Day 298 Sat-Sun 27-28 July 2019 GMT ITCZ finally gives heavy overnight rain... and studying avoidance tactics for Erick & Flossie

Saturday 11am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sat 2100 GMT) Spending all my time poring over different versions of the grib files with speed and course varied, trying to figure out my best course of action....

Also looking at satpic of cloud cover and weatherfaxes showing isobaric charts for up to 3 days ahead.

Everything I look at relies on the weather model predicting the track of the first Low and the following Tropical Depression accurately... The TD is shown to be heading to the Big Island of Hawaii by next Saturday/Sunday and intensifying as it gets closer but the main problem seems to be avoiding the first Low - there's time enough to avoid the TD following along behind it...

12:45pm Overcast but bright sky - making 5.5-6 kt on broad reach - just adjusted course slightly to stop headsail from flogging occasionally.

Time for a siesta - I'm mentally exhausted from all the acrobatics my brain has been performing, looking at different weather/course/speed scenarios...

3pm Sky is overcast and wind has died - we're crawling along at around 3.4kt .... My hope of getting N quickly to avoid the Low pressure system coming along soon isn't working out. Unless we pick up speed very soon, we shan't be able to make a good enough distance N.

I sat up in the fresh air in the cockpit, gazing around while having some scrambled egg and I'm about to have some blue cheese on crackers - having to do something positive to cheer myself up with the lack of progress likely ahead! Looking more and more likely that we'll have to heave to for several days to let the Low and the TS E6 pass by at a safe distance..... Grrr!!!

We're nearly out of the ITCZ region - I'm not totally clear if we avoided it or not - I think we have and it's back tomorrow, after we've passed on beyond 10N. Certainly, we've only had a few small showers today and there are no big towering alto-cumulus clouds around, to give stormy squalls.. but we're certainly getting a very light wind just now... in the Doldrums ...?

3:45pm Suddenly, we're making around 6kt! Had to adjust our heading slightly in the windshift due to a light grey raincloud spreading overhead from well off to starboard and on downwind to port astern - just a touch of rain, although I'm seeing more falling in the distance - but it's giving wind - which will probably die away again, once we've passed out from under the cloud. Nice to see some better speed for a time.

4:10pm Raincloud has moved on downwind - and we're back to crawling along at around 3-3.5kt. Wind generator blades have stopped turning, so wind must be below 7kt.

Making a mug of tea - I'll need to let it cool down a lot before drinking it - it's too hot to drink a hot drink - cabin temp is 32.5C - it's a lot fresher up in the cockpit. I'll treat myself to a Tim Tam with my tea.... still a few left, ...intended for special occasions.

7pm Dark, dark night with heavy rain just now - SOG suddenly shot up to well over 6kt for a short time ... but now back down to around 3kt or even less - seeing 1.5kt at times... Struggling to make way and stay on course.

[9am Sunday 28th July: Seems the rain we had overnight was from the ITCZ:

ITCZ 08N140W 10N155W 05N180W. ISOLATED MODERATE TSTMS WITHIN 120 NM OF ITCZ.]

8:15pm Rainsquall - heavy rain and strong wind which must have shifted into the NE quadrant since had to adjust course well to NW to prevent sails from luffing up (being too close to the wind) - major wind shift from SE wind just prior to then!

8:45pm All calm now - making NNW at around 4kt or more in NE wind still - think we just came into the NE Trades from SE Trades... a more sudden transition than I expected....

11:05pm Accelerating again - intead of a sedate 4-4.5kt, we're making 6-6.5kt ...under cloud... up on deck to check things out...

12:20am Finally dried off and in dry clothes ... I was soaked from head to toe - and then some...! Wind is a lot less now but seas are still rolling us around a lot - they always take a lot longer to lie down after the wind has died down... The prolonged, heavy rain has finally eased somewhat.

The weather gods clearly decided that tonight was the night for a thorough deck shower, although I'd never intended one in the dark of a midnight storm, nor had I felt this to be the right time to rinse out the salt in my hair. Be that as it may, I've had a good rinse off all over and the sails have certainly been well rinsed off, as well as the decks.

I had a bit of a fight to get the second reef in, with the dark night and the strong wind (easily 25kt or more, judging by our speed - over 7kt - and the sound it made) not making that so easy - no moon to help with that tonight. Took in a fair amount of genoa also - it was full when the wind got up.

Time for a quick snack - a cereal bar. The rain hasn't quite stopped yet and we're rolling about a lot in much less wind now - our speed is down to just 4-5kt.

Of course, now that we should not go too fast (or far), we're making excellent speed - racing along most of the time, in fact. We'll probably need to heave to once we reach 13N - the first Low has been upgraded to likely hurricane/cyclone status - and named 'Erick'... something to avoid, clearly... and the second system is close behind ('Flossie') and expected to intensify also.

No avoiding them, it seems, if we continue on northward, so we must stop well to the S of them and wait for them to pass, or at least wait to confirm their heading and speed, before continuing on.

Unbelievable that we're having to avoid another cyclone (let alone two!) - I thought one (in the Indian Ocean, in March) was one too many, and it cost me a painful week of time then, and here we are with a repeat of the scenario - and maybe quite a few days lost again.

Sunday 3am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 1300 GMT) Another lot of heavy rain a while ago and we're still making 5.7kt, NNW. Back to my bunk ...

7:20am Have had several emails about TS Erick - so just to set minds at ease and clarify present situation .....

Change of plan ...Will likely heave to heave to for a time - possibly at 13N 150 40W - 300 ml to go... 3 days away. Will wait to see how the two tropical storms pan out and get underway again when clearly safe to do so - probably heading to S of Hawaiian island chain and then between Kauai and Oahu to head N on final leg...

Heavy rain seems to be gone, for time being... but seas from both NE and ESE are rocking us about a lot.

Forecast from Honolulu:

... VALID 0000 UTC JUL 28 2019.

.72 HOUR FORECAST HURRICANE ERICK NEAR 15.0N 142.1W. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED

WINDS 75 GUST 90 KT.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK...USE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY...ERRORS MAY BE LARGE.

.96 HOUR FORECAST HURRICANE ERICK NEAR 16.5N 146.5W. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED

WINDS 70 GUST 85 KT.

.120 HOUR FORECAST TROPICAL STORM ERICK NEAR 17.0N 151.0W. MAXIMUM

SUSTAINED WINDS 55 GUSTS 65 KT.

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"QSO Today" podcast of interview with Eric, 4Z1UG, is at:

https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

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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.)

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1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 298. We made 105 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 298 (by daily DMGs): 24,611 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery: 2573 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 935 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3443 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1647 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 09-48.55N LONGITUDE: 146-55.79W

COURSE: 312T SPEED: 4.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.2m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1013hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Heading to WP - likely to heave to... ready for TS Erick & TS Flossie

Written by : Jeanne Socrates