Wednesday 7th March 2012
A time to catch breath! Wind up and down around 18 knots all day, from WSW-W.... nice and gentle, from astern - we've been broad-reaching or running all day long - but not very fast!
Spotted that the bowline, with which I'd tied on one of the stays'l sheets in the dark yesterday morning, had somehow managed to come undone and was lying on the foredeck - re-did it while the stays'l was flying without too much trouble and without putting myself at risk. Let out a reef. Poled out the stays'l to starboard. Trimmed the sails from time to time... Watched the birds...
Cleared up in the galley and made some fresh coffee and a nice big stew - not for stormy weather coming up (quite the opposite - there'll be no wind on Friday and Sunday, it would seem!) but because I fancied .... "A litle bit of what you fancy does you good!" ... or so the song goes!
A Royal albatross came around a few times and 2-3 Yellow-nosed were nearby just before dawn.... along with a couple of soft-plumaged (grey&white) petrels. A white-rumped storm petrel flitted around over the sea surface later and I was delighted to see a Sooty albatross again.
I managed to connect with Winlink but gave up on Sailmail, using my satphone to get a data connection - it's been over 3 days since I'd lastmanaged to download emails. Then I spent a long time studying two emailsjust that came with more info on Tasmania - very useful.
If it really gets as calm as the grib files are forecasting, from a 'Big Fat High' sitting on top of us this weekend, I'll be able to do jobs on deck that I'd put 'on hold'. Stanchion-base fairleads for a start... and maybe that genoa... We'll see... One problem with light winds, especially at night, is power - I'm having to start up the little 4kW diesel genset for short periods regularly, to keep the batteries charged up.
Looking ahead to nearing Tasmania, I see that, at present, there's a High sitting to the SE giving E winds through the Bass Strait and N winds to the W of Tas - I'll keep an eye on that area from now on, since I'm not familiar with the weather patterns around there.
Chatted for a while at 0630GMT on 8297 kHz with Canadian single-hander Greg, VE0MUR, (on 'Alcidae') after the daily S.A.M.M. Net session with Graham, ZS2ABK on 14316 kHz. He was sailing due E, ahead of 7m seas and 30 knots of W wind - he, like me, doesn't like the thought of big seas on the beam when winds are strong - asking for trouble! We're hoping the seas will eventually lie down and winds go W-SW so he can get further N, to less strong conditions. Even where I am, just N of 40S, the seas have been quite big, at 4-5m, despite the lighter winds of today. Swell always takes a time to lie down but no time at all to get up!
Failed to make contact with the Pacific Seafarers Net around 0315GMT, although I could hear Fred, W3ZU, and the Net Control from time to time - don't think they heard me calling or they'd have turned their beam antennae my way. Also had a 'sched' with Czech single-hander Petr, OK4SNG, on 'Singa', at 0400GMT - but heard nothing and assumed he was busy on deck. He emailed later to say he was hove-to in storm conditions: NW8/9 - I reckon he was suffering from the same storm Greg and I had a few days' back. He's S of the Great Australian Bight, nearly 2,000 miles away from 'Nereida' and making for a waypoint S of Tasmania, about 800 miles to his E. We'll try to make contact tomorrow morning - I hope his spoken English is good - I have no Czech whatsoever!
DMG up to noon today: 121 n.ml. Distance from Cape Leeuwin: 1315 n.ml. and to Hobart: 2652 n.ml.