Monday 26th March 2012
Beautiful warm, sunny day until late aftenoon, when some cloud came over - but not enough to obscure the crescent moon close to Venus and Jupiter at sunset - forming a triangle once Jupiter appeared - being much less bright than Venus, he didn't show as early as she did!
Enjoyed breakfast sitting in the sun in the cockpit - unusual pleasure! Had to dig for sunglasses.. and remove two layers of fleeces - too hot in the lovely sunshine!! Had the last fresh grapefruit and some fresh coffee with my breakfast. Later, finished the last of the fresh cherry tomatoes with lunch - they've lasted quite well in the fridge, despite that often being turned off, on the way here, to save power.
Motor was run most of the day in light wind around 4-6 knots from W - sails couldn't add much to our speed with so little wind from astern!
Seas were fairly calm this morning - just a slight 2-3m, long, SW swell. But the swell picked up later in the day - it's now 3-4 m - not so very big, but the occasional larger wave rocks us about somewhat. Very few birds in these calm conditions - a pair of storm petrels and a soft-plumaged petrel are all I've seen.
Had a good time on deck in the sunshine, sorting out a few minor problems with lines and sheets. Some had got very twisted, like the mainsheet, for example - I was finding it difficult to release it, it was so very twisted between the traveller blocks and the boom block. I undid it completely, having tied down the boom, and straightened the line out - similarly the running backstay on starboard side which has been used a lot.
Also re-ran a few lines that weren't quite right and on having a good look around the deck fittings, I found a couple of bits of plastic - clearly come off the sides of a couple of blocks - no big problem for the time being, but it shouldn't have happened! When later checking the anchor pin closure and windlass operation (thinking ahead to landfall!), I noticed the genoa foot shackle was undone and only being held in place by the leathering there - it's lucky I've only been using the genoa well furled or the sail would have come away by now - first job for tomorrow, if it's still calm, is to unfurl the sail completely and release the halyard a little, to slacken it so I can close the shackle. I could take the genoa down and change it - I'll see how calm the conditions are, but I'm inclined to leave it now to Hobart - we've some strong wind coming up soon and the stays'l has been working well with the small amount of genoa.
Organised a downhaul on port side for the stays'l pole and then poled stays'l out - with WNW-NW wind from astern likely over the next few days, could well need the pole regularly on that side - up to now, it's only been out to starboard in the mostly SW winds we've been having from astern.
All in all, a very pleasant, relaxing, useful day - with lots of radio chat as well. On the Pacific Seafarers Net at lunch-time, John, VK4DBJ, took my details on 14310 kHz and several others came there to chat when he'd finished, (I'm thinking of setting up a 'sched' for 0400Z on 14310 - could become a regular chat session!) and in the late afternoon, an hour after my daily chat with Greg on 'Alcidae', I talked to Mary of Smithton Radio and to Jeremy, on board 'Rosinante' in Port Davey. Mary was going to be in Hobart this weekend - and hoping I'd be in by then, to see me - but I'm likely not to be there until Monday at earliest - there's a nasty Low heading this way for Friday/Saturday which could well slow me down with stormy conditions just as I get close to making landfall. Appropriate weather, perhaps, for rounding the SE Cape - one of the 'Big Five'!! Murphy is alive and well!!
DMG today: 113 n.ml. SE Cape of Tasmania: 662 n.ml.; Hobart 755 n.ml. Wind just now: 2 knots from every which way....!
Variation became zero last Friday (around 124-125E) and is now 3 degrees East - have to ADD 3 degrees now to compass readings to get True.