Day 4: Thurs17Nov2016 Squalls, calms..... Difficult to get S in light winds

Wed 6.30pm PST/LT (0230 Thursday GMT) Ratatouille stew almost ready for me to test.. I'm hungry - looking forward to it!

Looked up to the sky and thought I must be seeing the Space Station... Waited for it to move steadily across, as it does. But it didn't move - so must be Venus, ...close to Earth? Shining amazingly brightly above the light light over the W horizon. Plenty of other stars to be seen, with very little cloud overhead.

Wind has been fairly constant for some time, at around 10 kt from WSW and we're making over 6knots - nice. But if we get too close to a cloud, things can change rapidly... Dark now, so I hope the night proves calm, with no frantic getting up on deck to deal with things as we heel in a sudden stronger wind!

Wed 7.30pm PST (Thurs 0330 GMT) Pacific Seafarers Net - checked in with Peter, ZL1PWM - propagation not too bad to NZ but impossible to N. America. I was able to hear him relaying info on the N. Island 'quake.

Wed 8pm - Wind started getting up...boat began to heel more .. and more, as wind increased ... just as I was just abut to serve up my stew! Up on deck eased mainsheet to relieve pressure - heeling lessened. very nice to be speeding along at 7.2kt but once the (big) cloud has passed over, we're back to ambling along at just under 5 kt.

Wed 9.15pm Here we go again - heeling over.. SOG 6.6kt and increasing.... up on deck we go...

Wed 10.15pm Back down below, finally - 'blow' lasted about 15-20 mins, with apparent wind over 20kt and our speed around 7kt again... Decided to take in first reef in mainsil plus same for genoa, although no big dark clouds upwind seen nearby but some high ones on the horizon... Having finished that, wind had dropped (now 8 kt) and so has our speed. Seeing 4 kt, I decided to unfurl most of the genoa again, leaving the line on the winch ready.

Will take short, timed naps, in hope not to be caught out overnight, starting now, while the sky seems clear of dark masses. (That didn't happen!)

Thursday 4.30am PST/LT One hour later, another squall came by - but not so very strong... Since then, the wind has died and we've twice gone around in a circle while getting back on course for a while ... Dificult in 4 knots of wind. Now making 2.5 kt SE in SW wind.... which soon after decided to back to S-SSE... Time to gybe around...

5.30am ....And to gybe back again with wind now SSW again - we were slowly heading NNW! Better to be making SE slowly... at least that's a better direction. Basically, the wind has turned S but very light, so it's just swinging around. But slight S-going current is being seen so best to make use of it... we're making 1.5kt... Seems to have settled for a bit - time for some more sleep - maybe.

8am No sleep yet - more drifting with fluky wind to contend with - but wind now up to 8kt, occasionally 10kt, from SE, so making SW course at 4-5 kt. Hope it stays and doesn't die again - could be another 'cloud effect', I fear...

9.45am Cloud it was ... Now wind has veered to SSW and dropped again so we're drifting along a 2kt heading W ... but as I write, it backed to S-SSE again - it keeps changing, even more so as clouds pass by, which is why I've got so little sleep...Try my bunk again...

10.30am Got b'fast but not sleep. Raining now - usual veered, increased wind with cloud - heading us WNW - lasted about five minutes and then wind died down to SSE 4 kt, so we're making just 1.3kt. Sun getting back out.

Looks as though light wind today, until later tonight, by which time Cold Front will be getting close enough for wind to have increased to 15kt, reaching 20kt by 3am Friday and 25-35+ kt over the morning, diminishing soon after midday - a 'blow' of about 12 hours, maybe

2pm Just had an egg & eating a banana as I type - an excellent quick meal! Just slept, with one break to adjust boat heading, for three hours - feeling rested. Wind is SE at 10kt and we're making 235T at around 4kt SOG. Seas are relatively light, well spaced at 2-3m . Sun is shining in between white clouds.

3pm Wind 13kt, SOG 6.5 kt ... but just a short gust! Back, just after, to 10kt SSE wind and SOG ~5kt. As wind increases, will reef mainsail and eventually furl in genoa and use small staysail.

4pm Teatime! Sailing smoothly at 5kt SW in SE wind of 10kt. Cloudy ahead of Cold Front.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates