Tuesday - more traffic - busy ocean!

At 4pm Monday, I was just about to get a rest when I noticed "OCCL Beijing" was heading directly to us. Never a response to my many VHF calls. Asked to change course, he finally did so but only after many requests and my saying "You are on a collision course with a sailing boat"...several times, slowly & distinctly... ! I can only presume no officer spoke good enough English to use the radio...

After changing course by ten degrees, which altered our CPA (closest approach) to 1.5 ml from 200ft (!), he began to edge back again - I asked him to hold his course because we might get too close again - he held his course. Weird to be speaking to someone who doesn't respond (as he ought to) but who has clearly understood the request and acts on it! I thanked him several times afterwards...and then warned him of the small sailing boats he might see ahead of him, in a race from SF to Hawaii(SHTP Race) - I hope he understood! When they passed by, I saw a red and grey ship piled high with containers.

Two hours behind, I could see a Japanese ship ... CPA of 5ml - fine, if he holds his course, but it might change with needing to avoid the 'Beijing' heading towards him now... Plenty to keep me occupied in these busy waters. (With his course to Japan and mine to B.C., we actually kept well apart)

Monday evening, I had tuned in to the SHTP Race Net on 4MHz - was good to be able to help them with the position-reporting of several boats by relaying to Mike on 'Mouton Noir' who is acting as Net Control. I nearly missed my own position report to the Pacific Seafarers' Net on 14300 at 0330Z as a result! Then went to a 40m ham frequency to meet a few more of the racers. Many are still getting their sea-legs while suffering also from lack of sleep and trying to cope with the strong conditions they're getting now - after drifting around the Farallons for a time soon after their start. It was good to hear Dave on 'Saraband' on frequency - the 'Westsail expert' - I wish him well in this race.

Conditions have been quite rough again for the last 24 hrs, overnight into Tues morning, with wind often well up, in the high 20s, and seas to match. It's like climbing a mountain, expecting an earthquake, just to get from one side of the well-heeled cabin the few steps to the other!! Pressure is now up at 1023. Winds are expected to ease soon...

5am PDT Tuesday On radio to chat to eastern Australian stations - good clear copy (also on Japan and Costa Rica). Missed friends on US E. coast - just too late for them - their sunrise was a couple of hours ago so propagation down and they're getting on with their day now. Back for quick sleep again now before sunrise here. Adjusted wind vane for better speed - keeps slipping so we head up a bit too much and lose speed - needs fixing when I get in.

8am Checked SHTP Net in case any relays needed and to find out their positions - one boat was a bit close upwind and so possibly heading our way but having given my postion to them, and with them having receive-AIS as a minimum, we should be OK - my VHF is on always, in case of need.

2pm Been downloading lots of wxfaxes. Hurricane Blas looking impressive, although well offshore - glad I got N when I did!

5pm Going mainly very slowly - upwind, close-hauled, I suppose it's to be expected but very frustrating! Only made 100mls in last 24 hrs and 98ml day before... Let out 2nd reef, with wind mostly 18-20 kt, but doesn't seem to have helped our speed at all. Wind slowly easing, with occasional gusts.

At least wind was more N yesterday - so better course of 305-310T was maintained but it's changing to NNW now .. Looks as though Low off Vanc Isl might give W winds in a few days - but might have to tack around on Thurs before that gets here - will just take it as it comes and try to keep heading N rather than S, as the wind shifts!

Time for an afternoon nap, ready for disturbed night - no ships showing on AIS - less traffic now.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates