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Mon9Aug A long overdue report .. of frustrating times in the N. Pacific High ju

Days 7-11 from Kauai ..... and a lot more to go, by the looks of things, with a very large High pressure area in our path to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

I seem to be forever checking our course, speed and wind direction - none of which ever seems good...! Frequently, we're down to ~2.5 knots - so then I turn the motor on for some gentle motor-sailing, but even that needs wind in the sails, so often we're heading in a direction well away from our preferred course. Sometimes the wind is so light I furl in the headsails and try to make our course under motor alone, heading into what little wind there is.... but there's a limit to that - only so much fuel on board! We still need to get further N before safely being able to 'turn the corner' & head E 'for the barn door'.

I'm constantly downloading weather faxes and grib files, hoping to see better news - but, if anything, it's getting worse - the H is forecast to be moving N with us! Which means a delay in finding the good SW-W winds, which will later turn NW-N closer to the coast. (Wind since early Saturday has been E-NNE, mainly 7-9 knots). I keep calculating fuel consumption.... and trying to figure out how many more days of (gentle) motoring are available to me to get through the light winds still ahead.

If I weren't so impatient to get to Pt Townsend the sooner, to get much-needed repairs underway, I could simply amble along under sail alone and just go with the flow.... it would be much simpler! "Things will change within a few days, once the High is south of us," I wrote in my last report... Fat chance!!! I was expecting this passage to take over 3 wks, but it looks as though it could take even longer.

Frustrations apart..... what other news? Well, I have, most unusually, enjoyed several sessions of sitting in a warm cockpit with a mug of tea or coffee to hand, enjoying a good read. The sea has been generally very calm, with just gentle waves and no big swell and it has frequently been sunny. Air and sea temperatures have slowly been dropping - and, for the first time since11 days out from N.Zealand in June, at 29S, the daytime air temperature of 24C, is just a bit higher than the sea, 23C (we're at ~42.5N).

Occasional birds have been seen - several small, white-rumped, dark petrels (Leach's?) were near us overnight and yesterday, with shrill twitterings as they fluttered close to the boat, and a large, all-dark bird (except for its pale beak - Flesh-footed Shearwater?) came gliding by yesterday - could have been a Black-footed albatross if it weren't for the pale beak. It looked very similar to White-chinned petrels seen in the Southern Ocean.

No old glass floats, with or without the string netting around them - but I did go chasing twice after what turned out to be black plastic mooring balls!

Occasional ships have crossed our path - one saw no good reason to change course slightly in order not to head across our bows at night, passing about one mile off.... AIS is sooo useful... but I may have a problem with my VHF radio - seems to have been getting broken transmissions several times ... Is it their equipment... or my connections...??

Our course has so often been a zig-zag as the wind has shifted, or I try to head nearer our preferred course, and the light wind has rarely enabled good boatspeed with us being invariably close-hauled, so it's not too surprising to see increasingly poor daily runs.... hiding more frustration as I constantly try to make what speed I can!

Daily DMG over Thurs 5th - Mon 9th Aug: 122, 125, 119, 108, 97 n.ml.

Wind's dying yet again - we're down from 5.5 to 3.7 knots in 7 knots of E wind ... and that's with a slight fair current!! Oh well.... I'd better find a new book to read to take my mind off it...

Written by : Mike

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