Thursday - Hope you had an enjoyable 'Quatorze Juillet'!

Midnight - Lovely half moon in starry sky - Plough clear above - making broad path of silvery light on sea surface up to the boat. NW wind of 14-16 knots.

5 a.m. Beam reaching nicely in 17-19 knots of NW wind. Trimmed sails - making 5-6 knots with reefed main and full headsails. Cloud overhead. 165 n.ml. to Cape Flattery - ETA early afternoon Friday. Back to my bunk after posting position report and downloading latest grib (weather) files (showing strongest winds of 23 kt not until tonight - around midnight) Hint of daybreak in NE.

9 a.m. Went up on deck before, prepared to let out a reef - we were only making around 4 kt in 14 kt of wind... But then wind suddenly gusted up and we were heeled over, making over 6 kt ... so reef left in! Lots of grey rain clouds everywhere - clearly gusty conditions prevailing today but wind still mainly from NW. Was reminded of one of the first lessons I learned on a sailing-school course - "If you think of reefing down - do it! If you think of shaking out a reef - go make a cup of tea!" Excellent advice. Often, when a big rain cloud is nearby, it gets calm before the strong wind due to the cloud suddenly comes. Was thinking (hoping?!) winds might be less over next day or so than previously forecast - but seems they're still going to be around 25kt, gusting higher, tonight.

Midday Wind is varying a lot - mainly NW but occasionally back to WNW. As soon as I trim for a beam reach with a wind shift, wind veers and we're on a close reach once more... Lovely sunshine and blue sky now - grey cloud mass is on S and E horizons. We seem to be in sunshine under blue sky one moment, then under cloud, with gusts, not long after. Pressure still very high - 1029 hPa - has been steady for almost a day now.

3:30 p.m.Wind NW 21kt - SOG 5.8 kt - sailing well under blue sky & white cumulus, rather bumpy in increased seas.

More shipping now we're about 100 miles off the coast but not a problem - all keeping well clear of each other...

5:30 p.m. Wind mostly 22-24 kt now, still NW. SOG ~6 kt so going well. Main problem is the rough seas - because they're fairly close (~6sec) and ~2-3m high, that makes them rather steep and small sections of crest are tumbling a little. So the end result is we're getting well tossed around over to starb'd when the wave crests hit the port side of the hull - mainly because we're beam reaching. I'll definitely reduce the genoa a little before dark - partly to reduce the heeling and partly because the strongest winds are forecast to be around midnight.... Pressure has actually gone down a tad - to 1028.

7:50 p.m. Wind 24-27 Kt, SOG 6-7Kt Sun close to setting. Seas are impressive! Just finished clearing up in galley. Will try to reach SHTP racers on their 8 p.m. evening Net but too far away now for 4MHz. 6 MHz works most times but even there, they are becoming hard to copy. Then it's over to Pacific Seafarers' Net for my regular daily report soon after 8:30 p.m. Pressure down to 1026hPa - that's 2 hPa in 3 hrs - a lot! That's why we've these winds ... from isobars being 'squeezed'.

11 p.m. Cooked meal after reefing down some more at sunset. Tied in deep 3rd reef & furled in some more genoa - AP coping better - we're not rounding up so much when we're hit by big seas. We're still making nearly 6 kt in 24kt of wind on the beam. I could well be wrong but have feeling wind is subsiding instead of increasing - which is good! Think it peaked a couple of hours ago.

Still 66mls to C. Flattery - ETA likely to be ~11 a.m. but will first need to keep eye out for ships turning to head in and out of shipping lanes at entrance to the Strait. Tofino Radio usually puts out warnings on VHF16 if needed - but good to be approaching in daylight.

Time for my bunk...

Written by : Jeanne Socrates