Wednesday 6:30pm Spotted first reef line had broken again, with sail slatting in the light wind. (Should have replaced it before leaving - hindsight is great, isn't it?!) This time the end of the line is way inside the boom - very difficult to get at while sailing. Reef strop is now essential for using first reef. Will leave in place for when in strong conditions coming up.
Tying in first reef from full sail will now require lowering sail to below first reef position so strop can be attached to leech cringle on sail. Will still have a line at the luff of the sail to use - but need to fix that in place now. Also spotted screw coming undone at boom end - have tightened with Loctite - need to keep an eye on that. Genoa will have to wait...
Still drifting in 3-4 kt of wind on starboard tack - wind presently from NNE or thereabouts...
Raincloud on N horizon... Cloud cover complete..
Later: Have replaced the line attached to reef cringle on luff of sail but have no way, as yet, of holding leech/clew back towards end of boom - working on it.. Fortunately have a strong strop to hold leech of reefed sail down to boom, so long as I can reach to fix it in place through reef cringle, but it needs to be pulled back as well, somehow...
10:30pm It's dark under the cloud cover - no moon visible, although moonlight seen around edges of clouds astern.
Tied in 2nd reef using headlamp - best done while on starboard tack and will be needed later in stronger wind when on port tack - so getting ready well in advance... Wind is building - now from E at 16kt.
Thursday 8:30am Was up 5am to make contact on radio with Ian, VK3MO, and Peter, ZL1PWM, and download latest grib (weather) files - shows we're on safe side of Uku's Low - but he's going to be in the middle of it over the next day with gusts to 50-60kt and seas of 7-8m. He'll be having a tough time and must be getting very tired. I think about what he must be going through constantly and feel sad knowing it was avoidable.
Raining now, with wind of 10kt, veered to SSE from earlier ESE, and seas of 3m or so - we're ambling NNE, waiting for the wind to increase to 20kt or more by early afternoon and then increasing more to 30kt with higher gusts possible for a few hours.
While in light conditions and on starboard tack, I've tied in the 3rd reef to be ready for the stronger winds. Means we'll be a little bit slower in the lighter wind but we're in the 'safe zone' now, with the big Low already to the E of us and heading ESE.
The small Low following directly behind is not looking too bsd and will be developing in the early hours tomorrow and giving winds of 20-30kt, possibly with higher gusts for a short time, as it passes to the E below us. Hoping it will give us wind to get NE and out of this unstable area - I can't wait...!
Time for a short nap before breakfast - I'm short on sleep hours. Can't sleep too long since we'll need to gybe at some point when the wind veers to SW, as forecast.
9:30am Wind has veered to SSW at 9kt. Time to gybe if we're to maintain our course.
Nice sunshine most of the morning - plenty of prions, shearwaters and petrels around.
2:30pm Went up to adjust Fred to bring us closer to the wind. To port and astern ... big grey rainclouds... To starboard and ahead ... the nice blue skies that we've had for the last few hours. Clearly, a change about to happen!
Within minutes, the wind was up to 30kt and we were rushing along under a cloudy, grey sky at 7-8kt - more when surfing slightly on waves which, of course, increase with the wind. We're getting the tail end of Uku's Low! The good news there is I gather he's still OK but having to head East, running with the storm - almost certainly with just a storm jib and no main.
Expect these strong winds to continue for several hours, with a short lull to 20kt before another small Low forms to S of us overnight tonight, probably giving similar conditions for a time in the morning.
4pm Lovely to see how the birds enjoy the stronger winds! Bright sunshine now but winds and seas still well up - no lull as yet...
The bonus of these winds is that we're now making good speed N - the direction that takes us away from all these frequent Lows with their strong, often nasty and dangerous, conditions.. We've had to stop too often and have got to know this part of the S.Atlantic far too well - time to move on...!
1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 92. We made 77 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Mainly very light winds until two hours ago...
Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 92 (by daily DMGs): 8,871+? n.ml.
Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 923 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 494 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 785 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3132 n.ml. to NE
Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/01/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-34.74S LONGITUDE: 049-04.43W COURSE: 042T SPEED: 7.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 30kt WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 995.4hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT:Heading NE to get N away from all-too-frequent storms!