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Day 24 Lovely sailing day again - in refreshing breeze, making good speed.

Thursday 18th November 2010

Started writing this as sun went down in a blaze of fiery red. Couldn't actually see the sun setting, just the colour reflected in a low cloud layer in the W.... glorious .... and, to complement it, in the East, a silvery, bright moon, in a still-blue sky...

It's been a great sailing day in not much swell. Wind has been from E overnight, swinging to NE before dawn and then back to E by mid-afternoon - so regular adjustments of windsteering vane needed. Wind strength was down last night to 9kt, got up to 16kt mid-morning but has generally been a nice 12-14 kt over day and into this evening. So for most of the day, we've made 6kt or more (under double-reefed mains'l still, to be ready for occasional gusts, but with stays'l and genoa)

I was busy from before dawn to mid-morning, with a short break for some more sleep, trying to deal with AP problem - emails back & forth between 'Nereida' and Raymarine UK.... adjusting settings.... trying system out... getting frequent 'drive stopped' msgs.. which often self-cured but not always - in which case, going into 'standby' and then 'auto' worked fine. Tried out 'track' mode to waypoint ... mostly OK but often not... began to get the impression that problem might be a mechanical fault, since drive usually stopped in exact same position each time... But felt more relaxed since AP was mainly coping fine and conditions have been calm and pleasant... Still working on it!

Checked into 'Manana Net' at 1045 and had quick chat with Randy, KH6RC, and Tom, WA6TLL, while starting late breakfast before more sleep, having put us back with Fred, my windsteering 'partner', to ensure no beeping alarms would wake me up... ... Tired!

Woke up refreshed .... and then enjoyed some time on deck. Quick check-in to US MMNet before starting my daily session on 14305 kHz at 3.30pm (PST). Had an enjoyable chat with Steve, and later Meredith, having a gentle sail south down the Baja towards Bahia Santa Maria on 'Silas Crosby'. They come up regularly and are good radio company! Also chatted to George, WA6RIK, and several others who came on frequency, among them several newcomers who were looking for signal checks. All very pleasant... lasted until 4.10pm!

Was looking forward to enjoying a big mug of tea which I'd made ready for my 'sunset watch' - came down to start drinking it - a (rare) big wave had passed by & knocked the mug over on the gimballed stove top - no tea left ...all spilled... grrr!! I'm needing to drink lots of water now - air temp is up to 27C in the middle of the day and sea temp has reached 29C.... and expected to go slightly higher.

We're about 1500-1600 due W of the Gulf of Tehuantepec - which is about to get one of its notorious 50-60kt gales come by over next day or so..... Not a time to be crossing its shallow waters!!

Being a 'la Nina' year, the ITCZ, which we're heading to, isn't as bad as usual. It's around 10N, so hopefully we should be through by Sunday ... Of course, then there's the S. Pacific Convergence Zone - I found that to be the worst one, with enormous clouds and big squalls, when I was coming north this year in June/July.... Will have to keep fingers crossed this time...!

24hr DMG to Thursday morning: 120 ml .... I'm hoping today's distance will be better, with so much of day at around 6 kt. or more.

Remember to check my 'Travels' page to see my track on a map... each red 'blob' shows my daily position at noon UTC (local 4am!).

Written by : Mike

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