Cocos Keeling to Rodriguez - Day2 1stOct07

Had an excellent start to the passage yesterday, leaving around 1030am after hoisting & stowing the dinghy & outboard. There are quite a few boats at anchor off Direction Island now and we had a very sociable final barbecue Sat. night. So the farewell, as Mark of 'Swanya' led 'Bowtie Lady' & 'Nereida' out through the reef, got VERY noisy - lots of hooting & tooting from a very nice group of people.
The wind was good, the sun was shining & the swell only picked up very gradually, so it was a lovely sail well into evening. The swell became a bit uncomfortable at times, but mainly not too bad and over Monday has actually felt better - big (~4m) but regular. The wind has been up & down a bit but mainly ESE/SE around 18-24kn so we've made good speed, broad reaching nicely.
The main problem I've had is that my A.I.S. unit suddenly decided not to function while leaving Cocos Keeling so I can no longer see ships around (up to 32 mls away) on the display - which badly affects my sleep pattern and will mean having to put on my radar, with its greater power consumption. Peter on 'Bowtie Lady' called me up twice in the night to let me know of two ships heading our way, although, being faster, he is gradually forging ahead of me so that won't work for much longer. I found myself very tired this morning after the disturbed night (& not enough sleep before leaving!), and when I tried to see if there was anything obviously wrong with the AIS wiring I ended up having to admit defeat - not easy for me to do!! Having triumphantly re-connected a tiny power lead which had come adrift behind the display unit, I found that made no difference... I tried bringing my laptop on line to use the excellent A.I.S. function in the Nobeltec program - but no signal was coming in. I tried going in to Hyperlink unsuccessfully, but confirmed the lack of signal with my multimeter on the coax cable from the VHF smart-splitter - both to the display unit as well as to the PC - although every now & then, it seemed I was getting some data flow (a variable mV reading) - but not most of the time - most puzzling. I still have to undo the coax connection from the 'smart splitter' to see if there's any dullness or corrosion there - so often on boats, that is the cause of the problem when electrics fail.
So I ended up well after midday needed a good rest...!! I then had a very belated breakfast in the fresh air, gazing out at the sea & sky - very pleasant, especially after overnight rain... In fact, at one point, under a raincloud, the wind died almost totally last night (I got quite wet!) & I even started the engine - but within twenty minutes or so the wind came back up to over 20kn again... so back out with the furled genoa & let out the main.... good sailing!
By sunset, cloud had gathered, but it's not too overcast & may go, as often happens, with nightfall.
At 1200 GMT, the boats presently on passage have a 'sched' on 8173 to exchange news & as other boats leave Cocos to make passage, they'll join in - should get quite sociable! So I'll sign off for now....

Midday 24hr run was around 166n.ml - not bad!

PS Just been informed near-gale f'cast for area just to S of path tomorrow - hopefully, we're on outer edge of it, so won't get the strongest of the winds - will keep you posted!!

Written by : Mike

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