S/V Nereida sails around the world

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

Friday 15th February 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 143 n.ml. (nice!) Cape Agulhas: 530 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3723 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

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

Thursday 14th February 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

12hr DMG at 1100GMT: 59 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 549 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3784 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 115 - strong weatherexpected tonight/tomorrow

Wednesday 13th February 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 50 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 579 n.ml. Cape Leeuwin WP(Australia): 3794 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

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

Tuesday 12th February 2013

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

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

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

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

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 72 n.ml. (89 n.ml. if measured up to point where ENE kicked in) Cape Agulhas: 587 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 625 n.ml. ... Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3825 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
----- End of Original Message -----

RTW Day 113 - we pass Cape of Good Hope just after midday!!

Monday 11th February 2013 Celebrating passing S of Cape of Good Hope midday in bright sunshine and a fairly calm sea

3pm Overnight we gybed and were able to keep up a reasonable speed of just under 5 kt - so did better than expected in the fairly light winds, although course (and Fred) kept having to be adjusted at intervals through the night as wind behind the rainy Cold Front backed more and more to SW from NW.

My face suffered somewhat in the darkness last night - as I prepared to gybe, the boom swung over a bit and the mainsheet caught me full in the face - not pleasant - so we're a bit damaged around the lips and rather bruised and swollen under the right eye - quite colourful, in fact!! But nothing major, fortunately, so time will heal it all OK. (A tube of 'anti-bruise' ointment on board came in handy from my skiing days!) Will teach me to be even more careful in future... must have been half-sleep...

As I was checking in with Graham, ZS2ABK, of S.A.M.M.Net at 1130 GMT (12.30pm), I realized we'd just passed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope! So I'm celebrating with food from all over - French paté de campagne (from Tahiti last year), fresh S. African coffee, Alaskan (wild) red salmon, biltong from S.Africa (have been keeping that for these Capes' rounding!), Spanish green olives, Aussie Bundaberg rum from Tasmania and dark chocolate, a fresh (perfect!) satsuma and Christmas cake (still!) from Canada ....and worldwide music.... It's a lovely, sunny, peaceful day....

Dying wind - so slow going, but at least we're still headed East-ish and seas have calmed right down compared with overnight and morning. Company is a trio of Atlantic petrels and a new companion over last few days - an all-dark, white-chinned petrel... with a hint of white at base of its yellow bill. It soars around the boat in graceful circles with very little flapping. Even better, and more cause for celebration today, was seeing first a Wandering albatross and then a white-headed petrel - a newcomer I've never seen before but distinctive with its eye-catching white head, dark eye patch and dark underwings!

A small high pressure area is definitely going to give a problem overnight and tomorrow as it passes SE over us. I expect us to be badly headed as winds turn to E/NE- but for now, I'm heading just N of E while I can. Tomorrow is another day and I'll deal with what turns up as and when - if it means heaving to in an effort to maintain position (or at least not to go too far backwards!) then so be it...!! We'll probably still get some strong conditions afterwards but until they come, you're never sure just how bad they'll be, so no point in worrying too much in advance! Being further N usually means winds are less strong than further S. 8.30pm: Just downloaded fresh gribs - looks as though we'll have just twelve hours of problem winds, with constant sail trimming and changing to port tack in headwinds at some point, as winds of the passing High back from S to NE , but then we'll be OK, with NNEwinds ahead of another Cold Front not looking as bad as feared by tomorrow evening

Connections for emailing have been fairly elusive yet again today, although mid-afternoon gave a fairly good connection to S.Africa and this evening to Nova Scotia ... Frustrating not to have the use of my Iridium satphone to help when radio connections are proving difficult.

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 92 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 580 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 609 n.ml. ... My waypoint, due S of C. Agulhas, is just 25 n.ml. away.... but passing S of C. Agulhas (020:00E) might not happen until well into Tuesday morning..... Position at 2300GMT: 44:29S, 019:27E - but we're drifting NE-NNE at zero boat speed and SOG 1.3kt so could take a long time to pass the Cape!! ... but wind should be better by later tomorrow...
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 112 - close to passing Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - Cold Front approaches with good wind, so

Sunday 10th February, 2013

6pm Almost a repeat of yesterday's weather, with cloud giving way to bright sunshine for a few pleasant hours from midday on, but the approaching Cold Front brought fog and drizzle by 5pm, the big difference being that we've constantly had good wind, so we've maintained a decent speed all through the night and today.

The big dilemma has been whether to head further S or not. Weather to S of Africa is getting quite complicated and not being kind just now! The Atlantic high pressure area has gone sausage-shaped and is forecast to split into bits, with one drifting SE - ending up right across our route - possibly giving fairly strong headwinds from a 'squash' zone due to a nearby small Low... but then, after some very light winds, a typically deep Low, with very strong winds, is expected to pass by, followed by some very large swell (7-8m /25ft) - so I've decided to keep heading East and not tempt Providence by going any further S.... On the one hand, we might wallow in calms for a bit, on the other, maybe have to heave to if caught in very strong conditions... 'You takes your pick'!!

Looks as though the compass is fine - had a quick reply on that - and the rudder reference unit looks dead but I'll open it to look inside to see if wires are loose or disconnected there - when it's calmer! Seas have been quite rough today with mainly F5 wind, NNW-NW 20kt, but F6 overnight and earlier today, although has died right down late tonight.

Connections for emailing have been elusive again today ... better overnight...

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 136 n.ml. (Excellent wind from yesterday midnight until gone midday today, when it slowly began to die down as Front passed over - very light wind at midnight tonight!) Cape Agulhas: 617 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 636 n.ml. .. Had hoped to be passing due S of the Capes today, but that didn't happen ... My waypoint, due S of C. Agulhas, is still 111 n.ml. away.... maybe late/overnight tomorrow, if the wind keeps up - which it does NOT look like doing - so might pass Good Hope very late tomorrow but not Agulhas until Tuesday .... maybe not until well into Tuesday morning if light winds persist... (Cape of Good Hope is at 018:30E and Cape Agulhas is at 020:00E) Position at 2300GMT: 44:55S, 017:23E.
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

Day 111 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - little wind again - trying to keep heading East!

Saturday 9th February, 2013

2pm - We're sailing, rather than drifting....!! At all of 1.9kt boat speed - that feels fast compared with 0.0kt!!! Bright sunshine since this morning, with some thin cloud just coming over - and SOG of 2.7kt - we're 'Speedy Gonzales'!!

It actually felt like a lovely summer's day with the warm sun - until the thin cloud was replaced by thickening fog and damp cold!

Was up so many times overnight and this morning, gybed several times to head us East again... trying to stop us from heading N or NW, as I kept finding we were... fortunately, not drifting very fast...

Latest problem seems to be that our displayed heading is totally wrong and mostly I'm not allowed to re-align it when I go into the relevant calibration page - 'NO COMP' keeps showing... I managed to re-align it once - and soon after found it was wrong again... I thought that 'COMP' stood for computer ... but I've just heard that it stands for compass - so a lesser problem! But dealing with it has become the urgent job of today, while still calm.

7pm Just waiting for the basmati rice to finish cooking so I can have a beef curry I've been looking forward to making for ages - with onion, spinach (works really well!) and potato using aTikka Masala paste - easy and will be excellent with lime and mango pickles! Enough for at least two days....

Thoroughly murky, damp and foggy outside, as darkness draws in ... But at least we're still sailing - heading SE to avoid possible headwinds which could be fairly strong, following several more days of light winds after this Cold Front coming now has passed. Weather is being really difficult - I never expected to have such trouble, or take so long, rounding Capes Agulhas & Good Hope, with such prolonged mainly light conditions.

Dealing with the fluxgate compass problem proved easy - looks as though it was most likely due to a loose data wire at the course computer connections. Went to check resistances across some wire pairs at the computer and when removing the wires in readiness, found the one slipped out far too easily. (Have now tightened all possible wire connections there!) Have measured the resistances anyway - and will see if Raymarine agrees that all seems OK there. Looking hopeful since no more 'NO COMP' messages have been seen and I had no problem re-aligning the heading with the ship's compass.... and the displayed heading has stayed sensible since.

Looks as though the rudder reference unit might well be dead.... Not a disaster since I can still use the AP but might just have to be careful when switching it on, that the wheel is centred.

Took advantage of the calm to search through some lockers for 'missing' underwear without everything falling out - that was getting pretty desperate!! Feeling chilly with the fog now - will have to replace one or two top fleeces I'd removed earlier.

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 41 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 663 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 666 n.ml. ... Had hoped to be rounding the Capes on Sunday, but that won't be happening ... My waypoint, due S of C. Agulhas, is still 247 n.ml. away
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

Day 110 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - little wind again - trying to keep heading East!

Friday 8th February, 2013

Midday
Slow, slow progress! Wind died totally last night, so we drifted around aimlessly while I slept with genoa furled in and mains'l centred, but by 7a.m., very slight N wind ... later becoming NW at under 10 kt... So at least we were able to get sailing gently - roughly East, at 2-3 knots ... better than heading SW, as we were when the wind came in!! Looks as though it might take 4-5 days to pass the Capes... Nothing I can do but go with whatever wind comes along!! Still overcast - but with very light cloud layer.

Cockpit stayed dry all night long - most unusual & first time for ages. Normally soaking wet by nightfall, possibly partly drying out a little over the day.

Lots of birds around in the early morning - including a black-browed albatross and tiny black-bellied storm petrel among the usual bigger petrels and shearwaters.

Had usual S.African radio contacts around midday - getting excellent signal on 20m now. Had been chatting to Rob, ZS1RAP, in Jacobsbaai, on West coast, N of Saldanha, until Tuesday, but he found he couldn't rig his portable antenna when he went to Nordhoek for a week's holiday - so now, and until next Wed when he's back home, I'm chatting to his friend Peter, ZS6PWD, in Randberg, just N of Jo'burg - a very clear signal.

At 1130Z, it's my regular daily check-in, on 14316kHz, with the S.A.M.M.Net - Graham, ZS2ABK, who will keep in daily contact for most of my passage across to Australia. He has a movable beam antenna which he can point at us - makes a world of difference to the signal! Last night, on 14300, I had real problem being copied on the U.S. M.M.S. Net - up to now, around midnight GMT, I 've made good contact but while I could hear George, WA1RIK, reasonably well, neither he nor anyone else could copy me clearly. Lots of "Roger, roger..." from me to let him know all was well on board!! Nothing heard either when I tried to contact 'Curare' and 'Silas Crosby' for our usual evening chat & also nothing on the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300 at 0300Z (middle of night for me!).

Wonder if I'm suffering from mood swings - definitely felt 'down' last night - especially at thought of losing regular radio contact with people on Nets I've got used to enjoying chatting to, but this morning, once we'd got sailing E in light conditions, and especially once I'd had breakfast and chatted to Peter, I felt fine. Felt even better with nice tidy, clean galley (nice to be able to open seacock in calm sea) and over-ripe apples mostly dealt with!! (Four intact, most gone mouldy... Stewed apples and cream on the menu soon!)

Cooked cheese & onion omelette later & looked out over near-calm sea, with long rounded 2m swell from W and fog coming in on minimal wind from N. Speed down to 1.2kt.... just creeping along!

Was all ready to look at instrument problems today, as we amble along... but got very side-tracked with re-organising the aft cabin contents for easier (regular!) access to the course computer - having done which, I was at least able to de-power the AP and all the instruments in hope that the rudder bar might re-appear, as it was supposed to, on powering up again to re-set the computer... No joy... Decided to check resistances across pairs of red/green/blue wires from unit - no numerical readings displayed - so looks as though unit has gone down....

9pm Boat speed 0.0, SOG 1.4 kt!! Boat heading: 155T, COG 040T !!!

Will look at wind transducer voltage readings again tomorrow, using second display.. Calms forecast to continue... Drifting around aimlessly in fog still.....

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 36 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 672 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 670 n.ml. ... Had hoped to be rounding those on Sunday, but forecast light winds will definitely delay that .. My waypoint, at 45S, due S of C. Agulhas: 287 n.ml.
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 109 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas -Cold Front gives strong wind overni

Thursday 7th February, 2013

Another very cold, dull day with dying, backing wind slowing us down, after Cold Front bringing good strong NW winds last night had passed very quickly. At nightfall, sky had started clearing overhead, showing bright Jupiter and a few stars, with dark grey clouds on the horizon all around.

Atlantic petrels (about ten of them) were swooping around all day, as usual. After sunset, I was up on deck, attracted from down below by the sunset colours I've not seen for a few days, when a magnificent Wandering albatross flew by. Having had one fly very close to the boat earlier today, I'd put my camera close to hand - so was able to take several shots as it flew around. It eventually landed in the sea for a rest nearby. I wonder if it's the same one I've been seeing for several days now - judging by its markings, it's quite likely. They are amazingly big! The Atlantic petrels aren't small birds but they're dwarfed by comparison.

It's fairly calm now - and likely to be so for several more days .... could take much longer to round the Capes than I'd been expecting - might even get light headwinds - the High pressure area is spreading so far S it's likely to pass over and we'll end up with a section of it to our S.... bad news! The wind has swung back and forth several times - but is now firmly in SSW, as shown by us heading NE - so need to adjust Fred yet again to get us back headed E. Gybed the mains'l earlier this afternoon when wind was WSW and have now added in the genoa - unfurled smoothly - no problem!

I should have been busy again with checking wind transducer voltages using a second display - but found other things to do first, like sorting out over-ripe apples that need attention. Think I need a break from problems...and the other instrument problems were joined by a new one: when instruments are turned off, but with AP switched on and left in 'Standby', I'm now getting the message 'NO PILOT' ... but if I then press 'Auto' - it starts working..... all very odd! Hoping it will be nice and calm tomorrow so I can look at the course computer connections and do some testing...

.... but tonight, I'll relax and read a little - Aubrey is in the Med just now...

11pm: Wind has died totally - drifting around at zero boat speed, making 1-1.5kt, vaguely East...... Looks as though it will definitely be calm tomorrow, at this rate!

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 107 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 685 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 679 n.ml. ... Had hoped to be rounding those on Sunday, but forecast light winds will probably delay that ... My waypoint, at 45S, due S of C. Agulhas: 323 n.ml.
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 108 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - drifting in no wind until late afternoon

Wednesday 6th February, 2013

Just lost my entire previous almost-complete report... so this will be a shortened version!!

As expected, spent most of day in calm conditions, with boat having drifted around in a big loop overnight and up until late afternoon, when I realised we were drifting W in a very straight line - slight northerly breeze had come up... gybed the sails and got us sailing E again.. Going nicely now, in freshening wind and, so far, very little swell.

Worked on the wind transducer a long time - cut the ties holding it in place on stern arch and brought it down below - wanted to test voltages between two different pairs of wires with vane in different positions - took an age to get consistent readings... Seemed that connections at display were dodgy, so tried to clean them up, and multimeter battery needed changing... Conclusion? Looking decidedly not good!! Readings weren't behaving as they ought to. Had hoped to look at autopilot rudder reference unit also - has been misbehaving since a few weeks after it was last 'fixed' - but no time today. It's not showing the rudder bar when AP in 'Standby', so AP is using COG instead of rudder position... works, but not so well.

Pause .... Just furled in some more genoa - making nearly 7 kt and wind clearly building... getting dark (8.15pm) so don't want to be overpowered overnight... Also having some more lovely, hot, thick soup - was very welcome after working all day with nothing since b'fast...

Atlantic High is well S and causing present southerly position - I'd expected to be more to the north - around 40-43S, perhaps, but for several days, in order not to be becalmed more often, this is the latitude to be at. Could take a time to get past S. Africa with more light winds forecast soon.

Grey day ... counted seven Atlantic petrels .. and a black-browed or yellow-nosed albatross in the distance - dark wings and back, white body - too far away to see head to identify it properly - but clearly not one of the enormous Wandering (or Royal) albatross - as seen yesterday..

Wondering about changing my position reporting time - has so far been daily at 2300GMT promptly - to give 24hr DMG and post to my website via link to Winlink/Shiptrak mapping pages. But that time has now become midnight - or later, as I head East more - so not exactly convenient!! Maybe next time I'm becalmed (soon!), I'll do a 12hr position/DMG (at 1100 GMT) and continue from there... Delays posting this log report also.

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 56 n.ml. (Lucky not to be zero!) Cape Agulhas: 760 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 745 n.ml. ... Hoped to be rounding those on Sunday, but forecast light winds might delay that ... My waypoint, at 45S, due S of C. Agulhas: 427 n. ml.
...............................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 107 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - Fog, rain, CF passes with good win

Tuesday 5th February, 2013

Into another time zone ... GMT + 1hr.

Beautiful sunny start to the day after early morning cloud layer had lifted..Usual 3 or more Atlantic petrels flying about.... but by afternoon, the threatened Cold Front arrived, fog came down close by... It was murky and damp, with some drizzle... everything was grey.... Sea temperature is 11C.

As I stood in the companionway, looking at the dismal scene, in seas that had quickly built up & were throwing us about a lot and 20kt wind from NW, a Wandering albatross suddenly appeared out of the gloom - fairly young, judging by its brown mottled back - made the day seem far better! And then another one appeared - mature ... 'splashes' of white on dark upper wings and pure white back ... great to see the two of them ! Watched them until they disappeared and went down below to have some freshly-made, very welcome, hot, thick soup - spent a time making it this morning and by this afternoon, with the cold, damp weather, was really pleased to have done so!

Wih the increased wind, we were making good speed, despite the uncomfortable seas, but around dusk, the wind suddenly switched off - the Front had passed, pressure started rising from a low of 1017 ( had been 1029 at midday yesterday and 1021 mid-morning today) and wind slowly but surely backed from NW to WSW ... and on... Very light S wind likely to last for a day or so before WNW wind arrives.

Gybed the mains'l ... This evening, we're now making just over 2kt... and expecting light S wind!!

Made light contact with Steve on 'Silas Crosby' - they expect to make landfall tomorrow morning. Excellent contact with S.Africa stns now on 20m.

J-P on 'Virbac Paprec' is in safely.... good! And Acciona also lost its keel - ??? Three .... is 3 too many!

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 128 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 799 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 780 n.ml. ... Hoping to round those next weekend... My waypoint, well S of C. Agulhas: 483 n. ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 106 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - even slower than yesterday... half

Monday 4th February, 2013

Dull, cold, grey day, no sun, swell down to 2m for most of day .... peaceful... ambling along very slowly in light wind.... Feel rather as though we're in limbo... suspended in a grey world of silent, gentle rocking motion .... Heading due E, dead downwind, still with a helpful NE-flowing current - beginnings of Benguela current that flows up the coast of Africa. Pressure well up at 1028 hPa...and for several more days yet. Cold Front expected overnight, into tomorrow, bringing stronger WNW-NW wind, followed by another lull possibly.

3 Atlantic petrels flying about and a Great shearwater lazily soaring close to the water.. the usual companions...! Brief visit by storm petrel... Two Sooty albatross later in the day - first a young one looking very grey but with dark head & black bill (but not light enough grey on back or underwings to be a Light-mantled albatross, as I wondered initially)... Later a mature, all-dark one - came really close to cockpit - I got an excellent view!! Tried taking photos of storm petrel and young Sooty albatross which stayed circling boat for a time....

Good news on the winch ... Lifted the central spindle out without a problem - as I'd suspected, a spring behind one of the pawls had come adrift .... It was now lodged , squashed flat, in behind the other pawl of the pair... Had scored the steel surface a bit in being dragged across from its original position... Got another spring from my spares and replaced it, after gently sanding the spindle surface, hoping to smooth it where scored... Plenty of grease added to pawls and surface before replacing spindle. Nice to hear it purring gently when I turned it with the winch handle each way afterwards!!

While leading spinnaker halyard (acting as genoa pole uphaul) back to cockpit in place of unuseable first reefline, spotted screw coming loose in support for stays'l pole on mast - hurriedly tightened!

Put beans and split peas into soak overnight, ready for a thick stew/soup tomorrow. Tonight it was a big omelette with ham and gently fried, diced potatoes and chopped onions, with some sweetcorn, followed by pineapple and thick cream (Aussie UHT - bought in Tasmania...) - felt quite decadent!

Spent less time over today trying to make radio contact for weather and emailing ... Conditions are so settled , there's not the urgency, so I relaxed andl saved battery power until this evening when I need the contact to download up-to-date gribs. Managed one good contact with S. Africa but still too often it's just a handshake and no more - I get better contact with far off stations - Nova Scotia, Texas and Java!

Had usual good chat last night & tonight with Geoff on 'Curare' (arrived in Puerto Williams, Chile, on Beagle Channel, today) and Steve on 'Silas Crosby' (making from Valdivia for the Chilean Juan Fernandez islands in S. Pacific - one of them is Robinson Crusoe's island...!!) One of the good things about radio, rather than telephone, is the joint conversations that are possible, with more than two people taking part. Also had a couple of 'phone patches' organised via MMSNet on 14300 kHz last night - many thanks to Rick, WA1RKT, for that. Amazing to be able to speak to friends on their telephone via my radio when I'm out here in the middle of the ocean, many miles from land...

Waiting to hear J-P on 'Virbac Paprec' has got in safely with no keel - 100mls away, last I heard. Glad to hearJavier Sanso is safe after Acciona capsized (why??) ... and Tanguy De L (Init.-coeur), unlucky with major rudder/keel damage - so close to finish - hope he also finishes safely...

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 100 n.ml.(SLOW today in light wind) Cape Agulhas: 898 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 871 n.ml. ... Hoping to round those next weekend... My waypoint, well S of C. Agulhas: 610 n. ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 105 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - foggy, damp, slow day...

Sunday 3rd February, 2013

Another dull, cold day, ending with fog not far away.. sun never quite made it out around midday, when there were hints of blue patches in the sky, although it tried hard! Swell was down early on but increased late afternoon & then died down a bit after nightfall . Heading due E, almost dead downwind, in lighter wind today, so less speed - but still a helpful NE-flowing current. High pressure area looks set to stay close by to N for several more days, giving mostly W winds of 10-20kt at our present latitude of 45S (although a Cold Front coming through in a day or so) and almost no wind further N.

2-3 Atlantic petrels were nearby most of the day, along with at least one Great shearwater.. and a young Sooty albatross flew by (again?) - all dark with big black bill but with a slightly lighter area of dark grey behind its head forming a 'cowl' - good to see it - wonder if it's the same one as yesterday? It circled around a couple of times giving me the chance to have a really good look at it.

Good news of today is that the genoa furler is moving freely- clearly the halyard I released was the culprit - an easy 'fix'! The bad news is I lost a no.40 torx 'key' - while tightening the rod-kicker fitting on the boom, which had come loose again, I managed to drop it - for a moment, as I saw it land on the side deck, I thought I was in luck - but Murphy was clearly there, egging it on... it picked itself up and jumped into the sea ...@*&%$#**##!!! Luckily, I have a screwdriver bit (but only one...) of same size to use in the future (my spare set of torx keys has that size missing - surprise!). Also began looking at the winch which had been misbehaving but is now inexplicably moving happily again both ways. As I started undoing the top screws, I realised the boat was really being tossed about in a big swell - maybe not such a good idea to take winch apart just then ... will look at it another time, rather than lose more vital bits to Neptune!

Spending a lot of time trying to make contact with shore radio stations for emailing ... You know it's getting desperate when you trawl down the entire list, trying remote possibilities!! This afternoon, made good contact with Java, after S. Africa had stubbornly refused to make proper contact, despite repeated 'handshakes' and supposedly excellent chance of contact... grrr!!! Only problem is it takes a lot of battery power and I keep having to start up the generator, since little sunlight and only light wind from astern... Again had to make up a lot of sleep this morning after repeated failed attempts overnight kept me up a lot.

Gather Jean-Pierre on 'Virbac Paprec' has got underway again... Hope he stays upright & arrives safely!

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 132 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 978 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 946 n.ml. ... Hoping to round those next weekend... Waypoint well S of C. Agulhas: 710 n. ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 104 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - we sail from West into East - crossed Greenwich Meridi

Saturday 2nd February, 2013

Dull, cold day (sea 11C, cabin 12C!) with lots of big swell tossing us around and causing frequent surfing and dark grey rainclouds - plenty of gusty winds in the late afternoon but no rain. Really feels like the Southern Ocean! Strong NE-flowing current - nice to see it helping our SOG.

With rather rough seas and good wind there were plenty of the 'usual gang'of birds around all day long - several each of Arctic prions, Atlantic petrels and Great shearwaters.. and this afternoon, a distinctive Sooty albatross flew by- all dark with dark bill - don't often see those!

I relaxed rather too long over a late breakfast in the calmer conditions of this morning (finished 'The Surgeon's Mate'!) and by the time I was hoping to have checked over the genoa furling - seas and wind had got up a tad too much to play about on the foredeck. No problem - either it's OK or it's not (hopefully, it is!), I'll find out soon enough - the stays'l is plenty in these winds and seas....

At almost exactly 2200GMT (10pm local time!), we crossed the Greenwich Meridian: 0 degrees E/W - take your pick! Latitude was 44:55S. We're now heading almost due East - for several days, probably. High pressure is forecast to stay close to the N until gone midweek so light wind to N give good reason to stay at this latitude where there should be some decent wind to sail by.

We're having a small celebration now for 'crossing the bump', as Graham, ZS2ABK, put it this morning, on the S.A.M.M.Net ... Some dark chocolate & Christmas cake (presents from Canada) and Bundaberg rum (from Tas, last year!)

Looking forward to hearing soon that Jean-Pierre on 'Virbac Paprec' has succeeded in getting into Les Sables d'Olonne safely... preferably in 4th place, ahead of the duo fighting for 5th place!

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 131 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1093 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 1055 n.ml. ... Hoping to round those next weekend.
...............................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 103 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas -Passing S of the Discovery Seamounts

Friday 1st February, 2013

Broken cloud, with moon shining through on occasion, becoming 100% overcast by morning. Wind had slowly veered into WNW from SW-WSW overnight, so major adjustment of Fred needed to keep us heading SE towards 45S - gribs still showing High pressure extending well S towards our position by around Monday 4th Feb. Pressure at midday was 1023 hPa. Swell has reduced a little from SW 4+ m of last night - being tossed around far less frequently.

Emaiing was fine after midnight until around 7am and I'm beginning to make occasional contact with S.African stns - but difficult and time-consuming, with only a very few theoretical 'windows' which mostly don't work beyond the initial 'handshake' - usually very poor, slow contact, if made. Keeping me up a lot overnight - so catching up on sleep over morning is a priority!

Had fair contact with John on 'Arctic Tern' on 8164kHz last night (after Bill, KI4MMZ, on 14300 MMS Net, had helped with the contact, with nothing heard initially on another freq)- he's hoping to make landfall in Grenada by Sunday - hoping to watch the Super Bowl , I hear!! Seems he finally found the NW-flowing current close to the coast to help him. Usual radio contact later with 'Curare' on 14305 kHz was excellent - they're anchored in a small bay off the Beagle Channel, Chile, with major Low passing over - winds/williwaws off the mountain were gusting to 40+ knots, laying them on their beam ends, and they have two anchors and two shore-lines holding them safely. Their pressure was right down at 964 - that is really low! Least I've seen was 971, while S of Cape Horn, about to round it on 7th Jan, with two very deep, nasty Lows on either side (photo of grib file showing them was posted to log report).

3.30pm Three black-browed albatross soaring nearby on stiff dark wings- two juveniles, with mostly dark underwings, one with dark bill and slight grey 'collar', the other with dark tip to light bill... often very close by. Not much bigger than the Gt Shearwaters and all-dark petrels seen - either white-chinned or Spectacled - not quite good enough view to distinguish for sure. Sun occasionally getting out between broken clouds. Far gentler seas now. ... Half-an-hour later - bright sunshine and blue sky overhead, with low cloud layer on the horizon... beautiful day! With still only the stays'l available for headsail, I sat on foredeck with idea of photographing mast head to look at genoa problem - impossible to see anything clearly using binoculars, with boat's motion. Sidetracked by the many different birds around, I took a shot of a black-browed albatross, ... & realised that close by it was an even larger Wandering albatross ... circling around, looking most inquisitive! Slight brown mottling on its otherwise white back, so relatively young still.

Photos, even at highest res and enlarged, didn't help me initially (too fuzzy!) no obvious 'wrap' of genoa halyard, or any other line, was seen, but when I took a couple zoomed in, which enlarged sharper, I noticed that the usual culprit could well be to blame for the problem- the spinnaker halyard was clearly being held tight against the top the furling gear and showed signs of chafe there. At dusk, I went and released the halyard and stowed it on the side deck, instead of at the mast foot - testing out the genoa to see if all is now well can wait until tomorrow - would be nice to have good daylight.

Wind has just backed into WSW, still headed to 45S... Pressure now (2330GMT): 1024 hPa

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 112 n.ml. Gough Island: 389 n.ml. (303T) , Tristan da Cunha 606 n.ml. (311T) Cape Agulhas: 1184 n.ml.
...............................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 102 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - CF passed ... SW swell amd wind

Thursday 31st January, 2013

Cold Front passed over soon after midnight - strong N wind dropped right down and backed into WNW - major trimming of sails, adjusting of Fred and gybing of mainsail needed to get us back on course - which early in the morning, with gribs showing big High pressure area forecast within few days to extend right on top of us, made me change to SE and head for 45S, to avoid being becalmed, or possibly facing headwinds if we were to be caught on the wrong side of the High by staying too farN.

Yet another clear starry moonlit night followed by a lovely sunny morning - with (the same?) three Great shearwaters soaring nearby and an albatross in the far distance - first one seen for a while. A pairof (black-bellied) storm petrels seen in the afternoon - they've been missing for quite a time.

Pressure dropped down to 1006 as the Front passed over, but by tonight, it had risen to 1020, with 15-20kt wind and big 4-5m swell from SW midday onward. Swell tossing us around a lot - it's a beam sea.

In the light wind around dawn, with boat speed well down, I went to unfurl the genoa to give more speed - but found it unfurled slightly but then wouldn't budge... It was completely impossible to do anything with it ... Looks like another trip up the mast could well be needed to look at the furler at the head of the sail - but not in the present seas!!! Speed was well down for a good part of the day, until the wind got up again, with the stays'l as the only available headsail.

Emailing limited to from dusk until just past dawn now.... and then mostly very slow. Voice radio contact good, often excellent.

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 104 n.ml. (course change) Gough Island: 279 n.ml. (301T) , Tristan da Cunha 494 n.ml. (312T) Cape Agulhas: 1243 n.ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 101 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - wind a-plenty, as CF approaches

Wednesday 30th January, 2013

Another clear starry moonlit night followed by a lovely sunny morning - with three Great shearwaters and a prion keeping us company.

Almost as soon as I'd posted my report for yesterday, I checked fresh grib files which showed N wind expected after the calm period. Went on deck, having noticed that we'd been drifting due S for some time ... and sure enough there was a slight N breeze! Trimmed the sails and adjusted Fred for a beam reach - and there we were, sailing gently on course in the moonlight, in a freshening N wind...

Just after midnight, we were making over 5 kt with full genoa and stays'l - I slept with alarm set to check on wind strength a couple of hours later when I checked into Pacific Seafarers' Net (Randy, KH6RC, relayed to Cirrus, ZL2CVJ, in NZ). All was fine, so slept some more and checked again after dawn - wind up to a nice F4, ....making 5-6 kt, all OK, pressure dropping slowly....

Wind has slowly increased since then, as forecast, to its present (midday) F5-6 (something over 20kt) -genoa has been mostly furled away and we're making 6.5kt under stays'l and main, with SOG slightly less, due to SW current just here. Before reducing the genoa, we'd been making consistently well over 7 kt - but I decided that with further increase of wind expected, maybe discretion was the better part of valour - and started reducing sail - reducing heeling also, of course!

The blue sky has mainly gone - a layer of cloud has spread over from N & W ahead of the Cold Front that's bringing this strong wind.

2pm Wind up to F6-7 - seas rough, foam patches on surface left by crests, swell building but not bad - only up to 3m or so at present. Genoa fully in, small stays'l, triple-reefed mains'l, boatspeed just under 6kt ... all OK! Adjusted Fred - wind backed a little to NNW.

The good news, possibly, is that while winching in the stays'l sheet, I noticed that the winch was moving stiffly in the direction it has been refusing to move in lately... so maybe I'll now be able to withdraw the spindle, when in calmerconditions, to service the winch ... there's hope yet!

Mid-afternoon, the cloud broke up and the sun got out - but not for long - back soon to solid grey overcast .... damp and cold! The wind, by early evening, was still a good force 6 (~25kt) from N and seas were still not too bad at around 3-3.5m (10ft), but with a short (5s) period, it's quite rough with frequent tossing around of the boat and seas washing the decks and splashing over the companionway awning - good to have the protective, clear screen hanging there.

Still no weatherfaxes being transmitted from Cape Naval in S. Africa but fairly good radio contact overnight for emails and weather (grib) files. From early morning, I have to wait until early evening to send or receive any more - radio contact proving impossible for emailing in between. Got very frustrated with one unthinking person that sent a one-sentence email - but with a load of 'bumpf and a pointless 12kb logo attachment.. 17kb in all....phew...! Took 3 slow connections and a long, long time to download - for nothing!! But I needed to clear my Inbox to get at the other emails.....

Passed into GMT time zone as we crossed longitude 07.5W early this evening.

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 131 n.ml. Gough Island: 175 n.ml. (NW ) , Tristan da Cunha 376 n.ml. (NW) Cape Agulhas: 1324 n.ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 100 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - drifting around in circles ... no

Tuesday 29th January, 2013

Beautiful clear night again last night ... and a lovely sunny morning - surrounded by 30-40 prions wheeling around at 7am - with a solitary black-browed albatross and pair of Great shearwaters as well.

Unfurled genoa in attempt to speed up in dying W wind - speed not helped by being almost dead downwind... Seas still quite big, although reducing, but still knocking us about occasionally.

By midday, most of the cloud had cleared to give pleasant sunshine, but cloud back by 5pm. W wind had picked up v.slightly so making better speed - over 3 kt instead of less!! Great shearwater and smaller prion circling around not far away...

6pm Boatspeed down to below 1kt! Difficult to maintain our course... NE current trying to take us N with so little boat speed.

As I was playing around with the headsails, trying to figure out what to do for the best, WSW wind came back a touch - we could just about make our course again, sailing slightly by the lee, at 2kt ... better than nothing! Cloud had cleared again ... a lovely sunny late afternoon, sun getting low - time to celebrate 100 days at sea by relaxing and watching the nearby Gt shearwaters and prions with some tea and Christmas cake - being kept for special occasions!!

Spent a time sorting out my paper charts yesterday - put away Pacific (for time being!), C.Horn/S.America and got out for E of S.Atlantic, S.Africa - attention was drawn to the extensive Discovery Seamounts - right on my path - so making sure I skirt to N of them in case of bad weather when thereabouts - pity, since means I'll be closer to light winds of H than I'd intended...

Emailing getting increasingly problematic.... We're right in between America and Africa with difficult radio email connection to each now... Daytime has become very slow, although I'm told it might improve, and night-time, although fairly reliable at present, is also slow - hoping to keep that contact for a bit longer.... If radio emails failed, that would leave me with only voice radio contact - no emails or weather info..... Just can't quite make the Africa contact, at present - I keep trying!! Annoyingly, Cape Naval in S. Africa doesn't seem to be transmitting the weatherfaxes it's supposed to - tried today but nothing heard.... They are so reliably unreliable...

8.30pm Getting dark - no wind: zero boatspeed! ... Mains'l centred, on preventer to stop flopping, ... drifting.

Later: Moving at 1kt in a big circle... we were drifting N.. now S! Frustrating!! Pressure up at 1019. Waiting for wind (... not for Godot...!) Bright moon glancing through clouds onto slightly moving sea - swell down to just 3m now.

24hr DMG at 10pm local time (2300GMT ): 77 n.ml. Gough Island: 112 n.ml. (355T) - 221 n.ml. SSE of Tristan da Cunha (332 n.ml. NNW of 'Nereida' now), uninhabited except for group of 7 scientists on 6-monthly posting for research (U.K. possession, leased to S.Africa). Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa): 1454 n.ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 99 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - a spectacled petrel nearby - at las

Monday 28th January, 2013

A pleasant sunny day with occasional light showers and mainly almost dead downwind sailing in quite big following seas and wind from W-WNW at 15-20 kt (F5!)

Had no copy whatsoever on the Patgonia Net at 1200GMT (11am local time) .

Fiinally spotted a Spectacled petrel flying around earlier today. Have been waiting to see one near here, since they are endemic to Tristan da Cunha and nearby islands - only seen in S. Atlantic not far from their breeding grounds. Also a brown skua - big, dark brown bird with white markings on its upper wings (looked as though it was thinking of landing on the solar panels!) A sure sign that we were close to Gough Island where they prey on the albatross, petrels and many other breeding birds there and on the nearby islands in the Tristan da Cunha group. Also around were the pairs of Atlantic petrels, Antarctic prions and Great shearwaters that seem to have been staying close by recently. (Prions are also known as 'whalebirds')

24hr DMG at 10pm local time (2300GMT ): 142 n.ml. Gough Island: 136 n.ml. (030T) - 221 n.ml. SSE of Tristan da Cunha (318 n.ml.away from 'Nereida' now), uninhabited except for group of 7 scientists on 6-monthly posting for research (U.K. possession, leased to S.Africa). Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa): 1533 n.ml.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

RTW Day 98 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas -

Sunday 27th January, 2013

Up early to check on wind and seas, ...underway by 7am, with wind seemingly down to around 25kt and seas looking fine - but wind was soon whistling in the rigging .. up to 30kt again! With just very small stays'l and triple-reefed mains'l, we kept going and were fine, although, as yesterday, it got pretty boisterous with the seas building as well. There were occasional periods of heavy rain, none very long, and foggy conditions persisted in the distance until late in the day. I put on the heater to help dry my outers and boots they were so wet and stood no chance of drying otherwise...

Pressure dropped from 1005 late yesterday to its minimum of 994 early this afternoon - at which point the wind backed to NW from N and suddenly died right down from F7 to F4 ... Boat speed dropped from over 6kt to 3-4kt for quite a time... Always difficult to know whether it's safe to increase sail then or not - maybe it's just a lull? I waited and eventually the wind increased a bit until we were making just over 5 kt - and, finally, back up to nearer 6kt....! The SE current is still affecting us.

Had fair copy on Geoff on 'Curare' during the Patgonia Net at 1200GMT (11am local time) - so maybe we're out of the daylight 'skip' zone now. Later, heard that Sam, on 'Suvretta', was safely in to port last night, after lying to his series drogue in nasty, steep seas and strong wind on the extensive Burdwood Bank, just 40ml SW from his destination Stanley, E.Falkland. Damaged his self-steering , but otherwise OK.

4.30pm Just seen a pair of Atlantic petrels nearby and also a Great shearwater - they've been around, on & off, all day. Although sky is still very grey , in the W (astern), there's what looks like the edge of the cloud layer - maybe we'll see a sunset again?

7.15pm There was a nice clear blue sky for a short time but sun just went down behind a mass of cloud on the horizon - so looks as though there won't be a lovely sunset tonight...

Sure enough - no sunset- but later the sky cleared completely - lovely full moon sailing in a clear starry sky.. Jupiter and stars clear... and wind down to a reasonable 20kt... All very pleasant!

24hr DMG at 10pm local time (2300GMT ): 99 n.ml.( hove to overnight) Gough Island: 248 n.ml. (058T) - 221 n.ml. SSE of Tristan da Cunha (343 n.ml.away from 'Nereida' now), uninhabited except for group of 7 scientists on 6-monthly posting for research (U.K. possession, leased to S.Africa). Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa): 1673 n.ml.
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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/