Day2 Thursday 4th October 2018 Wind died, but then overnight into Friday a Low

More lovely sunshine over Thursday ... a glassy calm sea ... a generator problem. Then a Low passes over on Friday..

Thursday 10pm PDT Well, that 'last sight of land for several months' was visible faintly for most of today as we drifted SSW in bright sunshine, often just in a slight current. Running the autopilot because of all the frequent shipping passing by eventually meant the batteries needed charging so I finally ran the main engine for an hour while I got down to changing the genset impellor.

A clever design feature means that in order to do that the entire seawater pump needs to be removed - clearly some guy was chuckling as that was built in to the design.... I have a second pump so that the job should involve just a relatively quick exchange - but I store it without an impellor in place, hoping that way to extend the life of my spare impellors. So my first job was to insert a new impellor into the back up pump. It was quite a struggle to get it in place and I was convinced for some time that maybe it was not the right size... but I finally made it.

Soon after 8pm (0300GMT), I contacted the Pacific Seafarers Net as usual, on 14300 kHz, to give my position and weather (no wind, no swell) - being near the bottom end of the 11-year sunspot cycle just now makes for generally poor propagation and Randy on the 'big island' of Hawaii, KH6RC, had a hard time getting my report. Two others helped out - Jane in Kauai, NH7TZ, and Peter in New Zealand, ZL1PWM. I was in the middle of struggling with the impellor insertion at that time - but my ratatouille stew was warming up nicely so I was looking forward to that.

We're back saving battery power with Fred windsteering now - the wind is forecast to increase overnight with a Low passing over and is already showing signs of increasing, having veered to the East. I'm seeing our speed at ~4kt(SOG) and wind at ~8kt - a definite improvement! I adjusted Fred to put us on a close reach. I'll get some sleep soon - I might have to reef as the wind increases My headlamp lit up tiny sea-creatures while I was on deck - lovely bright orange-yellow specks of light floated past the boat.

The pump replacement will wait for completion tomorrow sometime - not an urgent job but needs to be done soon.

For now, I'm off to my bunk - while it's still fairly calm.

Friday 8:30am PDT Well, that was the intention but I later spent a long time on deck, watching the wind slowly increase. By 2:30am I was reefing down - one reef initially and then a precautionary second reef with the genoa (big headsail) also reduced - I wanted to get to my bunk but the wind was definitely on the increase and I'd seen 33kt forecast in one part of the Low, although I hoped to stay on its lesser-wind side.

The wind was then consistently almost from the S, which meant we were being forced west, so I decided to heave to, to avoid being set into the worst of the winds on the Low. I reduced the genoa more and tacked around, keeping the genoa sheets unchanged - I didn't feel the expected conditions warranted deploying the Jordan series drogue - I just wanted to get to my bunk for some sleep knowing we'd be safe when the wind increased as forecast. Conditions became a lot more calm and I got to sleep around 3:30am.

As expected, the small Low is now passing over us so we're being buffeted by strong wind and rough seas - very different from yesterday's conditions - the wind generator is putting in plenty of power to the batteries in wind of around 26kt and it's raining.

Now (9:30am), pressure is 1007.6 - 1009 was forecast at the Low's centre yesterday - so we're in the middle of things - and it's pretty rough!

When I woke earlier, we were heeling to port and my bunk was the starboard one - I've now moved over to the port bunk - impossible to stay on the 'uphill' bunk!

Difficult to decide what to do for the best, but for present we'll stay hove to, keeping an eye on our drift, until conditions improve later today. We've plenty of sea room so it's time to get some more sleep, if I can, in my nice warm sleeping bag....

There's a tracker in the Aurora terminal which is putting out hourly positions automatically - the link to that is on my website's 'Travels' page.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates