Day 53 - Starry night again, followed by blue skies... we slow right down ....

Friday 17th December Day 53

Another calm, warm day - of decreasing, slowly backing wind, causing our speed to drop over the afternoon. Hardly any clouds ... although just before sunset, a thin cloud layer spread over the sky - but not long after it was clear again -with a bright moon.

I still feel as though I've had a reprieve - although perhaps it's more a feeling of "the calm before the storm"..... I'm constantly thinking ahead to the next few weeks and rounding Cape Horn - well down in the 'Furious Fifties" - that waypoint, well away from the Cape to avoid the relatively shallow sea there, is presently at 57S! That's why it's nice to have so many calm, warm days now - and enjoy relaxed breakfasts in the cockpit.

Spent more time finishing going through my food stores, discovering some things I thought I'd forgotten to buy and finding others in places where I'd forgotten I'd stowed them - took quite a time but has definitely been worthwhile listing it all carefully - still haven't come across my original lists!

While doing that, I went to the fridge to get some Port Salut cheese for lunch - which has had no problem surviving no refrigeration. It has the traditional outer coating that did the job for centuries so it's not too surprising that it's lasted so well. But the visit to the fridge showed me that that needed attention badly - so the rest of the day was spent sorting it out and cleaning it completely, having only partly done that the other day ...... lots of food for fishes ... and lots of washing of plastic wrappings. I never throw anything plastic or plastic-coated into the sea but to keep them until the end of my journey means I have to wash them all thoroughly (in seawater) to prevent them started to smell. I've just put one bag of plastic bits into the aft lazarette to await landfall.

By sunset, the wind had backed into the NNE and we were struggling to make even 3 knots. I was finally able to look at the pole, to try to free the jaw - fresh water, hard brushing and a good spray of lubricating fluid didn't seem to be working - but some knocking with a heavy metal tool helped it along no end! Suddenly it came free... and I made use of the bright moonlight to get the pole in place so I could bring the genoa over to windward - held firmly, it behaved far better and our speed gradually got up to around 4 knots, in 7-8 knots of wind.

24hr DMG to noon UTC: 125 n.ml.

At 1200 UTC: Pitcairn 751ml NW; Easter Island 865ml ENE; Chile ml (nearest point) 2190 ESE; Cape Horn WP 2523ml SE; N.Z. (E.Cape or Portland Isl.)2764ml WSW; Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) 3607ml. (012T)

Written by : Mike

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