Wednesday 23rd January, 2013
V.poor contact with Graham, ZS2ABK, on SAMM Net at 1140 GMT - John, KC6BLQ, relayed - couldn't copy his boat name, static was so bad on frequency, but they're clearly headed N or NW from S.Africa and presently becalmed! As we were almost - just making way at 2-3 knots with some current helping to get our SOG up to 3.3kt - at least we're still headed in the right direction! At 1200 GMT, I also couldn't make contact with Patagonia Net on 8164 kHz - possibly getting too far now and into the 'skip zone' - all I thought I could hear were very faint voices, right down in the static.
With seas down to around 2-3m and such light wind conditions, expected to continue for today, possily veering to WNW and slowly increasing, I decided I could safely service a winch that has been playing up - only one gear (the easier one, fortunately) has been working. After that, it's checking genset oil and then running the main engine for a short while to circulate oil (not done since beginning of December, so well overdue) - will charge the batteries a little, at the same time.
Cracked open the very first bad egg last night - but next two were fine still, so I cooked a tasty onion omelette. I wondered if the bad egg was all-yolk, it looked odd - like another from same batch which had no white whatsoever - weird!
7pm Wind is WNW and seas are slightly up, but not by much ... fine rain, hint of fog in distance, black-browed albatross circling around... Been very slow today - thought wind was getting up at one point but it soon died away again. Good thing there's a current helping us!
Gybed the mains'l and changed stays'l pole to port while the sun, early aftenoon, was trying to get out. It got warm enough for me to feel totally overheated - just had to remove two top fleece layers (although one is back on now!)
Was unable to deal with the problem winch - impossile to remove the spindle with the winch being jammed solid in one direction, unable to move both ways, and I need that movement to release the spindle so I can raise it. Never had this problem before.... At least it works the one way, so it's still usable....
Changed the genset oil - and managed to get my hands smothered in black oil (why, oh why, did I not put on the thin gloves I'd thought about??!) - luckily I've a tub of industrial hand cleaner paste/soap - brilliant stuff! Greased the genset actuator spindle while I was working right by it.
Engine run for twenty minutes in neutral - charged batteries while circulating oil.
Black-browed albatross has been near on and off for most of the day - as yesterday - think it's adopted us!
About to post this near 2330 GMT -- wind has picked up nicely - making 6 kt and, with fair current, making over 6.5kt SOG - better! Need to check over and trim sails... Wind most likely veered more to NW...
24hr DMG at 9pm local time (2300GMT ): 111 n.ml.(little wind!) Cape Horn 1695 n.ml. away (SW). E. Falkland: 1322 n.ml. (SW), S. Georgia: 729 n.ml. (SSW). Gough Island: 774 n.ml. (ENE) - 221 n.ml. SSE of Tristan da Cunha, uninhabited except for group of 7 scientists on 6-monthly posting for research, U.K. but leased to S.Africa. Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa): 2207 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"