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Day 137 Sat-Sun 16-17 Feb 2019 Fair wind overnight but slow again over the day

Saturday 10:30pm Rain has cleared away, although dark clouds can be seen to N still. Broken cloud overhead with occasional star showing through. Wind still quite good and we're making around 6kt still but it feels as though it's dying again... getting gusty - our speed keeps dropping and then picking up again, but generally decreasing slowly.

Sea temperature is well up again - 26.3C - so we must be back in the Agulhas Current although that can't be too strong since I'm not seeing an effect on our COG compared with our boat heading.

Magnetic variation is up to 34W - far too big to be ignored! But my instruments are not accepting such a high value - I'm getting an 'invalid data' message when I try to adjust the settings manually!

Sunday 1:45am Just tried to call Tapio on 'Asteria' but there's a radio contest this weekend - all the band around that frequency was full of lots of CW transmissions (Morse Code) so it was impossible to make contact tonight - frustrating!

Back to my bunk for sleep before my next radio 'sked' at 5am LT.

VERY bumpy now - the swell has really built up with 'wind over current' effect - wind from SSW against S-flowing Agulhas Current - 26.3C sea water temperature just now.

2:30am Speed down now ... to 3.6-4.5 kt.

10am Wind lighter and from S. Boat speed around 4kt - difficult to make speed upwind and in the lighter wind. Sea temperature down to 22.4C now. Seas slightly less.

Was trying to listen on the frequencies Tapio and Jari (shore contact) were using - but nothing heard. Tapio must be OK if he's keeping to the pre-arranged radio schedule (Jari tries to keep me updated by email on frequency being used.)

2:30pm Sun is getting out between broken white cloud. Swell is not too bad but we seem to be often pounding into it, being close-hauled still in S wind of maybe 10-12kt, struggling to make a speed of only 3-3.5kt. We seem to be having many more days of light wind giving slow speed than stronger wind giving good speed - need a wind of well over 15kt and, preferably, for us to be headed downwind. Any upwind travel immediately gives poor boat speed - that's when the damaged mainsail is badly missed.

Noticed last night that a small section of the reverse side of the genoa UV strip has come loose and is flapping - can only get worse but nothing to be done until we're in calm conditions (where have I heard that before?) - the genoa is effectively the main sail at present.

5:30pm Made good radio contact with some West coast ham friends in USA - first time since Pacific on this trip - similar to first time on last nonstop trip - that was on 16th Feb 2013, today is just one day later!

Broken cloud - lots of blue in between. Sun beginning to get low in the sky... Ambling slowly at 3.5kt in 10-12kt S wind.... trying to head more NE but rather dependent on wind - Fred doing a fine job, as usual. Pressure right up now - at 1022.3 hPa. Sea temperature down at 22C.

Making a stew - frying a chopped up onion, will add sliced potatoes, sweetcorn, green beans, tomatoes and beef chunks with gravy plus extra beef gravy if needed.. Hope to have easy 'ready' meals for 2-3 days... Later: Propane just ran out as I finished cooking.... good/lucky timing! A relief! Could have been earlier and then - no hot stew until daylight tomorrow...! Must change the gas tank in the morning - should be fairly calm so, although means spending a time with a big spanner in an aft deck lazarette, shouldn't be a problem. As it is, I'm enjoying the result - a tasty, hot meal. (I do actually have a back up of a small camping-style stove with gas cartridge but it's only for small quantities of food or water - single-serving amounts)

1900GMT (=2100LT) - end of Day 137. We made 102 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Pleased and surprised that we made just over 100 miles!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 137 (by daily DMGs): 12,898 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 4023 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4817 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 470 n.ml. to N; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 566 n.ml. to N.

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

TIME: 2019/02/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-33.50S LONGITUDE: 027-52.74E COURSE: 051T SPEED: 3.0kt


BARO: 1023.4hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Very slow most of today - in High now.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates