S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 77 towards Cape Horn - Pair of Royal albatross come to visit - in bright su

Sunday 6th January, 2013

m_6th Jan2013 - reason for no wind while rounding Cape Horn!
No wind at Cape Horn

I've had so many emails of support wishing me well as I try to round Cape Horn - especially after my last time here - it has been wonderful knowing that my journey is being followed by so many warm-hearted people...and makes this feel very special. Thank you all so much!

9am Bright sun - but wind dying...! Clear sky overhead but low cloud, ahead to port - to N and NE. Making only ~4.5 kt . Less than 110 miles to my "Cape Horn waypoint" (103 miles S of Cape Horn itself) - my turning point into the S. Atlantic! Could become frustratingly slow going...

Waiting to get latest Ice report from VG to see where the two icebergs of concern to me have drifted to... (Later: The nearer one looks as though it's drifted out of my way a bit - although I'll still have to keep a good lookout when in that area. The further one looks to be getting nearer my course - all depends on winds over next few days, until I get closer) I'd mentioned, when sending a position report, that two bergs were possibly a problem for me - just got an email back from Guillaume in VG Paris HQ: "Si jamais tu vois des Icebergs, merci de nous envoyer les photos!!" ("If ever you see some icebergs, please send us the photos!") I replied, agreeing - but hope I don't get close enough to any!

Made use of calmer conditions to make some fresh coffee - lovely! Solar panels putting 4-6A into batteries, despite slight cloud. Warm in sun under canopy but air is cold. Cabin temperature: 10C; sea temperature: 8C - wearing lots of layers!

1pm Struggling to make just 2.5 kt in light wind, about F2, from NW. Short rainshower mid-morning, otherwise sunshine with some cloud... Pair of magnificent Southern Royal albatross were circling around earlier for a long time before moving away into the distance... then a (smaller, but still big) black-browed albatross and a small group of prions. Tiny white-rumped storm petrel nearly made me dizzy at one point - flew in circles around and around, close to sea surface! Sea is no longer rough but still easily 4m/12ft or more, at 8-12 second intervals - long, slow swell. Tried to take photos of the albtross, but not one came out showing the birds well...

Heated up my stew while gas tank was still warmed up from sun on it! Very relaxed day today - caught up on all my emails and tidied up!

Keep looking at grib (weather) files - the Low that was expected to form to E is now being shown there and very deep/intense - but is now expected to move away without causing me too much of a problem - fingers crossed the computer program has got that right!! Second Low to W is expected to diminish - so we might be about to have a lucky escape! (It's the two Lows either side so close to here that are causing our lack of wind with their opposing wind directions -see photo posted above!)

6.30pm We're down to almost zero boat speed but 1.5 kt SOG - a good thing there's a fair current that we're drifting East with! Just about making our course with the AP working hard... Still lovely bright sunshine,although the air feels cold. Finished off my stew - hot! The butane in the tank was still warm enough from the sunshine to gas off.

9pm - Sun sinking but still bright. Feels like 5-6pm!! I can't believe how the boat is lying! In no wind, I gave up trying to head the boat with the AP - was taking too much power & struggling.. So we've now gone hove-to and are drifting BACKWARDS!!! ... at 0.3 knots ENE - which is not too far off our preferred course of 102T!

9.30pm Took the wheel for a bit, despite the chilly air at sunset with a clear sky, and got us pointed in the right direction... A little more wind seemed to have come up (F2, 4-5 kt maybe?), so now we're back on course, making 2.4 kt again - feels fast compared with 0.3kt!

Sea is so much calmer, it feels weird - this is not the Southern Ocean I'm familiar with! The long rounded swell is down to just 3-4m.

24hr DMG at 7pm local time (Chile time!) (2300GMT ): 95 n.ml. (slow with dying wind today) Cape Horn 124 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 91 n.ml. away. The nearest island is now Isla Gonzalo, the S-most of Islas Diego Ramirez, 67 n.ml. away to NE . Land is now showing on my AIS screen - the islands around Cape Horn, just over 100 mls 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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 76 towards Cape Horn - Good sailing in big seas

Saturday 5th January, 2013 (A memorable date, as some will have realised! I'm 75ml due S of that point now.)

Midnight! Southern sky near the horizon almost as light as day - but Jupiter shining brightly in the darker sky in the N, along with a few stars. (My body can't get used to all these quick time-zone changes! )

It's been a good day of mainly pleasant, fast sailing, if we ignore the big seas that have continually tossed us around and the frequent grey skies and sometimes heavy rain! But in between, there have been lovely blue skies and several different birds seen - including two different abatross (grey-faced and black-browed), storm petrel, prions and others.

The light N wind of very early morning gave way by mid-morning to stronger wind, NW-NNW around F5-6 (20-25kt), cotinuing on into evening, when it finally started dying down again - but not completely.

I really felt at one with the Vendée Globe sailors tonight - I had my first dehydrated (freeze-dried) meal!! Beef and pasta hotpot, the foil wrapper proclaimed - and it wasn't too bad at all! In the sunshine of the afternoon, I realised that maybe I could use the gas to cook - put the kettle on for some tea - with the gas tank in the sun it had warmed up enough not to give any problem... Unfortunately, having come across my Christmas mince pies two days ago, I was enjoying one with my tea - so a meal didn't seem quite appropriate just then - later , I thought... But later, when I was thinking I'd like to eat something hot - the sky was grey,it was raining hard - and the gas did not want to flow - it had got too cold again... definitely butane!

Time to use my little camping stove (back-up for such emergencies!).. I'd tried to use it yesterday, to heat up my nice stew - disaster when it all ended up on the floor of the galley...!! I was not prepared to risk that again - so fixed the little burner firmly on the cooker top with bungies so it couldn't move when a big wave came by to toss us around. The top had already been prepared to take my little kettle in safety (but not a saucepan!) - a steel restraint had been specially made for it in Simon's Town by Baden early this year. So: boil a measured quantity of water, pour into the foil pouch, stir vigorously, zip it up, wait 10mins, "Bob's your uncle"...!! It was nice and hot ... and tasted OK! I've lots more I bought with the Southern Ocean in mind - when I thought I would not be in a position to cook properly . Some were bought in Nelson, N.Z., and some in Hobart, Tasmania.. Came thoroughly recommended as a brand (made in New Zealand) as being the 'best of the dried meals'!

Ice is beginning to pose a problem after rounding the Horn and beginning to head ENE - two icebergs look as though they're drifting onto my path... Will have to keep a good lookout and maybe be prepared to divert around them. Problem is partly the 'bergy bits' that could be up to 20ml ahead of them in the direction of drift - presently, due E or ENE.

Weather is looking distinctly unhelpful in a few days' time - either almost no wind or, after that, way too much - two Lows forming, with us the 'meat in the sandwich'! ... and later getting the full brunt of one of them - deep Low of around 970hPa (pressure right now is down at 977hPa- typical of these latitudes).

Time for some sleep - still light in the S...

24hr DMG at 7pm local time (Chile time!) (2300GMT ): 142 n.ml. (good speed last night and from mid-morning ) Cape Horn 197 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 191 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is now Isla Londonderry (!!!), 135 n.ml. away to NE .
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 75 towards Cape Horn -Increasingly strong conditions over Fri into night

Friday 4th January, 2013

Around midday the wind started increasing slowly from the F3-4 of earlier, and pressure started dropping - from a steady 993 in the morning more rapidly in the evening - to 984 by 11pm, when I made my usual contact with Pacific Seafarers Net.

By that time, we were in very strong conditions, with genoa furled away, small stays'l and 3 reefs in mains'l. Seas were pretty big - around 5m or more - and were tossing us around - but they were fairly well spaced and not breaking. With the wind on our beam we were making speeds of around 7kt or more and Fred was happily keeping us on course (autopilot had gone down, again, earlier that morning!). My worry ahead was a steep seamount peaking at around 300m depth, rising abruptly from 2000-3000m depths! Seas were likely to be nasty in that area in these conditions - so definitely to be avoided.

We were making directly for our waypoint due S of Cape Horn and the day had been grey with frequent rain - but I had seen the occasional birds - a pair of prions and, later, a wedge-tailed shearwater.

I was debating whether I'd have to stop the boat - but was not inclined to do so while we were coping with the conditions. Winds were around 30kt or more (I recognised the sound in the rigging!) and our speed showed the wind strength also - with so little sail up, to be making over 7kt shows a strong wind! Eventually, with no sign of the wind increasing further (I also kept checking the gribs and weather info!), I got to sleep for a few hours - with an alarm set to wake me up well before we could get anywhere near the seamount - and also to check on our course, should the wind have changed direction...

When I awoke, it was daylight, with a patch of blue sky overhead among the grey clouds - and the wind had died totally! Adjusted Fred and unfurled the genoa and stays'l to give us speed - from 4kt, we increased to 6kt!. Pressure is still very low at 982 hPa - and wind set to increase possily a bit later but then die back.. We're 13ml SW of the seamount, heding ESE, so that's a safe distance away.

More tomorrow...! I'm off to get some more sleep (at 8am Sat!)

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 130 n.ml. Cape Horn 326 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 335 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast iwa now Isla Carlos, 184 n.ml. away to NE .
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 74 towards Cape Horn - shroud fixed - ALL OK!!!

Thursday 3rd January, 2013

Slept very little overnight, with worry of broken forward lower starboard shroud connection - felt like a 'sword of Damocles' hanging over me... a time-bomb, waiting to bring the mast down....!! Was interesting to see that the sky never got really dark - maybe partly the moon shining from behind the overcast, but more a matter of being well south in 'high summer' now. Sunset is late and sunrise, early! Must have dozed off because woke up at 4am, in broad daylight already, and promptly got up to see to the problem. We were making around 6kt in quite heavy following seas which threw us around constantly - and rain had just started!

It was a bit of a struggle removing the split pins holding the broken 'fork' fitting and the normally- connected top screw of the bottle-screw fitting, not helped by finding blood everywhere from a deep cut in my thumb from a sharp metal edge - couldn't feel anything in the cold, but bleeding wouldn't stop!! Placed a shackle on the swaged eye to form a rounded edge and used Spectra braid to lash to the bottle-screw fitting 3-4times. Final result was certainly strong - but not very well tensioned.

Going back down below in the heavy rain, I had the broken fitting to hand- and discovered an almost identical fitting in my rigging spares, together with its clevis pin ...! So a short while later, I was back on deck, undoing my previous efforts and soon had the shroud connected up and back in place properly, nicely tensioned using the bottle-screw in the usual way - relief - and jubilation!! By the time I'd finished putting everything away, it was gone 2pm! Time for a welcome, late breakfast in lovely warmth, having switched on the Eberspacher diesel heater to warm both me and my wet clothing - and then had a deep 2-3 hr sleep!!

It's been a mix of nice sunshine and heavy rain, all the time in big 4-5m seas, throwing the boat around, often quite violently, but we've made good speed in the NW F4-5-6 following winds - up and down over the day. Wind didn't get quite as strong as was forecast overnight (gusted to just around 30kt) and should continue W-NW, around F4-5, gusting 6, for next 2-3 days. A nasty Low is forecast for SE of Cape Horn as I get close - may have to heave to and wait if I look to be getting too close - pressure has been down to 986 today but this Low is forecast to get down to well below that.

Cooking is getting problematic - I think my 9kg/20lb 'propane' refill in Tahiti as I sailed N last year must have actually been a butane refill - the gas flame keeps dying and butane doesn't 'gas-off' in the cold as well as propane does. We're down to 9C sea temp and I'm having to keep re-lighting the small flame to warm up my food very slowly...... the big ham and vegetable soup I made is very welcome but nicer hot than cold!

I've no wind info (for last few days...) Haven't had the chance to investigate, nor my Iridium problem - still some multimeter tests to carry out on both... Would be more easily done in calmer seas than at present.

Moon is shining in a fairly clear night sky - but there's quite a lot of light over the southern horizon - at gone midnight !! (I'd better post this and get some sleep!)

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 134 n.ml. (strong winds overnight!) Cape Horn 448 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 464 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is still Isla Desolacion, 257 n.ml. away to E and the W entrance to Magellan Strait is 266 n.ml. away, just to its N.
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 73 towards Cape Horn - wind to 30kt dies down - nice sunshine most ofday!

Wednesday 2nd January, 2013

Pressure dropped to 992hPa and then steadied at 993 for most of the day, with overnight wind gusting to 30 knots easing to F5-6 and slowly to F4-5 by sunset.

In the Vendée Globe, Alex Thomson, on Hugo Boss, passed S of us today - just under 100 ml away! My plotter has several blue/white flags showing racers' positions, as I'm keeing tabs on them!

Sun shining a lot today, with some rain late afternoon, clearing before sunset to give nearly clear sky , wind from nearly astern - on starboard quarter. ... lighter wind now.

9.45pm Heard a bang earlier which I couldn't understand... As I was talking to Jane, NH7TZ, after PacSeaNet, heard a lot of noise on deck - went up - lower forward starboard shroud fitting to deck has broken and shroud end was swinging about - too dark to see properly now - must look to see how I can attach it to deck again .... Shroud is fine, it's the fitting that has gone... Not sure what I can do but conditions now are fairly easy, TG! Worrying though.....

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 117 n.ml. Cape Horn 571 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 595 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Desolacion, 326 n.ml. away to E and the W entrance to Magellan Strait is 330 n.ml. away, just to its N.
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 72 towards Cape Horn - wind increasing as pressure drops - up the mast agai

Tuesday 1st January, 2013 Happy New Year!

Same light grey overcast skies, but pressure dropping quite fast over the day and NW wind increasing gradually as we finally get away from the High pressure area that has been affected the VG racers hereabouts also. Strong winds are expected by tonight and into Wednesday - the racers will be happy! (Made a big 'stew' later today, ready )

In the Vendée Globe, Virbac Paprec is still the closest to us, he must be to the SSE now, about 225 ml away, and Alex T, on Hugo Boss, is next in line... now 400 ml away to WSW. The Vendee Globe Race Management are kindly sending me daily, from race HQ in Paris, very detailed updated info on the ice situation. My plotter has several blue/white flags showing racers' positions!

Dealt with the missing pole car line this morning - got more convoluted than expected (...surprise,surprise!!!) First problem came when I tried to lower the pole so I could reach the inboard end - the jaw on the mast track was jammed over to one side (thought by changing the jaw end in Canoe Cove that that problem had been eliminated...!) - try as I might, I couldn't untwist it from down below where it was partly lowered to the port foredeck - so climbed up the mast to get closer- still impossible to budge it.... even after a second trip up, with a hammer to it - no joy!! Had to swing the pole over to the starboard side of the boat so it was more in line with the jaw before I could finally straighten it... That all took quite a time, but the seas aren't too high just now, so working on the foredeck wasn't too bad....

Next problem was, as half-expected, finding that not one of even my smallest shackles had a pin thin enough to pass through the hole in the shank of the block that had come adrift ...... So now what to do...? Somehow, the line to raise the pole inboard end on the mast track had to be attached to the pole end, preferably with the block it passed over still in action.... I thought of wiring the existing block to the car fitting... and then I had a brainwave! Some kind person this year recently offered me (I can't remember whether I was in S.Africa, Tasmania or Canada - if they're reading this - please remind me!) a load of spare, unwanted, boat bits and pieces - among which I'd picked out some shackles & a block which can be fitted over an existing line in situ with swivelling side pieces - just what was needed here - what a brilliant stroke of luck! So, although way over-size, that's now fitted in place with a big, strong shackle (pin moused in position!) to the car fitting with the jaw end attached - and the pole was then stowed on the mast easily, without a problem... Phew! I felt I had definitely earned my very late breakfast!! As I've said before, it will be good to have the use of the pole for the genoa - there's likely to be a lot of downwind sailing ahead and it's a big sail, so useful in light winds when I can't use my full mains'l due to the mast track insert problem.

1:30pm Sun shining weakly through thin cloud layer, wind from dead astern... making 4.5-5 knots in NW wind... seas have built a little... Enjoying a fresh coffee - something not so easy to make in the rough conditions expected soon! Sent for fresh grib files (weather) - both short and log term ... Early tomorrow, a strong Front is expected to come past, giving strongly veered N winds initially (26-30kt possibly), backing to strong W-WSW before veering to NW around 22kt. Then we should be getting into lighter winds as a Low centre moves off to the east, just S of our position...to leave us in lighter winds, waiting for the next Low to pass by, not far behind - no steady Trade wind sailing down here!!

Near disaster! Went to investigate a suggestion to unplug the Iridium handset and connect my laptop to the base unit, ready for trying to make a data transfer - to see what error message, if any, came up, to help locate Iridium fault ... Went to look at the base unit connections and as the front instrument panel swung down suddenly, it hit the computer screen ... gone completely!!! TG I've a remote screen I could immediately plug it into, so I can still use the computer - otherwise I think I'd be crying now!! Screen is working fine..... :-) Phew, again!! Close shave! (Think I'd better back up the computer - or at least copy important data files to my spare laptop...)

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): only 96 n.ml.(slow speed again, since yesterday!) Cape Horn 682 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 713 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Pachuco, 405 n.ml. away to Eand entrance to Magellan Strait: 412 n.ml.to east.
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 71 towards Cape Horn - little wind all day - up the mast again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ALL BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY, PEACEFUL 2013! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Monday 31 December 2012

Little to report today - overcast skies, little wind, slow speed ... no birds... Very peaceful, but not much progress made!! I celebrated a very relaxed New Year's Eve, seeing in the New Year with no problems on the weather or on the sailing side - all very easy-going!! Lots of emails to reply to - I've managed to enter the New Year up-to-date! Missed being able to make some phone calls with my Iridium phone out of action...

The 2 Vendee Globe race leaders have now passed me by to the S on their way to the Horn.... The next, Virbac Paprec, has come much closer to us, to the SW by just under 200 ml, and Alex T. on Hugo Boss is coming along next, still a good distance away - in the strong winds that I expect to see soon!

The Vendee Globe Race Management are continuing to be helpful on the ice situation, sending me very detailed updated info - very kind of them and much appreciated! Even passing well south of Cape Horn, as I plan to, the problem could still be there as I head further NE afterwards.

Realised last night that with the lighter wind, the seas were also dying right down - was very tempted to climb the mast overnight to retrieve the missing pole car line but restrained myself. Got up at dawn instead and went up in good light, despite the slight swell. Not having to get further than the first spreader and having plenty to hold onto was a definite plus!! Used the gri-gri again on a halyard as a safety and quickly tied a line around the guilty block (shackle pin must have come loose so shackle is now missing) and brought that line down to deck level. The block will only come lower when the inboard pole end is lowered but with my line tied around it, I can bring it down now. Next step is to lower the pole to bring the mast end down to where I can deal with it, and re-attach it to the mast car with a replacement small shackle, if I have something suitable, that is... I'll explore that tomorrow morning when the seas should still be down... I was busy with other things today. It will be good to have the use of the pole for the genoa - there's likely to be a lot of downwind sailing ahead and it's a big sail, so useful in light winds, since I can't use my full mains'l due to the mast track insert problem.

I was delighted this evening to get good news - John on 'Arctic Tern' had not made his daily phonecall to his friend for 3 days and she was getting extremely anxious as to his welfare. I'd been trying to allay her fears, pointing out the calm seas he was undoubtedly in, on passage from St Helena to Brazil, and the likelihood of a simple communication problem, but it was only when he contacted the Maritime Mobile Services Net by SSB on 14300kHz today to say his Iridium phone was locked off and he didn't have his PUK number to unlock it, that we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief to know he was clearly safe and sound. Karen is celebrating a very happy NewYear tonight - and sleeping well, at last!

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): only 90 n.ml.(slow speed since yesterday!) Cape Horn was 778 n.ml. away but my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 810 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Diego Dealmagro, 480 n.ml. away to E.
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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/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 70 towards Cape Horn -strong wind overnight .... sunshine briefly, with ligh

I'd like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2013! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Sunday 30th December 2012

Strong wind got up again overnight, but had died right down by morning, when the sun finally got out by midday with light cloud and high pressure. By late afternoon, the low cloud and fog in the distance returned - and wind died even more, having veered finally to NW at 5 knots!!

The Vendee Globe race leaders are now within 350ml to SSW of us - passing very close on their way to the Horn.... The leaders will get good wind to go around but the ones behind, including me (going very slowly now), will get a mix of long calms with gales in between, so it could become a frustratingly prolonged rounding of the Cape!

I'm getting a lot of people emailing me about the ice problem near to Cape Horn - it's a real worry this year, unlike two years ago when there was no problem - but I was delighted tonight to receive very specific, helpful info from the Vendee Globe Race Management - very kind of them and much appreciated! I'm hoping to pass far enough south of Cape Horn for the problem to be minimal - but until I'm well away from the area, it will be on my mind, for sure.

Went to stow the genoa pole early this morning - and found the line fixing the inboard end onto the mast track slider had come away - made it very difficult dealing with the pole, since I had to push it up into place from a heaving deck.... Got there eventually but the only way to sort out the problem properly, so I can easily make use of the pole in future, is to climb the mast to retrieve the loose end of the line, in order to re-attach it... That was not going to happen during today, with the swell quite a decent size still and causing us to rock about quite frequently, but with the light winds of this evening I'm hoping that by tomorrow morning, retrieving the line will be feasible and safe in an even calmer sea... fingers crossed!

The solitary Juan Fernandez Petrel was seen again for a short while early on - but no birds since.

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 106 n.ml.(good speed overnight, but certainly not over the day!) Cape Horn was 867 n.ml. away but my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 899 n.ml. away. The nearest mainland Chile coast is now 623 n.ml. away to NE, on the Peninsula de Taitao, by the Gulf of Penas, and the nearest big islands along the channels of the SW Chile coast are Isla Mornington, to N of Golfo Trinidad, and Isla Madre de Dios, to S of the same gulf, both 558 n.ml. away to E.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida
----- End of Original Message -----
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 69 towards Cape Horn - overcast & grey, increased wind overnight .... We rea

I'd like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2013! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Saturday 29th December 2012

Fog all but disappeared with strong wind overnight and into this morning, but it's still overcast and murky, with sun only managing to struggle out for a very short time mid-morning and then again mid-afternoon, when some scraps of blue sky could briefly be seen to the S and SE.... Wind has been around 24-26kt, gusting 30kt, died down before midday to under 20kt and then piped up againto 26kt, gusting higher, by 4pm, by which time it had backed to WSW. We've still good-sized following seas, easily 4m or more, which make for a 'lively' sail, especially in the stronger wind of tonight - it's back gusting up to just over 30kt...!

Gas alarm went off twice in quick succession - and had me emptying out the locker below the cooker to check on the area near the sensor and clean around there (luckily when conditions were lighter). I'm turning off the manual gas tap in between cooking, as well as the solenoid, just in case...

The Vendee Globe race leaders are now within 600ml, to WSWof us - getting very close.... I was surprised to see how far N they are - not so far from 'Nereida'!!

Reached 50S soon after 6:30pm - getting very chilly with sea temperature down to 11C and cabin not much higher. Could be making use of my diesel cabin heater again very soon!

Spent time again, watching the seas come and pass under - awe-inspiring to see these massive waves approach, so often with quite steep crests, and always something of a relief to find us lifting up gently over them, with just the occasional one catching us and throwing us on our beam ends or sending water over everything...!

Almost no birds seen over the last few days... just a solitary one, possibly a Juan Fernandez Petrel, with distinctive very white underwing with dark edges and tip. Said to breed on Alejandro Selkirk Island, well off the Chile coast (not far from Robinson Crusoe Island...).

Menu for tonight is a cheese and onion omelette - I'm still trying to remember to turn the eggs daily - up to now, not a single bad one! Whereas the mandarins and apples are not faring so well - had to throw quite a few out the other day. I think oranges would have made a better choice and the apples need to be a variety known for keeping well - these clearly are not and have been 'floury' in texture since quite early on... but still good to have something 'fresh'!

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 148 n.ml. Cape Horn was 973 n.ml. away but my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 1005 n.ml. away. The nearest mainland Chile coast is now 695 n.ml. away to ENE, on the Peninsula de Taitao, by the Gulf of Penas, and the nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Mornington, on Golfo Trinidad: 650 n.ml. away to E.
.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 68 towards Cape Horn - overcast, grey, but good wind still ....

I'd like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2013! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Friday 28th December 2012

Weather very much like yesterday - damp & grey, foggy a lot of the day - not thick fog, but giving very poor visibility. We've still a good following wind and good-sized following seas - giving, as yesterday, quite frequent, but mainly fairly gentle, surfing and plenty of rolling around at times!

Reading continues, in between times. I'm not used to having so much time available for that! Reading of events in Simon's Town and False Bay - familiar places that I left from in 'Nereida' early in February of this year to head forTasmania!

Weather is still looking good for next few days but, as I suspected would happen, as I get closer to rounding the Cape, the long-term grib files I sent off for are showing that winds are expected to become gale or near-gale force there - from 4th January onward for several days. That might be fine for the Vendee Globe sailors (whose leading pack must be passing about 500 miles S of me about now, I reckon!) but not so welcome to me! I'll probably need to deploy my series drogue if conditions look to be getting too strong....... but that's still a week away...

I sent off my position report today to the Vendee Globe Race Organisers, as they'd asked me to, for passing on, now that the racers are so close:

TIME: 2012/12/29 01:17
LAT: 48-33.64S LONG: 095-04.96W
COURSE: 130T SPEED: 7.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: NW
SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 4m SWELL_PER: 9s
CLOUDS: 100% VISIBILITY: 0.5 ml
BARO: 1011 hPa TREND: -3 hPa (in last 3hrs)
SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Cape Horn 1104ml (WP:1138ml) Foggy

8.30pm Still some light in the overcast sky, with the fog persisting. I'd been sitting out for quite a time, watching the swell approach from astern - big, well-spaced out, often quite steep - but we simply lifted up and accelerated a bit as it passed under... We'd been making well over 7 kt - over 8kt when surfing - and I decided to reduce sail even further with nightfall imminent and the possibility of increasing wind (pressure has dropped a lot over today). Genoa was reduced and then stays'l furled in - to my surprise, having thought it was not really doing much, that made a clear difference to our speed. So now we're making a comfortable 6 kt, which feels less stressful!

The Iridium satphone problem - I tried opening the handset to look inside but the 'electronic screwdriver set' I have doesn't have anything suitable so, after struggling a bit, I've had to give up. I'm debating whether to drill out the tiny screws.... I checked all connections and they seem fine and I can hear a slight noise from the handset, so it is clearly still getting power ... although 6-10 seconds after being removed from its holder, the power cuts out, which it doesn't normally..... frustrating not being able to do anything about it....

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 129 n.ml. Cape Horn was 1120 n.ml. away but my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 1153 n.ml. away. The nearest mainland Chile coast is now 802 n.ml. away to ENE, on the Peninsula de Taitao, by the Gulf of Penas, and the nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Mornington, on Golfo Trinidad: 778 n.ml. away to E.
.................................................................................

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

Day 67 towards Cape Horn - still some fog, overcast, better wind ....

I'd like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2013 ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Thursday 27th December 2012

Weather very much like yesterday - damp, grey, often foggy (or nearly so!) but with a good following wind and good-sized following seas - giving quite frequent, but gentle, surfing and plenty of rolling around.

A solitary bird spotted at a distance on one of the rare occasions I popped my head up to check all was well and to note swell size, direction and period for my daily weather report to Winlnk/Yotreps and a later one to Pacific Seafarers' Net.. Both get posted to Shiptrak, as well. If you go to www.shiptrak.com/kc2iov, I think you'll see my track on Google Earth. Takes a time to load because of the many positions it has to show - especially if you choose the 'all' tab option, which goes back to 2004!!!

Continued with my reading, in between clearing up in galley and later making a ham pasta carbonara - enough for tomorrow as well! The book ('Mauritius Command') talks about sea areas I know, and passages I've made, so is even more relevant and interesting .

Weather looks good for next few days, although wind might increase a bit more (to Force 6, maybe) over Fri/Sat as a Low passes S, before becoming a gentler Force 4-5 again as we 're overtaken by High pressure afterward.... Around the Cape, weather has been remarkably gentle - I cann't believe that will continue for much longer!

Although it gets unreliable after 3-5 days, I've just sent off for a longer-term grib forecast for the approach to Cape Horn, just out of interest...

Tested out my satphone this evening - won't take incoming calls (caller gets put straight through to a voicemail box) and I tried to make an outgoing call - but nothing happened... Handset is getting power but not functioning. Must definitely take a look inside it tomorrow, in case something obvious has happened...

Moved into another time zone tonight: GMT - 6 hr (=CST in N. America) , having crossed 97.5W

24hr DMG at 4pm (2300GMT): 117 n.ml. Cape Horn was 1249 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1283 n.ml. away) & our nearest land is now the Chile coast: 905 n.ml. away to E, on the Peninsula de Taitao, by the Gulf of Penas. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia, was 1122 n.ml. away to the E and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) was 3574 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida
----- End of Original Message -----
----- End of Original Message -----

Days 65/66 towards Cape Horn - foggy, some drizzle, overcast, very little wind .

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013!! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

m_IMG_2593

Tuesday/Wednesday 25th/26th December 2012 - Christmas and Boxing Days

Hope you all had a great Christmas - as I did!

What a difference a day makes!! After the total sunshine and clear sky of Christmas Eve .... by dawn on Christmas Day there was fog all around. Not very thick and the sun did try hard to get through in the morning - unsuccessfully! Even later in the day, when the fog lifted, the sky was overcast - and stayed so, all through Boxing Day as well.

Not that it spoiled my day in the slightest! I played my Christmas music in between other music, sang along often, exchanged Christmas greetings over the radio and by email, had a phonecall (at 1 am!) from my family and had a lovely peaceful day, with plenty of 'goodies' to enjoy.

Would have been nice to have been making more than 1-2 knots of boat speed in 2-4 kt of N wind, but we did manage to stay on course in the calm conditions and I was able totally to relax and enjoy my Christmas - even had a present later in the day, towards dusk, when a Wandering (or Royal?) albatross - the giant kind! - passed by without pausing, headed SE as we were... always a lovely sight. Just a bit too far away in the poor light to identify which kind exactly but a good enough view to be unmistakeable ...!

Overnight, it began to drizzle and it felt much cooler with the damp air, but it had stopped by mid-morning on Boxing Day. With the wind having increased by morning to all of 6kts, occasionally 8-10kt, we were able to continue making our course towards Cape Horn at just over 4kt, goosewinged, in not much swell still.... but later, the wind was back down to 6kt, so we ended the day only making around 3 knots - so slow...!!

I'm concerned about my satphone - the Iridium handset display has gone blank since sometime after a phonecall I received early on Christmas Day - it seems rather dead, although clearly getting power still (I can hear a faint noise when I hold the handset close to my ear) - not good news.... And I heard that another, later, call to me was unsuccessful. My laptop didn't like being connected to it when I tried testing it by making a data transfer yesterday (which didn't work - got a 'blue screen'!) so I'm really dependent now on my radio connection for emails, without the satellite phone as a back up.. ...

Even more relaxed on Boxing Day - enjoyed a good read while listening to some favourite music, with an occasional hot drink, while snuggled up in my cosy bunk!! Conditions are so easy at present, that I've finally got to reading a book - working my way through Patrick O'Brien's Capt Aubrey/Maturin set of novels.... Now on to book number four in the series, a book I'd started soon after leaving in October,... but have just had to re-read the beginning again - no problem, they're so well-written and 'of the era'! Every now and then, I get up on deck to check on things.. Mid-afternoon... had to gybe the main, with wind from starboard quarter. Might have to gybe it back again - wind has just veered to NW....

Gave myself a haircut - it was getting very long and that gives less to wash and brush!

24hr DMG at 4pm (2300GMT): Tuesday 25th: 60 n.ml.!! Wednesday 26th: 70 n.ml.
On Wed, Cape Horn was 1365 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1399 n.ml. away) & our nearest land is now the Chile coast (1003 n.ml. away to E, on the Peninsula de Taitao, on the Gulf of Penas), since Easter Island was 1196 n.ml. away to NNW and Alejandro Selkirk Island (95ml W of Robinson Crusoe Island!!) was 1124 ml to the NE. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) was 1193 n.ml. away to the E and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) was 3475 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

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

Day 64 towards Cape Horn - a beautiful, sunny Christmas Eve!! -

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! - from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Monday 24th December 2012 - Christmas Eve

1:30pm What a gorgeous day - I can't find a single cloud in the sky...! Really feels like a holiday.... We're rolling gently in a following sea from WNW at around 3m and I'm singing along - thanks a lot, Tony, for the 'Christmas' DVD and CD - both played fine so I've combined the music on my laptop as one playlist! I'm alternating it with my iPod music... we're in a party mood, just now!

I can't believe this weather - wind strength of 8kt is the only downside at present - we're sailing very slowly, almost dead downwind - but I'm able to be totally relaxed and really enjoying the day! (So far, I've not found any boat jobs needing to be done!) Sun is bright, air is cool (I just added another layer...) but it feels warm under the awning and the sea is sparkling... Wonderful!

Just cleared up in the galley and now trying to decide on my menu for today and tomorrow - spoilt for choice!!

4:30pm Still a lovely, bright sunny day... wind only 7kt...Tried to post position report - will need to do that later - radio propagation not good enough at moment.. should befine a bit later. Lovely to be able to exchange Christmas greetings with so many friends by email!

Went to let out reef in light conditions - ended up putting not only many more cable ties around mast to keep mast track insert in place, but a triple lashing of some spectra line as well. Will only be able safely to use 2nd and 3rd reefs, I think... That will slow me down in lighter conditions, like now, although probably not a problem in nomal strong Southern Ocean conditions.... Nuisance!!

7.30pm - sunset... Listening to my Christmas music, with a mug of tea and some cake, I watched the red ball sink slowly into the sea, hidden by the big swell every few seconds... A lovely end to a lovely day... My meal is getting hot (no cooking needed tonight!) - a beef hotpot wih a mushroom Stroganoff to perk it up... I'm raising my glass tonight to some past friends, Suzanne, Ed, Rica.... and Liz just last week.... all lovely, kind people, taken early and sadly no longer here to see in this Christmas... "Life is precious .. live it to the full..." - as they did.

9pm Was about to post this - when caught Trish, ZL2RK, calling me on HF radio from New Zealand, after the end of the Pacific Seafarers' Net - we had a lovely chat, with Gary, ZL2GLM, and Fred (in Florida), W3ZU, joining in for relays - I could hear her well but she had very poor copy on me (and lots of noise) - but it was lovely to chat and exchange Christmas greetings - they're in to Boxing Day tomorrow in NZ - Christmas was today for them!

24hr DMG at 4pm (2300GMT): 107 n.ml.- slowed down - will be even less tomorrow! Cape Horn was 1494 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1529 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 1079 n.ml. away to NNW. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) is 1275 n.ml. away, due E, and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3485 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

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

Day 63 towards Cape Horn - Underway again, after hove-to

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! - from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Sunday 23rd December 2012

Woke up at 6.15 am - wind right down at 2 kts and swell right down also.. great! Time to get straight out on deck to sort out wind generator ... too precious to have major problem with that, if avoidable.... Needed to fix the plastic ring around the lower end of the wind generator housing, holding it steady on the pole, which has come loose and dropped right down, with a thick black smear of oil everywhere... (A recurring problem I thought I'd sorted out before leaving.) Good to have the 'ladder' on the stern arch structure to climb up and lean against - with nearby solar panel giving support also in the occasional big swell that came along to rock the boat! Makes a good work platform when up there.

Cleaned the pole up as best I could and went to screw the fitting back up in place - but clearly the thread has worn - it kept falling down again... grrr!!! Held it in place, screwed in, but not very well, and wrapped LOTS of amalgamating (pressure) tape around, trying to hold the lower ring in place by 'bandaging it' up onto the part above... Since the previous similar 'fix' had, surprisingly, come apart at the join, despite being well-screwed in place, I then went for the 'Gorilla tape' that's been sitting in a locker for several years unused - now's the time to see if it lives up to its name!! I wrapped LOTS around the entire joint, covering the other tape in lots of layers... I hope it lasts for some time... The windgen puts in so much power in the strong winds down here, it would be bad news if I lost the use of it completely....

I also had to deal with the string on its 'tail' - to grab hold of if I want to stop the vane rotating in really strong winds... It had been left flying loose and has twice now got tangled with the blades and ended up mangled and caught - so now I've tied it in a big loose loop around the pole- "another good job done!" - I hope. And, finally, I'd noticed late last night that the TV aerial (never used it yet!!) was dangling.... Went up that 'ladder' and found lots of spare coax coiled up there - so simply cut it away with lots of spare cable both sides and wrapped tape around cut cable end for protection... Stowed the aerial down below ... possibly, when back in relaxed 'cruising mode' one day, I'll want to use it ...!

By 9:15am, I finally got to my breakfast and some fresh coffee I'd made in the calm conditions...!

10:20am - I'm seeing a fairly consistent north wind now, increased to 6- 8 kt and we're drifting S. Time to get sailing (gently) SE again, towards the Horn ... Expecting strong NNW wind soon, as another Front comes by...

12:45pm Ambling along, making our course, at just over 3 knots, in 6-8kt of wind from NNW - not breaking any speed records just now!! Sun not quite managing to get out from behind thin 100% cloud layer. Swell well down, at ~2m or so from S. Early today, saw an albatross soaring in the far distance - but none since. They prefer windier conditions to make life easy for them, getting uplift off the waves, and often disappear when it's calm!!

9pm: Just finished with Pacific Seafarers Net - all exchanging Christmas greetings - in Aus and NZ, it's tomorrow! Was telling them about my mast track problem - the plastic insert is coming adrift at the foot. I'd spotted from the cockpit late today that the pin holding the cover to the 'gate' for releasing the mast track slides was sticking out a lot - sure enough, on closer inspection, the pin needed banging back into place - but wouldn't go all the way because it's not sitting properly in its hole due to the track insert being distorted and coming away from the mast track. The two lowest tabs that hold the insert in place are vertical, not horizontal across the gap, as they should be. I've placed three lots of big, thick, (black) cable ties around the mast and the track, hoping that will help hold it in place and stop it moving any more - fingers crossed! I might need to keep the sail reefed to help matters...

A bright moon tonight - sky not clear but with just thin, broken cloud cover just now.... Wind slowly increasing....

24hr DMG at 3pm: 36 n.ml. - hove-to overnight, drifting in a big circle at ~1kt! (I seem to have missed entering these figures yesterday) Cape Horn was 1600 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1635 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 980 n.ml. away to NNW. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) is 1350 n.ml. away, due E, and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3447 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

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

Day 62 towards Cape Horn - A pair of albatross close by in bright sunshine this

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! - from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Saturday 22nd December 2012

A pair of Buller's Southern albatross swooping and circling the boat from early morning onward - lovely to see them .... but so difficult to get decent photos!! (I'll try to post one) I forgot I was supposed to be adjusting Fred with the slowly backing wind and just watched them in the bright sunshine for ages.. one flying close to the water, wing tips dipping and feet dabbling in it on the one occasion. Very distinctive with dark upper wings, white bodies, white underwings edged and tipped with black, grey faces, white forehead and unmissable bright yellow lines down their large bills. No sign of the prions today.

The squally, grey, cloudy conditions had gone by dawn, to give a bright, sunny day with just a few small white clouds at midday, but later clouds built up again, becoming very grey by sunset.. We were close-hauled and the backing wind slowly forced us to head further & further East, off our preferred course directly to Cape Horn, as pressure built. Eventually, around sunset I decided to heave to, with the wind from SSE-SE, rather than be forced to sail NE (or SW if I tacked) !

That also gave me the chance to sort out the lower life-line connection that had gone missing (luckily I had an alternative I could use there since I didn't have a spare bottle screw) and I also fixed the lower end of the emergency inner forestay in place - with strong cable ties!! .....All in the dark (TG for headlamps!) since night had fallen rapidly by 8.30pm local time and I had to check in to the Pacific Seafarers Net at that time. Another job I'm not sure I can sort out easily is to fix the ring around the lower end of the wind generator which has come loose and has dropped - a recurring problem I thought I'd sorted out before leaving. If we're still in SE winds tomorrow morning, I might get the chance to try to sort that out - I need daylight for that.

9am (PST - Pacific time in N.America) became 10am (MST- Mountain time = GMT-7hr) - we've moved into another time zone! Actually, last Tuesday, in fact, as we crossed the line of 112.5W longitude - and I didn't pay it any attention although I've been noticing that dawn was getting very early! But you'd expect that from heading further south around local mid-summer, with the increasingly longer days.

Next clock change will be on crossing 97.5W when we'll be in GMT-6hr (CST, Central time in N. America) and the next, at 82.5W, which brings us to GMT-5hr which should be Chile time (= EST, Eastern time, in N.America) - except that Chile time now is actually GMT-4hr, so maybe they keep Daylight Saving in their summer ...? All designed to confuse!! Cape Horn, in Chile, is at 067W and is just inside the zone GMT-4hr, which is presently Chile clock time anyway. (Argentina, N of Cape Horn, keeps to GMT-3hr .....)

24hr DMG at 3pm: 1 n.ml. - excellent! Cape Horn was 1 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now n.ml. away to N. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) is 1 n.ml. away, due E, and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 61 towards Cape Horn - Gentler early today, but squally later...

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! - from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Friday 21st December 2012

3pm: A far gentler day so far - wind mainly SW-SSW, mostly under 20kt, but gusty under clouds. Seas around 4m and only occasionally knocking us about. Every time I think to let out some genoa, the wind picks up a bit - so I leave it - we're making 5-6kt, which is fine... I never forget one of my first sailing lessons in the Solent: "If you're thinking of reefing - do it! If you're thinking of letting out a reef - go make a cup of tea...! " Now there's an idea... tea and Christmas cake!

After a bright start around dawn, a band of cloud, with some drizzle, came over late morning - but then the sky has cleared every so often to give reasonable sunshine. I dug out my inner clothing layers and have started being dressed for the cold to come...!! Layers will be added as needed - I seem to recollect last time this way having three thick fleeces on top of the lower layers when it got really cold... and then getting into my sleeping bag, with a thick duvet on top, to keep warm!!! I'm looking forward to having my diesel heater working this time around, even if only now and then - had no heating last time...brrr!

I'm waiting for seas to calm down a bit more before fixing the the lower aft port lifeline connection on the steel of the arch. The emergency inner forestay has also come loose at its lower end (as it always seems to do, whatever is done to fix it!) so needs dealing with. Neither is an immediate worry so can wait a short while. According to weather forcasts, we should be getting into High pressure with light winds - a ridge - by tomorrow evening, so that should give me the chance to get those jobs done safely. Until then, present winds are set to continue.

My comment about the Vendée Globe racers possibly being nearby as I round the Horn has received a few comments about sailing "in company"!! But I doubt very much that I'll see any of the VG racers - if I were to, they'd be past me in a flash!! But since they also transmit on AIS, I'll know if they're near me - so there's a remote chance I can get up on deck in time to see them - and maybe take a photograph? That would be great, but highly unlikely since they'd be wanting to stay well clear of me!!

8pm: Well, it became increasingly squally later this afternoon and into evening - one moment we were sailing along nicely and all was calm, and the next, a cloud got close, the wind picked up, we heeled... then, as Slocum would say, "She picked up her skirts and ran" ... speed has been consistently around 7.5kt! With each squall, the wind backed and then later veered - so, all in all, we ended up on course still! It became rather more a matter of holding on all the time as the seas got rougher with the increased wind .... and the decks were forever getting a thorough dousing.

A bright moon just sailed out from behind a cloud and is shining like a torch on the heaving sea surface astern...

I was delighted to receive an email from Graham Tourell (Mike Golding's Boat Captain) who had very kindly contacted the Vendée Globe Race organisers on my behalf. They've asked me to inform them directly of my position so they can forward it daily to whichever boat is closest to me when I get nearer to Cape Horn - that's great news and a real relief for me to know that they're now well aware of my existence out here!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 144 n.ml. - excellent! Cape Horn was 1772 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1806 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 847 n.ml. away to N. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) is 1500 n.ml. away, due E, and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3360 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

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

Day 60 towards Cape Horn - Fast sailing in strong wind, being tossed around in b

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR - from Jeanne on "Nereida"!!

Thursday 20th December 2012

A lovely sky at dawn with just a few rosy clouds.... Wind had veered more to the W and was likely to veer more so decided to switch to AP so I could get some more sleep undisturbed by course changes. Seas were up to around 4m and on our beam. Good speed. A few hours later, we were making 7-8 kt and swell had built more, so we were really getting thrown around .. furled in some genoa to reduce heeling ... and, later, some more!

Suddenly spotted a black-browed albatross flying around us! (A lot of them breed around Cape Horn, on the islands close by there.) Also there were 4-5 of the birds seen yesterday ... prions, I think...

The birds always enjoy the strong conditions - and it has certainly been rough all day today, with the impressively big seas on our beam regularly throwing us over in wind which was consistently up at 27-30kt by this afternoon.... from the WSW of early this morning, backing to SW , and eventualy, after dark, dying down to 20kt from SSW. Fred has coped well with the rough conditions and I've only used the AP when the wind seemed to be varying a lot.

After clouding over late morning, the sky cleared again to give bright sunshine for the rest of the day - but the air feels cold and damp now. Sea temperature has dropped a lot over the last few days - from 25C on Sunday to 19C overnight Tues/Wed to just 16C today. It feels cold inside the boat - fleeces are definitely needed now and bare feet are a distant memory!

I was surprised this afternoon to see the lower aft port lifeline dangling in the water - the bottlescrew, for some reason, had come undone and gone missing.... When it's calmer, I'll have to make do with a shackle and another fitting - I don't have a spare bottlescrew, unfortunately.... I wonder if the wind generator vibrations caused that - it's certainly vibrating a lot at times and the connection is right below it on the steel of the arch.

This evening, as yesterday, I enjoyed a lot of Christmas post. It's been really good to have the radio email contact on board!! (Thanks, Tom!) Thanks to everyone that has sent me messages - they've been lovely to receive and I'll re-read them all on Christmas Day! Also in with the post was an email from Chile MRCC - requesting position, course and other details... They're definitely keeping tabs on me!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 146 n.ml. - a good day's run! Cape Horn was 1916 n.ml. away (but my waypoint S of C. Horn was 1949 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 734 n.ml. away to N. Punta Galera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 1618 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3304 n.ml to the W.

.................................................................................

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

Day 59 towards Cape Horn - Pleasant sailing in sunshine, after Front passes over

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR - from Jeanne on "Nereida"!!

Wednesday 19th December 2012

Last night we made excellent speed in increased wind as the Front got closer. The wind backed slowly from N - NNW - NW, at which point, already almost dead downwind and with pressure well down, I decided to gybe, to pre-empt the windshift on the passing of the Front. Not wanting to be caught out, as happened badly once before (57kt, main backed, stanchions bent by preventer, big seas from two directions.... in dark, around midnight, of course!), I'm always very cautious when I know a Front is approaching.. They can be quite vicious down this way, with the wind, often very strong, normally backing in no time from NW to SW !! Seeing as our heading is normally East, once in the Southern Ocean, the dead certainty of a gybe is clear to see!

With the increased wind, the seas got up as well, to 4m or more, and became following, so we often surfed a little ... normally to just over 8kt (from the 6-7 knots we were making then). I saw 10kt once, with a slightly bigger wave, but since the seas were nowhere near breaking, I felt there was no real problem... I stood out in the companionway for a time, to watch our behaviour and reassure myself that all was fine in the stronger conditions before getting to my bunk to sleep, having switched to AP.... Sky was clear and beautifully starry for a short time, before clouding over again !

Got up a few hours later, just before dawn to check on deck and also to try to make contact with the Patagonia Cruisers Net at 1200GMT (4am PST - local time!). Sure enough, wind was now from SW - the Front was passing over - although the sky was still cloudy, with slight drizzle, and the wind was still up. I unfurled the stays'l, put Fred back in charge and got us headed correctly and sails trimmed properly. Heard voices on 8164 kHz, but couldn't make contact with Wolfgang ... another day, when we're a bit closer, maybe!

3 hrs later, wind was from WSW & had dropped - so full genoa, from a tiny bit! Sun finally got out - and it's been a lovely sunny, increasingly-warm day since... I was actually forced to take off my fleece top this afternoon, it got so warm ! Friends in New Zealand's North Island harbours have been commenting I'm at their latitude now - and they were enjoying some nice summer weather.

While adjusting the mains'l, I found the boom preventer line really difficult to move - on looking closer, I found the block it was lead through from the clutch was broken - had to replace it... Fortunately, had a spare block there, already in place, so didn't take long.

Finally, .... there's life out here !! Has been a long time since I last saw any birds, but today and yesterday, there has been a pair - of shearwaters, possibly. Haven't been able as yet to get a really good view, but must check them out in my birdbook...

Spent some time amusing myself composing a photograph for my website 'Christmas card' (either shown above here - or will be tomorrow!). The tiny 'tree' was a present from friends when unexpectedly in Cape Town over Christmas '09 and the 'stocking' was among presents, with Christmas at sea in mind, from when in Guernsey, just as I was leaving for the Canaries to prepare for my first nonstop RTW attempt in '09. The tiny panda has been my constant companion at the chart table since Cape Town at that time, also!

Sun going down fast now (6.25pm PST). We're sailing well at 6.5-7.2 kt SOG with Fred in charge ....Going quickly to cook myself a nice cheese and onion omelette to enjoy before the Pacific Seafarers Net roll call at 0330GMT/7.30pm ...

24hr DMG at 3pm: 128 n.ml.! (That's more like it!) Cape Horn was 2060 n.ml. away (but my waypoint S of C. Horn was 2095n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 618 n.ml. away to N. Punta Galera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 1730 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3274 n.ml to the WSW.
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For positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida