Day 78 Wed-Thurs 19-20 Dec 2018 A mix of big wind and no wind. The birds enjoy a strong gust...

Wednesday 6pm A lovely blue sky with just a few whispy clouds. Seas around 4m/13ft so not exactly calm! W wind of most of today has just backed enough to WSW to have to gybe to keep on course.

Debating whether OK to cross the Burdwood Bank or not - if winds and seas not too strong, should be fine. Wind has been less, about 20kt now, perhaps, but will check weather forecast. It's 300 miles from here. Reading the S.America Pilot...

Wind instrument display suddenly came alive with sensible readings - but soon died again.

8:15pm Sun getting low - almost a clear sky still - just some white cloud low in S and W.

Having a problem sending the daily news/blog - took a long time and many attempts. Often the Iridium stellite system struggles to make, and keep, connections.

Thursday 12.30am = 8.30pm PST - party time in Victoria! Lovely to speak to my friends at RVYC having a celebration of my Cape rounding! Although middle of the night here, the sky was not dark - more twilight with a bright moon shining every now and then through gaps in the thin, broken cloud layer - and a line of light along the southern horizon in between the cloud layer there. I had a 'Dark and Stormy - Nereida version' ready to share a drink with the party - and again, just afterwards, with my Gibsons friends. It felt good to be celebrating!

4am Spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in the Falklands. He gave both Uku and myself a weather forecast for the next two days - basically no wind over the day today until much later or maybe this evening. 14-19kt WNW then, easing by midnight and on into morning but becoming strong by midday (W 21-29kt) tomorrow, as rain comes in possibly, easing by evening and dying away again by midnight tomorrow to 6-11kt from WNW.

Mark was also on air and heard both Uku and myself talking to Bob but not quite well enough for a chat - pity! I hear he's doing well and closing on J-L. Go, Mark!!

8am A lovely sunny day, making just 2.5kt in not much wind. A pair of Black-browed albatross and a white-chinned petrel keep circling the boat - sometimes close to - and a small dark storm petrel, Leach's or similar, with white band on its rump, is flitting around close to the water

My wind instrument has come alive and is saying there's 10kt of wind from 035T. I can believe the 10kt, since I just gybed the main and got us moving in the light wind, but we're making NNE - so the wind can't be from there... maybe it's from E-ENE, since we're very close-hauled on starboard tack.

I'm having a problem adjusting to sailing north, rather than south... and also having a problem with time - the daylight hours are so long and we've moved through several time zones recently... Uku asked Bob what his local time was - from Bob's answer, it seems that the Falklands keep Summer saving time - his time was one hour ahead of what I expected - but I'm not changing my 'local time' which is presently Atlantic Standard Time (in Canada): GMT-4hr. (52 30'W is longitude of next time zone change)

It's calm enough now for me to have a look at the genoa furler problem - I know it won't be easy but need to get started or it will never be fixed... I'd far rather be in my bunk, getting the rest of last night's sleep!

10am Well, I got out the manual to remind me how furler was put together - drinking some nice fresh coffee. Also had to keep an eye on our sails/course - didn't want to head W of N so we're very close hauled, cutting our speed. Sky is very overcast - looks like rain coming in.

Chocolate brown juvenile albatross is circling around with its parents - Black-browed albatrosses, mainly white body and head, with distinctive mark over the eyes, dark wings & upper body between and black-edged, well-marked underwings - a colony of them breed in the many islands around Cape Horn. Not as large as the Wandering or Royal albatrosses but still impressive as they glide around - rarely flapping their wings.

10.30am Foggy! Adjusted Fred off the wind more - speed up to 3.6kt but had no choice but to accept heading due N. Must keep an eye out that wind doesn't back further to send us NW.

Seeing a boat 'Under Way Sailing' on AIS scteen, just 13 miles away to NE, headed W making just 2.7kt - the "Tai An", fishing.

Midday Wind was taking us W of N - has clearly backed. Tried to tack around - not enough boat speed - so gybed around (always works!) Now close hauled on port tack, making over 5 kt in increased wind. Not quite making our course yet - but wind will possibly back some more soon.

1.30pm Wow! From drifting off course in no wind - suddenly the wind got up ... and up ... and up. We ended up speeding along at 8kt or more for quite a time! wind must have been well over 30kt for some time. Birds appeared in large numbers and were clearly excited by the strong wind - swooping around in small groups, often very close to Nereida. I was thrilled to see a Cape petrel among them - distinctive in its splattered black-and-white plumage. The first time I ever saw one was approaching New Zealand for the first time, at the end of a Tasman Sea crossing. There were lots of different albatross and petrels (but, interestingly, no prions).

Finally the wind started easing and slowly died down - to about 10kt or less giving boat speed of 3.5kt. We're now ambling along at 5kt in seas that are unusually calm.

After the wind had died down, many of the birds took a rest on the water - often in groups. A juvenile albatross had both parents with it. Quite an exciting event altogether...

Took lots of photos - but having a problem downloading them to post here - another project to work on now....

Will post some when I can.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 78. We made 89 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 78 (by daily DMGs): 7,996 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 160 n.ml. to SW; Staten Island: 26 n.ml. to WSW; Stanley, E.Falkland: 258 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-43.48S LONGITUDE: 063-05.20W COURSE: 036T SPEED: 5.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 1.5m CLOUDS: 90%

BARO: 993.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C

COMMENT: BIG gust under cloud - SOG 8kt for a time, until died down.Birds galore!;

Written by : Jeanne Socrates