Saturday 11th December 2010
Photos show 'Under Full Sail' and 'Study in Blue'!
Another day of lovely sailing in bright sun and lessening swell. Gradually over the day, reefs were shaken out and genoa unfurled - until by lunchtime, we were under full canvas in around 10 knots of E wind, fairly close-hauled and often making 6-7 knots!
To avoid worries of getting too close to the light wind centre of the High, we reverted to a course of 180T. These calmer conditions are likely to continue for several more days - and that gives me the chance to deal with some outstanding jobs I'd hoped to be able to complete before reaching the bad weather of the Southern Ocean.
I cooked up a big curry with the last of my fresh meat, together with lots of onions, tomatoes and aubergine - it will form the basis of an ongoing stew/soup, possibly. I'll add in some potato & spinach tomorrow - I only recently discovered that potato in with a meat curry works really well, especially with spinach added!
Then finally I got to the thin plastic tubing I'd bought in Victoria just before leaving, to make some anti-chafe protection to go on the lower part of the shrouds where the sails rub at times.... I'd been getting a bit worried that I wouldn't have this in place by the time I was approaching Cape Horn where the weather is so much worse. When very close-hauled, I'd noticed that headsails, especially when furled, and sheets (the lines attached to the sails for handling) were often touching the shrouds - so to have some smooth plastic covering the wire would save a lot of chafe and so hopefully avoid future problems. Using a sharp Stanley knife, I sliced along the length of the tubing so it could be positioned over the wire of the shroud. This turned into a far easier (and safer!) job than I'd expected, once I found the right technique of pulling the blade along the tubing - AWAY from me... ! Then I pushed the tubing into place - a bit difficult and needing a bit of 'grunt' because the tubing is slightly under-sized and grips the shroud tightly. But it will work & should do a good job. I'll do some more tomorrow - sunset took place over that time so I paused working to enjoy it.....
Tonight - millions of stars and the pleasant, gentle sailing continues - with first reef in the mains'l as a precaution! A waxing crescent moon set quite early - I've been told that I might see a total eclipse of the moon at full moon soon, just as it rises - I do hope I get to see that...
24hr DMG to this morning: 127 n.ml.
Pitcairn 530 ml WSW; Easter Island 629 ml ESE; N.Z. (E. Cape) 3200ml WSW, Cape Horn WP 3000ml SE; Mexico 2700 ml. NNE