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Day 21

Monday 15th November

3 weeks into passage... And just as slow as very soon after I started - almost NO Wind ... at 4am this morning, 3-5 knots of wind from N-ENE, boatspeed around 1-2 knots!

9.30am Wind still only 4 knots, anywhere from roughly N to NE and so that makes it very difficult to keep the boat pointing in the right direction on a broad reach, trying to head S-SSE when only making speed of 1.0 knot!...

Solar input is up to 8-11A with the sun trying to get out from a rather overcast sky - that's good!

Just finished checking in to and listening to the 'chit-chat' on several Nets... Interesting how so many people in the USA and Canada, many on land, not just cruisers on boats, keep in contact daily by taking part in radio Nets, or simply use Ham radio to keep in regular contact with each other. I think it has to be due to the big distances so often separating people in the two countries - it's so much more popular than in Europe, where distances are so much less. Being at sea, a good distance from land, it gives me a chance to 'meet' new people, discuss problems and chat 'live' in a relaxed way, without it costing an arm and a leg, as satphone calls would do....

About to see if I can find out what the problem is with my ship's VHF radio - confirmed yesterday as not transmitting. (That's after I've finished downloading
some weatherfaxes). Means getting (with difficulty!) to behind the instrument panel yet again..... grrr! At least it's fairly calm at present. Maybe I'll be able to see why my SSB radio has lost its GPS input while I'm back there..... and have another go at fixing the lost connection between the same VHF radio and the AIS unit... I'm always amused when people are surprised at me saying I normally don't have time to read many novels while underway... there's invariably something to fix! (And getting&studying weather info, replying to emails and writing up my daily log also takes a lot of time - not to mention the small matter of keeping the boat sailing on course as efficiently as I can, in the varying wind conditions!)

Evening: Good news! The VHF radio connections are back together again, hopefully correctly! It took me ages searching through lots of folders in the aft cabin for the manual (which eventually turned out to have been neatly stowed beside the chart table in a sensible place I'd forgotten about), only to find it of not much help. My problem was that there were two possible pairs of connectors in the VHF control unit which could take the pair of red/black bare-ended wires I'd found immediately on opening up behind the instrument panel at the chart table. But on the basis of elimination, and knowing that if I did get things badly wrong, I had a spare handset, I made my choice.

Problem then was not knowing how to fix the two wires firmly in place.... I had no idea how to do it, never having played with these particular radio connections before...but fortunately, with access being so difficult, I decided to remove the connector block to get a good look at it - lo and behold, the wires were held in place by metal pieces tightened by tiny screws I'd not been able to see before - I had thought the wires were somehow gripped in the small holders by springy metal - this was much simpler! So that was finally dealt with and the wires tidied up.

"In for a penny, in for a pound" ... I delved deeper and removed the Pactor modem and HF/SSB radio front to see if I could restore the missing GPS input to the radio - another loose connection dealt with ... YES - success! Lat/long/UTC - all displayed again... I felt I deserved the dark chocolate I rewarded myself with later, after my meal!!

As I was writing this, it was all action - I had to go on deck to adjust the sails, which were flapping - the wind had veered a lot so it was now for'd of the beam and had strengthened nicely... .... Genoa off pole, sheeted in hard to leeward and mains'l also sheeted in hard! We were doing well for a bit - before the wind died and backed yet again... It's varied so much over today.

The only other thing of note was the lengthy radio session I had with contacts on 14305 at 2330 UTC. I had enjoyable chats with Canadian cruisers on 'Silas
Crosby' and 'Kasala' from their separate anchorages on the Baja and then several other people from all over the USA (from Florida to Washington to a mountain top near San Diego) came on to frequency to chat briefly also. Later, after I'd checked in wih the Pacific Seafarers Net as usual, Tom, WA6TLL, 'patched me in' - to make a phone call to a friend over the radio, using his landline - a 'first' for me!! It worked quite well, although both they and I were fading in and out at times.

Now 960 n.ml. due W of Cabo Corrientes, which is just S of Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican mainland. Made just 71 n.ml. over the 24hrs yesterday to this morning.... and we're now 57 miles from this morning's position. At our present speed of 1.3 knots for the next four and a half hours, that should give us the grand total of 63 n.ml. .....! (The wind just increased again - to 9-10 knots, so we were making 5 knots at one point - wow! But it didn't last long....!)

Written by : Mike

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