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RTW Day 97 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - a boisterous ride in strong wind

Saturday 2th January, 2013

Sunshine most of the day, with some light cloud, and rough seas - fairly steep and quite close, only 4-5 sec apart, so although not so high, they still manage to toss us around a lot. Moving anywhere down below has to be done with great care - even a short distance - "one hand for the boat" becoming 'two hands...' instead! It's a good test of a well-designed galley - if you can work safely there in these conditions, heeling and pitching as we rise up a wave front and drop down into the trough behind, it's layout is good! I tidied & cleaned up, as usual, after breakfast - anything left lying around loose gets thrown across the cabin in the frequent, more violent lurching.

Wind seemed to have eased somewhat just after midday - I unfurled the rest of the stays'l and considered unfurling some genoa (we were only making around 5kt of boat speed). But with increasing wind forecast, decided to wait - good, since wind DID increase- and we were soon back to our usual 6-6.5kt or more - but the current has turned foul (SSW-flowing) so SOG is down on boatspeed - but still over 6kt.

I'm still heading slightly N of E, on a beam reach now, in N-NNW wind, hoping to avoid an area of big swell forecast to come along after the passing of the Cold Front associated with these strong conditions. With our present speed, we might possibly manage to avoid the worst of the strong winds - fingers crossed on that ... !

I'm restricting my reading to mealtimes - nice to relax with a good story while eating, or sipping a drink afterwards.

Have definitely lost contact with the Patgonia Net at 1200GMT (11am local time) - they're over 2,000 ml away now. But night-time contact on same frequency is still fine. Was concerned to hear last night that Sam, on 'Suvretta', was lying to his series drogue in nasty, steep, 3oft seas and 40-45kt wind on the extensive Burdwood Bank, just 40ml SW from Stanley, E.Falkland. When heading NE from Cape Horn, I'd carefully planned my route to stay in the deeper water to the E of the Bank - whose depths shoal to 44m in places - in case of strong weather. But these winds clearly got stronger than Sam was expecting, to make him avoid the Bank. He can't get emails on board and so has no grib weather info to alert him to the building winds which were forecast for his area... It's the same system as I'm expecting to arrive here shortly... but with lesser winds, hopefully, being so much to the E of him. (But I've checked over my series drogue, just to be ready...) His drogue is keeping him safe, despite the seas breaking frequently over his stern - he's getting a few small leaks around his two hatches, he told us., but nothing to worry about. 'Curare' and I wished him 'Happy Birthday!" for today and strongly hoped he'd be in Stanley tonight to celebrate both his birthday and a safe landfall with a few G&Ts!

8.30pm Wind definitely up around 30kt and although we were coping fine (if a little bumpy!), with sun just having set and forecast of possibly stronger wind overnight, decided to heave to so I could relax and sleep for a bit. I'll set an alarm for ealy morning - winds should have eased possibly and I'll get underway again... In meantime, we're drifting SE in 2kt of current!

24hr DMG at 10pm local time (2300GMT ): 140 n.ml.(despite being hove to for over 2hr!) Gough Island: 343 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. possession, leased to S.Africa). Cape Agulhas (southernmost Cape of Africa): 1772 n.ml.

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

Written by : Mike

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