Please note - apologies, but emails are mostly not being replied to now in order to conserve battery power - a lot less power is needed to download them (please make them short) than to send replies to them. Many thanks to so many of you for sending supportive messages - much appreciated!
Tuesday 10am NZT (Mon 2200 GMT) Late posting of last report (some nice bird photos will have to wait to another time) due to finding that instruments had shorted, so usual plotter alarm set for 1900Z didn't go off to alert me to the time... Fortunately, the autopilot is on a separate circuit with the fluxgate compass, so it kept going.
Switched the plotter & instruments back on - but they only lasted five minutes before the circuit breaker tripped again. Will shortly disconnect the cockpit instruments, hoping that will help, as it did last time.... Fingers crossed. No hazards ahead to worry about as we continue to try to head E. Chatham Islands are still nearly 400 miles off - so about four days away.
Helpful, for trouble-shooting instrument problem, that seas are calming down a little as the wind eases somewhat - it's forecast to die down slightly over today, backing to NNW, before veering to NNE tomorrow, when it will become very light until well into Wednesday, veering further to NE overnight into Wednesday when it will stay from NE - very unhelpful! We'll need to head NNW-NW then rather than heading further S.
Time for a late breakfast - maybe some more pancakes to cheer me up? I need something! Feeling very frustrated just now... It's chilly and the sky is very dull and overcast, which doesn't help - amazing how a bit of sunshine always cheers us all up.
I'm taking vitamins C and D daily to keep in good health despite no fresh fruit and no sunshine on my skin... (Tinned tomatoes are said to keep their vitamin C content well) Can't wait to get to the warmth and sunshine of the Tropics, once we finally start heading N, rather than E, as we must while we have the chance of westerly winds.
Midday Had breakfast - almonds, seeds and dried fruit with dry cereal - works fine! Keep counting food items - realised I have 11 cartons of fruit juice left - that equates to one per week plus a little for a celebratory drink when we cross the Date line (quite soon) and Equator (and maybe Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer!) Also have enough small chocolate bars for two a week - added to plenty of chocolate almonds and chocolate 'bark' - I shan't have any problem appeasing my 'chocoholic' addiction!
In no hurry to check the cockpit instruments - interesting to note that if the outcome is in doubt, I don't rush to get there, but if the outcome is almost certainly expected to be good, I'll rush to confirm. I'm hoping for a good outcome but have serious doubts - so keeping my hopes high for longer by taking my time to find out - and having some nice hot soup and making up some pancake mix in the meantime. I'll investigate in the cockpit while that stands.
1:20pm YIPPEE!!! Plotter and multi back up again once I'd disconnected the Depth/Speed/Wind instruments in the cockpit. Will now add Speed, then Depth to see if they give a problem. I'm rather assuming that Wind is the culprit - but will soon find out.... Either way, I'll celebrate as soon as I've done that with some pancakes - the mix is all ready, waiting...
3pm About to make my pancakes... Re-connected the Depth, Speed and then Wind displays - all good, meaning no tripping of circuit-breaker - but did find the connections to wind transducer were loose so tightened them before re-connecting it into the circuit. All looking fine on plotter now - fingers crossed... There's 9kt of wind and sea temp is 12.4C/22F.
Still have no wind direction reading on display - so transducer might well have a fault there. Using wind generator to show me where apparent wind is coming from - can see that from near chart table when there's daylight and I shine a light on it at night. Otherwise, I use the Windex but that's not so easy to see.
5pm Light is fading and the wind with it - the wind generator hasn't turned for quite a time - a sign of wind below 7-8kt. Was busy in the cockpit when I noticed an all beige-grey bird resting in the sea close by - maybe a young albatross? Although with no obvious parent nearby, as they are usually. Clearly it was keeping a good eye on the boat - with so many fishermen around, they clearly learn to associate boats with easy food. We've been followed by birds a lot, often on the sea surface, sometimes paddling furiously to come close.
Will look over my photos to see if any are worth keeping - it's really difficult to get a good shot, even when they're in the water so close by - and the big swell doesn't help. Often just as I go to take the photo, the bird disappears behind the top of a big wave.
6:20pm Just enjoyed a bit of radio 'play'! Initially with good clear stations in Dunedin, N.Z., and then with Phillippe, FK4QX, in Noumea, New Caledonia, and then Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne and Mike, K6MYC, in California.
9:30pm Looks as though expect light wind of ~8kt all night - mainly from N, so should be able to maintain E-ENE course at 2-2.5kt until morning, when wind will veer more E so likely to have to change course - to N, perhaps.
11:30pm Another quick 'play' on the radio - chatted to several familiar contacts - nice to do that before getting to my bunk. Will need to get up often over the night due to the wind expected to veer so needing to check on our heading and maybe change course, as a result.
Wednesday 5:10am (Tues 1710GMT) Got up from my bunk to check on wind direction. Banks Peninsula is still just showing on the AIS screen - just under 100 miles off to the NW - last hint of NZ close by. Moon and stars are shining hazily through the very damp night air.
Had to start up generator in 9 kt of wind that looks, from direction windgen is facing, to be coming from NNE now. Our course has changed from ENE a few hours ago to due E and now to ESE. I changed the heading by 10 degrees to give a slightly better speed - from the less than 1 kt I was seeing before to around 2.5kt.
Very difficult to know what to do for the best in these conditions of a veering, very light wind... If we were to drift, it would be downwind - SW - but by continuing to sail, however slowly, it's in roughly the right direction - although I'm waiting for the wind to veer more, at which point we'll have to tack and head N - better than heading more S.
Back to my bunk for a little more sleep... after turning off the generator which has run now for 30 minutes.
6am Up again - wind had backed genoa - had to sort us out and get us sailing SE in 7-8kt wind - from NE? Will need to head N-NW quite soon, it seems.... To my bunk....
7am Daylight increasing. Sky clear overhead. Heavy dew - decks very wet.
Forced to change tack in very light, shifty wind. Finally settled down, heading NNW now in 7kt wind - just holding course. Will be in these light NE winds for rest of today, it seems, possibly reaching over 10kt at times. Really testing my patience...!
Will post photos later - must get some more sleep now.
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) - end of Day 251. We made 53 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Some light wind, some drifting in little wind...
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 251 (by daily DMGs): 20,296 n.ml. (N.B. To Day 249:20202 n.ml.; Day250:41 n.ml.; Day251:53 n.ml.).
Distances (at 1900GMT): Timaru, S.Island, N.Z.: 170 n.ml. to W; Christchurch, N.Z.: 125 n.ml. approx. to NW; Chatham Islands, N.Z.: 340 n.ml. to E.
Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/06/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 44-31.26S LONGITUDE: 175-13.28E
COURSE: 340T SPEED: 1.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 7kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 10%
BARO: 1005.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 13.0C
COMMENT: Changed tack - difficult holding course in light wind