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Wednesday 16th October - Day 5- heading for the 'barn door'.

Wednesday 16th October

Dull, grey and cloudy all day. Spent a time on deck this morning. Finally stowed the pole, despite rough seas making foredeck work difficult and wet. Good to have the stays'l available but it's a much smaller headsail than the big genoa.

As the wind eased somewhat this morning, I shook out first reef 2, then reef 1. Wind is not very consistent, varying this afternoon and tonight between 13-18kt, so boat speed also highly variable. Presently 5.3kt in 14kt of N wind. Having got up well before dawn to gybe the mains'l and change course, I finally managed a couple of hours of much-needed sleep early this afternoon.

Made several contacts on radio - gets busy on 40m in the evening, with lots of possible contacts. 20m is generally better during the day. Found the (USA) Air Forces Flyers Net just before 9am - welcomed me even though I'm clearly not connected with aviation, although 'Nereida' flies well through the water at times!!

Occurred to me I haven't been checking on our daily distances run... With the strong conditions and good speed, we've made 24hr distances under sail alone of 143,163,134 n.ml. over the last three days - a lot better than when trying to make landfall in the light winds of June/July!

I keep looking at our ETA at the Golden Gate on Friday. A strong flood tide (good), mid-morning, of 3.4kt is followed by an even stronger ebb tide (bad!), mid-afternoon, of 4.6kt - so it's vital to get the timing of our arrival at the Gate right- ideally, somewhere between low water slack and high water slack (a 'window' of just under 6hrs). An average of 5.5kt would get us there just before midday - fine if we can manage it but wind is forecast to die right down, so we'll probably end up motor-sailing - nice to have that option!

Written by : Mike

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