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Day Fifteen from Cape Town to Hobart - bright sunshine, good wind.... into a new

Tuesday 21st February 2012

Sipping a mid-morning, rare cup of much-enjoyed fresh coffee, watching the White-chins circle around as we sail nicely on port tack under clear blue skies (not a cloud in sight!) in NNW4 (11-13 knots). An awesome pair of Great albatross have also been flying very close again (almost certainly New Zealand Wandering from black on the tail end and splashes of white on dark upper wings). Wind has been increasing very slowly (it was 4-6 knots just after midnight) as the High centre moves off to the ENE but is still close.

Having increasing problems with radio connections for weather and emails - so please don't send me any long emails just now!

Just noticed that we're E of 52.5E - and so into a new time zone - GMT+4 - must change my clock!

Pressure was up at 1025 for several hours and has now dropped to 1024. So I've changed course slightly, to due E, looking ahead to the next deep Low coming this way and giving strong conditions by late Thursday into Fri/Sat. I'll change course later to 070T when the wind backs further - If I can get a little further N by Thursday/Friday , I might avoid the worst of the winds and big swell. Might even be able to avoid needing to heave to ..... An ever repeating scenario!

The good news is that ex-TC 'Giovanna' seems to have disappeared completely and her associate ex-TS 'Hilary' is a relatively small depression just E of Mauritius at midnight. So there might still be an area of heavy rain on Friday, as I get to just W of where the remnant might have travelled to, but even that might not happen... who knows?

1120 GMT/3.20pm LT: Just finished fuel transfer from jerrycans into main tank. Spent a time chasing what I thought was a 12V wiring or plug problem - but, having followed through with multimeter, clearly cable/12V plug/switch/pump were all fine electrically. Pump seems to work erratically , almost as though there's a cut-out of some kind... Left it to start a weatherfax download (which never came through) and then heard a high whining noise - the pump had suddenly decided to work of its own accord - good news but frustrating...!! So now have approx 160l of fuel in tank - plenty (@ 40l/week of remaining passage) for genset use overnight when needed - such as when transmit on radio a lot, trying to connect. Daytime, when sun is shining, we're often putting in 8-16A from solar panels plus input from windgen - which can go up to 20A or more, if strong wind.... so genset rarely used then.

1700 GMT/6pm LT What a lovely day this has been! Lovely sailing, lovely sunshine, many different birds around over the day. All very relaxing... I've changed course to 070T, heading towards 40S, 060E. Making good speed closehauled in 13 knots of wind. (See website 'Travels' page for link to chart of my daily positions on passage.) I'll see if I can post this early, when radio propagation is marginally better than later this evening.

24 hr DMG to midday (GMT): Just 99 n.ml. - due to 12 hrs of little wind overnight, when speed dropped to 2-3 knots at times.

Written by : Mike

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