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Day 61 Sun-Mon 2-3 Dec 2018 Some sunshine again - wonderful!

Sunday 1:15pm LT Back to a cloudy sky - the blue sky and sunshine of this morning didn't last long. I was amazed at how quickly the edge of the cloud layer came over - bringing with it a gust to almost 30kt and a veering wind. Things have settled down now to a fairly steady 20-22kt wind, which backed to WSW, shortly after the big gust. Weather changes very rapidly down here - we're in the 'Roaring Forties' now...

1:40pm A mainly blue sky and sunshine again - wind WSW 24-25kt. 4m/13ft seas are throwing us around as they pass us, even though they're more on our starboard quarter than abeam.

11:50pm Went up to adjust Fred - a beautiful, but chilly, starry sky - spotted the Southern Cross with its Pointers - unmistakeable...
Trying to keep a bit E of rhumb-line course to the Cape - hoping to keep out of strongest winds over Tuesday night into Wednesday. Might have to head more E nearer the time - we'll see!

Monday 4:25am Just gone dawn, raincloud passed by but no big gust - just to 21kt. Scattered white cloud now - 80% cover. Wind in W but only 17-19kt now. Sailing more gently but occasional wave still knocks boat around.

8am Replaced genoa with staysail - on a broad reach, so can't fly both. Having breakfast while I think about shaking out a reef and check the weather...

11am Having coffee - a measure of the seas having lain down a bit is feeling I can safely put on the coffee pot (if I stay close by)! Sun is getting out quite often. There's a thin cirrus layer overhead and blue sky on the horizon - a pleasant day.
Took an age earlier to release the 'nettles' and reef strop before shaking out the reef - having attached them from the opposite side, it was difficult getting to them, not helped by being perched up in the cockpit in the fair-sized swell... I decided to leave reef1 in after looking at the weather forecast for the coming few days, although that means we're a bit slow.

There's a system passing by overnight tomorrow (Tuesday) into Wednesday which I'll be trying to avoid the worst of by heading East for a time from tonight. It will reach the Cape area on Saturday, with a 'squashing' effect resulting in even more strong winds as it passes below the Cape - I'm hoping to stay well to its N, out of the strong winds, as it heads SE.

Then, as we get nearer to the Cape early next week, there's a really big system following close behind that looks almost impossible to avoid, it's expected to be so widespread, with 40+ kt winds, gusting higher, and 8m+ seas. It's expected to begin to arrive at the Cape soon after next Monday. I might have to heave to or, more likely, deploy my Jordan Series Drogue (JSD/series drogue) to stop the boat and stay safe if we expect to be in the middle of such strong conditions. 8m/26ft seas, probably close-to and therefore steep, are nasty!

See photo of grib file for evening next Sunday 9th Dec - system is moving left to right (W to E), colours show swell height, arrows 'fly' with wind, barbs show strength, top left grey area shows rain in another small Low there. The green boat icon shows possible position of 'Nereida' at dawn next Monday and the path shown dwon to Cape Horn will take roughly 5-7 days to sail.

Weather changes very quickly down here but the system is almost certain to arrive pretty well as forecast. All I can do is to try to avoid the immediate threat while keeping an eye on possible future problems. Not being a racer, my priority is to stay safe, even if that means stopping or going slowly at times - no problem!

Second photo (by request!) shows my 'ham shack' - my chart table area in the main cabin with HF/SSB Icom radio and Pactor modem.

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 61. We made 135 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Good speed made yesterday and overnight.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 61 (by daily DMGs): 6,476 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,348 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-21.04S LONGITUDE: 098-58.52W COURSE: 130T SPEED: 5.5kt
BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Sun shining thro' thin cirrus layer. Seas lying down a little - not so close and steep

Written by : Jeanne Socrates