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Day 9: Tuesday 22nd Nov 2016 Unwanted and unexpected excitement....

6pm Mon PST/0200 Tues GMT

Daylight amost gone. Reefed the main (two reefs now) and furled in genoa a good bit - expecting winds to increase overnight and be quite strong by morning - so being cautious!...And we could still have occasional clouds giving stronger winds.. Speed down from just over 7kt to 6kt. Far less heeling - excellent since I'm about to cook a meal. (Thanks a lot, Linda, for the mild curry - made a perfect quick'n'easy complement to the last of my ratatouille stew)

Seas built a little with the good wind this afternoon - there's a W swell of 2m underlying the wind waves from SW.

Have been too busy sailing the boat today to have done as much by way of jobs as I'd hoped and next two days could see quite strong winds of over 20kt so jobs needing calmer seas might have to wait a bit longer.

Tues 3.40am PST / 1140 GMT Wind up and down around 20-23 kt from SW-SSW. Making 5.7kt on 143T, banging into seas a bit.

7.40am PST Having to head SE with wind backed more into SSW - boat speed is killed if we get too close to the wind. Expecting wind to be more veered by around midday and continue to veer to NW so we'll be able to head more S on a broad reach by later today.

This time of morning, from sunrise on, the 40m band is pretty busy so it's a good time to catch up with ham radio friends.

By 8.50am, wind was 24kt, SOG 6.8 kt - doing fine with two reefs in mainsail.

Interestingly, no ships seen for many days now but I expect to cross paths with some headed from Asia towards L.A. when I get further S. Pesently, we're 240 ml almost due W of S.F.

1.30pm Heavy rain... wind 28kt (gusting often to over 30kt) and is veering - to NW now. Hope it stays veered so conditions feel gentler as we sail more downwind.

Well... I don't want a repeat of the next hour's events in a hurry - if ever! Wind rose in no time to well over 40kt sustained... Clearly a Front was coming through and I didn't realise it was happening in time to reduce sail further (good thing I'd reefed well down overnight!) We careered madly downwind, being tossed around by the building seas, speed reaching 8.3kt quite soon, in 43kt wind - held there for a good hour... I knew I still had some clearing up to do before, but I certainly have a lot more to do now.... A definite 'worst moment' that lasted far too long - but we survived it - well done, Nereida!!

3pm Wind down to 26kt, still from NW. Speed 6.7kt due S. No pressure change to give any warning - doesn't happen ahead of time when a Front goes through, just the isobars on an isobaric chart show 'kinks' in them to indicate where the Front is because of changed wind direction at that point. I hadn't been expecting a Front, so hadn't looked for the signs and was happily working at my computer, assuming all was going smoothly and keeping an occasional eye on the instruments from time to time when - bang!!

Have retrieved two trailing sheets that had gone overboard. Think I'll have some coffee and try to relax and soothe my nerves.... Some food (ready waiting - excellent! Thanks again, Linda.) would be nice also... Then to clearing up... Wind now (nearly 4pm - teatime!) 23kt, still from NW and getting lighter. We made 70 mls in the 12 hrs from 4am!

Just about to post this - sun setting at 5pm, wind NW 12kt , swell still well up so knocking us around as a big wave catches us.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates