Day 29 from Cape Town to Hobart - sailing again - to SE to avoid being becalmed

Tuesday 6th March 2012

Still very big seas this morning, so lurching from time to time... but much calmer, with wind generally down.

We stayed hove-to overnight - but I couldn't sleep well for thinking about the calmer conditions and getting caught by H soon. So got up - into foulies/boots/headlight/harness, armed with scissors and reel of insulating tape (to bind cut ends of line) - went up on deck & sorted out damaged stays'l sheet - cut & bound ends and tied both to clew with bowlines... Had my arm around furled stays'l for safety and stability, as well as being strapped on.... very dark, with no moon, but seas mostly not too bad. Then I got us sailing - not very fast but headed SE & far better than being hove to.

Up again at first light, to trim sails better and unfurl small bit of genoa - speed increased nicely! Heading into big 5m seas, so rather bumpy - but good to be on the move again.

On HF radio to PacSeaNet at 0300Z - Randy on Hawaii still making contact with his strong beam antenna - took my details. Still just making contact with S.African M.M.Net - Graham, ZS2ABK, comes up just after 8am his time (12 midday here!) to take positions and weather info from Greg and myself, then Greg and I often have a short chat on a 40m band, since reception better there for us. He's been hove-to, lying to his series drogue, for 4 days and is finally sailing again after winds up to 45-50kt and bigger seas than the 7m I had... We're just over 500 miles apart - reducing, since he's trying to head more N, out of the regular really strong winds down where he has been, and I'm trying to get more S to avoid being becalmed in High pressure!

Very helpful info on SE Tasmania area and anchorages etc emailed to me by Jeremy Firth of S/Y 'Rosinante' and Dover Radio... Cruising friends Steve and Dorothy on 'Adagio' are also sending good info on making landfall in Hobart - they've already booked my berth - and for me to give a talk if I get there before 3rd April...!

Cooked a nice Spanish 'tortilla' with fresh eggs, potatoes and onion last night. Since hove-to, I finished off a touch of nice red wine remaining in the damaged box. Lentil soup tonight...

No birds seen over last two two days and just one albatross and one petrel seen today, around sunset. Grey clouds, bright moon tonight - nearly full. Wind keeps varying with the clouds around. Seas down to around 4m but every so often the hull suddenly gets hit hard by the crest of larger wave.

DMG Noon-to-noon GMT: 74 n.ml. (Hove-to from 0300-2300 GMT)

Position at 1800GMT: 38d 52'S, 086d 50'E Cape Leeuwin: 1400 n.ml.; Hobart: 2775 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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