Days 30&31 - A night and day of rain, squalls and overcast.... followed by stron

Wednesday/Thursday 24/25th November .... Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends!!

Thought we'd finished with the ITCZ and was looking ahead to calms ... but it dropped right on top of us again, soon after sunset on Tuesday night - and stayed overnight and all through yesterday and last night - total grey overcast, frequent heavy rain, with ESE-SE wind gusting up from 10-12 kt or less to around 20kt. But no obvious lightning, except faint static crashes heard over the radio. Finally took in 2nd reef with a stronger gust - no point in being overpowered if squally conditions were to continue and we made good speed until 9pm, well after a thoroughly grey, overcast sunset when, suddenly, the sky cleared, Jupiter & stars were clear to see - and the wind, at S 6-7kt, seemed to be dying. ........end of ITCZ?

Not really! Soon after 1am, I was awake for a useful satphone call from UK to discuss details of rudder reference unit's replacement in the autopilot system - conditions were fairly calm. Went back to sleep and was awoken around 3am by nearly being tipped out of my (windward) bunk as boat heeled with coming of heavy rain again and a strong S-SSW wind - to 20 kt or so..... I was pleased I'd left the 2nd reef in, but had to furl in some of the full genoa hurriedly! The strong wind continued and the swell got up so, being on a close reach, we began crashing into the waves quite often - and are continuing to do so. Our course is good, at ESE-SE, but we've lost the helpful E-going current of the last few days.

Unfortunately, with heeling as much as we have been in the present big S swell, I found I'd left the galley seacock open from last night when it was calm and I'd cleared up... Lots of water to dispose of and cleaning up to be done.... That's one way to make sure the galley area gets a clean, I suppose - but definitely not one I'd recommend!

It's too rough to continue with running of the wire from the new rudder sensor in the aft cabin and also too rough to play around behind the chart table instrument panel, trying to fix the external VHF speaker problem. Since it's Thanksgiving today, I'm joining my US friends in spirit - and taking a holiday from work... catching up on emails and writing up this log...! Will sort out a meal with chicken, in place of turkey... close! And I've some nice chocolate for dessert. The grey rainclouds have given way to white fluffy clouds and bright sunshine... so maybe that ITCZ really is behind us now!

A bird came and roosted overnight twice, but not last night. Sat preening itself yesterday morning for quite a time before taking off well after sunrise - I got some good photos - but can't see it in my birdbook. It's all dark with quite a fine pointed beak but has a very thin white rim to its eyes and a fine white line above its beak between & below its eyes.

Have been having very useful discussions with Raymarine UK on my AP problem - seems the drive is OK but the problem lies probably wih the rudder reference unit. Took me a lot of time searching and delving under bunks to locate the spare rudder reference unit yesterday. We're awaiting the outcome once I've replaced it.

I'm thinking about whether it's possible to put a simple on-off switch between the permanently closed relay, damaged when I fused the circuit, and chart table switch for the instruments & AP (now controlling nothing), or maybe get rid of the relay completely, to be able to turn off the instruments if I want to, since they give RF noise which often interferes with radio reception - another possible job added to the list - but not very high up! I'm also not clear as to whether that idea is practical or not - more thinking/discussion needed before I touch anything there! I'm also being very careful to switch off the multimeter every time it's not in use....!

With our frequent course changes/tacking of the last few days due to wind shifts, and the often low wind strength in between squalls, it's not too surprising that we only managed a 24-hr DMG of 82 n.ml to Thursday noon GMT (4am PST - early this morning) - but that's far better than the 44 n.ml.of the mainly calm day before!

Written by : Mike

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