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RTW Day 178: Across the Tasman Sea - Grey, cool day - and a very wet 'n' windy

Wednesday 17th April 2013

8am Overcast & cool this morning - dark grey band of cloud off to the N. Ship (fishing) just 4 miles away, heading SW, off to starboard - but I've not been able to see it - just over horizon, quite big, at 197ft long....'Pingtairong71".

Weather is looking complicated - again! - with Lows getting in my way to N not far away, threatening to give headwinds from E, although so far, all is fine and progress at 4-5kt is slow but OK, although speed is definitely dropping - yet again. Wind is now from SE, so we're making nearer NE, rather than the preferred ENE. Still a long, slow, 2.5-3m swell from S but it's feeling a lot calmer so moving about is much easier.

Well, it's 12pm, the wind is way down and has backed more - so we're drifting at 2.5kt heading ENE... Talk about trying my patience...!!!
20 minutes later - wind came up - yippee! Making 5.8kt on 035T .. better, although a bit N...!

4:45pm Squall...!! Was just studying fresh weatherfaxes  when realised it was getting rather noisy and we were heeling rather a lot...! Wind had got up and, with it, our speed - all very good to be making over 6kt for a change ... but heeling way too much. Hurriedly furled in some genoa - which was full, as was stays'l... Didn't last very long and by the time I'd finished, wind had dropped, so we're now ambling along at 4-5 kt. Will probably unfurl genoa when sure another squall won't come by - but too many dark grey clouds around just now so will leave it for the time being...

7:10pm Waiting to give position report to Taupo Maritime Radio (twice-daily check-in) Dark now - just as darkness was falling , wind got up again, so furled in most of genoa - reduces speed in lighter wind but will probably leave now until daylight. ..... Amazing how fast the wind can veer! We were heading NNE about 10-15 minutes ago - but with wind veering (shifting clockwise), we're now making ENE - which is our preferred course anyway! It means we're now banging into the seas, since they're still coming from old wind direction. It's very likely wind will continue to veer as Low moves E. so will need to keep an eye on our course, ready to ease sheets to keep us headed correctly,

7:55pm Wow! That was quite a downpour...!! A good thing it was already raining so I'd put on my foulies and boots before going up - they did a good job!! Went up to adjust Fred just as wind got up strongly again...with HEAVY rain... Definitely gave the boat and sails a good wash down! Furled last of genoa away and eased sheets on mains'l and stays'l as we headed a lot more off the wind as it and the seas increased. A dark cloud... After it had eased, I thought that was it, but although wind is far less, the rain has started again and the wind has backed a lot - must be E now, so we're heading NE..... and NNE soon after.

9pm Oh well ... This is clearly going to be a long, wet, squally night!! Just had another downpour although not so much wind as earlier... Difficult not to get the water streaming down inside the jacket sleeves when looking up at the mast top with a torch, trying to see where the wind is, holding on as we bang into the seas ... Wind keeps swinging all over, anywhere from ESE to NE - best to be steering to the wind under these conditions - although course swings around, at least the sails are set for a given wind direction - presently for a close reach, with wind well for'd of the beam. On average, we're tending NNE at 4-5 kt.

I'm glad I'd had my meal earlier - it was just ready, nice and hot, when the first squall came through... but it was still warm enough when I got to it.

I'll post this early - there'll not be much different to report for the rest of tonight from what's already happened - rain, light or heavy, wind up and down and swinging around, seas ahead so being banged into, .. more rain ... wet gear getting wetter... Found a cuttlefish beside the big port sheet winch - must have come with seas washing over the decks at some point! Didn't feel like cooking calamari just now so threw it back into the sea...

D.M.G. over 24hr to 10am LT: 106 n.ml.- still not very good.... Hobart: 772 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 521 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 573 n.ml. (083T)
For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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