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Day 30 - Dull start, bright sun later .. A big swell again

Wednesday 4th May2011 - Excellent sailing - but getting bumpy again. Another Front expected overnight...

A dull grey start, but by midday, all cloud had cleared away to give lovely sunshine ..but a lumpy sea - swell from three different directions - long slow from WSW, and shorter, rougher swells from N and WNW !! When they combine, the seas hump up and we really get knocked about if caught by one of those...

Two albatross seen this morning, .... a Yellow-nosed and a BIG Royal..... Otherwise, several white-chinned petrels and Gt shearwaters and occasional prions - I think we may have lost the spectacled petrels - too far from Tristan, possibly.

We've been making good speed - often 6.5-7 knots - always nice to see! But seas have definitely got rougher now with the stronger wind and mix of swells - and with the next Front expected soon after midnight, there'll be the usual backing of the wind from NW to SW - hopefully, not too suddenly!

Report for 1400GMT:

LAT: 38-44S LONG: 005-26E COURSE: 078T SPEED: 6.4
CLOUDS: 5% BARO: 1016 TREND: -4 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C

24hr DMG:150n.ml. - nice! Distance to Cape Town: 691 n.ml.

The sun set well before 5pm - definitely feels like winter when the day is short like that, but soon (once we''ve crossed 007:30E - probably around sunrise tomorrow) we're due to change the local time by one hour - forward to GMT+1 - so sunset will be nearer 6pm LT! With such a clear sky, suddenly there was Orion hanging brightly, if upside down, in the western sky.

The autopilot keeps going down - from 'auto' it has frequenrtly dropped into 'standby' with hardly a sound today.... useful! And when in 'Track' mode towards our next waypoint, it has several times decided the route has finished or it has 'no data' - with vigorous beeping noises - or it has simply decided, yet again, quietly to drop into 'standby' .... I'm usually alerted by sails flapping like mad if no beeping has sounded and I've been busy, away from the instruments..... Means I might well have to sleep at the chart table to be on hand to deal with problems immediately...... lovely thought...! In fact, I was thinking anyway that I'd have to stay awake quite a lot tonight, to keep an eye out for the Front to pass by with what could be a sudden backing of the wind, meaning we'd have to gybe to stay on course.... Think I'll try to get in some short naps this evening....

Written by : Mike

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