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Day 23 from Hobart - first flyimg fish.. squalls!....good progress... but due N.

Tuesday 22nd May 2012 (GMT)

A day of nice warmth and good progress - bt we're still having to head due N to avoid a Low forecast to form on our rhumb-line path to Tahiti. The general idea is to head around the Low, keeping to its West and curling arouind its top to head East finsally - but the timing doesn't quite seem right to me - we'll see how it goes as the week progresses!

We've had, and expect on Wed, several squalls with sudden wind increase ... Fred has been doing well, but I have to get to the wheel then to give him a helping hand!

Found the first flying fish on deck .... and a squid two days ago in among the lines on the cockpit floor where they ended up after a big tumbling wave had hit us hard the other day and threw all the lines a good distance - several overboard!

I had to take Fred's vane off after I found it at a drunken angle several times and unable to steer us properly... My Russian friends had mended that vane in Cape Town for me last year - but a metal insert had now moved so the vane was not able to stay in its proper place. A new cover was duly slipped over a spare vane and tensioned down and I perched over the sugar scoop to remove the old and replace with the new vane.. I waited for winds to decrease and eventually had less difficulty than I expected in the 20 knot winds. I have to admit that the first time around, I just noticed a raincloud heading our way in time just as I'd picked up the new vane - so delayed final replacement while the squall went through and put on the coffeepot instead...!!

Winds were down to 15-20kt over the day, squalls apart, and seas have reduced to around 4m - still the occasional one knocks us around but not often. Skies are mainly blue and the sea has changed colour to the typical tropical vivid mid-blue when the sun shines on it - picture postcard stuff!

I removed my two upper fleece layers early in the day and later tonight was forced to replace the lower layers after I got drenched in a squall after hurriedly rushing on deck to take the helm.... Fortunately now the air temperature is high enough that I didn't feel too cold for long.

My batteries definitely need replacing - they keep losing charge rapidly once they get a bit low and I have to keep a constant eye on the voltage, ready to charge with the main engine, despite having replaced the 30A fuse in the KISS circuit yesterday so it's putting in plenty of power now in the winds we're getting... Main culprit is radio use - with all the weather faxes and emailed grib files I'm downloading due to the weather problems I've been having (or expect to have), plus voice usage several times a day, the radio is using a lot of power.

I had a go at the genset seawater pump replacement today - but it's proving difficult.. I'll keep on trying but don't hold out much hope - rubber tubing connections to the metal pipes are difficult to get apart and will probably be a nightmare to replace, especially in the tight space available.... So tomorrow, I'll look again at the autopilot hydraulic pump change-over - that could well be more straightforward and it would be nice to have the option of using it - especially in the squalls and on approach to land eventually.

DMG : 130 n.ml. Distance from Tahiti: 1262 n.ml. and from Hawaii: 3100 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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