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RTW Day 114 - we pass Cape Agulhas in rough weather- into the Indian Ocean

Tuesday 12th February 2013

Passed S of Cape Agulhas at 1050 GMT this morning. Overnight calm seas saw us drifting gently NNE-N in a very slight S wind - which I was perfectly happy with, knowing that later today the wind was forecast to be strong NE-NNE - and so would drive us S for a time - at least until it backed more to the N at some point. So by this afternoon, conditions couldn't have been more different from yesterday's - rough seas and strong wind, close-hauled to make the best course possible , with lots of banging and crashing into and over the seas.... not very comfortable!! But the good news was that the High pressure cell must have moved S to the W of us, not ahead of us, so we drifted N in S winds overnight and early morning and then sailed an almost equal distance SE, then ESE, in the stronger ENE-NNE windS following.

It had been much pleasanter at dawn, when I went on deck to trim the sails in the light E-ESE wind as we headed N still - hardly a cloud but several birds.. Two hours later, cloud was increasing, as was the wind , which had backed more to NE. It took quite a time to gybe the mains'l, rather than tack, and get us on a reasonable course - one of the times when it would be nice to have the wind display working! The Windex at the mast top is OK - but in swell, it swings around a lot.. I have to admit to being sidetracked, as usual, when I spotted a Great albatross, possibly a Royal from what I could see of it, soaring not too far away. I was also pleased to see a pair of Great shearwaters - I'd begun to wonder if I'd see them again, having not seen any for several days.

7pm Heavy rain, as the wind finally backed more and our course is finally due E - for the time being, anyway.. I'd furled in the genoa and reduced the stays'l, expecting possibly even stronger winds soon. Ended up way under-canvassed for the conditions - easy to do! Wind should ease later tonight, so I'll need to increase the sails...I'll be in no rush to do that until I'm sure it's the right thing to do!

Later: Unfurled some genoa. More heavy rain - and wind died with it..! Difficult weather ahead over next few days - either gales or nothing...!! Wind is up - not much, but enough to give us SOG of 4-5 kt.

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 72 n.ml. (89 n.ml. if measured up to point where ENE kicked in) Cape Agulhas: 587 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 625 n.ml. ... Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3825 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

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

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