RTW Day 173 - a nice start to day... but ended up with strong, rough conditions

Friday 12th April 2013

6am  Nearing dawn - just  5% cloud - almost none...  last stars are disappearing as we gybed around for second time!!   First time, while still dark, sent us SSE, so soon gybed back and now we're making NNW in very light NE wind.  Clearly impossible to make our preferred course of NNE-NE, but we're only making a speed of 1.8kt anyway - so it really doesn't matter too much where we head so long as it's roughly OK - so N is better than S, I'm thinking!!

Contacted Hobart Coast Radio last night to let them know my situation near the Bass Strait - i.e. sailing with no motor available.. They said they'd put out the info in their morning broadcast to shipping.  (They suggested I also talk to Taupo Maritime Radio in NZ, which I did.   Now have a twice-daily 'sched' at 8:20am/8:20pm for position reporting with them as I head N)  Have drawn a line on chart fom Cairns to Wellington - gives rough path of Low that's forming off Queensland and expected to head SE towards New Zealand over Sunday/Monday - if we keep W of that line, we should be OK, but I'd like to get as close as possible to the Low since that's where there's wind - elsewhere there's none!

Got an email to say Day171 was missing - so sent it again.   Hopefully, it's now there, together with Day 172 and its photos.

9am   Still bright sun & very little cloud.  Wind beginning to gust up and veer every now and then - so boat surges forward at over 5 kt on 010T.  Doesn't last very long but hopefully means wind will fill in soon properly.   Calmer - long, smooth swell is from SW, at 2m every 8-10 sec.
9.40am  Wind seems to be settling to come from ENE so course is more N and speed 4.5-5 kt.... better!
1pm  Blue sky has been left astern... overcast now, wind ENE, course is a steady NNW.
4pm   Sun struggling to get out.   Downloaded weatherfaxes - useful 4-day forecast given on isobaric charts   Later:  Sun never made it... grey clouds and some rain instead.
8pm  Tacked around in N wind up to ~20kt or more.- always gets interesting with two headsails to organize!  Now heading ENE, close-hauled in quite rough seas - wind might possibly back further - would be useful it did.    Furled in quite a lot of genoa to reduce excessive heeling and came off the wind a touch more to increase our speed and to try to reduce our banging into the seas - uncomfortable and hard on the boat!
Passing Bass Strait, off to the west - halfway across now.   Very dark, a few hazy stars above ... lightning frequently flashing in clouds not far astern - I hope it stays there!  ... I'll post this early so I can place laptop in steel-lined oven - a useful 'Faraday cage' to protect it in case we get hit...  Might wrap it in Al foil as well...
Hungry - had some nice tasty Irish cheddar and some pate on crackers a few hours ago but that's really not enough so will have a quick 'n' easy dehydrated meal now.
Wind might be dying... hope it stays up so we can make some decent progress...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 65 n.ml. (very slow overnight due to light wind  from 7pm... didn't pick up until 9am)  Hobart :  280 ml (2812T); Sydney: 373 n.ml. (353T); New Zealand's North Cape: 1046n.ml. (078T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

Written by : Mike

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