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RTW Day 123 - Hove-to overnight in rough seas and strong winds - which slowly eased by late afterno

Thursday 21st February 2013

Up at 2am, after several hours' sleep, to check on situation - winds clearly still way up with big, rough seas ... I decided to get back to my bunk for some more sleep and leave us hove-to for a bit longer. Around 6am, in good daylight, winds were still fairly strong (F6-7) but decided to get underway - daylight makes a big difference! ...and I felt we could always heave to again if things got too difficult ... In fact, we were able to keep going, although seas have been pretty rough - makes it difficult to move around!

By afternoon, the grey clouds had given way to broken white ones with lots of blue patches and sunshine. Seas were still rough and swell big - so we were often knocked about by wave crests. Wind from SSW and still strong, but easing slowly.

Had a big problem getting good radio connection to download grib files - but when finally I did, I decided that, with two Lows, one ahead (giving present strong winds) and one close behind, set to give headwinds in a day or two, we had best head more to north - so changed course to NE.

Weather has been getting quite complicated off S. Africa. TS 'Haruna' is off S. Madagascar, but now looks to be keeping out of our way, and Lows regularly form off the S.African coast and head SE ... Then there's the Indian Ocean High pressure area - which needs to be kept well to our N (to avoid light winds) but seems to be coming further S than in previous years. Then there are the usual deep Southern Ocean Lows passing every few days well to the S, with associated Cold Fronts to their north, affecting us. All keeps life interesting for us as we head East, trying all the time to keep out of the worst of the very strong winds near the centre of the Lows (as well as the resulting big swells), to be prepared for sudden changes of wind direction as the Fronts pass by and to avoid both calms and being headed, if at all possible.....

Being busy with sails and cooking a meal before dark, I missed the preferred time of 1600Z for my 'sched' on 14m with the US W coast and SA stns - came up very late but still managed a good contact with N7EDK, Frank, near Portland,OR, and several SA stns. Then back to gazing out at the sea and sky before writing this log report and trying to connect to post it (probably will have to wait for tomorrow morning to succeed in that)

Another glorious sunset this evening - but quite different from yesterday's. The sky had cleared in the W, so a glowing orange ball sank into the sea, leaving a long band of orange, shading paler and then into the deep blue of the darkening, clear sky above... a bright silver moon by contrast, high up in the east, with a path of silver in the sea leading to the boat.. a Royal albatross soaring nearby, with a young one, in the last of the light ..... and a rather calmer sea, with wind well down. This was to be a far more restful night than yesterday!

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 85 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 916 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3307 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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