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Days 245-6 Tues-Thurs 4-6 June 2019 GMT More work on repairs in Timaru

Please note - apologies, but emails are mostly not being replied to now in order 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!

In answer to several queries - it's OK to be stopped for repairs (anchored, drifting, hove-to, tied to a buoy), so long as no contact with shore or people or not tied to shore - so we're still 'solo, nonstop, unassisted'....

Wednesday was a lovely sunny day but I spent most of it down below. A lot of time was spent dealing with the generator while charging the batteries individually at a high voltage, having disconnected the other batteries as well as everything taking battery power, in case the high voltage should 'kill' them. A careful, frequent check on battery temperature and voltage was made while charging each battery - very little increase in temperature was seen, in fact. Unfortunately, having spent so much time on that, it didn't seem to have achieved anything noticeable. I'll confirm how things stand tomorrow when I next charge using the generator. I'd been hoping to improve the condition of the batteries which seem to be sulphated.
I also spent time trying to find a suitable nut to screw onto the dangling end of the lifeline, to use as a stop for some line to bridge the gap - but couldn't find a suitable one. Eventually, I used wire to make a triple loop using a convenient hole in the end of the lifeline fitting to join the lifeline end onto the stern arch support. I'm hoping the wire will be strong enough but I don't plan to test it too energetically! I might use some Spectra line from a stanchion as a safety back-up, also.
Looked at moving the GPS fitting from its present position to see if it can acquire a signal. Have released some cable down below... but it's another matter getting it to move at the top of the pole - I'll work on that again tomorrow - and must add some more lashing to hold the top plate securely to the pole.
Ready for use in 'tabling' around the top mainsail tear, I tried to heat seal the edge of the material I'll be using using a butane lighter - was very slow and wasn't too successful but will probably work OK if I take more care - needs plenty of patience! I found the needles I'd used mending the sail last time - totally rusted after having ended up hidden away on the opposite side of the cabin in the knockdown... I've several more, fortunately.
I enjoyed hearing some birdsong carry across the water from on shore, this afternoon - very musical, it was. It feels a bit weird being here but making no contact with people on shore - we're truly in Quarantine! Have heard church bells sounding several times - more music, of sorts.
Very cold again, tonight - 11C/52F in the cabin. I'm off to my warm bunk...

Thursday 8am NZT A calm, chilly but lovely sunrise over the timber piled high on the dockside nearby. Snow on the hills and mountains not so very distant... Time for a quick breakfast and then on with work before the bad weather gets here - later today, possibly.
Getting a lentil soup made, ready for having later today - hot, thick soups are a necessity in present temperatures .... Must find some gloves - fingers are frozen.

Midday Gordy, who was fishing not so far away when I nearly went into the long, rocky, unlit breakwater early last Friday, came over on his way back from his daily fishing to offer me some fresh fish. Had to refuse, of course ... great shame ....would have been nice! (Later, he told me that if I'd accepted, he'd have also given me fresh veggies...) Stayed close by for a short chat.
Heat sealing the material edges for the mainsail leech 'tabling' went better with a new butane lighter.

5:30pm Light nearly gone. Wind has been increasing since just before sunset - expecting southerlies overnight, Gordy said.
A productive day - good sunshine again over most of day - was pleasant working on deck. Didn't get anywhere with moving the GPS although it should be seeing the satellites so seems it probably got damaged in the knockdown. Lashed top plate and wired some small items that needed it. Spent time sewing 'tabling' around leech tear at top of mainsail - a lot done but ends need to be worked on still. Double-sided 'basting' tape was useful for holding material in place ready for sewing. Was pleased to spot the roll of sail repair tape I couldn't find yesterday - it was up in the cockpit, ready for use.
Looking forward to some hot lentil soup - heating it up now, as air temperature drops - it's 11C in cabin.

7:30pm Had a quick chat with Gordy on VHF - he's been fishing out of Timaru (part of a family of fishermen) for last 55 years - knows where to go for which fish when... Now, in winter, he fishes 5am - 5pm. He still loves the sea, he told me! In summertime, he's out 2am - 2pm - setting nets 3 hrs away for different fish. Strong winds, maybe 35kt, coming in later tonight and into tomorrow, he said. Will check local weather for me tomorrow evening.
I'm hoping to get away, if sewing finished in time, on back of strong S winds on Sunday, otherwise on NW wind later Sun or Mon - but that will soon be followed by typically light coastal winds - so I'm thinking early to midday on Sunday would be a better departure time, if there's no big change in forecast. All a matter of wind direction and strength - a N wind will stop us from leaving here but any other direction is good (except E, once outside the harbour).

Friday 8am NZT So much for strong winds - wind died totally overnight - and none now either. Getting to be a worry how I'll get away from here - can't drift around with no steerage in the harbour entrance with big ships wanting to get in and out from time to time... Weather files say there's a SW 14kt wind here now - but I'm not seeing that...

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 246 (by daily DMGs): 19,963 n.ml. up to distance calculation on Day 233 + 115n.ml. up to end 29th May (off Oamaru) + 48 n.ml. to Timaru and on to mooring buoy on 1st June = 20,126 n.ml.

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

Latitude: 44-23.39S
Longitude: 171-15.69E
Comment: Tied to swinging mooring in Timaru Hbr
Air_Temp: 9.4 C (in cabin at 8am NZT!)

Written by : Jeanne Socrates