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Day 234 Fri-Sat 24-25 May 2019 Good day'swork - mainail nearly ready for hoisting. Power problem near dawn...

Saturday 9am On port tack, making 053T at around 2kt, heading up the coast, presently 15 miles off, close to the wind which is from WNW at around 10kt - getting on deck now to see if I can achieve something in this wind. Wind likely to get stronger this afternoon and then drop down Sunday morning. Might be forced slightly offshore by wind veering more to N later but should be able to tack back inshore again to get into the area of light wind just S of Dunedin by tomorrow morning. That's the plan, anyway...

12:20pm A quick break from work on mainsail for a drink of water.... Struggling with 4th batten - long and heavy & keeps wanting not to know... Wind 12kt from NW-NNW, making 2-2.5kt on 065T.

2:45pm Yay!! Finished replacing sail slides in mast track - what a battle I had with the lower batten end and the slides nearby... But finally got there by tying all together and only needing to raise the halyard a little. Problem now is the stop below them all is missing... The knockdown jumped it from where I had it conveniently visible so now I have to find it - or make up something else.
Wind has veered into N so will gybe around to head E. We're 20ml off the coast now and inshore is where the lighter wind is. I still have work to do on deck, and the present conditions are perfect.

Found another tear by the leech lower down in the sail, while releasing it in order to persuade the sail to move forward so I could get the sail slides into the mast track. I've stuck it on both sides with sail repair tape but need to reinforce that with material - more 'tabling needed (have some Sunbrella I can use) - so won't raise the full main until I've managed to do that . Fortunately it's easy to get to from the cockpit, although the sail need to be released from the boom in order to do so.

Must get some food - had nothing so far today....

A Royal albatross, a pair of the smaller, familiar, dark-backed albatross and a distinctive black and white Cape Petrel have been circling around as I worked. We had a visitor! A gull came by and had a good look around - but soon left when no food came its way..

5:30 pm Sunset. Have searched but no sign of the stopper for the sail track. Have found a suitable long, thin bolt to hold one in place but need to make the actual stopper - maybe out of a small plastic box or else from thin aluminium (easy to bend) - or maybe using a food can. Will check in my spares... I know the shape I need.

Have reduced the genoa to slow us down further - don't want to get too close inshore. Pity I can't anchor here but don't see anywhere suitable. Might have to gybe out and then back in again overnight.

11:30pm Having started the evening drifting NW-W in N-NNW wind, we're now drifting SW - so time to gybe around and head NE instead - wind is now from NW at 13kt.

Sunday 3:25am NZT (Sat 1525 GMT) Bright moon shining in clear sky overhead, Southern Cross high over our stern, thin cloud layer over E and S horizons, distant lights of Dunedin glowing orange ahead on port bow, 25 miles off.
Wind down to 7-9kt from WNW and we're making 050t at 1.5kt.

6am Just had a major power problem - saw voltage was getting low so started generator - but saw no power going into batteries... When I stopped it, instruments went down - circuit breakers had gone... Couldn't start genset because no power coming in from batteries... Spoke to friend Robert in Sidney, B.C., "Start the main engine," was the advice. Was difficult persuading the engine to start - but it finally did, TG! But then (again) saw no power going in to batteries, although voltage was rising .... too much - clearly not being regulated. Had to stop the engine because battery voltage was way too high - well over 15A. But that meant I could get generator running - ran for two hours...
Contacted Taupo Maritime Radio to let them know my status.

All was looking good - except instruments keep going down (autopilot is OK since a separate circuit). Need to replace circuit breaker/switch with a fresh switched/fused power supply. In meantime, AIS display shows lat/long and COG/SOG - so can use paper charts if I have to and possibly iPad, although not sure about that one.

One good piece of news - I found the missing mainsail slide-track stop while getting out my hand held VHF radio, in order to charge it and test it was working.

Dawn soon - must get a little more sleep if I'm to replace windgen blade this morning - hope the swell stays down. Wind around 3-4 kt, so drifting NE well off the shoreline to the W is fine.

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

1900GMT (= 7 a.m. NZT, 12 hrs on) - end of Day 234. We made very little distance over the 24hr period, since mainly drifting around, well S of Dunedin, in light wind, getting work done

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 234 (by daily DMGs): 19,963 n.ml. up to last report + an unknown amount - but not much!

Distances (at 1900GMT): Dunedin, South Island, NZ: 20 n.ml. to NNE. (No others easily avilable without plotter working)

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/05/25 19:06GMT LATITUDE: 46-14.77S LONGITUDE: 170-30.68E
COURSE: 042T SPEED: 1.0kt
BARO: 1007.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 14.0C
COMMENT: S of Dunedin, S. Island, NZ., Drifting. Power/charging problem

Written by : Jeanne Socrates