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RTW Day 115 - strong weatherexpected tonight/tomorrow

Wednesday 13th February 2013

Midday Thick fog of earlier has thinned and sun was trying, not very successfully, to get through. Wind has died right down, so from overnight speed of 6 kt we're down to around 3kt - it was 5kt half an hour ago!

Have been studying gribs and weather info a lot last night and this morning. A Low is forming now off S. Africa directly to N and set to deepen rapidly as it heads S towards our position - should be deepening over us by tonight and head off SSE, deepening all the time, with very strong winds forming around it - so we're bound to be in its strong winds - and with present light winds up until it reaches us, not much we can do about it other than head slowly (on a close reach) NE now ! We headed due E in good wind overnight, in hope of getting more out of its path - futile hope!! Seas aren't expected to be too bad since the system will only have started to build for just a short time - maybe 5m or so. The bigger seas will form behind it when it has moved well away, so shouldn't affect us.

So I've been looking at the sequence of pressure and wind, to be able to judge when I might possibly need to deploy my series drogue in good time. My present plan is to heave to when the N wind ahead of the nearing Low gets stronger (pressure then expected to be ~990, presently 1004), which will then make it easy to drop the mains'l shortly afterwards. ... pressure is expected to drop further and strengthening winds will back into the W as its centre passes and deepens.

The other plan of the moment is to get a thick stew made in the pressure cooker!!

2pm Well, I've just been discussing latest weather forecast with Graham, ZS2ABK, of S.A.M.M. Net - and it looks as though that threatening Low might not be as bad as was first predicted - if things go as the S. African Weather Services think, then we might just get winds of up to 35kt and nothing like the 40+ kt, maybe even 50kt, first forecast . :-) Finger crossed that's so - might need to heave to, if seas get difficult, but can hopefully keep sailing E- well-reefed down... Will be amusing to see what actually happens!

8pm Sunset. Grey cloud except a for a long clearing just above the W horizon. No fog this afternoon but might come in again. Zero boatspeed and 0.3kt sOG - we've been drifting around in a big arc.. presently heading S... moved only 3 miles since the wind died completely .... It's so silent, with no wind in the rigging or water noises against the hull, that it feels weird .... in the middle of the ocean going nowhere! Seems as though this surreal existence could coninue until well into the darkness hours, with very little wind until gone 2am. Wer're now 53 ml from last night's 2300GMT position - and drifting towards it!

Finished making the stew and picked over some more apples I found - eight are still OK, two more were almost so they've been cut and enjoyed. Then decided it was tea-time - so relaxed with my book up to now....

2300 GMT Wind just arrived ...making 3 kt in SW 10kt , increasing... on port tack, heading E. Pressure 994 hPa

24hr DMG at 2300GMT: 50 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 579 n.ml. Cape Leeuwin WP(Australia): 3794 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

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

Written by : Mike

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