RTW Day 126 - Sunny morning with strong WSW wind, easing. Very strong again overnight - we heave to

Sunday 24th February 2013

Midday Beautiful sunny morning with boat speed down to 5-6 knots from overnight 6-7 kt . Once a gentle SSW wind had finally arrived, around 10pm, it slowly strengthened and veered overnight so that by 4am, I had to furl in genoa. We were still making over 6kt, and surfing frequently to 8-10kt in big seas, on a very broad reach, in SW-WSW wind of well over 25kt. Wind has eased now - I just unfurled some genoa to increase our speed a little, watching a great Wandering albatross and three white-chinned petrels soaring around nearby as I did so.... Seas are still well up, at around 4m or so, every 6-8 seconds. As the steep face approaches our stern, it never fails to impress me how we lift up over it - doesn't look possible, somehow!

Had a fair contact with mainly US East coast stations at 6am this morning and with some S. African ones afterwards - but a lot of noise again today.

4pm Feeling a bit fed up .... ! Was gybing the mains'l with the wind more to WNW. Went to deal with the loose boom-kicker screw which seemed to have come down again - just came out completely. I was trying to screw it back with my fingers but it had got slightly skew and didn't want to go - got worried I'd lose it - it fell into my hands ... at least I've got it. My other 'fix' had rusted away - so neither of two for'd screws are in place in the kicker-boom fitting now - just one (aft) of the three is now holding head of the rod-kicker in place from sliding around under boom ... Seas are still too big to be able to work on the boom easily also... Will try cutting down an Allen key to use...! Hope mine are made from Chinese steel so they're easy to cut...!

Just to cheer me up later - 2 Wandering albatross came by to join the 5-6 petrels circling the boat... One had a lovely pure white on its body and wing markings but the other had brown mottling all over its white areas - looked quite dirty! But clearly a younger one than the first - they stayed close together and circled around for some time - nice to see these amazing birds so close to... they get very curious and often come to have a look over the boat and stare at me in the cockpit!

Good clear contact tonight on the radio - far better than last two days or so. Not so many US stations but lots of S.African ones -many wishing me well, which is really nice of them!

9.30pm Raining .... was getting into my foulies, just about to go on deck to reduce sail, with us rushing along at over 7 kt, surfing at 8-9kt or more, every so often, when suddenly things calmed down a bit .. So I've paused and I'm waiting to see if things stay less fraught - or if I need to reduce sail, as I'd intended - if in doubt, better to be under-canvassed (especially being overnight) than over-canvassed!

10.30pm Well, I reduced stays'l - but we were still going very fast, 7-8kt and surfing 10-11kt in big seas, and things were not settling down ... pressure had dropped to 996 (-4 in 3hr) and a short while later, to 994hPa... Time to heave to so I could sleep .... wind was just too strong to continue in comfort.... welll over30kt... We're now moving ENE nicely, at 2.8kt with current and windage, but with zero forward boat speed! Getting to my bunk now..

24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 99 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1227 n.ml. Marion Island: 358 n.ml. (SW) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3012 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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