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Day 71 towards Cape Horn - little wind all day - up the mast again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ALL BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY, PEACEFUL 2013! ................ from Jeanne on "Nereida"

Monday 31 December 2012

Little to report today - overcast skies, little wind, slow speed ... no birds... Very peaceful, but not much progress made!! I celebrated a very relaxed New Year's Eve, seeing in the New Year with no problems on the weather or on the sailing side - all very easy-going!! Lots of emails to reply to - I've managed to enter the New Year up-to-date! Missed being able to make some phone calls with my Iridium phone out of action...

The 2 Vendee Globe race leaders have now passed me by to the S on their way to the Horn.... The next, Virbac Paprec, has come much closer to us, to the SW by just under 200 ml, and Alex T. on Hugo Boss is coming along next, still a good distance away - in the strong winds that I expect to see soon!

The Vendee Globe Race Management are continuing to be helpful on the ice situation, sending me very detailed updated info - very kind of them and much appreciated! Even passing well south of Cape Horn, as I plan to, the problem could still be there as I head further NE afterwards.

Realised last night that with the lighter wind, the seas were also dying right down - was very tempted to climb the mast overnight to retrieve the missing pole car line but restrained myself. Got up at dawn instead and went up in good light, despite the slight swell. Not having to get further than the first spreader and having plenty to hold onto was a definite plus!! Used the gri-gri again on a halyard as a safety and quickly tied a line around the guilty block (shackle pin must have come loose so shackle is now missing) and brought that line down to deck level. The block will only come lower when the inboard pole end is lowered but with my line tied around it, I can bring it down now. Next step is to lower the pole to bring the mast end down to where I can deal with it, and re-attach it to the mast car with a replacement small shackle, if I have something suitable, that is... I'll explore that tomorrow morning when the seas should still be down... I was busy with other things today. It will be good to have the use of the pole for the genoa - there's likely to be a lot of downwind sailing ahead and it's a big sail, so useful in light winds, since I can't use my full mains'l due to the mast track insert problem.

I was delighted this evening to get good news - John on 'Arctic Tern' had not made his daily phonecall to his friend for 3 days and she was getting extremely anxious as to his welfare. I'd been trying to allay her fears, pointing out the calm seas he was undoubtedly in, on passage from St Helena to Brazil, and the likelihood of a simple communication problem, but it was only when he contacted the Maritime Mobile Services Net by SSB on 14300kHz today to say his Iridium phone was locked off and he didn't have his PUK number to unlock it, that we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief to know he was clearly safe and sound. Karen is celebrating a very happy NewYear tonight - and sleeping well, at last!

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): only 90 n.ml.(slow speed since yesterday!) Cape Horn was 778 n.ml. away but my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 810 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Diego Dealmagro, 480 n.ml. away to E.

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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