Day 23 Good sailing, seas slowly lying down!

Wednesday 27th April 2011

Midday
Felt really good earlier - came up on deck to find sunshine and a patch of blue sky overhead... seas seemed a touch less rough and big than they were overnight, although we're still getting thrown by the occasional big one... wind was definitely down,... barometer was rising,...... a variety of birds nearby... It felt good to be alive - and out here...! ( I celebrated with a fresh grapefruit for b'fast...)

The windvane repair is turning into a problem. Taking a time, but getting nowhere with filing down the ends of the drill bits jammed in the holes I drilled - blunting my file, if anything!. .. and I don't have a grinding attachment for the electric drill. The drill bit ends are sticking out in the way of my splints - which therefore won't do the job they're meant to do. So it's on to Plan B: I'm going to wire in place some masonry drill bits as splints - the grooves will help the wire to hold them in place and they seem to be the only longish, but thinnish, bits of metal available that I can lay my hands on... (I don't need to drill masonry on board, anyway!)

Spoke to Andy on Tristan da Cunha just after 7am - he looked up some paper charts and named a few big rocks around Gough Island for me to avoid - then I found them myself, well inshore, so no problem. I needed to zoom in much more than I had been, when looking around the island, away from Quest Bay where I'm hoping to anchor. (Showing the usefulness of paper charts - no such problem with those.) He also gave me the satphone number of Capt. Clarence on the 'Edinburgh' - the ship now on its way to Cape Town with the salvaged oil from the spill. Clarence has often anchored in Quest Bay so I hoped he might have useful info for me - which he did... said the bottom was good soft holding - nice to know when you've been worrying about fouled anchors on a rocky seabed! He also gave me the position he usually anchors in - and said to look him up when I reach Cape Town!

On with that repair..... I expect to reach Gough Island Thursday afternoon - tomorrow!

1400 GMT report (Links to maps showing positions/tracks on 'Travels' page):
LAT: 40-34.29S LONG: 013-04.88W COURSE: 087T SPEED: 6.6
WIND_SPEED: 19 WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 3.5M
CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1023 TREND: 1

24hr DMG: .........160 n.ml. ...... YES! That's more like it!!! Distance to Cape Town:1549 ml ; to Gough Island: 145ml

4pm - tea-time! Just increased the genoa to near-full - wind down to 18 knots now, so we were only making 5.5kt - too slow! Now speed back up to 6.5 kt or more - we're 'creaming' along! At times like this, the boat is moving so smoothly it's as though she's hardly moving at all... going really well ..... until a big wave comes along to make us lurch and slow down momentarily - but then 'she picks up her skirts and runs ' again...! (I quote...!) This is why we go sailing.....

We're skimming the edge of a High and managing just to stay ahead of a small Low - hopefully, we'll keep moving ahead of it, in N winds, because it's trapped between two Highs and will disappear off to the SE soon. It's got a lot of rain on its associated Front... maybe we'll not get too much of that either - just light cloud overhead at the moment.

6pm - Dark now. Finished mending the vane....phew! Finally getting to my tea....! Used four drill bits, two each side, held in place with lots of wire... after connecting across the break to keep that together independent of the 'pin'. Looks pretty strong - we'll see how long it lasts..... In theory, since very little force perpendicular to plane of vane, should last indefinitely... but that 'very little force' might be too much in strong conditions, if wind gusty... Of course, literally to 'wrap up the job' ... lots of duct tape around it!.... both to protect it but also to help stop the wiring being vibrated loose somehow, so the bits come free...

It's been handy that the wind and seas were less this afternoon, letting me concentrate on the job. We've NNW 16kt of wind now and are making just under 7 kt... ETA Gough Island (WP in good deep water), if this progress maintained, is midday tomorrow (110 ml to go). Then it's a further 7-8 ml to Quest Bay, to anchor - which I have to prepare for - chain needs to be attached to anchor (which is stowed in chain locker), which will be heaved over the pulpit... If not calm enough to do in advance, it'll be done on arrival, while still in deep water... won't take long... That's assuming it's calm in the anchorage - according to weather forecast, it should be.... fingers crossed!

8pm ...... So nice to be enjoying a lovely relaxed sail, this evening - for a change!! Lovely clear, starry sky ... Milky Way,... Southern Cross, ....upside-down Orion in the W!

Written by : Mike

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