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Days 243-4 Sun-Tues 2-4 June 2019 GMT Working on board in Timaru - Monday was a holiday here (Queen's official birthday)

Please note - apologies, but emails are mostly not being replied to just now to conserve battery power - a lot less power is needed to download them (please make them short) than to send replies to them. Many thanks to so many of you for sending supportive messages - they're much appreciated!


Monday morning Because of the low air temperature, the condensation on all surfaces in the boat is awful - forever dripping - and everywhere in the forepeak is going mouldy - need to use some bleach to try to clean it - the spores are in the air - horrible and not healthy!

4:30pm Sunset a short while ago - dark soon after. Has been a lovely sunny day and this afternoon wasn't too cold.
Worked on several projects: long top tear in sail - Gorilla tape (again!) used on both sides to hold edges together (needs tabling now); small tear between lowest battens - used sail repair tape but only on one side - ran out of tape (was sure I had another narrower roll but it has vanished from sight); patched a few small holes with remainder of tape; took quite a time to untie broken lazyjacks on both sides with a view to renewing where needed - will be nice to have both available but might have to renew several sections; climbed mast twice to retrieve starboard lazyjack end up near top spreader - 2nd climb was needed after realising I'd not taken the line aft of first spreader and some lines as I came down. Used a gri-gri and the spinnaker halyard as my safety line - good to have mast steps.
Cut a piece of wood to size and drilled a hole to take a long bolt. Started trying to fix wood over missing dorade (air vent) fitting but ran into problems - needed another person, or at least a long third hand! Will re-think tomorrow. Either need to use a coach-bolt with a squared-off section near its top that won't rotate when the end nut is being tightened or maybe I can make use of vice grips to hold a nut securely on the end of the standard long bolt I was trying to use while I turn the bolt from above. Neither is quick nor easy.

Ran main engine (in neutral) for 15 minutes to check charging status. It ran at 14.7V, put in 31A initially, reducing to 24A by end of 20 min with watermaker on and charging computer. Then turned on generator to charge at 15.2V (AGM + 10C, so voltage OK) but it later reduced to 14.7V, putting in 22A after a time. Ran watermaker for an hour, while charging batteries.

Finished checking on food stowed away - had a nice surprise finding 5 one litre packs of mango juice I'd forgotten about and some more tins of beef chunks in gravy.

Keep forgetting to eat - just now had breakfast, having just had some nuts first thing this morning... Feel I should be getting on with jobs while there's daylight and there are so many different ones needing to be done.

Need to figure out a way to replace a missing bottle-screw (rigging screw) in the port lifeline - I've no spare and it went missing in the knockdown so the lifeline is just dangling at the stern..

Once it's dark, it's difficult to do much more than have a meal and then get to my bunk under my warm duvet as the temperature drops. I'm using a headlamp, rather than cabin lights, to conserve power ... and heating (other than cooking) is out of the question - need the diesel for the generator!

Looks as though there might be slight rain tomorrow, clearing to give drier conditions for a time. Need to get to stitching the sail before some very bad weather comes later this week - a strong S wind is expected on Thursday - that means cold Antarctic air... Brrr!! Hope we don't get snow!! Even if I were ready, that would possibly prevent me from moving on until it has passed over.

5pm Sky cleared nicely this afternoon to give a lovely sunset a short while ago, after a dull grey morning with slight rain. Having a meal while there's still some daylight - fancied some pancakes with maple syrup after bean and barley soup followed by scrambled egg (from dried egg powder - it's passable).
Finally got the dorade cover in place once I'd changed to an easy-to-turn ordinary nut from a Nyloc nut which made it impossible to tighten up (too tight) - the screw kept turning with it and I couldn't get anywhere using vice grips. I searched for ages before finding the nut - mainly seem to have the Nyloc type in that size. Was helped by adding plenty of duct tape to hold the wooden cover and screw head in place above.
Still working on the battery-charging problem - hoping to try to de-sulphate the battery bank - but will leave that to tomorrow.
The lazyjacks are now both mended - needed a long line replaced on each side - the Spectra braided line had been degraded by sunlight and gave way. I've added a 'safety leash' on both sides to prevent losing the main line to the mast top, should the lazyjack on either side give way again.
Realised last night that the main GPS has gone down along with the radar - result of the knockdown again. It's on the radar mount that was loosened in the impact and started rotating until I was able to lash it down. Fortunately, the AIS has an independent GPS whose signal is also sent to the plotter along with the AIS info on ships nearby - which is why I hadn't realised the Raystar 125 was no longer sending info until now.
Temperature is dropping fast with the clear sky - down to 11C in the cabin - time to get to my bunk for some warmth - after those pancakes...

Wednesday 6:30am NZT (Tuesday 1830GMT) Woken by machinery starting up on docks close by - always one to three big ships nearby unloading or loading - Timaru is a busy port. Dark - night time still, but bright lights on dock all night.
Organising my thoughts for work today - urgent items are sail repair in the good weather forecast and hoped for, seeing if anything can be done to improve battery state, seeing if I can release enough cable to the Raymarine GPS receiver to try moving it to see if that makes any difference to it seeing satellites to give a GPS input, hoping to lash the antenna pole's top plate to ensure it won't move from its base and trying to secure the end of the dangling port-hand life line where it's missing the aft bottle screw connection (turnbuckle/rigging screw). Still plenty to keep me busy.
Pressure has dropped to 997.9hPa now, with a Low to the N. Weather will be bad here from Thursday on, with a big system passing over from the Southern Ocean bringing very big swells and strong wind - not a time to be thinking of leaving here. I'm hoping conditions will have eased sufficiently by Monday - but the problem then could well be lack of wind, in this protected bight in the lee of the South Island, to sail away on....

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 239 (by daily DMGs): 19,963 n.ml. up to last distance calculation (on Day 233) + an unknown amount. Now have plotter available to do it, so will do that one evening, when too dark to work on deck.

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

Latitude: 44-23.37S
Longitude: 171-15.69E
Comment: Tied to swinging mooring in Timaru Hbr
Air_Temp: 7.5C (in cabin at 7am Wed NZT!)

Written by : Jeanne Socrates