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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 139 Mon-Tues 18-19 Feb 2019 Agulhas Current makes itself felt! Speeds of 9.7kt seen

Monday 10:20pm Slow progress SE just now, under a bright moon showing occasionally between broken cloud. Unfurled the genoa when I realised the wind had come up but it took a long time to organise Fred and add in the correct amount of helm in order to keep us heading in a vaguely E direction. Current is still noticeable and NE wind that kicked in dropped almost immediately - very light now so we're only making around 3kt - but better that, than drifting in no wind at far less speed!

Heated up my stew earlier - just about to enjoy some before getting to my bunk..

Tuesday 1:20am Just let out all the genoa again, in light wind ... Had gusted up strongly a short while ago, so had furled in a fair amount as we were heeling a lot - but that was not needed later since wind has settled down under a mainly clear sky. We're making 4kt now, ESE, in NNE wind. A full moon is lighting up everything - no need for extra light to see what I'm doing on deck - a lovely night now, in fact.

Daybreak here around 0320GMT/5:20amLT after a good session on 7160 from 0230Z - back to my bunk for more sleep! Making 4.1kt, SE, in gentle NNE wind and light swell - on W side of a High pressure area that is moving E...

9am Looks as though wind will be staying roughly NNE at 10kt or more over today with light swell. Quick breakfast and I'll see what can be achieved today. Expecting rain and Cold Front to pass over tomorrow so only today possible for work on deck. Bigger seas forecast for some time after today also.

Midday Wind has got up more - to 15kt - so we're making just over 5kt but making work more difficult on deck with increased choppy seas. Have managed to get an idea of length of tear by using a length of twine - about 9ft. Found another small tear - will put some Gorilla tape over it on both sides. Downloaded weather files and had a good look over those. Also having regularly to keep an eye on shipping nearby using AIS - " S'Hail Al Wajbah" is making for Shibushi - they changed course slightly to avoid coming so close as originally - was going to pass within half a mile, now 1.5ml. Agreed, over VHF, to pass on our port side.

1:10pm Back down below after dealing with small tear I found. Boat is making 5.5kt and moving a lot in the seas so not easy to work high up on deck beside the boom. Beginning to wonder when I'll be able to get much more done - to repair the sail requires undoing most of the sail ties to expose entire length of tear to work on - not possible in any wind. Also not possible to deal with loose section of genoa UV strip in present wind either.

Ship has just passed - on N horizon, 3 miles off - big cargo vessel headed to Japan. Warned me of Force 6 winds expected tomorrow and day after - kind of him! There's the Cold Front coming tomorrow with rain and winds possibly gusting up to 30kt - that's what his warning related to.

2pm Wind has increased further, although a bit gusty - we're frequently making over 6.5kt - excellent! Still very sunny, with 50% cloud and feeling quite warm - air temperature and sea temperature both 24C - nice!

3:45pm Amazing! We've clearly got into a strong current region of the Agulhas Current - at 40 10'S 030 10'E - we've been making a consistent SOG of 8.7kt, reaching 9kt often, over the last half hour, probably more. Heading has been roughly ESE but COG (actual course over the ground) is more SE due to current. Wind is from N and just over 15kt, 18kt maybe - not enough to account for that SOG! The seas have been very rough and confused and we've been pounding into them a lot, even though they're more or less on our beam. Nice to have the current helping our speed like this - still seeing 8.7kt... Wouldn't like to be going against it - wouldn't make much headway, for sure!

5:40pm SOG held at 9.5kt for quite some time - back to a mere 8.7-.0 9kt now...! Sea temperature back up again - to 25.8C

7pm SOG was holding at over 9kt. Sea temperature 28.3C. Decided, with sunset, to furl in some genoa for overnight and readied the staysail for use later instead, possibly - shouldn't be needed since winds are expected to stay below 20kt until early tomorrow morning but nothing like being prepared....

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 139. We made 127 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Distance boosted by Agulhas Current

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 139 (by daily DMGs): 13,060 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3868 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4680 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 623 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 719 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: 2019/02/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-29.70S LONGITUDE: 031-01.07E COURSE: 112T SPEED: 7.8kt
BARO: 1016.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C
COMMENT: Agulhas Current boosting speed a lot. Saw 9.7kt SOG often!

Day 138 Sun-Mon 17-18 Feb 2019 Wind dies completely - eventually kicks in, but very light again

Sunday 11pm Nearly full moon lighting up the sea and a few bright stars showing in between broken cloud cover. Wind fairly light, making boat speed of ~3kt. Back to slow progress as we get into yet another High system.

Monday 5.40am Clear sky overhead... A yellow-nosed albatross and several white-chinned petrels circle around as the sun rises - a vivid red ball above low grey cloud on the E horizon. Low bank of pink cloud to N. Boat speed 2.4kt. Air pressure 1021 hPa - High pressure area with light winds for a time.

9am Wind has backed further - to SE... Becoming difficult to make our course at a reasonable speed - now making under 2kt with COG roughly NE.

Sunny day, with a lot of high cirrus. Seas up a little more and quite choppy.

11:30am We were only making 1.5kt or less. so gybed around onto port tack and immediately noticed the Agulhas Current effect - we're now making SOG of 4kt, with COG just E of S, but only making about 1 kt through the water! The current is having a far greater effect than our boat speed resulting from sailing to the very light wind. I'm trying to edge us further E but the wind is in the E so we're just about making 165T. By this evening, the wind should freshen up from the NE more so, with better boat speed, we should make a better course - that is, a more Easterly course, with our better boat speed offsetting the speed and direction of the current somewhat... The current should diminish with time, as we get further S and E.

Uncomfortable motion, with choppy seas and heading into the waves.

3pm Sea has really calmed down now, so I'm getting a couple of quick'n'easy but important jobs done before starting on the major ones - don't know how long these calm conditions will last and there are more Highs coming up soon enough...

First job was to change over from an empty tank to a full propane tank for gas supply to galley cooker. Just needed a big spanner (wrench!) to undo the nut at the connection - awkward position in the aft lazarette but not a difficult job. Nice to be able to do it in relatively light conditions - rolly but not much wind. Had a coffee afterwards to check all was working OK - hot food & drink is good!

5:30pm Next job, just finished, was to give Fred a new cover - took a time to tension the lacing but just needed some time and a small amount of effort - looks good when finished. The Hydrovane vane is lightweight aluminium with a bright red, light fabric cover that gets stretched over the framework with lacing at the base. With no wind and drifting SE in the current, it seemed a good time to get it done - the top of the cover was damaged. Think I'd allowed it to rub on a solar panel very early on in the voyage and that had cut it slightly - not possible for that to happen now but the damage was done. It has slowly been wearing and coming apart ever since and has had me worried about it for quite a time. A good thing it's rip-stop nylon since it's survived relatively intact for quite a time remarkably well and hasn't prevented Fred from working fine.. So Fred is now back in action with a lovely new face-lift! Perching on the steps at the stern was involved so clearly I needed calm conditions to be safe while removing and, later, replacing the vane.

Light is beginning to fade now so further work on deck is difficult. Think we've got ourselves in middle of the High by not getting S fast enough earlier today... there was not enough wind for long enough - and the S-going current didn't stay strong enough either... So tomorrow might be another work day, although it's possible a NE wind might kick in this evening or tonight - I just don't know - will have to wait and see what happens....

We're presently drifting SE at 1kt in the current with the bow pointing N! Almost no discernible wind and sea is glassy although still a slight swell - great pity it isn't possible to work on deck overnight....

6:15pm Caught sight of my breakfast cereal still waiting to be eaten - a bit late in the day! Have had several drinks but no food - no wonder I'm feeling hungry! Jobs seemed more urgent to get done, while in these calm conditions, than food.

Just furled in genoa to stop it flogging in the swell with no wind. Had another look at the leech line - the cause of the UV strip problem. Somehow it got jammed quite a time ago in the small cleat near the foot of the sail that is there to hold it tensioned when in use - I've tried to release it several times but just cannot. In trying to release it, I only made things a bit worse - should have realised the resulting creasing along the leech would eventually cause a wear problem - just have no idea what to do about it, other than cutting the leech line in the cleat - always assuming I can access it there - it's high up for short people like me to get to. Don't want to cut the sail cloth - would cause another problem...

In the meantime, I now need to lower the genoa most of the way to the deck in order to try to repair the UV strip damage high up... Not something to do successfully single-handed if any wind at all and needs a fair amount of time for doing the repair on deck before hoisting the sail - again in no wind, preferably .... All a definite challenge.... and light is fading fast now so can't even start it.

7:30pm Usual evening 'sked' on 7105 - quite a few S.African contacts made.

9pm NE wind just kicked in - having to unfurl genoa and try to get us underway - difficult - wind very light...

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 138. We made just 35 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Headed N, then back S - so not far in E direction!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 138 (by daily DMGs): 12,933 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3995 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4799 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 497 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 593 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: 2019/02/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-26.19S LONGITUDE: 028-38.37E COURSE: 140T SPEED: 3.3kt


BARO: 1020.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Wind kicked in but rather light.Current effect still dominating

Day 137 Sat-Sun 16-17 Feb 2019 Fair wind overnight but slow again over the day

Saturday 10:30pm Rain has cleared away, although dark clouds can be seen to N still. Broken cloud overhead with occasional star showing through. Wind still quite good and we're making around 6kt still but it feels as though it's dying again... getting gusty - our speed keeps dropping and then picking up again, but generally decreasing slowly.

Sea temperature is well up again - 26.3C - so we must be back in the Agulhas Current although that can't be too strong since I'm not seeing an effect on our COG compared with our boat heading.

Magnetic variation is up to 34W - far too big to be ignored! But my instruments are not accepting such a high value - I'm getting an 'invalid data' message when I try to adjust the settings manually!

Sunday 1:45am Just tried to call Tapio on 'Asteria' but there's a radio contest this weekend - all the band around that frequency was full of lots of CW transmissions (Morse Code) so it was impossible to make contact tonight - frustrating!

Back to my bunk for sleep before my next radio 'sked' at 5am LT.

VERY bumpy now - the swell has really built up with 'wind over current' effect - wind from SSW against S-flowing Agulhas Current - 26.3C sea water temperature just now.

2:30am Speed down now ... to 3.6-4.5 kt.

10am Wind lighter and from S. Boat speed around 4kt - difficult to make speed upwind and in the lighter wind. Sea temperature down to 22.4C now. Seas slightly less.

Was trying to listen on the frequencies Tapio and Jari (shore contact) were using - but nothing heard. Tapio must be OK if he's keeping to the pre-arranged radio schedule (Jari tries to keep me updated by email on frequency being used.)

2:30pm Sun is getting out between broken white cloud. Swell is not too bad but we seem to be often pounding into it, being close-hauled still in S wind of maybe 10-12kt, struggling to make a speed of only 3-3.5kt. We seem to be having many more days of light wind giving slow speed than stronger wind giving good speed - need a wind of well over 15kt and, preferably, for us to be headed downwind. Any upwind travel immediately gives poor boat speed - that's when the damaged mainsail is badly missed.

Noticed last night that a small section of the reverse side of the genoa UV strip has come loose and is flapping - can only get worse but nothing to be done until we're in calm conditions (where have I heard that before?) - the genoa is effectively the main sail at present.

5:30pm Made good radio contact with some West coast ham friends in USA - first time since Pacific on this trip - similar to first time on last nonstop trip - that was on 16th Feb 2013, today is just one day later!

Broken cloud - lots of blue in between. Sun beginning to get low in the sky... Ambling slowly at 3.5kt in 10-12kt S wind.... trying to head more NE but rather dependent on wind - Fred doing a fine job, as usual. Pressure right up now - at 1022.3 hPa. Sea temperature down at 22C.

Making a stew - frying a chopped up onion, will add sliced potatoes, sweetcorn, green beans, tomatoes and beef chunks with gravy plus extra beef gravy if needed.. Hope to have easy 'ready' meals for 2-3 days... Later: Propane just ran out as I finished cooking.... good/lucky timing! A relief! Could have been earlier and then - no hot stew until daylight tomorrow...! Must change the gas tank in the morning - should be fairly calm so, although means spending a time with a big spanner in an aft deck lazarette, shouldn't be a problem. As it is, I'm enjoying the result - a tasty, hot meal. (I do actually have a back up of a small camping-style stove with gas cartridge but it's only for small quantities of food or water - single-serving amounts)

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 137. We made 102 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Pleased and surprised that we made just over 100 miles!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 137 (by daily DMGs): 12,898 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 4023 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4817 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 470 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 566 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: 2019/02/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-33.50S LONGITUDE: 027-52.74E COURSE: 051T SPEED: 3.0kt


BARO: 1023.4hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Very slow most of today - in High now.

Day 136 Fri-Sat 15-16 Feb 2019 Cold Front passes over - we make over 7kt for a time!!

Friday 11pm A lovely moonlit night with wide path of silver light across a fairly calm sea, with Southern Cross high above. Wind is already slightly increased and is forecast to increase further to around 15kt or more over Saturday until Sunday morning, when it will lessen again, as we come into the next High pressure system for the following 2-3 days of light winds.
Making 3.2kt at present - double the average speed over the day earlier! All very quiet and peaceful...

Saturday 2:30am Wind is increasing - we're making 4.1kt!

Had a nice long chat with Tapio ('Asteria') on 40m - finally... A bit late for me, being well after midnight, in my time zone, but good to make it after several days of trying...

To my bunk now - sleep!

5:30am Sun not quite over the horizon but not far away - plenty of light in the sky and pink sky in the E... Lots of broken, light cloud overhead and darker, greyer cloud a good distance away to S.

7:30am Tried to contact Tapio again, on 20m, but nothing heard. (Later: gathered he didn't come up on frequency as he usually does - so hope all is OK with him.)

Stowed a bag of garbage out of the way, ready for eventual landfall. Mainly juice & milk cartons, well-rinsed with sea water and squashed flat with pourer removed and stored separately - surprising how many cartons can be squashed flat into a small space! Will definitely be running out of liquid/UHT milk before landfall - I'd cut right down on quantity, trying to save weight on board, so will have to rely on powdered milk only from then on. Will enjoy fresh milk that much more when I get back!

11am Mainly cloudy sky now. Wind has kicked in finally - making 5kt and heading NE for a bit, positioning ready for light winds in High soon. Wind expected to back slowly at first and then quickly into SSW later today - by nightfall, probably.

3pm A few petrels and shearwaters around under a totally overcast sky - but cloud layer fairly thin, so quite bright. Actually making nearly 6kt just now - amazing! Hope it keeps up for a bit before we're back into light winds again...

6pm Dull grey sky - gloomy, even, and feeling damp. But we're still making a reasonable speed, although it's dropped now to 5kt as we've come more onto a broad reach with the wind having backed slowly. Time must be getting close to when we'll need to gybe, as the wind backs further from its present W direction to SSW finally - that's the forecast, anyway!
Have been very relaxed today - have been enjoying reading, with a mug of tea in hand just now, after an early meal.

Feels as though wind may be dying... Certainly not very strong now.

Just heard Tapio is back on course at 5.8kt - so seems he's fine - good news! Will find out later, hopefully, why he was stopped for 5-7hrs

The wind seems to have changed - time to gybe is imminent...

...It just rained! Hadn't realised - but that was why the wind backed suddenly... On with the wet weather gear...

Centred the boom ready for the gybe - but the wind is still in the W - will wait a bit longer until it goes around to the WSW, or more, before gybing the genoa.

The usual group of birds is close by - four storm petrels circling us, yellow-nosed albatross came gliding by, two pairs of white-chinned petrels and a great shearwater. Was amused to see a white-chinned petrel being followed closely by the shearwater for quite a way - companionship??

Sky is full of low, dark grey-blue rain clouds and wind has definitely died down a lot - we're only making just over 5kt now. Light is fading.

7:30pm Raining well now - fine, not heavy, but under solid rain cloud. Furled in some genoa after gybing it, as wind had increased quite a lot and backed to SSW. Now making 6.5-7.5 kt on starboard tack - nice to see a good speed for a time! Won't last long... :-(

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 136. We made 102 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Speed increased as day wore on today.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 136 (by daily DMGs): 12,796 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 4097 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4857 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 415 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 509 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: 2019/02/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-02.17S LONGITUDE: 025-45.53E COURSE: 064T SPEED: 7.2kt
BARO: 1012.9hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 26.0C
COMMENT: Wind up with Cold Front passing over. Rain. Speed up for short time!2019-02-16 Sunrise 0545LT 40S 024E.JPG2019-02-16 white-chinned petrels 40S 025E.jpg

Day 135 Thurs-Fri 14-15 Feb 2019 Lots of sunshine but very little wind....

Into the next time zone - now GMT + 2hr - same time as in Athens/Helsinki/Pretoria/Cairo etc

Thursday Beautiful clear night - once the moon was lower or had set, the stars were clear to see - the Milky Way looking almost like a long,thin cloud, so many faint stars within it to add to the usual brighter, familiar ones. Very little wind, so drifting along.

Friday 6am Daylight has just brightened up the sky - pink clouds everywhere - and the sun is about to rise above the E horizon but will be hidden by a cloud bank - mostly broken cloud around.

Came up twenty minutes late for the usual 0300Z (5am LT) radio sked so missed most people on frequency - just a couple of S.African stations still around to make contact with and then a couple of W.coast USA stations came on.

Needed to adjust Fred quite a lot to run almost dead downwind to make our course. Gybed the trysail over to go goose-winged but will probably need to gybe the genoa as well if the wind backs any further. We're presently headed just slightly N of E at 2.5kt in a light W wind - pretty calm just now. Back to my bunk after sending off my position and weather report for this morning.

10am LT Gybed around, taking the genoa over.

Went to pick up another flying fish on deck - probably one I missed seeing yesterday since they don't normally end up on board except in rough conditions overnight. Also spotted something by the toe-rail near the bow - a big screw - off the genoa furler. Lucky it ended up still on board and didn't manage to jump overboard as things normally do... bounce...splash..!

10:25am Put some Loctite on the screw when I replaced it just now - it's slightly more proud than it should be, which is worrying, but it is in tightly as far as it will go, so I hope it stays put.

Making all of 2kt under a clear sky now - clouds have moved away and are only on the horizon. Heading ESE, hoping to stay in slightly better wind, even though maybe getting even lighter until at least tonight, maybe longer.

Breakfast now, then we'll see what we can achieve with the mainsail - seas are quite rolly but they might lie down a bit more over the day.

11am Have been trying to download weather files for quite some time this morning. The Iridium satellite system and the Aurora wifi terminal I have on board (courtesy GMN who have kindly also donated the airtime required, along with the GPS tracker) are fabulous - but signals are often dropped and transfer rates are very slow - so, great as it is to have the end result - big weather files - it tests my patience at times.... I usually deal with emails and study the weather over breakfast, if I can - but not just now!

Midday Goose-winged again, heading E at 2-2.5 kt in very light WSW wind.

While on deck, after gybing the trysail and adjusting Fred, I studied the swell... I couldn't understand why we seemed to be rolling around so much, so often. It turns out that the swell is bigger than I'd thought - over 3m, but well apart, and with a second, rather smaller swell from another direction. The net result being a lot of rockin' and rollin' - frustrating since I really thought I'd get somewhere with the repair in the light winds today. On the one hand, the sail is getting dried by the hot sun but, on the other, the overnight dew is so heavy the sail quickly gets very wet again then. Even taking the measurement I need is going to be problematic on the folded, tied down sail.

6pm Making around 1.5kt.... Sun is getting low in a clear blue sky - the only cloud to be seen forms a thin line in the S. The swell has been consistently long and quite big at 3m all day - hasn't reduced as I'd hoped. Had a nap earlier and have just gybed the genoa over to port, to join the trysail which had been goosewinged. Don't like to hear the genoa being noisy with the combination of swell and light wind - must be giving it wear.

Looked at the Gorilla tape used in the repair, it's not 100% stuck well where the leech material is thick and buckled slightly so definitely needs reinforcing and covering with the sail material I have - it's the practicalities of doing what I feel I need to do that has become a big challenge if I'm to have the use of the mainsail again...

A few birds are flying around: a Yellow-nosed albatross, White-chinned petrel, Great shearwater ... and a storm petrel which flies low over the water, around and around 'Nereida' - makes me dizzy trying to follow it!

7:30pm Almost dark - chatting on radio. About to try making contact again with Tapio (GGR on 'Asteria') - in one hour's time, at 1830Z - but I think 20m is not good since, although Tapio is in daylight still (he's N of the Falklands now), I'll be in darkness. Trying on 40m later this evening should work better. We need to change the time of any attempt to make contact on 20m.

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 135. We made 66 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Not much wind = not much progress!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 135 (by daily DMGs): 12,674 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 4175 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4903 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 373 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 460 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: 2019/02/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-21.96S LONGITUDE: 023-34.79E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 2.5kt
BARO: 1011.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Sunny day but little wind - poor progress made

Day 134 Wed-Thurs 13-14 Feb 2019 Happy Valentine's Day! Sunny and clear - but little wind during the day, so limited progress made.

Wednesday evening/night Wind and seas a lot calmer, a lovely clear sky with bright moon and stars - very pleasant end to a great day - a relief to have rounded the two Capes in good wind finally - next Cape to pass is Leeuwin, in S.W. Australia, several weeks away.

Was great to enjoy celebrating the Great Cape rounding with friends in B.C. and elsewhere - thanks for joining me!

Thursday Wind slowly died down overnight and by morning was very, very light - boat speed at dawn was close to 5 kt but dropped rapidly very soon after.
Awake a lot overnight, so slept on this morning.

Midday Clear blue sky and still very little wind, so not much boat speed... Only making just over 2kt... According to weather files, we have 16kt of wind - but I think it's actually more like 8kt! The High pressure to the N of us has clearly spread down further to give this light wind. It's very peaceful, but it's also frustrating to be moving so slowly. Temperature is well up under the clear sky and hot sun - it feels like summer today!

Have been clearing up and replenishing in galley - cereal and dried milk powder needed topping up and I found some overlooked tomatoes and blueberries - had a mess to clear up!

Had hoped to turn my attention to the mainsail while seas are reasonably calm - tomorrow, hopefully. I want to measure along the length of the torn sail to check that the material I have will be enough. I can do some preparatory work on it down below once I have certain measurements. Seas aren't too bad just now, although occasionally a bigger set appears and we start rolling around a lot for a time.

7:30pm Sunset was at 6:35pm - blaze of orange against the clear blue sky. We're nearly into the next time zone (marker is 22*30'E)- which will put us into the Central African Time of GMT + 2 hr

With the day having been so clear and warm, there's a heavy dew - I went to adjust Fred, having gybed around earlier, and found the cockpit dripping wet under a bright moon and a starry sky.

Sea temperature has come down a lot from yesterday's high of over 28C - now around 21C so we're clearly out of the Agulhas current - which has no longer been affecting our course, so my worries about being swept S were needless.

Found a small flying fish dried up on the side deck - must have ended up there when the rough seas of two days ago were washing the decks - had its 'wings' spread still...

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 134. We made 85 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 134 (by daily DMGs): 12,608 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 4230 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4937 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 352 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 430 n.ml. to N.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-25.21S LONGITUDE: 022-08.91E COURSE: 085T SPEED: 3.1kt
BARO: 1014.4hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C
COMMENT: Lovely sunny day - but little wind...

Day 133 Tues-Wed 12-13 Feb 2019 In the Indian Ocean now - passed two Capes today - Good Hope and Agulhas.

Tuesday 10pm Finally gybed onto starboard tack under a mainly clear, starry sky with bright half-moon lighting up the waves approaching from astern.. The air feels warmer and sea temperature has got up to 28.7C - the Agulhas Current is bringing down warm water from further north. Wind has eased somewhat, so seas, although still big and close, aren't often tumbling as they approach. We're still being tossed around a lot but the seas are on the quarter so not so much of a worry.

Still being slowed down by the current and course still being affected as well - boat heading is 80T but COG is 100T with WSW-SW wind. (The opposite effect to leeway which is downwind.)

Time for sleep - this was a very stressful day!

Wednesday 4am We passed S of Cape of Good Hope about one hour ago. Day just breaking - first light. Waypoint due S of Cape Agulhas is under 65 miles away, so should be passed later today.

Seas still big but well-spaced and not throwing us about quite so much, with very little surfing on a passing wave now, although still plenty of vigorous rocking around - having to hold on carefully when moving around.

Unfurled rest of genoa in SW wind of around 12-15kt - making 4.6kt, heading 097T - trying to edge a bit further S from 40S in hope of keeping more wind - forecast to die slowly over next few days - there's a big 'wind hole' that we're going to be caught in soon, just E of here - a H pressure area. In fact, weather a few days ahead is a big mess of Highs and a small Low - will be difficult to make good progress E.

Still seeing the current affecting our COG (course over the ground = actual course being made - different from boat heading).
Several radio contacts made tonight to US, S.Africa and Argentina (Juan, LU4VL has been very regular!) Good propagation on 40m at this time.
Back to my bunk for a little more sleep.

Midday A lovely sunny morning with some scattered cloud and good wind from SW-WSW - making 6.5-7 kt at present, broad-reaching on starboard tack.... Having a great sail today - good compensation for yesterday!

Trying to keep in good wind - a small band of westerlies around 40-41S - looking good for next few days. Agulhas current is supposed to be around 4 kt when I pass due S of the Cape - between 20E and 21E. I'll be looking to see what effect it has - 4kt is a lot of current!

Wind has been slowly increasing over the morning but seas not too bad, although a bit rolly quite often. Even made a fresh coffee - lovely!

WP due S of Cape Agulhas is just 30 miles away now - should pass it around 5pm LT if keep up present speed. I had my doubts yesterday as to whether I'd manage it! So those of you at my 'Second Great Cape Party' (at RVYC tonight) can party on - enjoy! Thanks for being there - I'll join you briefly at 8pm PST. I'll be having my own party here on "Nereida" once I've passed Agulhas - as usual, everyone is invited to join in and raise a glass with me! Cheers!

BTW, I gather there's been heavy snowfall in Victoria and elsewhere - from Vancouver & Gibsons to Nanaimo & Mt Washington - so maybe we'll be toasting each other in your homes tonight!

Cape Agulhas was passed at 16:33:46 GMT! We're now officially in the Indian Ocean and enjoyed a first sunset there tonight! Party time!

8pm End of an excellent day of good sailing in bright sunshine and warmth. Still making around 6kt now and seas, although quite big at 3.5-4m, not causing a problem. Bright moon shining from slightly hazy but clear sky - Southern Cross high up and Sirius nearly overhead

Had a rum punch to celebrate earlier, having a nice meal tonight and will have a 'Dark and Stormy' later in further celebration.

Magnetic variation has increased to 30 degrees W. When I try to estimate the true wind direction using the tiny wind ripples on the sea surface, using the ship's compass which shows it as, maybe, SW, it's actually nearer to SSW - subtraction is the order of the day...

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 133. We made 108 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 133 (by daily DMGs): 12,523 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 330n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 396 n.ml. to N; Cape Horn LH: 3380 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3537 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3636 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 3378 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-18.88S LONGITUDE: 020-17.80E COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.6kt
BARO: 1017.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 27.0C
COMMENT: Passed S of Capes Good Hope & Agulhas - in Indian Ocean now

Day 132 Mon-Tues 11-12 Feb 2019 Rough going - fighting the infamous Agulhas Current in strong opposing wind...

Monday evening - very grey cloudy sky and gusty wind from WNW - making around 5kt on ENE course. Difficult to head downwind in swell that knocks the boat around and causes the headsail/genoa to collapse at times.

Tuesday 5am Sky has just begun to get light - dawn is breaking but raining quite hard so total cloud cover.

Cargo vessel 'Urja' passing by to the N, on its way E to Singapore.

Radio sked on 7160 from 0310Z - lots of N.American contacts, from Newfoundland to Maine to Florida, as well as Argentina and S.Africa.
Making 5-6kt in NW wind on very broad reach. 160 ml from passing S of Cape Agulhas (and 90 ml from passing S of Cape of Good Hope).
Downloaded emails via Winlink using a shore station near Halifax, Nova Scotia - quite a distance away! (Thanks, Ian, VE1YZ!)

10:30am Rained stopped some time ago but it's still grey and cloudy. Making 5-6kt in W wind. Sun tried to get through a thin overcast layer earlier and it actually brightened up quite a bit, but it didn't manage it and the clouds are bigger and greyer now.

Furled in some more genoa - down to '2nd reef' now. Seas have built quite a lot, with wind having increased to around 20kt, and are every 6-8 seconds, steep-faced and about 3m/10ft or more.

I'm expecting to pass the two Capes before nightfall tomorrow evening (Wednesday), if present speed keeps up. There'll be no sighting of them since we're well over 300 mls S of the coast.

Good Hope comes first and then Agulhas - the Southernmost tip of Africa - actually hardly deserving of the name 'Cape' since it's just a lot of sand dunes. Good Hope is far more dramatic and scenic - a proper high, rocky headland jutting out, with rocks nearby to avoid. Sailing S from Cape Town to Simon's Town, where a big S.African Navy base is located, means passing around it since it's at the N end of the entrance to False Bay. The navy base, and Simon's Town also, is a historic place, dating back to the 1800s. It's ahort distance from there to a nature reserve where African penguins have their nesting burrows - very similar to the Magellanic penguins I saw both in the Beagle Channel in S. America and on the Falklands.

1:20pm Was just beginning to give my position to the S.African Maritime Mobile Net at 1130Z when I had to get on deck quickly - the wind had increased a lot, the genoa was backed and we were heading S! In the big seas, we were being constantly thrown around as a steep wave carried us with it and the strong wind made it difficult to recover - being on a broad reach adds to the difficulties, even though I'm trying to make sure the angle to the wind is better for dealing with the swell.

5pm Still very rough - and looks as though the Agulhas Current is the culprit - a strong current sweeping down the E coast of Africa and continuing out to where we are. I've been noticing an increasing angle between our heading and our COG - a lot more so today - due to the current trying to oppose our direction of travel - we're trying to head E and it is coming from the E-NE. It's making life very difficult - cutting down our speed a lot and causing very big, steep, rough seas....

Just to add to the problem, the wind is slowly backing into the SW - so more positively opposing the current. We'll need to gybe soon if we're to maintain any kind of easterly course. I hope we don't get swept S!

Hope my expectation of passing the Capes by tomorrow evening works out - our speed is well down and the wind is forecast to lessen - we'll see what tomorrow brings!

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 132. We made 109 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 132 (by daily DMGs): 12,415 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 94 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 333 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 375 n.ml. to NNE; Cape Horn LH: 3316 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3440 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3541 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 3271 n.ml. to WNW. 26 n.ml. from passing S of Cape of Good Hope.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-08.27S LONGITUDE: 017-57.72E COURSE: 047T SPEED: 3.2kt
BARO: 1008.5hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 27.0C
COMMENT: Fighting the Agulhas Current in big, steep seas - slowed down.

Day 131 Sun-Mon 10-11 Feb 2019 NW wind finally kicks in at dawn

Sunday 9pm Wind down a lot - we're only making around 2kt - Fred keeping us more-or-less on course, despite a bit of wandering around at times - he's having a difficult time of it!

Monday 4am We're almost just drifting, in 6kt or so of SW wind - at 1.5kt, we're not getting very far just now. Hope the wind picks up soon - still pitch dark here.

5:30am Dawn came around 4:30am, bringing a nice NW wind with it .. and so I didn't get back to my bunk... Gybed the sails and we're beam reaching now at just over 3.5kt - big improvement! Feeling a lot happier to be making a better speed and wind should increase over the day. More sleep now...

4pm Has turned into a nice sunny day with good wind and high, white, broken cloud layer overhead with blue sky ahead. Seas up with the wind - on a broad reach - not downwind enough to go goose-winged.

Saw Yellow-nosed albatross earlier - yellow and black bill very clear, it came so close.

8pm Sunshine earlier didn't last very long - grey clouds came over. Wind is still well up. Difficult to maintain a downwind course in the swell that built up with the increased wind - so having to go off course slightly to keep genoa filled - poling out not an option in darkness now. Tried going goose-winged with trysail earlier - didn't work well in swell ...

Looking forward to maintaining reasonable speed in good W wind for next day or more - so should be passing S of Cape Agulhas (and Cape of Good Hope 67 miles beforehand) by Wednesday evening or overnight into early Thursday morning at very latest.

That will mean passing into the Indian Ocean - already we're in its waters as shown by the sea temperature, which has shot up to 23C from 17C around midday.

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 131. We made 83 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 131 (by daily DMGs): 12,306 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 201 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 382 n.ml. to NNE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 508 n.ml. to NNE; Cape Horn LH: 3232 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3335 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3436 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 3164 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-21.20S LONGITUDE: 015-36.17E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 5.2kt
BARO: 1012.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Grey cloudy sky at sunset. Warm sea temp - Indian Ocean water

Day 130 Sat-Sun 9-10 Feb 2019 Wind strong overnight but very light during day - snail's pace!

Saturday 11:30pm I was aware that we were heading more N than we should be and was about to go up to adjust Fred when I suddenly realised we were heeling and beginning to speed up - in fact, we were soon racing along at almost 7kt. The wind had backed a lot, so we were well off course - heading NE. I went up on deck, ready to furl in some genoa in the pitch black darkness - my headlamp made a small light to see by... It was raining - this was a typical 'cloud effect' - and would probably (I hoped!) ease in a short while once the squall had passed over. I waited and watched, figuring out what my next steps might have to be.

We didn't seem to be picking up any more speed (good!), so furling in the genoa seemed not to be needed (nice to have some decent speed for a bit and make a bit more distance!) but I needed to sort out a preventer for the (centred) boom and take it over to port.

The wind having backed also meant I needed to adjust Fred for a course somewhat closer to the wind. After a short time, the wind eased and veered not quite back to where it had been before the raincloud came along - we were heading ENE instead of E and making 5.7kt but that might get less - things were a lot calmer.

I adjusted Fred, sorted out the preventer, eased the mainsheet, took up on the preventer... TG for headlamps! All took a time but finally I was ready to head for my bunk - but then saw our speed had increased, not lessened - well over 6kt again... Decided to furl in a touch of genoa - no harm in being ready, just in case of another squall later. Making 6.5kt.... up to 7kt once more. Oh well, furl in a tad more..not too much...then, hopefully, I can get some sleep... I'll have to get up again soon enough to check on our heading - alarm is set... Wind is forecast to back to SSW by morning...

Sunday 7:45am On a beam reach. Wind backed to SSW far more quickly last night than expected and has died quite a lot. Was up on deck twice overnight and each time had to make quite a big adjustment to Fred to get us back on course. Genoa was unfurled completely by 4am (beginning of first light before dawn) but despite that we were back to making only around 3.5-4kt again. Sky is gloomy with a solid grey cloud layer and the air is feeling very moist. Air temperature is 17C and everything I touch feels decidedly damp - including my bedding. 8:10am: Making just over 5kt now - better!

Midday Still feeling damp and chilly - need both my fleece tops plus a jacket. Enjoying a hot coffee now as I finish with emails and study the weather forecast. Will be having a nice hot Cuppa Soup shortly. Same total overcast sky. We're bouncing and swinging around in the swell at not much speed - presently 3.5kt but it varies from 2.5-4 kt. Pressure is rising slowly as we start to skirt around a High pressure area.

5:30pm Was just beginning to enjoy warmth of some bright sunshine - but it disappeared... Wind and swell both dying down - making only 2.3kt - amazed that Fred can keep our course!! Mainsail damp from yesterday's rain still - hoping tomorrow will bring sunshine and calm seas....

Found a tiny tear in sail further down, near to leech - have patched it with some Gorilla tape on both sides - seemed to stick OK, even though I think sail is not 100% dry. Three white-chinned petrels came swooping by as I finished - not seen any other birds today - not enough wind for them..

Feeling very peaceful. Tea-time - having a small slice of Christmas cake with it (actually Dundee - but near enough). Light is beginning to fade.

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 130. We made 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 130 (by daily DMGs): 12,125+? n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 286 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 445 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 448 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 3173 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3255 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3356 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 3080 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-22.76S LONGITUDE: 013-47.30E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 2.2KT


BARO: 1019.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: In darkness now - sunset an hour or more ago.

Day 129 Fri-Sat 8-9 Feb 2019 Slow progress under mainly grey skies with some rain

Saturday 8am LT is same as in Paris and a lot of Europe! Weather/position report posted to Winlink and emails and fresh weather files downloaded.

Pair of Great Shearwaters swooping around ahead - performimg figures of eight as they soar back and forth on mainly fixed wings. Yellow-nosed albatross pair seen in distance.

Seas at least 3m/10ft - well spaced but causing us to roll about as they pass.

Almost dead downwind sailing in W wind of around 12-15kt. Still have trysail boomed out to starboard (upwind) with genoa to port (downwind).... 'goose-winged' sails for running downwind - swinging about quite often.. Gusty conditions under sky covered in grey clouds - wind very much up and down, so boat speed varying a lot - anything from under 4kt to over 5.5kt.

12:10pm Cloud cover has changed from some broken cumulus a couple of hours ago with patches of blue sky in between to a more solid layer of cloud and just a hint of the sun as a hazy patch of light through the cloud, at times. Only making 3.5 kt now, so wind clearly a touch lighter than earlier but still from the W as are the seas - still often quite big, at easily 3m, so we're frequently rolling around.

2pm Fine, misty rain - brought some good wind with it, so suddenly we got up to 6kt at times - lovely to see a decent speed for a change...! But not for long - speed has dropped right back down again... We're ambling along at 3.5-4 kt and wind has backed to WSW, with sun trying to get through the overcast sky.

3pm The sun finally made it! Clear blue sky overhead - a wide streak from N to S - cloud layer has been left astern, clouds ahead... Nice to have warm sunshine for a time - had to remove a fleece layer... Downside is wind really dying - our SOG is now only 3 kt or less.

Have been cleaning/clearing up in galley - needed it.

7:10pm That sunny period didn't last long - grey clouds came back over soon after - but was nice while it lasted! Now back to slight rain and totally grey, cloudy skies. Getting close to sunset so light is fading.

Having a late mug of tea - was very thirsty, so it's very welcome.

Just had an excellent chat with Vincent, 3DA0VV, in Swaziland (eSwatini nowadays!) - no problem with propagation on 40m between us just now - he's well over 2,000 km away. Also, clear copy on Volker, ZS3Y, in Western Cape, S. Africa. As the sun sets, the radio comes alive!

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 129. We made 97 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 129 (by daily DMGs): 12,125 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 380 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 520 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 508 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 3105 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3161 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3262 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2983 n.ml. to WNW.
Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my little-used US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/09 18:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-27.30S LONGITUDE: 011-39.15E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.1kt
BARO: 1014.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Raining slightly, wind backed a little, trysail over to port

Day 128 Thurs-Fri 7-8 Feb 2019 Into the next time zone - Z+1hr. A lazy day - as the wind dies, we creep along...

Thursday Just realised that what I thought was 8pm (local time, LT) is now almost 9pm - we're just about to move into the next time zone - GMT + 1 hour - being just a few miles W of 7*30'E - the 'marker' between GMT and the next time zone to the E.

Wind is slowly dying but we're still managing about 4.5kt in a W wind, having not long gybed onto starbosrd tack in the fading twilight.
Made a big pot of a thick 'broth' - lentils, potatoes, diced ham - an easy main meal for the next couple of days. Will add chopped onion and maybe some more vegetable tomorrow in good light - clambered into the forepeak to replenish galley supplies of fresh potatoes and onions a short while ago.

Friday 5am Surprised to find us making 5.5kt due East as first light of dawn appears in a mainly grey, cloudy sky before sunrise. No stars visible now... Wind has clearly increased for the time being - maybe the clouds have brought it with them?

3pm Having a lovely relaxed day - ambling along gently at only 3-3.5 kt in WSW light wind, although still rolling about quite a lot in the swell which has not lain down yet. Feels like a holiday, with frequent bright sunshine in between the clouds. Made a pot of fresh coffee, which I've not done for a while.

Looks as though these light conditions will be replaced tomorrow for a day or two with better wind and then the light winds of the High will take over by Monday for several days again - might well delay us passing S of Cape Agulhas. Only time will tell...

If the swell dies down a bit more, might be able to get to the mainsail but, with the wet conditions of yesterday, the sail needs to dry out more before it can be worked on - I just went to check on it and it's feeling very damp. No rain seems to be forecast for several days.

Had a look for a spare shackle to replace the one from the running backstay block that was lost overboard - it's a matter of the pin fitting the hole in the shackle that it has to pass through - two good strong ones nearly fit but not quite, so they're of no use. Can't afford to lose any more - running out of suitable replacements.

Having to keep an eye on our heading - in the light wind, it's all too easy to over-adjust Fred and end up going off course.

6pm Good job done! Found suitable replacement shackle - pin now wired in place - and checked all other shackles on deck and 'moused' several of those - also 'moused' the port side running backstay shackle with wire as well, as being sturdier than the plastic cable tie I'd used - maybe that was the problem with the other shackle pin - may be a plastic cable tie had been used and had broken away? I shan't know for sure but I do know the wire will now do a good job.

Also undid the running backstay lines and untwisted them - they always seem to get twisted after a time, so now they're straightened once more, so much easier to tension.

So much for no rain forecast - it's turned very dull now - the sky is covered in grey clouds and threatening rain...

While busy on deck, had my camera to hand and took several shots of a storm petrel circling around nearby, in hope that one photo at least might turn out to be good.

7:45pm Wind veered suddenly - to W - and is even lighter - making course difficult to maintain. Still a very grey, cloudy sky although, so far, no rain.
Added onion to my 'broth' - nice just to have to warm up something ready to eat...

Decided to 'goosewing' the trysail - so took the boom over to starboard, leaving the genoa to port - hoping it might help our speed, being close to dead downwind now. At least that means the trysail is not blanketing the genoa.

 1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 128. We made 107 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 128 (by daily DMGs): 12,028 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 477 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 596 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 574 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 3040 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3071 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3173 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 28870 n.ml. to WNW.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-20.11S LONGITUDE: 009-31.91E COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.2kt
BARO: 1016.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Grey sky - rain? Sun setting. Wind veered to W and died down further.

Day 127 Wed-Thurs 6-7 Feb 2019 Rough cinditions overnight and into morning, then calmed down

Wednesday 10pm Wind and seas still up and air is very moist, almost foggy, after rain earlier - more to come, possibly. Unfurled some genoa earlier to help make better speed. Later, adjusted Fred to bear away more (off the wind) - our speed increased noticeably - maybe the trysail is making a difference downwind? Making 5.5-6 kt, and now heading ENE, having changed from SE after a look at the latest forecast of the weather ahead - forecast has changed a lot!

7am Very rough night with wind over 20kt and even rougher now - wind has backed and increased a bit more so we're now heading NE in NW wind. Seas are rather confused and wash the decks quite often. We're making around 6.5-7 kt. A Cold Front is passing over, so wind will keep on backing until it becomes WSW this evening and SW around midnight - so a gybe will be needed late this afternoon sometime.

A touch of sunshine is nice to see - just shone into the cabin...first for quite a time... Some gaps appearing between the clouds - sometimes still overcast, other times slightly broken cumulus - fluffy white clouds with blue between...

10am Went up to adjust the wind steering control (Fred the Hydrovane) - raining - had to don my wet gear to do that... Took a long time getting things just right in the strong winds (~25kt) - had to adjust amount of helm using wheel, which is lashed down when Fred takes over, so each adjustment means undoing and re-doing the wheel lashing. Back down, all settled for a time, I thought. Off with outer wear and hung it up (not that it dries but it has to drip somewhere!), glanced at screen - off course.... Needed to get back up and adjust again... curses! ON with outer wear again.. back up.. saw to Fred... back down. Every little thing takes a time! This time I'm keeping my outer wear on for a time! It hardly got wet, so not a problem.

1:30pm Had a short nap - the rain came in and with it the wind died down further and very suddenly backed to W.... so I found us heading nearly NNE in the rain. Was glad to be already in my wet gear! Adjusted Fred, so we're now on a very broad reach, and unfurled a lot more genoa to speed us up - we were making only 3.5-4 kt, now over 5kt, but best course we can make on this tack is nearly NE - soon, we'll have to gybe around as the wind backs further.

Time for some lunch....as the wind dies even further.... Pressure still low at 1005 hPa.

Delighted to read that Tapio has safely rounded Cape Horn - on the home stretch now - up the Atlantic.

It's so quiet and peaceful without the wind noise in the rigging...! Pitter, patter of raindrops on the coachroof, gurgling and swish of water past the hull... The downside of the sudden dying of the wind is the swell never dies down as quickly - so we're still rolling around a lot and being thrown around at times as a bigger wave comes along and catches us on the beam. Going downwind is always so much gentler and we're making 4.5kt, so not too bad - yet...

4:30pm Edge of grey cloud layer is showing astern - clear blue beyond... Wind very light but seas still a good 3-4m and close - impressive to view!

White-chinned petrels and a Yellow-nosed albatross seen earlier - they often disappear when wind dies down.

Trying to decide how soon to gybe - think I'll do it early while still daylight - just furled in staysail - not doing much, except blanketing the genoa, and one less item to deal with when gybing. Would have poled it out if I weren't about to gybe. Wind now from W and will back to WSW at some point soon.

7pm Lovely clear sky overhead with a few white scattered clouds ahead and a low bank of dark grey cloud on the W horizon - lovely thin crescent moon up above the cloud bank.

A pair of storm petrels are flitting just above the sea surface - they always look so busy, darting around, long legs seemingly touching the water. Petrels and an albatross are also still around, not far away.

Seas are still well up but will feel better once we've gybed - about to do that before it gets dark.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 127. We made 121 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 127 (by daily DMGs): 11,921 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 584 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 682 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 650 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2976 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2972 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2952 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2780 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.45S LONGITUDE: 007-12.56E COURSE: 112T SPEED: 4.5kt


BARO: 1007.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C

COMMENT: Gybed around in W wind - expecting wind to back to WSW/SW

Day 126 Tues-Wed 5-6 Feb 2019 From light winds to strong winds and rough seas...

Tuesday 8pm Finally making a good course - roughly SE at 4kt - in NE wind of about 12-15kt perhaps? Total grey cloud cover at sunset - feeling quite cool, with air at round 16C/61F - there was no sight of sun all day long. Waiting to see if I can contact Tapio on 40m, since either 20m didn't work or he was too busy on deck to answer my calls. He's very close to rounding Cape Horn now.

11:45pm Well, we're either heading SE or SSE at 3-4 kt - so I shouldn't complain, I suppose - we're going in the right direction and that's what matters. The wind is light but we're still making a fair, if not impressive, speed... Pressure is still high, at 1023 hPa, so we're still well within the High pressure region. To my bunk for some sleep... with alarm set!

Wednesday 3:40am Just finished a session on radio - middle of the night but wanted to check on our course anyway, so that's good! Gather Trump giving State of Union address now, so not too many US stations on frequency tonight. Was expecting to have to adjust Fred to bear away off the wind a little, to make SE course again, but wind obviously shifting around a bit just now and did not need to touch Fred, in fact, since wind veered back again to put us on course. Making 3-4 kt, but both speed and direction are varying. Back for some more sleep again - alarm set each time, for sure! Can't wait too long in between checking on how we're doing.

4:15am - First light, before dawn... all very grey.. Heard a lot of noise in water around boat while I was in my bunk- whale or pod of dolphins?? Lasted for quite a time.

7am Sent in usual morning weather/position report. Light grey cloud cover. Sailing well and making 5kt on SE course.
Could hear Tapio on frequency but not able to make contact - I think earlier would be better for propagation on 40m than now. He should be rounding Cape Horn today - hope he's in luck with the weather!

5:30pm Another example of 'Manana' not working on a boat... Another shackle lost overboard after its pin obviously came loose and came out - again, on a running backstay block - this time the starboard one. I thought I'd 'moused' it to prevent that happening - certainly I'd intended doing so but must not have done - must have been busy with something else and it got overlooked - so now I just hope I have a suitable replacement - it's an important item. I checked the shackle on the port side - its pin is being held in place fine. Just as well since it's in use now, in strong conditions!

Light rain with slight mist and reduced visibilty. Wind got up to well over 20kt some time ago. We were making over 7kt at times with full genoa - way too much canvas, causing us to heel a lot, especially when waves hit. Reduced the genoa by furling some in - we were still going at a fair speed. Should have left it at that but was worried wind was forecast to increase further so furled in more genoa - and then decided to go with just the staysail. That cut our speed way down so was clearly was not the right thing to do.
I was going to live with it, but finally, seeing our really poor speed, I went up and unfurled some of the genoa - enough to give us 4.5-5 kt of speed - an improvement! Light is fading and wind is set to back and increase a bit more overnight but hopefully not too much for the amount of sail now out.

Looking at the weather well ahead, there's forecast to be a nasty system close to S. Africa as we're due to pass into the Indian Ocean which is expected to be giving very big seas much further N than usual. I have been heading SE because it looked like a good thing to do - to keep fair wind when in or near the Highs coming up soon. But the forecast has now changed and heading further S no longer looks like a good idea - so I'm slowly heading back up towards 40S and perhaps even further N, nearer 39S, ready for when that system passes by. It's quite a long way ahead but I don't want to be in such big seas with strong wind if they're avoidable. I'll be keeping an eye on forecasts in the meantime, of course - the weather is so changeable down here!

Photos of dawn Tuesday morning - with Venus and Jupiter high in E.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 126. We made 115 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 126 (by daily DMGs): 11,800 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 700 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 806 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 772 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2866 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2852 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2954 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2674 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-45.09S LONGITUDE: 004-41.94E COURSE: 079T SPEED: 5.0kt
BARO: 1011.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Light rain, strong wind, rough seas- reduced genoa a lot

Day 125 Mon-Tues 4-5 Feb 2019 Back into High pressure and light wind - some more drifting around...

Monday 9pm Fine rain .... glad it was not heavy! I might be partying but the weather takes no account of that! Suddenly spotted that the wind must have backed and gusted up a lot... We were heading NE at nearly 7kt, having been ambling along at around 4kt.

Had to don my wet weather outers, boots and headlamp and get up on deck to adjust Fred to take us off the wind more - almost on a dead run now so we might have to gybe soon, which will mean dealing with staysail pole. I though I might have had to furl in some genoa but wind died back down quite soon...we're now making 5kt ENE. I'll wait a bit - wind will either veer to previous direction, stay as is or back more...

9.30pm According to weather forecast I just checked, it will back a lot now and over tomorrow until coming from S, at which time we'll be in a High pressurre system (giving headwinds a day later). So we'll definitely have to gybe sometime soon..

Enjoyed my chicken and asparagus ... now for a touch of a nice dessert wine and chocolate to finish.

10:40pm Grinding to a halt! Speed right down now - to under 3kt. Will need to keep a careful eye on things overnight.

Tuesday 4:30am Dawn breaking - Venus and Jupiter bright above E horizon before light.

Back down below after being on deck - had to gybe around, so staysail pole had to come down and several lines organised. Now on a beam reach in 12-15kt SW wind, making 5kt, heading just S of E. Back to my bunk for a couple of hours of sleep after checking radio emails and a couple of really clear 40m contacts with US - E & W coasts - first contact with California for a long time.

7:30am Up at 6:40am for weather/position reporting, as usual. Monitored the 20m frequency that Tapio and Jari would be on, while I was busy - nothing at all heard. Put out a call at 7am, as I'd said I would, to see if either of them would hear me. 7:10am, went to 40m frequency - could hear them talking but not good enough copy to make out what they were saying (in Finnish, no doubt, anyway!). Tapio called me at 7:15am, as arranged - I could hear my callsign and "over" but not able to make out anything else - a frustrating amount of static on frequency and they were right in it. We'll have to try other times/freqs if we're to make better contact.

Still making a roughly E course when I went back to my bunk (...should have set an alarm and didn't!)

3pm Woke up at 2pm after a good sleep (surprised to have slept for so long - should have had that alarm set...) to find, to my dismay, that we were heading NNE at 2.5kt - oops! The wind had died down and backed from SW to ESE. I hurriedly tacked us around but, in the lighter wind, very close-hauled, it's difficult to make any Easting, despite unfurling the staysail to give us more canvas area, trying to give us more speed. Although the boat heading is 160T, we're struggling to maintain a S course, occasionally edging slightly E of south by only just a few degrees. Pressure is way up at 1022 - we're in the expected High pressure area with its light winds - going to be a frustrating day or two!

6.20pm Several S.African stations are making, or trying to make, contact - including Marjoke, ZS5V, whose husband Joost, ZS5S, ran a Winlink station near Durban for many years. All a matter of finding the best time and frequency so we can hear each other well enough.

Murky, damp, grey conditions under total overcast skies... and light fading now, as well.

Still struggling to make S course, even becoming a bit W of S as the light wind shifts - E is where the wind is coming from, so no chance to head that way at present... Waiting for the wind to back to the NE, as forecast.

6:45pm Had high hopes just before - wind seemed to be up and backed enough for us to make fair speed (3-3.5 kt!) just E of S. Didn't last long, though, and we were soon back to heading SSW .... but, a short while later - looking better - heading just E of S once more. The wind is very shifty just now.

A good time to be on wind-steering since we follow the wind close-hauled and when it backs more definitely to NE, we'll follow it around and make a far better course than now. In the meantime.... patience...!

Nice to see several white-chinned petrels and one Yellow-nosed albatross in the gathering twilight - seeing very few birds, in general, now.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 125. We made 62 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 125 (by daily DMGs): 11,685 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 120 n.ml. due W; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 795 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 885 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 840 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2827 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2767 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2870 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2568 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-03.39S LONGITUDE: 002-35.93E COURSE: 140T SPEED: 3.8kt


BARO: 1023.1hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Grey cloudy sky, twilight. Wind just backed nicely!

Day 124 Sun-Mon 3-4 Feb 2019 We crossed the Greenwich Meridian at 08:09:15 GMT - now in Eastern hemisphere...

Sunday 8:30pm Speed right down again - I'd hoped wind would be stronger to give better progress - but we're only making 4kt and often down to 3-3.5kt. Frustrating...

11pm A beautiful night - clear sky, no moon, so lots of stars in sight.. a good breeze - but just not quite strong enough for my liking.... still only making 4kt.

Pleiades low down but bright, with Taurus above and gymnastic Orion coming to the rescue... Sirius way higher than when seen in Northern hemisphere.. Stayed on deck for a time after adjusting Fred... Too good to rush away from.

Monday 0335am I hear the Patriots won a rather boring, very defensive game....!

Just had some rain - cockpit wet, no stars in sight now - overcast sky. But wind up more - making 4.9 kt - was just over 5kt but I adjusted Fred to take us slightly more off the wind - we were heading ENE. Now heading more towards E and just over 23 miles to Greenwich Meridian - by 0900Z might be across, if wind holds up.

Had usual 0300Z contacts with Florida and E coast USA plus Argentina, Uruguay and Newfoundland (difficult copy to there - getting to be a long way now!)

Back to my bunk....

7am Wind up more and still total cloud cover. Making over 5 kt a lot of the time - nice to see!

Have sent in usual daily weather and position report to Winlink and now dealing with emails and checking weather - looks settled for next day or so - no storms looming! (Later: Speed back down a bit - to 4.7kt at 8.30am)

Hoping to make radio contact soon with Tapio - we'll see if the propagation Gods are in our favour! Lost contact with Uku a while ago. Tapio is about to round Cape Horn in a day or two - getting very close. Hope weather is kind to him.

08:09:15 GMT - Time of crossing over Greenwich Meridian - zero degrees longitude - from W to E. Now officially in Eastern hemisphere! Having a party on board Nereida later today - music, dancing.... everyone is invited!!

11am Nice to see us making around 6kt or more - wind has clearly increased and we're flying more sails - just spent ages sorting out lines in order to pole out staysail since we're running downwind at present. Found several problems needing to be dealt with... I'm more than ready for a late breakfast now!

3pm Coming out from under the cloud layer into an area of blue sky with thin, broken cloud - so it has become more sunny now - a lot pleasanter. Not seeing birds so often now.

Speed down from earlier 6kt now - making 5.5kt on a broad reach - wind is clearly still up but not quite as strong as earlier - maybe 18kt or so? A small Low has passed by to the S and we're heading into yet another High pressure area - the sequence repeats never-endingly - the wind is set to ease slowly and our speed reduce accordingly.

Having a celebratory light lunch of things I fancy - cheese, green and black olives, hummus, some (wild) salmon... and I'll have a nice meal later - probably chicken in white sauce with asparagus and potatoes.

6pm Light beginning to get dull. Speed varying a lot - 5-5.7kt - under cloudy sky. Wind is definitely dying down.

7pm Beginning my party - music, dancing, food, drink (just a tiny bit - this is normally a 'dry' boat underway). Come and join in a celebration of a Greenwich Meridian crossing under sail in the S.Atlantic...! Fine misty rain beginning but all fine down below... Enjoying chicken and asparagus in sauce!

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 124. We made 117 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 124 (by daily DMGs): 11,623 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 64 n.ml. due W; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 858 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 945 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 900 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2768 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2706 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2810 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2510 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-09.53S LONGITUDE: 001-15.91E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 5.0kt


BARO: 1010.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: 117ml DMG - improved by good wind this morning. Fine rain now.

Day 123 Sat-Sun 2-3 Feb 2019 Drifting around in little wind all night, slow progress over the day.

Saturday 10pm Our speed has definitely increased a touch - so wind must be up a little. Now making over 4kt some of the time - still headed NE, close-hauled, so wind still from SE.

Sunday 7:20am Great Shearwater flew close by astern and soon after an albatross appeared - with no camera to hand! - as I was adjusting Fred after drifting all night long, mostly at 1-2kt. Gybed onto port tack several hours ago as wind backed towards NNE. Now making roughly E course at around 2kt. 10kt NW wind forecast to arrive by midday - I'm hoping that's correct. Grey clouds everywhere and feeling damp - air very moist- very slight, misty rain.

We're just under 100 miles W of the Greenwich Meridian marking 0 degrees of longitude, where we'll cross from the W hemisphere into the E hemisphere - longitude will change to E from W.... party time to celebrate!

2pm Wind has slowly increased, so we're now making a steady 4kt or more due E. Clearly, we need more than 10kt of wind to make better speed! Hazy sun trying to shine through the thin cloud layer. When there's the occasional break in the cloud layer allowing the sun to shine brightly, it feels quite warm. The cloud layer is just like a fog that's not at the sea surface but has lifted to just a bit higher up.

5:30pm It's a good thing I like just about any cheese! I found some Brie I'd overlooked - had to discard some but a lot of it is fine - so long as you like strong cheese!! Had it with some nice crispy crackers and a big mug of tea I already had waiting (teatime!).

7pm That grey, thin cloud layer just came back and spread over - all sky but a patch on NE horizon is covered now. Slow going in light wind from WNW - broad reaching. Feeling very calm - had expected/hoped for more wind by now... but maybe not until tomorrow midday when a Low passes to S of us. After that, another day or more of High pressure - probably with headwinds...but might be a chance to get back on deck to the sail repair. Would be nice to get further on with that - has been static for a time now.

Been working on some sail material - preparing for when I can add it in to mainsail - trying to figure out a method of adding it over the leech in situ that will work.... Need to measure out length of the affected area - not easy when it's all folded onto the boom.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 123. We made a mere 55 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. A lot of drifting around overnight over a very convoluted track.... some was due N and some was due S but at least we kept heading E-ish some of the time! This is a real test of my patience.....

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 123 (by daily DMGs): 11,506 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 56 n.ml. due E; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 972 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1057 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1010 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2697 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2595 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2698 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2396 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.83S LONGITUDE: 001-16.47W COURSE: 081T SPEED: 4.3kt


BARO: 1010.3hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: WNW-NW wind - broad reach.Grey cloud layer just spread over - sunset, but can't see it.

Day 122 Fri-Sat 1-2 Feb 2019 Relaxing day after rough weather - little wind

Friday 9pm Seas about 4.5m/14.5ft and wind around 30kt - strong, very rough conditions but effect of big waves is lessened by running off more downwind. putting the seas more astern - otherwise, we were being threatened with being knocked over by the tumbling crests hitting us on the beam.

Saturday 2:15am The Cold Front has passed over....pressure up, noise down! Wind has died down somewhat and our speed is down to 4.8kt, compared with our earlier 6.8kt, making 8-9kt as waves picked us up. Wind is beginning to back. I was able to change our course to ENE - the waves were no longer threatening to knock us over when headed that way.

3:20am Speed down to 4.2 kt in a light W wind, expected to back and die further. We'd made 45 miles in the seven and a half hours the very strong conditions had lasted, giving an average speed of 6kt while running downwind under staysail and trysail - I was surprised at the jump in speed (and comfort) when we started downwind compared with being on a beam reach in those big seas.

I'd had a short rest before the usual 'late shift' radio sked at 3am - if propagation weren't so very good at this time, I'd cancel it in favour of more sleep! Was great to make contact again with Montreal, Ottowa and Newfoundland, as well as the usual US stations and some S. American and S.African ones.

7am Up on deck at 5:45am to deal with sails after wind died down completely to under 10kt and backed all the way around to SSW from NW. Had to gybe the sails and change course to head more East again - back on course, but very slow sailing in the light wind from well abaft the beam. Seas are still well up at ~4m but they are well-spaced. Will unfurl the genoa to speed us up but wind is forecast to die even more soon, as we come into yet another High pressure area behind the Low that just passed over and before the next Low on its way... "From feast to famine"...! (Hopefully, back to 'feast' on Sunday)

Very grey sky and we clearly had overnight rain. Had to retrieve the loose ends of a few lines on the starboard side which had been washed overboard by the rough seas.

I thought Iwe were going to get in a good distance with last night's winds when we were often making 6.5-7 kt - but have only made 57 miles since 7pm/1900Z last night and we shan't make very many more with today's very light winds - and even possible head-winds.

8:15am Finished unfurling genoa and furling staysail - speed slightly up but not much in such light wind.. Wind expected to back further - to SE and E, and become even lighter at 2-4kt... So not much progress will be made today. Back to my bunk for a bit more sleep before breakfast. The sun isn't managing to shine through the overcast sky - maybe it will later.

The cockpit is a mess of wet lines after the rough seas of last night - will take some sorting out!

8:40am Just spotted a ship heading W - at 39S. It's likely that W-going ships are further N than E-going ships - so they pass each other the standard way - 'port-to-port'.

Midday Just got us moving in roughly a NE direction after drifting in a circle in almost no wind - and shifty at that! At speed of 1.0kt or less, difficult to hold any course. Tidied up lines in cockpit - all soaking wet - no sun - total cloud layer.

Swell still big at around 3.5m - coming from both N and W, but well-spaced ... Rolling about a lot, though. Air feels damp - even my bedding felt damp when I got into my bunk earlier this morning. Tidied up in cabin also - a lot of small items ended up on cabin sole in the rough seas last night. About to put on a pot of fresh coffee - have been missing that. Will need to stay close by to make sure it doesn't spill when it finishes percolating - that would be very upsetting!

3:30pm A very relaxing day, in a way. Hardly any wind so not much I can do other than try to keep a vaguely E-going course in an unhelpful wind direction and strength. Presently, judging by the ripples on the water surface, it looks as though the wind is coming from S - but so light, we're lucky to make any Easting at all. COG at this moment is 037T - almost NE, which is pretty good, considering... Since I can't do anything about it, I refuse to get too stressed out by our speed - a consistent 0.7kt, occasionally making 1.2kt!!! At least we're going E-ish....
Eventually, we'll get NNW wind - but not for a while. Seas are slowly diminishing but it's still very rolly. No sunshine - total cloud overhead, so nothing is drying out very much.

5:30pm Still managing to head NE - presently at 2.5-3 kt - wind is from SE and clearly increasing very slowly.

Been busy clearing up & sorting out... Checked my sail-sewing items - all there, waiting for the moment... Have needles, palm, thread & whipping twine and enough sail material to use for 'tabling' once extra Gorilla tape has been added at right angles to leech edge and beyond the present repair. Sail is too wet just now to do anything - and it would be too rolly to work, perched up at the boom, anyway.

Grey sky all day long but seas have calmed down a lot - we're mostly rocking/bouncing gently all the time, with occasional stronger motion, aimed at testing my handholds... Air temperature is around 20C - so not feeling too cold at all. Better than Montreal's -20C that I heard of.

7pm Nice to see a pair of both albatross and white-chinned petrels just now. Birds have been absent almost all the day but now the wind is increasing a little, they're back, just around sunset - daylight is fading now and clouds are looking very grey, as though it might rain. The albatrosses are either Atlantic Yellow-nosed or Grey-headed - my inclination is to Atlantic Yellow-nosed from underwing markings and dark patch in front of eye.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 122. We made 66 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 122 (by daily DMGs): 11,451 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1113 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2650 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2538 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2642 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2343 n.ml. to WNW

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

TIME: 2019/02/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-14.21S LONGITUDE: 002-27.40W COURSE: 069T SPEED: 3.3kt
BARO: 1009.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Swell from both NNW and W - NNW 3m, W 2.5m Grey sky. Calmer

Day 121 Thurs-Fri 31Jan-1Feb 2019 Into next time zone - GMT now. Winds and seas get big as CF gets close.

Thursday 7:50pm Change of time zone - into Greenwich Mean Time (= time in U.K.) now!

Sunset behind low cloud. Wind slowly increasing, backed slightly. SOG 5.7kt. Another small adjustment to Fred to head off wind a bit more. Getting ready for strong conditions expected - wind, seas and rain - coming by midday tomorrow and on into Saturday.

9pm Furled in genoa a bit more and unfurled staysail while still some twilight to see by. SOG 5.3kt - a bit slower than before but that's OK. As wind increases overnight and into tomorrow,, will furl in genoa until we're just flying the staysail.

11:30pm Making 5.5-6kt. Lovely starry sky overhead - Southern Cross high in S and 'upside-down' Orion high in N. No need to adjust Fred - all good for now... A few radio contacts made on 7163 at 2300Z but conditions not too good - lots of static on frequency.

Had 1-2 hrs' sleep - back to bunk after hot food finished.

Friday 3:30am A yellow crescent moon rising low down in SE forming a line with Venus and Jupiter - two bright planets - quite a spectacular sight and very eye-catching... Milky Way strewn across the sky and myriads of stars everywhere - more than making up for the rain and clouds coming in soon, later today...!

6:40am Sky clouded over - daylight. All's well. Small amount of sail, making just 4kt in 20kt wind from WNW, seas not built up yet, so still 2.5m from WNW. Waiting for wind to build more - and expecting rain this afternoon....

'Star Planet' passing to N at 12kt, making for Singapore - ETA 22Feb. Most of the traffic is keeping to 40S - we're just 11-12 miles S of that latitude.

Back to my bunk for another hour or two of sleep, after sending position and weather report.

10am Finally getting brighter - the sun has been struggling to get through the cloud layer all morning and it's now nearly making it. We're making 5kt in more wind - about 24kt. Seas not much more than earlier but expected to build later.

A Chinese ship heading E, but to S of us - another ship was seen to N of us a short while ago. All the ships I'm seeing are heading E - it seems maybe there's a W-going lane to N of here somewhere?

11:30am Very noisy on deck with wind whistling and moaning in the rigging - a sure sign of Force 5-6 wind (F5: 17-21kt, F6: 22-27kt) or more. Seas are rough and almost on the beam - often with crests tumbling a little as they come onto us. Regularly, a wave washes the deck if we catch it at the right moment as its crest breaks beside us.. Lots of 'white horses' - another sign of F5 or more.

Down below., it's noisy but less so than on deck and the noise of the wind in the rigging is muted.

2:20pm Sun disappeared quite a time ago, behind solid grey overcast layer. Boat is rolling about all the time in the seas - 5 sec period means they're very close. Lunch and then a nap.....

4:30pm Spent a time on deck, under grey skies, watching the big seas roll in with large white patches of foam on the surface from tumbling crests - pretty stormy-looking seas! Listening to the sound of the wind in the rigging and watching how Nereida rises to the waves and comes down the other side got rather hypnotic - was difficult to tear myself away and come back down below. We're making around 5kt in winds of 25-30kt and Fred is coping fine. Waiting for the rain to come - none so far but pretty certain to arrive sometime soon.

6:30pm Definitely very 'boisterous' conditions now... Tried to head slightly more to starboard onto our planned course from the course we've been making so far but it put us totally beam on to what are now very big seas with tumbling crests in strong wind - threatening to knock us over - so decided to run off more downwind - feels a lot better and safer with the seas coming from astern, onto our port quarter. Means we're heading almost SE for a bit but we'll change course again when the wind subsides tomorrow sometime - probably not until mid-morning. In the meantime, we're making a much better speed, around 6.5kt, and if there's a wind shift, we'll change course with it. Have only had a shower or two so far, not the heavy rain expected - still on its way, maybe?

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 121. We made 115 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 121 (by daily DMGs): 11,385 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1172 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2609 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2475 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2580 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2278 n.ml. to WNW

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

TIME: 2019/02/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.88S LONGITUDE: 003-51.90W COURSE: 124T SPEED: 6.5kt


BARO: 1006.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: Running more downwind - seas getting big in strong wind.

Day 120 Wed-Thurs 30-31 Jan 2019 A lovely day's sail - but strong weather tomorrow

Wednesday 9pm Wind backed a while ago - now abaft the beam and we've slowed down to around 4.7kt. Seas are only about 2m (6ft) so feeling pretty calm with mainly just a slight rocking motion - the occasional bigger wave comes by, but not often.

We're passing over an undersea mountain - a 'seamount' - about 20-30 miles wide - looks like an old volcano. Crater area comes to within less than 600ft of sea surface, rising up steeply from the seafloor which is 4,000-6,000ft deep nearby. Not a problem in present sea conditions but probably something I'd avoid in stormy weather in case it caused even rougher seas.

Thursday 2:45am Adjusted Fred - wind is a little stronger and has backed more to NW - we're making 5.2kt. Spoke to several radio stations on 7160kHz, including Brazil and Newfoundland, and was delighted to get an unexpected call from Randy, KH6RC, on the Big Island of Hawaii, who assured me he was recovering well - good to hear, Randy!

'African Starling' is passing to our S, 23ml off, on its way E to Durban - well clear of us! Back to my bunk after another small adjustment to Fred - wind is still slowly backing...

8am Another adjustment of Fred needed - wind has backed further. Speed down again ...on a very broad reach. Wind keeps shifting slightly - need plenty of patience after an adjustment to wait and see what happens, otherwise it gets frustrating if I jump in too quickly and adjust a bit more - only to find it's now too much and I have to undo it. Patience, patience....!

A few prions around, with occasional albatross, but noticeably fewer birds than close to Gough Island. That short visit was wonderful for the variety of birds seen close to and being visited by the pod of about a dozen Dusky dolphins was great also. They were just cruising along and probably came by 'Nereida' just to check us out - dolphins are very sociable beings and usually come to visit the boat if they're somewhere close by. This kind I've not seen before - they would blow hard as they surfaced for air and they were rather chunky in appearance, not as sleek-looking as are some other dolphins. They were all dark, except for the white patch just behind their very rounded and swept back dorsal fin.

9:15am All of a sudden, cloud layer disappeared completely! Must have been a thin layer - some remnants still seen over to starboard (downwind). Blue sky and sunshine - very pleasant.

Expecting a bit of a 'blow' to bring in February - 20kt wind by midnight tonight, increasing over Friday to 30kt, with 35kt gusts expected until midday Saturday, with a period of heavy rain.

Seas will be very rough, becoming 3.5m/12ft over Saturday, with a period of just 5sec around midday Friday, gradually becoming 10 sec by midday Saturday. The only good news, if I can call it that, is that the period is shortest (5sec) when the seas are smallest (2-2.5m) and the period gets slowly longer as the waves get bigger. Clearly, it will be an unpleasant day or two.... (Short wave period = steep, close, uncomfortable waves...)

12:30pm Been busy going into 'lockdown' mode - making sure that anything remotely heavy and loose is put away or secured... just in case. Also making sure I've cooked food ready for the next couple of days. I'll be stowing the pressure cooker - it's too big and heavy to leave out.
Lovely sailing just now - bright sun, good wind - we're making 5.5-6kt now with the increased wind.

Pity such strong weather is on its way. I'll be furling in the genoa bit by bit, as wind becomes stronger, and then switch to the (furling) staysail.

1:30pm Of course, seeing wind well up and Nereida making 7.2kt, being the cautious person I am, I furled in some genoa - so then the wind died back down again.....it was just a gust...!#@%&*! Unfurl... sheet in...

Cargo vessel 'Graecia Aeterna' is heading E to Sosin (China?) to N of us. Was going to pass within 5 mls but has changed course slightly to pass 10 mls away now - must have seen our very non-linear course-keeping and is keeping well off - excellent!

4:30pm Still a lovely sunny day. Wind is down a bit but will make up for that tonight and tomorrow, I'm sure!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 120. We made 115 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 120 (by daily DMGs): 11,270 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2523 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2363 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2467 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2170 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1287 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 162 n.ml. to W

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

TIME: 2019/01/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-11.54S LONGITUDE: 006-21.65W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.3kt
BARO: 1016.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Pleasant sunny, downwind sailing. Strong weather on its way for tomorrow