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Day Fourteen from Cape Town to Hobart - pleasant sailing in calmer seas and frequent sunshine

Monday 20th February 2012

1530GMT/6.30pm LT .... Just gone sunset ... a red glowing ball - which I kept an eye on as I was busy tidying up the lines in the cockpit while a pair of White-chins and a Yellow-nose circled around. Seas nothing like as calm now as I'd hoped (around 3m) - probably due to a nasty, deep Low to the SW, with its Front expected to pass over us on Friday - hopefully without the dramatic backing of the wind that so many cold fronts give.

Wind is now slowly dying, as expected overnight. Pressure is up to 1023 and the wind, presently still SW at 9 knots, will start veering to the NW at some point tonight - one reason that got me tidying up in the cockpit, since then we'll have to gybe onto port tack and it will be nice not to have to deal with a 'tangle of worms' in the dark! I furled in the staysail and released the running backstay, also partly with overnight gybing in mind, and unfurled the rest of the genoa in its place - should help our speed a bit.

Spent a lot of time today trying to get radio connections for weather info & emails. Needed the generator to boost the batteries after a prolonged session without success. Some contacts made but not good enough, although I did post my position report - sending is so often a lot faster than receiving . Finally Sailmail connected, but still with difficulty and several attempts were needed before I finally got the grib weather files I particularly wanted, to see what's forecast for TS Giovanna, the High just N of me and the Low to the SW that's likely to give gale force winds... I'm also downloading weatherfaxes regularly to see the current situation (actually with a 4-5 hrs delay, but that's near enough).

Downloading another fax now - my daily routine seems to revolve around getting weather info via faxes, emails and once- or twice-daily contact with the S.African Maritime Mobile Net (S.A.M.M. Net) on 14316 kHz at 0630Z/1130Z. Graham, ZS2ABK, keeps me updated with weather forecasts for my position from the S.A. Weather Service and, in return, gives them my weather info - useful for them to compare with their forecasts. So I've several sources of info - useful should one go down.

It's feeling definitely cooler now - air and water temperatures have dropped a lot - sea is now 14C (from 24C on Friday), making the boat feel cold, and air is around 21C maximum - so I'm into fleece layers now!

Time for a hot meal - nice to have one all ready waiting... and then a nice crunchy apple!

DMG: 143 n.ml.
Present position: 41 38'S, 052 14'E

Written by : Mike

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