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Day 125 Mon-Tues 4-5 Feb 2019 Back into High pressure and light wind - some more drifting around...

Monday 9pm Fine rain .... glad it was not heavy! I might be partying but the weather takes no account of that! Suddenly spotted that the wind must have backed and gusted up a lot... We were heading NE at nearly 7kt, having been ambling along at around 4kt.

Had to don my wet weather outers, boots and headlamp and get up on deck to adjust Fred to take us off the wind more - almost on a dead run now so we might have to gybe soon, which will mean dealing with staysail pole. I though I might have had to furl in some genoa but wind died back down quite soon...we're now making 5kt ENE. I'll wait a bit - wind will either veer to previous direction, stay as is or back more...

9.30pm According to weather forecast I just checked, it will back a lot now and over tomorrow until coming from S, at which time we'll be in a High pressurre system (giving headwinds a day later). So we'll definitely have to gybe sometime soon..

Enjoyed my chicken and asparagus ... now for a touch of a nice dessert wine and chocolate to finish.

10:40pm Grinding to a halt! Speed right down now - to under 3kt. Will need to keep a careful eye on things overnight.

Tuesday 4:30am Dawn breaking - Venus and Jupiter bright above E horizon before light.

Back down below after being on deck - had to gybe around, so staysail pole had to come down and several lines organised. Now on a beam reach in 12-15kt SW wind, making 5kt, heading just S of E. Back to my bunk for a couple of hours of sleep after checking radio emails and a couple of really clear 40m contacts with US - E & W coasts - first contact with California for a long time.

7:30am Up at 6:40am for weather/position reporting, as usual. Monitored the 20m frequency that Tapio and Jari would be on, while I was busy - nothing at all heard. Put out a call at 7am, as I'd said I would, to see if either of them would hear me. 7:10am, went to 40m frequency - could hear them talking but not good enough copy to make out what they were saying (in Finnish, no doubt, anyway!). Tapio called me at 7:15am, as arranged - I could hear my callsign and "over" but not able to make out anything else - a frustrating amount of static on frequency and they were right in it. We'll have to try other times/freqs if we're to make better contact.

Still making a roughly E course when I went back to my bunk (...should have set an alarm and didn't!)

3pm Woke up at 2pm after a good sleep (surprised to have slept for so long - should have had that alarm set...) to find, to my dismay, that we were heading NNE at 2.5kt - oops! The wind had died down and backed from SW to ESE. I hurriedly tacked us around but, in the lighter wind, very close-hauled, it's difficult to make any Easting, despite unfurling the staysail to give us more canvas area, trying to give us more speed. Although the boat heading is 160T, we're struggling to maintain a S course, occasionally edging slightly E of south by only just a few degrees. Pressure is way up at 1022 - we're in the expected High pressure area with its light winds - going to be a frustrating day or two!

6.20pm Several S.African stations are making, or trying to make, contact - including Marjoke, ZS5V, whose husband Joost, ZS5S, ran a Winlink station near Durban for many years. All a matter of finding the best time and frequency so we can hear each other well enough.

Murky, damp, grey conditions under total overcast skies... and light fading now, as well.

Still struggling to make S course, even becoming a bit W of S as the light wind shifts - E is where the wind is coming from, so no chance to head that way at present... Waiting for the wind to back to the NE, as forecast.

6:45pm Had high hopes just before - wind seemed to be up and backed enough for us to make fair speed (3-3.5 kt!) just E of S. Didn't last long, though, and we were soon back to heading SSW .... but, a short while later - looking better - heading just E of S once more. The wind is very shifty just now.

A good time to be on wind-steering since we follow the wind close-hauled and when it backs more definitely to NE, we'll follow it around and make a far better course than now. In the meantime.... patience...!

Nice to see several white-chinned petrels and one Yellow-nosed albatross in the gathering twilight - seeing very few birds, in general, now.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 125. We made 62 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 125 (by daily DMGs): 11,685 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 120 n.ml. due W; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 795 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 885 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 840 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2827 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2767 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2870 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2568 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-03.39S LONGITUDE: 002-35.93E COURSE: 140T SPEED: 3.8kt


BARO: 1023.1hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Grey cloudy sky, twilight. Wind just backed nicely!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates