S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 58 towards Cape Horn - Pleasant increasingly downwind sailing over the day..

Tuesday 18th December 2012

Midday: Wind slowly backing - from N now so on a broad reach and feeling calmer, although seas still a good 3m - but also from N. Slight drizzle at times - typical pre-frontal weather!

Have been busy writing & sending my 'Christmas cards'...! Just realised it's just a week away - nice to be out here away from the frantic shopping madness and crowds, but I'll miss relaxing with family and friends... Emails and satphone will have to be a second best until next year!

Impossible to make contact on MMSNet on 14300kHz mid-afternoon - lots of static on frequency and only a faint hint of someone out there. Propagation seems to be a lot better after sunset - yesterday had great copy on Bill, KI4MMZ, around 0340Z, but he did, in fact, come up just now - to say that the iceberg near Cape Horn had broken into three pieces and was now surrounded by lots of 'growlers' and 'bergy bits ' over a 20km radius - a message I'd also just received this morning from the Chilean Navy directly! That's good news if the small pieces melt by the time I (and the Vendee Globe racers!) get near - wouldn't be good news for them to hit even one of the small pieces at speed and even at my 5-6 knots, a collision could wreak nasty damage...

Nightfall is around 7.30pm, as Pacific Seafarers Net is putting out calls for any emergency traffic, prior to rollcall getting underway - not many vessels on rollcall now (presently just 'Nereida'!), since most boats in S. hemisphere are safely tucked away in harbour over cyclone season in west & mid Pacific and Indian Ocean and it's winter in N. hemisphere, of course, so very few boats on passage of any length.

Rolling slightly, as we sail in following seas, all feeling very gentle.... Stays'l is furled in now and wind has increased a little. The Front will possibly not pass over until around dawn and it might give a fairly gradual windshift from NNW to SW, with a gybe needed to maintain our course of 140T.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 140 n.ml.! (That's more like it!) Cape Horn was 2188 n.ml. away (but my waypoint S of C. Horn was 2222n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 538 n.ml. away to NNE. Punta Galera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 1840 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3237 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

Day 57 towards Cape Horn - Sailing well in fairly easy conditions

Monday 17th December 2012

A fairly relaxing day, after yesterday's efforts!

I decided, when about to cook my meal later in the day, in quite rough seas, that I really should do what I'd always planned to do. Namely, change over to the large propane tank from a smaller one - the idea being not to run out of cooking gas and so needing to change over tanks while in the possibly roughest part of the voyage - through the Drake Passage to get around Cape Horn and on NE into the S. Atlantic towards S. Africa.

We were being tossed around in the seas somewhat so I donned my foulies and harness - it was good to be strapped on upwind to the steel arch while I struggled a bit on the after deck with the gas locker connections and then connected up to the large tank on deck, noting that it needed more lashing in place. But then I could not undo the tap...grrr!! I was amused at the thought of all that gas waiting to be used - and I couldn't undo the tap? Come on!! Went down to find some grips and managed to release it.... Relieved, on testing at the cooker, to find propane gas was flowing happily so I could cook my meal!

While close to the life raft, I noticed the supports seemed to be rather loose - so next job was to get two spanners (wrenches!) and tighten the nuts on the supporting bolts - quite a lot!

The sun was struggling to get out all day from behind a light cloud layer, but although it got reasonably warm over the middle of the day, it never quite made it. Seas have been a good 3m or so and fairly close - so tossed us about and heeled us over regularly... but in NE wind of around 10-12 kt, the sailing, fairly close-hauled, was quite pleasant and we certainly made good speed: 6-7 kt, once we fell off a bit.

The wind is very slowly backing as a Front gets closer - expected in the next day or so. But just now we're skirting the High pressure area and the Lows are being kept away.. (There's a nasty deep one to the ESE just now, off the S. American coast.)

Fred has been doing a good job all day long, with adjustments from time to time, as the wind has backed from E to NE. It's good to be saving on battery power and far more peaceful under wind steering than using the autopilot.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 114 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2328 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 483 n.ml. away (on 033T) . Punta Galera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 1965 n.ml. to the ESE with Chile's nearest mainland coast 1905 n.ml. away on the Peninsula de Taitao (Golfo dePenas), and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3195 n.ml to the WSW (getting further away now)
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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

Day 56 towards Cape Horn - Hove to around dawn - genoa dealt with, then wind st

Sunday 16th December 2012

Overnight, tried to get sailing but ended up heading ENE at 2-3kt in light SSEwinds.

6.30am Hove to on port tack at dawn, after gybing around, so that in the SE wind of 9kt, we were drifting SW, rather than NE! Set to, while hove-to in mercifully light conditions, to try to sort out genoa problems - both the 'wrap' and too little furling line on the drum. Took both sheets up to bow, having released furling line, and finally, with a lot of rotating of furler, to try to release wrongly furled portion of sail, and ravelling & unravelling and tying up of sheets, got the sail free and furled it up properly. Then I tied the sheets onto the furled sail so I could turn the furler several turns to put spare line on the drum and finally untied the sheets and lead them back to cockpit again... All OK now.....Phew!!

Still have problem with the windsteering to look at this morning - light winds are set to continue for a bit, with much-reduced seas, so I'll be able to see if there's anything I can achieve there, for the third time of trying - I have grave doubts, but we'll see. Presently, the rudder is stuck over to starboard and the 'tiller arm ' is swinging freely and I can't fix it in its usual centre position with a pin because the hole in it is not in its correct place due to the rudder misalignment.... and the nuts at each end of a bolt that clamps the rudder in place have been refusing to budge...

11.40am ALL FIXED!!! Unbelievably..... Tools are about to be stowed away but I'm celebrating success on both counts - especially the wind steering which I'd expected not to manage... but, with over three hours of effort, sitting out on the stern, vice grips and perseverance eventually won the day!!! (TG for my nice Dubarry seaboots - seas washed several times over them!) Festivities have started early on board 'Nereida'!!

We were finally able to sail away, under wind steering, from our hove-to position towards Cape Horn once more.... (ETA early in the New Year )

We're definitely into cooler conditions now - gone are the bare feet, as of today, and I've got my fleece layers out ready...! Cabin temperature is 23C and sea temperature is now down to 24C from 30C last Sunday.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 13 n.ml.! (We'd circled around since yesterday!) Cape Horn was 2442 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 460 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 873 n.ml. to the WNW . Punta Galera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2066 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3168 n.ml to the WSW.
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For positions, see:
www.svnereida.com
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Day 55 towards Cape Horn - Hove to ... strong winds and seas make deck jobs dif

Saturday 15th December 2012

It suddenly occurred to me this morning, after a good sleep, hove-to in quite big seas , that I just needed to rotate the genoa furler a few turns to wind some extra line on the drum, deal with the sheets and that should be the end of the genoa problem... In theory, that proved to be right - problem was that instead of rhe weather easing in the afternoon, when I hoped to deal with the problem in lighter winds, it got far worse - gusting to 30kt, mainly around26kt, and big steep seas - 4-6m ... The fold of unfurled sail got larger - and started flogging badly in the strong wind ... what a horrible noise ... especially thinking of the damage to the sail - would it survive intact??

Eventually, after dark, the wind started easing, although it was still raining, and I put on my foulies and headlamp to get on deck as soon as the wind died sufficiently - I had to do something although the seas were still large.... I took some line, tied the sheets to the lower part of the furled sail and rotated the drum six times clockwise to put line on the drum... In doing that, when I looked up at the sail, I realised I was now able to release the sheets - I'd turned them the exact opposite of the turns from yesterday.... That seemed a good thing and I was happy to see the area that had been flogging had gone and although there was a smaller section of loose sail higher up, it wasn't flogging. Later, I thought, when the wind was really light, I could unfurl the sail almost completely and sort it out...

But later on, when I went to do that, with the wind much lighter & now backed to SSW from WNW, I found, after a bit of struggling with inexplicably resistant lines, that the genoa had wrapped itself around, just above the clew, well out of reach... Presumably the result of my turning the drum in wind which was not yet light..... This had to be left for daylight - and even lighter winds, hopefully... I unfurled the stays'l snd tried to make the best course possible, given the wind direction...! We were very slow - I realised the windsteering rudder, being stuck right over to starboard, was causing a lot of drag... and probably trying to turn us to stb'd.... The other problem I'd not got to today due to the big seas... I must do something to resolve that one too.

Tonight, we're sailing slowly ENE in a SSE wind... hoping that tomorrow, as we head into a small high pressure area, that we'll get the chance to deal with the problems in lighter conditions .... ...

Day 54 towards Cape Horn - Hove to in big swell - problems to see to in the mor

Friday 14th December 2012

Midnight- and a sudden change in the wind, with a heavy shower , backed the main - we had togybe and change tack onto starboard which we've been on until now. Bright and sunny this morning, with slight cloud cover building up over the day, to become grey rainclouds by evening - a change in the weather is expected... We've been rolling around in a big swell - but making good speed SE on almost a dead run downwind.

Had a problem with the windsteering this morning - tackled it with the hammer to knock the rudder into its correct position - not sure how long that will last... In the meantime, with the swell knocking us around frequently, used the autopilot until this evening, around sunset - when we hove to..

I'd raised the little stays'l pole, thinking to check that out and get it ready for stronger conditions coming up... Took a time to organise- but that was partly the point of doing it now since it really wasn't needed yet. Decided to furl the genoa and unfurl the stays'l on its pole for overnight with sunset close ... but found the genoa wouldn't furl in all the way - not enough furling line on the drum.... damn!! Was OK not so long ago... Why? Crossed my mind that we'd had a 'genoa wrap' a while back and I'd had problem with disentangling the two sheets when sorting that out ...maybe the reason?? Lowered and stowed the genoa pole - at least that was beautifully easy and quick, with the new system organised just before I left.

I undid the two genoa sheets and took them one at a time up to the bow and wound them several times around the slightly flapping genoa... Tried to wrap the sail around more neatly- but I needed a few more feet of height...! Stood up on the wooden step and the pulpit to gain height but still couldn't achieve much, but sail was slightly better and flapping less.... Need to bring the furling line to the drum and wind it around several times before unfurling the sail... Tomorrow... Decided I'd better heave to ... Bad weather is on its way and if we continued on our SE course, it would be worse than staying put here.

Came up into the wind and heaved to under mains'l alone, having furled in the stays'l - at least that furler was OK! I took the opportunity to tie in the second reef while it was easy - winds are expected to increase soon... Tonight, the NNW wind has already got up to over 20kt, from the 10-15kt earlier.

As I looked around, after heaving to, I noticed the windsteering pin, holding the rudder still, had come loose and the rudder was moving around in the swell... I went to re-insert the pin - it wouldn't go... The rudder had shifted on its shaft and rotated a lot... I tied it off with its safety line, to stop it banging on the stern - another problem - but more major than the furler - That problem is relatively simple to fix, although needing time lying in the bow to do it... The windsteering rudder problem is likely to be not so amenable to being sorted out at sea - with just one pair of hands available...

Had a totally unexpected, but very nice, email from the Chile Navy this evening - thanking me for my daily weather reports, saying they were keeping an eye on my position (and me!) & pointing out their weather services available - and offering help if I should want it(!!) No idea how they know of my existence, although it seems my weather report must get forwarded to the relevant area weather services - and Chile is in charge of Met Area XV - where we are now.

This afternoon, I extended the wind transducer arm by adding another, longer piece of wood to it. It seemed to me to have been consistently badly under-reading the wind speed and I felt it needed to be put further away from the wind shadow of the stern arch. Wind direction looked to be displayed correctly and the wind speed now looks better, too.

Wind is gusting up to 24kt now.. Time to post this and get to sleep ... We'll see how the weather is in the morning!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 112 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2591 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 456 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 840 n.ml. to the WNW . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2098 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3162 n.ml to the WSW.

Day 53 towards Cape Horn - We get sailing ...!

Thursday 13th December 2012

Up at 5.20am - soon after sunrise ....! We'd remained hove-to overnight, which was fine while we drifted roughly SE but now the wind had backed to NNW, at all of 2knots.. and we were drifting ENE - or sometimes around in circles again.... Didn't really matter too much with that wind strength - we weren't going anywhere very fast!! But I felt that the wind direction meant we should at least be able to head SE now - our preferred course towards Cape Horn - so I took the genoa over to join the mains'l and we started sailing gently downwind... The genoa kept collapsing... time to pole out the genoa....

What a long time that took! Nice that it was calm and wind was light while I took my time sorting things out...What with ensuring halyards were lead correctly from high up the mast, persuading a salted-up pole jaw to release and then having to adjust the various leads for a shorter pole than used previously.... but all in bright sunshine and a pleasant wind... I eventually got to a very late breakfast and enjoyed a really nice big mug of fresh coffee! It was good to see us making a good speed again, at last...

I felt as though I was on 'reprieve' in the pleasant sea state and light wind - being given the chance to draw breath and look ahead, yet again, to Southern Ocean conditions. I tried to make sure I'd not overlooked anything and spent more time checking food stores and replenishing certain food items to be more convenient - digging around to do that while being tossed around in a big swell, well-heeled, is not too much fun.

Taped around the clear Lexan washboard to make sure it was really water-tight. Secured the two chopping boards so they couldn't end up being thrown around. Looked for my Christmas puddings- couldn't find even one (But found some other'goodies' I'd forgotten about...) Decided it was time to start my Christmas cake (Thanks, Ann!) ... less than a fortnight to go now... Found my mini-Christmas 'tree' and a few decorations - time to put those up around the chart table area - that was good fun! Had a major problem getting the lid off one locker - it was stuck tight due to a leaking tin from above it... took a very long time to sort that lot out.... not such fun!

And all the time the seas built up until we were rolling around quite a lot - but continuing to make good speed SE - towards the Horn.... The immediate plan is to skirt close to the edge of the High, hoping to avoid the worst of two active Troughs headed this way.... We'll see!

This evening, after the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300kHz, I ended up with quite a few contacts , propagation having noticeably improved. After first chatting to John, VK4DBJ, near Brisbane, who called me with info on the Geminid meteorite shower tonight, I was called first from Auckland, N.Z. and then from near Dallas, Texas, and in between, Fred, W3ZU, in Tampa, Florida, called and offered a phone patch, ... so I was then able to chat to a friend in Sidney, B.C. All very sociable!!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 43 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2591 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 474 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 732 n.ml. to the WNW . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2201 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3134 n.ml to the WSW.

Interestingly, it seems that despite having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit onboard, the Oceantracker website IS somehow keeping my track up-to-date: http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida Maybe the ordinary Ni-Cd batteries are working well enough for it to put out a signal? Or maybe it's simply relaying my AIS signal from elsewhere..?

Otherwise, for my daily position and track, see my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

Also, there's http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Day 52 towards Cape Horn .... Hove-to... mix of frustrations and calm relaxatio

Wednesday 12th December 2012

Wind got up to 5-6knots overnight and into this morning- we made fair speed, at around 3-3.5 kt!! Only problem was our course being SW in the ESE-SSE winds - and the ever-present threat of backing the sails in the occasional fickle, lighter wind - which then meant I had to gybe us around in a slow circle, yet again, to get back on course... Without good speed, we couldn't tack through the wind and I can't use my engine to help, of course.

Having realised I had a problem with my wind-steering mechanism, I spent most of the morning perched on the sugar-scoop trying to sort that out... Always a fear of dropping tools or vital parts overboard when leaning out over the water like that! For some time, I worked with us underway - we were making 3-4knots and it seemed a shame to stop, even though our course was SW. But after a bit, I decided to heave to , as being easier to work in. Soon after doing so, the wind died and we were drifting at 1-2 kt - mostly N-NW, until I tacked us around, to lie hove-to on the opposite tack - so that we drifted SW instead of NW!! Eventually, well after sunset, the wind backed sufficiently that we drifted SSE - for the first time in several days, we were on course for the Horn, albeit at 1-2kt! With the wind remaining so light (still only 3kt), I decided it was simpler to stay hove-to.... If the wind backs to the NE overnight, as forecast, our drift should follow it around nicely.

Having finished with Fred, I turned my attention to other jobs I'd thought up - one being to clean the cockpit sole and drains ... I was really pleased I'd decided to do so - the drains were completely blocked - from flying fish scales!!! (Three nights running, recently, two good-sized flying fish had landed in the cockpit and had clearly thrashed about, losing lots of their large scales.)

I had also thought it would be a good time to top up the main diesel tank from the spare fuel in jerry cans. Again, finding a problem there, I was pleased to have decided to do that now - but even more pleased when the problem finally resolved itself .. the fuel pump suddenly decided to work (after I'd spent an age checking power was present to it and then checking its internal fuse...grrr!) We've used about 60l in just over 50 days of generator use - about as I'd expected, so that's good. I suddenly remembered I'd not run the engine since Sausalito on 1st November, so did so for twenty minutes, to get the oil circulating and charge the batteries a little at the same time.

A few other small jobs, and then it was back to trying to clean off the hard salt spots on the windscreen as the sun began to set ..... so difficult to remove - they're baked on! But what a beautiful setting to be working in.... I gazed around .... at the slightly ruffled sea, with a long southerly swell (Southern Ocean weather making itself felt even here!), the blue sky, a few rosy clouds in the west ... The silence and feeling of peace was awesome! Just a slight sound ... of water lapping against the hull and occasional rustling from the sails... another world...

Weather might be calm for one more day or so - but a deep trough is headed this way to bring NE -NW winds soon -so then we'll be able to head SE at a reasonable speed - might even get the boat washed off in rainwater!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 52 n.ml. (a little bit of wind overnight). Cape Horn was 2634 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 488 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 700 n.ml. to the WNW . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2241 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3122 n.ml to the WSW.

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For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 51 towards Cape Horn ....Still virtually becalmed and not moving far....

Tuesday 11th December 2012

A day of calm conditions again - but with occasional wind to give me hope of sailing somewhere - south, preferably! We made just 47 miles to 3pm today ... and several times had to gybe right around after the fickle light wind had backed the sails...

Got most of the deck jobs done that I had in mind - tensioned the headsail halyards and then tidied them all on the mast... lashed the anchor down more securely, cleaned the weather screen in the cockpit and also tried to get the hardened salt spots off the windscreen. Washing was dry early this morning - clear blue sky until mid-afternoon kept the air warm.

This afternoon, there was an ominous-looking, long line of dark grey cloud not far off to starboard. Had me worried and very conscious of full sail ... but just gave us good wind for a time so we could move better - but SW in S-SSE wind! In fact, we've been mostly making a course of SW today - wind coming several times from due south!

With such little wind, I'm having to run the generator more often - and this afternoon, it refused to rev up to its usual initial high speed.. despite my taking a wrench to the actuator spindle, it refused to accelerate for ages -but finally, with a lot of effort on my part, loosening the spindle, it got going..

24hr DMG at 3pm: 47 n.ml. - slow!! Cape Horn was 2646 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 445 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 714 n.ml. to the WNW (both getting further away now) . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2233 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3170 n.ml to the WSW.

It has been confirmed that the exactEarth website (see below) is showing our track nicely now.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 50 towards Cape Horn ....Warm, CALM... we drift around, headed north at tim

Monday 10th December 2012

A day of even calmer conditions than yesterday....and set to continue for 2-3 more days.... We shan't be getting very far if today's progress (or lack of it) is anything to go by! We made just 50 miles to 3pm today ... and several times just drifted around in a big circle in no wind, heading north for a bit with some current.

It's really nice to have the wind info on display - I can glance that way every so often to make sure we're making the best course and/or speed possible, depending on our wind angle...

It's been a very relaxing day! Even the clearing away, after the wind transducer work, of spares and tools etc into the forepeak locker waited until this afternoon. Knowing this weather is set to continue doesn't exactly urge me into rushing to get things done! It was great to be on a pretty even keel so I was able to stow things in the port locker without eveything trying to fall out on top of me - as is usual on port tack when heeled!

I decided to take advantage of running the generator and watermaker in these calm conditions to wash some clothes through, so everything is clean. It was warm enough to strip off and wash them out and they're now dripping in the cockpit - one of the short preventer line extensions under the boom makes a good, safe clothes line when we're close-hauled! Something I can't begin to think of doing in the Southern Ocean - being heeled well over and tossed around in big swell and strong conditions makes doing washing like that totally impractical most of the time.

Just before that, we'd had a short, light shower - which finally brought enough wind for us to make 2kt in the right direction - southward!! Around sunset (0240GMT/6.40pm PST), we were still making way nicely - with SOG still around 2kt but occasionally getting up to 3.5 kt - great!! Sunset is getting noticeably later as we move south (we're in the Southern summer) - and the light is lingering in the sky for much longer, too.

I'm very tempted to take a swim, being hot and sticky over the day -I noticed some gooseneck barnacles have attached themselves to the stern water line, below the sugar-scoop steps - could do with cleaning them off. They definitely slow us down and if left will grow very large. Maybe tomorrow, if it's calm again, I'll tie myself on securely and do that...

Propane supply to galley seems fine - so don't know what happened yesterday evening when gas seemed to burn low...

24hr DMG at 3pm: 50 n.ml. - slow!! Cape Horn was 2675 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 425 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 713 n.ml. to the WNW (both getting further away now) . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2245 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3200 n.ml to the WSW.

I hear the exactEarth website (see below) is showing our track nicely now.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 49 towards Cape Horn .....WE HAVE WIND INFO IN THE SYSTEM...!!!

Sunday 9th December 2012

A day of calm conditions.... Good for work on deck, but hot &sticky! Up soon after a lovely dawn for an early breakfast after shaking out all sail, before starting to mount the wind transducer on the arch in bright sun and calm seas, with just a regular, rythmic, rounded, gentle swell. With lots of cable ties to hand, the job of fixing the vane and the cable down to deck-level was fairly straightforward - no big problem at all, in fact! Then the cable ties were exchanged for duct tape - lots of it! - to stick over the cable run from arch to cockpit, where I planned it would go down below via a hole I'd seen.

At that point, I had to calibrate the new transducer (connected temporarily to the display and the system) - by circling twice - oh, what fun!! In very little wind, it was easy to go slowly, as the instructons specified, but not so easy to tack through the wind...!! (I furled in the stays'l to simplify things) After that, I had to align the display pointer - "by sailing dead upwind" .... I don't think so!! Normally, I get a helper to go up the mast and hold the vane pointer dead along the centre line, pointed at the bow, to do this job easily and accurately at a dock..... Not possible, so I used the mast top Windex and the transducer vane itself to get a rough idea of where the apparent wind was - I can easily change it if I find it's way out, but it seems about right.

Finally the job of leading the cable to down below for the final connections to the spare wind display and another Seatalk display (for power).... I had to take down the head lining in the hanging locker for access to where I hoped to bring the cable from the cockpit... Not too bad a job, but time & patience needed. I'd hoped to make use of a Seatalk connection to the autopilot control head just there- but found the access point already in use - damn! Time, then, to get out the drill again, to make a hole for the cable near to a loudspeaker switch - I thought its hole might prove useful, being over-large.. I drilled one hole - too small, ... so again, with a larger bit... Couldn't get the tiny spade connectors to go far into the hole, let alone pass through it.... Drilled another hole close by and got out a file to smooth the join...... still not passing. I'd been up and down several times by now, trying to figure out what was going on... Eventually, I drilled from down below - hey presto! - we were through ... but not into the original holes - they had clearly gone into a void... and had later to be filled (fortunately, completely out of sight!). Phew! It was now 2pm!! After that, things went more smoothly, running the cable through the locker (whose headling had to be put back, together with its contents) and on into the main cabin where I fixed the wind display in good view and made the connections - so we now have wind info on the system...finally!!

I was famished .... had a very late lunch and lots of water - tasted good! Still some clearing away of spares etc but now I can focus on other things... The wind is likely to remain very light for several more days - and then we're likely to be clobbered by a nasty Low - but that could change since it's several days away... so all remaining jobs can be done, ready for bad weather...

I'd changed over the propane tank yesterday, but was surprised to find the gas low tonight - maybe I'd connected to a near-empty tank? Seems I must label them clearly as they become empty !

After cooking, I sat out to enjoy a lovely sunset while eating in the cockpit, - won't be able to do that for much longer!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 100 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2714 n.ml. away & our nearest land Easter Island 415 n.ml. away, on 086T, with Pitcairn Island, 703 n.ml. to the WNW (both getting further away now) . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2268 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point) ist 32250 n.ml to the WSW.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...
----- End of Original Message -----

Day 48 towards Cape Horn - more work on the spare wind transducer - mainly wood

Saturday 8th December 2012

A day spent mostly down below, in fairly calm conditions: accessing and digging out bits of wood, bolts, bits and pieces and the electric drill,, cutting wood to size (treated myself to a new fretsaw blade!) and drilling holes in carefully-positioned places. Ended up getting out a clamp and using the companionway steps as a workbench when drilling, after nearly getting injured twice...! Final job was to cable-tie the three pieces to the wind transducer arm, with a long bolt to hold the three together as well. The aim was to hold the direction-sensing vane of the transducer upright while allowing the cups of the anemometer to rotate freely below... and also needed to push on the cover of the electrical connections so it stayed at the extreme opposite end of the transducer arm (having nothing to screw into to hold it in place...). Applied some more mastic 'gunge' around the opening of the cable connector cover to make sure it was watertight and then checked to confirm the whole unit was still working - yes! Spent quite a time stowing things away.

Tomorrow, I hope to mount it on the arch... the problem there being to hold it so the vane axis is as near vertical as I can get it. The arm is normally at quite an angle to the horizontal so that could be a bit tricky. Then I have to run the cable down to and over the deck, trying not to foul any lines etc on its way to the cockpit coaming, from where I can lead it to down below for the final connections to the spare wind display and another Seatalk display.... That will involve taking down the head lining in the hanging locker for access... Nothing's easy on a cruising boat!!! I'm hoping to put the spare wind display somewhere useful so it's easily seen down below, but that depends on the cable length available.

The final step is calibrating the wind display.. which might be better done before I run the cable to down below... (I just pulled out the manual to see what's involved...!)

So still plenty to do - but the good news is still that the weather is looking good for the work - the wind has already become much lighter and the seas are lying down with it.... I let out a reef today, so we weren't sailing too slowly, but I'd rather sail gently, with this ongoing work, than try to speed along... What's a day or two in seven months?

Went to make some coffee and found the gas had run out this morning - so had to change over the propane tank ... A smell of gas in the gas locker so I wonder if I hadn't tightened up the connection enough last time I changed over? (I hope that's the problem and not a leak in the pipework somewhere..... I certainly expected the tank to last more than just a month.)

24hr DMG at 3pm: 128 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2800 n.ml. away & our nearest land Easter Island 430 n.ml. away, on 099T, with Pitcairn Island, 682 n.ml. to the W (getting further away now) . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2328 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape is its closest point, at 3250 n.ml to the WSW.

This afternoon, the sea temperature was the same as the air temperature - 29C. Sea has been higher for a long time but we're now well out of the Tropics (we're well S of 23:30S - the Tropic of Capricorn) and temperatures will begin to drop rapidly soon... I wonder how much longer I'll be able to enjoy being barefoot?

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 47 towards Cape Horn - nearly opened the bubbly - soldered connections on s

Friday 7th December 2012

Soldering complete 
 Soldering complete.

Finished!
Finished!

This afternoon, I felt like opening some bubbly to celebrate! After a lot of time and effort this morning and into early afteroon, I tested my badly-soldered connections between the wires of the 5-core cable and the pins of the spare wind transducer arm - and found they are working!! Yippee!! The seas weren't too bad this morning, so I was able to dig out my soldering kit to see what I could use on the fine wires and pins. I was pleased to find a butane-powered soldering iron with a nice fine tip - recently bought to be ready for exactly this type of job. I started tinning the wire ends that I'd prepared yesterday - some were quite difficult until I cleaned them with some acetone. I was so unsure that I'd then manage to solder the wires to the pins that I kept on going, rather than looking at mounting the vane - no point in that, I thought, if I can't solder the connections...

To my surprise, tinning the brass pins was quick and easy - that gave me hope...! The fiddly part was holding a fine straight wire onto a pin while I put a touch more solder on the heated, pre-tinned pair... Totally the wrong way to do it ! I should have wound the wire tightly around the pin, heated and then added solder - but there was no way that was going to happen - five times over.. especially with the small gaps between the five pins!!!

Before I started, I double-checked the colour-coding of the pins - imagine if I'd got that wrong! After managing to solder the ground wire to pin1, I felt more optimistic that this was going to work - and the seas played ball, to begin with, by staying far calmer than yesterday... The last two joints had to be re-done... wind and seas had got up and were not helping... In order to test it all, I had to crimp two missing small spade terminals onto the far end of the tiny wires and then plug the (now five) terminals into the spare wind display. Next step was to connect the Seatalk cable between the wind display and another display - switching everything off before doing so... I hardly dared switch on again...but there it was - wind info on the displays... YES!!!

Next step was to cover the pins and wires individually with pre-placed heat shrink which acted both to keep the joints together and also to insulate one from the other - another test - it still all worked... I kept holding my breath! The cable outer covering was replaced and more, larger, heatshrink placed over that and on over the five pin connections... I noticed a slight gap at the base of all the pins, so covered the area all around with some black mastic 'gunge' to keep any water and air out. Finally, worried that the connection might get stressed by being pulled, I made a couple of loops and cable-tied the cable to itself, the vane connector cover and vane arm - it felt pretty secure and I tested it yet again - still working...!!!!

By the time of my 3pm daily weather and position report, it was all done. Having had grave doubts that I would succeed, I was feeling very, very happy as I went up on deck to check on cloud cover and sea state in bright sunshine... :-) I took my time... !!

So now I still have to mount the wind vane unit on the stern arch (another practical challenge, with no base unit available to use to keep it upright!), run the cable down from there to the spare wind dispay, run a Seatalk cable to connect the wind display to another display and then finally calibrate the wind display - a way to go, yet! The good news is that the weather looks set to be helpful for working on deck - we're heading towards the S.Pacific High, so the wind is forecast to get lighter - maybe too light - and, hopefully, the seas with it. Tonight, the wind is slowly backing so I've had to adjust Fred to keep us on course.

6.45pm Heard some rain falling, as I was in the middle of my meal of pasta.... went up on deck .... Rain became really heavy, with zero visibility ahead! Wind, fortunately, didn't get too strong - to around 20kt, I guess, so we heeled a bit and picked up speed - but only to ~6.5 kt - not too bad... After about five minutes, which felt like lots more, the wind died right down as the rain stopped .... and there we were - just dawdling at around five knots for a time in a backed wind... The sea had flattened in the heavy rain but the occasonal bigger wave came by to heel us over. The sky cleared... and all became calm.

It was gone sunset, but still light.... More grey clouds on the horizon, so I decided to furl in some genoa for overnight...... The next raincloud might not be quite so benign!! Almost time for the Pacific Seafarers' Net, so I noted the cloud cover and seastate and went down below - to finish my meal!

Radio propagation is still all over the place - but on 14300kHz, this afternoon, Rex, KC5AGO, in Kansas, came up very clearly to take my report, whereas I had trouble copying Bill, KI4MMZ , in Florida, and this evening, after the Pacific Seafearers Net, with good copy on Jane, NH7TZ, in Kauai, I was able to have a long chat with John, VK4DBJ, near Brisbane.

Yesterday saw a rare event - a ship sighted on AIS - factory ship from Japan (or China?) - 'Xinshiji 206' , busily fishing 3 miles off - no response on VHF, even when in clear sight on the horizon.... but they stayed well off and, eventually, were left astern.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 135 n.ml - not too bad! Cape Horn was 2915 n.ml. away & our nearest land Easter Island 487 n.ml. away to ESE, with Pitcairn Island, 663 n.ml. to the W . We're presently about 2475 n.ml from the Chile coast near Valparaiso and 2395 n.ml from the nearest coast in Chile - at Puerto Yana, on a bearing of 120T.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 46 towards Cape Horn - Rough seas built up more, but no squalls - just stro

Thursday 6th December 2012

Lovely sunny day, with cloud building up around midday but then mostly clearing later. Seas have been awe-inspiringly rough again - easily 3.5m, maybe 4m, and fairly close - so we've been tossed around a lot... best place to be was in or on my bunk! We've made good speed, 6-7kt, in Force 4-5 winds - around 20kt for quite a time, I'd say... although they died back soon after sunset, when we were making 7.4kt!

I spent a time checking through my electrical kit and spares to see whether there was anything that could be used to avoid having to solder the 5 pins of the wind vane unit to the wires of the 5-core cable.... but everything was just too big to be of use. In the safety of my bunk, I was able, working very carefully, to strip back the cable and bare the ends of the five wires inside. Looking ahead, I cut pieces of heatshrink of different sizes and placed them on the cable and wires, well out of the way, ready to slide down and use when I've finished... (It would be too late to think about doing it at the end!)

It was too rough to get out the soldering kit, tucked away deep in a locker, and there's no way I can do that job except in calmer conditions anyway, except maybe some preliminary tinning. It's going to be a delicate job with the pins all quite close together..... and soldering is definitely NOT one of my strong points!! Tomorrow, I'll continue with preparing for mounting the vane on the stern arch- drilling holes in the pieces of wood I cut yesterday and putting the pieces together on the vane to see if my plan works...

For a change tonight, I made a pasta with ham and sweetcorn in a creamy mushroom sauce - went down well and there's plenty for tomorrow. I'm trying to keep to my timing of cooking well before sunset, so I eat a proper evening meal, rather than skimping it, as I was beginning to, lately.

Radio propagation continues to be very unpredictable - up and down so often. But to Texas and Arizona in the early afternoon today, it was clear as a bell. I'm having some fun exploring the 'N-S effect' when sending/receiving emails ... I love it when I make a good connection and the tables are showing only a very remote chance of doing so! Should get even better as we move further S.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 147 n.ml - Excellent! Cape Horn was 3030 n.ml. away & our nearest land Easter Islnd 560 n.ml. away to SE, with Pitcairn Island, 688 n.ml. to the WSW . We're presently about 2470 n.ml from the nearst coast in Chile, having 'crossed the border' from Peru just before sunrise yesterday!

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 45 towards Cape Horn - Rough seas, squalls, .... working on wind vane proje

Wednesday 5th December 2012

Lovely sunny morning but seas got rough as day progressed - easily to 3m and quite close, making for uncomfortable motion.... especially later when it got more cloudy and we had some squalls when some big grey clouds came by... Rushing al0ng in strong wind, heeled over, in rough seas is not conducive to getting work done!

After earlier getting a very helpful, useful email fom Raymarine UK, in response to my queries and proposal for trying to make use of the wind unit on the stern arch, I was keen to get going. I dug out my electrical kit and spares to see what useful items I had available to connect the 5 pins of the unit to the 5-core cable. Handling the unit, I realized there was a more urgent problem - How to mount it so it stayed upright was not going to be simple - it could easily turn upside down without the base unit it normally plugs into...

I dug out some pieces of wood - lots of playing around with the wood and unit lead finally to cutting a useful piece into two and then further cutting... I'd need to drill holes to attach a third piece for attaching to the arch & take cable ties, jubilee clips and /or a bolt and nut or two... I'm making use of the shape of the end of the unit to attach the ends of the thin pieces of wood to keep it upright, but have to avoid the two rotating parts above and below from snagging.

I got far enough to feel confident that my idea will work for the mount - and then decided to cook a decent meal while it was still light (which I did), ... at which point the weather deteriorated so no further work could be done. Tomorrow, I'll look at the electrical connection side of things, but did manage to check a possible route to down below for the cable from the cockpit .... that works .. I was pleased to see that..

On the radio side, my radio connection problems for emails have been eased tremendously by a couple of very kind Winlink people. It's amazing the difference a good beam antenna pointed in the right direction can make! I was also surprised to find the 'N-S effect' working from here, to my advantage... Not expecting it to work, I tried to connect in to Nova Scotia around midnight when the tables showed a very remote chance of making a connection. I knew, from previous experience, that it has worked from deep in the S. Atlantic, but was pleased to find a good enough connection was made from here to post last night's log report! I'll try that again now!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 130 n.ml Cape Horn is 3160 n.ml. away & our nearest land is Easter Island 665 n.ml. away to SSE, with Pitcairn Island, 736 n.ml. to the WSW & the Gambier Islands 983 n.ml away, also to WSW. We're presently about 2415 n.ml. from Lima, Peru, on our nearest coast, but we're actually level with Chile now, having 'crossed the border' just before sunrise today!

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 44 towards Cape Horn - A pleasant sailing day in Trades, after overnight squ

Tuesday 4th December 2012

After continuing squalls overnight, things finally settled down and the day has been one of lovely gentle sailing - until just after sunset when we passed through another band of squally rainclouds...

I spent a 'domestic' morning - it's nice when the seas are calmer and we're sailing smoothly - things can be done so much more easily!! Food stores were raided to replace items that had run out in the 'easy-access' places in the galley and also at the chart table (prunes and apricots!) and several bottles of water needed topping up. Some of yesterday's washing was hung up in the main cabin, having dripped overnight in the head. The air is so warm - around 28-30C - that they don't take long to dry. Some rancid butter that had spoiled last night's meal was happily thrown overboard and its container washed carefully & stowed.

Emails were downloaded and urgent ones attended to immediately... At least, the reply was written - I'm having to keep an eye on 'windows of opportunity' for making the radio connections needed to send/receive them. I can no longer take my pick of lots of available stations at any time of day.... Grib (weather) files are showing nothing major to worry about for the time being. I'm trying to find out where to get reliable up-to-date ice info for the Southern Ocean...

Yesterday, I spent a time poring over paper charts of the Horn and Drake's Passage regions, plotting a route that avoided shoals/banks, seamounts and the continental shelf insofaras is possible - a nasty sea area! I transferred that onto the chart plotter today, wondering how it would work out in practice...

After a lunch finishing up some crackers and tasty Boursin cream cheese, I finally investigated in detail the cables I'd fished out from under the aft cabin bunk on Sunday. I think I'd delayed looking at them partly because I doubted there were any of much use - Freudian? But, to my delight, I found that what I'd thought was a 3-core GPS cable was, in fact, a 5-core - just what I needed! ... and 10m in length, not the 5m I'd feared it might be... A good start, made even better by finding another 10m length of Seatalk cable, with plug-in connectors at each end - used for joining displays together, as I'd probably need to. I cheered up immensely, having earlier found a spare Wind display I thought I didn't have!! I felt here was a possible solution to the wind indicator problem - not an easy task still, but at least now looking feasible in theory... I'm very likely to come unstuck with the soldering that's probably required - but tomorrow I'll check in my electrical spares for possible connectors & other bits & bobs... and check distances from the stern arch for a cable run. Another project!! In the meantime, ......... wind today was from the East, mainly Force 4, with a touch of Force 3 around midday, under some cloud...!!!

Had an excellent contact at 2350Z with the Maritime Mobile Net on 14300 kHz - Gary, WB6UBQ, in Santa Monica,was very clear, as he checked my position to post to Shiptrak for me and said my signal was also strong - that's always nice to hear!!

Must get something to eat and get some sleep.... Had planned to make a nice curry earlier - but the sunset squalls put paid to that idea... so it'll be something really simple - yet again... tuna? But first - up on deck to check things out... - we've picked up speed and are heeling a lot more - there must be a big cloud nearby!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 109 n.ml Cape Horn is 3275 n.ml. away & our nearest land is now Easter Island 770 n.ml. away to SSE, with Pitcairn Island, 880 n.ml. to the SW & the Gambier Islands 988 n.ml away to WSW. We're presently about 2420 n.ml. from Lima, Peru, with the nearest Peruvian coast 2293 n.ml. away to ENE, well N of Peru.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 43 towards Cape Horn - A day of meandering in almost no wind in between spee

Monday 3rd December 2012

How different from yesterday! Clouds all day - often very big masses of raincloud - with the usual accompanying squally conditions, speeding us along at over 7 kt, with nothing in between - so struggling then to make our course at 1-3 kt. Swell well up, at nearly 3m and from both E and NE - the new wind direction...

No work on deck today with the squally conditions - except to take advantage of the rain to try to clean the cockpit windscreen which is covered in lots of small salt marks - difficult to remove. I'd decided that I needed to see to my tangled mess of hair and treat myself to a shower - but squalls kept coming along & getting in the way. I finally managed it - bliss!! - but found an absolute "raster' mass of tangled hair in one place that took quite a time to deal with! Nice to have warm air to dry off in... I also washed a few clothes and towels, making use of the calmer periods.

Sailing was difficult, with the wind forever changing direction and strength... It had become ENE early on, but kept veering madly in the squalls, so our course was really squiggly - until I got fed up with the gusty, variable conditions and switched to the autopilot! I really wanted that shower in peace!

Later I managed to catch up on nearly all outstanding emails - that feels good!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 110 n.ml Cape Horn 3378 n.ml.away & our nearest land: Pitcairn Island, 859 n.ml. to the SW. Easter Island 867 n.ml. away to SSE & the Gambier Islands are 1014 n.ml away to WSW. We're presently about 2435 n.ml. W of Lima, Peru.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 42 towards Cape Horn -Rolling hitch to the rescue- yet again!

Sunday 2nd December 2012

Hot, sunny, light winds getting even lighter and veered to SE overnight, possibly SSE, so difficult to keep a good course over the morning but later backed to E, so we're not doing too badly now. Wind does seem to vary a lot

In the pleasantly light conditins, I had several things I'd been waiting to do - but first I tidied up in the aft cabin, after the autopilot work, at the same time looking for wiring which could be used for the wind vane... It takes fine 5-core cable which I'm pretty sure I don't have but I might be able to use other thin wire. If I find I have enough lengths of suitable wire, then I can begin to think about how to use them to connect the wind vane unit, on the stern arch perhaps, to the wind display in the cockpit - it wouldn't be at all easy since I don't have the base connector that the unit plugs in to.... In the meantime, another job that was waiting was to put back the wires and cover at the base of the mast.

Then I got on deck for quite a few different small jobs and by the end of the day, as light was fading after a dramatic sunset amongst a mass of clouds on the horizon, I felt I'd ticked off quite a few important items, among them the long, all-in-one, genoa sheet, tied to the clew in a cow hitch, which I cut close to the clew, where I'd noticed some bad chafe, and then tied the cut half back onto the clew. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking the chafe might have come from when the pole was used... maybe tomorrow I'll 'end-for-end' the sheet and re-tie it. We've been on port tack for a long time now and likely to remain so for a time longer - at least until we leave the SE Trade Wind belt we're in now..

One job which still needs doing is tensioning the headsail halyards - they're not quite tight enough - but as I was getting the lines oganized to do rhat, I noticed that the split pin holding the gooseneck clevis pin in place was looking as though it was working loose - so that job clearly took precedence - wouldn't be good to have the boom part company from the mast...

10pm So much for a gentle night's sail! We've settled down again now- but it certainly wasn't gentle light wind sailing a short while ago - a big cloud came over, of course... I was busy writig this, when I reaized the wind was getting up - went on deck to check and ended up taking in the first reef ... but managed to over-ride a line badly on a winch.... Rolling hitch time! To release a winch to use to take tension off the over-ridden line, I had to furl in the stays'l, but that apart, it all went smoothly. It always amazes me how the hitch holds tight to release tension on the line its's acting on...I'm always half-expecting it to slide, instead of holding. Wind is still up a bit, in fact, so we're making good speed, just over 6kt.

24hr DMG at 3pm: 100 n.ml. (despite full canvas - light winds overnight andthis morning) Cape Horn LH 3479 n.ml.away & our nearest land: Pitcairn Island, 923 n.ml. to the SSW. Easter Island 968 n.ml. away to SSE & the Gambier Islands are 1044 n.ml away to SW. We're presently about 2460 n.ml. W of Lima, Peru.

.........................................................................................
For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Unfotunately, having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit, the other website can no longer keep my track up-to-date - it stopped on 17th November...

Day 41 towards Cape Horn - Now for the wind instrument up the mast...

m_View from top spreader 01Dec2012

Saturday 1st December 2012

Yet another lovely sunny day, with easy sailing in slowly-reducing SE Trades - but I spent a long time climbing the mast early this morning,. Alarm had been set to wake me up ... checked bag once more to see I hadn't forgotten anything, put on some long trousers and shoes for protection, then went on deck to heave to before the sun got too high.... It wasn't quite the pre-dawn start I'd intended - got the timing of dawn wrong, clearly - but it was only just after sunrise.

Reduced the genoa, and then heaved to... Seas weren't completely calm but hoped I'd manage.... Donned both my climbing harness, with the safety line to the gri-gri, and my deck harness which also gives some chest support & to which other lines were attached, for tying me securely to the mast top when I arrived there, so I could safely work on exchanging the wind vane unit. Fixed the 'gri-gri' to the spinnaker halyard and started up... back down after a couple of steps- the gri-gri wasn't sliding up smoothly - I'd caught the wire in with the halyard - an easy fix and then started up again. Quite quickly, I realised that this was NOT going to be easy - not that I'd expected it to be, but not only was there swell causing rocking from side to side, often quite a lot, but every so often, we'd pitch & toss, fore and aft - usually quite violently and I really had to cling on tight... My toolbag got caught as I tried to negotiate my way up, over and around the head of the stays'l...

I had to choose my moment carefully for letting go with one hand to quickly slide the gri-gri up the halyard as far as it would go up, for each step taken. I eventually got to the bulky radar reflector - had a big problem getting around that & nearly gave up at that point ... Had one of several long rests once I'd sorted that out - it made a very useful seat! Slowly, with lots of clinging on for dear life with the sudden & frequent violent motion, that got worse, the further up I climbed, I finally got to the head of the genoa, where I held on to the very top pair of steps, 3 ft or so below the top, designed to be stood on when working at the mast top. My legs were able to wrap around the genoa fitting - in fact, I 'rode' the head of the genoa rather like a 'bucking bronco' with the motion at times... but at least it gave some security, with my legs adding in to my arms to hold me securely. That would be gone when going higher... my only hold would be around the mast itself, with nothing to pull myself up with... I'd already found it very difficult getting a line round the mast at this point - thinking I might be able to make use of it to get up higher and also ready for later on when I'd need to be strapped close to the mast for safe working up there.

I caught sight of a white-rumped dark storm petrel, flitting about the waves close to the boat as I pondered what to do next... The problem, now that I was right up near the top, was how to get myself safely further up, in order to stand on the top steps and work safely... there were simply no hand holds for me to hang onto as I mounted further .... Up to now, steps had also formed my main handholds (when I wasn't frantically clinging on with arms around the mast when motion got really violentl!) - but there were no more steps higher up, just the smooth mast- the wind vane was fustratingly close. I spent some time up there, trying to figure out a way to get higher, unwilling to admit defeat after all my effort getting this far, but finally, seeing absolutely no way, I had to start coming down...no easier than going up & with the added factor that I was noticing my sore arms, fingers and muscles ... I also had to make sure that I'd slid the gri-gri far enough down or I'd find it impossible for my foot to reach down to the next step! I took several rests and on one - that nice,secure, radar reflector seat! - with one arm wrapped around the mast itself, I managed to get out my camera and take a couple of shots of the deck below.. (To be posted!) On down .. it seemed never-ending... until finally, I was not far from the deck - at which point, my legs started shaking like mad and I just made it to the deck with difficulty - the adrenalin must have stopped working!!

Disappointed, I made my way down below for some much-needed water and, after getting us sailing properly again, spent the rest of the day trying to recover from too much sun and exertion - lots of drinks and lots of long naps.... I'm definitely feeling bruised, tired and damaged! I can obviously manage without the wind indicator - but it makes life a great deal simpler having the instant display... and there have been times (like a strong Southern Ocean Front expected) when linking it to my autopilot has been extremely useful .. Oh well .. c'est la vie!! If only I had another base that it plugs into, I could rig up the new one somewhere else, maybe - but I don't...

Not much else to report... except, unusually, tonight there's a 167ft long fishing vessel not far away - the 'Keifuku Maru No.2' ... the first vessel nearby for quite a time...

24hr DMG at 3pm: 112 n.ml. (despite being hove to for 3 hours) Cape Horn LH 3568 n.ml.away & our nearest land: Pitcairn Island, 978 n.ml. to the SSW. Easter Island 1057 n.ml. away to SSE & the Gambier Islands are 1090 n.ml away to SW. We're presently about 2470 n.ml. due W of Lima, Peru.

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For my daily position and track:

See my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.