Day 149 Thurs-Fri 28 Feb-1st March 2019 Happy St David's Day - daffodils and leeks for the Welsh!

Midnight Heavy rain, wind very much increased - gusted to 50kt or more?... Moaning in the rigging. Wind generator overpowered and not sounding happy - turned it off - no difference... Wind has backed to NW from NNW and our speed of drift has increased dramatically to 3-3.5kt in this really strong wind.

Received this email from Stephen, on research vessel 'Thompson' (KTDQ) heading to their research position on the Marion Rise, near Marion island (see https://www.marionrise.org/)

"We are about 100 miles west of your position and just going through the system you have been talking about. We had gusts over 90 here but it is moving fast and winds have moderated. We are at -40 23.8 and 41 46.5 - very quick wind shift from approximately 300T to 200T wind got up to over 100 and quickly dropped back down to 30-35 knots."

Friday 6:20am Very noisy still with strong wind around 35-40kt. Seas very big at 5m/16ft, maybe more - difficult to gauge their height but they're pretty enormous and we're being thrown around a lot....

JSD is keeping our stern to the seas and wind. Wind has backed so we're drifting E now, in W wind, showing centre of Low has moved on to the SE but we're still very much in its system. Will take a time for it to move away -region of big swell is very extensive.

SOG around 2kt - up and down as we surge back and forth on the waves.

Sunny, with clear sky overhead, just some cloud on horizon.

Thought of going on deck to take a photo - but then thought better of it - best to stay safe, in case we get pooped at that moment!

Back to my warm, soft, safe bunk for some more sleep...

9:30am Wind SW now and down to somewhere around 25kt but seas still very big - rolling us around a lot but further apart than earlier. Broken cloud over much of the sky.

Had a problem opening hatch to get out on deck from the companionway - jammed by some cord - eventually managed to dislodge it to escape!

Will have breakfast and wait for seas to die down a bit more before retrieving the series drogue so we can move on E.

Midday Was just about to go up and start retrieving the JSD when it clouded over and wind really gusted up to over 30kt. Decided to wait for it to calm down again but even after cloud cleared away, wind has stayed up around 25kt and gusty, so still waiting for it to drop more to make retrieving JSD possible - will have less drag on it if wind is lighter. Seas still big and frequently tossing us around.

4:20pm Looking at weather just downloaded, it seems these seas won't get to below 4m/13ft until 3am tomorrow morning, and not to under 3m/10ft until tomorrow evening - that's a long time to wait. In the meantime, the wind is quite good now, at 20kt from the W. So I'll see if I can get the JSD in now, before light goes, despite the big seas, in order to get sailing E sooner rather than later....

Raining now - was just finishing some soup before going on deck, so good timing!

630pm Well, having got organised to retrieve the JSD, the wind was still too strong and the seas too big for me to do it - pity! The retrieval line is lead from the bridle end to a winch and is winched in when the line goes slack as we rise up and down on a wave. Because of the size of the seas, it kept jumping out of the stern fairlead.

When the line comes under tension, the wind is still so strong that it puts too great a load on the line. It's very easy to bring the line in with the bridle as it goes slack, but then the whole force of the JSD goes onto that line, not onto the bridle.

Either the retrieval line needs to be far stronger than at present, or it can only be brought in when conditions are far lighter. I can't change the retrieval line now the JSD is already deployed and the wind has just gusted up again with nightfall and rain clouds around. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if conditions have eased enough to try again then. Disappointing - I was hoping to be underway by now.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 149. We made 25 n.ml. DMG, drifting 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 149 (by daily DMGs): 13,746 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 317552 n.ml. to ENE; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4169 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1379 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1471 n.ml. to WNW; Marion Isl: 663 n.ml SW; Kerguelen Isl: 1086 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1352 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 322 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2019/03/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-55.12S LONGITUDE: 048-24.49E COURSE: 104T SPEED: 0.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 23kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 5.0m

BARO: 1011hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Still lying to series drogue - seas and wind too much to retrieve still

Written by : Jeanne Socrates