Sat/Sun 20/21 March 2010 Days 12&13

Sat/Sun 20/21 Mar (Days 12&13)

Made excellent progress in the Southern Ocean during Saturday, often at over 8 knots, heading East in company with a variety of albatrosses & petrels flying magnificently around "Nereida" - skimming close to the waves, then soaring high in the air currents, with hardly ever a flap of their wings!! A beautiful sight - I keep watching them for long times at a stretch! (Using new bird book a lot!)

Reefed down (yet again!) to 3rd reef, as night fell, bringing increasing wind...& then went to change out of my thoroughly wet gear from breaking seas splashing all over me... I went to get dry clothes from an aft cabin locker but found my 'dry' underclothes were all sopping wet ... water clearly leaking in from somewhere. Next, I managed to turn on the tap in the head basin when I went to hang up wet stuff nearby - didn't realize until way later.... so had a load of mopping up to do! (Next day, found aft cabin leak seems to be coming in via opening portlight - gasket sealing the glass onto the surround when closed clearly not fitting well enough since lots of water drops seen on inside of glass.)

Sea temp went down from 23C to 17C overnight on Saturday - so boat was noticeably colder.... I'm in my fleeces and ski socks... and enjoying hot soup - last of tasty home-made pumpkin ...must make some more...!! But later, having headed a little more north, temp was back up to over 21C and has so far stayed around that (early Mon morning, it's 21.4C)

Swell got up more again on Saturday, and overnight, but it was calmer on Sun. High pressure suddenly came over us midnight Sat/Sun bringing expectation of lighter, more easterly winds over Sunday. Had to head NE for a time, in SSE winds, & then NNE-N as the wind backed more, later having to tack around to the south in ENE wind to keep some kind of easterly heading on average. Winds were thoroughly variable over Sunday evening and night but by Monday morning they finally settled into fairly steady NNE4-5 (~15knots) - so we were able to make a good speed - and were heading East at last, although in very lumpy conditions caused by opposing swells - from NE and also from SW.

I've been reading instrument manuals - just got into 'Windvane' mode for AP - so can use AP like my windsteering gear -to steer by the wind direction.. and getting into 'Auto Tack' next..should prove useful for coping better with the sheets of the two headsails when tacking!

Found a shackle had gone missing from a preventer line block on the port quarter... fortunately, my spares had one of the right size, so problem quickly resolved.

Sunday morning, I had the last of my fresh blueberries and also had the last of some fresh mushrooms in an omelette that evening, with another baby 'Gem' squash for starter - still several of those left - they keep well.

Noon-to-noon DMG: Sat 20th: 147n.ml. Sun 21st: 137 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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