By mid-afternoon yesterday, we were well into a region of very large rain clouds - wind under the clouds went up to 24kt or so but in between them, it eased to 16-18kt. Very squally. Had two reefs in the main and eventually reduced the full genoa quite a bit so as not to be overpowered in the stronger winds. Made 6-7 kt generally, with higher speeds, 8kt or more, at times - we clearly surfed down one wave - I saw 9.5kt on display! In one squall after dark, at 9pm, I saw 28kt wind.
Swell was still around 2.5m/8ft and quite close at 7sec but I decided it was time to start on the genset - I'd do what I could and see how it went... Access is helped by my small hands but it's always a struggle. By 7pm, nearing sunset, I'd got the old pump out and had begun connecting up its replacement (I'd put a new impellor into it a few days ago). The first pipe connection went well but trying to fit the pump in position with a couple of bolts, not so - with the rolly conditions and difficult access, it was just too fiddly. I didn't want to lose the bolts to somewhere out of sight, so decided it was time to stop and start afresh on Friday, hoping it might be calmer then, as well.
By dawn, the sky was fairly clear but soon we were back into cloudy conditions - but no rainclouds, and somewhat less wind (~16kt) and swell. I spent ages on deck, firstly changing course to head more SE (trying to avoid ending up totally becalmed by Sunday) - variable, dying winds didn't help. I decided to release the two reefs we'd had in overnight. That would have been fine - but, somehow, the lowest fold of the sail caught badly on a 'horn' above the end of the boom and was holed slightly - fortunately, I don't think the damage will be a problem, being almost at the foot and in between well-strengthened parts of the sail but it took a time to release.
In doing that. I noticed that a ring holding one of the sail slides in place was missing - the pin was almost out...! I hate replacing those rings - another fiddly job. Fortunately, I had plenty of spares (it's a known problem) and, after a lot of cursing as the boat moved around in the swell, the new ring was eventually in place through a tiny hole. Next, I decided I should have left the first reef in - I lowered the halyard a little more and tied a line around the mast to pull the first reef cringle forward (hope you're reading this, Jeff!) before tensioning. Of course, the wind dropped more, quite soon afterwards, so - out with the reef...!
All this time, the wind has been flukey - backing and veering around N by about ten degrees. My planned SE course to keep us in fair wind for as long as possible became difficult to achieve - constant adjustments have been needed.
By 11.30am, I finally got some breakfast, with a fresh pot of coffee well after midday - and, no, I haven't got back to the genset yet!
Just been studying weather files - adjusted our course even more to SE. Should get out the whisker pole for the genoa - winds now (2.30pm) are nearly NNW and 14-16kt and the pole would help stabilise the genoa nicely over the next few days of downwind sailing...
1200 PDT - end of Day9. We made 137 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period.
I added a banana to my late breakfast cereal - beefed it up to become 'brunch'.
Position & weather report posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak (using my US callsign of kc2iov) not long after midday PDT (=1900 GMT):
TIME: 2018/10/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 34-38.09N LONGITUDE: 128-56.36W COURSE: 138T SPEED: 5.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 95%
BARO: 1015.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: 410ml W of Pt Conception.. 137ml DMG in 24hr