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Day 27 towards Cape Horn - hot, hot... as we near the ITCZ and Equator

Saturday17th November 2012

I've had several queries about 'no motor'.. I'm attempting a 'nonstop, unassisted, solo' circumnavigation, which means no help of any kind... & all to be done under sail alone and no setting foot on shore until my finish. So my engine forward gear has been wired and sealed for the duration, although in an emergency (like early last year when badly damaged due to my knockdown off C.Horn), I can break the seal and use my engine for motive power - but that immediately ends my 'unassisted' RTW attempt!

Overnight kept up good speed, around 6.5+ kt, with wind having strengthened to NE-ENE ~15kt - so good course maintained ... and on into the morning. Increased this afternoon to 16-18kt, but back to 15kt this evening. On AP overnight - kept course fine (but still no rudder bar in Standby) and then, after reducing genoa to lessen heeling, onto Fred (Hydrovane wind steering) mid-morning, with wheel fixed over to leeward. Fred maintained course fine -so that's good... I just wish the rudder reference unit problem with the AP sytem could be resolved - latest suggestion was to drop me off a new one - not possible!!

I left a small windward portlight above the galley open overnight - big mistake! No problem with lighter conditions over the day & it was nice to get the airflow down below in the humid heat, but during the night, when wind and seas got up more, one sea washed the decks so vigorously that some water came in through the port - curses!... I'd not long thought it might be prudent to close it - but hadn't... Fortunately, being where it was, no major damage & easily dried.

Not many flying fish seen so far.... One tiny one caught in the deck drain overnight, but none seen flying since the shoal of tiddlers a day back.

Hot, hot, hot..& everything metal or plastic on deck covered in a film of sticky salt....! Sea is 33-34C, cabin 29-30C. We're still tryig to head for a gap in the ITCZ's active regions.... Fingers crossed!

Routine tends to be: quick check in daylight on deck, breakfast before or after checking into Baja Net at 8am (copy getting difficult now, except to stations in the Baja itself), turn box of eggs, have coffee while checking emails/downloading weatherfaxes.. Clear up in galley. Check on deck more thoroughly, if not too rough, and look over weather info downloaded, to decide on route to take... More weatherfaxes downloaded later in day. Always, of course, with an eye on our course, wind conditions, sails & sail trim .... and state of battery charge.

Daily, a weather /position report made at 2300Z/1500PST - and posted to Winlnk soon after - and daily, while contact is possible, a check-in to Pacific Seafarers Net on 14300 kHz at 0300Z/1900PST - by which time I"ll hope to have cooked and eaten my evening meal. Lunch is often a bit hit-and-miss - maybe cheese or something else simple, if I bother. Plenty of water-bottles are kept topped up and lying around and nuts, cereal bars and dried fuit are to hand at the chart table...

Solar output to batteries is ~8A in sunshine (5A if sun behind a cloud) and with the KISS wind generator working well also, we're presently showing an overall charge going into the battery bank of up to 12A, even with instruments on and small fridge running (that takes quite a bit).

Was good for birds this afternoon, ....one white-tailed tropic bird, 3 red-footed boobies, another booby and finally, around dusk, an all-dark booby - don't know it's name (not in my book!) All flew around several times, looking for a roosting spot...

Was upset to hear of Sam Davies' dismasting (as well as the other earlier Vendée Globe retirees) - what bad luck...!

She reported:
"I have been dreaming of sailing fast in the Southern Ocean ...now I won't get to go this year. I didn't even see a flying fish, nor the Southern Cross.. nor the Albatrosses. ..... However,... WE WILL BE BACK!" Better luck next time, Sam!

Let's hope the remaining skippers all make it safely around ...

At least I've already seen some flying fish.... and even a (N.Pacific!) albatross early on. I look forward to seeing lots more albatross as we get closer to the Southern Ocean - and from where we are now, in the Tropics, the Southern Cross must already be visible - I'll look for it tonight, for sure!!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 143 n.ml.;Golden Gate Bridge 1431n.ml & Strait of Juan de Fuca 2080n.ml away at 3pm & our position was then 743 n ml SW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Equator is 849ml due S.... about a week away.

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Position reports...

1) My own weather and position report, daily to Winlink/Shiptrak - link is on my website's 'Travels' page - click on "Where is Nereida?"

2) http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites - good everywhere, especially nearer the poles, i.e. when in the Southern Ocean.

3) http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida - courtesy "Oceantracker' using geo-stationary satellites with good coverage just now - probably fine until Valparaiso, Chile, and then from 1000ml W of Australia, depending how far N we sail..

Written by : Mike

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