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RTW Day 101 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - wind a-plenty, as CF approaches

Wednesday 30th January, 2013

Another clear starry moonlit night followed by a lovely sunny morning - with three Great shearwaters and a prion keeping us company.

Almost as soon as I'd posted my report for yesterday, I checked fresh grib files which showed N wind expected after the calm period. Went on deck, having noticed that we'd been drifting due S for some time ... and sure enough there was a slight N breeze! Trimmed the sails and adjusted Fred for a beam reach - and there we were, sailing gently on course in the moonlight, in a freshening N wind...

Just after midnight, we were making over 5 kt with full genoa and stays'l - I slept with alarm set to check on wind strength a couple of hours later when I checked into Pacific Seafarers' Net (Randy, KH6RC, relayed to Cirrus, ZL2CVJ, in NZ). All was fine, so slept some more and checked again after dawn - wind up to a nice F4, ....making 5-6 kt, all OK, pressure dropping slowly....

Wind has slowly increased since then, as forecast, to its present (midday) F5-6 (something over 20kt) -genoa has been mostly furled away and we're making 6.5kt under stays'l and main, with SOG slightly less, due to SW current just here. Before reducing the genoa, we'd been making consistently well over 7 kt - but I decided that with further increase of wind expected, maybe discretion was the better part of valour - and started reducing sail - reducing heeling also, of course!

The blue sky has mainly gone - a layer of cloud has spread over from N & W ahead of the Cold Front that's bringing this strong wind.

2pm Wind up to F6-7 - seas rough, foam patches on surface left by crests, swell building but not bad - only up to 3m or so at present. Genoa fully in, small stays'l, triple-reefed mains'l, boatspeed just under 6kt ... all OK! Adjusted Fred - wind backed a little to NNW.

The good news, possibly, is that while winching in the stays'l sheet, I noticed that the winch was moving stiffly in the direction it has been refusing to move in lately... so maybe I'll now be able to withdraw the spindle, when in calmerconditions, to service the winch ... there's hope yet!

Mid-afternoon, the cloud broke up and the sun got out - but not for long - back soon to solid grey overcast .... damp and cold! The wind, by early evening, was still a good force 6 (~25kt) from N and seas were still not too bad at around 3-3.5m (10ft), but with a short (5s) period, it's quite rough with frequent tossing around of the boat and seas washing the decks and splashing over the companionway awning - good to have the protective, clear screen hanging there.

Still no weatherfaxes being transmitted from Cape Naval in S. Africa but fairly good radio contact overnight for emails and weather (grib) files. From early morning, I have to wait until early evening to send or receive any more - radio contact proving impossible for emailing in between. Got very frustrated with one unthinking person that sent a one-sentence email - but with a load of 'bumpf and a pointless 12kb logo attachment.. 17kb in all....phew...! Took 3 slow connections and a long, long time to download - for nothing!! But I needed to clear my Inbox to get at the other emails.....

Passed into GMT time zone as we crossed longitude 07.5W early this evening.

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 131 n.ml. Gough Island: 175 n.ml. (NW ) , Tristan da Cunha 376 n.ml. (NW) Cape Agulhas: 1324 n.ml.

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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