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S/V Nereida sails around the world

N.B. I'll be 'live' on BBC Radio Solent Friday morning at 7:25 a.m. - they heard I'd made it halfway!

Thursday 2.20am Just noticed that we've changed course and are now headed just W of S - wind has veered to ESE-SE so it's time to gybe around onto starboard tack - to head NE, hopefully. Wind has also dropped - we're making just over 1kt... Speedy!

3:30am Gybe complete and we're now on COG 020T at just over 2kt SOG. Wind not totally sure which direction it's supposed to be coming from. Beautiful, peaceful night with moon shining through gaps in the clouds. Seas well down.
Had a problem adjusting Fred for new wind direction - finally, had to sit on supports over stern steps to see what the problem was - a long pin had got jammed by the adjusting wheel and needed to be freed - didn't take long and then Fred was able to steer on course.
Back to my bunk...

7:30am Beginning of a lovely sunny day with broken cloud and not very much swell - but also not much wind ... and what is there is from the E! Making 2.3kt SOG with COG of 012T.
Hoping deck will dry in sunshine soon and sail will dry a bit more also. Then I can set to with needle and palm to continue with adding the 'tabling' to the leech of the mainsail around the torn area.
Jobs of the day include replenishing galley area while in calm conditions and checking weather info - next week's cyclone is a worry...

Midday Checked rudder grease gland - all dry and fine. Getting on deck to start sewing - first need to release the sail - the better it's secured, the longer that takes! Need to improve my system...
First have to gybe to head S again - need to get to 44-45S within next few days if want to be in good westerlies, and avoid also the light (head)winds of a High, to give good enough boat speed to avoid that cyclone... That does not require mainsail to be finished, fortunately, since will be heading downwind most of the time but will try to get it done as soon as possible.

3:40pm Nice sunny day still, with quite good wind - but we're headed into it, so slow. Thought I should check to see what the boat was up to - so taking a quick break from my mainsail sewing - slow but sure progress there - will take a time to finish.
Heading almost due S at 2.2kt on port tack - clearly the wind has not yet backed, as it is supposed to - but will happen at some point and then we'll be heading more SE. Want to head more S over next few days, anyway. Back to my sewing...

6:50pm Light fading, threatening-looking grey rain clouds everywhere. Blue sky disappeared while I was busy sewing the mainsail - didn't even notice the clouds coming although I did notice the wind getting up and then the sun getting low. Thought I'd better stop in time to tie away the sail before dark.
Almost finished sewing the one half piece of material in place around the leech. Sail was dry enough that the narrow double-sided sticky tape was useful in holding the extra material in place, to an extent, so it didn't fly around in the breeze - wind was quite noticeably trying to move the sail around as I was working on it.
Found an excellent use for a small lavender-filled pin-cushion - a present from a friend several years ago, celebrating St Valentine's Day in Mexico. I'm placing it behind the sail as I try to push the needle through with the palm - works well since needle gets pushed through a good distance into the pin-cushion perfectly safely and then I can finish off fairly easily with the palm - an essential tool for sewing the sail - I'd never get the needle through the layers of cloth without it.
Having a welcome hot soup - feels a lot chillier now, but was quite pleasant earlier, working on deck under a clear blue sky in the sunshine.

7:30pm Dark now. Was enjoying seeing 4kt a short time ago - but that must have been in a gust - we're back down to 3kt now... and our course has veered after the gust - a typical 'cloud effect'! (Later: Clearly in gusty conditions under those big grey clouds - keep speeding up and then slowing down again - changing course a little each time.)
Will have a meal and then start on my overnight sleep routine.

Photo showing 'tabling' being added to leech of mainsail over torn length - slow work sewing with needle and palm.

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 169. We made even less 'distance made good' today - just 16 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. E wind again all day/night...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 169 (by daily DMGs):14,848 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2134n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3290 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3227 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3854 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2367 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 375 n.ml. to S; St Paul Isl: 397 n.ml.to NE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-29.31S LONGITUDE: 070-22.85E COURSE: 138T SPEED: 4.0kt
BARO: 1022.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Wind slowly backing. Gusty.

Wednesday 2:10am Been studying latest weather update - seems we're going to be in the path of another cyclone around 28-29th March - will try to get well enough ahead of it to be safely clear but quite likely that we won't be able to, in which case we'll be delayed several days more by having to heave to well W of its path until it has passed by - curses!!!

Presently making 2.5kt in light SE wind on a NE course, having got under way after drifting in no wind for several hours overnight. Full moon lighting up the overcast sky, giving a twilight good enough to see by when I was on deck earlier.

9am Confused seas from change of wind direction - old and new swells mixing... Grey overcast - decks wet from recent rain. Heeling often, quite a lot. Trying to head NE - should be a beam reach but actually slightly upwind heading, due to leeway, so beating - banging into seas - not a very comfortable point of sail and, unfortunately, sewing of mainsail will have to wait for better conditions... Making 2.3kt, occasionally getting up to 3kt.

5:40pm Well, we're not making much progress today - an E wind is not at all helpful when you're trying to head E! Having headed NNE this morning and part of this afternoon, in a light SE-ESE wind, we gybed a short while ago onto port tack to head, I hoped, just E of S. But we struggled not to head W (backwards!) for a time, although a little better now - although only just, since we're making 165-170T - so not making much distance to E. Hardly surprising but still frustrating!

I'm also feeling frustrated because I'd really hoped to get some more mainsail sewing done today. The fine rain seems to have finally stopped and I could now be doing some sewing - the deck is not moving quite so much in the seas and is drying out. But the sail is too well tied down and it would take a time to release it ready for sewing (and then it must be tied away again) - and the light is rapidly beginning to fade as the sun sets behind a lot of dark grey clouds - I thought they were clearing away but the blue patch of sky I saw earlier disappeared.

6pm Back with Fred in charge and he's doing just fine - we're on a close reach, still heading slightly E of S at 2-3kt. I'm getting my evening meal ready - chicken and potatoes with sweetcorn... Early to sleep, in the hope of a good sewing day tomorrow...

1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 168. We made very little 'distance made good' today - just 29 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. (Actual distance travelled was 58 n.ml. but in a 'v' due to gybing...!)

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 168 (by daily DMGs):14,832 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2148n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3305 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3341 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3867 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2354 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 377 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 407 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 652 n.ml. astern

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-27.36S LONGITUDE: 070-02.13E COURSE: 142T SPEED: 2.3kt


BARO: 1021.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Thin cloud cover - full moon shining brightly above - lighting up sky

Tuesday midday What a change from yesterday afternoon's lovely sunshine and clear sky! It's grey, chilly and raining quite hard at times. I saw 5kt for a short time, as the present rain came in, but we're down to 3.4kt now. Think it's going to be difficult today with wind backing from WNW to S, maybe SSE, at some point this evening, probably quite suddenly. From then, there's expected to be mainly 10kt E (head)winds of another High for the next two days... before the next big Southern Ocean Low starts getting close to give N-NW winds and rough conditions - but maybe some decent speed.

12:35pm Changed course slightly closer to wind to get more speed - nearer 4kt now.

1:40pm Seeing 5.5-6kt - great! Solid rain - this will be a wet day..

2pm Speed has dropped to below 5kt - about to gybe onto starboard to head S - don't want to end up too far N with S winds forecast later..

4pm As I went to gybe, the wind dropped and kept on dropping. We're now making about 1kt, often dropping below, and, although trying to head SSE, we're being taken a lot more E - which I'm quite happy to see! - so we're ending up with a COG of 100T. We're certainly not making much progress S, as was intended.
Still grey and chilly. The rain has reduced to almost nothing but I'm expecting more on its way. Also expecting the front to pass over and the wind to back quickly to the south.

The wind generator serves a very useful purpose as a wind direction indicator, visible from the main cabin - but with this little wind, it's showing the apparent wind to be ahead from the SW, rather than the true wind still coming, I believe, from WNW-W.

7pm Daylight has faded fast from a leaden sky - no hint of a sunset today. And no hint of anything but a zephyr of a breeze. Genoa has been furled in and we're drifting roughly E - 0.0-0.2kt SOG! Rolling about a lot in the swell - 3m/10ft still. Waiting for wind to fill in, as it must. We're in a small Low between two Highs - and the wind will probably fill in from the S-SE - lovely! Just what we (don't) want! Nothing to be done about it - so just have to go with the flow... When it comes, during the night sometime, we'll have to head NE, rather than SW - forecast is showing two days of SE-E wind....
A small group of petrels sits together astern of us - expectantly... hoping for something? Clearly not worried about being so close - they know the boat well now!
(With them coming so close, so often, managed some good photos of them.)
Having a mug of hot soup and will get to my bunk early - maybe tomorrow the rain will clear away to give some drying conditions for the sail, so I can get back to sewing if the wind is not too strong.
Feels like a 'non-event' type of day...

9.20pm Moon is high up, shining hazily through thin cloud layer... wind generator blades are still but it's pointing to S .... rocking in swell... eerily silent.
We've begun to drift N now, instead of ENE, so maybe the wind has backed into the S? We're drifting NE at 0.4kt.

Midnight Thin cloud cover with full moon lighting up the sky, out of sight behind clouds.
SSE wind has come up - but not by much - wind generator is turning but putting in very little power and we're making just 2.3kt ENE under close-hauled full genoa. We got under way, as distinct from just drifting, a short while ago.


1900GMT (=2400LT) - end of Day 167. We made 64 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Surprised it wasn't less!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 167 (by daily DMGs):14,803 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2177 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3327 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3381 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3880 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2324 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 363 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 438 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 620 n.ml. astern

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV)
TIME: 2019/03/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-41.19S LONGITUDE: 069-21.43E COURSE: 060T SPEED: 2.3kt
BARO: 1018.2ha TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Thin cloud cover & full moon lighting sky. Wind backed to E. Close reach.
At 19/03/2019 20:25 (utc) our position was 42°39.69'S 069°23.82'E

Monday 6am Gybed onto port tack - wind forecast to be from further N soon, WNW at present. Making 4.5kt ENE.
Dull grey day with slightly broken but otherwise solid overcast. No rain now, but the clouds are threatening possible showers.
Solitary white-chinned petrel soaring around nearby.

7:15am Back with Fred in charge of steering - nice and peaceful without the autopilot motor running and he's coping well downwind. Still making 4.5kt ENE.
An enormous Wandering albatross glided close by as I was on deck - white 'splashes' on its dark grey upper wings, white body (either a Snowy, Tristan or New Zealand albatross, my reference bird book tells me) ... Lovely to see... Such large birds, but at major risk from long-liner fishing boats, especially illegal ones, who don't take care to set the hooks in a simple but particular way so the birds don't go for them and get caught by them.
It would be very sad if these wonderful birds became extinct simply due to a few fishermen's lack of care, as could well happen. Many of them are under threat, with their numbers plummeting due to being caught in the long liners' hooks. They mate for life and don't come to breeding maturity until they're over ten yers old.
When I was stopped by no wind close by, I was delighted to learn of the Gough Island project (not far from Tristan da Cunha in S.Atlantic) by the UK's RSPB who are funding three of the S. African scientific team members on the island to eradicate the mice who are threatening the Tristan albatross' survival by eating the small chicks there.
Their numbers have also gone down badly over the last few years as a result - so the project to save them is very welcome and should be successful. They're getting help in that eradication programme from New Zealanders who have had a lot of experience with overcoming the same problem on their own islands - mice introduced years ago from passing ships who stopped by. (Google 'Gough Island' or see www.goughisland.com)

9am 2303n.ml. from both Cape Town and from Treeton in W.Australia! Midway between - and not making good radio contact with either... Breakfast.

10:40am Bright but still a thin overcast cloud layer - sun not yet making it through. Feeling quite calm nd peaceful with a well-spaced swell and only a light wind.
Just had to make a big adjustment to Fred - the wind has veered into NW, maybe just N of NW. SOG has dropped to around 4kt but we're headed due E now, which is good!
As I was doing it (with no camera handy!), an albatross came by - very likely a male Snowy albatross but not the albatross with 'splashes' of white on its wings seen earlier. This one was conspicuously very white-looking, with lots of white on its inner upper wings and the usual dark grey further out. Exciting to see it! I need to try to look for the colour of its bill ( if I see it again. We're 400 miles N of Kerguelen Island and 530ml SW of St Paul Island, with Amsterdam Island not much further N, so I wonder if they are nesting on one of those?

Midday Repacked grease gland cover - no wonder the rudder was leaking - there was no more grease left in the holder... Explains why I was able to spend so long screwing it in - there was nothing there! Should be good for quite a time now but I'll need to check it and screw it in a touch more from time to time.
Going on deck now to remove a lot of the mainsail slides from the mast track they run in and organising the sail, ready for sewing.

6:45pm Celebrating the first few stitches made on the mainsail repair... Having a small G&T with some olives and cashews, while soup is in the making and the last of my Mexican meal is warmed up.
Turned into a bit of difficult job, persuading the slides to come down and exit the gate in the mast track, with the folded sail getting in the way and tying them together not helping - but perseverance and lateral thinking usually pay off...
Once I'd finished doing that, it turned out that two slides at the head of the sail were better replaced - done! Next step was tacking the 'tabling' material in place over leech of sail- easier said than done... I tried using a strip of sticky double-sided tape to hold the 'tabling' in place - but sail was too damp - otherwise would have been excellent.
Sunset was coming on and I was being reminded that leather palms seem to come in just one size - ginormous...!! The sewing was started... and kept going beyond sunset... Dolphins (Dusky?) spent some time nearby and several petrels also - fish around?
Suddenly, it was too dark to see and everything was getting very damp with heavy dew. I folded up the sail and tied it onto the boom = more sewing need another day - maybe tomorrow?

Into another time zone tonight: GMT + 5 hrs

Seeing weird AIS signals - suspect they are buoys?? Photo attached. Clearly not ships underway... Maybe AIS transmitters on fishing nets laid by the Chinese fishing vessel seen on AIS screen earlier this afternoon?

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 166. We made 77 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 166 (by daily DMGs):14,816 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2241 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3384 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3313 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3924 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2259 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 360 n.ml. to S; St Paul Isl: 498 n.ml.to NE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 557 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-46.31S LONGITUDE: 067-55.36E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 3.5kt
BARO: 1023hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C

Sunday 1 am Raining again! Wind well down - making just 2kt but heading due E.

7:15am Dull, solid grey sky - recent rain, deck wet, strip of blue on N and W horizon. Wind generator blades totally still - not turning at all - almost no wind - maybe 4-5kt at most?? We're going almost due E at 1.3-1.6kt - not going far just now!

Solitary storm petrel seen flying close to the sea surface, no other birds seen just now.

Just finished daily chat to N.America on 7160 - most were good and clear - good contact still.

Back to bunk for couple of hours more sleep - got to bed late yesterday...

Midday Sunny - lovely blue sky - very little cloud now. Pressure up again, to 1026hPa. Wind very light from WNW - making 3kt ENE.

Problem with Fred again - my fixing looks good so looking elsewhere now for resolution - taking hammer to make sure all axles are properly in place. Hope I can sort the problem out - not good if I can't rely on Fred for wind steering - no power needed and main rudder not moving - so less chance of leakage from rudder post seal.

3:30pm Blue sky virtually gone - clouds everywhere - a light shower - nothing much... Quite a good swell again today - quite rolly at times.

Side-tracked from Fred by weather and course considerations... All takes a time to look at carefully and mull over, deciding on best course of action over the day..

Also checked rudder shaft seal and everal other areas for any sign of water - delighted to see all bone dry and clearly no more water has come into the bilge - good news.

4:30pm I'm exhausted! Spent well over half an hour just trying to undo two long plastic so-called 'thumb-screws' - one of which did not want to come unscrewed, even using pliers to grip it tightly and get leverage... Not helped by the fact that it's right off the stern and out of sight behind the wind-steering mechanism (astern of Fred's innards, in fact!).

Unless I leaned right out over the stern steps and around the backside of it to get at it, which eventually I had to do, it was all happening - or not happening, to put it more accurately - by feel ... I hate plastic screws!! They flex and make it difficult to undo them.. If I'd realised how often I would be trying to move them, I'd have coated them with Teflon grease to make the job easier. As it is, they've salt crystals in the threads instead...

I'd clearly tightened them both too much last time, after getting to that part of Fred - this time, as last, to check on the end of an axle which was protruding and did need hammering back into place - another 'lean out and around, over the water' job! The purely cosmetic cover held in place by those plastic screws is NOT going back in place.... I'll not want a repeat of this afternoon's exercise - I'm off to my bunk for a quick recovery snooze...

7:45pm Gybed onto starboard in the last hint of daylight - now making SE at over 4kt.... Pity! That was just a gust... I was beginning to get quite excited... SOG is around 3.5kt.

Mexican meal tonight - heating up Chilorio carne de pavo con frijoles bayos enteros - "todos listos oara comer!" - excelente! A great quick'n'easy meal with the typical zesty taste of Mexico. Greetings to my Mexican friends (and to the cruisers down there) - buen provecho!

I'd hoped to get on with dealing with the mainsail and sail-slides today - but other jobs got in the way.

The swell was quite pronounced, making it quite rolly, most of the day and it has been quite showery this afternoon. Good to rinse some more of that salt off.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 165. We made 63 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Slow progress while trapped in High...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 165 (by daily DMGs): 14,739 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2317 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3455 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 3381 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3983 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2184 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 381 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 566 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 480 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-40.87S LONGITUDE: 066-11.52E COURSE: 120T

SPEED: 3.7k


BARO: 1027.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C

COMMENT: Starboard tack. Slightly better SOG in more wind.Downwind sailing.

Saturday 1am Raining! Doesn't happen often down here... Making 4.7kt - wind up a touch.

7am Bright day with hazy sunshine through scattered thin clouds. Gybed around on to starboard tack to head more S to keep better wind for next day or so.. Making just 3-3.5kt jst now.

Made excellent contact a short time ago with N.American stations on HF radio - but, without fail, they all copied me better than I copied them -although they were all good and clear enough to me, they all reported my signal was louder to them - myteries of propagation!!

8:20am Back down after checking on Fred - still a problem with steering - ratio knob moving still! Needs more fixing ....

11:30am Writing this while having my usual late breakfast - was nice to open a fresh carton of long-life milk to go with my cereal.
A lovely sunny day, although plenty of thin cloud around. We're really rolling around a lot - probably partly due to running downwind - on a very broad reach - but also the swell period is much less so the waves are that much closer together. We're making 4kt SE in WSW wind of about 10-12kt.

On to deal with fixing the ratio knob ('gear' mechanism) on Fred - more wiring.... There has to come a point when the knob stays firmly put so that he can steer the boat well again, surely?! Fortunately, the sturdy supports give a good framework to stand inside or sit on to help me work off the stern in safety. It's too far to reach from the aft deck.

12:45pm Well, I got side-tracked, well and truly! I thought I'd 'just' check the bilge before seeing to Fred - and there was some water in there I was not expecting since the place I'd thought was the problem area was pretty well dry... So I had to look around to see where exactly the water was coming in from. Just to be helpful, the little hand pump I've been using decided not to play ball when I tried to get rid of the bilge water... and getting that last couple of inches of water out with a soup ladle just does not work!

I'd discussed the issue yesterday with Derek, of Yachting Sports at Hamble Point, who knows the boat well and he'd already suggested that my 'problem area' was probably OK and the water was coming in from somewhere further aft. I double-checked the engine compartment - dry, including around the prop shaft seal. So then I went to check the rudder area and definitely found water creeping in from the rudder stock. So I've tightened its grease gland as much as I could, spending quite a time on that - hope that will at least cut down the water coming in and preferably stop it. Something to keep a regular eye on, but at least I now know where the bilge water seems to be coming from.

3pm Looking rather rainy - can see showers falling nearby and clouds are very grey - think we're about to get wet... Good for washing off some of the sticky salt everywhere on deck.

Finally got to Fred to re-wire the ratio knob - doesn't look to me as though it can move but time will tell. Swell is quite big - 3m/10ft - just had to ignore it as I perched securely over the stern busy working... but it kept wetting my boots.

4pm Fred seems happy again - might need to tighten the wire one more time but, hopefully, not.
Rain clouds have cleared away to the N - blue sky overhead and bright sunshine.
Back to the mainsail - first time today, with other jobs getting in the way...

6:35pm Almost dark - sky cleared almost completely just before sunset.

Had a mug of soup before finishing my stew - an easy meal.

Finally have the sail material cut, folded in half lengthwise with a good sharp crease and all edges hot-knifed to seal them from fraying (not well done, but never mind! My excuse is rolling around in the swell...). Next step is to join the two long pieces.
Then it's on to deck work, readying the sail for access so I can sit on deck while I sew the material over the torn area at the leech of the sail between the two top battens... That can happen in stages, as and when it's calm enough to do the work on deck.
In between, I'll tie the sail away onto the boom, with the extra material in position, waiting to be sewn. The actual sewing could get difficult, since I'll be going through at least three layers of sail fabric but I'm thinking I'll make a quick, rough tacking stitch near the edges to hold it all in place first and then it will be easier to finish with proper stitching. I also have some narrow double-sided sticky tape to hold it in place which could be useful. Not looking for a thing of beauty, just looking for function - and to get it finished..!!

8:20pm Wind has backed a little - we're now making between E and ESE but the wind has also dropped so our speed is down around 3.5-4 kt - forecast to drop further overnight and into tomorrow.
Time for my sleep routine to begin, if I'm not to lose sleep hours tonight - I'll be up for my 1900Z report - at 11pm LT.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 164. We made 91 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 164 (by daily DMGs):14,676n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2380 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3513 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3437 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2122 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 406 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 623 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 420 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-36.56S LONGITUDE: 064-47.15E COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.0kt
BARO: 1023hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C
COMMENT: Wind dying...

Friday 11am More slow movement overnight and probably for most of today but at least our speed is now more often around 3kt rather than yesterday's 1kt.

Seas are down to 3m, well spaced, and there's slightly broken cloud cover overhead. We're making ESE on a very broad reach in the light wind.

Weather forecast shows we'll be in this High ridge for another couple of days - but with wind from W quadrant, which is good for heading E.

1:50pm Fred is having a headache again - I'm needing to fix the ratio knob (gear control) firmly again - wiring I did a day ago had clearly loosened again so knob is moving about slightly and Fred can't steer a course properly.. Back to the stern (sugar scoop) with wire and pliers again....

3pm Dull, grey, overcast sky now. Wind from NW so making ESE at almost 4kt - getting speed up with slight increase in wind!

Spent a time with Fred - used a sturdy, thick cable tie as well as some more well-tensioned wire (lots of twisting with pliers) to hold ratio knob firmly in place but not convinced he's feeling good still. Seemed to have a problem steering downwind - not the easiest of points to sail to so I'm giving him a rest and will try again a bit later. I checked that the rudder pin was well-secured in place while I was there - looking good.

Still trying to get back to the sail material I'm working on.

6pm Sun has gone down - dull twilight with a lot of light grey cloud around.

Been busy checking on where water is leaking slightly into boat - might have some more work to do to minimise it.

About to enjoy some more of my stew - good to have a nice meal ready and waiting...

Then to my bunk - need to catch up on sleep again.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 163. We made 77 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Light wind giving speeds of only around 3kt over the day doesn't lead to a good DMG.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 163 (by daily DMGs):14,585n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2467 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3604 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3526 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 2043 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 477 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 696 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 342 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-02.85S LONGITUDE: 062-53.60E COURSE: 098T SPEED: 4.0kt


BARO: 1022.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Wind up a bit. Seas closer - rocking about a lot.

Thursday 7:30am We've hardly moved any distance overnight when our speed was often down below 1kt and we're presently making just over 1kt - the wind virtually switched off as night fell yesterday!

Seas are down to 4m, there's broken light cloud overhead and the edge of the cloud layer is visible in SW. We're making ESE with difficulty in the light wind and rolling around quite a lot in the swell still.

Weather forecast shows this will continue for rest of today, with chance of a little more wind maybe tonight. I'm hoping we'll keep away from light headwinds by edging more SE - H is supposed to be moving NE so we might be lucky there.

Midday Sun is shining weakly from a mainly cloudy/hazy sky and a group of petrels is circling the boat - mainly gliding... occasional flaps of their wings in the very light breeze. The wind generator is rarely turning - and then only slowly. It has been giving me a good measure of wind strength when the wind is so very light, as now.

Checked latest weather information - not much change - in a High now, but fortunately we're just in its southern half, so winds are fair. That's followed by the High becoming a long ridge, giving several days of good W wind - then a bit of a messy scenario with, probably, unavoidable light headwinds part of the time - but that's some time away so could all change.

Just checked the bilge - relieved to find very little more water in there after the rough seas of the last two days - so that's comforting. Spending a time emptying what is there - just to check on quantity.

Then it's on to the mainsail job - hot-knife cutting the spare sail material carefully to give two good heat-sealed edges before joining the two pieces together to make a long strip to wrap around the leech tear and eventually sew in place as and when the opportunity arises over the next week or so (i.e. when trapped in a High, as now!).

4pm Still only making just over 2kt in light SW wind under sunny sky with plenty of scattered light cloud. Pressure right up at 1030hPa - we're near the centre of this High.

Took a time to investigate where bilge water coming from - not critical, in view of amount concerned, but clearly good to know. Think I found at least part of the problem so I can keep an eye on there. Suspect chain plates also but no obvious major leak there either - all good! Will get out a spare bilge pump I have stored away and organise a hose and electric connection - will be useful, I think.
Back to cutting material for mainsail...

6pm Sun getting low - still very light wind - ambling along at around 2kt.
About to have a nice beef stew I just made - with potatoes, onions, green beans, some sweetcorn ... Looking forward to it - I'm hungry!

6:45pm Sun set a while go - birds were all around, mainly white-chinned petrels but a yellow-nosed albatross there as well.

Expecting the wind to veer into the WNW very soon and become NW later tonight. Decided to gybe in advance, while still some light to see by, so we're heading NNE at present on port tack (wind coming onto boat from its port side). As the wind veers (i.e. shifts clockwise in its direction), we'll change our heading clockwise along with it. Once we're heading E, I'll need to adjust the genoa sheets (lines controlling the genoa - big headsail) to stay heading E - so we'll end up heading downwind on a broad reach - usually a pleasant point of sail but best if there's a decent wind strength to push us along at a fair speed!

Getting to my bunk now for an hour or two of sleep - I'm changing my sleep habits in an effort to get the total amount I need each night.. The stew was great!

10.30pm Wind slowly veering - making course ENE now - will soon be making a course due E. Back to sleep soon - after sail trim checked and this news report and position/weather report all posted.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 162. We made 38 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. I could see it was going to be well under 50ml, especially with change of course added to frequent 1kt speed.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 162 (by daily DMGs):14,508 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2543 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3675 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3594 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1967 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 522 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 769 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 265 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-55.42S LONGITUDE: 061-11.51E COURSE: 088T SPEED: 2.5kt
BARO: 1028.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Wind veered to WNW but still light

Wednesday 7am Seas well up - easily 5m/16ft or more. Being tossed around and heeling a lot, despite well-furled genoa, in 20-25kt wind from SSW - on a beam reach. Slowed down a lot from yesterday - we're no longer sailing downwind. Grey clouds with a patch of blue.

1pm Far fewer clouds and plenty of sunshine. Air feeling a lot colder now - 18C but feels less. Wind now from S. Slowing down with course being upwind now - also makes it difficult to make preferred course and kills speed if too close to the wind.

Feeling tired - keep not sleeping well nor enough - probably due to worry about generally slow progress likely, with High pressure ahead, jobs in hand and time getting on.... Will try to get a nap now while things relatively calm - getting quite used to being frequently tossed around and bunk is soft and secure...!

5:30pm Having a nice hot mug of soup as I write this in my bunk - we're well-heeled over. Air has been definitely cooler, the last few days.

A lot of time spent studying weather today - as every day... Outlook not looking too bad in that we should keep tailwinds, rather than headwinds, in the High coming up, due to being close to 42S. Have been trying to head slightly more S, although difficult with S wind, of course, but not looking so essential now, although being a little further S would be good.

Have been a lot slower than yesterday, with mostly upwind sailing and well-reefed genoa in strong wind but wind seems to be easing now so just unfurled most of genoa - our speed shot up! Think I was being over-cautious earlier - pity!

Occasional sunshine among mix of grey and white clouds over the day.

Nice to see the usual 'gang' of birds around most of today- small group of white-chinned petrels, occasional storm petrel and a Wandering albatross at times, also.

Seas very big still but more spaced apart so we're being less frequently tossed about.

Time to think about food - sun is beginning to get low already. Simple menu... Wild salmon with touch of mayonnaise and some sweetcorn - no cooking tonight. Bon appetit!

8:40pm Things have definitely calmed down a lot now - seas are still big but quite benign and wind is a lot less - we're making just 3.5-4.5kt, occasionally 5kt, with almost full genoa - will unfurl that last bit before taking to my bunk for sleep.

I think part of the reason for feeling so often tired is I'm not keeping to local time for sleep hours during hours of darkness - so I'm simply not getting enough hours of sleep.

Just connected in to Cape Town Winlink shore station - nearly up to date with emails now.

11pm Wind keeps gusting up and then dying down - a bad sign! Speed jumps up to 4-5kt and then drops to under 2kt.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 161. We made 108 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 161 (by daily DMGs):14,470 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2581 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3711 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3628 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1926 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 552 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 806 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 228 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-49.30S LONGITUDE: 060-20.82E COURSE: 112T SPEED: 3.5kt


BARO: 1027hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Wind far less, seas gentler but still big

Tuesday 3am Beautiful clear night sky - so full of stars with Orion very high up and the Milky Way strewn across overhead - absolute 'stardust' mingled with brighter stars!

No need for any further light, as I adjusted Fred for very broad reach Wind has been slowly increasing as it veers toward W and a big weather system to our S passes by, headed E. We've increased our SOG (speed over the ground) to just under 6kt now.

23h43m25s GMT (3:43:25 am LT Tuesday) - just before midnight GMT - time of passing halfway point (55 18'E) in voyage around the world - I'll celebrate tomorrow! Back to my bunk now...

5am Well, that didn't happen! Decided to gybe around and furl in some genoa, in expectation of imminent strong winds and seas, before getting back to sleep - and wind got up just as I came on deck - started whistling in the rigging. We're now making around 6.8kt in W - WNW wind, with well-reefed genoa on port tack, and feeling more comfortable - ready for any gusts that might come along.

Now perhaps I can get some more sleep - just for a short time since I'll need to keep an eye on things - wind might shift again, needing another gybe...

9am Grey clouds everywhere except for a long blue streak astern - raining. Found a big squid in the cockpit! Gybed back onto port tack again after having gybed onto starboard around 3am. Wind had veered to the WNW, so the earlier gybe was needed, but it has now backed to WSW. We're now making 104T at around 7kt after unfurling a bit more genoa - at 2nd reef mark now. I'd furled it in plenty earlier when the wind had suddenly gusted up - possibly when the rain was coming in.

2pm Slept for well over two hours and woke up after 1 o'clock feeling a lot better. Wind seems to be slightly less now - we're making 6-7kt now instead of the 7kt and more of earlier. The sun is trying hard to brighten up the day but not quite getting through. Seas have built - but not as much as the 5-6m forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

Before I slept, I had a celebratory 'half-way' breakfast - of a few delicious stem-ginger biscuits I found by my bunk. I'd thought they were a packet of shortbread, which I love, but these were a very nice surprise and went well with some orange juice as I settled down to rest.

7pm Getting dark, bright waxing crescent moon high up, a few small, scattered clouds, big seas - picking us up and throwing us around as they pass under - fortunately, very few with any breaking crests. Had unfurled most of the genoa earlier, to give us good speed of well over 7kt for most of the afternoon but decided, with forecast of stronger winds coming, to furl in quite a lot again for overnight. Wind is varying quite a lot but best to be ready if the stronger wind should arrive, although we're slower in the meantime.

1900GMT (=2300LT) - end of Day 160. We made 143 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Good distance, for a change!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 160 (by daily DMGs):14,362 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2687 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3812 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 37253 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1822 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 636 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 908 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 122 n.ml. astern!

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-30.83S LONGITUDE: 057-58.71E COURSE: 102T SPEED: 6.0kt


BARO: 1011.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Seas up, rough motion, wind possibly down from earlier

Day 159 Sun-Mon 10-11 March 2019 Lovely sunny day. Strong winds and seas later tonight and tomorrow

Monday 12:45am Wind has suddenly died - we're making just 2.5kt and struggling to make our course in the breath of wind that has appeared..
12:48am Speed now under 2kt ...1.5kt ... Someone just switched the wind right off....!
12:57am 3.8kt ..4.4kt... maybe not quite so bad...?
12:59am Settled to SOG of 4.2kt :-)

Trying to edge down S a bit more - but difficult with SSE wind.

1am Just connected to Andrey in Moscow - Winlink sysop... Sending remaining emails, I hope! (Later: No joy - no more emails sent since connection made last evening)

4am Lovely starry sky with almost no cloud. Wind very light - we're making just 3kt on a close reach.
Tried connecting to send emails again - no luck - no connections made.

10:30am Lovely sunny day - small white clouds all over the bright blue sky! If we weren't trying to sail at a good speed, it would be just lovely - but we're struggling to make any way at all - SOG only around 1kt, often well below - difficult to maintain our course in such light wind.... But at least it's not heading us ... yet!!
Having breakfast and then getting on with preparatory work needed to make mainsail repair - main cabin table to be cleared, ready to work on...! Will also check that Fred is OK.

Expect wind to start veering towards SW/W tonight and increase - becoming around 20kt from W tomorrow and then becoming SW, reducing, on Wednesday. Big swells arriving - up to 5-6m/20ft. Then back into another big fat High - no avoiding that - and likely to get light headwinds for a time after that. Need to be at 42S to catch W winds below the H centre - but difficult to get there. Will need to try to do that tomorrow in the stronger W wind...

12:45pm Bright sun and hardly any clouds now - only on horizon. Put a couple of damp jackets in the sun to dry. Wind generator totally still - virtually no breeze. Drifting in current, I think - at 1.6kt, trying to head ESE. Sail not really filling - looking very slack - but wind should slowly fill in.

5pm Have been busy emptying bilge again - not that much in there but it did occur to me, while working on mainsail work preparations, that a) I should check it fairly often and b) the heavy weather of a few days ago would probably have caused water ingress again and it needed checking out. When I did, I promptly started to empty it again - unfortunately, the little 12V electric pump I'd used last time has stopped working - power is getting to it but achieving nothing. So it was back to the bucket and little cheap but reliable plastic hand pump - so useful!! I now know that 22cm/9" depth of liquid in the bilge equates to 33l - that's quite a lot to come in during the heavy weather we had recently. I also checked the automatic pump to make sure it works with the float switch activated - all good.

Fred still had problems and had definitely not yet got over his headache - had to remove one lot of wire and re-wire so that the ratio knob (i.e. 'gear control') was rigid and unable to move - it was preventing Fred from keeping a good course after being adjusted. Seems a lot better and he is steering fine now.

I decided to have a CupaSoup and relax for a short while after finishing emptying the bilge - and the mug promptly tipped over as one of the rare waves hit us and spilled the whole lot over the galley counter - I was not happy!! Made another after mopping up.. and made sure I set it on the gimballed cooker top to avoid a repetition.

Also remembered I needed to check on some fruit juices that had got wet, stored under the cabin sole (floor!) - seem OK, although a couple of cartons are slightly damaged on outside but contents seem to be fine.

The mainsail work hasn't got very far today - too many other urgent items to see to. I want try to hot cut along a edge to see how that goes - need to practise a bit to make sure I do a reaonable, not necessarily perfect, job on the spare material I'm using for the 'tabling' which will cover the main repair to the torn part of the sail and protect it.

Sunset at 6:45pm - beautiful orange and pink colours, contrasting with the deepening blue-green of the sea with just a very few tiny clouds but lots of birds. Dark petrels and a couple of albatross are swooping around beneath a bright silver crescent of moon high up. Light beginning to fade - can't do much more today.

Wind is slowly veering - now SW and should veer more, to W, and begin to increase quite soon - to 20kt or more tomorrow - so we should make good speed tomorrow but it will definitely not be as calm and relaxing!

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 159. We made 56 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 159 (by daily DMGs):14,219 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2829 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3945 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3853 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1680 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 753 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1047 n.ml.to ENE; Halfway point (55 18'E): 18 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-05.60S LONGITUDE: 054-52.41E COURSE: 130T SPEED: 4.2kt
BARO: 1017.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Boat speed slowly increasing . Swell increased.

Sunday 1am Wind has got up a lot more - we're making over 4kt on a beam reach, making ESE on port tack with boat heading due E (current effect!). Front has not yet passed over since wind has clearly not yet backed into SW - but must be imminent since increased wind being felt.
Think I'll gybe soon, since otherwise I can't get to sleep.

1:30am We were just making over 5.5kt... Wind was up a lot - a real gust as rain started! Back down to 4.6kt. About to gybe...

2:30am Still raining quite heavily ahead of the expected Front. Gybed onto starboard tack, ready for windshift to S quadrant sometime soon. Will have to sleep in snatches to be ready for adjusting sail trim and course and generally to check all OK as wind changes direction. Presently making around 5kt on course of 170T.

5am VERY sudden windshift to SSE from WNW - in no time at all, genoa was backed and I had a problem getting us back on course with boat speed down so much... Glad I'd furled in genoa to 1st reef mark.
Making over 6kt in rough seas - very uncomfortable! Wind getting up to around 20kt, maybe more.

10am Had intended chatting on radio earlier to Ian & Volker but we were heeled over like mad, banging around, and the wind was screaming - clearly around 25-30kt, gusting more. Needed to get on deck and reduce sail. Although it was nice to see our speed hitting over 7kt, the boat was heeled far too much in the strong conditions.
With great difficulty, because of the motion of the boat, I had to put back on the overtrousers I'd not long removed and struggle into my heavy jacket - seas were constantly washing the decks, rushing over the hard top & into the cockpit.

Seas are impressive at 5-6m/16-20ft and covered with foam patches. Would be more comfortable if they were not almost on the beam... But the petrels are happy - they get a free ride in these conditions.
Our course is due E, so it's nice to know we're making a fair distance in the right direction, for a change.... What a difference from yesterday!

Trying to make a log entry - to stop myself falling out of the heeled-over seat, I've lowered the stainless steel foam-covered 'arm rest' - keeps me safe while at the chart table. It's also good to have some cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit and bottles of water within easy reach - my breakfast today.

We've just crossed into the next time zone: GMT + 4hr, on passing E of 52 30'E.. I'll change to the correct local time later.

Time to get back to my bunk - much more comfortable and safe there! Can't wait for the wind to veer from S to W - downwind is such a more pleasant point of sail than being on a beam reach in these conditions.

11am Sudden lull in the wind - things went very quiet - but not for long, although wind definitely seems to be less, now.

3pm/1200GMT Wind still SSE but a lot less - 15-20kt perhaps. Seas still well up at 4-5m/~15ft so still a very bumpy ride, no less because we're constantly banging into the seas, being on a close reach still. Making due E at 4-5kt after unfurling full genoa - we needed more sail, with our speed having dropped way down with less wind.
It's a good thing I looked at Fred yesterday - by now we'd have lost the rudder (although it's tied on with a safety leash) and there's no way I could have done the work on Fred that I did then in the present big seas and generally rough conditions.

Expecting conditions to ease and wind to veer very slowly to SSW by tomorrow and to SW, becoming W, by Tuesday. Soon after that, might well get into a High again once the new Low to the S has completely passed on E.

9pm Still very bumpy - seas not so enormous now but a lot of 'wind waves' on top - so feeling quite rough since we're headed into them.
Making 4-5kt due E - varies somewhat, depending on wind direction.

Have been catching up on email replies again - although I'm not sure when they'll be sent since radio connection to shore station in Cape Town is getting very uncertain - mostly not happening but I keep trying - and every now and then I get a connection. The Winlink sysop in Moscow was astonished by my use of his station last week - might try him later tonight if Cape Town remains unreachable. (Later: That worked again! But only a few were sent - connection went down...) Otherwise, my replies will have to wait to be sent until I get closer to Treeton , W. Australia - a good station but still just too far away to be usable at present.
Photo: Dressed for work in wet weather on deck - wet after coming back down below!

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 157. We made 96 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 158 (by daily DMGs):14,163 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2883 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 3998 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3903 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1629 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 802 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1098 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 69 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-50.48S LONGITUDE: 053-41.11E COURSE: 095T SPEED: 4.5kt
BARO: 1018.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Banging into seas still, close reach, full genoa

Saturday 5:30am Sunrise - sun just peeking from below solid grey cloud cover everywhere else - misty slight rain.
Lots of noise on radio at 0230Z making difficult copy of stations normally heard very well on 7160kHz - poor propagation today!
Back for more sleep, having sent weather & position report.

10:30am We were making 4.1kt for a time - I almost got excited, getting hopeful of making some half-decent progress... but we've now dropped to 3.2kt. Pity better speed didn't last long -- but 3kt is better than 1-2 kt ... Maybe we're getting closer to that elusive wind? Adjusted Fred for slightly more E of SSE course.

Breakfast and then to work on preparing for mainsail repair - lots of different jobs needing to be done by way of preparation, several on deck, a few down below, before I can actually get to sewing the 'tabling' (material added to both sides, around leech) onto the mainsail.

2:30pm Making 3.0kt still. Sun shining hazily through thin cloud layer. Working at mast, looking at organising tying of mainsail to enable releasing the top section to work on, while seas relatively calm.

Expecting wind to back towards S this evening, as a Front passes by.

6:15pm Back down below as light is fading, rather wet around my legs and feet. They got a very good wash as I leaned over from the steps of the stern 'sugar scoop' while seeing to Fred. I paused my work at the mast connected with the mainsail problem, because the swell is so smooth and I remembered that Fred needed attention also. A good thing I went to have a look - the wind steering rudder was about to fall off!!

The long pin holding it in place on the rudder stock had lost its security clip and was half out.... Phew!! It was quickly pushed back into place and then I wired through the hole where the security clip goes - and then noticed the clip was dangling nearby on its leash. I'd used an 'R' clip and it had worked its way loose and out - most odd to think how it managed to do that - somehow it must have been pulled to make that happen.

I'd gone to check on another problem - TG I did!

As I was leaning out working over the stern, getting rather splashed, a white-chinned petrel decided to sit nearby and keep me company!

After my wiring of the 'gear lever' in place, I'd been in touch with John Curry of Hydrovane to check what I could do further. As a result, I took a hammer and screwdriver to bang another pin back into place that was protruding far too much - an axle was loose. Access to the head of the pin was not easy - that's why the flat end of the screwdriver was needed. A very good thing there is not a lot of swell just now - could only do it safely in fairly calm conditions since it involved leaning out over the stern and around the far side of the Hydrovane, holding the flat screwdriver head in place while I banged on it with the hammer. There are times when being stuck in a High pressure system has its benefits! Hopefully, Fred will no longer have a 'headache' and will behave better now. He was definitely having trouble coping earlier today.
Sea temperature is 22C, so not too cold, but I'm looking forward to some hot soup and dry clothing....

8pm Feeling much warmer now - dry clothes and hot soup work wonders - and my feet and ankles are really clean and enjoying fresh socks! Having a dehydrated meal - quick and easy - and not too bad tasting...

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 157. We made 55 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Better than expected!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 157 (by daily DMGs):14,067 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 2981 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4090 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 3991 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1531 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 887 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1196 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 166 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-31.85S LONGITUDE: 051-36.83E
COURSE: 115T SPEED: 3.4kt
BARO: 1011.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Windshift expected soon - to SSW?

Friday 5am Woke up to find us having gone nowhere - under five miles S of our 10pm position last night. In such light wind, we were now crawling W instead of S... Wind is so light, difficult to keep on any heading, but finally gybed around to try to head S - worked for a very short time but only moving at just over half a knot ...SE now...

Excellent session on 7160 - getting W coast, as well as E coast, US stations clearly now - not too surprising since we're on antipode from W coast now... 12 hours time difference!

10:30am Have gybed around several times to see what course we can best make - wind keeps dying - windgen often not even turning at all. Have ended up on port tack, making ESE at around 2-2.5kt (3kt if any wind at all) - there must be an E-going current of around 2kt just here!

Will have breakfast and then start on jobs for today: 1) radio connections 2) mainsail leech repair. Seas are not too big with this light wind.

Midday Very, very quiet and feeling oh-so-smooth just now! Almost no swell but also almost no wind... so almost no noise! Wind generator hardly turning at all. Makes working easier, not to be fighting the rolling around that a big swell causes.

I'm sure there's an E-going current hereabouts! No way we'd be heading as we are in almost no wind otherwise. I'll continue to try to get more southing into our heading, as and when I can, since that's where the stronger winds are - to the S of this High pressure we're in just now.... Pressure increased a touch an hour or so ago but it's back down again - now 1017.8.

Presently making ESE again - had to adjust Fred to change our boat heading since wind (or current?) must have changed - if it's wind, it backed more to WSW, possibly... but still almost none - we're effectively drifting at 3kt - I'm just glad it's in the right direction!

1:45pm Getting very warm - lots of sunshine and only a few scattered thin streaks of white cloud in the bright blue sky. We're slowing right down, 1kt or less now, but still drifting more-or-less E, TG. Fred was keeping Nereida on a beam reach relative to the wind's direction, trying to head us S, and we're effectively drifting sideways now...

Have spent an age in aft cabin getting access to the radio's automatic tuner (ATU) so I can check all the connections both on the tuner and also leading to the backstay antenna which is directly above it. Has meant moving a lot of well-stowed & well-secured items so that I could remove a wooden panel in the cabin, the tuner being out of sight behind it - time-consuming! Have to stop and check on our progress at regular intervals, so that slows things down also. ... back to work...

3pm Had to gybe - wind now from N, came up for a bit... but still very light. On port tack, making ESE at 1.5kt. Back to aft cabin...

4:50pm Found a wet, corroded antenna connection - all cleaned up now - shiny bright and sprayed with wax after all back together. Heat shrink over cable end replaced after cutting back a little to check there - all clean now. Heve tied cable so no water can get onto connection - made a downward loop to prevent that. Checked all other connections - look OK but took apart and cleaned up another screwed connection just to make sure.

6:30pm Finally finished in aft cabin - clearing up and putting everything back as was takes quite a time- especially rear wooden panel in cabin, hiding the ATU.
Found we needed to gybe - again... Think this light wind must be mainly NW but very shifty - have had to gybe so many times today trying to keep a course more S than E - S is where good wind is but E is often where I've found us drifting towards when the wind has died. Making just under 2kt

Checked the radio - seems better on 20m now - fingers crossed! Need to clean my work-dirty hands and have some food - have had nothing since breakfast.

Photo of corroded, partly-cleaned, radio connector

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 156. We made 30 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 156 (by daily DMGs): 14,012 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3026 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4142 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4045 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1497 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 941 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1233 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 201 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-47.92S LONGITUDE: 050-53.07E COURSE: 125T SPEED: 1.2kt
BARO: 1015.2hPa TREND: 0 SEA_TEMP: 23.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in light wind

Thursday 7am Very peaceful - light wind, seas well down, a lot of cloud but good patches of blue between, sun well above horizon but behind cloud. A Wandering albatross glides by - heavy white body, wings dark on top but white below with thin dark edges and black tips... Disappears by time I've got my camera in hand... Couple of white-chinned petrels swoop around on fixed wings close by - they're big birds, but bear no comparison to the albatross in size.

We're heading SW now, skirting a High pressure ridge, hoping to turn SE soon when wind backs from its present E to NE. Would be nice to be heading in a direction that leads back to my starting point - and not going backwards!

Cyclone Haleh is still heading S-SSW but should be diminishing in strength by Saturday and beginning to turn towards the SE later that day also.

Midday Creeping along in little wind, alhough under a very pleasant sunny sky. Not enough wind for the wind generator to turn, wind is so very light, meaning we're really slow - around 1.5kt. Frustrating, since we need to move on to use the good winds behind Haleh when they come - but we need to be in the right place to get the benefit. Wind is really dying completely just now....

Just spent an age getting the main halyard away from the top mast step it had got itself caught around and then securing it so it wouldn't repeat the trick. Then, finally, as an interim measure, hoisted the trysail again on the main halyard - there are times when it seems to help us along.

Must get a quick (late again!) breakfast - have had nothing today so far...

What I've been wanting to do is to sew some material onto the mainsail around the leach where it's torn - the big problem has been needing relatively calm conditions to do that. Amazing the effect of even a small swell - makes it so very difficult to work on the sail in situ. Looks as though I need to remove almost all the sail slides from their track in the mast to expose the 9ft/2.8m straight run of the length of sail involved, so as to sew the material in place. Would make the job a lot easier if I could get that portion of the sail down onto the deck - i'll see how feasible that is at the time..

3:45pm Have been looking into a radio problem - it's 'clipping' on 20m in particular, althogh other bands seem to be fine. Need to sort out that problem - would hate to lose use of my SSB/HF radio! Could well mean looking for corrosion at all connections, undoing, where possible, cleaning and re-making perhaps. Access to the tuner is not easy but do-able, given time, patience and no big seas.

5:30pm Still creeping along - SSE now - in almost no wind - I reckon a tortoise goes faster.... Wind generator not turning again. Making over 1 knot from time to time....
Starting to work on the sail material for the leach repair but light fading now. Have to learn how to use a hot knife.

I was expecting more wind today than there has been - I hope that overnight and tomorrow there'll be more than just now but outlook is looking pretty grim - a lot of light wind for several days, it seems, with no way to reach the better wind.... My halfway point is looking very much out of reach.

Almost no breaks in the cloud cover just before sunset - but one just where the sun was getting low, so a lovely light, cloud & sea effect.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 155. We made 36 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 155 (by daily DMGs): 13,982 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3056 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4171 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4074 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1467 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 970 n.ml. to SE; St Paul Isl: 1263 n.ml.to E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 231 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/03/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-39.51S LONGITUDE: 050-16.10E COURSE: 156T SPEED: 1.4kt
BARO: 1021.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 25.0C
COMMENT: Very little progress made today

Tuesday evening Had a call from Chek TV News in Victoria, B.C., who wanted a quick 'live' update - they'd realised I was very close to my halfway mark. Nice to make the contact and great to have the Aurora satellite wifi terminal onboard to make it possible - many thanks to Luis Soltero of Global Marine Networks!

Wednesday 2am Had been waiting for the wind to back from N to SW as a small front came over. We were finally headed N, after gently curling around from E, despite several adjustments to Fred - time to gybe around.

Slight drizzle and light wind still... Didn't take long to gybe in the pich black darkness but had to adjust Fred several times to get close to required course.

7am Grey and rainy. Reduced genoa down to 3rd reef mark and changed course to head more to NW. Weather models are no longer in good agreement - European model has TC Haleh continuing longer at SSW (towards us) before turning more SE - so we're keeping well away for time being, until its movements are clearer. We're in a High pressure area which is just now moving E - giving SE wind which allows us to head W or NW.

Hope the models get back into agreement on which way and when Haleh is going to be headed soon...

Back to my bunk for some more sleep - have been up now for nearly two hours.

Midday Slept for longer than expected. Pressure has climbed right up - now at 1025.7hPa from 1018 yesterday morning and 1021 yesterday evening.

Still grey cloud layer - raining again, still heading NW, at around 2.5kt under well-furled genoa and SE wind still at 15-20kt.... No change!

Managed, after trying several different stations, to send a Position report via Cape Town but couldn't download any incoming mail. Radio emailing has been very difficult last few days. Used the N-S line (Earth's magnetic field helps radio connections!) to find a Russian station (Moscow!) almost due N of our position two nights ago. Was amazed to get a fair connection, despite the distance, and sent a Position report and got a couple of incoming emails but have a lot of email replies waiting still for a decent connection. Cape Town keeps being unable to connect well enough now and Treeton, in W.AustralIa, is just a bit too far away, although improving quickly as we move E (as and when that happens...!).

2:30pm Rain had stopped for a while and sun was trying hard to peek through - but no longer - raining again.

Checked weather situation again - heading W, hoping to get clear of High pressure ridge. Don't want to head further N not further S - so "Head West!" it is...! Was I supposed to be heading EAST??? (Will I ever get back??!)

Sending for updated weather files - forever checking weather info - most of day... constant preoccupation!

Quite a noticeable SE swell building up - at about 3m/10ft or more - quite close - period only 5-6 secs, with frequent whitecaps, showing a Force 4-5 wind (around 15-20kt).

Took a hammer to Fred to bang in a couple of axle ends that are protruding a little more than they should. Couldn't check a third - access in present rough conditions too difficult from stern. Fourth one looks fine.

6pm Light fading... raining again... Still headed W in SE wind. Busy with emails - hoping to get a connection sometime soon....

8pm Had an excellent connection to Cape Town Winlink station - all outstanding emails dealt with - I'm totally up to date - amazing!!

Pressure is even higher: 1027hPa, wind is less, so speed is down.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 154. We made 31 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 154 (by daily DMGs): 13,944 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3042 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4168 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4073 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1489 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 971 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1243 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 215 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-10.19S LONGITUDE: 050-46.21E COURSE: 266T SPEED: 3.7kt


BARO: 1027.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

Tuesday 3:40pm Grrr!!! Just deleted all my previous entries for today...

Day started around a grey, overcast dawn with usual radio session on 40m (7160) and posting of weather/position report - having a problem getting my usual good Cape Town radio connection so the Aurora wifi satellite connection comes in useful then.

By midday, the cloud layer had gone and it had turned into a lovely sunny day, with little cloud.... but also not much wind.

I'd had another nap - seem to need a lot of sleep but, in view of my several hours of physical efforts recently (getting in the series drogue a few days ago and bailing out the water in the bilge Sunday and Monday), I suppose that's hardly surprising.

Have been looking at weather in great detail - over and over... Have decided to keep heading gently E on basis that all the weather models are in agreement. They show TC Haleh heading S to near 40S and then heading more SE, having by then become a Tropical Storm with reduced winds, not a cyclone any more... Not that I want to get too close, either way.

If it behaves as predicted, we can now simply keep heading roughly E. It should be well E of us, by several hundred miles, when around 40S and we can keep heading roughly E after it has passed - good W winds are forecast for a time, if we can get to them and don't get hung up in another High.

If it doesn't change course to SE and if it becomes a threat, we can change course in the S wind at that time to head NW. I can always put out the JSD (series drogue) again, if necessary.

It seems unbelievable how many things have conspired to slow us down - as if having to stop for last weekend's storm to pass over safely weren't enough, TC Haleh tops it - we're having to go slowly now, or maybe stop again, just to make sure we stay safely away from it.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 153. We made 69 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 153 (by daily DMGs): 13,913 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3016 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4046 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4110 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1512 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 931 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1218 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 188 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-30.71S LONGITUDE: 051-14.43E COURSE: 099T SPEED: 2.3kt


BARO: 1020.9hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Wind very light. Pressure up.

Midnight Wind slowly dying - slow progress at only 2.3-3kt. But in view of cyclone expected ahead, slow is good! Seas still up quite a bit - rolling us around still, quite often. 6:15am Sunrise about an hour ago - quite a few scattered clouds around. Wind not very strong - maybe 8kt from E-ESE - we seem to be going N at 3kt or more just now. Will furl in genoa to slow down. Good-sized swell from S - rolling us around, as usual. Spoke to quite a few people on radio - most unaware of cyclone looming ahead. Turned on small bilge pump - thought it was not working but it seems to be OK - not sure how well it's doing, though. Not seeing any rise overnight in level of water still in bilge. Will have breakfast and set to, trying to remove the remaining water and dry the bilge. Also need to finish packing the series drogue (JSD) since I could well need it again to stay clear of the cyclone forecast to track S ahead of us. 6:45am Furled in genoa to 2nd reef mark - now making 1.5-2.2 kt due N in wind from E-ESE. Rockin' and rollin' a lot in swell. 8:45am Finishing my coffee after clearing up in galley - just had to clear space there and deal with crushing old milk & juice cartons: rinsed out with sea water, flattened & placed in trash can. Cabin is in chaos as consequence of working both on JSD (middle of being packed away) and bilge opening (waiting for last water removal). Now to get the JSD out of the way and packed away. Bilge pump is working away - sounding good and cheerful (unlike me!) but I'm not convinced... Waiting to see if the water level goes down noticeably. Tried to get some more sleep - impossible - too many important jobs to see to. 10am Just downloaded latest weather file - pressure here is 1022hPa - we're exactly in the middle of a High with that same centre pressure, supposedly with SSE wind - but the forecast can't be that accurate. Think I'll furl in the genoa totally and just drift in the light breeze while I work. Swell is annoying - a good 4m/13ft still, so really, really rolly and unhelpful! Dried off and re-stowed the remaining cartons of milk - hope their contents are undamaged. Now for JSD, finally. 12:45 pm JSD all back in place, ready for use again - including a Spectra retrieval line that can bring in the bridle using the winch without the worry of too big a load. Next job - Fred has lost his gear-lever action - will need to wrap wire to keep the lever in place. Otherwise, Fred would be unable to do his job... 2:45pm Feeling a whole lot better... Bilge pump (big one - diaphragm) now working - as I suspected, the problem was a corroded/wet power supply terminal, now cleaned and doing well. Still need to remove some water remaining - will use small 12V electric pump for that. Fred has now been fixed (I hope!) - with lots of wire to stop part moving - otherwise Fred can't steer at all. About to have some food - I'm famished! Been a long day... and it's not yet over. Hoping for wind to fill in soon, so we can move under sail, rather than drift.. Lovely sunny day - bue sky, no clouds. Yellow-nosed albatross came and rested close by - was very interested in my work on deck! Several petrels are flying around - including a tiny storm petrel. 7pm Unfurled genoa, having decided to head SW, rather than drift NW. Speed not much different in present very light wind, at all of 1.5-2kt, but course is southerly rather than northerly - away from very light wind or headwinds of High we'd be in if we stayed around 38S. 9pm Wind is very slowly filling in and backing. We're now able to make a SSE course but I'll need to adjust Fred quite often as the wind backs further to N. Speed low - only just over 2kt in light wind still. 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 152. We made 16 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, with overnight & daytime drifting N-NW in no wind and then heading S, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 152 (by daily DMGs): 13,844 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3074 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4204 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4110 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1462 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1007 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1272 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 238 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/03/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-43.99S LONGITUDE: 050-09.98E COURSE: 151T SPEED: 3.0kt WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NE CLOUDS: 60% BARO: 1021.4hPa TREND: -1 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 24.0C COMMENT: Bilge clear, pump working, JSD packed, Fred mended, meal ready

We drifted around a lot overnight - so little wind it was almost impossible to maintain any kind of course - so I gave up trying and we just meandered at around 0.5kt until the wind filled in, eventually, not long before dawn and then Fred kept us on course as the wind slowly increased...

5:30am Daylight - dawn just breaking - pink clouds on E horizon, a few grey ones elsewhere - not many. Crescent moon with Venus(?) close by, quite high up.

Wind up finally, from WNW. On a broad reach, making 4kt with slightly furled genoa - just managing to keep it filled.

Contest on is making radio contact with N. America very difficult - band noisy with so many people calling. A short contact was made with two US stations but will be better tomorrow when weekend contest will have finished.

11am Plenty of sunshine in between scattered, large, white clouds. Wind has been well up for some time - Force 6 judging from areas of foam on sea surface - so over 22kt. From sound it's making, I'd have guessed at around 25kt. Seas have built up again, with plenty of white crests and steep faces.

Glad I furled in a small amount of genoa overnight.

Gybed onto starboard tack as wind had backed into WSW-SW, so now making E-ESE course at 4.5-5.5 kt.

2:20pm Seas have really built up again at 4-5m and we're being tossed around a lot as we climb the face of each wave and slip down behind. Wind is up and down a bit but generally around 20-25kt so quite strong conditions still - a wave just crashed over and washed the decks...

Still mainly sunny although plenty of cloud - but no rain threatening. I thought wind was dying down but it has definitely not, so far, just occasional lulls.

Started re-stowing the series drogue into a bag, flaking it down carefully. Tomorrow, likely to be almost no wind in High pressure region, so should be able to finish stowing it ready for next time.

4pm Wind less now - unfurled remainder of genoa. Speed up: 4.6kt now, from 3.5kt before. Some light grey clouds overhead now, sunshine in between. Seas still well up and on the beam, so rolly. Still working on stowing JSD, in between other things. Tea-time!

7:30pm Dark. Went to get more milk out of storage at 4:30pm to replenish galley - cartons were wet. Checked bilge & was busy clearing out a lot of water using small container for next two hours - only one small pump working, big one not at all - more hard work!

Water was salty so seawater getting in somewhere, with condensation water from cold surfaces added to it, I'm sure. Tired - going to have a short sleep... Not life-threatening, so will explore more tomorrow. Will finish emptying and dry out bilge completely then, in daylight. Also need to try to get the big pump working - might just be 12V power supply to a wet connector that is the problem.

Pressure has steadily been rising over the day - now at 1016hPa from 1006hPa early this morning. Boat speed down to 3.2kt in lighter wind from SW and slowly getting less.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 151. We made 73 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, with overnight drifting in no wind, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 151 (by daily DMGs): 13,828 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3074 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4200 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4105 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1458 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1001 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1274 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 241 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-00.89S LONGITUDE: 050-07.98E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 2.5kt


BARO: 1018.1hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C

COMMENT: Strong wind over daytime to early afternoon, becoming less later

Saturday 6am Wind still too much for retrieval of JSD - back to my bunk for more sleep....

10am Was getting ready for another try at retrieving the series drogue but thought I'd check the latest weather info. Unbelievably, there's a tropical storm, possibly cyclone,forecast to head due S from Madagascar around 6-8th March straight across my projected position on 10th March. To avoid it, I'd need to head E from here now at 8-9 kt minimum (impossible!). So I'll have to go really slowly for the next week and maybe need to deploy the JSD again - either as the system hits us, if we keep on going, or to the W of its S-going path (at 40S 60E perhaps) before it gets too close on the 10th, to await its passing while staying away from its really strong winds and big seas....

I don't see any way to avoid it other than by going really slowly...

more snail's pace crawling....

(High pressure area on the way E soon might help that slow speed anyway!) But even keeping down to an average 4kt is going too fast. I'm feeling thoroughly fed up just now! I'll have to just keep heading E and see how the forecasts for the storm develop - maybe the weather models will have got it wrong...

11.am Just checked out the wind - seems to be around 20kt still so, in view of my comments above, might as well wait for wind (and seas) to ease more in a few hours' time, if forecast is correct. Still very rolly in 4m seas. Sounds like the time for a nice pot of coffee! Midday Big, grey raincloud overhead - waiting for the rain to come while I have coffee. 6pm Grey sky with some dark steel-grey cloUds astern but no rain at present. We're underway - but there's no wind! Even the Windex isn't sure where the wind is coming from - it's getting confused by the boat rolling in the well-spaced swell that's still fairly big. I think I can honestly say I'm totally knackered...! I've taken in the JSD but it took nearly four hours of solid nonstop hard work - it was far more difficult than I expected....

Having some coffee while boiling some water for a quick dehydrated meal and then I'm getting some much-needed sleep (Note - didn't get it just then). Might furl in the genoa and just drift - we're making under 1kt anyway, so drifting won't make much difference. It's a good thing there are three winches along each side of the cockpit coaming. I used all three on the port side. The fabric cones spliced onto the line go around a winch but if more than one turn is used, they get tangled in the other turn and the six splices per cone and sturdy fabric used don't ease their path either. I ended up leading the line from one winch to the next and belaying it with a wrap on the third - although, in fact, I simply held onto the end of the line there to pull it in, bit by bit, as it went slack....

all 124 cones on three hundred feet of it...plus bridle and end-chain separately. It seemed an eternity before I was able manually to pull on the final length of line directly from the stern and bring in the chain acting as an end weight. Throughout, the boat was rolling around a lot, not making it easy to pull in on the line at the right moment. It was a two-handed, laborious job - left hand hand pulling in on the momentarily slack line between winches one and two, while the right hand pulled in immediately on the line wrapped around winch three to take up the slack. There was usually a good wait in between for the line from the stern to go slack as we went up and down in the swell. A few trips to the stern were needed to keep the line running freely in the dedicated fairlead and a careful eye kept on the cones going around the two winches to free them when they caught in the self-tailing guide - which happened quite often. Now I've the job of re-packing the JSD into its bags - I've lead most of it down to the cabin so as not to clutter the cockpit. It has to be flaked carefully so it will run freely when next deployed.

7:20pm Rain just started. Dark. Still effectively no wind... Drifting at 1kt - wish I knew where the wind was! 1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 150. We made 9 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Mainly lying to JSD (Jordan series drogue) - drifting.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 150 (by daily DMGs): 13,755 n.ml. Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3144 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4260 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4160 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1386 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 1055 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1346 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 314 n.ml. Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV): TIME: 2019/03/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-00.38S LONGITUDE: 048-32.74E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 0.2kt WIND_SPEED: 6kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1007.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 23.0C COMMENT: Off JSD - drifting in no wind ...

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