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RTW Day 90 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - more fast sailing in even more gust

Saturday 19th January, 2013

5am Soon after dawn, gybed mains'l and changed the stays'l pole to starboard to go goose-winged on starboard tack in WSW--SW F4-5 .... wind has backed from WNW of last night. Overnight cloud was breaking up, with a patch of blue sky seen, and later it became a nice, sunny morning although with frequent squally showers passing by. Swell had changed direction and built up late last night but had settled to around 3.5m (12ft) from SW by daylight.

Weather is forecast to be good for next couple of days or so, with wind varying between W-SSW, up and down around 20kt but then a couple of deep Lows will be developing next week to bring strong winds and corresponding seas .

I forgot to mention yesterday that one of the Vendée Globe racers got quite close - "Votre Nom Autour du Monde" (what a mouthful!), skippered by Bertrand de Broc, was less than 100 miles off, as he and 'Initiatives-coeur', skippered by Tanguy De Lamotte, passed by on their way north to the finish in Les Sables-d'Olonne. Only 'Team Plastique' (Alessandro Di Benedetto) is left, about 700 miles to my SW as he passes the Falklands today. Interestingly, it was his official WSSRC 'black recorder box' that I had on board 'Nereida' two years ago to validate my RTW attempt at that time. Since he'd not long successfully completed his own RTW attempt, I thought it must be bringing me luck - but later realised it might have done the opposite since he completed his attempt under jury-rig ...having suffered a broken mast! (Well done him, though, to have completed like that!)

Cloud became more persistent as day wore on... when the sun shone earlier, in good wind, we were putting around 14A into batteries - combination of wind and solar power... Definitely feeling warmer than when eas were 7-9C. The sea is now 13C, so cabin not feeling quite so cold and damp.

We've been making good speed (mostly over 6kt) with some fair current helping, but the seas have increased and we're being tossed around a lot - they're on our quarter now. Standing in the companionway watching the high tops of the waves as they approach our stern, crests well above us, is fascinating - hypnotic, in fact... Good to see how we lift up over them as they pass by - quite a relief at times!!

Appropriately, I'm reading O'Brien's 'Desolation Island' - set partly in the Southern Ocean. His description of the battle in a storm takes place in exactly the latitudes where I am now, surrounded by these far lesser, but still awe-inspiring, seas. We have two albatross circling around just now - he talks of a dozen ... Sign of the times, regrettably.... Too many illegal, uncaring long-liners out here threatening these fabulous birds with extinction because of their fishing method. It only needs a few simple changes to help prevent these birds from being caught in their lines....

Emailing was becoming restricted mainly to overnight for the past few days, when it was rare to make good enough radio contact during the day - but today has been far better.

Another time-zone change imminent! On crossing longitude 37.5W, we move into GMT - 2 hr and my clock will move forward one hour... At around midnight GMT, that will be.

24hr DMG at 8pm local time (2300GMT ): 134 n.ml. Cape Horn 1267 n.ml. away (SW). E. Falkland: 867 n.ml. (WSW), S. Georgia: 502 n.ml. (due S). Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa) 2662 n.ml.

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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