Thursday 1st March 2012 - St David's Day! Daffodils and leeks to the fore if you're Welsh...
What a difference a couple of days makes here in the Southern Ocean - we're creaming along now, in bright sunshine, under a clear blue sky, headsail poled out, goosewinged with the main, rolling in the 3-4m swell at times, making good speed ... Feels as though I'm in the Trades of the Tropics!! Never mind that the headsail is the small staysail - it's doing fine on its new pole - bought in Cape Town with strong conditions in mind but earning its keep now that there's a problem with the genoa (which I've now furled away completely). With lighter winds than yesterday, around 20 knots, gusting higher occasionally, and High pressure well established close to the N for the next few days, I've shaken out the 3rd reef in the mainsail - that's been in for a long time! (I'm always very cautious about letting out reefs... especially here in the S.Ocean, where conditions can so quickly change for the worse. In Britain, the saying goes: "Think about reefing - do it! Think about shaking out a reef - go make a cup of tea."...!!)
If the seas calm down some more, so the foredeck stays roughly level most of the time, and if the wind is kind, I'll try to lower the genoa so as to mend the rip that's appeared, replacing the sail in the meantime with the lovely new Jeckell's sail that's stowed away in the forepeak, waiting for just this to happen... The material of the old, original sails is a spectra/polyester 7:3 mix which has not stood up well to the use they've had since April 2009 - lots of sun and lots of strong winds! The original mainsail was replaced in September 2010, with a nonstop circumnavigation in mind, with one in a sturdy Dacron cloth and was beautifully made by another good sailmaker, Carol Hasse. Both the Jeckell's and Hasse lofts are small, the one being in Wroxham, Norfolk, U.K., the other in Port Townsend, WA, USA - but they have one other thing in common - all sails are made in the loft under the personal supervision of the sailmaker/owner of the company, both of whom, along with their workers, take a pride in their workmanship. (Chris Jeckell's company recently celebrated 150 years of sailmaking on the Broads in East Anglia!)
A relaxing day ... difficult for it to be anything else! Hopefully, a couple more like this, before the next Cold Front looms up on Sunday/Monday.
Near sunset ... 1200GMT/5pm LT - teatime! Seas have built up a bit as wind has increased over this morning's 17 knots. Watching many different birds swooping around nearby... mug of tea in hand. A graceful Royal .... and a pair of Sooty albatross - twice as big as the White-chinned petrels I keep seeing! Several Soft-plumaged petrels that I've seen a lot recently - spent ages trying to catch sight of their head and underparts to identify them postively in the dull light, under a sky now covered in grey clouds - gone is the blue sky of earlier!
Daily weather report (sent to Winlink & Yotreps):
TIME: 2012/03/01 12:00
POSN: 42-04.51S, 075-49.26E
COURSE: 090T SPEED: 6.0
WIND_SPEED: 23 WIND_DIR: WSW
SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 4.0M SWELL_PER: 6
CLOUDS: 90% BARO: 1029 TREND: 0
AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Seas up a bit again.Wind gusts to 25+ kt. Grey cloud..
DMG:106n.ml. - down due to lighter wind early today and inefficient sailing before staysail poled out and 3rd reef shaken out.