Sunday 1:30pm Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 2330 GMT) What a contrast to yesterday's squally weather! The sky has been mainly blue with just a few clouds - occasionally large but never threatening. The wind has been good at 15kt or more and has consistently allowed us to head more NNE - no backing wind under grey rain clouds, so far today. All very pleasant since even the seas are more spaced apart, so although still over 2m, it doesn't feel so rough.
Have been busy with emails and studying fresh weather faxes and grib files - trying to figure out the best route to take towards Hawaii - I'd like to make for the channel between Kauai and Oahu if possible but must get a good angle on the NE Trades - so heading more E whenever we can just now, since that probably won't be possible in winds further N.
4:10pm Sunset - lovely deep orange globe sinking into the dark sea wih very little cloud around.
Wind getting up a little - boat speed has increased to around 5.5t from 4.5kt - still no squalls - a lovely relaxed day today!
Later: Was chatting on PolyMagNet (Polynesian Magellan Net) to other cruising boats in French Polynesia - invited them all to my 'Equator-crossing party'!
Getting ready the 'tipple' I'll be giving to Neptune as we cross over... making sure it's handy since might still be dark, although could be ~1500Z = 5am Tahiti time which will be closer to dawn, maybe. All depends on wind strength overnight.
8:30pm Continuing with a very pleasant sail at around 5kt in calmer seas - just bobbing around in swell and wind chop, nothing too violent.
Sky mostly clear but a bit hazy with a hint of thin cloud, stars everywhere... A dark night - no moon as yet.
Getting to sleep soon, after chatting with Colin, VK6CI, to check on fishing vessels heading my way - seems overnight will give no cause for concern but could come close tomorrow afternoon unless they change course...
3:25am 03.62 ml from Equator! Went on radio (7155) and immediately heard a familiar voice on frequency- Gil, N2GG, in New Mexico - coming over very loud and clear. Will be keeping me company, along with several others on the radio, as we cross the Equator around 4:30am/1430GMT - that will be fun!
Checking emails - several congratulatory ones in expectation of imminent crossing....
4:18:23am/14:18:23 GMT was exact time of my Equator crossing! Was wonderful to do it in company with so many ham radio friends from both USA, Canada and Australia who got the word and came on frequency to help me celebrate the moment! Thanks to all of you!
On deck to give Neptune his obligatory tipple - a touch of rum - and I kept him company with a small rum punch - made good use of my remaining mango juice...
Making good speed in 15-20kt ESE wind, double-reefed main, full genoa, 2.2m seas - not too close but tossing us around a bit, a hint of half-moon and plenty of cloud - even a slight touch of refreshing rain - all very pleasant and enjoyable!
5:15am Back to my bunk for some sleep before dawn. Party later today - music, nice snacks and a good meal - and maybe a G&T.... I'm feeling great!
5:35am First light before dawn... sleep...
8:20am Bright sunny day with very little cloud. Making ~6kt in 20kt wind from ESE - seas well up so a bit rough. Well heeled over. Course around 030T. Downloading weatherfaxes.
Last night, it looked as though by keeping to this course we stood a chance that most of the big fishing fleet above 01N will be to our W, although three vessels were then heading S to cross our path later today. I'll be in contact later with Colin, who has Internet, to check on their latest whereabouts and course. Hopefully, we'll all stay well clear of each other - maybe there'll even be someone who can speak English over the VHF radio to help in that?!
Looks as though we'll have to cross the ITCZ around 6-7N - I was hoping it might disappear for a time on our path as we get closer, just as it has to W of 175W... but not looking like that just 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, 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!
(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless they are notified in advance.)
1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 293. We made 122 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Good to celebrate Equator crossing with a half-decent DMG!
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 293 (by daily DMGs): 23,879 n.ml.
Distances (at 1700GMT): Equator: 22 n.ml. to S; East Cape, N.Z.: 2913 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1076 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1360 n.ml. to NNW
Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 00-22.47N LONGITUDE: 148-45.30W
COURSE: 034T SPEED: 6.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.2m CLOUDS: 10%
BARO: 1012.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C
COMMENT: Crossed Eq at 1418Z - in company with radio friends!