Tuesday 14th February
Overnight was beautifully clear and starry with the Southern Cross high above..so dawn was lovely also, and I tried radio contact, having had good success wih WL2K at sunset y'day.. but no joy at all. The depth display is still playing up on so that's still on the joblist, along with a stanchion base furling line lead which I found bits of on deck soon after dawn.
Wind died down completely by noon - to 6knots, so our speed dropped also - for a time we were only making around 2knots. But the pleasant, calmer conditions gave me a chance to get on with jobs... tied down the gas bottle more securely; re-ran the third reef line through the sail cringle and marked the end clearly - a useful job to have done; updated my new radio logbook with useful info from the old one.
Our daily run to midday was quite reasonable, at 137 n.ml.
I decided to fill the main tank from the jerrycans while the weather was good - all started out fine, with my pride and joy of a strong new portable fuel pump and hoses working well - but not for long.... Suddenly, it stopped working... Drat!!
Out with the multimeter to check on connections ... I found the 12V cigar plug was really hot and assumed the fuse inside had blown -but couldn't get inside to change it - the plug is very old anyway, so I decided to change it. Out with the stripper & crimpers & shrink connectors... search for a replacement plug... eventually cut one off something else ... Pump still not working... grrr! Find my other pumps to test them - none of them working either...how come?... Test all possible items for continuity or 12v supply with multimeter... By now feeling very frustrated.. Checked 12V outlets for power - most OK, but not all... Started organising possible power supply to pumps using alligator clips (to buss bar) in place of cigar plug. Got out manual siphon-pump...(!) Decided to leave it all, get some food and sleep and have another go tomorrow - maybe things will be better!
By then, it had turned dull and cold, the wind had veered more to the north and increased & pressure had dropped - another cold front was approaching... but at least boat speed was up. The genoa pole had to come down, after sailing by the lee for a time, and we finally gybed onto port tack in a N-NNE wind and unfurled the stays'l for a beam reach.
Overnight, a SHIP came close by - Chinese, I presumed, from its name: '83 Chung Yong'... heading SE for 'fishing grounds' . Unusual to see other ships within 200 mls!
Wednesday 15th February
4 a.m. First light in the E, clear sky, ...nearing dawn. Wind had backed to just S of W but was still up, pressure down a lot more.... Gybed the main but left the genoa goosewinged, since it seemed happy like that, and furled in stays'l.
7 a.m. Bright clear sky with thin band of cloud low in the SW. Rising wind - time to pole out genoa again... Cloud came over fast, with heavy rain, as I organised pole... but boat speed much better afterwards, in good wind rising to 20-25kt .... and the rain didn't last too long, with clearing skies following, as pressure began to rise behind the cold front.
Midday ... Action stations!! Frantic winching to furl the genoa hurriedly - clouds ... wind over 30knots... and seas well up, tossing us around.... !! We made good speed! Half an hour later, it was a bit calmer, but wind was still around 26-28kt, sometimes dropping, with clear sky overhead, but another band of cloud lurking in the distance...
The pattern continued well into the afternoon - mix of warm blue skies and of grey clouds all over - but strong wind and big seas whatever the sky... but eventually, not long before sunset, the sky cleared and the wind died to around 15 kt - but there's a band of low cloud-cover on the SW horizon, so I might not see the stars tonight...
DMG over noon-to-noon today was 106 n.ml. - down, not surprisingly, on y'day.
It's been too rough for jobs I'd hoped to do today - manana, maybe!