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YIPPEE!! Finally back into touch by radio emails... at long last!!

Thursday 9th Sept 09

Today and yesterday have been excellent for speedy sailing - in NE winds up to 30 knots!! Should keep NE wind now all the way - effectively the start of the NE Trades.. Downside was the big swell that often made us crash about, making it difficult to move about . and not much sun either... but good progress made finally, after a series of long tacks against the previous SW wind... This afternoon, having finished crossing the Bay of Biscay, I was able to gybe onto a southerly course, headed from well off Finisterre (~100 ml) towards the Canaries - hopefully in one last long leg, arriving 15/16th Sept, depending on whether winds pick up or not...! Again, we're running with a poled-out genoa but now I've let out both reefs in the mains'l so we've full canvas in increasingly light winds. I let out the reefs not long ago in the dark - it always seems a bit weird to be out in the middle of a pitch black ocean rushing along with overcast blanketing out the stars - and NO phosphorescence in the disturbed water - most unusual...

Today was notable for an effort to get radio communications back again - it's been an ongoing problem and has kept me busy on and off since I left Guernsey... Today, I actually soldered the ultra-fine wires of a USB cable together, thinking it would help - but not so... Amazingly though, I finally figured out how to get my laptop to talk 'Bluetooth' to the Pactor modem between it and the radio ... so here we are!! Whilst doing that, I disturbed my chart-plotter - to my horror it ended up with a blue screen and no chart displayed but lots of incomprehensible messages - major disaster, I thought... unable to sort it out... but later, whilst fiddling with the Pactor modem and radio connections below it, suddenly, there it all was again ... right as rain! ... What a relief!... I thought I was headed into more soldering of fine data wires in the Raymarine seabus connection... Now I can sleep well - my AIS alarm is working well and I'm well offshore, away from the shipping and fishing along the Portuguese coast.

Look on 'Travels' page for my noon position report...

Bye for now....

42N, 013W

Previous reports I couldn't send at the time....

Monday 7Sept09

Ahoy there from "Nereida" in a fog-ridden, relatively calm, Bay of Biscay - we thought we were back in touch again... but not so... have had a major, ongoing struggle trying to make a connection - or the lack of...! Now that it's calmed down from the rough seas of Sat & Sun, I was able to get some jobs done... fix the catch on an annoying, swinging-freely, galley locker door (TG for electric drills... even so, it took an hour), domestic duties: clearing up in galley and also in saloon (loose papers I'd overlooked soon ended up all over cabin sole as we moved about in the seas!!) and finally, but most importantly, removing chart-plotter, radio & Pactor modem from instrument panel to locate serial number of the modem - vital info to enable it to 'talk' to my laptop via Bluetooth so I can send/receive emails and weather info via my SSB (high-frequency) radio.... That turned out to be a lot less hassle than I expected, having tried to avoid the issue by searching through paperwork - but no sign of info there... I'm hoping to be able to send this report later today OK (but I couldn't ... not until Thursday...!) ... The outstanding problem I can't really deal with now is a diesel leak, which I'd thought was fixed before leaving. Because we were moving about so much yesterday, a lot ended up in the bilges - a horrible smell!

Neither of my laptops is talking to the Iridium satellite telephone just now, so that way of emailing is closed until I reach shore... The XP laptop was doing so fine just before I left.. so why has it stopped now...? And the Bluetooth connection was also fine the last time I tested using my SSB radio for emailing.... so frustrating and time-consuming...! But the phone itself is working fairly well - I had a welcome SMS message from a friend (free from www.iridium.com!) and a call this morning from the presenter of 'Five Live' - but unfortunately reception was too poor for the hoped-for live transmission on the Breakfast Show.

At noon today: Posn: 48 17'N, 008 06'W Course: 207T Speed: 6.8kt Wind: SSE F1-2 (6-7kt) Air: 20C Sea: 16.6C Baro: 1022 Swell: WNW 2m 4s Cloud 100%

I'd had to motor since 0540 when I found us drifting E at 1.5 knots. We had been sailing SSW nicely - at 5 knots in fairly calm seas - since 0200 when the wind shifted as drizzle came in. Prior to that, since early Sunday, I'd been headed due W in good sunshine through the heavy shipping just north of the Ushant shipping lanes and then on, unable to turn SW due to the southerly wind direction. I had a nice chat on the VHF radio with the Aussie Capt of the 'Eileen C' after he gave way to me just before noon while I was reefing down in stronger winds (18knots). Whatever happens, I want to avoid sailing well into the Bay itself, for fear of getting 'embayed' (getting trapped in the Bay by the prevailing SW winds) - I'm trying to keep well out, off the continental shelf, in deep water..

Sunday's noon position report: 49 02'N, 005 44'W SOG: 8.4kt (nice tide!!) COG: 270T Wind: S 4-5(~18kt)

Written by : Mike

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