S/V Nereida sails around the world

Midnight - We finally get wind... and rough seas...!

Much lighter wind earlier, with some drifting about, but slowly increased, with some heavy rain, as got near exit from Strait ... as expected.... and became S F5-6. A good well now - in Pacific, off Cape Flattery. Rough!

Date/Time: 2016/10/20 08:35 GMT

Latitude: 48-28.28N

Longitude: 124-49.64W

Speed: 7.7

Course: 275T

Comment: wind up in rain - fast exit from Strait of Juan de Fuca pas Cae Flattery

Wind_Dir: E

Wind_Speed: 23

Clouds: 100%

Baro: 1015

Trend: -2

Air_Temp: 14.0C

Sea_Temp: 8.0C

Day 1 - through Race Passage at speed...

What a great sail through Race Passage - at over 7 knots in maximum ebb!

With almost no wind everywhere else, giving very little boat speed, it was great to have the wind get up for that part of the trip through the Strait.

I'd poled out the genoa earlier in light wind , but soon after exiting the Passage on a beam reach, it was taken down - only to have the wind die again - now astern from starboard with our change of course.

It had been a lovely send off - even the sun came out to join friends who came to wish me well, both on the dock, at Ogden Pt and in the boats towing and keeping me company as I started off- thank you to all of you!

As I write this at 1.30pm, we're approaching Sooke Basin with aother 45 mls to go to the exit from the Strait. Making 4.5 kt in 10kt of N-NNE wind, that's going to take until around midnight although, hopefully, the wind might increase as we get further on and we'll change course soon slightly to bring the wind further forward.

Start of RTW sail on Wed 19th October

Leaving on Wednesday morning from Ogden breakwater start line, Victoria Outer Hbr. Tow and accompanying boat provided by Prince of Whales - thank you!

More to be posted soon - running out of time to get everything done...!!

Saturday 23rd July: Progress being made- but slow!

Have been made very welcome by so many people here in B.C. - thanks to all of you!

Had a nice two-day stay at Causeway dock in heart of Victoria last week - fun events going on, with Busker Festival, street entertainers and usual small stalls by waterside.

Weather has turned sunny - summer has finally arrived here...!

Saw Mark at 'Prince of Whales' - they're happy to tow 'Nereida' out to Ogden Pt breakwater (and back when I finish!) at beginning of my RTW attempt - engine will be sealed off, so not useable.

Wandered around and enjoyed re-visiting Victoria waterfront - lovely flowers and historic buildings.

Moved around to Cadboro Bay and the Royal Victoria Y.C. for a short stay - but the Commodore Dunnery and Rear-Commodore Randy made me very welcome and extended my stay - and said to come back again anytime but especially before I take off in October - they've people and facilities they feel sure I can make use of. Thank you so much for your friendly generosity!

I gave the boat a thorough wash down - nice to get rid of the sticky salt everywhere - and slowly started on boat jobs. One small but important item on my list was a leaking portlight over the galley - but it turned out that all I needed to do was to tighten some screws on the closure - an unexpectedly quick and easy fix!

Today, I took advantage of a calm day (rather than the strong wind yesterday) to move over to Westport marina, where I'll probably haul out at some point. A pleasant trip in bright sunshine inside Discovery Island and on to just beyond Sidney.

As I approached Tsehum hbr entrance, I met a small boat - and was hailed on VHF soon after they had passed - good cruiser friends (first met up in Hawaii) were on board - we're meeting up for a meal and to catch up tonight.

Once Nereida" was safely tied up at Westport, I though I should look at another problem - auto-tuning to the various shore-station radio frequencies used to send and receive my emails when at sea. It hasn't been happening for quite a while and I've had to manually set the different frequencies. I'd spoken to Shea Weston, of Sailmail, when I was in San Diego recently - but he was in Hawaii on holiday. He mentioned a few possible things to check on - so I've just gone through some of them.. and finally, I'm delighted to report, I've solved the problem. It wasn't quite as simple as it sounded, but I found a 'work around' - and the auto-tuning to the different frequencies I choose to use for emailing is finally happening - great!!

My friends have just arrived to pick me up and take me to their house...

Saturday - sunshine in Juan de Fuca by midday...

Up at 5 a.m. - just getting light. Away by 5.10 a.m. - no wind, murky, misty, wet conditions. Lots of small pleasure fishing boats zipping out of the marina to maximise their fishing time. Lots of shipping in the Strait.

Lovely sunshine by midday and continuing all afternoon... Very pleasant steep forested hillsides, with Olympus Mts behind, on the Washington (S) side of the Strait. A lot of trees had been clear-cut, some very recently, giving a slashed, bare look to the hillsides but there were also areas of young trees growing where older cuts had been made. To the N, the coastline of Vancouver Island became clear by the afternoon, but was hidden in mist and cloud all morning.

A good 2m swell coming up the Strait all day, sometimes more - even close to PT Angeles. In fact the ferry to Victoria is renowned for being often very rolly in the prevailing swell.

By two o'clock, an ENE 8 kt wind had got up - a headwind of 12 kt apparent which slowed us down to 5 kt at times. But by now, the Strait was flooding and we had an extra 'push', so were making well over 6 kt, instead of the earlier SOG of 3.5kt.

Just N of Pt Angeles the shipping lanes have an 'intersection' of three lanes - N to Victoria, SE to PT Angeles and E to Puget Sound and Seattle - and further on there are two more. Most Vancouver traffic takes the E route here and then heads N into Georgia Strait further on.

3 p.m. Just over an hour from the Pt Angeles marina & fuel dock. The Olympic Mts of Washington have their usual snowy high peaks but across the Strait, the coastline of Vancouver Island is partly hidden by low cloud - the air is quite cold, despite the sunshine.

4.40 p.m. Arrived at fuel dock, with friends Kathy and Dianna from Pt Townsend waiting to take my lines - was lovely to see them and spend time with them. While there, Peter, KJ6PNG, who I'd spoken to on the Chubasco Net, turned up to say hello & meet in person. (Both he and Dianna had been keeping track of Nereida's position using an AIS app) It's good to put faces to radio voices!

Just before sunset - a vivid, huge red ball sinking into the sea - I wandered over to another dock and chatted to a couple who 'd been out crabbing and were dealing with a good pile of lovely freshly-cooked Dungeness crabs. They were caught very close by, they told me - and proceeded to present me with one of them - made an excellent, unexpected, tasty supper!

A relaxed day tomorrow - it's only twenty miles from here across the Strait, to make for the Victoria Customs dock and deal with Clearance paperwork into Canada - usually very quick and straightforward. I hope the docks nearby have at least one empty slip to tie up to...! On Monday, my priority will be to organise a local phone so I can contact friends and organise help with some of the boat work I'll be doing from now on.

Friday - wind subsides around dawn - Cape Flattery rounded - landfall!

What a difference a few hours make! When I took to my bunk for some sleep near midnight, winds were 24 kt, having been 27-28 kt for quite a time with steep seas tossing us around every 6 seconds. I thought they were beginning to subside but when I talked to the cargo vessel 'Cronus Leader' on VHF at 3.30 a.m. to make sure they kept well clear (they altered course to stbd, to pass port-to-port), winds were back up at 27-28 kt. The bow and stern navigation lights, that I tried to add in for safety, kept shorting out but, fortunately, the tricolour, at the masttop, continued working fine.... Another problem added to the joblist for when I get in!

By 6 a.m., I was being woken by the noise of the boom as it flopped about - we were in light winds but there was still a big swell . The wind had died right down to 15 kt, veered to NNW and we were 26 miles from C. Flattery, with a lot of ships to our NE, heading in and out of the Strait, a good distance off.... We were making 3.7 kt ....over a deep kelp bed - I could see and smell it.

An hour later, with all reefs shaken out, both headsails unfurled completely and the sails trimmed for what was then a NW 10 kt wind, we were making 4.5 kt .... But not for long ... two hours later, with boat speed under 2 knots in 5 knots of wind, the 'iron sail' was turned on and the headsails furled in - they were flapping uselessly. 16 miles to the Cape and a further 6 ml to Neah Bay.

We're lucky to be heading for the entrance to the Strait on the flood - that only lasts for five hours (max flood 0.5kt) but should easily see us to Neah Bay. Most of the rest of the day, the Strait is ebbing, so SOG when heading in to the Strait is mostly reduced, with up to 1.7 kt of current to fight five hours ago in the middle of the Strait.

Well - not quite the ending I expected...! I took my usual course towards Neah Bay - aiming midway between Tatoosh Island and Duncan Rock - its black outline clearly seen at low water in the bright sunshine. Wind had appeared, so I was having a very pleasant sail but as I got closer, the wind died down so boat speed was much less - and I found us being taken strongly towards Duncan Rock and the shallows to its S... I turned on the motor to give us some boat speed and had to steer well off our course to compensate for the strong current. I stayed at the helm for a time until safely past both Duncan Rock and Tatoosh Island. Neah Bay is only six miles further on but as I got close, a strong (19kt) SW wind came up and headed us as we entered the Bay and made for the marina.

It hadn't occurred to me that with the strong conditions offshore that I'd just come through, the entire fishing fleet would be sheltering in Neah Bay...! I had expected to tie up at the long 'visitors dock' and had lines and fenders all ready - but it was full, as was most of the marina - I've not seen so many fishing boats tied up since a similar situation in Sitka, Alaska!

What to do? The wind was blowing a hooley and I spotted an empty pontoon. I'd have to dock almost head on to the strong wind... We survived, but only just... I jumped off when we were alongside and grabbed my bow and stern lines to tie us off. The wind blew the bow on and the boat astern . I got the stern line round a cleat but not well enough and the wind blew her back... I nearly lost the stern line... I tied the bow line to the same cleat - hanging on to the stern line for dear life, I had no choice! - and called over to the neighbouring fishing boat for help - someone was there! Steven came and took the bow line from me and tied it for'd - but no way could even he pull the boat for'd against the strong wind... In the end, I had to leave the stern sticking out and accept that at least we were tied safely to the dock, not going anywhere.... Later, I used a lull to move the boat - but not by much.

"The fleet is stuck here until Sunday," he informed me... "Love your accent!"

I've made up the log, made out a position report, had a late lunch (watching an osprey pair using a high post nearby for a perch) and will now hit the sack - after posting this with the position report.... A shower will be enjoyed later and I'll also find out more about the possibility of moving on tomorrow - could be dubious, depending on wind direction and strength. In theory, I've a couple of good friends driving over from Pt Townsend to meet up with me in Pt Angeles later in the day...

One thing I love about sailing is you can never know for sure what the next day will bring... "Plans are made in wet sand at low water." ... but it can be equally frustrating, at times...

Thursday - Hope you had an enjoyable 'Quatorze Juillet'!

Midnight - Lovely half moon in starry sky - Plough clear above - making broad path of silvery light on sea surface up to the boat. NW wind of 14-16 knots.

5 a.m. Beam reaching nicely in 17-19 knots of NW wind. Trimmed sails - making 5-6 knots with reefed main and full headsails. Cloud overhead. 165 n.ml. to Cape Flattery - ETA early afternoon Friday. Back to my bunk after posting position report and downloading latest grib (weather) files (showing strongest winds of 23 kt not until tonight - around midnight) Hint of daybreak in NE.

9 a.m. Went up on deck before, prepared to let out a reef - we were only making around 4 kt in 14 kt of wind... But then wind suddenly gusted up and we were heeled over, making over 6 kt ... so reef left in! Lots of grey rain clouds everywhere - clearly gusty conditions prevailing today but wind still mainly from NW. Was reminded of one of the first lessons I learned on a sailing-school course - "If you think of reefing down - do it! If you think of shaking out a reef - go make a cup of tea!" Excellent advice. Often, when a big rain cloud is nearby, it gets calm before the strong wind due to the cloud suddenly comes. Was thinking (hoping?!) winds might be less over next day or so than previously forecast - but seems they're still going to be around 25kt, gusting higher, tonight.

Midday Wind is varying a lot - mainly NW but occasionally back to WNW. As soon as I trim for a beam reach with a wind shift, wind veers and we're on a close reach once more... Lovely sunshine and blue sky now - grey cloud mass is on S and E horizons. We seem to be in sunshine under blue sky one moment, then under cloud, with gusts, not long after. Pressure still very high - 1029 hPa - has been steady for almost a day now.

3:30 p.m.Wind NW 21kt - SOG 5.8 kt - sailing well under blue sky & white cumulus, rather bumpy in increased seas.

More shipping now we're about 100 miles off the coast but not a problem - all keeping well clear of each other...

5:30 p.m. Wind mostly 22-24 kt now, still NW. SOG ~6 kt so going well. Main problem is the rough seas - because they're fairly close (~6sec) and ~2-3m high, that makes them rather steep and small sections of crest are tumbling a little. So the end result is we're getting well tossed around over to starb'd when the wave crests hit the port side of the hull - mainly because we're beam reaching. I'll definitely reduce the genoa a little before dark - partly to reduce the heeling and partly because the strongest winds are forecast to be around midnight.... Pressure has actually gone down a tad - to 1028.

7:50 p.m. Wind 24-27 Kt, SOG 6-7Kt Sun close to setting. Seas are impressive! Just finished clearing up in galley. Will try to reach SHTP racers on their 8 p.m. evening Net but too far away now for 4MHz. 6 MHz works most times but even there, they are becoming hard to copy. Then it's over to Pacific Seafarers' Net for my regular daily report soon after 8:30 p.m. Pressure down to 1026hPa - that's 2 hPa in 3 hrs - a lot! That's why we've these winds ... from isobars being 'squeezed'.

11 p.m. Cooked meal after reefing down some more at sunset. Tied in deep 3rd reef & furled in some more genoa - AP coping better - we're not rounding up so much when we're hit by big seas. We're still making nearly 6 kt in 24kt of wind on the beam. I could well be wrong but have feeling wind is subsiding instead of increasing - which is good! Think it peaked a couple of hours ago.

Still 66mls to C. Flattery - ETA likely to be ~11 a.m. but will first need to keep eye out for ships turning to head in and out of shipping lanes at entrance to the Strait. Tofino Radio usually puts out warnings on VHF16 if needed - but good to be approaching in daylight.

Time for my bunk...

Wednesday - finally some sunshine! Good progress N.

Had to furl in the headsails just before sunset last night and motor. A fog layer seemed to be forming on the sea surface not so far away and a grey cloud layer was off to the S and W but stars were beginning to appear overhead.

The swell wasn't too bad and it occurred to me that I shouldn't leave topping up the fuel tank any longer - it could be raining tomorrow - who knows? In the twilight, I transferred three lots of diesel - 65 l in all, making over 200l in the tank - giving two days of hard motoring if needed, with spare fuel available.

I'm hoping that the strong Northerlies will reach us at the point where our course can swing around to the East, so the winds will be helpful to lay Cape Flattery under sail. If they're more from the NNW than N, so much the better. Just past Cape Flattery lies Neah Bay anchorage and marina and the Makah fuel dock - a useful refuelling spot in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If the two-day sail there is as rough as it looks it might be, with 25+ knot winds forecast, it could be a good spot to rest before moving on down the Strait to Victoria..

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9 a.m. (Wed) Cloudy sky with blue patches between cirrus overhead, sea fairly calm with noticeable 2-3m swell from WNW every 8 sec - so much easier to see the swell clearly without the rough seas on top.

Time for coffee and breakfast after morning radio chats. No problem putting on my Bialetti coffee-pot in these light conditions, despite the 2-3m swell - the coffee ends high up in the top section and I've had few messy incidents in not-so-calm seas - but not today, I hope... It was great to make voice contact with Barbara, VE7KLU, near Sidney this morning on the Gt Norther Boaters' Net and I'm looking forward to seeing her and other friends in B.C. shortly.

I'm feeling really pleased that my present passage plan seems to be working out fine. I'll get to my waypoint north of here just before sunset with a good angle to turn onto my course making directly for the Strait entrance, ready for the strong NNW winds that are expected to build. I should be able to sail the rest of the way in good winds - but I might take in my second reef early on, just to be safe - nothing like being cautious and I'm in no rush. If we average 5 knots or less, that would be fine.

Two days to Neah Bay and a Friday afternoon arrival there means I'll probably drop anchor (or go into the marina) and get some sleep overnight before continuing on at first light up the Strait to PT Angeles (

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1:30 p.m. Passing the mighty Columbia River mouth! Early this morning, passed Cape Meares, Portland and Vancouver, OR, ... but everything about 225 miles offshore. Wind up and down a bit, but still mainly ~8 kt, WNW.

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7 p.m. It's been a lovely, relaxing, sunny afternoon, with just a few fluffy white clouds around. Pressure has been steadily increasing - now 1029 - that's high! Current weather-fax shows the High has now moved, with a Low to its NW pushing it E, and its centre is now just NE of 40N 140W. We're at 46.7N 129.2W so it's much closer to here than usual.

We're still 2 1/2hrs (13ml) from my waypoint for the turn to Cape Flattery but we're bouncing around quite bit now with bigger wave action caused by the increased wind, now 12-13 kt from NW, so it's time to get the sails working. If the wind is good, it's a pity not to make use of it and save diesel. It means we'll have to come off the wind more but I think my waypoint is close enough for the slight change of course not to matter.

I hope the winds don't get too strong over the next two days - I'm expecting mostly around 20kt, with 25 kt forecast for around dawn on Friday, which could mean gusts to 30 kt - but they might have got that wrong!!

Tuesday - more weather study for passage

11 p.m. (Monday) - studying the weather info... Present wind is WNW 16 kt. Looks like light winds for next two days, then N winds will arrive and increase to become strong quite quickly. I need to get into position to make good use of those N winds to head ENE, rather than have them cause me a major problem if I'm not far N enough.

My present thoughts are to motor N frequently, whenever possible, for the next two days, if winds are light enough and direction is OK... Will need the winds to be as light as forecast for that to work. That would place us on outskirts of the 20-25 kt N-NNW wind field on Thursday, ready to 'turn the corner' and head for Cape Flattery...

3 a.m. Just turned off engine - no point in wasting fuel and wind had veered to NW, from W when turned on. COG now is 027T (NNE) at 3.7 kt.

6 a.m. Engine back on - we were making just 2.5kt, now 5 kt. Wind backed soon after into W, so N course again. Grey rainclouds with some tiny blue patches between and stronger wind under darker clouds. Bumpy - heading into WNW seas.

8.30 a.m. Very poor copy on 4MHz maritime frequency with Mike on Mouton Noir and others in SHTP race fleet, although I think my position was copied. Went to 6MHz - had quick chat with Seazed Asset (all going well in 15 kt following Trade winds, but still rolly) and Tortuga was also clear. Weatherfax download, then to Baja Net for quick chat and more weather info!

9.30 a.m. Wind 8-10 kt from just N of W at present - motor-sailing. Sky brighter now, with occasional sunshine and fewer dark grey rain clouds around. Still bumpy, heading into waves. Time for b'fast.

11 a.m. Wow! A rain cloud .. and wind suddenly shot up to 16-18 knots - noticed we were rushing along at just over 7 knots - definitely time to cut the engine for a bit! Sun getting out between the clouds but just put a fleece top on - air is cooler here than in Mexico!

Busy calculating distances sailed during my westabout circumnavigation - interesting exercise, made a lot easier by having a plotter to hand.... Lots of nice memories!

1 p.m. ....Comes to well over 25,000 n.mls., taken as straight lines between major ports of call.

Really variable today... One moment - nice sunshine, blue sky overhead and rainfall seen in distance, light W wind. Then, a short while later - big cloud and the wind really gusts up. Keeping me busy - up/down, to/from cockpit, to adjust sheets and motor.

Hoping seas might calm down a bit more so I can top up main fuel tank from jerry cans - 3/8 full at present - about 140 litres or more, giving more than 36 hours of motoring, even before topping up.

6.30 p.m. Tried contacting the B.C./Pacific NW evening Net on 3860 - but too noisy to copy anything. Need to be a bit closer.

Wind has been consistently W 8-9 kt this afternoon but has now veered closer to WNW .. still light, at 7 kt. I suspect wind will slowly veer over next few days as we head N. No unexpected squalls this afternoon! In fact, having totally forgotten to download all my usual many weatherfaxes, it was positively relaxing, with bright sky and far less rough seas...

Stays light so much later than I'm used to - I'm really noticing how late darkness falls.

Monday - v. little wind overnight..

Just gone midnight - 3 kt of WNW wind - and we're basically drifting downwind ... E ... at just under 1kt.

The boom is prevented to try to stop it swinging noisily, however little, from one side to the other - but the sails keep 'slatting'. Nothing much else to be done just now, so might as well get some sleep and check things out a little later... Wind is 2kt .......0.0 - we're drifting aimlessly... bows pointing N and drifting E! I'll furl in the headsails so they don't chafe....

At just gone1 a.m., as I was seriously considering dropping the mainsail, I suddenly thought to start the engine and motor gently - to stop the sails flogging and make some headway - I had forgotten that I wasn't necessarily under sail alone on this passage...! We've about 320 l (85 US galls) of diesel - enough to motor gently for 3-4 days if needed. COG 345T

1.30 a.m. Called 'Katagalan Wisdom III' on VHF16 - heading S directly for us! Agreed he'd change course to port so we'd pass starb'd to starb'd. Passed each other at 2:30 a.m. 1.4 n.ml. apart. Now I can finally get to my bunk.

9.30 a.m. Beautiful! Sailing gently and peacefully under blue sky and broken white cloud - the grey rainclouds are off to the W and S. Half an hour ago, I suddenly felt us heeling to some wind - it had picked up nicely from W-WSW. Quickly up on deck, to cut the motor... The sails were already set (I'd unfurled the genoa earlier to motor-sail with it) and we were now sailing at 4.5 kt due N. I suspected my luck might have been due to a big raincloud off to starboard - but we're still sailing nicely under wind-steering at around 3 kt in 11 kt of W wind, having left that well behind. I must go and add in the staysail for a touch more speed.

12.40 p.m. Well, that was nice while it lasted but now we're motor-sailing again - trying to get W while we can in lighter winds - they dropped to 8 kt from the WSW and we were making just 2 kt. Grey cloud layer with occasional small breaks - rather rainy-looking day. We shan't be able to get W easily in a day or two, so I'm 'making hay while the sun shines'...

Downloading usual batch of weatherfaxes from Pt Reyes. Hurricane Celia, well ESE of Hawaii, is doing well but by Friday is expected to diminish to a Tropical Storm and looks not to be of concern to the racers. Hopefully, once this Cold Front, from the next Low coming down, has passed over, there might be some more sun here - it's chilly and grey now.

3.35 p.m. Wind has veered into WNW so our heading is almost N - motor off. Sailing gently again in 10-11 knots wind - time to relax. Fred , the Hyrovane, can take over the steering. Northerly flow, Wednesday onward, becoming strong, will give us a problem. I'll worry about that nearer the time and will just try to get W whenever possible before then. I've noted where I need to get to, in order to lay Cape Flattery in W-NW winds but it looks as though it's going to prove difficult getting there!

9.30 p.m. Still some light in the grey sky, with a pinkish break near the NW horizon. Swell from WNW with 1-2ft wind-waves on top. Sailing nicely, close-hauled, as usual on this passage, with full canvas, in 14-15 kt of WNW wind, making N-NNE at ~4 kt.

Spoke earlier to both the SHTP racers (talking about their stronger wind sail plans for downwind sailing and some discussion of squalls) and also to the Pacific Seafarers Net. Seems there's been a tragic grounding in the Tuamotus very recently, with a lot of questions surrounding the event and its handling. That is a very dangerous reef area, to be sailed in with great care....

Sunday - strong winds gone, seas lying down slowly

Midday - Sun trying to get out. 19C air - I'm feeling cold - need more layers on! Has been a grey cloudy day with occasional short showers and wind mainly 10-16kt from WNW, sometimes more NW. Expecting wind to be light for several days now, I've shaken out all reefs and added a small staysail into the mix but we're still close-hauled so speed still not great. Don't want to head in to coast if avoidable since NW or NNW wind will send us that way anyway - and we mght get those winds sometime soon.

The overnight strong winds didn't arrive - we were far enough W to be well away from centre of the Low, as it headed in over the land. But that meant very low boat speeds since we were well reefed down overnight to be safe.

3.30 p.m. Tea-time! Just had an afternoon nap - seems to be becoming a routine. Getting down to sleep late and up early leaves me needing more sleep so this works out well. Weatherfaxes were being downloaded - should have been able to leave them running and stored on the computer - but that keeps hanging up after a short while - RF interference - must dig out some soft iron chokes and put them on the data and power cables to the computer, in hope that stops the problem...

Light overcast with hazy sunshine still. WNW wind, COG 016T (N-NNE), SOG 3.5kt. We're about 240 mls off the coast, nearly at the Cailfornia-Oregon border at 42N and not quite level with Crescent City and Pt St George. Just changed the flash card in my plotter from the one covering Mexico & mid-America to the USA one. The Canadian one is ready and waiting. Nice to see all the chart details on shore now.

5 p.m. Just got to my tea after adjusting the sails, trying to get some more speed. Eased the mainsail outhaul for more sail shape and was able to unfurl a touch more genoa. Centred the main rudder more to reduce drag. Hasn't made a vast difference but I think we're doing better. Wind almost W now, at 10-12 kt. Big grey cloud off to port - hope it stays there! Our daily straight-line mileage is appalling - we only made 65 mls GMT midday to midday... ugh! (Being well reefed down and, as usual, close-hauled overnight, expecting strong winds that didn't materialize, didn't help.) I'm constantly watching our course and the wind direction, to try to improve things, but we just keep sailing slowly...

Had my last banana with my breakfast cereal this morning and, lunchtime, finished last cherry tomato of a pack bought in San Diego. I'm hoping a second pack stored low down will be OK - they're really tasty and last so well. Also, with my tea, I just finished the red wine jelly that I discovered hidden away, given by friend Barbara VE7KLU who runs the Gt Northern Boaters Net for B.C. & the Pacific NW- should be getting close enough to hear her very soonc.

6 p.m. Just happened to turn radio knob to bring up 15 MHz (transmitted by WWB, Ft Collins, CO) which continuously 24/7 gives precise time (and gale warnings for USA waters) - and wondered why my radio time was different from my plotter time.... saw that my plotter time was just over 45 minutes fast, according to the received transmission.... a new problem, not seen before. Both should be precisely in line with the received GPS signal time. I've been busily saving my track on the screen as best I can so that I can switch the system off to re-boot it (and not lose the record of my present track), hoping that will fix the problem. .... Great! That has worked - GPS time is showing correctly now - RF interference again??

One problem solved but another reared its head ... Before re-booting the system, I went to the head - and found the pan overflowing with seawater.... NOT good! I'd forgotten to close the seacock out to sea on my last visit... It's a good thing the seat is just above sea-level (although we're presently heeled that way) and I had only recently been there or I'd have had a major problem. Possibly the joker valve needs replacing but I don't have a spare, having only recently replaced it when in La Cruz. It's good to have a shower pump that gets rid of the water that spills over onto the head floor. That could have really ended up nastily... :-(

7p.m. Wind speed down to 8 kt from NW, SOG down to under 3 kt, COG NE. Low, light grey cloud . Mixed swell - from both WSW and NW - around 2-2.5m. Not as rough now - seas definitely calming down.

10 p.m. Thoroughly enjoyed a cheese omelette (why does Brie taste so good when hot?) and then spotted a major wind shift - to SSW...and boat speed way down!! Rushed up on deck to ease the sheets and set up a preventer on the boom to control it in the light winds and swell. Speed went up very satisfyingly... Although wind then veered to just S of W, we're still moving along fine - N-NNE - the direction of Cape Flattery from here. Wind now: WSW 8kt, COG: N SOG: 3.0kt.

Friday - dolphins came to say "Goodnight" last night/...total change of strategy

What a lovely "Goodnight" I had last night, as the light was fading. A large group of dolphins came speeding towards us, leaping together in small groups, clear of the water... Among them were clearly some far smaller ones - this must have been several families with young, travelling together as a group. They stayed close by, leaping and surfacing for quite a time, and I enouraged them with shouts of joy as they cleared the water... I'm sure they appreciated the applause! While they were in the air, I wondered if they were taking a good look at "Nereida".

Up at 2am - enough wind to switch off engine and sail - speed dropped from 5kt to 4kt in 13 kt of SW wind. We'd been motor-sailing up to then, having fallen off the wind a bit last evening to get more speed by getting lift from the sails - full genoa, as well as mains'l.

10am Changed from autopilot to using Hydrovane (for wind steering) - so much better in shifty, light conditions and conserves battery power. Wind has been mainly WSW wind last evening and overnight, but is expected to veer to NW-NNW sometime soon - the longer it stays WSW the better I'll like it - we're making NW just now.

Ooops! Just noticed (11.20am) the windshift has arrived - wind now from WNW so we're making 004T - almost due N. That's the beauty of windsteering - we sail to the wind, so if the wind shifts, we go with it - still nicely close-hauled ... No drama! We're set to sail as close to the wind as gives fair speed in these light conditions (~10 kt) - any closer would kill our speed completely but coming off the wind more, which would actually increase our speed, would mean heading more NE - which is the course I'm trying hard to avoid being set onto since it will be almost impossible to get W again in the NW winds expected for several days.

At least we're not becalmed (yet!), unlike most of the SHTP race fleet just now - spoke to them this morning on their Net - sails flapping, sitting in calm sea going nowhere - not pleasant, especially in a race!

12.30pm Time for daily download session of weather faxes from Point Reyes - normally leave computer running to store them in turn as they finish. Usually works fine and I get on with something else but recently computer has frequently been losing contact with modem and stops recording, so I need to keep an eye on things - a bit of a pain!

1pm Wind is from 300T, COG 025T (NNE), SOG ~3.3kt (Had to bear away a touch to increase speed - under 2 kt is just too slow. It's a juggling act!) A Low to the N, off Vancouver Island and the Washington coast, is affecting weather a lot and giving problems for vessels trying to reach Cape Flattery from offshore - just as when I was trying to complete my nonstop RTW in July 2013.

1.25pm Wind from 325T at 13-14kt, COG 040T, SOG ~4.3kt. Grey, occasional slight drizzle. Winds will be very light again in four days' time...

3.30pm I seem to have spent most of my time over the last few days studying gribs and weather-faxes and trying to see how we can possibly head NW to get far enough N to reach the W winds on the N side of the High that we need to take us to Cape Flattery ... It's just NOT going to happen in the forecast NNW-NW winds - often very light! We'd end up in light winds near the High centre, well S of where we need to be - without enough fuel to motor N far enough...

The only way to make good progress is to make use of the strong winds of the Low coming S and the subsequent strong N-NNW winds off the coast - so we're now going to head NNE-NE (preferably NNE given a choice), using the winds to make good speed. Once we've reached the N winds off the coast we can head W so as to get to the W wind we need to get to the Cape... It seems to me to be the only way forward that's guaranteed to work.... Total change of strategy!!

Thursday

9am Coffee in hand, sun has just come out from under grey cloud layer to the E, blue sky above... Finished with the usual morning radio chats, single-handed SHTP racers among them, downloaded a couple of weather faxes and updated grib files to study.

We're motor-sailing just N of due W for a time, in light (9kt) NW-NNW wind - settng a course that just manages to keep the mainsail from flapping annd hopefully get some lift from it. I've been getting concerned that we were being forced to head NE whereas we need to continue in a general NW direction if we're to get to the W winds around the High, to the N of us, in a good position to take us towards Cape Flattery.

From the forecasts, the closer to the coast we'd get, the stronger the prevailing NW-NNW winds around and north of Cape Mendocino, making it difficult to head north. My plan is to get W from here, preferably NW if possible, but that depends on the wind strength and direction - there's no point in wasting fuel trying to head into the wind if only making 1-2 knots!

So, for the moment, I'm enjoying my breakfast and about to take my coffee up on deck and bask in some sunshine - not seen much of that for quite a few days now! The bird I saw a week ago was a black-footed albatross which nests in the Hawaiian Island chain. Maybe some of the racers will see one? Or a Laysan albatross, which also nests near where they're headed to.

2pm Well, there's a thin cloud layer but the sky is bright and I've still seen plenty of sun with breaks in the cloud - and the cockpit is dry (and tidy)!

The wind backed into the W mid-morning, still light, so we changed back onto port tack again, motor-sailing well with the apparent wind filling our sails to give lift. If the wind gets up more strongly, I could cut the engine, which is always nicer, but in the meantime, we're making good progress NW.

5pm Looking at the latest weather info, it's clear that the priority just now is to get W in the present light winds since, by Saturday onward, winds are likely to be from NW and getting quite strong so we'll have to sail NNE at best, probably - no question of motoring into strong winds. We're presently making 3.5 kt to the W, in relatively light WNW wind of 10 kt, motoring, with mainsail hoisted in hope!

Wednesday - on to port tack - wind from NW

5am - Dark with hint of first light and rosy-pink beginning of dawn along NE horizon under dark overcast sky.

Seas relatively calm - swell much less. Speed down and wind backing into NW. Had adjusted the wind vane for better speed and noticed we were headed due W! Time to change tack... So now we're headed NE and expecting (hoping!) the forecast is right and wind will slowly back some more - at least we're heading in roughly the right diection - we'll see what the wind does over the next few days...

Ran the generator for half an hour - batteries were getting low. Need to check the oil level later today - could well need topping up. Caught up with several amateur radio friends while genset was running.

Back for a little more sleep before Single-Handed TransPac Net at 8am, to help with their position reporting by relaying if needed....

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10am Full sail - just shook out the first reef - noticed we were really going slowly in lighter NW wind of 10-12 kt.

11am Tried downloading weather faxes from Honolulu for info on hurricane Blas - very poor copy but shows it's headed due W, so not a problem - except for the big seas it might generate. They'd travel a long way and could be seen by the racers, and maybe even by me, also. Usually get a better fax signal from Pt Reyes which I'll get later today.

Midday Spoke to Randy, KH6RC, on the Big Island of Hawaii - Blas is predicted to diminish in wind strength over next few days and swell from it is not so big further north as to cause any problem - good news for the SHTP racers

7pm Fairly calm conditions with genlte swell from NNW, overcast. Have been making only 1-2 knots in NW 8knots for quite a time, headed NE, but wind has just backed into WNW now and increased to 13 kt, so we're making 015T (NNE) at just over 3kt.

Had been looking at option of using motor in light winds to get further NW since don't want to end up near coast in strong northerlies and forecast is all for NW-NNW winds, light for 2-3 days but becoming strong in 4-5 days' time. Have 4-5 days of fuel left, if motor gently. While wind stays WNW, will keep sailing.

9pm Wind has been up around 16kt for a time now and varying between NW and NNW, so course more NE now but varying a lot.. There's a lot of cloud around, not just an overcast layer, with a dark cloud to the W, so maybe that's caused the wind change. I really need to get more west, if possible, so as not to have a problem making the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca...

Tuesday - more traffic - busy ocean!

At 4pm Monday, I was just about to get a rest when I noticed "OCCL Beijing" was heading directly to us. Never a response to my many VHF calls. Asked to change course, he finally did so but only after many requests and my saying "You are on a collision course with a sailing boat"...several times, slowly & distinctly... ! I can only presume no officer spoke good enough English to use the radio...

After changing course by ten degrees, which altered our CPA (closest approach) to 1.5 ml from 200ft (!), he began to edge back again - I asked him to hold his course because we might get too close again - he held his course. Weird to be speaking to someone who doesn't respond (as he ought to) but who has clearly understood the request and acts on it! I thanked him several times afterwards...and then warned him of the small sailing boats he might see ahead of him, in a race from SF to Hawaii(SHTP Race) - I hope he understood! When they passed by, I saw a red and grey ship piled high with containers.

Two hours behind, I could see a Japanese ship ... CPA of 5ml - fine, if he holds his course, but it might change with needing to avoid the 'Beijing' heading towards him now... Plenty to keep me occupied in these busy waters. (With his course to Japan and mine to B.C., we actually kept well apart)

Monday evening, I had tuned in to the SHTP Race Net on 4MHz - was good to be able to help them with the position-reporting of several boats by relaying to Mike on 'Mouton Noir' who is acting as Net Control. I nearly missed my own position report to the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300 at 0330Z as a result! Then went to a 40m ham frequency to meet a few more of the racers. Many are still getting their sea-legs while suffering also from lack of sleep and trying to cope with the strong conditions they're getting now - after drifting around the Farallons for a time soon after their start. It was good to hear Dave on 'Saraband' on frequency - the 'Westsail expert' - I wish him well in this race.

Conditions have been quite rough again for the last 24 hrs, overnight into Tues morning, with wind often well up, in the high 20s, and seas to match. It's like climbing a mountain, expecting an earthquake, just to get from one side of the well-heeled cabin the few steps to the other!! Pressure is now up at 1023. Winds are expected to ease soon...

5am PDT Tuesday On radio to chat to eastern Australian stations - good clear copy (also on Japan and Costa Rica). Missed friends on US E. coast - just too late for them - their sunrise was a couple of hours ago so propagation down and they're getting on with their day now. Back for quick sleep again now before sunrise here. Adjusted wind vane for better speed - keeps slipping so we head up a bit too much and lose speed - needs fixing when I get in.

8am Checked SHTP Net in case any relays needed and to find out their positions - one boat was a bit close upwind and so possibly heading our way but having given my postion to them, and with them having receive-AIS as a minimum, we should be OK - my VHF is on always, in case of need.

2pm Been downloading lots of wxfaxes. Hurricane Blas looking impressive, although well offshore - glad I got N when I did!

5pm Going mainly very slowly - upwind, close-hauled, I suppose it's to be expected but very frustrating! Only made 100mls in last 24 hrs and 98ml day before... Let out 2nd reef, with wind mostly 18-20 kt, but doesn't seem to have helped our speed at all. Wind slowly easing, with occasional gusts.

At least wind was more N yesterday - so better course of 305-310T was maintained but it's changing to NNW now .. Looks as though Low off Vanc Isl might give W winds in a few days - but might have to tack around on Thurs before that gets here - will just take it as it comes and try to keep heading N rather than S, as the wind shifts!

Time for an afternoon nap, ready for disturbed night - no ships showing on AIS - less traffic now.

Monday - Fourth of July - SHTP race boats pass close by

Sending good wishes to my US friends, hoping they've had a good Fourth of July celebration today!

Another close call overnight - Chris on "Ventus" one of the SHTP Race leaders (Single-Handed TransPac Race from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay in Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands) was about to cross our path very close. My AIS alarm went off and I called him on VHF - he hadn't seen 'Nereida' but had no problem passing well ahead at speed (8+ knots!) once we were in contact, afer a bit of course changing.... Seems his AIS display needed a setting adjustment - was too zoomed out. We had a good chat as on he went..

Not long after, I heard a call on VHF - Steve on "Domino" ( 2nd in the race?) was calling - again we were quite close but he passed astern and we saw each other's sails in the early morning grey light and had a quick chat also. He has receive-only AIS.

I was pleased to hear it is a SHTP Race requirement that they all have at least the receive-only AIS - so much safer - it's busy out here with lots of shipping! They also all have trackers,with posns posted every four hours on the SSS website.

I also heard 'Kato' on the VHF but couldn't make good contact although I got his position - well N of us. Later I joined the 8 a.m. radio Net on SSB and chatted to two more boats. Finally, just before 9 a.m., George on 'Taz!!' ("We met in Hanalei in 2010," he reminded me) called me on VHF as he passed SE, 5 mls off. A chat was cut short by a forestay problem he had to go forward to deal with...

Seems the SHTP race fleet is all headed this way, having started on Saturday around noon, but I think most of the rest will now pass astern. Especially since a lot of them were becalmed soon after the start, so they're well behind - and winds will soon be easing - for me also, as I approach nearer the High centre well to my W, around 40N. I keep missing the time for real-time weather-fax downloads via my radio from the Pt Reyes transmitter - it's nice to see the 2 & 3-day forecasts - and keep track of hurricane Blas, well out to sea, off Acapulco...

My course has been fairly consistently around 300T, occasionally up to 310T - all depending on wind direction, being close-hauled under wind-steering. We're now due W of San Simeon (a favourite anchorage!) and Morro Bay - about 310 mls off.

Winds have got up to ~24 knots again today, with seas to match, so we're being thrown around somewhat again. Sometimes the sun has got out, often it's behind cloud, but it's been quite bright most of the day.

Yesterday also, just before sunset, it got quite boisterous as we passed through an area of broken grey rainy-looking clouds with N winds gusting up to 24 knots, giving 29 kt apparent.

The seas had lain down fairly well during the daytime but now we were being hit rather vigorously by the occasional more aggressive wave.

Talking about waves washing the decks thoroughly, that had been happening so often over the last few days, as we plunged into the frequent big, steep waves, that I found several tiny jelly beings on deck - 'velella velella' is their name, I've been told. A colony,. They are only just over one inch (3cm) long, comprising an oval clear jelly plate which floats on the sea surface with a thick dangling fringe of purple/blue (which somehow catches plankton) and a clear semi-circular 'sail' sticking up lengthwise which catches the wind.. I'm told they can sting but have not experienced that. I'd first seen them in June 2006 when I took part in the SHTP Race and that time there were hundreds of them floating by on a calm sea surface - an amazing sight!

Sunday - 2 ships come close...

Well, I think I've proved how useful it is to have AIS on board - even just to receive is good, although we also transmit.

Around midday, first the "Ultra Excellence" (bulk carrier, headed for Balboa)) and then the "Wan Hai 803"(general cargo, headed for Long Beach) came by in quick succession.

Both times, when I contacted them by VHF, on seeing a CPA (closest approach) of less than a mile, they assured me they could see my AIS signal and they'd keep clear (invariably, the usual response I get!).

Both times, I had to radio them when they got closer because we were virtually on collision course - a point I made strongly to the first one - 200-300 ft is too close for such big ships - and subject to error anyway!!

Being close-hauled under sail, I asked them please to bear away since my course was varying with the wind somewhat and they needed to give me more sea-room - both times I saw them change course by a few degrees - enough for them to pass by safely about a mile off upwind (and starboard to starboard, as is usual). I thanked both of them - but thought how lucky I was to have the AIS to have seen them in time. In the present big seas, they would have been very close before I could have seen them, to realise there was a problem - always assuming I was on deck to see them at all! Radar is the answer, of course, but that is very energy-consuming to keep on constantly , unlike AIS which uses a VHF frequency and is far more energy-efficient. I use that mainly when close inshore overnight, for small (fishing) boats without AIS, and in fog.

It's been a far better day today with the seas still quite big but not so close or steep, so far less banging and crashing around although we're still heeled somewhat - being close-hauled ensures that. Even the sun has been trying to get out and managed it for a time and the overcast sky is light, not dark, grey.

Being that much calmer, I've just finished a nice meal - the first one I've cooked since leaving Oxnard... Mushroom and ham omelette with buttered potatoes. I allowed myself one plain chocolate-covered cherry as desert - if I restrain myself, I think there's enough there for just one a day! The eggs are from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle - bought fresh in late May and turned daily - they're doing fine. Some chilled eggs I bought in San Diego just over a week ago are also being kept out of the fridge and turned daily but I've yet to find out if they'll keep as well - I doubt it! I might put some in the fridge to compare how they do.

Battery is well up at 12.98V, despite radio use this morning - the wind generator is doing well, with the solar panels also putting in 10amps under bright overcast. Using the wind vane for steering makes life so much simpler and is so energy-efficient! Keeping us close to the wind, we change course as the wind does - so the sails are always set correctly and we make the best possible course upwind. We're not very fast (4kt is slow!) because of heading into the wind but our course been consistently around 300T in 14-20 knots of mainly N wind.

Pressure continues to climb and is now around 1020 hPa. At some point we'll probably grind to a halt near the centre of the High, but for the moment, all is going very well - speed apart!

Saturday - grey clouds, big seas, wind up to 25kt again

Gusty conditions today under grey rainclouds - but no rain so far.

Made slow progress despite plenty of sail and good wind, mostly around 20 kt- but beating into strong wind, heeled a lot we've been very slow - often only 3-4kt. Decided to take in 2nd reef - and immediately speed was better - we had been over-canvassed and heeling too much and heading up as a result. Also, having changed to the windsteering, the Hydrovane couldn't overcome the weatherhelm before I reefed down. Now it's coping fine.

Until early today, wanting to try to keep heading W, I'd been using the autopilot to steer the boat, but ran into power problems, not helped by the genset not wanting to start (possibly short of oil). I was forced to charge the batteries using the main engine - with precious diesel used as a result. With the windsteering not needing power, and the strong wind powering up the wind generator, the batteries are now well charged without any diesel used. There was not much input from the solar panels today, except around midday, when there was a brief break in the clouds and the sun got out - then I saw 17 amps going into the batteries from the solar panels - excellent!

It's been a rough day again with the strong wind preventing the seas from lying down. Beating into big waves means frequent banging and lots of boat motion as we fall into troughs off the top of the waves. Heeling over with all that motion, I'm frequently needing my strong steel armrest to stop me falling out of the chart table seat.

It's satisfying to have been making a course to the WNW today. The wind should soon shift to N, with 20kt NNW-N winds being forecast for the next few days, so we should manage to maintain a good course, although being close-hauled, I just have to accept that our speed won't be very good until we can ease the sheets and fall off the wind more...

Friday - frustrating last night but better later today

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!!

3am We were making very little headway W against NW wind of 16kt, so tacked around ... but frustrating... no gain - actually went over our previous track! So just tacked back around again a short while ago.

6.30am Fishing boat has gone that was not far away overnight. Grey overcast in early daylight, seas still quite big and close but generally feels rather calmer. With slight wind shift more to N, we've made better course towards the W and less to SW - now making 257T so will stay on this tack and see how we go. Got lots of rest over y'day and last night - feeling good now. Time for breakfast and making radio contacts. Feeling decidedly chilly at 19C after very damp air last night and heavy dew on deck overnight..

10am Let out another reef to give better boat speed - not actually making much difference but must be better since wind is slowly lessening - now up and down around16 knots from NW.

I feel happier now I'm making a better course and things are calmer... but still need to tidy up down below from results of washing machine action over Wed into Thursday...!

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Wind around 15 kt this afternoon, SOG ~4-4.5 kt, but course good - seeing 270T finally. Wind slowly dying down - I hope not too much!

Wind generator was putting in amps that solar panels were not in murky grey light of this morning, but it got brighter later so solar doing better even though sun still hidden.

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Near evening. wind picked up to around 20kt and has often veered more to NNW - so our course has been maintained at 270 T or better.

For some reason, my plotter alarm did not sound to alert me to imminent Pacific Seafarers' Net - so missed it completely. About to investigate - maybe sound has been turned off somehow? Hope it's fixable!

.... Well, I keep setting it in the usual way and it's consistently failing to respond - that's a real nuisance, it's been so good and reliably loud up to now that I've used it a lot. Set to 0800z, it went off at 1140z but set to 0804 did not go off at 1144z... "Go figure..."

Thursday - lost ensign..warm clothing needed!

The wind did finally ease to around 20knots but not the seas - they have been big (3-4m/12ft at least), steep and every 4-5 seconds so tossed the boat around often.

I tried to release the lmainsail azyjack on the leeward side but it wouldn't release, giving a problem in shaking out the third reef in the mainsail - needed to give more boat speed. I was worried a batten would catch in the lazyjack as I tried to raise the sail ... Managed to release it later - so down to second reef over this afternoon.. If night weren't coming on, I'd shake that out also.

At least the morning NW wind direction was more helpful for heading W - to begin with.. But later, wind was WNW, so forced us to head SW. Have just tacked around to get back N - but making NNE - not so good!

Lost my ensign to the wind & waves last night...! Suddenly noticed it was missing.

Finding it difficult to get away from Sta Barbara Channel - NNW wind that is further N becomes more W near the Channel.

Tried to catch up on sleep

Grey and murky again. but a lot calmer.

Think I saw a small dark Albatross this morning - typical albatross outline when in flight caught my eye. Was attracted to boat and rested on the water nearby.

Keeping an eye on wind strength - hope to keep away from strong winds like yesterday's by heading W rather than N.

Had to dig out my foul weather gear - jacket, boots, hat, trousers - not worn those for quite a time!