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Day 157 Fri-Sat 8-9 March 2019 Disaster averted - Fred's rudder nearly lost!

Saturday 5:30am Sunrise - sun just peeking from below solid grey cloud cover everywhere else - misty slight rain.
Lots of noise on radio at 0230Z making difficult copy of stations normally heard very well on 7160kHz - poor propagation today!
Back for more sleep, having sent weather & position report.

10:30am We were making 4.1kt for a time - I almost got excited, getting hopeful of making some half-decent progress... but we've now dropped to 3.2kt. Pity better speed didn't last long -- but 3kt is better than 1-2 kt ... Maybe we're getting closer to that elusive wind? Adjusted Fred for slightly more E of SSE course.

Breakfast and then to work on preparing for mainsail repair - lots of different jobs needing to be done by way of preparation, several on deck, a few down below, before I can actually get to sewing the 'tabling' (material added to both sides, around leech) onto the mainsail.

2:30pm Making 3.0kt still. Sun shining hazily through thin cloud layer. Working at mast, looking at organising tying of mainsail to enable releasing the top section to work on, while seas relatively calm.

Expecting wind to back towards S this evening, as a Front passes by.

6:15pm Back down below as light is fading, rather wet around my legs and feet. They got a very good wash as I leaned over from the steps of the stern 'sugar scoop' while seeing to Fred. I paused my work at the mast connected with the mainsail problem, because the swell is so smooth and I remembered that Fred needed attention also. A good thing I went to have a look - the wind steering rudder was about to fall off!!

The long pin holding it in place on the rudder stock had lost its security clip and was half out.... Phew!! It was quickly pushed back into place and then I wired through the hole where the security clip goes - and then noticed the clip was dangling nearby on its leash. I'd used an 'R' clip and it had worked its way loose and out - most odd to think how it managed to do that - somehow it must have been pulled to make that happen.

I'd gone to check on another problem - TG I did!

As I was leaning out working over the stern, getting rather splashed, a white-chinned petrel decided to sit nearby and keep me company!

After my wiring of the 'gear lever' in place, I'd been in touch with John Curry of Hydrovane to check what I could do further. As a result, I took a hammer and screwdriver to bang another pin back into place that was protruding far too much - an axle was loose. Access to the head of the pin was not easy - that's why the flat end of the screwdriver was needed. A very good thing there is not a lot of swell just now - could only do it safely in fairly calm conditions since it involved leaning out over the stern and around the far side of the Hydrovane, holding the flat screwdriver head in place while I banged on it with the hammer. There are times when being stuck in a High pressure system has its benefits! Hopefully, Fred will no longer have a 'headache' and will behave better now. He was definitely having trouble coping earlier today.
Sea temperature is 22C, so not too cold, but I'm looking forward to some hot soup and dry clothing....

8pm Feeling much warmer now - dry clothes and hot soup work wonders - and my feet and ankles are really clean and enjoying fresh socks! Having a dehydrated meal - quick and easy - and not too bad tasting...

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 157. We made 55 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Better than expected!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 157 (by daily DMGs):14,067 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2981 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4090 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3991 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1531 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 887 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1196 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 166 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-31.85S LONGITUDE: 051-36.83E
COURSE: 115T SPEED: 3.4kt
BARO: 1011.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Windshift expected soon - to SSW?

Written by : Jeanne Socrates