The 8.30am (GMT) BBC Radio Solent Wed Breakfast Show chat didn't happen - technical & communication problems!! But will happen at some point soon - they want to keep in touch as I continue around. Nice to have their support.
4.20pm Had a good nap and woke to find we were making excellent speed and course - (COG) SE at (SOG) 6.5kt, wind ~10kt from SW. A big dark raincloud off to starboard could be the reason. There's another one well ahead, off the port bow. Sun showing through the thin cloud overhead. A real mix! Wind veering as I type... Enough sun to put a little solar power into the batteries - 3A.
Ten minutes later - that dark raincloud to starboard (upwind) began to spread over us - wind WSW and increased to 12-14kt.
5pm - had a lot of heavy rain, much lighter now. Wind now WNW at 6kt - adjusted course but will probably need to adjust again when wind shifts the other way... SOG 3kt or less.
5.15pm Drying off! Had to go on deck to put a preventer on the boom which was crashing about in little wind but a good-sized swell (S 3m/10ft). Rain coming down again. Wind NW 6kt One good thing about sailing in the Tropics is that getting wet in a downpour usually involves minimal clothing - so not much to dry off - but my hair's wet again..! Air temperature is 27C/80F, so quite balmy so long as not exposed to the wind in wet clothes. Wind veered now to NNW... where to next??
6.10pm ...It kept veering - to NNE, then NE, but very light It's still drizzling and it definitely gets cold being in that without raingear on... We're drifting SE, wallowing in the swell with no boatspeed and I couldn't even manage to gybe us around - normally not a problem, given patience, but the swell is quite big and knocking us around... I've come back down to dry off & take a break and then I'll go back on deck - but wearing my raingear! ...Wind now is only 3kt and all over the place.. ESE, ENE, NNE... Let's try again... and see if we can at least drift S....
6.45pm Out of raingear and drying off... I thought I'd managed it - seemed much better - but wind is still shifting around all over, between N and ESE, at ~5kt. We gybed around onto port tack and were making almost due S at 0.6kt. Now, I think, we're drifting, hove-to - SE at 1kt. Almost acceptable... Oh well.... c'est la vie... If the wind were to settle down, it would be simple...
7pm Wind is NNE 6kt - try again ...see if we can gybe around again onto port tack. On with the (wet) raingear... Beginning to lose daylight - would be nice to settle the boat before dark....
Tried to gybe around - suddenly, wind totally changed direction and gusted right up - I had to take the genoa over to port - we're on starboard tack now... in WSW wind of ~13kt. Another raincloud effect?? I was glad to have put on a dry, warm jacket this time. Now heading SSE at ~6 kt.
Wed 10.30am A night of alternating dawdling, in almost no wind, with fast speed, mostly 6-7 kt, often over 8 kt, heading SE under a sequence of big rainclouds - the boat is definitely clean now! Seas get up as the wind gets up, so it's been quite rough. At 10am, we'd been drifting in a light NW wind (~7kt), waiting to see what would come next ..... I suddenly noticed we were making 4kt in NW 15kt, with our speed soon up to 6kt in NW 25kt... We were galloping along - but due W... I hastily gybed the genoa and changed course to head the other way, ending up making SE. West is not a preferred course at present - calms lie that way in a day or so, whereas heading SE gives a far better prognosis of keeping some wind.
We're clearly still well inside the extensive area of big clouds shown around here on the satellite photo I downloaded last night. A small Low is to N of our position, giving the NW winds we keep seeing. I hope our overnight speed to SE will have helped our escape from that band of convection. I long for a nice, constant wind direction and strength!!
1200 PDT - end of Day28. We made 110 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's noon position ... better. A measure of strong conditions, giving good speed, mixed with light winds in between. A hint of sun trying to break through the clouds overhead - but plen.ty more grey raincloud ahead
Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT):
TIME: 2018/10/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 06-21.93N LONGITUDE: 127-56.02W COURSE: 113T SPEED: 6.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1014hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 34.0C
COMMENT: Raining - yet again..! Trying to get S away from Low and its mass of cloud