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Day 116 Sat-Sun 26-27 Jan 2019 Spectacled petrel seen , at last! Not far from Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island where they breed

Saturday A good day's work on mainsail - all torn edges taped together now - needs some more work to reinforce.

Wind died soon after sunset so furled in genoa that was flapping to save wear and just drifted for several hours. Wind has been feom SE pior to that, so unable to make a good course.

Sunday 3am Up from bunk for radio on 40m - stations from USA, Canada, Argentina - mostly familiar ones spoken to before.

A beautiful night - clear overhead with quite a lot of cloud over the horizons. Bright moon high up, Southern Cross, Venus and Jupiter in E - both very bright.

Light wind from W - unfurled genoa and got underway SE - lovely gentle night sailing! Making 2.7kt.

5:45am Up again to send position and weather reports while have radio propagation soon after dawn - normally lose it within a short time, until late afternoon. Mostly using Neil, VE1YZ, in Nova Scotia, but Cape Town, ZS1RS, 1585ml away, is getting better by the day. Very many thanks to Tom, N5TW, for so much help up to now in getting connected to WL2K - Austin, Texas, is now just a little too far for my rig to connect to!

10am Making 3.4kt - wind increased a bit... 10kt? Sky covered in bright, white cloud layer.

Managed to download emails and weather over breakfast and coffee - spent a time poring over weather info, as usual. Seems Mark has his work cut out to make up two days on Jean-Luc - unlikely to manage it - will take a miracle for that to happen! I hear 'Spindrift' are making use of the strong winds to the S of here in their RTW speed record attempt.

About to work on mainsail - want to add some long reinforcing strips at right angles to, and over, the edge. Swell up a from earlier light swell of 2m or so - hope not too much. Have a small window this morning before wind increases as we lose the High and next weather system comes closer. Pressure not quite so high now - down to 1026hPa from 1032hPa yesterday.

11:20am Gybed on to port tack, SOG 3.5kt. Making much better course towards Gough Island in NW wind. Sky still totally clouded over.

Heard the loud bird call again - an albatross courting??

Cargo vessel 'GH Rich Wall' 18ml to N - making 13kt, headed for Hamriyah. Seeing quite a lot of traffic to and from S.America and S.Africa and beyond over last few days.

Back to mainsail - haven't achieved much so far this morning - too many other things getting in the way.

1:15pm Suddenly realised we were heading NE - too much lee helm on wheel - Fred struggling to fight it - all good now wheel centred but all time taken from getting on with mainsail work. Wind increasing slowly and swell with it - having to be very careful...

Added cable tie onto bitter end of bowline in each long string holding scissors and tape to my harness - scissors line came undone with no tension on the knot yesterday - don't want to lose either overboard.

2pm Feeling very frustrated! Didn't take me long to realise that with increased swell rolling us about all the time - up to 3m or more (far bigger than yesterday) - my planned job was well nigh impossible without more hands available... Access is needed to both sides of the sail simultaneously to stick one length around the leech edge onto both sides - quite a long length - and the tape needs to be tensioned before being positioned if it's not to stick to itself. Not feasible without two hands and need one hand to hold on in swell most of the time. The roll of tape is also quite heavy so can't be left while sticking tape down without holding onto it - tape often has to be cut shorter than I'd like.

I've had to content myself with rubbing the tape everywhere accessible to help it stick even more firmly - couldn't leave the sail ties holding sail to boom untied but I could hold onto the boom with one arm while rubbing hard with the the other hand (actually, back of a nail!) I'll keep an eye on the wind and sea state over today but it looks as though that job will have to wait for calmer conditions.....grrr!!

If it weren't for that job on my mind all the time, I could be enjoying what is actually a very pleasant sail, often in bright sunshine. The wind is up so we're making way nicely at well over 4kt but it's shifty, so Fred needs adjusting occasionally to keep us on course. In fact, that's a lesson in patience - the adjustment often takes a time to show a result so I have to leave Fred to his own devices for a while and then look to see where we're headed. Sometimes the wind does the job for me and we're suddenly back on course with an opposite wind shift.

Solitary white-chinned petrel is soaring back and forth astern of us on fixed wings - rarely flapping them. Occasionally, a wing tip will touch the sea surface, it glides so close - graceful to watch.

4pm Tea-time! Cleared up in galley and now making a big stew in pressure cooker - sliced potatoes, chopped onion, beef chunks in gravy, celery, green (French) beans, white beans, sweetcorn and a touch of fresh chopped garlic...plus beef bouillon to taste, if needed Should last several days of easy evening meals. Water is one-third seawater from seawater tap - adds minerals and saves fresh water. Pressure-cooking potatoes first saves on propane.

6pm Spectacled petrel seen!! Definite white seen around eyes as it swooped close to Nereida! Maybe that's what I saw earlier?

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 116. We made only 49 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Drifting overnight from 6pm to 3am in no wind didn't help the distance made.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 116 (by daily DMGs): 10,958 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2290 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2054 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2158 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1881 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1600 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 142n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-18.04S LONGITUDE: 013-09.35W COURSE: 095T SPEED: 4.6kt


BARO: 1021.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Broken cloud layer over, clear sky astern, rain cloud ahead.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates