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RTW Day 156 - More rough seas... and strong, gusty wind with rain

Tuesday 26th March 2013

Note -Perth/W.Australia (my present time zone) do not operate 'summertime' clock changes - my mistake!

7.30am Not long finished regular early morning contact with US E coast and some Aussie stations - best around sunrise here (today, that was ~2250GMT/6:50am) - time keeps changing as I move East!
Good news was hearing my log reports are finally back up (although still a problem there - yet to be properly resolved). Had email from Australian SAR (MRCC) last night asking me to confirm if all well on board - people were getting worried with nothing being seen for so many days! (But my daily position reports were still being posted and showing up OK, over that same time.)
Bright sunshine and four white-chinned petrels flying around at present. About 60% cloud cover- big blue patches of sky to N and E , raincloud spreading in from SW (brought increased wind and rain soon after!), seas still rough - big 4m swell every 10-12 seconds with plenty of white horses and windwaves on top - tossing us about often, sometimes quite severely. Wind has veered into WSW at around 20kt and we're making 5-6 kt SOG. Changed course slightly, heading a little closer to wind, to keep sails filled better but might need to gybe the mains'l, if wind veers more into the W.
Very cold with the southerly wind - heavy condensation again on all portlights on windward side of boat - far more so than on leeward side. Cabin temperature only 13C - I'm still in lots of fleece layers!
Time for breakfast then catching up with emails and downloading of fresh grib files after 9 o'clock, with weatherfaxes over the morning also - have to set frequent alarms if I'm not to miss them.....

Had official confirmation that it's OK for me to pull in to Tassie waters to replace my windsteering rudder and deal with damaged radar mount and wind generator insofaras I can... Not allowed any physical contact with shore nor any outside help or spares/supplies to come on board - doesn't stop people from coming by to chat, if they wish - as happened in San Francisco in November - that got quite sociable, at times, while I was waiting for wind to enable me to leave. Even had offers of bottles of wine that I was, reluctantly, forced to refuse...!!

Midday: Was just getting on deck, in slight rain, thinking of gybing mains'l, when saw albatross with dark upper-wings and back soaring close by... Came around again and settled in water not far ahead, fine on our port bow.. Was clearly taken by surprise when we sailed up to it shortly afterwards and it had to take off..! Gave me a chance to see a Black-browed albatross really close up - it had a dark tip to its bill - the last immature characteristic to be grown out of, so 4-6 yrs old, maybe. Could well have been the same one as seen yesterday which also had a lot of black on its underwings. (Saw it several more times over the day)

Heavy rain at times all through the afternoon and early evening... Reduced stays'l and furled away genoa in the strong SW 5-6 wind (20-25+ kt) - still making around 7kt a lot of the time. Gusty conditions, due to Cold Front passing over, with sudden stronger wind making us rush along and then easing after the rain, or even just a raincloud, has passed over. Rockin' and rollin' a lot in increased 4-5m swell, as well - having to hold on tightly!! Skies cleared after sunset ...bright moon and stars.- but more cloud came in to give rain later...

Relaxed with a novel this afternoon - finished 'Reverse of the Medal'.... poor Aubrey! ... On to 'Letter of Marque' .. waiting to find out how Wray was finally brought down.. O'Brien certainly keeps the plot (and interest) going from novel to novel!

Plenty of radio chat this evening - lots of Aussie stns, as well as US and S. Africa - although that last one is getting difficult now.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 130 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 464 n.ml. (NNE); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1166 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 1264 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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