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SHTP Day 17

Monday 10th July

Well, the big, confused seas of yesterday have calmed down a touch (to 6-8ft) - at least the swell is coming just from one direction now. Overnight, there were several rainshowers with strong winds - but the near-full moon shone brightly in between them. I had to handsteer for a bit around dawn to keep us on course - the wind had veered more into the East & so our course was dead downwind in big seas - but seeing the sun rising through a distant rainshower gave an interesting optical effect.
I found 1 large, 1 medium and 1 minute (just 1 inch long!) flying fish on deck - dark grey on top, white underneath, blue stripe along the side. I'd never opened up their 'flying' fin before - completely clear thin skin, with beautiful, delicate tracery of supporting structure.
Since mid-morning, it's been a lovely, sunny day with fairly consistent winds of around 18kn - a day for relaxation and enjoying being out here. I've not done anything with the instruments except to get into the calibration page of the depth display (which I managed, unlike last time I tried) in order to set the shallow alarm to 10ft and then switch it off. I actually left it connected overnight - and had no problem with the instrument lights switching off at random - they all stayed on all night long - so it can't be the depth display causing that erratic behaviour. On the other hand, I had turned off the 2 GPS displays (to stop their perpetual beeping due to no data) - so maybe one of those is causing that problem. I must experiment again tonight after dark.
(Later: Oh well... I had an email from 'my helping hand' at Raymarine UK who's trying to 'troubleshoot' from a distance - always difficult! - as a result of which I went back to the autopilot course computer to measure input and Seatalk voltages - both fine... plus a couple of answers to qu. of his... we'll see what comes back... I'm beginning to suspect the control unit)
The (reduced!) fleet has switched to 4Mhz for radio communication - we can mostly hear each other well and Lou (Seabird) can join in (his autopilot crashes when he transmits on 6Mhz!). We had a nice chat mid-afternoon & Bill on 'Ergo' told us his 'chute story from this morning (well overpowered in a squall, of course!) - sounded pretty dramatic - he's OK but minus a line. Not many of us are needing to fly a 'chute now (or are inclined to after various mishaps!) with this good wind. Then everyone signed off to take a nap or read.
I've been looking at the InmarsatC Urgent notices - we'd better not overshoot Hanalei Bay because they've an active live firing range just beyond, off Kanauai, with firing every day, 6am-6pm LT!

Well, I just went up to adjust the Windpilot in these strong winds (we're doing over 8 kn regularly!) - a beautiful moon peeking from behind occasional clouds onto a rather rough-looking sea! We should make a good distance overnight if this keeps up. The forecast is for strong winds all the way to Kauai over the next few days. So continuing, possibly building, swell...

I've been very encouraged by emails of support from friends in different places - it's been very nice to receive them and surprising how many people are looking out for me - I can't let them down!! And all I wanted when I entered was to try not to come last (which I might yet do on corrected time! ....I must find out exactly how that works...)

Present position (at 2145 PDT ): 23 25N; 147 21W (so we are definitely in the Tropics!) DTF: 677 n.ml. ETA: Daytime Sat 15th?

Miles run (by the ship's log) over 24hrs to this morning: 156 n.ml (same as yesterday)


Written by : Mike

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