Day 32 towards Cape Horn - slow going, with lots of changeable wind and rain ove

Thursday 22nd November 2012

Lots of rain overnight... so wind shifts galore, often almost no wind and occasionally lots! Strong backing of the wind near rainclouds. Slow going, with speed often right down at 2.5kt. Morning was grey and cloudy, with the sun not really peeking through until midday - and then not often, but got warm again as sun tried to get out... Slowly, the clouds have become lighter and, by sunset, blue sky was beginning to appear in the E. I felt safe in unfurling the rest of the genoa - hope I don't regret that overnight tonight!

Think I'm definitely through the ITCZ now - just 'normal' rainclouds and occasional tropical squalls from here on.... But course is set to be SW, with winds from SSE for a few days...

A beautiful, dramatic, blood-red sunset amongst the grey rainclouds in the W...

Had an email from Robert in Simon's Town, suggesting testing wires down from wind transducer at mast top. Got to the mastfoot connectors finally later this afternoon - two wires seem defiintely OK, the third - I'm waiting for his comment. Seems to me that the problem could well be not at the mast top but down at the main Wind display unit , which receives the wind speed and direction signals and sends them on to the rest of the instruments.... Maybe simply corrosion at the terminals? I'll look tomorrow in daylight, if it's fairly calm, as expected. I hope the display unit itself isn't faulty, because I don't have a spare!! In the meantime, I've seen the wind info appear twice, just for a split second, down below!!

Have nice mast steps to get me up to see to the loose cable up there - and just got out my mountaineering harness and 'gri-gri' which I slide up the spinnaker halyard, is attached to my harness by a Dyneema/Spectra loop and will hold me safely in situ should I slip off the steps.. which I WON'T!!. (Will only go up when it's REALLY calm!!!)

For my Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I had a tasty chicken tikka masala with basmati rice and lime and mango pickles to spice it up - it's a very mild curry, otherwise. Beforehand, I'd chatted for a time on the PacSeaNet and this afternoon, gave Thanksgiving greetings to George, WA6RIK, Net Contol on the Maritime Mobile Net, who often helps in the Pacific Seafarers Net also, when propagation permits. It was impossible to contact the Baja Net this morning on 40m - far too much noise on frequeny - I heard just a few very faint voices in the distance! Getting too far away now. Had a very nice, unexpected email from Mike, sysop of the new Winlink station in Tijuana which I've been making regular use of, wishing me well in my RTW attempt. .

24hr DMG at 3pm: 94 - SLOW progress!! Golden Gate Bridge & Strait of Juan de Fuca away at 3pm & our position was then 1115 n ml SSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Equator was 338 due S.... and the Galapagos Islands, 1568 ml to the ESE.

Sea temperature is 34C - down a touch.

Written by : Mike

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