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Fri 5thOct07 'Chute flying!

Fri 5thOct07 'Chute flying!

Pleasant - but slow - Tradewinds sailing! With wind down to barely a force 3 (around 8kn from ESE), I finally got the 'chute up to help us along - initially had to abandon the attempt with E wind too far astern (didn't fancy a spinnaker wrap around inner forestay, and anyway it kept collapsing) but by midday, wind had veered just enough to have another go. After untangling the odd line, it was hoisted successfully at second attempt by 1.30pm... always takes me such a long time to prepare it & then hoist it, with so many pitfalls to avoid!!

Just after 11pm last night, I suddenly heard a motor close astern - rushed up on deck to see a relatively small fishing (presumably) boat with bright alternate white/orange lights along its side - but it was also showing navigation lights. I reckon it came close out of curiousity, to see what boat this was, because it soon went off on its way northbound - to my relief.... always a concern since you never know, in the middle of the ocean, if their intentions are good or bad...!! No A.I.S., of course,and probably not showing up on radar either. They must have seen my tricolour swinging about in the swell.

This morning has mainly been taken up with playing with the asymmetric 'chute, after getting up late, & playing with the WindPilot which doesn't seem to like the very light wind on a near run, so I'm back on autopilot - had hoped not to be, since it takes a fair amount of battery power. Generator start motor has packed up I'll have to run the main engine for charging now - pity!

Other big achievements of the day include collecting a paltry two flying fish off the decks, throwing overboard a complete, unretrievable, very smelly, white cabbage (so much for my hope-for cabbage salad for lunch!!), changing a watermaker filter, happily listening to the fridge working away from time to time with none of the start-up problems it had previously.... and generally enjoying an extremely pleasant, relaxing, sunny day. I do so love hearing the slight rustle of the spinnaker as we gently & quietly sail along in calm seas under a bright sun - magic!! (I try to ignore the fact that we're making a mere 4.5-4.9knots SOG just now! At least it's in the right direction...)

I'm writing this munching a lovely fresh carrot (at least they keep beautifully in the fridge), in between my usual lunchtime quesadillas (made with an excellent Australian wax-coated cheddar), looking forward to a fresh NZ apple & a mandarin (also good 'keepers' - out of the fridge). And soon it'll be teatime...! Last night made an excellent beef, red pepper & noodles stir fry (thanks for the beef, Mandy!!). Food becomes increasingly of interest on a long passage - especially when it's calm!!

Looking forward to a bit of reading once I've 'posted' this .... although, on second thoughts, I've still some outstanding whipping I've not yet got down to, in connection with my new mainsail preventer 'project'... maybe do a bit of both, since no great rush.

Hope you're all keeping well - do email me with your news from time to time!

Noon 24hr run down again to just 129 n.ml. by log (135 n.ml. by GPS posn) - expect it to be even less by tomorrow noon!!

1262 n.ml. to go to Port Mathurin, Rodriguez, at noon. ETA 14-16th Oct, depending on wind! (Had been hoping for 13th - but winds too light now)

LATER Hopefully, with wind slowly increasing from now on, should get back to previous good 24hr runs! Presume seas will pick up in line, but mustn't complain!!

Wind has already increased now from a couple of hours ago - must keep an eye out to take 'chute down in good time!!

LATER: ......... went up on deck(4pm)...wind had veered...so furled genoa..pole down...'chute down..(JUST managed with rising, veering wind...with a fight!) bagged... down below... wind up & veered more... grey clouds ahead & around.... reefed main.. & again.... unfurled some genoa.... waited & made tea .... bang!...(pressure had dropped 3mb since 1200) "Nereida" got an excellent freshwater wash!! Heavy rain & 20kn winds ahead - so 25+ apparent! Seas built up quickly, of course!! All a bit different from earlier today....!!

Still rough & grey & windy, but will send this now ...

Written by : Mike

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