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Day 76 towards Cape Horn - Good sailing in big seas

Saturday 5th January, 2013 (A memorable date, as some will have realised! I'm 75ml due S of that point now.)

Midnight! Southern sky near the horizon almost as light as day - but Jupiter shining brightly in the darker sky in the N, along with a few stars. (My body can't get used to all these quick time-zone changes! )

It's been a good day of mainly pleasant, fast sailing, if we ignore the big seas that have continually tossed us around and the frequent grey skies and sometimes heavy rain! But in between, there have been lovely blue skies and several different birds seen - including two different abatross (grey-faced and black-browed), storm petrel, prions and others.

The light N wind of very early morning gave way by mid-morning to stronger wind, NW-NNW around F5-6 (20-25kt), cotinuing on into evening, when it finally started dying down again - but not completely.

I really felt at one with the Vendée Globe sailors tonight - I had my first dehydrated (freeze-dried) meal!! Beef and pasta hotpot, the foil wrapper proclaimed - and it wasn't too bad at all! In the sunshine of the afternoon, I realised that maybe I could use the gas to cook - put the kettle on for some tea - with the gas tank in the sun it had warmed up enough not to give any problem... Unfortunately, having come across my Christmas mince pies two days ago, I was enjoying one with my tea - so a meal didn't seem quite appropriate just then - later , I thought... But later, when I was thinking I'd like to eat something hot - the sky was grey,it was raining hard - and the gas did not want to flow - it had got too cold again... definitely butane!

Time to use my little camping stove (back-up for such emergencies!).. I'd tried to use it yesterday, to heat up my nice stew - disaster when it all ended up on the floor of the galley...!! I was not prepared to risk that again - so fixed the little burner firmly on the cooker top with bungies so it couldn't move when a big wave came by to toss us around. The top had already been prepared to take my little kettle in safety (but not a saucepan!) - a steel restraint had been specially made for it in Simon's Town by Baden early this year. So: boil a measured quantity of water, pour into the foil pouch, stir vigorously, zip it up, wait 10mins, "Bob's your uncle"...!! It was nice and hot ... and tasted OK! I've lots more I bought with the Southern Ocean in mind - when I thought I would not be in a position to cook properly . Some were bought in Nelson, N.Z., and some in Hobart, Tasmania.. Came thoroughly recommended as a brand (made in New Zealand) as being the 'best of the dried meals'!

Ice is beginning to pose a problem after rounding the Horn and beginning to head ENE - two icebergs look as though they're drifting onto my path... Will have to keep a good lookout and maybe be prepared to divert around them. Problem is partly the 'bergy bits' that could be up to 20ml ahead of them in the direction of drift - presently, due E or ENE.

Weather is looking distinctly unhelpful in a few days' time - either almost no wind or, after that, way too much - two Lows forming, with us the 'meat in the sandwich'! ... and later getting the full brunt of one of them - deep Low of around 970hPa (pressure right now is down at 977hPa- typical of these latitudes).

Time for some sleep - still light in the S...

24hr DMG at 7pm local time (Chile time!) (2300GMT ): 142 n.ml. (good speed last night and from mid-morning ) Cape Horn 197 n.ml. away and my waypoint, off the continental shelf, well S of C. Horn, was 191 n.ml. away. The nearest big island along the channels of the SW Chile coast is now Isla Londonderry (!!!), 135 n.ml. away to NE .

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

Written by : Mike

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