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RTW Day 103 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas -Passing S of the Discovery Seamounts

Friday 1st February, 2013

Broken cloud, with moon shining through on occasion, becoming 100% overcast by morning. Wind had slowly veered into WNW from SW-WSW overnight, so major adjustment of Fred needed to keep us heading SE towards 45S - gribs still showing High pressure extending well S towards our position by around Monday 4th Feb. Pressure at midday was 1023 hPa. Swell has reduced a little from SW 4+ m of last night - being tossed around far less frequently.

Emaiing was fine after midnight until around 7am and I'm beginning to make occasional contact with S.African stns - but difficult and time-consuming, with only a very few theoretical 'windows' which mostly don't work beyond the initial 'handshake' - usually very poor, slow contact, if made. Keeping me up a lot overnight - so catching up on sleep over morning is a priority!

Had fair contact with John on 'Arctic Tern' on 8164kHz last night (after Bill, KI4MMZ, on 14300 MMS Net, had helped with the contact, with nothing heard initially on another freq)- he's hoping to make landfall in Grenada by Sunday - hoping to watch the Super Bowl , I hear!! Seems he finally found the NW-flowing current close to the coast to help him. Usual radio contact later with 'Curare' on 14305 kHz was excellent - they're anchored in a small bay off the Beagle Channel, Chile, with major Low passing over - winds/williwaws off the mountain were gusting to 40+ knots, laying them on their beam ends, and they have two anchors and two shore-lines holding them safely. Their pressure was right down at 964 - that is really low! Least I've seen was 971, while S of Cape Horn, about to round it on 7th Jan, with two very deep, nasty Lows on either side (photo of grib file showing them was posted to log report).

3.30pm Three black-browed albatross soaring nearby on stiff dark wings- two juveniles, with mostly dark underwings, one with dark bill and slight grey 'collar', the other with dark tip to light bill... often very close by. Not much bigger than the Gt Shearwaters and all-dark petrels seen - either white-chinned or Spectacled - not quite good enough view to distinguish for sure. Sun occasionally getting out between broken clouds. Far gentler seas now. ... Half-an-hour later - bright sunshine and blue sky overhead, with low cloud layer on the horizon... beautiful day! With still only the stays'l available for headsail, I sat on foredeck with idea of photographing mast head to look at genoa problem - impossible to see anything clearly using binoculars, with boat's motion. Sidetracked by the many different birds around, I took a shot of a black-browed albatross, ... & realised that close by it was an even larger Wandering albatross ... circling around, looking most inquisitive! Slight brown mottling on its otherwise white back, so relatively young still.

Photos, even at highest res and enlarged, didn't help me initially (too fuzzy!) no obvious 'wrap' of genoa halyard, or any other line, was seen, but when I took a couple zoomed in, which enlarged sharper, I noticed that the usual culprit could well be to blame for the problem- the spinnaker halyard was clearly being held tight against the top the furling gear and showed signs of chafe there. At dusk, I went and released the halyard and stowed it on the side deck, instead of at the mast foot - testing out the genoa to see if all is now well can wait until tomorrow - would be nice to have good daylight.

Wind has just backed into WSW, still headed to 45S... Pressure now (2330GMT): 1024 hPa

24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 112 n.ml. Gough Island: 389 n.ml. (303T) , Tristan da Cunha 606 n.ml. (311T) Cape Agulhas: 1184 n.ml.

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

Written by : Mike

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