Day Six from Cape Town to Hobart - 175 mls in strong wind and big seas

Sunday 12th February 2012

We've been broad-reaching or running, with small poled-out genoa and reefed mains'l, before mainly WSW winds of around 30kt throughout the day, wind occasionally dropping to mid-20s, with consistent, impressively big seas of 5-6m tossing us about regularly. Hold on there...!! (As I write, near 10pm LT, wind is back up to 36kt - possibly under a raincloud...) The sun has often been out between broken cloud, with some occasional rainclouds washing us down in pleasant temperature of 24C for both air and sea.

Speed over the ground (SOG) has often been around 9 knots - clearly a favourable current has been helping us along, since boatspeed has been generally 7-8 knots.

Sighting a Royal Albatross is always memorable - one was soaring nearby around sunset, as were several white-chinned petrels - who were heard to twitter excitedly to each other in a sociable group resting on the water earlier in the day. A white-rumped, dark storm petrel swooped low over the disturbed water astern of us.

My evening reading has been studying the Fischer-Panda generator manual to check on the position of the VCS (Voltage Control System) unit, whose contacts are to be removed, cleaned and replaced, and finding where the actuator spindle was that I'm supposed to ensure is turning freely - as and when the seas calm down enough to make removal of the genset cover to access the said items feasible. Late Monday or Tuesday, maybe? Wind and sun have today kept voltage up well during the day, but I'm constantly checking the reading and getting concerned when it drops - especially overnight. (Around midday, solar power has often been putting in over 16A and the windgen easily gets to 20A, but will suddenly cut out for a time when it overheats in the strong wind - and then we discharge just over 2A)

The latest Low pressure system has now clearly passed by - air pressure has risen from 999 over most of the dasy, to 1003 hPa. Outlook is for seas and wind to calm down a little over the next two or so days, so I'm hoping I'll be able look at the generator. Maybe it simply has a dirty contact which is causing the problem?

Time for some sleep before downloading a weatherfax just after midnight...

'Bye for now.... from the lumpy, wind-tossed Southern Ocean at 40S, 32E.

Written by : Mike

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