S/V Nereida sails around the world

SHTP Day2

What a frustrating time!!
Have spent all my time overnight and today tacking around as close-hauled as I can, trying to get west - no chance - options have been close to due S or to due N in the light wind - or NO wind, as it's been, a lot of the time. Impossible to keep the autopilot working with 0.0 boatspeed! Moved 2.1 mls through the water in the 5 hrs up to 6am, but tide carried me in towards shore (heard the breaking surf!) and towards Drakes Bay. Got 'embayed' and had a lot of trouble getting out past Pt Reyes - the long peninsula that sticks out south with an east-west upside down 'T' at its end - which effectively forms Drakes Bay to its east. Finally managed it around noon - but then I was forced to head even further north, rather than retrace my path south. The wind has swung around Pt Reyes and never reached more than 4-5 kn, except for a very short time, until near dusk. Then I suddenly felt breeze on my face - and it increased to give good boatspeed - what a nice change. Lasted for quite a time but eventually died away around 11pm. In the meantime, a strong tide continually took me northwest of Pt Reyes - seemed to me I was never going to escape that Point! A curious seal kept me company for quite a time as I drifted this afternoon.
There have been quite a few ships around. The new AIS program has been worth its weight in gold - seeing the boats and their names on the screen together with info such as size, speed, direction, destination, etc, has been really useful and an excellent safety feature. The skippers/crew are always courteous and keep a good lookout for me after I've called them to warn them if our paths look like crossing.
Soon after dawn this morning, as I was drifting in a flat, glassy sea, I saw humpback whales near the boat for a good half hour. They were just cruising around, coming to the surface regularly - three in all. There had already been porpoises and lots of penguin guillemots to attract my interest as I drifted with the current at zero boatspeed under the gloomy overcast. With constant efforts to keep the boat moving overnight, involving constant changing of tack as the genoa backed in the flukey wind, I got almost no sleep and what I had was disturbed by the VHF coming alive now & then to deal with the big ships heading in & out of San Francisco.
As usual, at 9 o'clock tonight, as this morning, we had a roll call of the race fleet on the SSB radio and then we chatted to each other. During the day, we keep watch on VHF69 and often call to each other to discuss problems or big ships/tugs passing close by or simply to vent our frustrated feelings at the lack of good wind. We'll see what tonight brings - but at least I'm moving - and in roughly the right direction!

Jeanne
"Nereida"

Day 1 of SHTP

6pm Sat24Jun06

Lovely sunny start - but very little wind! I managed to drift over start line at back of fleet and then proceeded to tack slowly towards fogbound Golden Gate - wind came in fits and starts, but more close in to Peninsula Pt, off Belvedere.
Didn't want to get too far out into Bay because of foul strong flood tide - so took a long time getting no distance at all.
Several boats with photographers/wellwishers came by - lots of good wishes and friendly faces.
Slowly the breeze filled in again, and made excellent speed on approach to, and transit through, Golden Gate (6.5-7.3 kn) despite having had to reef right down (2 reefs in main and genoa).
Fog kindly decided to lift as got close to GG Bridge and stayed that way - so no problem there. Just as well, because my PC chargers aren't working, so it's back to paper charts and pencil+Breton plotter.
Has been difficult to decide what course to steer for best - SW wind now & light SW winds are forecast for next few days. High pressure area is way north of usual position (off Vancouver Island) - so having to try to get west over next few days, in hope of making southing later in passage.
Wind died right down as passed across the 'Potato Patch' (ebb tide + little wind + HW made that a safe option) so I'm now ambling along, headed NW at all of 3-4 kn max! Murky sky, long low swell, lots of penguin guillemots and the occasional group of dolphins.
Just offered a cup of tea to another racer as we got close! Two others in sight further out. All feels very relaxed, not like a race at all, quite unlike the excitement of the approach to the Golden Gate.

Just downloaded some weatherfaxes, so must go & do some 'HW' and then sort out food well before it gets dark - didn't get the chance to cook anything as I usually try to do before a long passage like this.

Jeanne
"Nereida"