Day 53 towards Cape Horn - We get sailing ...!

Thursday 13th December 2012

Up at 5.20am - soon after sunrise ....! We'd remained hove-to overnight, which was fine while we drifted roughly SE but now the wind had backed to NNW, at all of 2knots.. and we were drifting ENE - or sometimes around in circles again.... Didn't really matter too much with that wind strength - we weren't going anywhere very fast!! But I felt that the wind direction meant we should at least be able to head SE now - our preferred course towards Cape Horn - so I took the genoa over to join the mains'l and we started sailing gently downwind... The genoa kept collapsing... time to pole out the genoa....

What a long time that took! Nice that it was calm and wind was light while I took my time sorting things out...What with ensuring halyards were lead correctly from high up the mast, persuading a salted-up pole jaw to release and then having to adjust the various leads for a shorter pole than used previously.... but all in bright sunshine and a pleasant wind... I eventually got to a very late breakfast and enjoyed a really nice big mug of fresh coffee! It was good to see us making a good speed again, at last...

I felt as though I was on 'reprieve' in the pleasant sea state and light wind - being given the chance to draw breath and look ahead, yet again, to Southern Ocean conditions. I tried to make sure I'd not overlooked anything and spent more time checking food stores and replenishing certain food items to be more convenient - digging around to do that while being tossed around in a big swell, well-heeled, is not too much fun.

Taped around the clear Lexan washboard to make sure it was really water-tight. Secured the two chopping boards so they couldn't end up being thrown around. Looked for my Christmas puddings- couldn't find even one (But found some other'goodies' I'd forgotten about...) Decided it was time to start my Christmas cake (Thanks, Ann!) ... less than a fortnight to go now... Found my mini-Christmas 'tree' and a few decorations - time to put those up around the chart table area - that was good fun! Had a major problem getting the lid off one locker - it was stuck tight due to a leaking tin from above it... took a very long time to sort that lot out.... not such fun!

And all the time the seas built up until we were rolling around quite a lot - but continuing to make good speed SE - towards the Horn.... The immediate plan is to skirt close to the edge of the High, hoping to avoid the worst of two active Troughs headed this way.... We'll see!

This evening, after the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300kHz, I ended up with quite a few contacts , propagation having noticeably improved. After first chatting to John, VK4DBJ, near Brisbane, who called me with info on the Geminid meteorite shower tonight, I was called first from Auckland, N.Z. and then from near Dallas, Texas, and in between, Fred, W3ZU, in Tampa, Florida, called and offered a phone patch, ... so I was then able to chat to a friend in Sidney, B.C. All very sociable!!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 43 n.ml. Cape Horn was 2591 n.ml. away & our nearest land, Easter Island, 474 n.ml. away to ENE, with Pitcairn Island 732 n.ml. to the WNW . Punta Gatera, just S of Valdivia (Chile) is 2201 n.ml. to the ESE and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3134 n.ml to the WSW.

Interestingly, it seems that despite having run out of lithium batteries for the GPS tracker unit onboard, the Oceantracker website IS somehow keeping my track up-to-date: http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida Maybe the ordinary Ni-Cd batteries are working well enough for it to put out a signal? Or maybe it's simply relaying my AIS signal from elsewhere..?

Otherwise, for my daily position and track, see my website's 'Travels' page - go to www.svnereida, open 'Travels', then click on "Where is Nereida?"

Also, there's http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ - courtesy 'exactEarth' using their polar-orbiting satellites -, especially good nearer the poles, i.e. should be good when in the Southern Ocean.

Written by : Mike

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