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Day 22 from Cape Town to Hobart - hove-to as cold front passes overnight - squal

Tuesday 28th February 2012

Hove-to overnight again... big seas and strong wind, but I slept well, ...and the Front passed over just before dawn to give strong SSW winds, reducing to around 25 kt over the day, and showery, squally conditions... When a squall came along, usually under a big cloud, wind increased rapidly from a lull of under 20 kt to 30 kt - & we sped along...!

Greg, down near Kerguelen on 'Alcidae', had even stronger winds of 40- 45kt & stayed hove to with his series drogue this morning, whereas, being further N, with 30 knot winds, hopefully lessening, I'd decided to sail on.

Skies were partly cloudy, with plenty of sun, and showers gave a rainbow at times but the air is far cooler and sea temp is down to 16C. The boat feels colder and I put the heater on for a bit - nice! Also welcome was the hot, thick, bean & barley soup I'd made! I'll soak some beans regularly overnight now, ready for cooking the next day... good for cold weather.

This afternoon, I saw that the genoa had a small rip - it had parted along a short seam near the middle of the foot of the sail, which was half-furled. I furled it in further to cover the damaged part - we've now very little genoa to sail with. The staysail was unfurled to give us more speed - we're on a broad reach and sailing nicely at 6-7 knots in 25 kt wind. I don't fancy trying to lower the genoa in present winds and seas. Better to wait until it calms right down at some point and then I'll be able to change the sail for the lovely new one Jeckells of East Anglia made for me in December and which I have on board. I'll be able to mend the ripped area and hoist the old sail again for the rest of the passage.

I was surprised to get an email from a Czech boat - 28ft 'Singa' has Petr on board - another single-hander on a nonstop mission! He introduced himself and gave his position, well S of Cape Leeuwin. He's heading S of Tasmania & NZ and on to Cape Horn, having started from Falmouth last September. He reported lots of gear failures ... Achieving a nonstop RTW is more about the boat & equipment standing up to the test, rather than the person, it seems to me! So there are 3 single-handers in this part of the S. Ocean just now - I wonder who else?! Petr is 2000 mls E of 'Nereida', whereas Greg is under 500 mls to the S and we chat on the SSB radio most mornings now.

Looks as though we've nice sailing now for the next few days - W-SW wind of 15-25 knots, possibly becoming less, depending on what the Indian Ocean High, just to the N, decides to do.

DMG today: 100 n.ml. - not bad, considering we were hove-to for about 7 hrs!

Written by : Mike

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