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Day 110 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - little wind again - trying to keep heading East!

Friday 8th February, 2013

Slow, slow progress! Wind died totally last night, so we drifted around aimlessly while I slept with genoa furled in and mains'l centred, but by 7a.m., very slight N wind ... later becoming NW at under 10 kt... So at least we were able to get sailing gently - roughly East, at 2-3 knots ... better than heading SW, as we were when the wind came in!! Looks as though it might take 4-5 days to pass the Capes... Nothing I can do but go with whatever wind comes along!! Still overcast - but with very light cloud layer.

Cockpit stayed dry all night long - most unusual & first time for ages. Normally soaking wet by nightfall, possibly partly drying out a little over the day.

Lots of birds around in the early morning - including a black-browed albatross and tiny black-bellied storm petrel among the usual bigger petrels and shearwaters.

Had usual S.African radio contacts around midday - getting excellent signal on 20m now. Had been chatting to Rob, ZS1RAP, in Jacobsbaai, on West coast, N of Saldanha, until Tuesday, but he found he couldn't rig his portable antenna when he went to Nordhoek for a week's holiday - so now, and until next Wed when he's back home, I'm chatting to his friend Peter, ZS6PWD, in Randberg, just N of Jo'burg - a very clear signal.

At 1130Z, it's my regular daily check-in, on 14316kHz, with the S.A.M.M.Net - Graham, ZS2ABK, who will keep in daily contact for most of my passage across to Australia. He has a movable beam antenna which he can point at us - makes a world of difference to the signal! Last night, on 14300, I had real problem being copied on the U.S. M.M.S. Net - up to now, around midnight GMT, I 've made good contact but while I could hear George, WA1RIK, reasonably well, neither he nor anyone else could copy me clearly. Lots of "Roger, roger..." from me to let him know all was well on board!! Nothing heard either when I tried to contact 'Curare' and 'Silas Crosby' for our usual evening chat & also nothing on the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300 at 0300Z (middle of night for me!).

Wonder if I'm suffering from mood swings - definitely felt 'down' last night - especially at thought of losing regular radio contact with people on Nets I've got used to enjoying chatting to, but this morning, once we'd got sailing E in light conditions, and especially once I'd had breakfast and chatted to Peter, I felt fine. Felt even better with nice tidy, clean galley (nice to be able to open seacock in calm sea) and over-ripe apples mostly dealt with!! (Four intact, most gone mouldy... Stewed apples and cream on the menu soon!)

Cooked cheese & onion omelette later & looked out over near-calm sea, with long rounded 2m swell from W and fog coming in on minimal wind from N. Speed down to 1.2kt.... just creeping along!

Was all ready to look at instrument problems today, as we amble along... but got very side-tracked with re-organising the aft cabin contents for easier (regular!) access to the course computer - having done which, I was at least able to de-power the AP and all the instruments in hope that the rudder bar might re-appear, as it was supposed to, on powering up again to re-set the computer... No joy... Decided to check resistances across pairs of red/green/blue wires from unit - no numerical readings displayed - so looks as though unit has gone down....

9pm Boat speed 0.0, SOG 1.4 kt!! Boat heading: 155T, COG 040T !!!

Will look at wind transducer voltage readings again tomorrow, using second display.. Calms forecast to continue... Drifting around aimlessly in fog still.....

24hr DMG at midnight local time (2300GMT): 36 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 672 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 670 n.ml. ... Had hoped to be rounding those on Sunday, but forecast light winds will definitely delay that .. My waypoint, at 45S, due S of C. Agulhas: 287 n.ml.

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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