Day 12 Close-hauled heading to SE as wind backs... but cockpit is DRY!!

Saturday 6th November

The wind stayed W during the night and over today, but slowly continued to back... from NNW to the present SW, our course changing accordingly from due S to SE - from a beam reach to being as close-hauled as reasonable speed will allow - presently (3pm PDT), around 5 knots. We're well-heeled over, although I did reduce the genoa in an attempt to stop the excessive heeling of earlier. The stays'l is useful in these conditions and we've two reefs in the centred mains'l. wind strength is around 20knots now but got quite light overnight so our speed suffered, being on a run at that time.

At 5am PDT, I was up, as usual, making my noon UTC position and weather report .... What a beautiful night!! Such a clear sky, the stars were amazing.... and the cockpit was DRY, so once I'd trimmed the sails for beam reaching, I was able to pause and really enjoy the moment.... A short while later, seeing our speed down at 3.5 kt, I unfurled the stays'l and more genoa... our speed went up to 5.2 kt and, being still dark, I decided not to risk Providence by letting out another reef in the mains'l - and went back to my bunk for some more sleep before dawn instead....

Up at 8.20am, not so long after dawn, for the Gt Northern Boaters Net on 3870 kHz.... but the wind had backed further & the sails needed attention before I could try to contact them, which I only just managed to do - distance away is getting too much for the frequency now ...The sky was clouding over, to become totally overcast again during the day ... Friends in San Francisco that I'm now passing told me they'd had sun for the last week - but now thick fog... Clearly my timing is bad!

I'm typing this as I lie in my bunk with the boat regularly crashing into the waves (2m or more), still well-heeled over, and with seas washing the deck quite often ... but I did tidy up the odd fallen item just before, so we're fairly shipshape at present. Shortly, I'll cook some food - unless I start to do that during daylight hours, it tends not to happen - at least not when we're in rough conditions.

Clocks go back in US & Canada tonight - they changed last weekend in the UK. I'm keeping to Pacific Time (PST now, not PDT) since that's the time kept by people on the occasional radio Net I check in to for a chat. Confusingly, BST stands for British Summer Time, one hour ahead of UTC, whereas PST stands for Pacific Standard Time.. with their summer daylight-saving time being referred to as PDT - Pacific Daylight Time!

Best distance so far this trip in a 24hr period yesterday - a mere 116 n. ml !! Nothing like the 120-150 ml or more I'm used to seeing... Should improve once I get to the NE Trades.

Written by : Mike

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