Thursday evening - Feeling calm with light wind and good-sized swell, but well spaced. Clear sky with lots of stars initially and waning near-full moon shining brightly. Just about making 3 kt or more
Friday 5:30am Sunrise before 5am LT - high, thin stratus with some blue patches. Wind veered overnight to W so nearly dead downwind now, making 3.5kt. No birds yet. Sending position/weather report. Air 17C, sea 21C.
Big pile up of stations making contact from 4.30am onward - mostly from US but VO1CAL still managing just about to make contact from Newfoundland! Nice to have several friends calling in.
Back to my bunk for more sleep.
10am High, thin stratus layer with hazy sun shining through. Air and sea temperatures down- sea around 17C - just less than air. Rolling around in swell - still a good size, from SW.
Having breakfast while dealing with emails and studying weather update and possible routing - will gybe onto port tack shortly - wind has veered into WNW so will head roughly E then.
11:20am On port tack now, 320 n.miles N of the scientific station on tiny Marion Island and 1380 n.miles S of the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique, on the Mozambique Channel. Lovely, smooth, peaceful, downwind sailing in bright sunshine!
Albatross soaring not far away. Seas well up, at 3m or more, and coming onto our stern from WSW - no problem. Time to get some breakfast - not had anything so far - keep thinking GMT - but we're two hours ahead.. Fruit juice to start with (mango today), then cereal with nuts, seeds and dried fruit... Fresh coffee sounds good - it's not too rough now to put the pot on.
Major clean-up in the galley. Having finished my stew yesterday, the pressure cooker needed attention, plus a few other items - nice to have it all clean and tidy. And the coffee is great!
3pm Made a major course change a couple of hours or so ago, after studying grib files showing weather ahead and a related email from Peter, ZL1PWM. Totally missed the SAMM Net, being busy on deck.. (SAMM = S. African Maritime Mobile)
There are three big weather systems coming up, that I'll need to avoid the worst of, if possible:
1. A Low with strong Cold Front crossing our path, headed SE from E.African coast, ETA 27/8th Feb
2. A nasty-looking Low heading E, ETA 1/2March passing right over us unless we get above its centre in time - if we can. Looks as though it has quite a kick to it.
3. Tropical cyclone (it's the season for them) forecast to come down from Madagascar, ETA on 8th March around 33S 77E tracking SE, with winds of 80 knots in its SW quadrant which is close to where we might be around then, at 40S... Still a long way ahead, so things could change a lot, but something clearly to keep a good eye on as we head E. Might need a major evading tactic if it develops as predicted just now.
So .... we're now rushing along ENE at the incredible speed of 3.7kt (!) to see how far N we can get in next 6 days... Apart from lack of mainsail available, there's the small problem of High pressure areas on the way - so even lighter winds than the 10kt or less I'm seeing now, to slow us down. If we can maintain 4kt average SOG, we can make it, otherwise we'll be in for a repeat, or stronger, of the rough conditions we had a few days ago - not the end of the world but good to avoid if possible!
Either I might need to deploy the Jordaan Series Drogue (JSD) or I might just keep going under trysail and small staysail - all depends on situation at the time. Being Southern Ocean weather, it could all change overnight... It's the big, close together, tumbling seas that build up quickly with strong winds that become a problem... I shall make another big thick soup/stew in advance - nice to have quick, easy, satisfying, hot meals in stormy weather.
In the meantime, I'm editing my bird photos from yesterday evening - another sunset-and-birds shot plus more albatrosses and white-chinned petrels - there was a big gang of them swooping around last evening! Today, very few - just an albatross seen, in fact. Have realised that the young albatross being mainly chocolate brown makes it and its parents Wandering Albatrosses - confirmed by black end on their white tail - Royal albatrosses have all-white tails (some maybe have just a few dark feathers) and seems their young are not dark brown.
Still feeling very peaceful - very relaxing....
5:30pm Sun getting low - need to change the clock another hour forward - we passed over the 'new time zone marker' at 037 30'E sometime early this afternoon - so local time now is actually 6:30pm, as in Nairobi, Istanbul and Moscow - I'll change it after the end of this log report...
Wind has died down further - we're making just 3.3kt. Having a simple evening meal of tuna and sweetcorn with a little mayonnaise - it's been warm enough today not to need a hot meal - and no cooking is required!
6:30pm Sun has set - looking rather like a bank of low cloud in the W. Not a bird in sight tonight... but I have lots of photos of them.
8:30pm Moon is rising, very bright, first stars are showing, thin cloud layer spreading over. Wind up slightly - better SOG now...
1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 142. We made 79 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 142 (by daily DMGs): 13,234 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3557 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4423 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 932 n.ml. to NW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1027 n.ml. to NW. Halfway point: 778 n.ml.
Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/22 20:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-24.89S LONGITUDE: 037-56.44E COURSE: 074T SPEED: 4.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 50%
BARO: 1018.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Slow progress in light wind most of the day.