Day 3 Wed 16Nov2016 - Heading S in squalls...

Overnight - up on deck a lot with the changeable conditions. Was wary of letting out the reefs in mainsail (although full genoa felt OK, it's so easy to furl in quickly), in case another very strong gust came through while I was trying to sleep but I did so just before dawn when the sky looked reasonably clear and I was up, ready to deal with whatever came along.

Chatted to some radio friends around sunrise. Checked emails and weather. Discussed with Bill, KI4MMZ - he's worried about where I'll be over Fri/Sat when the winds could get up to over 40kt from S - not good!!

11.30am (1930GMT) Squall! - Just as I was finally hoping to get to breakfast and relax, having come down below after having sorted out a few lines and unfurling the staysail in light wind.... Clouds around with rain falling in places.

11.50am .... and another... Had to jump back on deck in slight rain to ease the mainsheet to lessen the heeling... Decided to furl in the staysail - making life too complicated for little, if any, gain...

12.45pm (2045GMT) - Finlly having food! Wind has now died to 4-5kt from SW but we're making 3kt SSE - there must be a S-flowing current hereabouts. Earlier this morning, we were making great progress: SSW at 6-7 kt in good wind for quite a time. But then came the rainclouds - with several squalls, each accompanied by a major veering of wind - some at 20-25kt - a bit too exciting...

Now the sun is shining, which is very pleasant - but we're not going fast enough or in the preferred direction... Time to finish b'fast, get my first coffee of the day - and then cook while the seas have lain down. I'd hoped to avoid some of the bad weather coming late Friday and Saturday by getting S quickly but that's just not happening... Wind has gone into SE - think I'll gybe around and see what it's like trying to get W ...

2.15pm Feeling a lot better after food and some coffee! Making good progress again - heading SSW at around 6kt, occasionally dropping to 4-5 kt when wind goes lighter - it's ~10kt from WSW again but expected to die down more and possibly back to SW-S. Really would like to be 100-150ml off Cape Blanco, or further S, when the bad weather comes in - we'll see whether the wind permits that - looks feasible now, given right conditions, but is totally dependent on wind strength and direction over next two days.

Posted a position report to Winlink (who pass it on to Shiptrak and Yotreps). Usually include a weather report when at sea - I enjoy that, knowing it's made good use of, and always find it a challenge when estimating swell height and period. The biggest 1/3 of swell is the item of interest... I use my deck-to-solar-panels distance to help - it's roughly 2m. Result? 3.5m height (top to trough) at 8sec interval, on average, from WSW (using compass, so have to remember to allow for variation - which here is 16 degrees East - by adding on 16 degrees to compass reading). I note the variation at intervals in my log - it changes as we move around the globe... (A good reason for courses always to be quoted as True, not Magnetic...) In the Southern Ocean, I've seen it get up to 40 degrees!

Wind seems to be backing to SW more ...pity!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates