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Day 169 Wed-Thurs 19-20 March 2019 More E wind - very little progress made E. Heading S now to avoid cyclone

N.B. I'll be 'live' on BBC Radio Solent Friday morning at 7:25 a.m. - they heard I'd made it halfway!

Thursday 2.20am Just noticed that we've changed course and are now headed just W of S - wind has veered to ESE-SE so it's time to gybe around onto starboard tack - to head NE, hopefully. Wind has also dropped - we're making just over 1kt... Speedy!

3:30am Gybe complete and we're now on COG 020T at just over 2kt SOG. Wind not totally sure which direction it's supposed to be coming from. Beautiful, peaceful night with moon shining through gaps in the clouds. Seas well down.
Had a problem adjusting Fred for new wind direction - finally, had to sit on supports over stern steps to see what the problem was - a long pin had got jammed by the adjusting wheel and needed to be freed - didn't take long and then Fred was able to steer on course.
Back to my bunk...

7:30am Beginning of a lovely sunny day with broken cloud and not very much swell - but also not much wind ... and what is there is from the E! Making 2.3kt SOG with COG of 012T.
Hoping deck will dry in sunshine soon and sail will dry a bit more also. Then I can set to with needle and palm to continue with adding the 'tabling' to the leech of the mainsail around the torn area.
Jobs of the day include replenishing galley area while in calm conditions and checking weather info - next week's cyclone is a worry...

Midday Checked rudder grease gland - all dry and fine. Getting on deck to start sewing - first need to release the sail - the better it's secured, the longer that takes! Need to improve my system...
First have to gybe to head S again - need to get to 44-45S within next few days if want to be in good westerlies, and avoid also the light (head)winds of a High, to give good enough boat speed to avoid that cyclone... That does not require mainsail to be finished, fortunately, since will be heading downwind most of the time but will try to get it done as soon as possible.

3:40pm Nice sunny day still, with quite good wind - but we're headed into it, so slow. Thought I should check to see what the boat was up to - so taking a quick break from my mainsail sewing - slow but sure progress there - will take a time to finish.
Heading almost due S at 2.2kt on port tack - clearly the wind has not yet backed, as it is supposed to - but will happen at some point and then we'll be heading more SE. Want to head more S over next few days, anyway. Back to my sewing...

6:50pm Light fading, threatening-looking grey rain clouds everywhere. Blue sky disappeared while I was busy sewing the mainsail - didn't even notice the clouds coming although I did notice the wind getting up and then the sun getting low. Thought I'd better stop in time to tie away the sail before dark.
Almost finished sewing the one half piece of material in place around the leech. Sail was dry enough that the narrow double-sided sticky tape was useful in holding the extra material in place, to an extent, so it didn't fly around in the breeze - wind was quite noticeably trying to move the sail around as I was working on it.
Found an excellent use for a small lavender-filled pin-cushion - a present from a friend several years ago, celebrating St Valentine's Day in Mexico. I'm placing it behind the sail as I try to push the needle through with the palm - works well since needle gets pushed through a good distance into the pin-cushion perfectly safely and then I can finish off fairly easily with the palm - an essential tool for sewing the sail - I'd never get the needle through the layers of cloth without it.
Having a welcome hot soup - feels a lot chillier now, but was quite pleasant earlier, working on deck under a clear blue sky in the sunshine.

7:30pm Dark now. Was enjoying seeing 4kt a short time ago - but that must have been in a gust - we're back down to 3kt now... and our course has veered after the gust - a typical 'cloud effect'! (Later: Clearly in gusty conditions under those big grey clouds - keep speeding up and then slowing down again - changing course a little each time.)
Will have a meal and then start on my overnight sleep routine.

Photo showing 'tabling' being added to leech of mainsail over torn length - slow work sewing with needle and palm.

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 169. We made even less 'distance made good' today - just 16 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. E wind again all day/night...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 169 (by daily DMGs):14,848 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2134n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3290 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3227 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3854 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2367 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 375 n.ml. to S; St Paul Isl: 397 n.ml.to NE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-29.31S LONGITUDE: 070-22.85E COURSE: 138T SPEED: 4.0kt
BARO: 1022.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Wind slowly backing. Gusty.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates