Saturday 11th February 2012
As expected, the wind picked up over midnight to above 30kt, so I got rid of the genoa, leaving just stays'l and fully-reefed mains'l ... plenty for the strong, rainy conditions - pressure dropped to 996 hPa
2am: Clear sky after rain.. felt calmer in around 20kt... Found that the newly-installed regulator seemed not to be allowing the windgen to work after it cut out in high wind... so eventually, I bypassed it to get input from the windgen - now doing fine... except when winds get into mid-30s and above when it cuts out temporarily
3.30am: Wind backed from NNW to W 22kt ... back onto starboard tack, beam reaching, stays'l replaced by genoa.
8am: Pressure still dropping... sailing SE in rain, windgen keeping batts charged...just! Had much-needed good sleep for couple of hours...
10.15am Dolphins paid a visit while I was busy organising the lines for poling out genoa...which took ages ... & then not needed since by midday, with pressure down to 991 (Low centre just 200 ml away to S), the wind backed from WNW to WSW and was building again...so the genoa was taken over, off the pole, for a beam reach.
1.30pm Gave posn and weather info to SAMM Net - who passed on message from Mike Elliott re genset... "Remove, clean and replace all electrical connections at genset" Easier said than done in present swell conditions...!! (Wind up to 30kt again) .... It will have to wait!
6pm WSW8 ..winds up more ..Low moved East & pressure rising now ...(994) " low battery" alarm - engine on in neutral to charge... slept well again for 2-3 hrs.. Big swell - 6m or so... but sunny...Changed course to due E, to run before seas and wind...
6.30pm 'CQ Contest' on 7120 kHz over the weekend ... Made contact with transmitter located 200 km from Cape Town.. chatted to ZS1RAP...on highest peak in Western Cape province.
STORMY STILL... since when it got dark at 7.50pm...SW7-8...CLEAR SKY soon after dark but big seas & wind still and boat continuing to be tossed about..
Later, in rainsquall near midnight, gusted up to 40kt again... pressure up to 1000 hPa now.
Turned on windgen -coping OK & putting in plenty of electrons...
Had problem all day making radio contact for email and weather info - finally used satphone for weather file... Heading East looks good just now and we'll continue to stay around 40S but no further S for next few days - gets worse if head further S but lighter winds if head too far north of 40S. The Raymarine autopilot, with its upgraded course computer, has been coping reliably and well with the bad conditions over the last few days.
Enjoyed my ratatouille stew this evening, with addition of more potatoes and baby sweetcorn... Must get some sleep..... zzzzz.... My bunk is a good, safe, warm, cosy place to be right now (it's late .... 3:20am)!