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Day 127 Wed-Thurs 6-7 Feb 2019 Rough cinditions overnight and into morning, then calmed down

Wednesday 10pm Wind and seas still up and air is very moist, almost foggy, after rain earlier - more to come, possibly. Unfurled some genoa earlier to help make better speed. Later, adjusted Fred to bear away more (off the wind) - our speed increased noticeably - maybe the trysail is making a difference downwind? Making 5.5-6 kt, and now heading ENE, having changed from SE after a look at the latest forecast of the weather ahead - forecast has changed a lot!

7am Very rough night with wind over 20kt and even rougher now - wind has backed and increased a bit more so we're now heading NE in NW wind. Seas are rather confused and wash the decks quite often. We're making around 6.5-7 kt. A Cold Front is passing over, so wind will keep on backing until it becomes WSW this evening and SW around midnight - so a gybe will be needed late this afternoon sometime.

A touch of sunshine is nice to see - just shone into the cabin...first for quite a time... Some gaps appearing between the clouds - sometimes still overcast, other times slightly broken cumulus - fluffy white clouds with blue between...

10am Went up to adjust the wind steering control (Fred the Hydrovane) - raining - had to don my wet gear to do that... Took a long time getting things just right in the strong winds (~25kt) - had to adjust amount of helm using wheel, which is lashed down when Fred takes over, so each adjustment means undoing and re-doing the wheel lashing. Back down, all settled for a time, I thought. Off with outer wear and hung it up (not that it dries but it has to drip somewhere!), glanced at screen - off course.... Needed to get back up and adjust again... curses! ON with outer wear again.. back up.. saw to Fred... back down. Every little thing takes a time! This time I'm keeping my outer wear on for a time! It hardly got wet, so not a problem.

1:30pm Had a short nap - the rain came in and with it the wind died down further and very suddenly backed to W.... so I found us heading nearly NNE in the rain. Was glad to be already in my wet gear! Adjusted Fred, so we're now on a very broad reach, and unfurled a lot more genoa to speed us up - we were making only 3.5-4 kt, now over 5kt, but best course we can make on this tack is nearly NE - soon, we'll have to gybe around as the wind backs further.

Time for some lunch....as the wind dies even further.... Pressure still low at 1005 hPa.

Delighted to read that Tapio has safely rounded Cape Horn - on the home stretch now - up the Atlantic.

It's so quiet and peaceful without the wind noise in the rigging...! Pitter, patter of raindrops on the coachroof, gurgling and swish of water past the hull... The downside of the sudden dying of the wind is the swell never dies down as quickly - so we're still rolling around a lot and being thrown around at times as a bigger wave comes along and catches us on the beam. Going downwind is always so much gentler and we're making 4.5kt, so not too bad - yet...

4:30pm Edge of grey cloud layer is showing astern - clear blue beyond... Wind very light but seas still a good 3-4m and close - impressive to view!

White-chinned petrels and a Yellow-nosed albatross seen earlier - they often disappear when wind dies down.

Trying to decide how soon to gybe - think I'll do it early while still daylight - just furled in staysail - not doing much, except blanketing the genoa, and one less item to deal with when gybing. Would have poled it out if I weren't about to gybe. Wind now from W and will back to WSW at some point soon.

7pm Lovely clear sky overhead with a few white scattered clouds ahead and a low bank of dark grey cloud on the W horizon - lovely thin crescent moon up above the cloud bank.

A pair of storm petrels are flitting just above the sea surface - they always look so busy, darting around, long legs seemingly touching the water. Petrels and an albatross are also still around, not far away.

Seas are still well up but will feel better once we've gybed - about to do that before it gets dark.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 127. We made 121 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 127 (by daily DMGs): 11,921 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 584 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 682 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 650 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2976 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2972 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2952 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2780 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.45S LONGITUDE: 007-12.56E COURSE: 112T SPEED: 4.5kt


BARO: 1007.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C

COMMENT: Gybed around in W wind - expecting wind to back to WSW/SW

Written by : Jeanne Socrates