Sunday - strong winds gone, seas lying down slowly

Midday - Sun trying to get out. 19C air - I'm feeling cold - need more layers on! Has been a grey cloudy day with occasional short showers and wind mainly 10-16kt from WNW, sometimes more NW. Expecting wind to be light for several days now, I've shaken out all reefs and added a small staysail into the mix but we're still close-hauled so speed still not great. Don't want to head in to coast if avoidable since NW or NNW wind will send us that way anyway - and we mght get those winds sometime soon.

The overnight strong winds didn't arrive - we were far enough W to be well away from centre of the Low, as it headed in over the land. But that meant very low boat speeds since we were well reefed down overnight to be safe.

3.30 p.m. Tea-time! Just had an afternoon nap - seems to be becoming a routine. Getting down to sleep late and up early leaves me needing more sleep so this works out well. Weatherfaxes were being downloaded - should have been able to leave them running and stored on the computer - but that keeps hanging up after a short while - RF interference - must dig out some soft iron chokes and put them on the data and power cables to the computer, in hope that stops the problem...

Light overcast with hazy sunshine still. WNW wind, COG 016T (N-NNE), SOG 3.5kt. We're about 240 mls off the coast, nearly at the Cailfornia-Oregon border at 42N and not quite level with Crescent City and Pt St George. Just changed the flash card in my plotter from the one covering Mexico & mid-America to the USA one. The Canadian one is ready and waiting. Nice to see all the chart details on shore now.

5 p.m. Just got to my tea after adjusting the sails, trying to get some more speed. Eased the mainsail outhaul for more sail shape and was able to unfurl a touch more genoa. Centred the main rudder more to reduce drag. Hasn't made a vast difference but I think we're doing better. Wind almost W now, at 10-12 kt. Big grey cloud off to port - hope it stays there! Our daily straight-line mileage is appalling - we only made 65 mls GMT midday to midday... ugh! (Being well reefed down and, as usual, close-hauled overnight, expecting strong winds that didn't materialize, didn't help.) I'm constantly watching our course and the wind direction, to try to improve things, but we just keep sailing slowly...

Had my last banana with my breakfast cereal this morning and, lunchtime, finished last cherry tomato of a pack bought in San Diego. I'm hoping a second pack stored low down will be OK - they're really tasty and last so well. Also, with my tea, I just finished the red wine jelly that I discovered hidden away, given by friend Barbara VE7KLU who runs the Gt Northern Boaters Net for B.C. & the Pacific NW- should be getting close enough to hear her very soonc.

6 p.m. Just happened to turn radio knob to bring up 15 MHz (transmitted by WWB, Ft Collins, CO) which continuously 24/7 gives precise time (and gale warnings for USA waters) - and wondered why my radio time was different from my plotter time.... saw that my plotter time was just over 45 minutes fast, according to the received transmission.... a new problem, not seen before. Both should be precisely in line with the received GPS signal time. I've been busily saving my track on the screen as best I can so that I can switch the system off to re-boot it (and not lose the record of my present track), hoping that will fix the problem. .... Great! That has worked - GPS time is showing correctly now - RF interference again??

One problem solved but another reared its head ... Before re-booting the system, I went to the head - and found the pan overflowing with seawater.... NOT good! I'd forgotten to close the seacock out to sea on my last visit... It's a good thing the seat is just above sea-level (although we're presently heeled that way) and I had only recently been there or I'd have had a major problem. Possibly the joker valve needs replacing but I don't have a spare, having only recently replaced it when in La Cruz. It's good to have a shower pump that gets rid of the water that spills over onto the head floor. That could have really ended up nastily... :-(

7p.m. Wind speed down to 8 kt from NW, SOG down to under 3 kt, COG NE. Low, light grey cloud . Mixed swell - from both WSW and NW - around 2-2.5m. Not as rough now - seas definitely calming down.

10 p.m. Thoroughly enjoyed a cheese omelette (why does Brie taste so good when hot?) and then spotted a major wind shift - to SSW...and boat speed way down!! Rushed up on deck to ease the sheets and set up a preventer on the boom to control it in the light winds and swell. Speed went up very satisfyingly... Although wind then veered to just S of W, we're still moving along fine - N-NNE - the direction of Cape Flattery from here. Wind now: WSW 8kt, COG: N SOG: 3.0kt.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates