Tues 5pm Another rain squall lies off to starboard affecting us... I was busy studying what weather information is available as we head further S towards Cape Horn and on... After the earlier strong squall, I was not feeling too inclined to shake out the 2nd reef I'd tied in, even though the wind came back down to around 12-15kt (from 25kt) for quite a time. We were clearly in an area of squally conditions and I felt it best to be cautious.
Our speed has been 4.5 kt at times, even with full genoa. Then the wind dropped right down and the boom started crashing around in the still quite good-sized swell - 3m/10ft - but with too little wind to fill the mainsail. Suddenly, we were drifting W at 1-2 kt - hove-to on starboard tack with the genoa backed....
I got us sailing again, still with the dark grey mass of raincloud off to starboard and the wind increased rapidly. We sailed alongside the cloud at speed and slowly the wind eased a little - to its present 16-18kt. The seas are quite lumpy and make for an uncomfortable ride upwind. But we're making 6kt on our preferred course, just E of S. ... until the next raincloud comes close! Typical of the Tropics.
The 2nd reef will stay in until I'm convinced there are no more rain squalls in the offing and I need to shake it out! In fact, at 6pm, nearing sunset, with plenty of grey clouds around still, I decided to furl in some genoa - full sail overnight might not be a good idea - so, erring on the side of caution again - never mind if it slows us down a bit - we're actually still making nearly 6kt in 17kt wind from NE-ENE.
Preparing food... onion and potato omelette. I missed starting it well before sunset and the Pacific Seafarers Net, which is very soon after, so I ended up cooking by headlamp!
Wed Well, we did have a squall come by overnight - so my caution was justified! Wind and seas have been very consistent - wind fom 060T, so between NE and ENE, and seas from ENE at 3m/10ft. A lot of motion all the time. Carrying full genoa.
Been busy exploring weather information again - a matter of requesting files to see what turns up - they don't always give what they seem to indicate. Saildocs is an excellent resource - I can request almost any file on the Internet so long as I have its correct URL - but, clearly, I can't follow any links given within it. So I'm looking at weather information available from French Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand for when I lose that available from NOAA (U.S.), which only goes down to 20S.
1100 PST (=1900GMT) - end of Day35. We made 124 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1100 PST position. Not bad considering we've had several squalls and been reefed down ... but in good wind.
Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after 1100 PST (= 1900 GMT):
TIME: 2018/11/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 06-52.12S LONGITUDE: 127-49.74W COURSE: 174T SPEED: 7.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: 060T SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 3.0m
CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1013.8hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 26.0C SEA_TEMP: 32.0C
COMMENT: Bright sunny day - no squalls in sight!