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Day 71 Coast of Chile now under 90ml away...wind often over 35kt by afternoon.

Tuesday 4th January 2011

We've had wind around 30kt since dawn, gusting to 35 kt, but now it's more consistently up to and, since 5pm often over, 35kt.   But so far, we're doing fine...! The seas weren't too bad, at 4-5m until now ( over 5m ) but fairly smooth in general, so we weren't getting tossed about too much - just the occasional sudden lurch and always the need to be careful moving about.   There's the constant noise of the wind in the rigging - a low-throated sound, rather than the shrieking caused by even stronger winds!    You can almost gauge the wind speed from the noise it makes - I can always tell when the wind gets up to 35 from 30 knots!

Sky has been bright but overcast all day - slight breaks in places, giving the sun a chance to try to struggle through - not very successfully or often...  Occasional very fine rain.   Overnight, there was a long line of light below the cloud close to the S horizon - where the sun was not far below, as it made its way from W to E ready for dawn here!   It never really got fully dark - which was useful when I tied in the third reef finally.

I gybed the mains'l at dusk last night, when the wind had begun to strengthen and had veered sufficiently for us to broad reach deep on port tack - which I expect to be on for several days..   I also raised the pole for the genoa - which has slowly been reduced to its present 'handkerchief' size!  I find we go better with a small amount in addition to the small staysail, rather than furl it away completely - to help balance, I suppose.

Having been up  so much over the night and early morning, and with the boat behaving fine in the conditions, I had a good sleep for the rest of the morning
- gorgeous to be snug and warm in my sleeping bag under a thick double duvet!!  When I was buying the sleeping bag in Victoria before leaving, the guy looked at me dubiously as he told me it was for extreme conditions and rated for -3C - but soon agreed it would be a good buy when he heard where it was to be used!  He showed me how it was designed to cover the head to keep warmth in - that's been so effective and useful - the moment I pull it up over my head, I feel so much warmer and snug - cabin temperature is 9-10C..... brr!

I totally overlooked my usual check-in with Wolfgang on the Patagonia Cruisers' Net at 7am LT this morning, being so busy with my  noon UTC position & weather report - which exactly coincides with the Net timing.   But when I eventually posted my report (it always takes quite a time to collate all the data needed), I found an email from him asking if all was OK.  I thought that was very kind of him and promptly replied, reassuring him and explaining.

Fresh attempt at stopping the propshaft spinning is on hold for now!   Thanks to those of you who have emailed me with suggestions!    Strop around and wooden wedge (I need to change the angle, I think, but must avoid the engine intake seacock close by) are the two separate options I'll be hoping to try, when things calm down here.  Photo shows the failed attempts - but also shows the problem area!   Strop will be my first option - sounds quick and easy!

Finally - many apologies for my lack of email replies just now.   To all of you who sent me New Year greetings and other emails - Thank you very much!    I was doing really well, keeping up with replying, until the New Year - but I'm sure you can appreciate that they're on hold now.   I hope to get to them from time to time, as and when when conditions permit.   My only really regular contact now is by radio with the Pacific Seafarers Net on 14300 around 0315-0345 UTC where I check in daily (and with the Patagonia Net while I'm in these waters.)   I stay on frequency until about 0430 UTC if anyone wishes to contact me, ready to switch to 14305 where reception is less noisy..

24hr  DMG to noon UTC:  103 n.ml.   (See maps showing track & position via links on my website 'Travels' page)  (I hear there may be a problem with the main

link - hopefully it will be fixed very soon...)

At 1200 (Tuesday) UTC:  55:00S, 079:19W.    Cape Horn 422 ml 108T;  Chile (nearest point) 194 ml 059T (P. Montt 831 ml, 032T) ;  N.Z. (Owaka, S.Island)

3806 ml 226T; Mexico (Cabo S. Lucas) 4900ml 332T.

 (At time of writing this. Tues 2110 UTC,  55:16S, 075:01W)

Written by : Mike

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