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Day 174 Mon-Tues 24-25 March 2019 Slow sewing in middle of High

Tuesday 1am About to gybe around onto ENE after posting position, weather and news updates.... Wind about 12-15kt, and we're making 4.5kt at present under cloudy sky and in lessening wind, as we come into yet another High...

1:45am Gybed onto starboard - still making 4.5kt, headed ENE. Back to my bunk...

6:45am Daylight - grey and cloudy, with a heavy rain shower under steel grey clouds off to starboard, but dry here. Pressure building as we begin to pass through a High pressure cell.. Sea rolling us around a lot - will get a couple more hours of sleep after 0200Z sched on 7160 and hope it dies down a bit more. Would be good to get some more sewing done on the mainsail if I can since today is the best chance for a time.

8:30am Had no sleep but did have a good contact with the DX expedition boat to Bouvet Island at 0215Z/7:15LT - still 180ml away from landfall. I hadn't realised they'd be putting up their antennas on top of a glacier on the island. I knew it was cold there, being well S, but not that cold!! Spoke to Dom, E51DOM, and also Marcin, SP5ES, on board the boat at 52S 006E. Seas from E at 3m and wind N 10kt - let's hope they can land safely with all their gear in the 3 Zodiacs that will be taking them on to the rocky shore - a hazardous landing which may or may not be tomorrow, depending on the sea state - safe landings are paramount...

Sun is getting out a lot more now, in clearing cloud, and the moon is high up also. Seas still a good 3-4m, so still rolling around a lot.

Just gybed around, seeing W-WNW wind - and now I see it has promptly gone to WSW/240T - so we'll need to gybe around now, back onto starboard tack again... Oh well - back on deck!

9am Gybed back onto starboard - now making 075T, roughly ENE, at just under 3kt downwind on a very broad reach in WSW 9kt wind - this will not be a day of big DMG. Seems to me that the wind generator is a better, more reliable indicator of the apparent wind direction than the on-and-off wind display.

Slight drizzle starting up - grey cloud has come over to hide the sun but should pass over soon.

Time for breakfast.

2:20pm Gybed onto port after checking weather update - we're still dodging the remains of the cyclone when it gets down this way, so it's best to try to head NNE-NE as much as possible now, rather than E-ENE, given a choice. It looks as though the deep Low it will have become is expected to be just SW of our present position early next week.

Wind is WSW 6kt - not much to be done to improve our rate of progress from the 2kt we're making now! The wind generator is frequently not turning at all - a good indication of light or non-existent wind.

Occasional slight drizzle from the scattered big clouds around. Swell is making us roll a lot but I'm trying to get some sewing done on the more-easily-accessed section of the sail - near the top batten - having got it down on deck. Having to be careful to stay safe on deck while working in the swell.

6pm Getting dark now - sunset was a while ago. I just finished a section of sewing in time to put the sail away carefully as the sun was setting. I'm not sure if it will be possible to work on it tomorrow but it's looking hopeful.

The sewing was really difficult - every push of the needle through the layers of fabric takes a time, with a lot of effort needed to achieve the needle getting through to the other side - and then more effort to push it all the way through and out...! Not being able to push down onto a hard surface is a definite handicap and I'm not looking forward to stitching the next section of 'tabling' around the leech. I need to come up with a plan to keep myself safe when working above the hard top, or leaning on the sloping windscreen to work there - it's not going to be simple and definitely not fast!

We're right in the middle of the High now - pressure is 1026 hPa and the wind has been 4-6kt all day long - so speed has been well down at mostly just under 2kt, heading NE now, NNE for much of the day.

We should be able to stay on port tack for the next few days, with wind anywhere from N to SW as a Cold Font approaches and then passes over on Thursday into Friday. We could get another dose of very strong winds- 40kt or more, with very big seas for a time, but hopefully, I'll be more prepared this time, knowing it's a possibility. It would help if my wind display were to keep displaying!

7pm/1400GMT Time to have some thick soup and start on my sleep routine if I'm to work in the morning - it's all too easy to look at the GMT showing on my instruments and forget we're five hours ahead - 7am GMT = midday local time! (Next time zone, Z+6, will begin as we cross the 82.5 degrees E line of longitude later this week.)

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 174. We made 61 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 174 (by daily DMGs):15,304 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1704 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2862 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2813 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3480n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2787 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 558 n.ml. to SW; St Paul Isl: 314 n.ml.to N/NNW

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

TIME: 2019/03/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-33.02S LONGITUDE: 080-13.94E COURSE: 040T SPEED: 1.8kt


BARO: 1026.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Calm sea in middle of High!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates