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Day 12 - Very little wind, no engine, .. but lots of birds!

Saturday 16th March 2011

6.30pm - Just been chatting to Milo on 'Artemisia' - nice to have a radio chat from time to time! Gave her my news as I sipped a mug of tea and had my last hot cross bun .....
very little wind since 14 kt overnight reduced to 5-7kt Easterly over most of day so making only 1-2 knots on a close reach a lot of the time, sometimes N, NE or E and sometimes S, depending on the wind direction (S didn't last for long - E, possibly NE or N, are my preferred headings just now);
lots of our usual bird companions, including 2-3 yellow-nosed albatross and a Royal (been a long time since I saw one of those - fabulous...!);
had a lovely shower and washed some clothes - with oodles of hot water from motoring in near-flat calm ...... `until, at 11am, I heard a 'clonk' and motor suddenly lost revs and power.....
So no motor-power from now on... just sail-power - but that's OK - we're a sailing yacht, after all... Only down side is that it means a longer time taken to Cape Town, since I shan't be able to motor through the calms any more...

I can't believe this is happening a second time....!! The last time I came S to Cape Town (from Lanzarote in December 2009), as I waited, becalmed, with Table Mt in clear view for two days with no wind, I found my engine wouldn't start when I checked it with a view to berthing in the marina to do the rigging repairs I needed - so when the wind did finally get up (strongly and gustily, off Table Mt!), I had to sail into the harbour and on around to the marina entrance, where I was met by the Royal Cape YC dory and taken to a berth.... Looks as though we'll be having a repeat of that this time around.... (Got a bit fraught last time because I was fast-tacking to make the narrow inner entrance as all the Wednesday night racers were heading out...! Heard a few yells ... and they weren't all saying "Welcome to Cape Town, Nereida!" as one did!)

I've checked oil level and water filter ... oil was definitely low & needed topping up. water filter was cleaned but looked OK. Tomorrow, if it's not too rough, I'll check/change the seawater impellor (I've plenty of spares).

Wind is on the increase - now, 8pm, it's reached 17kt, and it's got rather bumpy with us banging into the seas as we head NNE. My plan of y'day might not happen since winds don't look as strong as forecast then... We'll see how the night works out... Max winds/ minimum pressure are expected around 'oh-so-dark' 4am... typical!

Last night a ship crossed our path well ahead ... The good news there is I saw it on my AIS display and they heard me on VHF ... the bad news is they didn't see us on their AIS screen, as they should have.

No contact with the Pacific Seafarers Net - seems I'm out of reach of them now, although I'm reaching Florida and the US East coast generally, around their sunset , I think, at around 2300GMT - although faint at times. Checked in with the M.M. Net.

Time for my meal, dressed for action in my 'foulies', while I keep an eye on the wind strength - could be a long night...

Today's report (see 'Travels' page for links to maps):

TIME: 2011/04/16 14:00
LATITUDE: 38-47.38S LONGITUDE: 033-15.78W
CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1023 TREND: -1

DMG 105 ml. 2482 ml to CT

Written by : Mike

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