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Day5 Waiting for the 'blow' .....

Saturday 30th October

Well, I'm sitting here in the calm of a beautiful night under a starry sky... Oriion and Sirius high in the SE.... with the wind just swung to the WSW from W a short while ago - but only around 10 knots so far.... We're close-hauled since the sudden wind shift woke me from sleep with sails flappping. Genoa is still full to give us some speed in the light conditions .... I put in 3rd reef before getting to sleep in readiness for blow, even though that slowed us down .... (We were headed S, but now SSE.) Pressure has increased to 1016 from 1005 12 hrs ago, showing H building to SW of here - but Low is swinging around it, aiming at us possibly!!

The morning started quite well with the sighting of an albatross soaring powerfully by!! Great excitement on board "Nereida"! Unmistakable from the many seen in the Southern Ocean earlier this year ... long, 'elbowed' wings, grey-and-white uppers and white underparts and big, cruel-looking beak. I'd heard of people seeing them in N. Pacific (Al on 'Dogbark' in the Single-Handed TransPac of '06 mentioned seeing them up here) but I'd not seen any until my first one seen in the South Atlantic in '08, on my way from Luderitz, Namibia, to St Helena. Later, in the afternoon, a sooty shearwater, or similar, came by - all dk brown with black wing tips and yellow beak... Must get out my birdbook on 'Albatrosses, Shearwaters "& Petrels..."!

The depressing news of today is no input fom the solar panels .... regulator showing no input from panels although it's still showing battery bank volts OK. Fuses in circuit are OK - but I managed to drop one 20A fuse to between the wires below - impossible to get to so far... grrr! Seems I need calm weather to check wiring at panels themselves. Maybe water has got to connections there?? Unscrewed fuse box to look at wiring more closely - seems OK.
Still no joy on wind generator - input still looking erratic - occasionally inputs power with temporary 20A fuse in place (not strong enough .... but still not found missing spare fuses!), mostly nothing... so far have come up with no bright ideas there. Seems like a wiring fault - but where?? Only possibility I've thought of is thermal cut-out in switch on wires down from generator- could have suffered when fuse blew in strong winds of the other night. I actually have an identical spare switch buried away in the forepeak, so must check that in calm conditions sometime soon and maybe try replacing it.

Sun got out late in the afternoon... nice!

Spent an age this morning letting out sails in the lighter wind and tidying upthe mess of lines in the cockpit and sorting out a tangled staysail sheet. It was so much calmer going downwind with NW wind, instead of beating into SSW wind...

Took down courtesy flags etc and ensign - also flagstaff - might lose it and not needed - no ensign flown as would get shredded by so much wind over 7 mths!!

This evening - wind died right down - lovely clear starry night with barometer rising .... Cleared everything ready for expected big storm - but in higher pressure and calm conditions right now!! Easy meal of beans and crab (thought I was picking out a tin of tuna ... but no matter!!).

Sat all geared up, ready to jump up on deck and furl in genoa when wind rises ... staysail 'ready to go' in placeof genoa - better in strong wind and sea conditions.... We're in the 'dangerous quadrant' of coming storm - so when it comes, plan is to head SE to avoid worst of it - maybe...! Decided must try to get some rest - doubt I'll sleep, but must rest at least. (Back to top!!!)

LATER ( SUNDAY 1130UTC): Wind is slowly continuing to back and rise - now from 200T at 14-15 knots, pressure 1017 hPa.... Will post this while still calm out here!!
(Posting noon UTC position to Winlink very soon - 0500 PDT here! We're 188 mls due West of Newport, Oregon at present)

Written by : Mike

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