working easier, not to be fighting the rolling around that a big swell causes.

I'm sure there's an E-going current hereabouts! No way we'd be heading as we are in almost no wind otherwise. I'll continue to try to get more southing into our heading, as and when I can, since that's where the stronger winds are - to the S of this High pressure we're in just now.... Pressure increased a touch an hour or so ago but it's back down again - now 1017.8.

Presently making ESE again - had to adjust Fred to change our boat heading since wind (or current?) must have changed - if it's wind, it backed more to WSW, possibly... but still almost none - we're effectively drifting at 3kt - I'm just glad it's in the right direction!

1:45pm Getting very warm - lots of sunshine and only a few scattered thin streaks of white cloud in the bright blue sky. We're slowing right down, 1kt or less now, but still drifting more-or-less E, TG. Fred was keeping Nereida on a beam reach relative to the wind's direction, trying to head us S, and we're effectively drifting sideways now...

Have spent an age in aft cabin getting access to the radio's automatic tuner (ATU) so I can check all the connections both on the tuner and also leading to the backstay antenna which is directly above it. Has meant moving a lot of well-stowed & well-secured items so that I could remove a wooden panel in the cabin, the tuner being out of sight behind it - time-consuming! Have to stop and check on our progress at regular intervals, so that slows things down also. ... back to work...

3pm Had to gybe - wind now from N, came up for a bit... but still very light. On port tack, making ESE at 1.5kt. Back to aft cabin...

4:50pm Found a wet, corroded antenna connection - all cleaned up now - shiny bright and sprayed with wax after all back together. Heat shrink over cable end replaced after cutting back a little to check there - all clean now. Heve tied cable so no water can get onto connection - made a downward loop to prevent that. Checked all other connections - look OK but took apart and cleaned up another screwed connection just to make sure.

6:30pm Finally finished in aft cabin - clearing up and putting everything back as was takes quite a time- especially rear wooden panel in cabin, hiding the ATU.
Found we needed to gybe - again... Think this light wind must be mainly NW but very shifty - have had to gybe so many times today trying to keep a course more S than E - S is where good wind is but E is often where I've found us drifting towards when the wind has died. Making just under 2kt

Checked the radio - seems better on 20m now - fingers crossed! Need to clean my work-dirty hands and have some food - have had nothing since breakfast.

Photo of corroded, partly-cleaned, radio connector

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 156. We made 30 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 156 (by daily DMGs): 14,012 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3026 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4142 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4045 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1497 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 941 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1233 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 201 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-47.92S LONGITUDE: 050-53.07E COURSE: 125T SPEED: 1.2kt
BARO: 1015.2hPa TREND: 0 SEA_TEMP: 23.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in light wind

Day 155 Wed-Thurs 6-7 March 2019 Cyclone Haleh heads S. We headed W... into a High with little wind...

Thursday 7am Very peaceful - light wind, seas well down, a lot of cloud but good patches of blue between, sun well above horizon but behind cloud. A Wandering albatross glides by - heavy white body, wings dark on top but white below with thin dark edges and black tips... Disappears by time I've got my camera in hand... Couple of white-chinned petrels swoop around on fixed wings close by - they're big birds, but bear no comparison to the albatross in size.

We're heading SW now, skirting a High pressure ridge, hoping to turn SE soon when wind backs from its present E to NE. Would be nice to be heading in a direction that leads back to my starting point - and not going backwards!

Cyclone Haleh is still heading S-SSW but should be diminishing in strength by Saturday and beginning to turn towards the SE later that day also.

Midday Creeping along in little wind, alhough under a very pleasant sunny sky. Not enough wind for the wind generator to turn, wind is so very light, meaning we're really slow - around 1.5kt. Frustrating, since we need to move on to use the good winds behind Haleh when they come - but we need to be in the right place to get the benefit. Wind is really dying completely just now....

Just spent an age getting the main halyard away from the top mast step it had got itself caught around and then securing it so it wouldn't repeat the trick. Then, finally, as an interim measure, hoisted the trysail again on the main halyard - there are times when it seems to help us along.

Must get a quick (late again!) breakfast - have had nothing today so far...

What I've been wanting to do is to sew some material onto the mainsail around the leach where it's torn - the big problem has been needing relatively calm conditions to do that. Amazing the effect of even a small swell - makes it so very difficult to work on the sail in situ. Looks as though I need to remove almost all the sail slides from their track in the mast to expose the 9ft/2.8m straight run of the length of sail involved, so as to sew the material in place. Would make the job a lot easier if I could get that portion of the sail down onto the deck - i'll see how feasible that is at the time..

3:45pm Have been looking into a radio problem - it's 'clipping' on 20m in particular, althogh other bands seem to be fine. Need to sort out that problem - would hate to lose use of my SSB/HF radio! Could well mean looking for corrosion at all connections, undoing, where possible, cleaning and re-making perhaps. Access to the tuner is not easy but do-able, given time, patience and no big seas.

5:30pm Still creeping along - SSE now - in almost no wind - I reckon a tortoise goes faster.... Wind generator not turning again. Making over 1 knot from time to time....
Starting to work on the sail material for the leach repair but light fading now. Have to learn how to use a hot knife.

I was expecting more wind today than there has been - I hope that overnight and tomorrow there'll be more than just now but outlook is looking pretty grim - a lot of light wind for several days, it seems, with no way to reach the better wind.... My halfway point is looking very much out of reach.

Almost no breaks in the cloud cover just before sunset - but one just where the sun was getting low, so a lovely light, cloud & sea effect.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 155. We made 36 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 155 (by daily DMGs): 13,982 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3056 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4171 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4074 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1467 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 970 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1263 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 231 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-39.51S LONGITUDE: 050-16.10E COURSE: 156T SPEED: 1.4kt
BARO: 1021.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 25.0C
COMMENT: Very little progress made today

Day 154 Tues-Wed 5-6 March 2019 Cyclone Haleh forces us to head W - back again - how many times??

Tuesday evening Had a call from Chek TV News in Victoria, B.C., who wanted a quick 'live' update - they'd realised I was very close to my halfway mark. Nice to make the contact and great to have the Aurora satellite wifi terminal onboard to make it possible - many thanks to Luis Soltero of Global Marine Networks!

Wednesday 2am Had been waiting for the wind to back from N to SW as a small front came over. We were finally headed N, after gently curling around from E, despite several adjustments to Fred - time to gybe around.

Slight drizzle and light wind still... Didn't take long to gybe in the pich black darkness but had to adjust Fred several times to get close to required course.

7am Grey and rainy. Reduced genoa down to 3rd reef mark and changed course to head more to NW. Weather models are no longer in good agreement - European model has TC Haleh continuing longer at SSW (towards us) before turning more SE - so we're keeping well away for time being, until its movements are clearer. We're in a High pressure area which is just now moving E - giving SE wind which allows us to head W or NW.

Hope the models get back into agreement on which way and when Haleh is going to be headed soon...

Back to my bunk for some more sleep - have been up now for nearly two hours.

Midday Slept for longer than expected. Pressure has climbed right up - now at 1025.7hPa from 1018 yesterday morning and 1021 yesterday evening.

Still grey cloud layer - raining again, still heading NW, at around 2.5kt under well-furled genoa and SE wind still at 15-20kt.... No change!

Managed, after trying several different stations, to send a Position report via Cape Town but couldn't download any incoming mail. Radio emailing has been very difficult last few days. Used the N-S line (Earth's magnetic field helps radio connections!) to find a Russian station (Moscow!) almost due N of our position two nights ago. Was amazed to get a fair connection, despite the distance, and sent a Position report and got a couple of incoming emails but have a lot of email replies waiting still for a decent connection. Cape Town keeps being unable to connect well enough now and Treeton, in W.AustralIa, is just a bit too far away, although improving quickly as we move E (as and when that happens...!).

2:30pm Rain had stopped for a while and sun was trying hard to peek through - but no longer - raining again.

Checked weather situation again - heading W, hoping to get clear of High pressure ridge. Don't want to head further N not further S - so "Head West!" it is...! Was I supposed to be heading EAST??? (Will I ever get back??!)

Sending for updated weather files - forever checking weather info - most of day... constant preoccupation!

Quite a noticeable SE swell building up - at about 3m/10ft or more - quite close - period only 5-6 secs, with frequent whitecaps, showing a Force 4-5 wind (around 15-20kt).

Took a hammer to Fred to bang in a couple of axle ends that are protruding a little more than they should. Couldn't check a third - access in present rough conditions too difficult from stern. Fourth one looks fine.

6pm Light fading... raining again... Still headed W in SE wind. Busy with emails - hoping to get a connection sometime soon....

8pm Had an excellent connection to Cape Town Winlink station - all outstanding emails dealt with - I'm totally up to date - amazing!!

Pressure is even higher: 1027hPa, wind is less, so speed is down.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 154. We made 31 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 154 (by daily DMGs): 13,944 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3042 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4168 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4073 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1489 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 971 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1243 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 215 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-10.19S LONGITUDE: 050-46.21E COURSE: 266T SPEED: 3.7kt


BARO: 1027.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

Day 153 Mon-Tues 4-5 March 2019 Tropical Cyclone Haleh is headed south ... slows us down

Tuesday 3:40pm Grrr!!! Just deleted all my previous entries for today...

Day started around a grey, overcast dawn with usual radio session on 40m (7160) and posting of weather/position report - having a problem getting my usual good Cape Town radio connection so the Aurora wifi satellite connection comes in useful then.

By midday, the cloud layer had gone and it had turned into a lovely sunny day, with little cloud.... but also not much wind.

I'd had another nap - seem to need a lot of sleep but, in view of my several hours of physical efforts recently (getting in the series drogue a few days ago and bailing out the water in the bilge Sunday and Monday), I suppose that's hardly surprising.

Have been looking at weather in great detail - over and over... Have decided to keep heading gently E on basis that all the weather models are in agreement. They show TC Haleh heading S to near 40S and then heading more SE, having by then become a Tropical Storm with reduced winds, not a cyclone any more... Not that I want to get too close, either way.

If it behaves as predicted, we can now simply keep heading roughly E. It should be well E of us, by several hundred miles, when around 40S and we can keep heading roughly E after it has passed - good W winds are forecast for a time, if we can get to them and don't get hung up in another High.

If it doesn't change course to SE and if it becomes a threat, we can change course in the S wind at that time to head NW. I can always put out the JSD (series drogue) again, if necessary.

It seems unbelievable how many things have conspired to slow us down - as if having to stop for last weekend's storm to pass over safely weren't enough, TC Haleh tops it - we're having to go slowly now, or maybe stop again, just to make sure we stay safely away from it.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 153. We made 69 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 153 (by daily DMGs): 13,913 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3016 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4046 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4110 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1512 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 931 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1218 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 188 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-30.71S LONGITUDE: 051-14.43E COURSE: 099T SPEED: 2.3kt


BARO: 1020.9hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Wind very light. Pressure up.

Day 152 Sun-Mon 3-4 March 2019 Mostly drifting under blue sky; bilge cleared of water, pump fixed; JSD packed; Fred mended

Midnight Wind slowly dying - slow progress at only 2.3-3kt. But in view of cyclone expected ahead, slow is good! Seas still up quite a bit - rolling us around still, quite often. 6:15am Sunrise about an hour ago - quite a few scattered clouds around. Wind not very strong - maybe 8kt from E-ESE - we seem to be going N at 3kt or more just now. Will furl in genoa to slow down. Good-sized swell from S - rolling us around, as usual. Spoke to quite a few people on radio - most unaware of cyclone looming ahead. Turned on small bilge pump - thought it was not working but it seems to be OK - not sure how well it's doing, though. Not seeing any rise overnight in level of water still in bilge. Will have breakfast and set to, trying to remove the remaining water and dry the bilge. Also need to finish packing the series drogue (JSD) since I could well need it again to stay clear of the cyclone forecast to track S ahead of us. 6:45am Furled in genoa to 2nd reef mark - now making 1.5-2.2 kt due N in wind from E-ESE. Rockin' and rollin' a lot in swell. 8:45am Finishing my coffee after clearing up in galley - just had to clear space there and deal with crushing old milk & juice cartons: rinsed out with sea water, flattened & placed in trash can. Cabin is in chaos as consequence of working both on JSD (middle of being packed away) and bilge opening (waiting for last water removal). Now to get the JSD out of the way and packed away. Bilge pump is working away - sounding good and cheerful (unlike me!) but I'm not convinced... Waiting to see if the water level goes down noticeably. Tried to get some more sleep - impossible - too many important jobs to see to. 10am Just downloaded latest weather file - pressure here is 1022hPa - we're exactly in the middle of a High with that same centre pressure, supposedly with SSE wind - but the forecast can't be that accurate. Think I'll furl in the genoa totally and just drift in the light breeze while I work. Swell is annoying - a good 4m/13ft still, so really, really rolly and unhelpful! Dried off and re-stowed the remaining cartons of milk - hope their contents are undamaged. Now for JSD, finally. 12:45 pm JSD all back in place, ready for use again - including a Spectra retrieval line that can bring in the bridle using the winch without the worry of too big a load. Next job - Fred has lost his gear-lever action - will need to wrap wire to keep the lever in place. Otherwise, Fred would be unable to do his job... 2:45pm Feeling a whole lot better... Bilge pump (big one - diaphragm) now working - as I suspected, the problem was a corroded/wet power supply terminal, now cleaned and doing well. Still need to remove some water remaining - will use small 12V electric pump for that. Fred has now been fixed (I hope!) - with lots of wire to stop part moving - otherwise Fred can't steer at all. About to have some food - I'm famished! Been a long day... and it's not yet over. Hoping for wind to fill in soon, so we can move under sail, rather than drift.. Lovely sunny day - bue sky, no clouds. Yellow-nosed albatross came and rested close by - was very interested in my work on deck! Several petrels are flying around - including a tiny storm petrel. 7pm Unfurled genoa, having decided to head SW, rather than drift NW. Speed not much different in present very light wind, at all of 1.5-2kt, but course is southerly rather than northerly - away from very light wind or headwinds of High we'd be in if we stayed around 38S. 9pm Wind is very slowly filling in and backing. We're now able to make a SSE course but I'll need to adjust Fred quite often as the wind backs further to N. Speed low - only just over 2kt in light wind still. 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 152. We made 16 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, with overnight & daytime drifting N-NW in no wind and then heading S, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 152 (by daily DMGs): 13,844 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3074 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4204 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4110 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1462 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1007 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1272 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 238 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/03/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-43.99S LONGITUDE: 050-09.98E COURSE: 151T SPEED: 3.0kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NE CLOUDS: 60% BARO: 1021.4hPa TREND: -1 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 24.0C COMMENT: Bilge clear, pump working, JSD packed, Fred mended, meal ready

Day 151 Sat-Sun 2-3 March 2019 A mix of no wind and good wind - but dying again at end of day

We drifted around a lot overnight - so little wind it was almost impossible to maintain any kind of course - so I gave up trying and we just meandered at around 0.5kt until the wind filled in, eventually, not long before dawn and then Fred kept us on course as the wind slowly increased...

5:30am Daylight - dawn just breaking - pink clouds on E horizon, a few grey ones elsewhere - not many. Crescent moon with Venus(?) close by, quite high up.

Wind up finally, from WNW. On a broad reach, making 4kt with slightly furled genoa - just managing to keep it filled.

Contest on is making radio contact with N. America very difficult - band noisy with so many people calling. A short contact was made with two US stations but will be better tomorrow when weekend contest will have finished.

11am Plenty of sunshine in between scattered, large, white clouds. Wind has been well up for some time - Force 6 judging from areas of foam on sea surface - so over 22kt. From sound it's making, I'd have guessed at around 25kt. Seas have built up again, with plenty of white crests and steep faces.

Glad I furled in a small amount of genoa overnight.

Gybed onto starboard tack as wind had backed into WSW-SW, so now making E-ESE course at 4.5-5.5 kt.

2:20pm Seas have really built up again at 4-5m and we're being tossed around a lot as we climb the face of each wave and slip down behind. Wind is up and down a bit but generally around 20-25kt so quite strong conditions still - a wave just crashed over and washed the decks...

Still mainly sunny although plenty of cloud - but no rain threatening. I thought wind was dying down but it has definitely not, so far, just occasional lulls.

Started re-stowing the series drogue into a bag, flaking it down carefully. Tomorrow, likely to be almost no wind in High pressure region, so should be able to finish stowing it ready for next time.

4pm Wind less now - unfurled remainder of genoa. Speed up: 4.6kt now, from 3.5kt before. Some light grey clouds overhead now, sunshine in between. Seas still well up and on the beam, so rolly. Still working on stowing JSD, in between other things. Tea-time!

7:30pm Dark. Went to get more milk out of storage at 4:30pm to replenish galley - cartons were wet. Checked bilge & was busy clearing out a lot of water using small container for next two hours - only one small pump working, big one not at all - more hard work!

Water was salty so seawater getting in somewhere, with condensation water from cold surfaces added to it, I'm sure. Tired - going to have a short sleep... Not life-threatening, so will explore more tomorrow. Will finish emptying and dry out bilge completely then, in daylight. Also need to try to get the big pump working - might just be 12V power supply to a wet connector that is the problem.

Pressure has steadily been rising over the day - now at 1016hPa from 1006hPa early this morning. Boat speed down to 3.2kt in lighter wind from SW and slowly getting less.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 151. We made 73 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, with overnight drifting in no wind, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 151 (by daily DMGs): 13,828 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3074 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4200 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4105 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1458 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1001 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1274 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 241 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-00.89S LONGITUDE: 050-07.98E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 2.5kt


BARO: 1018.1hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Strong wind over daytime to early afternoon, becoming less later

Day 150 Fri-Sat 1-2 March 2019 We end up with no wind and JSD finally retrieved

Saturday 6am Wind still too much for retrieval of JSD - back to my bunk for more sleep....

10am Was getting ready for another try at retrieving the series drogue but thought I'd check the latest weather info. Unbelievably, there's a tropical storm, possibly cyclone,forecast to head due S from Madagascar around 6-8th March straight across my projected position on 10th March. To avoid it, I'd need to head E from here now at 8-9 kt minimum (impossible!). So I'll have to go really slowly for the next week and maybe need to deploy the JSD again - either as the system hits us, if we keep on going, or to the W of its S-going path (at 40S 60E perhaps) before it gets too close on the 10th, to await its passing while staying away from its really strong winds and big seas....

I don't see any way to avoid it other than by going really slowly...

more snail's pace crawling....

(High pressure area on the way E soon might help that slow speed anyway!) But even keeping down to an average 4kt is going too fast. I'm feeling thoroughly fed up just now! I'll have to just keep heading E and see how the forecasts for the storm develop - maybe the weather models will have got it wrong...

11.am Just checked out the wind - seems to be around 20kt still so, in view of my comments above, might as well wait for wind (and seas) to ease more in a few hours' time, if forecast is correct. Still very rolly in 4m seas. Sounds like the time for a nice pot of coffee! Midday Big, grey raincloud overhead - waiting for the rain to come while I have coffee. 6pm Grey sky with some dark steel-grey cloUds astern but no rain at present. We're underway - but there's no wind! Even the Windex isn't sure where the wind is coming from - it's getting confused by the boat rolling in the well-spaced swell that's still fairly big. I think I can honestly say I'm totally knackered...! I've taken in the JSD but it took nearly four hours of solid nonstop hard work - it was far more difficult than I expected....

Having some coffee while boiling some water for a quick dehydrated meal and then I'm getting some much-needed sleep (Note - didn't get it just then). Might furl in the genoa and just drift - we're making under 1kt anyway, so drifting won't make much difference. It's a good thing there are three winches along each side of the cockpit coaming. I used all three on the port side. The fabric cones spliced onto the line go around a winch but if more than one turn is used, they get tangled in the other turn and the six splices per cone and sturdy fabric used don't ease their path either. I ended up leading the line from one winch to the next and belaying it with a wrap on the third - although, in fact, I simply held onto the end of the line there to pull it in, bit by bit, as it went slack....

all 124 cones on three hundred feet of it...plus bridle and end-chain separately. It seemed an eternity before I was able manually to pull on the final length of line directly from the stern and bring in the chain acting as an end weight. Throughout, the boat was rolling around a lot, not making it easy to pull in on the line at the right moment. It was a two-handed, laborious job - left hand hand pulling in on the momentarily slack line between winches one and two, while the right hand pulled in immediately on the line wrapped around winch three to take up the slack. There was usually a good wait in between for the line from the stern to go slack as we went up and down in the swell. A few trips to the stern were needed to keep the line running freely in the dedicated fairlead and a careful eye kept on the cones going around the two winches to free them when they caught in the self-tailing guide - which happened quite often. Now I've the job of re-packing the JSD into its bags - I've lead most of it down to the cabin so as not to clutter the cockpit. It has to be flaked carefully so it will run freely when next deployed.

7:20pm Rain just started. Dark. Still effectively no wind... Drifting at 1kt - wish I knew where the wind was! 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 150. We made 9 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Mainly lying to JSD (Jordan series drogue) - drifting.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 150 (by daily DMGs): 13,755 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3144 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4260 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4160 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1386 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1055 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1346 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 314 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/03/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-00.38S LONGITUDE: 048-32.74E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 0.2kt WIND_SPEED: 6kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1007.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: Off JSD - drifting in no wind ...

Day 149 Thurs-Fri 28 Feb-1st March 2019 Happy St David's Day - daffodils and leeks for the Welsh!

Midnight Heavy rain, wind very much increased - gusted to 50kt or more?... Moaning in the rigging. Wind generator overpowered and not sounding happy - turned it off - no difference... Wind has backed to NW from NNW and our speed of drift has increased dramatically to 3-3.5kt in this really strong wind.

Received this email from Stephen, on research vessel 'Thompson' (KTDQ) heading to their research position on the Marion Rise, near Marion island (see https://www.marionrise.org/)

"We are about 100 miles west of your position and just going through the system you have been talking about. We had gusts over 90 here but it is moving fast and winds have moderated. We are at -40 23.8 and 41 46.5 - very quick wind shift from approximately 300T to 200T wind got up to over 100 and quickly dropped back down to 30-35 knots."

Friday 6:20am Very noisy still with strong wind around 35-40kt. Seas very big at 5m/16ft, maybe more - difficult to gauge their height but they're pretty enormous and we're being thrown around a lot....

JSD is keeping our stern to the seas and wind. Wind has backed so we're drifting E now, in W wind, showing centre of Low has moved on to the SE but we're still very much in its system. Will take a time for it to move away -region of big swell is very extensive.

SOG around 2kt - up and down as we surge back and forth on the waves.

Sunny, with clear sky overhead, just some cloud on horizon.

Thought of going on deck to take a photo - but then thought better of it - best to stay safe, in case we get pooped at that moment!

Back to my warm, soft, safe bunk for some more sleep...

9:30am Wind SW now and down to somewhere around 25kt but seas still very big - rolling us around a lot but further apart than earlier. Broken cloud over much of the sky.

Had a problem opening hatch to get out on deck from the companionway - jammed by some cord - eventually managed to dislodge it to escape!

Will have breakfast and wait for seas to die down a bit more before retrieving the series drogue so we can move on E.

Midday Was just about to go up and start retrieving the JSD when it clouded over and wind really gusted up to over 30kt. Decided to wait for it to calm down again but even after cloud cleared away, wind has stayed up around 25kt and gusty, so still waiting for it to drop more to make retrieving JSD possible - will have less drag on it if wind is lighter. Seas still big and frequently tossing us around.

4:20pm Looking at weather just downloaded, it seems these seas won't get to below 4m/13ft until 3am tomorrow morning, and not to under 3m/10ft until tomorrow evening - that's a long time to wait. In the meantime, the wind is quite good now, at 20kt from the W. So I'll see if I can get the JSD in now, before light goes, despite the big seas, in order to get sailing E sooner rather than later....

Raining now - was just finishing some soup before going on deck, so good timing!

630pm Well, having got organised to retrieve the JSD, the wind was still too strong and the seas too big for me to do it - pity! The retrieval line is lead from the bridle end to a winch and is winched in when the line goes slack as we rise up and down on a wave. Because of the size of the seas, it kept jumping out of the stern fairlead.

When the line comes under tension, the wind is still so strong that it puts too great a load on the line. It's very easy to bring the line in with the bridle as it goes slack, but then the whole force of the JSD goes onto that line, not onto the bridle.

Either the retrieval line needs to be far stronger than at present, or it can only be brought in when conditions are far lighter. I can't change the retrieval line now the JSD is already deployed and the wind has just gusted up again with nightfall and rain clouds around. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if conditions have eased enough to try again then. Disappointing - I was hoping to be underway by now.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 149. We made 25 n.ml. DMG, drifting over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 149 (by daily DMGs): 13,746 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 317552 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4169 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1379 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1471 n.ml. to WNW; Marion Isl: 663 n.ml SW; Kerguelen Isl: 1086 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1352 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 322 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-55.12S LONGITUDE: 048-24.49E COURSE: 104T SPEED: 0.5kt


BARO: 1011hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Still lying to series drogue - seas and wind too much to retrieve still

Day 148 Wed-Thurs 27-28 Feb 2019 Jordan series drogue deployed - rough weather

THursday 2am Wind up again - furled in plenty of genoa - expecting wind to 25-30kt over next few hours, possibly. Making around 6kt on roughly 040T course. Sky still mainly clear with a few scattered clouds - stars still bright. 6:35am Sun rose about an hour ago. Making around 5kt under full genoa and staysail plus trysail in W wind, heading NNE. Getting ready to lower sails later and deploy Jordan Series Drogue (JSD) for when the strong weather system comes in later today. Will do so before winds and seas get very much stronger. Midday Well, I've checked and prepared as much as I can for the strong weather system coming up.. Wind is very light now, giving boat speed of only around 2kt and swell is not too big so i decided to lower the trysail while conditions are good - but still needed a lot of work to secure it and rolling around in swell never makes it easy to work at the mast and boom. Must have spent well over two hours on deck, in all, also adding extra sail ties and checking the JSD (Jordan series drogue) will be free to run when deployed later today. Its bridle is already in place, shackled to strong points on the stern quarters. Down below, anything heavy is well-stowed - including books. We're heading just N of NE under a bright, sunny sky - "lull before the storm" indeed! The wind is so light the wind generator is having difficulty turning and it's feeling warm in the sun. I'm off for a nap while it's calm. Expecting wind to begin picking up just before sunset and strong wind to come in fairly quickly after that, as the Low gets closer. 4pm Teatime! Enjoying a mug of tea while I wait... Still sunny, although increasing cloud from the W - the direction from which the storm is coming. Wind suddenly filled in around 2.30pm and seas increased as well, although seems relatively calm just now. Every now and then a big wave hits our hull, washes the side deck and splashes into the cockpit which is now quite wet. Pressure had risen to 1006 hPa earlier, after the last Low had gone by, but is now dropping again - 1002 hPa now. It's the waiting for a storm to arrive that I hate! I've done all I can to be safe and ready .. now I'm waiting for the wind to rise a lot more, when I'll furl in the headsails and deploy the JSD to keep us safe in the even stronger winds and seas to come. Seas are forecast to be around 5.5m/17ft for quite a time and very close together - which means steep faces to climb up and down... A Wandering albatross has been soaring sround this afternoon with its white-faced, chocolate brown, Juvenile offspring. Always feels such a privilege to see them - such magnificent, enormous birds! They enjoy rough weather so they can easily gain uplift off the waves as they glide around on fixed wings, rarely flapping them... Three white-chinned petrels also flying around nearby. 5:30pm Sun beginning to get low. Wind up more and heeling a lot, so furled in a lot more genoa - just a 'handkerchief' now, along with the staysail. Making 4.5 kt despite small amount of sail. Amazing how the wind's sounds aren't heard so much down below - the howling of the wind in the rigging heard so clearly on deck can't be heard at all - it actually seems quite peaceful down below! Seas are often sweeping the side deck and splashing into the cockpit - just got wet again - but this time just my hair since I'd donned jacket and overtrousers in readiness. Pressure down to 1001 hPa but no rain yet - quite a few patches of blue sky. 6:45pm JSD was deployed a short while ago -light is fading now. Pretty windy out there! Around 30kt, probably well over - very noisy. I'd furled in the genoa in advance and with just staysail, we were making 2.5-3.5kt NE. I didn't want to deploy the series drogue in the dark so, with sunset imminent, decided to go for it. Furled in the staysail - made sure several wraps of line around the tightly-furled sail, as with the genoa, so no chance of it being damaged in strong winds (as has happened previously). With all sails stowed, I deployed the JSD - undid some openings in its bags to allow the flaked line with its 124 small fabric cones to exit more easily and then threw out the length of chain that acts as an end weight. Had to help the line out from the bags and make sure the cones and their splices didn't snag on anything as they ran out but that wasn't difficult and finally the line and its bridle were all out. We're now lying safely with stern to wind and waves. The rudder has been centred and Fred adjusted for wind dead astern. Now I just have to wait for the Low to pass by and winds and seas to die down - a day, perhaps. With sails stowed, it's a bit rolly but we can't broach or pitch-pole with the drogue dead upwind on its bridle and the boat is effectively stopped, making very little way dead downwind. (The wind direction is easily seen from our track.) Wind generator loves this strong wind - it's putting in 14A now - great! I put a light under my evening meal on the stove on coming down below - had it prepared in advance - so will settle down to eat that now while I listen to the distant, musical sound of the wind in the rigging. Feeling a lot more relaxed now. Maybe I'll catch up on all those outstanding email replies... Photos showing JSD deployed from Nereida with bridle in clear view and a Wandering albatross near Nereida this afternoon 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 148. We made 75 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 148 (by daily DMGs): 13,721 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3175 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4189 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1355 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1447 n.ml. to WNW; Marion Isl: 649 n.ml SW; Kerguelen Isl: 1086 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1379 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 344 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-49.96S LONGITUDE: 047-53.03E COURSE: 040T SPEED: 2.2kt WIND_SPEED: 35kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 4.0m BARO: 1004.7hPa TREND: 0 SEA_TEMP: 24.0C

Day 147 Tues-Wed 26-27 Feb 2019 Low and its Cold Front passes over.Current takes us SE

Tuesday 11pm Making around 4.5kt due E. Seas tossing us around like a toy boat - good to be in my warm, soft bunk! Still have the well-furled genoa plus staysail - waiting to see if the N wind gets any stronger - doing fine at the moment.

Wednesday 6am Daylight, around sunrise - light rain, sky covered in light cloud layer. Wind still up - we're making 3.6kt due East. Pressure has dropped 4hPa over last three hours and is now down at 1004 hPa.

8.30am Pressure down to 1003hPa, wind still strong, from N, SOG 3.9kt.

10:30am I've no idea what has changed, other than wind possibly veering slightly E of N, but suddenly, with no change to sail trim or helm, we've been heading more SE - instead of a course of due E (090T), we're making 120T - and nothing I do seems to be able to change it. I'm tearing my hair out here.... That's the last direction we want to head in...

I tried furling in the genoa completely - no change, except less boat speed, of course... So it's not leeway due to the genoa that's causing the problem. Even tried gybing around - we simply headed SW!

11:30am Heard from Peter, ZL1PWM - there's a 2.2 knot current heading 150T now, where we are - no wonder we've been having a problem! With low boat speed, that much current has a big effect on our resulting course. Will unfurl some genoa to try to give better boat speed and wait for wind to shift and current to decrease - as it's supposed to. I'm feeling exhausted with all the worry and effort so will take a short nap. At least it does look as though the wind might be backing a bit - it's possibly more NNW than N now, judging from the boat's changed heading (being under windsteering has definite advantages in favourable wind shifts).

5pm Finally on a decent course at something approaching a reasonable speed. Saw the current seemingly having less of an effect on our course some time ago. Have spent most of the afternoon on deck, trying every different possible thing to get us going better. Finally, centred the wheel and found that worked fine in that our course was unaffected (we're under wind steering, with Fred in charge) but, as hoped, our speed instantly improved.

We're still headed upwind so speed not of the best at 3.5kt - but that's a lot better than the 1-2kt in the wrong direction that I was seeing earlier. Expecting the wind to back more overnight.

Trying still to get further N, out of the strongest winds on the Low passing over on Thurs/Fri. The good news there is it's forecast to be heading SE and the centre should pass S of us.

Just had to change my top - was on deck without a jacket - and a wave swooshed over the side deck, over the hard top and into the cockpit - I got wet...

6:30pm Light fading. Expecting rain - grey clouds astern...

Making 4.5 kt or more - better speed now. Still making NE course.

Getting well behind on email replies - apologies to those concerned - too busy with 'boat stuff' and radio connections not always too good at present.

9.25pm Feeling a whole lot better - wind has backed into W and I woke up from a short nap to find us heading due N - excellent! I've been trying to get us N for the last day or so and the wind is set to back further into WSW possibly, giving us even better options for heading downwind more. We're making around 4kt and I just adjusted Fred to set us NNE.

Will keep adjusting if wind backs further, as and when necessary.

Time for food before my daily report and position/weather noted - chicken in white sauce with green beans and potatoes - sounds good!

10pm Unfurled more genoa - full now. Wind is a lot less than it was - maybe 15kt. Seems to be dying. Pressure beginning to rise from its low of 1001.9hPa.

Another beautiful starry sky, like last night's, now that the earlier rain has cleared away - just a few clouds but mainly clear - diamonds all over the sky - and the occasional one sparkling in the water close by, as we pass through.... Lovely to see. Nice ending to a nightmare of a day earlier...

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 147. We made just 66 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Heading S for a time was definitely not helpful...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 147 (by daily DMGs): 13,646 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3223 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4212 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1295 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1388 n.ml. to NW; Marion Isl: 582 n.ml SW; Kerguelen Isl: 1109 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1434 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 404 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.76S LONGITUDE: 046-35.20E COURSE: 052T SPEED: 4.0kt


BARO: 1003.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C

COMMENT: Heading NNE now to avoid strong winds coming tomorrow;

Day 146 Mon-Tues 25-26 Feb 2019 Clear sky, so bright sunny day and starry night sky

Monday 11pm Creeping along at just over 2kt. When the wind generator blades are hardly turning, that's a good sign of very little wind!

Moon peeking out from behind scattered cloud, stars shining brightly in gaps between clouds.

Tuesday 10am Sunny day - clear blue sky. Feeling fired after a long session last night trying to resolve a software problem relating to viewing weather info. Important to have that working OK. Think I might have finally managed it - I hope so! - but doing it cut into my sleep overnight and I cancelled my usual 0230Z radio sked on 7160kHz.

Trying to head upwind in NNW wind is proving a real struggle - wind strength is fair - 12kt? - but we can only just make E, slightly N of E at times, at around 3kt, rather than the planned ENE course. Having to use a lot of rudder weather helm to offset the genoa pulling off the wind - and that slows us down, of course.

Not feeling very comfortable with the situation just now.

Wind will stay N until the Cold Front on this Low has passed, at which point it will back to W and then to SW - late tomorrow, if forecast is correct

There's a big, fat High pressure area well S in the Indian Ocean that is right in our path - that will cause a problem when we get further E from here, with its light winds and likely headwinds- it reaches a long way S.

1:30pm Feeling rather better on seeing that we're managing to make a course to NE now, at around 3.5kt, although dropping down at times ... A far better course than earlier. Not sure why the difference, since wind should be from N now.. Maybe it veered for a time and reduced to give less boat speed?

Trying to catch up on sleep in between frequent checking of course and speed.

Still sunny, mostly clear but quite a lot of white cloud in N now.

7:20pm Sunset half an hour ago... getting dark. Mainly clear sky but low cloud in W on horizon.

We were heeling quite a lot, so furled in genoa to almost 2nd reef mark - speed not much changed but heeling a bit less - making just over 4kt. COG (course) becoming more E of ENE as wind slowly veers more. Prepared to furl in more genoa, as and when needed. Have staysail in use also, ready for the rather stronger N wind forecast for overnight. Trying hard not to head S of E but means we're very close-hauled - a difficult and uncomfortable point of sail in the present seas.

Made brief radio contact with W. coast - spoke to several there and also a couple of S.African stations. Reporting good radio signal from 'Nereida' - as is often the case, despite our low power output - the saltwater of the sea acts as an excellent ground!

9pm Beautifully clear night sky - millions of bright stars everywhere - and Milky Way like spilt dust, thrown across them all. Moon has not yet risen, so stars look all the brighter.

Being on deck at night has other lovely advantages - the boat moving through the water causes sudden bright diamond-sparks in the sea beside the hull, from tiny creatures disturbed by our motion.

Rough seas are tossing us around a lot - we're close-hauled, making just over 4kt due E - wind has veered a touch to just E of N.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 146. We made 72 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 146 (by daily DMGs): 13,580 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3275 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4247 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1232 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1325 n.ml. to NW; Marion Isl: 534 n.ml SW; Kerguelen Isl: 1146 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1495 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 467 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-41.19S LONGITUDE: 045-10.00E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.2kt


BARO: 1010.5hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Well reefed down! Rough seas, tossed around a lot, close-hauled

Day 145 Sun-Mon 24-25 Feb 2019 Excellent few hours of fast sailing, then wind dies again

Sunday 11:30pm Speed has increased slightly - seeing 3.5kt instead of 2.5kt - maybe wind is filling in, finally...? Supposed to get up to NW 14kt about now - beam reach - and stay that way for a time, before increasing further early on Tuesday. Moon rose a short while ago - waning now - half-moon. Swell has increased slightly - we're bouncing about more than earlier. Later: Clearly quite a strong S-flowing current here - having to steer NE, upwind more, in order to make our ENE course - must be slowing us down. Making around 3.2 kt - rather pounding into the waves - uncomfortable motion. Moon is bright enough to give good light on deck - throwing a broad path of silver light across the sea towards us from between broken cloud. Monday 1am Making 4kt - still having to head more upwind and so still an awkward motion. 6am Much smoother sail, making 6kt but struggling to make close-hauled course to ENE. Grey, cloudy sky with some breaks for sun to shine through - sunrise was a short time ago. Occurred to me that heading upwind more to make close-reach course might not be necessarily due to current but due to imbalance of full genoa against trysail - 'bow steer'? 7:30am Rain shower... helps clean the sticky salt off everything on deck! Grey clouds have moved away. 11am Clear blue sky above - a few clouds on horizon and ahead. Sailing at well over 6kt, ENE towards 38S. Cold Front expected to approach tomorrow night and pass over on Wednesday, with strong wind. Time for breakfast... It's 8am GMT! 12:30pm The cloud ahead spread over soon after - but is well broken, so it's still quite sunny - and feeling warm - 25C. Sea temperature is back up also - to 27C now. We're making 6.5-7kt now - nice to see some decent speed! Seas are up and we're being moved around by them often. One just made us lurch - and my insulated coffee mug went flying from a place that is normally secure - but the mug simply jumped in the air and ended upside down on the cabin sole. Its lid was on, TG, so I grabbed it but have had to make do with a very small cup of coffee.. and a lot of cleaning up... 4pm Bright and sunny still, although lots of (white) clouds around - no threat of rain just now. Wind has slowly died back a bit over the afternoon, although still from WNW, so we're only making around 5kt now on a broad reach. Was nice to have the higher speed earlier. There must be a current at times because we have to head up or down in relation to the wind in order to make our course - I've adjusted Fred umpteen times today, as a result.... I get us nicely settled on course and then something changes (wind shift or some current) so another adjustment is needed not so long after the first. Whereas earlier in the day, we were headed more upwind to make our course, we're now heading slightly more off the wind to make it, implying a current effect - all very changeable and unpredictable. 6:55pm Rim of red sun just slipped down below the horizon - end of sunset at 40S 43.5E under a partly cloudy sky. Wind has dropped further to give SOG of only around 4kt - disappointing after the good speed earlier. Looking ahead, the CF coming through over Tues/Wed is looking as though it might have 25kt winds, possibly gusting higher, for a short time, so that's not looking as bad as had been forecast a few days ago. However, that will be followed by an intense Low arriving Thursday evening into Friday, giving over 30kt winds, gusting higher - that could give rough conditions for a time and the big question is whether or not we can get far enough NE of our present position to avoid the strongest winds and seas - Later - speed has dropped even more - to 2.5-3kt .... Grrr!! 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 145. We made 116 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 145 (by daily DMGs): 13,508 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3342 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4295 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1164 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1258 n.ml. to NW; Marion Isl: 487 n.ml SSW; Kerguelen Isl: 1196 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1560 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 533 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-56.99S LONGITUDE: 043-39.23E COURSE: 069T SPEED: 3.1kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.0m BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 24.0C COMMENT: Wind died again this afternoon - back to a very slow walking pace..

Day 144 Sat-Sun 23-24 Feb 2019 Slow, slow, slow... but sunny and warm....

Sunday 6amLT/0300GMT A lovely sunrise here - bright sun just cleared the E horizon. Very thin, high cloud layer of stratus with about 20% solid cloud around on the horizon and a waning half-moon high up - looks so small compared with when it rises or sets! Just finished on radio but a lot of static on frequency to quite a few stations, although E. coast USA and (snowy!) Montreal came in really well - clear signals. Florida and Maine came booming in by 0300Z. Nice to hear Gil, N2GG, from New Mexico - greetings to the rest of the 7155 group! Seas down around 2m/6ft but wind also very light overnight and now - so speed right down to 2.5kt most of the time...very slow... Hoping for more wind later today - back to bunk for some more sleep now! 11am Still a painfully slow but sunny day - no change in wind, as yet.... Just creeping along on a beam reach in almost no wind... Time for coffee ...while I think about getting ready for making a big stew again.. and maybe something different for Sunday lunch. 7pm Well, it's been a thoroughly enjoyable, calm, relaxed, quite sunny day, despite thin overcast a lot of the time... The sun showed itself brightly for a time, just before setting behind a low bank of grey cloud. Replenished some galley supplies - best to do so now, before getting into strong weather in a few days' time. Caught up on emails - although I had a problem contacting Cape Town over the day to receive and send my radio emails - fine after sunset, but not before - a sign of getting further away from the S.African coast - nearest point is now roughly East London, about 780 n.ml. away. 8:30pm Had an excellent set of radio contacts with S.Africans - nice to have clear, strong signals coming from Durban down to Cape Town and around to the W. coast beyond. (Couple more photos from Thursday... - white-chinned akbatross and big seas approaching Nereida) 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 144. We made 60 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 144 (by daily DMGs): 13,392 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3431 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4346 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1065 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1159 n.ml. to NW; Marion Isl: 400 n.ml to SSW; Kerguelen Isl: 1270 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1663 n.ml. to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 635 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-38.61S LONGITUDE: 041-16.81E COURSE: 073T SPEED: 2.5kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 2.0m BARO: 1012.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: Very light wind still - speed is less than walking pace! 60ml DMG;

Day 143 Fri-Sat 22-23 Feb 2019 Yet another day of light wind ...

Saturday 3:50am Down below after several trips to adjust Fred - clearly a S-going current was trying to stop us heading up - but finally got us back on course after a wind shift. Sky is cloudy but moon is getting through the occasional break in the clouds and is so bright anyway that it's giving a twilight effect - easy to see everything on deck without any extra light. Back to my bunk for some more sleep before a 5.30am LT radio session... 11:30am/0830Z Bright day, with sun shining hazily through thin cloud layer. Wind still not very strong - have only been managing around 4.5kt, occasionally getting to 5kt - wind up and down. Full genoa plus staysail and trysail. Trying to make 070T - pretty much on a beam reach. Seas less now, at just over 2m/6.5ft. No birds in sight. Having late breakfast. 2pm Wind has picked up a little - we're mostly making around 5kt, although dropping down often. Propagation to S.African stations is getting more difficult - depending on how good their rig is and how much power they are putting out. Just tried calling Marjoke, ZS5V, near Durban, on 20m - but neither of us could hear the other well enough to chat. It's surprising how far my boat radio system often reaches - having the seawater as the ground makes a tremendous difference and helps a lot, despite the low power output. I run an Icom 801 with an automatic tuner - it invariably works well and is highly reliable, despite the difficult salt-water atmosphere. As with most sailing boats, the backstay doubles as the antenna - mine has the excellent Petersen insulators near each end of the backstay. 6pm Wind is definitely dying down now, as we skirt a High pressure area - we've been making under 4kt for a time, often 3kt or less.... Mileage (DMG) today will not be a good one. Mostly cloudy sky, with a thin grey layer spreading over - sun not showing too often. Have spent a time watching a pair of Antarctic prions circling together and swooping around astern - lovely birds! A pair of yellow-nosed albatross have been nearby as well. 7:30pmLT/1630Z Having some CuppaSoup followed by a freeze-dried meal - not my faourite but since I have quite a few of them, might as well use them - quick and simple to prepare! Light fading fast so best to deal with galley while I can still see without lighting needed. Really slowed down now - 2.5-3kt is the speed (SOG) we're making... Less than walking pace! Looks as though wind won't fill in until tomorrow afternoon. 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 143. We made 98 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 143 (by daily DMGs): 13,332 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3478 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4374 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1014 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1109 n.ml. to NW. Halfway point: 688 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-56.97S LONGITUDE: 040-01.11E COURSE: 076T SPEED: 2.8kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.0m BARO: 1015hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C COMMENT: Slow progress in very light wind - drifting!

Day 142 Thurs-Fri 21-22 Feb 2019 Another time zone - and a pleasant, sunny but slow day

Thursday evening - Feeling calm with light wind and good-sized swell, but well spaced. Clear sky with lots of stars initially and waning near-full moon shining brightly. Just about making 3 kt or more Friday 5:30am Sunrise before 5am LT - high, thin stratus with some blue patches. Wind veered overnight to W so nearly dead downwind now, making 3.5kt. No birds yet. Sending position/weather report. Air 17C, sea 21C. Big pile up of stations making contact from 4.30am onward - mostly from US but VO1CAL still managing just about to make contact from Newfoundland! Nice to have several friends calling in. Back to my bunk for more sleep. 10am High, thin stratus layer with hazy sun shining through. Air and sea temperatures down- sea around 17C - just less than air. Rolling around in swell - still a good size, from SW. Having breakfast while dealing with emails and studying weather update and possible routing - will gybe onto port tack shortly - wind has veered into WNW so will head roughly E then. 11:20am On port tack now, 320 n.miles N of the scientific station on tiny Marion Island and 1380 n.miles S of the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique, on the Mozambique Channel. Lovely, smooth, peaceful, downwind sailing in bright sunshine! Albatross soaring not far away. Seas well up, at 3m or more, and coming onto our stern from WSW - no problem. Time to get some breakfast - not had anything so far - keep thinking GMT - but we're two hours ahead.. Fruit juice to start with (mango today), then cereal with nuts, seeds and dried fruit... Fresh coffee sounds good - it's not too rough now to put the pot on. Major clean-up in the galley. Having finished my stew yesterday, the pressure cooker needed attention, plus a few other items - nice to have it all clean and tidy. And the coffee is great! 3pm Made a major course change a couple of hours or so ago, after studying grib files showing weather ahead and a related email from Peter, ZL1PWM. Totally missed the SAMM Net, being busy on deck.. (SAMM = S. African Maritime Mobile) There are three big weather systems coming up, that I'll need to avoid the worst of, if possible: 1. A Low with strong Cold Front crossing our path, headed SE from E.African coast, ETA 27/8th Feb 2. A nasty-looking Low heading E, ETA 1/2March passing right over us unless we get above its centre in time - if we can. Looks as though it has quite a kick to it. 3. Tropical cyclone (it's the season for them) forecast to come down from Madagascar, ETA on 8th March around 33S 77E tracking SE, with winds of 80 knots in its SW quadrant which is close to where we might be around then, at 40S... Still a long way ahead, so things could change a lot, but something clearly to keep a good eye on as we head E. Might need a major evading tactic if it develops as predicted just now. So .... we're now rushing along ENE at the incredible speed of 3.7kt (!) to see how far N we can get in next 6 days... Apart from lack of mainsail available, there's the small problem of High pressure areas on the way - so even lighter winds than the 10kt or less I'm seeing now, to slow us down. If we can maintain 4kt average SOG, we can make it, otherwise we'll be in for a repeat, or stronger, of the rough conditions we had a few days ago - not the end of the world but good to avoid if possible! Either I might need to deploy the Jordaan Series Drogue (JSD) or I might just keep going under trysail and small staysail - all depends on situation at the time. Being Southern Ocean weather, it could all change overnight... It's the big, close together, tumbling seas that build up quickly with strong winds that become a problem... I shall make another big thick soup/stew in advance - nice to have quick, easy, satisfying, hot meals in stormy weather. In the meantime, I'm editing my bird photos from yesterday evening - another sunset-and-birds shot plus more albatrosses and white-chinned petrels - there was a big gang of them swooping around last evening! Today, very few - just an albatross seen, in fact. Have realised that the young albatross being mainly chocolate brown makes it and its parents Wandering Albatrosses - confirmed by black end on their white tail - Royal albatrosses have all-white tails (some maybe have just a few dark feathers) and seems their young are not dark brown. Still feeling very peaceful - very relaxing.... 5:30pm Sun getting low - need to change the clock another hour forward - we passed over the 'new time zone marker' at 037 30'E sometime early this afternoon - so local time now is actually 6:30pm, as in Nairobi, Istanbul and Moscow - I'll change it after the end of this log report... Wind has died down further - we're making just 3.3kt. Having a simple evening meal of tuna and sweetcorn with a little mayonnaise - it's been warm enough today not to need a hot meal - and no cooking is required! 6:30pm Sun has set - looking rather like a bank of low cloud in the W. Not a bird in sight tonight... but I have lots of photos of them. 8:30pm Moon is rising, very bright, first stars are showing, thin cloud layer spreading over. Wind up slightly - better SOG now... 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 142. We made 79 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 142 (by daily DMGs): 13,234 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3557 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4423 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 932 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1027 n.ml. to NW. Halfway point: 778 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/22 20:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-24.89S LONGITUDE: 037-56.44E COURSE: 074T SPEED: 4.6kt WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 50% BARO: 1018.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C COMMENT: Slow progress in light wind most of the day.

Day 141 Wed-Thurs 20-21 Feb 2019

Wednesday 9:40pm Wind just backed all around from NNW to WSW - we just turned to port through a right angle! Time to gybe and get back on course - raining... 10:30pm Well, we gybed - but in pitch darkness it's so easy for something to go wrong - and it did... The lazy genoa sheet has got totally tangled with the sheet in use - too dark to do anything about it in safety now - will have to wait for daylight to try to sort it out. I tried to ease the one sheet as the other took up the slack and the sail came around in the gybe but ... no go... At least the wind has died now that the front has gone through. It's a lot calmer and the seas are a lot smoother going more downwind. Having some stew and will try to get some sleep. Hopefully the swell will be less after a few hours of lighter wind so it will be easier working on deck as I try to release the knots - won't be easy... Thursday 8:30am Bright and sunny with plenty of large white scattered clouds. Seas still big and close together - so we're rolling around a lot. Lots of white crests - 'white horses'! - so good Force 4-5 wind making it around 16kt or more. Lots of birds around - many coming really close to the boat. Getting a good look at a yellow-nosed albatross and white-chinned petrel in particular as they soar over the stern - must get the camera out. Think I also saw a sooty albatross - typical albatross shape, all-dark with glossy areas on underwings - must check in my bird book. Having breakfast before tackling the tangled genoa sheet - will take my marlin spike with me - that's such a useful item to have on board for undoing tight knots. Can't unfurl any more genoa until that's done. Sending off position/weather report to Winlink/Shiptrak. Several emails received - one about Uku's GGR time penalty - sad - he has so little food left and is so anxious to finish. I wish I could hear the recording of the radio conversation. Often it's not easy to hear the other person very clearly - especially when a high level of static noise present. I wonder which ham operators were involved and how recent this was? 11am Unravelling the genoa sheet (rope!) was nothig like as difficult as I'd imagined - it was simply looped around the other one - but many, many times... I might have attempted it last night if I'd realised how easy it would be - but best to stay safe. Seas have calmed down a lot now and although they're still big, they're more spaced apart. Wind also, unfortunately, so although the genoa is now full, we're only making 4kt. No more white horses out here... but plenty of birds close by, often resting in groups in the water. A pair of yellow-nosed albatross frequently seem to be taking a rest. 2:30pm We're mostly only making 2-3kt, 3.3kt is good! Mileage today will not be high... Cloudy sky alhough white, not grey, and air temperature has just hit the 20C - was 17-18C most of the morning. The sea, 23C, is warmer! 6pm Nearing sunset, with bright orange-red sun sinking down into a few streaks of cloud in an otherwise clear sky. So many birds around on this peaceful afternoon! Wandering and yellow-nosed albatrosses, with an all-dark (except for white face) juvenile Wandering, a few prions, lots of white-chinned petrels - several with distinct white 'chin' at base of their bill, a couple of storm petrels - the usual gang! They are definitely attracted to the boat - and frequently rest in the water nearby. Seas are actually very big - some at 4m/13ft - and coming from both SSW and W. Very little wind so have been making slow progress, presently at 3-4kt but most of the afternoon at under 3kt. 1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 141. We made 95 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 141 (by daily DMGs): 13,155 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3631 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4478 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 858 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 954 n.ml. to NW. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/02/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-26.59S LONGITUDE: 036-11.27E COURSE: 095T SPEED: 3.2kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: S SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 0% BARO: 1019.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C COMMENT: Struggling in lt wind against Agulhas counter-current - flowing N-NE?;

Day 140 Tues-Wed 19-20 Feb 2019 Strong winds, rough seas and rain as CF passes over

Tuesday 11.30pm Bright, bright moon lighting up the rough seas! Frequently getting seas washing over the decks - beam seas make fr a rough motion. We're making 7.7kt, often 8kt, even though I just reduced the genoa some more. Wind seems quite strong - maybe 20kt? - so furled it in to the 2nd reef mark. Nice to be making good speed. Time to get to my bunk for some sleep.

Wednesday 5:10am Day is dawning - quite light now, although sun not quite up yet. Pretty rough seas, with wind well over 20kt from N-NNW - being thrown around a lot, making around 7kt. Best place to be is in my bunk!

Just finished with a lot of radio contacts - nice to hear a lot of familiar ones in there - including Newfoundland and Ottowa, along with Rusty, W6OAT, coming through from Seattle, and a few S.American stations.

8:45am Up to post position and weather reports - strong conditions.. Adjusted Fred and reduced genoa.

10am Raining again - sky has been covered with rainclouds all morning and wind is 25kt or more... Reduced genoa some more... Still making 6-7kt, more in gusts.

11:15 am Suddenly, has calmed down - no more 'bucking bronco' motion...! Noise of wind in rigging has disappeared... 30kt wind has just vanished... Wind direction is still from N - hasn't switched to SW yet.... in fact, has veered to NNE just now. More rain. Time for a snooze - feeling I need one - very disturbed overnight sleep.

11:50am No snooze yet! That was a lull... but 30kt wind has lessened to mid-20s. Still raining and speed back up to 6-7kt. Will adjust Fred and then get to my bunk..

2:30pm Back down below, drying off after unfurling genoa in the rain. The wind is clearly dying down a lot now. To begin with, unfurling some of the genoa resulted in us making 6kt fom 5kt but now, not long after, we're struggling to make 4.5kt with full genoa. We're on a broad reach, heading SE still and the wind is from N-NNW. Magnetic variation is now 40 degrees W - the instruments still don't accept that such a large value can exist - 'invalid data' message still being displayed!

3:20pm Back down - had to get my wet jacket back on and go up again to adjust Fred - we were heading well off course with a wind shift. Rain has stopped but everything very wet. Making better speed. Wind keeps shifting so having to adjust Fred quite often - will keep wet gear on for time being! Time for some food....

5pm Wind increased again a while ago - we're back into 'bucking bronco' mode... Furled in genoa a bit to reduce heeling. Making around 6 kt.

Sea temperature dropped down to 18C now - air temperature similar - cooled down with rain. Steel grey solid cloud to S, broken light grey clouds to N with small patches of blue - we're skirting the edge of the bank of dark rain cloud, heading E now.

Still trying to get to some food - spent quite a time up on deck, trimming, furling in, adjusting Fred or just watching the scene around... seas, clouds, birds, our motion...

Yellow-nosed albatross came very close for quite a time earlier - very inquisitive. Was worried it might get too close to wind generator, it was so close off our stern, looking at me. No camera to hand for a close up shot - pity!

7pm Getting dark- sunset was half an hour ago. Need to adjust our course again - so many times over the day - the wind has really been shifting around a lot - cloudy conditions probably the reason why. Furled in more genoa - wind had strengthened, seas were rougher and we were headed more into them. Will have to gybe sometime soon so not a bad thing to have less sail. Would prefer not to have to do it in darkness but no choice.

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 140. We made 148 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 140 (by daily DMGs): 13,208 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3717 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4544 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 771 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 866 n.ml. to N.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-20.23S LONGITUDE: 034-05.13E COURSE: 079T SPEED: 6.3kt


BARO: 1007.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C

COMMENT: Rough seas all day Wind up again... Frequent rain;