Last night I sat in the cockpit watching the dancing diamonds of light along the hull - I'd forgotten how lovely the sea can be at night.
In the English Channel, the phosphorescence lights up the water and it's not easy to see the individual points of light whereas out here, each point of light is relatively large - very bright and distinct. Tonight the moon is out and I can see a dark mass of cloud off to the south of us - looks like a squall building and I hope it stays well away! Elsewhere the clouds are thin and the stars are shining through the gaps. (Having just switched on the radar, I'm pleased to see no evidence of squalls around - not for 24mls, anyway!)
Today the wind has not been as strong, so the sea is calmer with just the occasional larger swell coming through. I made the decision to gybe onto port tack after looking at the weather forecast. Not at all sure it was the right thing to do, but I don't want to get caught in light winds again and it looks as though the high pressure system to the north is expected to move south and so that much closer - hence my decision. Took a very long time to change everything over, not helped by my forgetting to move the spinnaker halyard over to the other side of the genoa pole before I raised it - curses galore! Having gone to all that trouble, I'll stick with my decision at least until late tomorrow and see how tomorrow's weather faxes look.
I'm not moving along my rhumbline now, so the effect on my Distance To Finish will be noticeable - pity, because today I was no longer in last position at both rollcalls! But I'd rather be tending to move south rather than north (because of the high) and often the rhumbline course was dead downwind - difficult to maintain, especially in swell conditions (although I must say, I've been impressed by the Windpilot's ability to keep a downwind course).
My electrical problems continue - I'm not worrying about the lack of autopilot or GPS (which still beeps at me but not always as often) since my alternatives are working well. The SSB radio's microphone switch is a nuisance though - I took the back off the mic and the transmit switch worked perfectly, but when I screwed the cover back on, it played up again. I have to keep an eye on the radio display to see whether or not I am transmitting when I speak. I'm keeping a screwdriver handy by the mic now! I suspect it's the soft rubber cover to the switch which is causing the problem - I could always take that away. I also need to try wiring up an alternative NMEA/Seatalk interface box again to see what the problem is there - but, again, I no longer have a sense of urgency about it, now that my handheld GPS is feeding info into the computer for charting - thank you, Jeff, for helping there! Little did I realise how vital it would turn out to be, sorting that link out just before I left- something I'd been wanting to do for a time. And I'm so pleased I checked that the Windpilot fine adjustment was working OK before I left also....
It's nice to hear from friends keeping an eye on my path - my daily distances run have surprised me, not just them, and it was pleasing to see myself catching up with the fleet, having been left so far behind after the start. (I'm running the spinnaker again tonight since it seems fairly calm...)
Two people were getting set to celebrate their half-way stage tonight/early tomorrow (Synthia on 'Eyrie' and Ken on 'Harrier') - I look forward to doing the same in day or so (165 mls away!). Synthia said she would stay up tonight until it happened, to celebrate the moment!
I finally got too warm in my long trousers this afternoon - the sun was out for a bit and I was busy organising lots of 'bits of string' for my gybe - to & fro between the foredeck and cockpit both for the poled out genoa and then the 'chute.
Distance run over 24hrs (by the log) to this morning: 153 n.mls (5th day I've done ~150n.ml or more)
At 9pm PDT tonight, DTF: 1240n.ml to Hanalei Bay, Kauai. Posn: 25 54N, 137 13W
Jeanne, "Nereida" #93