Day 33 towards Cape Horn - slow, beating into SSE wind, forced to head SSW at be

Friday 23rd November 2012

Unusually, a ship is about to cross our path ... It will pass astern, it looks to me. At 0540GMT (9.40pm): on its way from Panama, possibly... 'Volans Leader' - 656ft long, beam 105ft, draught 7.7m (mixed units!); speed 18kt (that's fast, 12-15kt is more usual); CPA (closest approach) 7ml; TCPA (time to that point) 43 min; destinatiion: Japan; ETA 14Dec; cargo vessel, under engine AIS gives so much info - it's great! These are class 'A' (commercial) vessels, whereas 'Nereida' is a class 'B' (pleasure) vessel - info they see transmitted by 'Nereida' is far less - just basic size, sailing vessel, with SOG, COG, GMDSS number and name, although I often hear they don't see the boat name - it takes a time to come up, I think.... but they do see our (uniquely identifying) GMDSS number immediately.

If their CPA is well over 2-3 ml, I don't worry - but when it's around 1 ml - I get on the VHF radio to confirm their intentions (and that they've seen us!) - and I might ask them to pass astern... My mention of 'Under sail, with no engine' usually keeps them well clear...!!

We had some more rain overnight, but not much - mostly just grey clouds, nothing too dramatic or worrying...... with none of the major wind shifts near nasty-looking rainclouds we'd had previously. By midday, the sun had come out quite well, but slowly the sky got more cloudy until it was totally overcast again.. but a mostly light layer.

It was nice to see a white-tailed tropic bird again - came by yesterday, also. Two good-sized fying fish were on deck this morning.

Noticed we'd lost a shackle holding the starb'd stays'l sheet block in place - clearly, the pin had not been wired or cable-tied, so must have worked itself loose...

Wind got up mid-morning - to about 15-16kt, possbly. We were heeled quite a bit, beating close-hauled into the rather short and steep swell that had built up.... not very comfortable. (Not a time to think about trying to do delicate autopilot wiring checks while sliding about in the aft cabin!) I furled in some genoa - we gained speed! (showing, I suppose, that boats are designed to sail best when upright...!) In general, we're likely to slow down over tomorrow... with better wind, possibly, after that. We're tending only to be making 4-5 knots at best just now- not fast... and our course and speed are not helped by the W-flowing Equatorial current we're in now.

Spent quite a time this morning, noting relevant weatherfax transmission times, frequencies and content, both for now and as I sail around...

Had an email from Robert in Simon's Town - seems my checking of voltage readings on wires down from wind transducer at mast top has shown a short between two of the wires ... most likely to be in the transducer itself, he thinks..... and if not, I would have a major problem finding and fixing the fault up the mast while at sea. So, I'll need to change it, in the hope that will do the trick - trip up the mast, for sure, it seems! (Need to fix those loose cables, anyway) I'll definitely wait for a calm sea for that!! But have checked out my 'gri-gri' and harness, in the meantime, to be prepared...

Made contact again with a couple of people on the Maritime Mobile Net and also, later, on the Pacific Seafarers Net, both on 20m.. Contact with the Baja Net on 40m has definitely finished - too far away now to hear anything but faint voices ... and lots of noise!

We're at the same latitude now as Bogota in Colombia, heading towards the Eqiuator (Quito in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are also on the Equator, not so far away). Equator-crossing party on Monday is looking more likely than Sunday, with our reduced speed and SSW-SW course.... (All are invited!!)

24hr DMG at 3pm: 106 Golden Gate Bridge 2035 & Strait of Juan de Fuca 2684 away at 3pm & our position was then 1220 n ml. just W of S of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Equator was 247 due S.... and the Galapagos Islands, 1607 to the ESE.
For my daily position and track, see:

Link on my website's 'Travels' page - click on "Where is Nereida?" - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites - good everywhere, especially nearer the poles, i.e. when in the Southern Ocean - courtesy "Oceantracker' using geo-stationary satellites with good coverage until level with Valparaiso, Chile, probably.... Then from 1000ml WSW of Australia onward...

Written by : Mike

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