Day 17 from Hobart - a lovely day's sail followed by drifting in almost no wind

Wednesday 16th May 2012 (GMT - strictlly speaking, it's Tuesday according to my longitude, just east of the Dateline which is on meridian 180 degrees!)

What a difference a day makes...!

After yesterday's nasty weather and big problems, it was great to have sunshine and wind. Even though the wind was rather variable over the day, we were often sailing at a good speed, eventually with poled out staysail on a broad reach. Seas stayed up for most of the day at around 4-5 m - quite big and knocking us about regularly.

But by evening, the occasional light shower had become heavy rain, with occasional lightning, and almost NO WIND... I suddenly realized that not having an autopliot that worked was a problem - we could have motored very gently on our course with a working AP - but not without one since the very light apparent wind generated wouldn't be enough for the windsteering to take over.. (Seems I'd better prioritize fixing the AP system.) I noticed that what little wind there was came from the N - not helpful for a NE course. In fact, as I write this, the wind is 7 knots from NNE... Fred, our windsteering crew-member, is presently managing to keep us going roughly due E at 1 knot!

Pressure is down at 988 hPa and we'll just have to wait for the expected NW wind to arrive - all indications are that it wil possibly become strong Southerly soon after. I hope I don't have to wait too long!

No mention of birds recently because I've hardly seen any - just a single Flesh-footed Shearwater early today and a Sooty Shearwater yesterday. ... quite different from the passages full of birdlife up to now.

24hr DMG to 1pm NZT today: 107 n. ml.

Approx position now: 39S, 173W 446 n.ml. E of Napier on NZ's North Island, in Hawke Bay.

Written by : Mike

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