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Day 4 from Hobart - good wind all day - we make excellent progress !

Thursday 3rd May 2012

135, 135, 136 n.ml. - our daily DMG tally so far - meaning that this evening, as I write this, we're well past the halfway mark to the SW Cape of New Zealand from Hobart. It's still too early to say for sure, but it could be that our good speed (often around 7 knots) will mean that the threatening Low will not affect us too badly - we might just be close enough to the Cape that its stronger winds will be astern of us as it comes S... and none of the forecast winds should head us too badly.. fingers crossed!!

It's been a fairly quiet day - no big dramas, just a bumpy ride in slightly choppy 3-4m seas at good speed. The sun has shone from time to time through breaks in a thin cloud layer and I've spent a lot of time checking our course against weather info, trying to decide which way best to head. All day, we've headed slightly N of our rhumbline, to be on the safe side. Winds have been slightly more from the N today than expected - which has been good for us. It's just now veered a little more, meaning that we're presently heading more directly for the Cape - for the first time!

As I was sailing towards Hobart, I was contacted by Exact Earth in Cambridge, Ontario, who offered to set up a page for me on their website, www.exactearth.com. This has now been done and shows my exact track and details via my AIS (VHF) transmission, picked up continually by several polar-orbiting satellites, which cross each pole 14 times a day. This means there is full global coverage each day, with no gaps. If you visit
you'll see Nereida's present track and possibly some of the past track. The page is still being worked on, to improve it further, but the basic, up-to-date information will always be there.

I've also just been loaned a tracker unit by Ocean Tracker which has been set to emit a GPS signal three times daily - also picked up by satellites, but these are geo-stationary ones, placed at strategic points above the Earth to give coverage mostly over the more populated areas. They will be interested to see exactly what coverage I get as I cross the oceans.
If you want to go to their website to see Nereida's most recent position, go to http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida (As an alternative, you can load a kmz file that will open in GoogleEarth at http://oceantracker.net/kml/nereida.kmz - also still being worked on to improve it.)

Two quite different systems, one using my installed AIS system and one using a small portable GPS unit, both using satellites to receive signals and transmit the information to a land station. It will be interesting to compare how well they cover my passages around the Earth - and if there are any gaps when there's no satellite available to receive the signals.... we'll see, in due course! I'll still be posting my own position and details daily on passage, as usual, to Winlink (see my website 'Travels' page) - a back-up, should the satellites fail!

Written by : Mike

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