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Thursday 3rd August 2017. Change of plan...

Spent a long time this morning, after new weather grib files were downloaded, going over the next few days' weather forecasts and possible routing, checking fuel left & how long it would last and then going over routing possibilities again. My plan has been to motor in the first few days of very light winds, hoping to reach a point where wind is expected and from where I can sail towards Cape Flattery & the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I thought we had just four days of fuel left, which sounds a lot - but it will take us rather more than that to get to Cape Flattery. Neah Bay, just to the East, has fuel but I'm hoping we get wind to sail well beforehand. So I changed course to head due N for about 2 days since the wind should be lighter to motor against rather than further offshore. We might then have to motor or tack further offshore for a day until we can lay Cape Flattery to sail there in good wind... Totally wind-dependent plan & liable to change again! Had several good short naps this afternoon, catching up on sleep before spending time refuelling from jerry cans. A fabulous Jabsco fuel transfer pump lives in the cockpit locker with two sturdy large pipes permanently attached, one with a long steel pipe at its end for sucking out the fuel from the jerrycans stored in the same locker. The fuel filler is in the cockpit close by (one of the many changes I had made on Nereida from a standard N380 ). So once I've connected the power supply, it's just a matter of time and moving the filler pipe around before all jerrycans are emptied - the diesel gushes into a special Baja-type portable filter, separating any water and gunge from the fuel on its way into the main diesel tank below. I was feeling quite pleased, having just finished the transfer and was getting ready to stow away the displaced locker items, when I got a bit of a scare.... the instruments & autopilot started beeping madly.... "No data" was the message... I had to hand steer for a while, worried that this would be the scenario for the next several days of motoring.... Not a good thought ! (Given good wind, that wouldn't happen because the Hydrovane would take over the steering under sail, with the bonus of no power needed.) I 'rebooted' the autopilot by switching off and on but it didn't seem to have any effect... until I realized I hadn't reset the route being followed on the plotter ... So eventually, all has ended fine except that the cockpit plotter, which regularly misbehaves, seemed to have taken the other instruments down with it twice and that could happen again. At least I can work around the problem, so it's not too bad. The good news early this evening, well before 7 o'clock, was twofold.... The overcast 'marine layer' finally dissipated overhead so, for the first time since Monday, I saw some clear sky and pink clouds, as the low sun shone hazily near sunset, and the moon is now shining brightly high up. The other good news was remembering another source of fuel - 22 l (6 US gallons) in a heater day tank. It was drained out and added to the main tank... so giving a further eight hours of motoring, if needed - a nice 'cushion'! Daylight lingers so much later here than further south - that meant I could work in the cockpit two hours longer. We've just crossed over the Oregon/California border - we're in the 'Pacific North West'!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates