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Day 38 from Cape Town to Hobart - second day of pleasant sailing downwind

Thursday 15th March 2012

1700GMT/Just gone midnight LT! Just finished gybing the mains'l - we're on port tack now, in winds which have finally decided very definitely to veer to just north of W ... to WNW at present. Took a time for the wind to settle - I'd been waiting to gybe for some time, but the wind kept backing to WSW from W, so I waited.

Wind is 20 knots or under - and has been all day, making for very pleasant sailing under mainly cloudy skies. This time yesterday, the wind was varying between 14 and 20 knots and I was debating whether to tie in the first reef ... By 2am, I'd got up from my bunk to do just that - we were swinging about in the stronger wind, well over-canvassed, so we've had the one reef in all day. There's been an increasing SW swell over the day - to over 4 m by this evening, from 3m or less this morning.

It was lovely to watch a pair of storm petrels flit about on the water surface soon after sunset, as I sipped a mug of tea - round and around "Nereida" they circled in the gathering gloom. I couldn't understand how they could possibly see anything in the water, but they kept dipping their feet and bill in the sea, clearly expecting to pick up something. A pair of Yellow-nosed albatross and several Sooty shearwaters, along with some prions and soft-plumaged petrels, were also flying around - the usual group! .... but no sign of a white-faced, dark, juvenile albatross I'd spotted yesterday evening at dusk.

We're expecting strong conditions on Saturday and again on Monday, both following Cold Fronts passing over - along with a nasty, big, unavoidable swell Monday into Tuesday... the result of cyclone Lua's remnant coinciding with a deep Low further S and a High SW of Australia - all looking rather complicated, but definitely giving strong conditions.

For now, my late meal is waiting, before I get to my bunk for some sleep...

DMG: 141 n.ml. - the result of good sailing, in relatively calm seas for a change!

Present position: 43S, 110E , heading 085T at 6 knots.

Written by : Mike

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