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RTW Day 117 - rolling around DDW in big seas still ... BIRDS GALORE!

Friday 15th February 2013

Nightfall by 8.30pm - It had become a grey, rainy-looking evening after a lovely sunny morning and afternoon with some white clouds around. Sitting now with a mug of tea, dealing with emails and checking weather, after clearing up in galley after cooking cheese, onion and potato omelette - eggs still OK. Put some beans into soak overnight - will add in, to make a thick soup of remainder of my 'stew' tomorrow.

Seas are still well up and quite rough at times - at 4m or more. Had expected them to lie down more but they haven't... so we've been rolling around a lot and surfing occasionally in the following seas. Wind is from W and we're headed DDW - due E, goosewinged. Wind is expected to ease from its present 15-20 kt to ~15kt and slowly to veer more into NW tonight and tomorrow. Had some good, helpful current for several hours this afternoon - up to 2 knots at one point - nice!!

So many birds around today!! Rough seas are what they always seem to enjoy - when it's calm, rare to see many! Three different albatross - Royal ('splash' of white on dark upper wing, white tail & body, pale bill), Wandering (juvenile with a lot of brown on its light back, dark tail and slight 'collar') and a Yellow-nosed or Buller's (could see yellow/black on bill when passed close by and, from a distance, thin black edge to white underwing, dark upper wings and back, but saw too little of its head colouring, as it passed by quickly and unexpectedly, for a definite ID...). Also trio of Gt shearwaters, 3-4 Atlantic petrels, prions, white-chinned petrels - all swooping around together, most of the day! Tried to take some photos - impossible, in the big seas running and with their fast flight, to get a decent shot - as usual ... frustrating!

Spent quite a time this morning after getting a nasty shock on checking the boom-rodkicker connection - the for'd-most machine screw holding it in place was clearly out as far as it could go - only the metal of the connecting piece itself was stopping the screw from falling away completely... I'd seen it had moved yesterday, but not so far, but was totally unable to budge it with pliers to tighten it - it's impossible to get an Allen key properly into its head to do so... What a stupid design!! So .... big problem! The other (aftmost) screw I'd replaced recently with Loctite is holding fine - but for how long? - and there was a hole close to the problem screw where presumably a third one should have been...

Again, I couldn't move the loose screw at all and it was almost certainly not doing anything useful, so I decided to try to wedge something into the empty hole in an effort to stop the kicker connection from being able to slide along the boom should it try to do so if the 'good' screw should fail... the connection is constantly 'working' with the motion of the boat. Access looked almost impossible (I found , too late, that there were access holes in the head of the kicker connection beneath the two for'd holes - but the access beneath the problem screw was too narrow - wouldn't take a screwdriver shaft so I still couldn't tighten that screw - but I could have put another screw into the empty hole - but saw that too late....) Cut a long story short ... managed to wedge an Allen key up into hole... held it up in place with a hose clamp to rodkicker fitting and held hose clamp in place, from slippng back, with wire..!! After which I found that, miraculously, the problem screw was moving - managed to screw it completely into place - great!! Will keep an eye on it and have Loctite to hand next time I tighten it. Thinking of placing a metal piece over the screw head and wiring it tightly to the boom to stop it from coming down... A metalwork project... for a calmer day...!

Enjoyed a long chat on 14290kHz with S.Africans Robbie, ZS1RAP (in Jacobsbaai), and Peter, ZS6PHD ( near Jo'burg) - excellent copy on both - and later gave my weather conditions (to pass on to S.African Weather Service) & discussed weather outlook with Graham, ZS2ABK, of S.A.M.M. Net on 14316 - weather looks straightforward for next few days - good!

The sea (and cabin) temperature is 17C now we're in the warmer water coming down from the Indian Ocean - I might remove a fleece layer ...

Having switched yesterday to 1100 GMT position and weather reporting, there's now a 24hr interval from yesterday's daytime report.

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 143 n.ml. (nice!) Cape Agulhas: 530 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3723 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)

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

Written by : Mike

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