Sunday 18th March 2012
Writing this as I wait for latest grib (weather) files to download - slow tonight, despite trying different stations to find one with best propagation. (Had a big problem last night trying to send off my log report)
It's been a relaxing day - seem to have had several of late, which is nice! Last night was very bumpy, sailing ENE close-hauled, but fast (around 6.9 kt), in NNW 22-24kt at times, although mainly around 20kt, dying to 16kt around dawn and then to 13kt over most of the day. The expected Front came through suddenly, as I was preparing to let out the 2nd reef, at 0230GMT/10:30am LT. Wind switched from NW to SSW in very little time- gybed the mains'l, which fortunately was slowed by being on a preventer lead both through an open jammer and partly around a winch - both just released as part of my sail change preparations - so no great drama!
Beautiful clear sunny skies of the early morning were replaced by murky, slightly drizzly overcast ahead of the front and then by showery grey clouds behind. Soon after sunset, the skies cleared again - lovely starry night now, S. Cross high above us. Sea temperature has risen quickly from this morning's 17C to this evening's 19C as we've ambled further N..... more Indian Ocean than Southern Ocean!
By stark contrast, Greg on 'Alcidae3', to the WSW, down at 43.5S, 103E, is having nasty 30-35+ kt winds, gusting higher, and had been hove-to since 9pm LT last night, in 7m seas .. All as forecast, but I think he'd rather hoped conditions might be less strong and he'd be fine after deploying his drogue - which he hasn't because of the tack he was on when the strong winds came through, heaving to under sail instead. He sounded a bit fed up at the thought of possibly having to stay hove to until tomorrow morning, judging from the forecast... I think he's now been persuaded of the advantage of being slightly further north than he has been...
I'm also expecting the same area of strong wind and big seas to reach us tomorrow into Tuesday but hopefully, having come this much further north than I was 3 days ago, they'll be less than if I'd stayed at 42.5S.... we'll see ....
White-chinned petrels have disappeared of late, to be replaced recently by Sooty shearwaters who seem, in turn, to have been replaced, today at least, by several, all-dark, Flesh-footed shearwaters - with a noticeable pale, relatively slim bill with dark tip. A yellow-nosed albatross came around several times over the day. Also, saw a Wandering albatross, looking rather like a juvenile but with a noticeable dark chest band (could be a Snowy, Tristan or Amsterdam, my book says!).
24hr DMG - was going to be excellent, if we'd managed to keep up last night's speeds, but with the wind down so much over today, we've only managed a mediocre 119 n.ml. We've passed Cape Leeuwin, which is now 380 n.ml. to the NNW, and have 1411 sailing miles to get to Hobart.