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Day 11: Last full day of passage to Canaries - more Tradewinds sailing

Tuesday 15th Sept '09

I plotted our daily noon positions to check on the actual daily 24hr distances run ('distance made good' - DMG - in a straight line from one noon position to the next day's noon position, that is). From Tues 8th Sept, when I was able finally to stop tacking against a SSW-SW3 and the wind veered to N5-6 & then to NNE 6-7, so I could make the rhumbline course to well off Finisterre and then on south, our 24hr noon-to-noon distances up to today have been: 132, 170, 123, 136, 150, 157, 161 mls. Seeing as I've been sailing rather conservatively, and the seas got up quite a lot over several days, and even allowing for what I'm sure must be a south-going current (although I hear it might only be half a knot or so), I'm not too displeased with the figures! Today's won't be at all good because the wind has died this afternoon, as forecast, there have been a few showers around and we're slopping about in the left-over swell. So it could well be a slow finish to my passage to the Canaries - pity!! (Later - We got up nicely to 6knots for a time, but are back down to 5knots now - 11.30pm - 50 mls from the northern island of Graciosa in the Canaries)

I've been 'talking' to Bob McDavitt, a well-known 'weather guru' in New Zealand, about passing through the Cook Strait. It would be good if there were a possibility of finding a 'weather window' for getting safely through the Cook Strait after reaching Farewell Spit (NW point of South Island) after crossing from Tasmania. My idea is to divert initially into Nelson Bay (to wave at my aunt and other relatives there, if they can get there and if it's reasonably calm!), ready to head straight on back N to sail on east through the Cook Strait if the weather is good to do so... But if the choice is between catching a weather window to get through safely or waving at relatives .... I'm afraid safety would have to come first....!! Cook Strait seems to have almost the same fearsome reputation as Cape Horn - due to its underwater topography, I'm hearing from a good cruiser friend. I must read up about it in the British Admiralty New Zealand Pilot that I have on board.

Spent some time today, reading the manuals & playing with the buttons on my new SSB radio (Icom M801) and Fax408 - it's nice to get to know how to work the new instruments properly!!

Just wish my laptops were talking to the satphone - spent quite a time today trying to get a shoreside radio connection for sending/receiving emails whereas data transfer via the satphone would have been so much quicker. I'll definitely be needing it over the next few months, since I could well find it impossible at times to make radio contact, so I must try to get that sorted in Lanzarote.

A Canadian friend who arrived ahead of me in Lanzarote is looking into propane availability - looks bad! But I bought extra butane bottles back in Guernsey for that reason.

Today's noon position report:

31d 12'N, 013d 22'W; course(COG) 178T; speed(SOG) 5.7kn; wind NNW4 (13kn) (down from overnight 18knots); baro 1020; air 25C; sea 26C; swell NNW 3m 7s; cloud 60%

Written by : Mike

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