Thursday

9am Coffee in hand, sun has just come out from under grey cloud layer to the E, blue sky above... Finished with the usual morning radio chats, single-handed SHTP racers among them, downloaded a couple of weather faxes and updated grib files to study.

We're motor-sailing just N of due W for a time, in light (9kt) NW-NNW wind - settng a course that just manages to keep the mainsail from flapping annd hopefully get some lift from it. I've been getting concerned that we were being forced to head NE whereas we need to continue in a general NW direction if we're to get to the W winds around the High, to the N of us, in a good position to take us towards Cape Flattery.

From the forecasts, the closer to the coast we'd get, the stronger the prevailing NW-NNW winds around and north of Cape Mendocino, making it difficult to head north. My plan is to get W from here, preferably NW if possible, but that depends on the wind strength and direction - there's no point in wasting fuel trying to head into the wind if only making 1-2 knots!

So, for the moment, I'm enjoying my breakfast and about to take my coffee up on deck and bask in some sunshine - not seen much of that for quite a few days now! The bird I saw a week ago was a black-footed albatross which nests in the Hawaiian Island chain. Maybe some of the racers will see one? Or a Laysan albatross, which also nests near where they're headed to.

2pm Well, there's a thin cloud layer but the sky is bright and I've still seen plenty of sun with breaks in the cloud - and the cockpit is dry (and tidy)!

The wind backed into the W mid-morning, still light, so we changed back onto port tack again, motor-sailing well with the apparent wind filling our sails to give lift. If the wind gets up more strongly, I could cut the engine, which is always nicer, but in the meantime, we're making good progress NW.

5pm Looking at the latest weather info, it's clear that the priority just now is to get W in the present light winds since, by Saturday onward, winds are likely to be from NW and getting quite strong so we'll have to sail NNE at best, probably - no question of motoring into strong winds. We're presently making 3.5 kt to the W, in relatively light WNW wind of 10 kt, motoring, with mainsail hoisted in hope!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates