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Day 6 to CT - What a difference a few hours makes...!

Sunday 10th April

What a gorgeous day!! Blue sky,WARM sunshine (!), still 3m swell or more, so still a bit rolly, but gone are the rough seas and strong winds of yesterday night. Pressure is well up at 1017 hPa, compared with 989 hPa on leaving the Falklands last Tuesday - the big down side is that the wind (from dead astern) has dropped to 6 knots .... We were goosewinged for a time this morning, making 4knots SOG with plenty of canvas up, but as the wind got less, speed dropped eventually to 2.5 kt SOG - so..... motor on (not a problem on this passage...!)

I've been cleaning & clearing up, finding plenty of 'spring-cleaning' to do - amazing how, when the sun shines and things calm down, there seems to be so much crying out for some TLC. I also had a thoroughly relaxed breakfast, with fresh-brewed coffee and put some dried beans, barley and lentils in to soak for a soup tomorrow.

Hope to get stronger winds by this evening or overnight. I'm keeping a constant eye on the wind strength so I can cut the motor as soon as we can sail in peace and quiet again. (Must also keep an eye on fuel levels - can't motor too often in a 3000 mile, 4-week passage!) By Thursday/Friday, things could well have changed drastically - grib files are showing a nasty-looking low, forecast to form W of here and head directly this way - I could yet be deploying my (new!) Jordan series drogue, which is all set to go.... But that's several days away and too far to worry about for now... it can all change...

Noticeably, most of the birds have gone - they definitely seem to revel in strong conditions, using the wind and updraughts of the waves to good advantage. But I got excited to see a good-sized all-brown bird with a lot of white on its underwings - a Sooty Shearwater (came by yesterday also) and, also this morning, a very distinctive, dark-capped Great Shearwater with a white band on its upper rump. Other (solitary) birds seen this morning: a small white-rumped storm petrel darting about and a yellow-nosed albatross gliding nearby. The prions that came by in such numbers yesterday look as though they were probably Antarctic prions.

3pm LT
Cloud coming over, but still sunny, ... occasional birds.... Checked around on deck, one of the short preventer lines looking slightly chafed - must keep an eye on that.. have another ready to use. Downloaded a 24hr Chilean weather fax and current satelllite picture - nothing untoward.

Been wondering how ever I could possibly mend the broken windvane frame ... looking in my spares drawers, I spotted a packet of spare fretsaw blades - maybe 3-4 of those, held in place around the broken section with steel wire, threaded around the tubing (and through the cover), to support it, will work?? Maybe also drill a hole through tubing above & below break, to hold together with steel wire first... Sounds possible .... I can only try and see...

Writing this over a mug of tea and a buttered, toasted, hot cross bun - a very British thing from the very British Falkland Islands!! (How the Argentinians can possibly believe they have any claim to those islands defies belief - they've only ever been even partly in control for two years in total over the last two centuries, in between the mostly British (and minimally French in W. Falkland) control of the islands over those years.. before which they were deserted. There are families of British Falklanders who go back several generations.)

Wind still only 8 knots from astern....

4pm Just checked wind again ... 10knots from N - .....WHAT? .... Unbelievable ... we were on Standby and going backward!! ... How/why did that happen?... (heard a tiny beep a short while ago, wondered what it was...) ..... Now back on AP - gone around once, but only lost 1/2 a mile - glad I was right by control when that happened, to correct it instantly.... worrying.... Have put us on 'Track' to the next WP (300 ml away) to make control more positive...

Wind is increasing ...NW 3-4 (~11 kt), so should be a beam reach....hopefully, we can get sailing again....!

.... Oh well,.... false alarm! Wind back down again .. but now motor-sailing with full genoa & stays'l ... Great shearwater and white-chinned petrel kept coming close, circling boat - they were clearly interested in the sails ... Yellow-nosed albatross in near distance ... SO much bigger than the prions also flying around. Felt very pleasant to be playing around with the sails in relatively calm 15C water with the sun shining and in fairly warm air - almost like a summer Sunday afternoon on the Solent!! Except there's a 3m NW swell combined with a similar-sized SW swell - no wonder we get knocked about from time to time...!

Time to post this and get cooking - potato, onion and eggs - Spanish tortilla tonight, followed by apple...

Written by : Mike

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