Thursday 7:50pm Change of time zone - into Greenwich Mean Time (= time in U.K.) now!
Sunset behind low cloud. Wind slowly increasing, backed slightly. SOG 5.7kt. Another small adjustment to Fred to head off wind a bit more. Getting ready for strong conditions expected - wind, seas and rain - coming by midday tomorrow and on into Saturday.
9pm Furled in genoa a bit more and unfurled staysail while still some twilight to see by. SOG 5.3kt - a bit slower than before but that's OK. As wind increases overnight and into tomorrow,, will furl in genoa until we're just flying the staysail.
11:30pm Making 5.5-6kt. Lovely starry sky overhead - Southern Cross high in S and 'upside-down' Orion high in N. No need to adjust Fred - all good for now... A few radio contacts made on 7163 at 2300Z but conditions not too good - lots of static on frequency.
Had 1-2 hrs' sleep - back to bunk after hot food finished.
Friday 3:30am A yellow crescent moon rising low down in SE forming a line with Venus and Jupiter - two bright planets - quite a spectacular sight and very eye-catching... Milky Way strewn across the sky and myriads of stars everywhere - more than making up for the rain and clouds coming in soon, later today...!
6:40am Sky clouded over - daylight. All's well. Small amount of sail, making just 4kt in 20kt wind from WNW, seas not built up yet, so still 2.5m from WNW. Waiting for wind to build more - and expecting rain this afternoon....
'Star Planet' passing to N at 12kt, making for Singapore - ETA 22Feb. Most of the traffic is keeping to 40S - we're just 11-12 miles S of that latitude.
Back to my bunk for another hour or two of sleep, after sending position and weather report.
10am Finally getting brighter - the sun has been struggling to get through the cloud layer all morning and it's now nearly making it. We're making 5kt in more wind - about 24kt. Seas not much more than earlier but expected to build later.
A Chinese ship heading E, but to S of us - another ship was seen to N of us a short while ago. All the ships I'm seeing are heading E - it seems maybe there's a W-going lane to N of here somewhere?
11:30am Very noisy on deck with wind whistling and moaning in the rigging - a sure sign of Force 5-6 wind (F5: 17-21kt, F6: 22-27kt) or more. Seas are rough and almost on the beam - often with crests tumbling a little as they come onto us. Regularly, a wave washes the deck if we catch it at the right moment as its crest breaks beside us.. Lots of 'white horses' - another sign of F5 or more.
Down below., it's noisy but less so than on deck and the noise of the wind in the rigging is muted.
2:20pm Sun disappeared quite a time ago, behind solid grey overcast layer. Boat is rolling about all the time in the seas - 5 sec period means they're very close. Lunch and then a nap.....
4:30pm Spent a time on deck, under grey skies, watching the big seas roll in with large white patches of foam on the surface from tumbling crests - pretty stormy-looking seas! Listening to the sound of the wind in the rigging and watching how Nereida rises to the waves and comes down the other side got rather hypnotic - was difficult to tear myself away and come back down below. We're making around 5kt in winds of 25-30kt and Fred is coping fine. Waiting for the rain to come - none so far but pretty certain to arrive sometime soon.
6:30pm Definitely very 'boisterous' conditions now... Tried to head slightly more to starboard onto our planned course from the course we've been making so far but it put us totally beam on to what are now very big seas with tumbling crests in strong wind - threatening to knock us over - so decided to run off more downwind - feels a lot better and safer with the seas coming from astern, onto our port quarter. Means we're heading almost SE for a bit but we'll change course again when the wind subsides tomorrow sometime - probably not until mid-morning. In the meantime, we're making a much better speed, around 6.5kt, and if there's a wind shift, we'll change course with it. Have only had a shower or two so far, not the heavy rain expected - still on its way, maybe?
1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 121. We made 115 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 121 (by daily DMGs): 11,385 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1172 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2609 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2475 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2580 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2278 n.ml. to WNW
Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.88S LONGITUDE: 003-51.90W COURSE: 124T SPEED: 6.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 30kt WIND_DIR: 350T SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 4.5m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1006.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Running more downwind - seas getting big in strong wind.