Day 73 Fri-Sat 14-15 Dec 2018 - Uku has a plan - but the Wind Gods laugh at him...

Friday 3pm Wind up again now - was down around 20kt or less but now NW gusting to 24kt. Expect it to increase and we're heading a bit S of rhumbline to the Cape now, hoping to avoid worst of wind and swell later. Making ~6kt and surfing on waves occasionally.

5pm Wind 32kt from NNW, with 28 kt in between gusts. Soon after came heavy rain with very reduced visibility. Half an hour later - rain easing off and wind eased to ~27kt, gusting 30kt.

6:45pm Thoroughly enjoying a lovely hot CuppaSoup... Wind is still from NW and still mostly around 27-30kt but the boat's motion feels a lot smoother. Front seems to have passed over but centre of Low hasn't yet because wind direction hasn't backed to SW. Sky is grey and it's still raining, although no longer hard.
(I've come to the conclusion that anyone becoming a sailor (or windsurfer) soon becomes a bit of a meteorologist, like it or not, both to maximise good sailing time and also to avoid strong conditions. Either that, or a 'tree-watcher' - are the leaves moving enough to give good wind for possible windsurfing or sailing after work today...?)

Saturday 3am Spoke to Peter (Northland Radio), ZL1PWM, after he gave Uku on 'One and All' his daily weather update - assumes his present course and speed are held for next few days but does not give Uku his GPS position any longer, as it used to. The warnings of 55kt gusts in two areas and 6m seas or more are still there on two different weather models so I said I'd keep to my plan of heaving to where I was at that point and wait for a day or more so that when I reach the Cape, conditions would not be so intense.
Uku spoke to me also - he was going to continue on, despite the warnings, but was keen to pass close by me so we could tske photos of each other's boats!! At that point he was about 55ml to my WNW, so it was agreed I'd leave my VHF radio on. His AIS would be on transmit, so I'd see when he got close and when then he'd switch his AIS to receive so he could find me.
That's the plan - I'll be surprised if it works but it would be fun to take the photos he wants if it does! We can't get close enough to have a cup of tea together - the 'unassisted' rule disallows that even if it were physically possible in present swell conditions - which it is definitely not (we're rolling all over the place).

4.30am Finally hove-to after a major problem with the staysail furling line. It had clearly been let loose at some point (or maybe had worked loose over last day or so of sailing) and, with the broken plastic part that normally would hold it in place having given way, it had rotated 180 degrees and the line was twisted around the stay below the drum.
I had to get onto the foredeck and untwist the line and position the drum correctly, starting to furl in the sail as I did so, and then keep tension on the line as I slowly inched my way back to the safety of the cockpit. That meant keeping the line in tension past its various stanchion fittings until I finally reached the clutch by the aft deck...
No safety line, boat rolling in big seas...and my boots kept tangling with the surplus line... Felt a bit risky... Then I was able to finish furling in the staysail and get the boat into a hove-to position - and get to my bunk for some more sleep - I'd had less than three hours up to then.

11am We're still drifting at 0.9kt but the wind shifted to SW while I was sleeping so our direction of drift is now ENE, not due S as it was in the NW wind. Our present position is less than 6ml SE of where we heaved to.
Wind is quite noisy in the rigging, although only 19kt now. We have the occasional bird come visit - But I'm getting to a late breakfast while keeping an eye on my AIS screen for any sign of 'One and All'- I think he's being optimistic! ETA around 1800GMT/1pm LT plus or minus an hour or so! Coffee time!

12:30pm Just got a position update on Uku from Peter - he was 36 miles NNW of me at 11am, making 4.7kt, headed ENE. There's no way he can reach me in the present wind, which has backed to SSW - what a pity! No photo shoot... So close, yet so far...!
Our AIS signals are probably too weak to reach each other and the swell doesn't help. I can't see his signal but can usually see big ships 24ml away - their signals are stronger. He'll be feeling pretty frustrated..!

2pm Getting lot calmer although still rolling around often. Blue streaks showing in the NW-W sky - sun frequently shining. A pair of white-chinned petrels gliding around us, close by. I'll see if I can get photos of them later. Taking the down time to re-provision in the galley from stores elsewhere.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 73. We made 86 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions - including 9.5 hours hove to - going nowhere!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 73 (by daily DMGs): 7,418 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 418 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2018/12/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-42.04S LONGITUDE: 079-19.02W COURSE: 063T SPEED: 0.8kt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 981.7hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 8.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Still hove to - on to Horn late Sun ..or Mon?

Written by : Jeanne Socrates