Day 61 towards Cape Horn - Gentler early today, but squally later...

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!! - from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Friday 21st December 2012

3pm: A far gentler day so far - wind mainly SW-SSW, mostly under 20kt, but gusty under clouds. Seas around 4m and only occasionally knocking us about. Every time I think to let out some genoa, the wind picks up a bit - so I leave it - we're making 5-6kt, which is fine... I never forget one of my first sailing lessons in the Solent: "If you're thinking of reefing - do it! If you're thinking of letting out a reef - go make a cup of tea...! " Now there's an idea... tea and Christmas cake!

After a bright start around dawn, a band of cloud, with some drizzle, came over late morning - but then the sky has cleared every so often to give reasonable sunshine. I dug out my inner clothing layers and have started being dressed for the cold to come...!! Layers will be added as needed - I seem to recollect last time this way having three thick fleeces on top of the lower layers when it got really cold... and then getting into my sleeping bag, with a thick duvet on top, to keep warm!!! I'm looking forward to having my diesel heater working this time around, even if only now and then - had no heating last time...brrr!

I'm waiting for seas to calm down a bit more before fixing the the lower aft port lifeline connection on the steel of the arch. The emergency inner forestay has also come loose at its lower end (as it always seems to do, whatever is done to fix it!) so needs dealing with. Neither is an immediate worry so can wait a short while. According to weather forcasts, we should be getting into High pressure with light winds - a ridge - by tomorrow evening, so that should give me the chance to get those jobs done safely. Until then, present winds are set to continue.

My comment about the Vendée Globe racers possibly being nearby as I round the Horn has received a few comments about sailing "in company"!! But I doubt very much that I'll see any of the VG racers - if I were to, they'd be past me in a flash!! But since they also transmit on AIS, I'll know if they're near me - so there's a remote chance I can get up on deck in time to see them - and maybe take a photograph? That would be great, but highly unlikely since they'd be wanting to stay well clear of me!!

8pm: Well, it became increasingly squally later this afternoon and into evening - one moment we were sailing along nicely and all was calm, and the next, a cloud got close, the wind picked up, we heeled... then, as Slocum would say, "She picked up her skirts and ran" ... speed has been consistently around 7.5kt! With each squall, the wind backed and then later veered - so, all in all, we ended up on course still! It became rather more a matter of holding on all the time as the seas got rougher with the increased wind .... and the decks were forever getting a thorough dousing.

A bright moon just sailed out from behind a cloud and is shining like a torch on the heaving sea surface astern...

I was delighted to receive an email from Graham Tourell (Mike Golding's Boat Captain) who had very kindly contacted the Vendée Globe Race organisers on my behalf. They've asked me to inform them directly of my position so they can forward it daily to whichever boat is closest to me when I get nearer to Cape Horn - that's great news and a real relief for me to know that they're now well aware of my existence out here!

24hr DMG at 3pm: 144 n.ml. - excellent! Cape Horn was 1772 n.ml. away (but my waypoint well S of C. Horn was 1806 n.ml. away) & our nearest land, Easter Island, is now 847 n.ml. away to N. Punta Galera, just SW of Valdivia (Chile) is 1500 n.ml. away, due E, and New Zealand's East Cape (its closest point to us) is 3360 n.ml to the W.

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For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/
http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida

Written by : Mike

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