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Report 2 on final leg of RTW - Nth to Juan de Fuca: squalls from noon onward

Monday 16th July 2012

Last night I had an omelette with eggs, potatoes and onions - all from Tasmania! Fresh-laid, unchilled, farm eggs still OK after fairly regular turning, although I had to throw some away - not turned quite as often as I should have done...

We were not making very good speed - I was rather loathe to unfurl too much genoa overnight after the previous night's sudden squalls and we were fairly close-hauled and banging into the occasional larger swell, so only making 4-5 knots in E wind of 13-14kt - that felt really slow!! Finally unfurled enough to get us up to 5 kt or more.... and there were no squalls overnight!

Beautiful morning - hardly any cloud . Listened in to SHTP at their 0400Z sched time - but too much noise to copy well - so no contact. Within an hour, sky was full of grey showery clouds - but nothing much except wind veered, backed and became light for a time... Then it was back to lovely sailing under blue sky... When we're bouncing along smoothly, I know we're 'in the groove' and making a good speed!

It was a very relaxing morning - I've been busy looking ahead, trying to think of who I need to contact in an effort to organize boat work soon after I get in - difficult! There seems to be so little time to do so much!

Every so often, after midday,I'd realize things were getting 'bumpy' - I'd find us under a really big cloud, with the wind having strengthened and veered- and we'd be careering off to the NE at a rate of knots - over 7, to be precise!! After a short while, the wind dies and backs again and things calm down... It's getting to be a regular pattern and I'm constantly having to adjust Fred and keep an eye on our course... Eventually, I reduced the genoa with the squally cloudy conditions continuing, with wind regularly over 20kt. We've made good progress with speeds often 6-7 kt, but it's been really variable.

I'm having to put on a jacket now when I go on deck - especially at night... We're no longer in the Tropics!

DMG today: 128 n.ml ; 1961 n.ml. to Strait of Juan de Fuca entrance (N of Tatoosh Island)

For the next 2-3 days, the centre of the N. Pacific High is nicely positioned but then it ridges and will give possible headwinds, although they might be light enough to motor through... We'll see, as we get nearer to Wed/Thurs, how it develops.

Note from Australian Winlink sysop Phil, VK3PG, today about radio propagation getting difficult maybe : "08:55 UTC Solar storm hitting Earth - this one could be a bad one (Northern Lights are shining brightly)."
Certainly propagation has been bad today and I was unable to have my usual daily chats with 'Holy Grail' (on passage to Alaska) and the SHTP racers -the bands were far too noisy.

Time to think of evening meal - pasta maybe ... sun is close to setting .. sky is full of grey clouds and the sea has become rough with the stronger winds this afternoon ....

Written by : Mike

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