Day 108 Fri-Sat 18-19 Jan 2019 Ambling downwind in hazy sunshine

Friday 6pm Slowing down - seas still well up but further apart so feeling less rough.

Good to see several different birds close by as the sun gets low - albatrosses, prions, petrels. Looking out now for a Spectacled petrel (a type of White-chinned petrel with white 'spectacles') - endemic to these waters around Tristan da Cunha and the further off incredible wilderness of Gough Island with its amazing birdlife. It's surrounded by cliffs so access is difficult and the only people there form a S.African team of scientists - they're helicoptered in for a 6-9 months' (or more) stay, coming in by the freighter that supplies Tristan from Cape Town. The convoluted rocky formations off its coast and the birds everywhere make for an amazing experience when passing close by - as I have twice before.

9:30pm Moon shining brightly in between clouds. Slowed right down - clearly, wind has dropped. Struggling to make 4kt, mostly less.

Saturday 1:30am Wind has suddenly picked up so we're now making 6kt or more, instead of struggling to make over 3kt - excellent!

Had brief contact tonight with US stations and also Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil - strong signals so good clear contacts made.. Poor signal from Lugano, Switzerland: Richard, HB9FHV, was too weak tonight but often comes up.

4am Just furled in the genoa which was being blanketed by the main and flapping uselessly, wearing itself out.. Just coming in to first light and not good enough light to pole it out. Think the wind is backing more anyway, so best to wait and change tack if and when wind goes WNW. Grey cloudy sky - looks like rainclouds but no rain so far - decks are completely dry - not even any dew.

9:30am Making way downwind in 15kt from the W. Some sunshine peeking through the clearing, broken, light cloud overhead, with heavier clouds in the distance. Swell still 3-4m, so continuing with plenty of rolling round ...

Busy thinking through how I might do a deck repair to the sail... The more I think about removing the sail to bring it down below, the more fraught with difficulties that seems. Have been looking at the sail, seeing where exactly the damaged area will lower to the boom for access to the damage. So many steps to think about - including making myself safe by tying myself in to the boom and maybe from several other directions while I do it! Monday and Thursday are 'least-swell' days - but 2.8-2.6m (9ft) on Monday is not as good as 2.0-2.3m (7ft) on Thursday.

Breakfast with fresh coffee - I'll treat myself! - while I think more about the possible timeline, steps and materials needed .... and likely complications.

Midday Slowly tidying up and clearing away. Galley duties have been somewhat neglected of late and other items not stowed away neatly as they should have been - so have been busy doing all that. Too warm (23C/72F) for my top fleeces - have had to discard them...

Weather is looking settled for a day or two, before a Low passes to S of us on Tuesday - possibly bringing some light rain which will last all through to Wednesday. Would rinse off the mainsail, if heavy enough, but would prevent me from doing anything around that time other than making use of the fresh-water rinse-off - need a dry sail for the tape to stick to. Thursday is looking good for light wind and less swell but is quickly followed on Friday by heavy rain and strong wind, as another small Low passes directly over us so would need to complete quickly.

My thoughts are with my mainsail most of my waking hours....!

I'm glad I'm not attending any functions just now - my nails are a total mess, so many are broken! Lost sight of my nail clippers after using them a long time ago ("How can that be?", you ask. Easy, they're so small!) so I'll be using the galley scissors and a nail file to deal with them now. A guy asked me some time ago to look at my nails when I'd finished telling him of some job I'd just done on board - the fact that they were broken and not presentable convinced him my story was genuine!

2pm Hazy sunshine through light cloud layer. Wind about 15kt from W - making 4.5kt or more, due E. Wind display gone totally now - not even the wind direction is showing correctly any more. Only the Windex is working - and my eyeballing the ripples on the water for true wind direction from the cockpit compass.

Sliced potatoes boiling and chopped onions already nicely browned, ready for beginning of a big stew - with celery, sweetcorn & green beans and beef chunks - should last several days. Have not been eating too well last few days, so decided time to do something about that while in settled conditions. Galley clean and tidy and cabin (and nails!) looking neater also.

Later - the beef stew tastes wonderful!

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 108. We made 103 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 108 (by daily DMGs): 10,298 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1853 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1405 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1510 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1314 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2251 n.ml. to ENE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/01/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.72S LONGITUDE: 027-17.70W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 1016.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Ambling alog DDW - sunny sky, seas still up but lessening slowly

Written by : Jeanne Socrates