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Day 74 towards Cape Horn - shroud fixed - ALL OK!!!

Thursday 3rd January, 2013

Slept very little overnight, with worry of broken forward lower starboard shroud connection - felt like a 'sword of Damocles' hanging over me... a time-bomb, waiting to bring the mast down....!! Was interesting to see that the sky never got really dark - maybe partly the moon shining from behind the overcast, but more a matter of being well south in 'high summer' now. Sunset is late and sunrise, early! Must have dozed off because woke up at 4am, in broad daylight already, and promptly got up to see to the problem. We were making around 6kt in quite heavy following seas which threw us around constantly - and rain had just started!

It was a bit of a struggle removing the split pins holding the broken 'fork' fitting and the normally- connected top screw of the bottle-screw fitting, not helped by finding blood everywhere from a deep cut in my thumb from a sharp metal edge - couldn't feel anything in the cold, but bleeding wouldn't stop!! Placed a shackle on the swaged eye to form a rounded edge and used Spectra braid to lash to the bottle-screw fitting 3-4times. Final result was certainly strong - but not very well tensioned.

Going back down below in the heavy rain, I had the broken fitting to hand- and discovered an almost identical fitting in my rigging spares, together with its clevis pin ...! So a short while later, I was back on deck, undoing my previous efforts and soon had the shroud connected up and back in place properly, nicely tensioned using the bottle-screw in the usual way - relief - and jubilation!! By the time I'd finished putting everything away, it was gone 2pm! Time for a welcome, late breakfast in lovely warmth, having switched on the Eberspacher diesel heater to warm both me and my wet clothing - and then had a deep 2-3 hr sleep!!

It's been a mix of nice sunshine and heavy rain, all the time in big 4-5m seas, throwing the boat around, often quite violently, but we've made good speed in the NW F4-5-6 following winds - up and down over the day. Wind didn't get quite as strong as was forecast overnight (gusted to just around 30kt) and should continue W-NW, around F4-5, gusting 6, for next 2-3 days. A nasty Low is forecast for SE of Cape Horn as I get close - may have to heave to and wait if I look to be getting too close - pressure has been down to 986 today but this Low is forecast to get down to well below that.

Cooking is getting problematic - I think my 9kg/20lb 'propane' refill in Tahiti as I sailed N last year must have actually been a butane refill - the gas flame keeps dying and butane doesn't 'gas-off' in the cold as well as propane does. We're down to 9C sea temp and I'm having to keep re-lighting the small flame to warm up my food very slowly...... the big ham and vegetable soup I made is very welcome but nicer hot than cold!

I've no wind info (for last few days...) Haven't had the chance to investigate, nor my Iridium problem - still some multimeter tests to carry out on both... Would be more easily done in calmer seas than at present.

Moon is shining in a fairly clear night sky - but there's quite a lot of light over the southern horizon - at gone midnight !! (I'd better post this and get some sleep!)

24hr DMG at 5pm local time (2300GMT / CST in N.America): 134 n.ml. (strong winds overnight!) Cape Horn 448 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 464 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is still Isla Desolacion, 257 n.ml. away to E and the W entrance to Magellan Strait is 266 n.ml. away, just to its N.

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

Written by : Mike

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