S/V Nereida sails around the world

RTW Day 176 - Slow progress - Light wind and sunshine, rainclouds in afternoon

Monday 15th April 2013 Another hour forward in time! Crossed 157:30E so now into GMT + 11hr time zone.

Excellent contact on 20m at 6:20am with US E coast and, unexpectedly, good contact with UK: Paul, M1DPU (mobile), near Norwich - not far from the sailmaker that made my headsails - said he'd pop in tomorrow for me and say "Hi!" to them.

8:30am Another bright, sunny morning - several birds seen - black-browed albatross, soaring on its fixed, slightly bent, long wings... bright yellow bill, white body dark upperwings and thick black edge to white underwings... white-rumped storm petrel.... a white-chinned petrel (confirmed ID with photos later today) - all much as last evening - so maybe the same birds that have stayed close by overnight?
A noticeably long, rounded, slow swell from the N, every 9 seconds.... probably from the Low heading into North Island, New Zealand now.

Time for breakfast... hope the milk opened y'day is still OK. With temperature up to over 20C, had to throw some milk away yesterday. Might have to start up the small fridge I brought along - but takes a lot of power and not very well insulated so reluctant to do so, if avoidable. Might try cooling milk using a damp cloth over it instead .... latent heat of evaporation works to give a cooling effect but doesn't always bring temperature down by quite enough!

Missed Pacific Seafarers Net at 2:30pm - was taking a short nap to make up on sleep after getting to bunk very late last night, while weatherfaxes downloaded beforehand, thinking I'd set alarm earlier - but clearly hadn't!

5pm Grey cloud spread over from SW and rain was falling from one big, spreading cloud nearby. Wind dropped right down so we were struggling to make way at 2-2.5 kt. Rolling around in a big 2.5-3m swell from N.... Sails often noisy from having gone slack as we rolled in the light, light wind... Then the rain spread over and rinsed off the deck and sails with a short, heavy downpour while our speed jumped up for a few minutes to around 6 kt under a temporarily veered wind.... Back on course at 4.5kt, dropping soon to 2.5kt once more, after cloud had passed by. Dull & grey ...

6pm Well, we're into highly changeable conditions under this region of rainclouds - wind keeps swinging around and wind is up and down all the time, as clouds pass over... often with mostly light rain. Light fading - sun set a short while ago.
Five petrels have been flying around all afternoon, several times resting in water close to boat, with pair of storm petrels nearby at times also.

9pm A SHIP seen on AIS screen!! Haven't seen one for ages on AIS, let alone in plain view... "Trans Future 7" (what a name!!) Headed in same direction, 19 miles off, at just under 20kt, whereas we're making under 5kt..
Rainclouds cleared away before last light had faded from sky after sunset. Wind has now picked up a little - making 5kt closehauled, on ENE course in N-NNE wind. Just saw to generator - topped up oil and checked actuator spindle was free to move - released nut that felt a bit tight, so would excite OK and charge batteries. All takes a time..

1am(!!).. A beautiful starry sky with cloud on horizon - lightning flickering..... A meteorite shot across towards the Southern Cross ... Was up on deck to ease the sheets and trim the sails so we could make a better speed on a beam reach - making ~3kt... Too nice not to stay and gaze around, enjoying the scene and the pleasant night air - not so cold now! (Sea temp up to 26C!!)

Was sent this link today - haven't seen the item myself (no Internet access out here!) but gather it refers to my rounding of SE Cape of Tasmania:


D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 93 n.ml. - slow yesterday. Hobart: 574 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 380 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 769 n.ml. (081T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 175 - Bright, sunny, increasingly-calm day, as wind dies.

Sunday 14th April 2013

5pm Sun nearing the W horizon - a vivid orange ball sinking down over a deep blue sea... Silver crescent moon not far away, up in the NW... a star not far from its two cusps.... Two all-dark birds with pale, dark-tipped bills circling around in the gathering dusk ... a white-rumped storm petrel close to the water... no sign of the black-browed albatross seen twice earlier today.

I've spent a lot of time both yesterday and today, checking weather forecasts, studying grib (weather) files and doing some provisional but more detailed route-planning, using paper charts for ease of passage planning - back to pencil and parallel rule! Had a good look for shallow areas, sea-mounts, tiny atolls, etc on proposed route. Often mark them on chart-plotter with skull & crossbones so not overlooked! Have to allow for SE Trades north of New Zealand (quite likely to be ESE in fact) and I'm aiming for a waypoint well S of Hawaii. From there, we'll head north across the Equator, on to the unstable air of the ITCZ, with its probable squally conditions, before reaching the NE Trades, keeping W of Kauai in the Hawaiian chain. All can and will change with winds that will probably be different from those expected. At present, if possible, I'm hoping our route will take us just W of Tonga and E of Samoa - but we might not manage to get that far East - time will tell! The only certainty is of mainly heading into winds close-hauled, giving an uncomfortable ride for a lot of this last portion of the journey north...

8pm Finished evening meal as weatherfaxes were downloaded on laptop - current forecast & for next four days. Drinking coffee, along with some remnants of the choc-chip cookies found last week - some whole but mostly bits and crumbs! But still tasting fine...
Getting close to another time-zone ....tomorrow, into Z + 11hr, not far from NZ time, when 2am GMT = 2pm NZ time - easy conversion!
Speed is now down to just over 3kt SOG (actual speed over the ground), in dying wind. Moon has disappeared and sky is full of bright stars with Southern Cross in the Milky Way high overhead... lightning is flickering in a bank of clouds low on the SW horizon, astern... All very calm and peaceful... just the gurgle of water along the hull - no sound of any wind in the rigging....

As usual, finished evening with chats on radio - very sociable and friendly. Hoping for calm day with little swell to get some projects done tomorrow - pull out radio to check on rear connections to Pactor modem, fuel transfer into main tank, oil top-up in genset, tidy up in galley & main cabin and more catching up on email replies - way behind still... Not expecting much wind so might have to keep persuading boat to keep heading in right direction....

Still managing to hang onto ENE course, despite very light N wind.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 130 n.ml. - Sign of good speed made yesterday and overnight. Hobart: 486 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 330 n.ml. (NW); New Zealand's North Cape: 861 n.ml. (ENE)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 174 - Lovely clear skies and bright sun - but more rough seas.....

Saturday 13th April 2013

The sun was close to setting at just gone 5pm & I spent quite a time enjoying the day's end and the changing sunset colours. A hazy crescent moon appeared briefly among thr clouds in the W - must be waxing, so we'll enjoy some moonlight overnight soon. It's been generally quite a pleasant sunny day, with good N-NNW wind and lovely clear blue sky this morning, following a night sky full of brilliant stars and a beautiful sunrise just before 6:20am, when I was giving my position to Taupo Maritime Radio.

Seas were rather rough earlier in the day , as a result of the wind being fairly strong, calmed down a quite a bit by mid-afternoon, but then came up again very noticeably tonight with the boat really being flung around and seas frequently washing the decks - and over the sprayhood! I wonder if we're getting swell from the Low to our N that's heading towards New Zealand in addition to the swell caused by the NNW wind.

We've maintained our course of ENE all day and hope to continue for some time more, although the forecast is for the wind to die right down within a day or two and stay down for at least a day - more drifting around...! But then the wind will be good again for several days more and we should be able to continue roughly ENE to around the North Cape of New Zealand.

Made a stew of sorts tonight - boiled some diced fresh potatoes and added a tin of chunky steak in a good gravy, along with a tin of sweetcorn - enough for tomorrow as well. Tasty & filling, but fairly quick and easy!

Had an enjoyable, long session on the radio tonight - lots of contacts from Tasmania and Aus 'mainland' (including one from beside a camp-fire not far from Perth!), often with questions about my sailing and the boat. A lot of very friendly and supportive people out there - thanks to all of you!

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 89 n.ml. Deceptive! Was actually far more since made two long tacks - NNW over daytime y'day, then gybed onto present ENE tack at sunset last night - all in 15-20kt winds from NNE (y'day) to N overnight/this morning
Hobart:365 n.ml. (225T) ;Sydney:310 n.ml. (342T); New Zealand's North Cape: 988 n.ml. (081T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 173 - a nice start to day... but ended up with strong, rough conditions

Friday 12th April 2013

6am  Nearing dawn - just  5% cloud - almost none...  last stars are disappearing as we gybed around for second time!!   First time, while still dark, sent us SSE, so soon gybed back and now we're making NNW in very light NE wind.  Clearly impossible to make our preferred course of NNE-NE, but we're only making a speed of 1.8kt anyway - so it really doesn't matter too much where we head so long as it's roughly OK - so N is better than S, I'm thinking!!

Contacted Hobart Coast Radio last night to let them know my situation near the Bass Strait - i.e. sailing with no motor available.. They said they'd put out the info in their morning broadcast to shipping.  (They suggested I also talk to Taupo Maritime Radio in NZ, which I did.   Now have a twice-daily 'sched' at 8:20am/8:20pm for position reporting with them as I head N)  Have drawn a line on chart fom Cairns to Wellington - gives rough path of Low that's forming off Queensland and expected to head SE towards New Zealand over Sunday/Monday - if we keep W of that line, we should be OK, but I'd like to get as close as possible to the Low since that's where there's wind - elsewhere there's none!

Got an email to say Day171 was missing - so sent it again.   Hopefully, it's now there, together with Day 172 and its photos.

9am   Still bright sun & very little cloud.  Wind beginning to gust up and veer every now and then - so boat surges forward at over 5 kt on 010T.  Doesn't last very long but hopefully means wind will fill in soon properly.   Calmer - long, smooth swell is from SW, at 2m every 8-10 sec.
9.40am  Wind seems to be settling to come from ENE so course is more N and speed 4.5-5 kt.... better!
1pm  Blue sky has been left astern... overcast now, wind ENE, course is a steady NNW.
4pm   Sun struggling to get out.   Downloaded weatherfaxes - useful 4-day forecast given on isobaric charts   Later:  Sun never made it... grey clouds and some rain instead.
8pm  Tacked around in N wind up to ~20kt or more.- always gets interesting with two headsails to organize!  Now heading ENE, close-hauled in quite rough seas - wind might possibly back further - would be useful it did.    Furled in quite a lot of genoa to reduce excessive heeling and came off the wind a touch more to increase our speed and to try to reduce our banging into the seas - uncomfortable and hard on the boat!
Passing Bass Strait, off to the west - halfway across now.   Very dark, a few hazy stars above ... lightning frequently flashing in clouds not far astern - I hope it stays there!  ... I'll post this early so I can place laptop in steel-lined oven - a useful 'Faraday cage' to protect it in case we get hit...  Might wrap it in Al foil as well...
Hungry - had some nice tasty Irish cheddar and some pate on crackers a few hours ago but that's really not enough so will have a quick 'n' easy dehydrated meal now.
Wind might be dying... hope it stays up so we can make some decent progress...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 65 n.ml. (very slow overnight due to light wind  from 7pm... didn't pick up until 9am)  Hobart :  280 ml (2812T); Sydney: 373 n.ml. (353T); New Zealand's North Cape: 1046n.ml. (078T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 171 - Good wind continues - but rain ahead of CF also

Wednesday 10th April 2013

Tried making a US contact on 20m around sunrise - absolute bedlam!! So many European stations, all calling simultaneously on frequency, that contact was impossible!!

Nice sunny start to the day but grey cloud slowly spread over to replace the broken light cloud to give rain ahead of approaching Cold Front which started with the occasional light shower, just after Pac Sea Net at 1.30pm LT, and very slowly got heavier... with rather increased wind also. There was a good long break before darkness fell around 6pm, but there was more later. Have been making excellent speed all day- mostly ~7kt this afternoon and 6kt earlier. Wind increased more this evening, as Front got closer and wind began to back - will end up from SW-SSW finally, overnight sometime - will need to gybe to maintain our course. In the meantime, since night time, reduced genoa, adjusted Fred to more off the wind and eased the sheets a touch.. Having to keep an eye out tonight for that wind shift....

Dug out a data cable and connected the two laptops together in hope of getting info from laptop with no working screen - no joy... The working (backup) one I'm now using is too basic (only running Windows 7 Starter) and can't be used to set up a Home network with the other laptop, as had been hoped... So no way, while I'm at sea, of getting data from laptop I've been using up to now - meaning no acces to old emails nor to the many email addresses I'd accumulated more recently and which hadn't been copied onto this laptop.- ones to which I'd hoped to send emails now... frustrating!

Been trying to catch up with replying to emails - taking a long time... but it's lovely to get them!

Still downloading frequent weatherfaxes and gribs - weather is getting quite complicated and need to avoid Lows which are expected to form just off the Aus coast... one near Sydney in a few days' time and another further N, off the Queensland coast, very soon.

Having a Chicken Tikka Masala tonight - but not one I've made, as I've done before, ... being lazy - using a freeze-dried packet!

Later ... Getting rough!! It's still raining at times and seas are up - not so very big but close, so tossing us around quite often ... and wind is definitely up around 25+ knots. I've furled away the genoa completely so we're just under stays'l and double-reefed mains'l - and still making nearly 6 kt. Disturbed night again - can't sleep for too long in case any ships come along - and the wind will be backing over the night, as well....

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 91 n.ml. Hobart : 104 ml (084T); Sydney: 532 n.ml. (009T); New Zealand's North Cape: 1081 (086T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
----- End of Original Message -----

RTW Day 172 - good relaxing sailing until light winds arrived after a beautifu

Thursday 11th April 2013

Photos of sunset and the albatross that kept us company occasionally today...

Salvin's albatross 11Apr2013
Salvin's Albatross in Tasman Sea
Sunset in Tasman Sea 11Apr2013

Sunset... A magnificent Salvin's albatross just settled on the water for a rest, having been circling nearby on fixed wings for a long time as I watched it from the companionway - I took the chance to finish my waiting mug of tea! What a lovely way to celebrate my passage up the Tasman Sea... We're just beginning to pass the SE end of the Bass Strait - passing a good 160 miles off the Furneaux Group of islands, just off Tasmania's NE coast.

We've had unexpectedly good winds up to now, after the initial headwind that sent us back down to 44S the night after rounding Tasmania's SE Cape. Clearly the Southern Ocean had wanted to bid me another farewell before I took off N up the Pacific to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a hoped-for successful completion in two months' time...!!

We had 25-30 kt (and lots of rain!) overnight, initially from the NW in the evening, backing to SSE by dawn as the Cold Front passed over. With just stays'l and double-reefed mains'l, we were making over 7kt a lot of the time, with Fred keeping us nicely on course, although the Southern Ocean made its presence felt with a boisterous 2-3 m southerly swell that kept knocking us about on our beam.

Now the wind has died right down, so we're ambling along at around 4.5kt under a sky with occasional big grey clouds, but mainly fluffy white ones as the sun slowly sets...

7pm Wind seemed to die and we began to drift in a circle - but then wind picked up, so trimmed sails and adjusted Fred for a close reach - so we're back on course for time being, making 3.5kt... but expecting wind to die and back - will need to keep an eye on things overnight...

10pm A beautiful, starry sky... Milky Way strewn across... Arcturus in Sagittarius, the Archer. high up to starboard and the Southern Cross high overhead also. Great to have a dry cockpit overnight - it feels almost warm out on deck... Striuggling to maintain our course in very light wind and with swell knocking us off frequently, .... mains'l keeps being backed... Difficult conditions...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 133 n.ml. Hobart : 215 ml (232T); Sydney: 414 n.ml. (001T); New Zealand's North Cape: 1104 n.ml. (077T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 170 - Back down to 44S overnight - but good wind from dawn on, so go

Tuesday 9th April 2013

Passed S of S.E. Cape of Tasmania 9am (local time) Mon 8th April 2013 (photo taken last year, when passed close by on way to Hobart from Cape Town):

SE Cape of Tasmania, 1st April 2012
SE Cape of Tasmania

Just lost my entire, nearly-complete log report... grrr!!! If I turn off the radio or Pactor modem before I close down the Terminal window, the entire Airmail program hangs up... so anything not yet posted/saved is lost... Without thinking, I turned off modem as not having been needed for some time... so this is a complete (abbreviated!) re-write...

Having sailed SE-SSE all night long, I tacked around, after a lovely sunrise, and was surprised to find us able to make due N and, soon after, just E of N in ENE winds ....Excellent since, having made a little Easting overnight, it meant we cleared Tasman Island by over 20ml eventually, so none of the expected tacking was needed to keep well offshore in safe waters.

We've had a lovely sail today, in seas of only around 1.5m, making 6kt under full canvas a lot of the time while headed N and, around 3pm, under a blue sky, with wind having died a little and backed into NNE , we tacked around when E of Tasman Island and made 4 kt or more on a course of E-ESE, soon to become ENE as the wind backed even more...

A lovely sunset was followed by some dolphins paying a visit as darkness fell - I watched them from the bow & was just able to make out their backs and dorsal fins appearing above the water occasionally, as they played around the boat for a time.

Having to keep an eye on a Low forming well off N. Queensland over the next few days. Hopefully, it will finally track SE towards New Zealand, so as not to cause us a problem, even though it's expected to intensify. In meantime, we'll stay rather more to the W of our planned NE path, until it's clear what track it will follow.

Was forced to remove a fleece layer! Temp is well up - around 19-20C in the cabin and sea is now 18C so boat feels less cold and damp. Starry sky tonight.

Plenty more sociable chats with Aussie and US contacts over the day. Jeremy (Dover Radio) commented on current off E Australian coast as being often very strong and containing eddies - he's checking on up-to-date info for me.

As I finish writing this before getting to my bunk, I see the wind has backed some more - we're heading almost NE - nearly time to ease the sheets.... I expect to be on port tack for quite a time, with light-variable winds followed by NW-SW winds coming soon, as another Cold Front passes over..

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 67 n.ml. - actually much more, since sailed S and then back N again over last night and today! Hobart (RYCT) : 87 ml (nearly due E)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 169 - we round SE Cape of Tasmania - but wind finally stops good progress

Monday 8th April 2013

6.45am Dull, murky overcast, with frequent fine rain showers. Headed E .... to just beyond edge of continental shelf & into far shallower waters - no obvious difference in chop or seas ... slightly less, if anything...result of small 1-2m seas, probably.
Sailing well at 6-7 kt in SSE wind - result of another Cold Front passing over.... Didn't expect this good wind, so a definite bonus... but having to keep a careful eye on course and conditions... Very disturbed sleep overnight...

Problem ahead was Pedra Branca & Eddystone - isolated rocky outcrops (excellent bird sanctuaries!) rising up from deep ocean. With wind backing slowly but surely, was eventually forced to deviate to pass downwind (to their north), rather than keep to their S, as I'd hoped.... and that set us closer to land, which I'd hoped to avoid...

m_Pedra Branca, Apr2013
Pedra Branca

9am As we approached Pedra Branca in misty conditions (see photo), we passed S of the SE Cape of Tasmania - one of the Southern Ocean's Great Capes (passed close by there last year, on 1st April ). Lots of birds flying around... gannets in long strings, prions galore and the occasional albatross.

2pm ESE of Tasmania's SE Cape and due South of S.Bruny Island, with the Tasman Peninsula ahead - I had been hoping our course would enable us to sail past safely - not to be.... wind backed just enough to prevent us from passing well off - so as dusk was falling, around 6pm, we had to tack around... and are presently heading SSE....grrr!! Existence of very strong currents in the area for a good distance off was mentioned in our daily 'sched' by Jeremy, of Dover Radio, who knows the area well - another good reason to stay well clear of spectacular Cape Raoul (see photo) and Tasman Island, off Cape Pillar...

m_IMG_1836A Cape Raoul - Copy
Cape Raoul

Made a lot of radio contacts with Aussie (VK) stations, in addition to regular US contacts, this evening - nice to be able to chat with friendly, welcoming people! Certainly has been a pleasure to make such good use of the radio while crossing the Indian Ocean and passing Australia.

D.M.G. over 12hr to 2300GMT (9am LT): 68 n.ml.- excellent speed for quite a time ; Passing Tasmania's S.E.Cape - 14 n.ml. due N.

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

RTW Day 168 - struggling to get round SE Cape of Tasmania in fickle, light winds

Sunday 7th April 2013

With a Cold Front passing by yesterday and overnight, wind was quite good and we made progress nicely for a time but slowly the wind has died down - it was forecast to back slowly and die with yet another High pressure system extending over as I try to round the SE Cape of Tasmania.

Around dawn, the wind was still a light northerly, but two hours later, it had backed to SSW and dropped even more. I had to gybe the sails and we've been struggling since then to keep heading due E towards a point S of the Cape, where we'll be able to turn to port and head NE up the Tasman Sea ... in the Pacific!

Spending a lot of time either checking our course ad adjusting Fred to keep heading E in the fickle wind or trying to persuade the computer to make bluetooth contact with radio via modem and then downloading weatherfaxes and emails. Having to set an alarm frequently so as not to miss either a radio 'sched' or the timing for a real-time weatherfax download!

Sun began to get through cloud layer soon after 9 o'clock.... mass of dark grey cloud in direction of Tasmania to the NE.

2pm Feeling oh-so-frustrated! We're managing to amble E at ~2 knots in not much wind (Fred is coping really well) which would be fine but for the fact that we're less than 70mls SW of Tasmania, with 150 ml to go before we can safely turn to port, with some rocky islands not so far off. By tomorrow morning (Mon), light wind is forecast to come from SE, slowly backing to E, meaning we'll be headed just at the critical time well BEFORE we can make the turn..... grrrr!! If only we were making 4kt, rather than 2kt, we'd be fine.... Seems winds won't be favourable until late Tuesday, with things being very difficult up to then.

I'll need to make sure I've caught up on sleep, since I'll need to be up frequently to check on our situation as the wind stays very light and changes direction overnight both tonight and tomorrow...

4.30pm We're moving!! Nearty 5kt... big, grey raincloud to S - possibly reason for wind... Maximum sails .... spent quite a time 'tweaking', trying to get a bit more speed..
Two albatross - one definitely a Black-browed and the other either a Shy or Salvin's - fine black edge to white on underwings was distinctive but also had grey wash on head.. Also a prion and a sooty shearwater, with several visits from Cape petrel - jazzy black & white markings!

5.20PM Light beginning to fade. .... and we're making.6.4kt!! The wind is up nicely... I've even furled in some genoa now... I'm feeling far happier, even though I don't know how long this wind will last - it certainly wasn't expected! SOG down to 5.9kt, as light faded after 6pm ... Long may this wind continue! I just hope it doesn't back too soon and cause a problem...

White-headed petrel was flying nearby as I worked on the genoa... Each time I took my camera on deck, having seen the Cape petrel and, later, the two albatrosses coming close - they disappeared off to the far horizon...!!

9pm Downloaded a current weatherfax a while ago - we've a Cold Front passing over - giving the present good wind.. If only it lasts long enough for us to pass the SE Cape of Tasmania, at which time we'll be changing course to the NE, things will be fine - but if the wind drops and backs too soon - that will be bad news ... My fingers are tightly crossed just now!! We're as close-hauled as we can be, while still maintaining speed.... We're totally dependent on the wind direction staying OK...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 1100GMT: 82 n.ml. (3-4 hrs of good wind) ; Tasmania S.E.Cape : 70 n.ml. (089T) ;

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

RTW Day 167 - Approaching Tasmania's SE Cape - into new time zone

Saturday 6th April 2013

Crossed longitude 42:30E - so now into zone GMT + 10hr ... Eastern Australia Standard Time & Tasmanian time (they put their clocks back from summertime tonight)

A lovely bright start to the day, wth lots of sun, despite plenty of light cloud. A big, heavy-looking Anartctic Skua circled around several times as I trimmed the sails for a close reach in the NE wind. But by afternoon, grey clouds had arrived with a Cold Front - we're just catching the very top of it - pity! Wind picked up and I saw 6 knots displayed - but not for long... back now to just over 4 kt.

Spent most of the morning studying paper charts, trying to decide on passage-making options for heading N through the Pacific to W of Hawaii. Not stopping anywhere gives more flexibility, although the SE and NE Trades must be kept in mind. If I can take a more direct route, it should be quicker, of course - but there are lots of tiny islands and atolls to avoid!!

Now the windsteering is back in action, I've no real need to stop in Tasmania, I've decided... The diesel onboard should be plenty for battery-charging, especially with solar power increasing as I head into sunnier climes, so there's no urgent need to try to resuscitate the wind generator - too much time and effort involved, with no guarantee of success at the end. I'm well behind on my expected timing to this point in my journey, so I'm looking to finish now in the shortest time possible...

The big decision now is which way to head from Tasmania ... NNE up the Tasman Sea or ESE towards New Zealand - the direct route is clearly to head N now. The Tasman Sea has a bad reputation for nasty weather, but then, equally, so has the S end of NZ .... win some, lose some...!! On balance, my inclination is to head up the Tasman Sea - a saving of well over 900ml.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 1100GMT: 48 n.ml. ; Cape Leeuwin : 1426 n.ml. (286T) ; Tasmania S.E.Cape : 150 n.ml. (089T) ;

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

RTW Day 166 - we celebrate windsteering back in action, despite additional, unex

Friday 4th April

Up at 5.30am to check on deck and then make brief contact with Comedy and Tony`s Nets....... nearing dawn... a storm petrel dancing over the sea close by... Very light N wind - almost nothing... Sea also down nicely to around 1m - a long slow swell... looking hopeful for rudder replacement later...

Needed more sleep and nearly hit the hay again.. but on checking the weather forecast saw that although the swell was expected to stay down, or even reduce, the wind was expected to pick up a little over the day .. so felt obliged to stay up and get on with several urgent jobs. In fact, the day has been a mix of flat calm and light wind, with occasional gusts to maybe 10 knots. The autopilot more or less coped overnight and into daytime in the light wind but at times we just had to drift, with glassy calm patches showing on the slightly undulating sea surface....

The urgent jobs needing to be done in the prevailing calm conditions basically involved replacing the old, worn genoa sheets (the control ropes on the big headsail, or genoa), especially necessary after one had parted yesterday morning, and replacing the rudder on the wind steering (Fred!) after the pin holding it in place had come adrift a while ago, causing it to drop off the rudder post. That resulted in the hydraulic autopilot being needed continuously since then - with a need for constant topping up of the batteries to run it.

I`d already found a suitable length of rope for the genoa sheets and had checked last night that it was long enough to replace both sheets - they were both looking very tired! That was the first job, I decided, in view of the wind possibly getting up over the day, since I needed to unfurl most of the sail to bring the clew to within easy reach, and didn`t take too long. Then on to considering the rudder replacement - and how to secure the pin used to hold in in place. I went aft to look at the lower end of the rudder post, to decide how to tackle the job.... To my dismay, I saw that the ratio control knob was totally missing - it controls how the motion of the vane in the wind is translated into the movement of the rudder - a vital part of the mechanism...

Out with boxes of different spares - bolts, washers, spacers, bits & pieces... I was looking for a specific bolt to replace a missing one and a means of fixing it in place to do the job of the knob.... There was no point in even thinking about replacing the rudder if that couldn't be done! (I was also looking imto a couple of different options for securing the rudder pin...) I eventually found two bolts (one as a spare) which were useable - not quite as long as I`d have liked but there were no others suitable with the right pitch... Then cut up two rubber items to make suitable spacers, picked out a suitable washer, coated the end of the bolt with Loctite and fixed the bolt firmly in place... I just hope it stays put! (But I`m considering covering it with duct tape tomorrow to prevent it from falling if it comes loose.)

Having wasted some time, firstly with the thought of securing the rudder pin with wire (it snapped as I was twisting it!) and then using a small ring, I realised that I had a nice big sturdy split ring that could more easily be fitted in place underwater. So then into my boots & foulies and off with my long-sleeved, fleece tops - I expected to get wet - but fortunately the air wasn't too cold!! On with harness and two safety lines... By this time, the flat calm had disappeared and we were making 3 kt! .... we had to heave to so I could do the work.

I'd had to clean the area I'd be stepping, kneeling & maybe lying on - the lowest step of the sugar scoop was highly slippery with green slime. Next I had to figure out how to place my body/limbs beside the struts while being strapped in place but able to lean out safely to manoeuvre the unwieldy rudder into position in the disturbed water. I tied both the pin and the rudder so neither could be lost and finally managed to persuade the rudder, which wanted to float away, to locate onto the post and then to slide up it into position.. Then I had to locate the pin in its hole in both rudder and post, so it could be pushed through .. Finally, I had to turn almost upside down, leaning over the support struts, to get the split ring through a hole at the end of the pin in the water, to secure it from coming out of position... Job over! All that was left to do was to get it working as we got underway in some light wind... I was very happy to see it taking over control in place of the autopilot - no battery power needed!

In the NNE wind, we were on a close reach, trying to head E - the advantage of wind steeering is following the wind as it changes direction - we've been heading SSE to E since then - making the best eastward course possible, at speeds varying from 1-5 knots with a fickle wind. I enjoyed tidying up the lines in the cockpit under a welcome blue sky nearing sunset, delighted to spot a handsome black and white Cape petrel flying by, and then went and cooked a big meal - I was famished - nothing since breakfast! Later, I mixed myself a mango juice and rum to celebrate a successful day!!

The back up computer is still determinedly playing up but I've been too busy to do anything but download emails and weatherfaxes - I'll work on it tomorrow...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 1100GMT: 26 n.ml. !! (Definitely not a speed record!) ; Cape Leeuwin : 1342 n.ml. (286T) ; King Island (entrance to Bass Strait) : 248 n.ml. (028T) ; Tasmania S.E.Cape : 234 n.ml. (089T)

For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
----- End of Original Message -----

RTW Day 165 - wind disappears after sunset and seas lie down

Thursday 4th April

Total overcast all day long - no sight of the sun here whereas Tasmania, 200 miles to the East and on the other side of the High centre, seems to have had sunshine all day. Some showers nearby and a hint of rain this afternoon

On checking on deck early this morning, found the genoa flapping - it had wrapped itself around the stay - the sheet had broken apart - couldn't see what it had chafed on - looked almost cut... Swell was down at around 1 m so not too much problem standing in bow to try to persuade the genoa to unwrap - not easy, but was finally straightened out and good sheet tensioned so a temporary second sheet could be attached. Found a good line in the forepeak long enough to replace both sheets with a cow hitch in the middle at the clew the old sheets are really looking worn, having had four years of good use.

Spent many hours struggling with the back up computer - it has been determinedly playing up, particularly the Airmail program I use for emails, gribs and downloading weatherfaxes - as though it has become corrupted. Several times was forced to re-boot the computer after it had hung up & even using Task Manager couldn't resolve the problem... Program is useable, but still giving problems.... and I'm still missing data and addresses which hadn't been saved recently from the other computer.

Went to make my 1100GMT log entry - noted speed, SOG, as being 0.1kt with course, COG, 100T. Later, looked up to find us heading N at 2 knots!! Rushed up on deck, thinking we could get sailing - surely there must be a little wind...? Started autopilot - kept us heading at 1kt on course to SE Cape of Tasmania for all of 10-15 minutes before wind died and we lost steerage...!! Silence .... no sound of wind in rigging... occasional quiet lap of water on hull... We're drifting SE at 1.2kt.... Have gybed the main several times - wind keeps changing...

Found a sociable local Aussie Net on 7093 at 2.30pm - clearly a daily 'get-together' event and they made me very welcome! Propagation today was good - spoke to several US stations later, with good clear signals - seems my signal was particularly clear tonight. Has been suggested that I try wireless and/or bluetooth connection between laptops to get at data/email addresses I need from old laptop - problem might be that old laptop won't have either switched on... I'll see tomorrow.

Hoping to be able to try to replace wind steering rudder tomorrow - maybe swell will be even less than now.. Need still water.

A few birds this afternoon - including the white-headed petrel and an albatross.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 1100GMT: 60 n.ml. ; Cape Leeuwin : 1317 n.ml. (286T) ; King Island (entrance to Bass Strait) : 252 n.ml. (034T) ; Tasmania S.E.Cape : 258 n.ml. (291T)

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

RTW Day 164 - back-up to laptop screen goes down - causing a few problems!

Wednesday 3rd April

Dull start to the day - cold, moist air, wind from SSW, later veering to WSW, seas slowly lying down - now around 3m.

Speed varied between 3.5 & 4.5 kt over the day, occasionally touching 5kt.

Changed over galley gas supply to large butane tank . Able to stow away small camping burner & use galley cooker normally. Nice to be able to make hot drinks &/or food with no fuss! Cleared up in galley -with calmer conditions, so much easier to move around and deal with things on board.

Afternoon - rainclouds threatened - but no rain fell and later, we were back to solid overcast again. No sun seen today...

Went to take barometer reading for log - blank screen ... batteries had run out. Explained why the pressure readings were surprisingly low earlier - well down on the 1018 of yesterday whereas should have been higher with High very close by now. Having just downloaded current weatherfax, was able to set barometer to 1020 hPa - a 'guestimate' which I felt was probably fairly accurate. A few hours later, it had risen to 1022.

Got ready for downloading a weatherfax - remote screen for computer suddenly went blank.... and wouldn't come up again... Definitely not my day today!! Plugged cable in several times - no difference .... searched for spare cable - none to be found.. either screen or cable is faulty - not sure which but suspect cable end connector. Started to get concerned ... need computer for communications - emails, weather info, gribs... Went to start up Fax machine with independent aerial - started fine, and began receiving weatherfax transmission.... good - but paper was not moving or coming out. Spent a time trying to see where the problem lay - finally arrived at a temporary solution...

Could not remember where the spare laptop had been stowed - very safely!! Searched around for some time - finally came across it in an unexpected place! In between times had a few 'scheds' on radio.... was not feeling too happy... Was about to send position report to Winlink but spare laptop needed charging first - seems OK and hope to send this log report soon with delayed position report.

High pressure is settled to N of here for several days, slowly moving E, giving veered very light winds - finally ending up from N before a Cold Front passes over around end of the weekend, giving stronger winds from SW possibly. In the meantime, we're likely to become stationary - or nearly so! Could give a chance to replace the wind steering rudder ... we'll see soon enough!

Tonight, boat speed down to 3.5kt or less.

D.M.G. over 24hr to 1100GMT: 101 n.ml. ; Cape Leeuwin : 1257 n.ml. (288T) ; King Island (entrance to Bass Strait) : 284 n.ml. ; Tasmania S.E.Cape : 318 n.ml.

For my positions and track, see either:

www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"



RTW Day 163 - a pair of dancing storm petrels at sunset....

Tuesday 2nd April 2013

Young Buller's Albatross

Photo of young Buller's albatross (from 18th Feb):

Midday: Dull, overcast, chilly, occasional slight rain.... Heavy condensation on windward ports again - humidity is 84% and cabin temp is 14C . Had hoped, with High approaching, to get some sunny weather - but not as yet. Still using my small camping stove to boil water for drinks and dehydrated meals - seas still well up, around 4.5m so no rush to change over tank supplying galley. Looks as though seas might not lie down significantly until very late tomorrow.... and with them coming from just abaft the beam, it's very rolly.
From latest weather info, still looking as though High will give calms followed by NNE winds, as I approach S.E. Cape of Tasmania - not at all helpful for my proposed stop to effect repairs etc..

Later, some sunshine through breaks in the cloud. Very few birds ..... a prion, ... a soft-plumaged petrel,... an albatross - one of the smaller ones - thick black edges to its underwings and white head with black patch over eyes - an immature black-browed - bill not yet the bright yellow of the mature birds - quite dull, in fact. Seas up, if anything - long and big, 11 second period, with wind waves and chop on top of the underlying swell.

Sunset: A pair of black and white storm petrels dancing over the water, long legs dangling, fluttering fast around and around the last of the daylight... Further away, a sooty shearwater, all dark , except for the light area on its underwings which seem to catch the light. Tried to take some photos but the storm petrels move so fast... so difficult!

I'm enjoying my regular radio chats over the day ... usually with Aussie and US stations, but tonight had unexpected contact with a S.African stn (presently in Mozambique) who I'd last spoken to about 3wks ago.

Although we made a good distance up to 1100 GMT today, that's clearly not going to continue - that High pressure is slowly making itself felt with lighter wind - we were down to under 4 knots for a time tonight and, typically,the SSW wind is gusting up and down a bit, while it gradually lessens. I'll not be surprised to find us becalmed quite soon - but that might have a benefit in that maybe the seas willl die down enough for me to fix that wind steering rudder in place - time will tell!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 135 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 1158 n.ml. (290T); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 355 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 419 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 162 - wind less, seas still quite big but not quite so rough... a more r

Monday 1st April 2013

Occasional heavy rain on & off over the day, in between some nice sunshine from between broken cloud.. White-headed petrel flew close by as I was gybing the mainsail around midday in backed WSW wind of about 20kt. Seas still well up at close on 5m and still tossing us around .. set to continue for another day it seems - longer than the strong wind, which is slowly dying as High gets closer and drops down on us.

Saw a pair of albatross - I've been on the lookout for theTasmanian Shy albatross, which breeds close to the S.E.Cape, but these looked, from their bright yelllow bill, to be Black-browed albatross.

In between weatherfax and email/grib downloads, had several good radio chat sessions. It's nice to have a regular daily 'sched' now with the familiar voices of Mary Kay of Smithtown Radio and Jeremy of Dover Radio, in Port Esperance - where I'm hoping to pick up a buoy after rounding the South East Cape of Tasmania. I'd listened in on the Comedy Net on 7087 and then on Tony's Net, on 14315, early this morning (both are Aus/NZ local nets) - but the weekend's CQ Contest was still going on so, although I heard a couple of familiar voices & callsigns, it was impossible to make a decent contact - tomorrow should be better. Certainly tonight, during the usual W coast US/Aus chat session, it was really quiet - I reckon everyone busy over the weekend had collapsed with exhaustion! Had a couple of other good chat sessions over the day with quite a few Aus and E.coast US. stations. Having to keep a good eye on my battery state and fuel usage and run the genset quite often to top up.

Dug out my small camping stove so I was able to boil some water for drinks and to add to dehydrated meals - had a couple of those over today - they make a good emergency back up.. Hoping seas will be less tomorrow, so I can change over galley supply pipe to a fresh tank so I can cook normally.

Wind has stayed around 15-20kt over the day so we've made good progress - as we need to in view of light winds forecast to arrive soon. As it was, I unfurled quite a lot of genoa this evening, as the wind eased.

Beautful clear starry night after today's rain - Southern Cross high above, in the Milky Way which was strewn across the sky - and Orion doing his usual headstand...

Bad news of today was finally finishing the last but one of the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels - one more to go and I'm out of them - will need to read the last two when I get back onshore...

I'm still waiting to hear if anyone knows what the fish was, whose photo was posted the other day!!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 146 n.ml. - not bad! C. Leeuwin: 1029 n.ml. (294T); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 469 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 554 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 161 - Gusty winds, rolling dwnwind and frequent surfing....

Sunday 31st March 2013 HAPPY EASTER!!

Posting photos of the Antarctic skua that visited 20th March:

m_Antarctic Skua 20March 2013
Antarctic Skua, March 20, 2013

1 pm Gusty conditions for last few hours, after a pleasant, gentle start to the day for a short while, with sunshine in between clouds. But a Cold Front is approaching, so wind has been veering into W-WNW from WSW and we've solid overcast with frequent light rain and gusts giving much increased boat speed, accelerated by frequent slight surfing in 4m swell when the wind is up. In gusts,we're making 6.5kt and in between them, around 5 kt. Had to gybe the mainsland & pole out the stays'l to go goosewinged - almost DDW (dead downwind).
Have downloaded usual set of weatherfaxes - quite a few! - and emails + gribs, in between.

Evening Went to cook a meal - gas just ran out... So have to find my small camping stove if I want even a hot drink. Hopefully, seas will calm down sometime tomorrow so I can change the gas over and make something hot. Sea temp is still around 15C and boat cools to same temp at night - so bunk (cold and damp initially, but nice once it warms up ) is the place to get to now - after a meal - something quick and easy...!
Had several radio chat sessions, with mainly Aussie stns earlier and then US later, but S. Africa seems to have become too far. Despite the weekend 'CQ Contest', which made just about all bands impossible at times, we were fairly lucky tonight - Eric and Mark managed to keep a lot of people away from close to our frequency - hard work, though! It should be nice and peaceful tomorrow, without all the noise they've been making....
An uncomfortable, rough, rolly ride just now - and has been since midday, with frequent surfing to 12-15kt in increased seas... I've constantly found myself watching the instruments... Forecast is for both seas and wind to die down slowly from their present 4-5m and gusting over 25kt, as High pressure to the N moves nearer and the pressure gradient drops..
The only bird seen today has been our constant companion of the last four days - the white-headed petrel.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 128 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 891 n.ml. (300T); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 607 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 700 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 160 - Underway again, after being hove-to overnight.

Saturday 30th March 2013 HAPPY EASTER!!

Up early to find wind down to 30kt or less and swell also slightly less, at around 5.5 m - so didn't take long to decide to lose no time getting underway - before having breakfast!

The day has been sunny at times but mainly cloudy. Wind slowly eased over the day - and with it, our speed, so we're making just 5kt this evening ...but seas., although less, are still well up and we're regularly being flung about.

White-headed petrel is still around, but noticeably fewer birds over last few days, despite rough seas.

Late this afternoon, a I was making a log entry, I realized we'd passed into yet another time zone : GMT + 9hr. When I get toTasmania, it will be GMT + 10hr - they're just changing their clocks back tonight to come out of 'summer' time.

Not much radio chat today - between poor propagation, AP making a noise on certain relevant frequencies and a'CQ Contest' over Easter weekend, it was difficult to make contact...

Looks, from grib files, as though next Wed might see very light winds on the approach to Tasmania - I hope they're not so light I become becalmed... Still far enough away to be completely different on the day, though...

Bouncing around in swell.... Time for my bunk - nearly finished 'Letter ofMarque' ...

DMG at 1100 GMT: 65 n.ml. (heaved to overnight and then drifted NNE-NE - so not much Easting....) C. Leeuwin: 767 n.ml. (WNW); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 724 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 827 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 159 - Hove to in strong conditions...

Friday 29th March 2013 HAPPY EASTER!!

With zero Variation at present, no arithmetic needed to get from Magnetic (compass) heading to True heading... for a very short while, anyway...! We're now moving from variation West back to variation East - maximum W variation seen was 50 degrees when at 71-72E on 8th March, while passing north of Ile Kerguelen in the Southern Ocean. Variation was last seen to be zero 200 miles east of the Falklands, on 13th January - a week after passing Cape Horn.

7am Wind suddenly increased so furled away genoa. Expecting strong conditions today and tomorrow - seas ~6m and winds ~30kt - can always expect more than what is forecast...
No contact earlier with usual US E. coast group - no sign of them on usual frequency, although heard John, W1QS, speaking briefly to Kip, KI3P, on a nearby frequency.
Butane tank had come loose at base and was lying on deck, held still, but not looking too safe in these seas. Went and lashed its base and around its middle firmly to strong points - feeling better now I know it's more secure. These seas really test all fittings and attachments!

Fish Caught in Scupper March 28,2013

Found a tiny fish caught in deck scupper - looks like barracuda it's so long and thin - but has a really pointed, needle-like nose - wondering if it's maybe a swordfish? White-headed petrel was around again this morning - seems to have adopted us! ...and a Black-browed albatross.

Received emails about methods of hoisting damaged windgen onto top of pole - seems it might be feasible, so plan to resuscitate it is now back on hold, rather than abandoned. Not a lot to be done by way of forward preparation in present rough weather, but should be calmer in two days' time. Always dfficult to do much when seas are up and tossing us about - more a matter of staying in 'survival mode' rather than able to get anything constructive done....

10am Gybed mains'l short while ago - wind a lot stronger now: F5, gusting F6, & veered into WNW - goosewinged on very broad reach... Seas up more ... to 4-5m and we're surfing a little, at times. Being rolled about all the time....

1:30pm Decided we needed to heave to ... We were making 8-9kt (max. hull speed is 8.8kt!) and surfing frequently at 15kt or more - all too fast in 30-35kt wind and impressively big (5-6m) seas! ... and AP was having trouble coping ... Also got worried on seeing SOG giving weird readings - began to wonder if GPS unit on radar mount was OK - maybe wire was damaged.. or getting stressed??
Watched to see how boat was behaving in relation to waves and wind - looked OK so finally went down below, had a good meal and relaxed with coffee and book... then caught up with a lot of emails - almost up to date! Wind piped up more, occasionally, but we're just rocking or rolling around a bit as the seas pass by.

Chatted several times on radio during afternoon and over evening. Lots of Aussie and US contacts - a highly sociable Friday evening!

DMG at 1100 GMT: 105 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 715 n.ml. (WNW); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 788 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 890 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 158 - Seas and wind lessen ... white-headed petrel visits

k6Thursday 28th March 2013

Another dull, cloudy day, with trough passing over, but seas much less, at 3-4m, so we're being tossed around far less frequently - but it's still happening!

Looking over options for calm place in Tassie to stop for repairs... Either anchor in convenient, shallow area off Recherche Bay or take buoy, further up D'Entrecasteaux Channel, in Port Esperance, at Dover... Each has its advantages and drawbacks! No working windlass creates a problem when raising anchor, as it was in SF Bay (not insurmountable, but it was nice to have lots of space there), and picking up a buoy under sail, with addition of current due to nearby river and/or possible Springs tide running, would test my sailing and boat-hook handling skills to the full!!

Good contact with US E. coast close to sunrise - and also, unexpectedly, with Dave, GW3XHG, in Wales - quite good copy, in fact! Yesterday, had fair copy on Steve, G4BVB, in England ... so my signal is clearly making it to the UK! The wonder of radio!!

4pm Went up to check on deck for wind direction, swell and cloud - and found a lovely and very distinctive White-headed petrel swooping around the boat- so different from the others with white body, head and tail, dark under-wings, dark grey upper-wings with 'M' across, pale grey back, dark bill and eye-patch. From a distance, white and dark patterning looks rather like that of one of the smaller albatrosses (or mollymawks, as they're also known) - but wing length relative to body size is wrong, as is flight behaviour. The sun suddenly appeared in a blue patch of sky.. sun getting low now, since not long to sunset..... but the blue patch was soon left behind and we were back under grey sky with hint of light rain.... Twenty minutes later... another patch of blue .. followed again by grey overcast....grey raincloud layer must be thin and broken... Still plenty of white horses but swell still down to only 3-4m every 8-10 sec - plenty of smaller waves making grey sea surface look quite rough.

Dug around for reserves of cereal and also found some dried peas for soup... Also UHT milk. Had a very tasty dinner tonight - had slowly fried some onion while I decided what to add in to it... Was about to plump for a thick slice of ham with vegetables when came across a tin of chunky chicken in white sauce (M&S!) ... had also fancied some celery heart - so put all together and heated up gently - lovely - made a good change... enough for tomorrow as well.

Lots of radio chat again around and after sunset - especially to the "VK6 Net' - around Perth/Fremantle, mainly- they're having lovely sunshine just now! Later to Seattle and San Diego, with some more Aussie stations.

Have just asked for some more detailed short term grib files - to confirm what is expected tomorrow and next day. Will decide on course to steer when have a better idea of what is expected by way of imminent strong winds and swell - or not... Still very much looking ahead to trying to avoid a problem with light winds of High coming soon.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 136 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 632 n.ml. (NW); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 892 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 939 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

RTW Day 157 -

Wednesday 27th March 2013

Dull, cloudy start to the day...  and more rain later on.  Seas still well up and often still tossing us around  and washing the decks, although they did seem to lie down a little by late evening...   Cold, damp air -  cabin at 14C.

Current weatherfax shows wind likely  to remain good and from SSW-W for next few days - but then High pressure area settling by & over Tasmania will become a possible problem straight after Easter.  So, having spent a LOT of time this morning, poring over possible strategies, I decided to head more S now, while there was the wind to do it, to try to get into a position by Sunday where winds around High would not be unfavourable.   Also, the hope is to get slightly more wind by being further S, rather than the very light winds close to High's centre, and also to keep from being headed.    In two day's time, more big swell could be coming our way - could cause  a problem if wind gets up as well - we'll see ...!

Few birds around - three white-chinned & a soft-plumaged petrel, a prion, and an albatross with dark upperwings and back - probably a Yellow-nosed, from the rather thin black edges to its underwings - it didn't come very close when I was on deck looking...

Spent some time reading...The best place to be when the boat motion gets too violent is in or on my bunk!

Contacted several people in 'VK6-land'( Perth area and W.Australia) - I'd been told of the frequency they use as a local means of communication (useful for farmers & others in the outback) so I tried it out!  There's another for Eastern Australia also.  Later made several US and Aussie contacts, and an unexpected S. African one, and chatted for quite a while this evening - I'm anything but isolated at the moment!

Late this evening, went on deck to unfurl some genoa, with boat speed having dropped in lighter wind...   The full moon was lighting up the clouds so much that it was like semi-daylight - it was amazingly light and very easy to see what I was doing without my usual headlamp.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 144 n.ml. - despite 'zig-zag' path today ... nice!!  C. Leeuwin: 519 n.ml. (324T);   King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1024 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1129 n.ml.


For my positions, see:

www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"