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Day 72 towards Cape Horn - wind increasing as pressure drops - up the mast agai

Tuesday 1st January, 2013 Happy New Year!

Same light grey overcast skies, but pressure dropping quite fast over the day and NW wind increasing gradually as we finally get away from the High pressure area that has been affected the VG racers hereabouts also. Strong winds are expected by tonight and into Wednesday - the racers will be happy! (Made a big 'stew' later today, ready )

In the Vendée Globe, Virbac Paprec is still the closest to us, he must be to the SSE now, about 225 ml away, and Alex T, on Hugo Boss, is next in line... now 400 ml away to WSW. The Vendee Globe Race Management are kindly sending me daily, from race HQ in Paris, very detailed updated info on the ice situation. My plotter has several blue/white flags showing racers' positions!

Dealt with the missing pole car line this morning - got more convoluted than expected (...surprise,surprise!!!) First problem came when I tried to lower the pole so I could reach the inboard end - the jaw on the mast track was jammed over to one side (thought by changing the jaw end in Canoe Cove that that problem had been eliminated...!) - try as I might, I couldn't untwist it from down below where it was partly lowered to the port foredeck - so climbed up the mast to get closer- still impossible to budge it.... even after a second trip up, with a hammer to it - no joy!! Had to swing the pole over to the starboard side of the boat so it was more in line with the jaw before I could finally straighten it... That all took quite a time, but the seas aren't too high just now, so working on the foredeck wasn't too bad....

Next problem was, as half-expected, finding that not one of even my smallest shackles had a pin thin enough to pass through the hole in the shank of the block that had come adrift ...... So now what to do...? Somehow, the line to raise the pole inboard end on the mast track had to be attached to the pole end, preferably with the block it passed over still in action.... I thought of wiring the existing block to the car fitting... and then I had a brainwave! Some kind person this year recently offered me (I can't remember whether I was in S.Africa, Tasmania or Canada - if they're reading this - please remind me!) a load of spare, unwanted, boat bits and pieces - among which I'd picked out some shackles & a block which can be fitted over an existing line in situ with swivelling side pieces - just what was needed here - what a brilliant stroke of luck! So, although way over-size, that's now fitted in place with a big, strong shackle (pin moused in position!) to the car fitting with the jaw end attached - and the pole was then stowed on the mast easily, without a problem... Phew! I felt I had definitely earned my very late breakfast!! As I've said before, 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 when I can't use my full mains'l due to the mast track insert problem.

1:30pm Sun shining weakly through thin cloud layer, wind from dead astern... making 4.5-5 knots in NW wind... seas have built a little... Enjoying a fresh coffee - something not so easy to make in the rough conditions expected soon! Sent for fresh grib files (weather) - both short and log term ... Early tomorrow, a strong Front is expected to come past, giving strongly veered N winds initially (26-30kt possibly), backing to strong W-WSW before veering to NW around 22kt. Then we should be getting into lighter winds as a Low centre moves off to the east, just S of our position...to leave us in lighter winds, waiting for the next Low to pass by, not far behind - no steady Trade wind sailing down here!!

Near disaster! Went to investigate a suggestion to unplug the Iridium handset and connect my laptop to the base unit, ready for trying to make a data transfer - to see what error message, if any, came up, to help locate Iridium fault ... Went to look at the base unit connections and as the front instrument panel swung down suddenly, it hit the computer screen ... gone completely!!! TG I've a remote screen I could immediately plug it into, so I can still use the computer - otherwise I think I'd be crying now!! Screen is working fine..... :-) Phew, again!! Close shave! (Think I'd better back up the computer - or at least copy important data files to my spare laptop...)

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): only 96 n.ml.(slow speed again, since yesterday!) Cape Horn 682 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 713 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is Isla Pachuco, 405 n.ml. away to Eand entrance to Magellan Strait: 412 n.ml.to east.

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

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