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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Saturday 8am LT is same as in Paris and a lot of Europe! Weather/position report posted to Winlink and emails and fresh weather files downloaded.

Pair of Great Shearwaters swooping around ahead - performimg figures of eight as they soar back and forth on mainly fixed wings. Yellow-nosed albatross pair seen in distance.

Seas at least 3m/10ft - well spaced but causing us to roll about as they pass.

Almost dead downwind sailing in W wind of around 12-15kt. Still have trysail boomed out to starboard (upwind) with genoa to port (downwind).... 'goose-winged' sails for running downwind - swinging about quite often.. Gusty conditions under sky covered in grey clouds - wind very much up and down, so boat speed varying a lot - anything from under 4kt to over 5.5kt.

12:10pm Cloud cover has changed from some broken cumulus a couple of hours ago with patches of blue sky in between to a more solid layer of cloud and just a hint of the sun as a hazy patch of light through the cloud, at times. Only making 3.5 kt now, so wind clearly a touch lighter than earlier but still from the W as are the seas - still often quite big, at easily 3m, so we're frequently rolling around.

2pm Fine, misty rain - brought some good wind with it, so suddenly we got up to 6kt at times - lovely to see a decent speed for a change...! But not for long - speed has dropped right back down again... We're ambling along at 3.5-4 kt and wind has backed to WSW, with sun trying to get through the overcast sky.

3pm The sun finally made it! Clear blue sky overhead - a wide streak from N to S - cloud layer has been left astern, clouds ahead... Nice to have warm sunshine for a time - had to remove a fleece layer... Downside is wind really dying - our SOG is now only 3 kt or less.

Have been cleaning/clearing up in galley - needed it.

7:10pm That sunny period didn't last long - grey clouds came back over soon after - but was nice while it lasted! Now back to slight rain and totally grey, cloudy skies. Getting close to sunset so light is fading.

Having a late mug of tea - was very thirsty, so it's very welcome.

Just had an excellent chat with Vincent, 3DA0VV, in Swaziland (eSwatini nowadays!) - no problem with propagation on 40m between us just now - he's well over 2,000 km away. Also, clear copy on Volker, ZS3Y, in Western Cape, S. Africa. As the sun sets, the radio comes alive!

1900GMT (=2000LT) - end of Day 129. We made 97 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 129 (by daily DMGs): 12,125 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 380 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 520 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 508 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 3105 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3161 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3262 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2983 n.ml. to WNW.
Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my little-used US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/02/09 18:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-27.30S LONGITUDE: 011-39.15E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: WSW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1014.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Raining slightly, wind backed a little, trysail over to port

Thursday Just realised that what I thought was 8pm (local time, LT) is now almost 9pm - we're just about to move into the next time zone - GMT + 1 hour - being just a few miles W of 7*30'E - the 'marker' between GMT and the next time zone to the E.

Wind is slowly dying but we're still managing about 4.5kt in a W wind, having not long gybed onto starbosrd tack in the fading twilight.
Made a big pot of a thick 'broth' - lentils, potatoes, diced ham - an easy main meal for the next couple of days. Will add chopped onion and maybe some more vegetable tomorrow in good light - clambered into the forepeak to replenish galley supplies of fresh potatoes and onions a short while ago.

Friday 5am Surprised to find us making 5.5kt due East as first light of dawn appears in a mainly grey, cloudy sky before sunrise. No stars visible now... Wind has clearly increased for the time being - maybe the clouds have brought it with them?

3pm Having a lovely relaxed day - ambling along gently at only 3-3.5 kt in WSW light wind, although still rolling about quite a lot in the swell which has not lain down yet. Feels like a holiday, with frequent bright sunshine in between the clouds. Made a pot of fresh coffee, which I've not done for a while.

Looks as though these light conditions will be replaced tomorrow for a day or two with better wind and then the light winds of the High will take over by Monday for several days again - might well delay us passing S of Cape Agulhas. Only time will tell...

If the swell dies down a bit more, might be able to get to the mainsail but, with the wet conditions of yesterday, the sail needs to dry out more before it can be worked on - I just went to check on it and it's feeling very damp. No rain seems to be forecast for several days.

Had a look for a spare shackle to replace the one from the running backstay block that was lost overboard - it's a matter of the pin fitting the hole in the shackle that it has to pass through - two good strong ones nearly fit but not quite, so they're of no use. Can't afford to lose any more - running out of suitable replacements.

Having to keep an eye on our heading - in the light wind, it's all too easy to over-adjust Fred and end up going off course.

6pm Good job done! Found suitable replacement shackle - pin now wired in place - and checked all other shackles on deck and 'moused' several of those - also 'moused' the port side running backstay shackle with wire as well, as being sturdier than the plastic cable tie I'd used - maybe that was the problem with the other shackle pin - may be a plastic cable tie had been used and had broken away? I shan't know for sure but I do know the wire will now do a good job.

Also undid the running backstay lines and untwisted them - they always seem to get twisted after a time, so now they're straightened once more, so much easier to tension.

So much for no rain forecast - it's turned very dull now - the sky is covered in grey clouds and threatening rain...

While busy on deck, had my camera to hand and took several shots of a storm petrel circling around nearby, in hope that one photo at least might turn out to be good.

7:45pm Wind veered suddenly - to W - and is even lighter - making course difficult to maintain. Still a very grey, cloudy sky although, so far, no rain.
Added onion to my 'broth' - nice just to have to warm up something ready to eat...

Decided to 'goosewing' the trysail - so took the boom over to starboard, leaving the genoa to port - hoping it might help our speed, being close to dead downwind now. At least that means the trysail is not blanketing the genoa.

 1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 128. We made 107 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 128 (by daily DMGs): 12,028 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 477 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 596 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 574 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 3040 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 3071 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 3173 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 28870 n.ml. to WNW.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/02/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-20.11S LONGITUDE: 009-31.91E COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.2kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1016.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Grey sky - rain? Sun setting. Wind veered to W and died down further.

Wednesday 10pm Wind and seas still up and air is very moist, almost foggy, after rain earlier - more to come, possibly. Unfurled some genoa earlier to help make better speed. Later, adjusted Fred to bear away more (off the wind) - our speed increased noticeably - maybe the trysail is making a difference downwind? Making 5.5-6 kt, and now heading ENE, having changed from SE after a look at the latest forecast of the weather ahead - forecast has changed a lot!

7am Very rough night with wind over 20kt and even rougher now - wind has backed and increased a bit more so we're now heading NE in NW wind. Seas are rather confused and wash the decks quite often. We're making around 6.5-7 kt. A Cold Front is passing over, so wind will keep on backing until it becomes WSW this evening and SW around midnight - so a gybe will be needed late this afternoon sometime.

A touch of sunshine is nice to see - just shone into the cabin...first for quite a time... Some gaps appearing between the clouds - sometimes still overcast, other times slightly broken cumulus - fluffy white clouds with blue between...

10am Went up to adjust the wind steering control (Fred the Hydrovane) - raining - had to don my wet gear to do that... Took a long time getting things just right in the strong winds (~25kt) - had to adjust amount of helm using wheel, which is lashed down when Fred takes over, so each adjustment means undoing and re-doing the wheel lashing. Back down, all settled for a time, I thought. Off with outer wear and hung it up (not that it dries but it has to drip somewhere!), glanced at screen - off course.... Needed to get back up and adjust again... curses! ON with outer wear again.. back up.. saw to Fred... back down. Every little thing takes a time! This time I'm keeping my outer wear on for a time! It hardly got wet, so not a problem.

1:30pm Had a short nap - the rain came in and with it the wind died down further and very suddenly backed to W.... so I found us heading nearly NNE in the rain. Was glad to be already in my wet gear! Adjusted Fred, so we're now on a very broad reach, and unfurled a lot more genoa to speed us up - we were making only 3.5-4 kt, now over 5kt, but best course we can make on this tack is nearly NE - soon, we'll have to gybe around as the wind backs further.

Time for some lunch....as the wind dies even further.... Pressure still low at 1005 hPa.

Delighted to read that Tapio has safely rounded Cape Horn - on the home stretch now - up the Atlantic.

It's so quiet and peaceful without the wind noise in the rigging...! Pitter, patter of raindrops on the coachroof, gurgling and swish of water past the hull... The downside of the sudden dying of the wind is the swell never dies down as quickly - so we're still rolling around a lot and being thrown around at times as a bigger wave comes along and catches us on the beam. Going downwind is always so much gentler and we're making 4.5kt, so not too bad - yet...

4:30pm Edge of grey cloud layer is showing astern - clear blue beyond... Wind very light but seas still a good 3-4m and close - impressive to view!

White-chinned petrels and a Yellow-nosed albatross seen earlier - they often disappear when wind dies down.

Trying to decide how soon to gybe - think I'll do it early while still daylight - just furled in staysail - not doing much, except blanketing the genoa, and one less item to deal with when gybing. Would have poled it out if I weren't about to gybe. Wind now from W and will back to WSW at some point soon.

7pm Lovely clear sky overhead with a few white scattered clouds ahead and a low bank of dark grey cloud on the W horizon - lovely thin crescent moon up above the cloud bank.

A pair of storm petrels are flitting just above the sea surface - they always look so busy, darting around, long legs seemingly touching the water. Petrels and an albatross are also still around, not far away.

Seas are still well up but will feel better once we've gybed - about to do that before it gets dark.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 127. We made 121 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 127 (by daily DMGs): 11,921 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 584 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 682 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 650 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2976 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2972 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2952 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2780 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.45S LONGITUDE: 007-12.56E COURSE: 112T SPEED: 4.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: WNW SWELL_HT: 3.5m CLOUDS: 80%

BARO: 1007.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C

COMMENT: Gybed around in W wind - expecting wind to back to WSW/SW

Tuesday 8pm Finally making a good course - roughly SE at 4kt - in NE wind of about 12-15kt perhaps? Total grey cloud cover at sunset - feeling quite cool, with air at round 16C/61F - there was no sight of sun all day long. Waiting to see if I can contact Tapio on 40m, since either 20m didn't work or he was too busy on deck to answer my calls. He's very close to rounding Cape Horn now.

11:45pm Well, we're either heading SE or SSE at 3-4 kt - so I shouldn't complain, I suppose - we're going in the right direction and that's what matters. The wind is light but we're still making a fair, if not impressive, speed... Pressure is still high, at 1023 hPa, so we're still well within the High pressure region. To my bunk for some sleep... with alarm set!

Wednesday 3:40am Just finished a session on radio - middle of the night but wanted to check on our course anyway, so that's good! Gather Trump giving State of Union address now, so not too many US stations on frequency tonight. Was expecting to have to adjust Fred to bear away off the wind a little, to make SE course again, but wind obviously shifting around a bit just now and did not need to touch Fred, in fact, since wind veered back again to put us on course. Making 3-4 kt, but both speed and direction are varying. Back for some more sleep again - alarm set each time, for sure! Can't wait too long in between checking on how we're doing.

4:15am - First light, before dawn... all very grey.. Heard a lot of noise in water around boat while I was in my bunk- whale or pod of dolphins?? Lasted for quite a time.

7am Sent in usual morning weather/position report. Light grey cloud cover. Sailing well and making 5kt on SE course.
Could hear Tapio on frequency but not able to make contact - I think earlier would be better for propagation on 40m than now. He should be rounding Cape Horn today - hope he's in luck with the weather!

5:30pm Another example of 'Manana' not working on a boat... Another shackle lost overboard after its pin obviously came loose and came out - again, on a running backstay block - this time the starboard one. I thought I'd 'moused' it to prevent that happening - certainly I'd intended doing so but must not have done - must have been busy with something else and it got overlooked - so now I just hope I have a suitable replacement - it's an important item. I checked the shackle on the port side - its pin is being held in place fine. Just as well since it's in use now, in strong conditions!

Light rain with slight mist and reduced visibilty. Wind got up to well over 20kt some time ago. We were making over 7kt at times with full genoa - way too much canvas, causing us to heel a lot, especially when waves hit. Reduced the genoa by furling some in - we were still going at a fair speed. Should have left it at that but was worried wind was forecast to increase further so furled in more genoa - and then decided to go with just the staysail. That cut our speed way down so was clearly was not the right thing to do.
I was going to live with it, but finally, seeing our really poor speed, I went up and unfurled some of the genoa - enough to give us 4.5-5 kt of speed - an improvement! Light is fading and wind is set to back and increase a bit more overnight but hopefully not too much for the amount of sail now out.

Looking at the weather well ahead, there's forecast to be a nasty system close to S. Africa as we're due to pass into the Indian Ocean which is expected to be giving very big seas much further N than usual. I have been heading SE because it looked like a good thing to do - to keep fair wind when in or near the Highs coming up soon. But the forecast has now changed and heading further S no longer looks like a good idea - so I'm slowly heading back up towards 40S and perhaps even further N, nearer 39S, ready for when that system passes by. It's quite a long way ahead but I don't want to be in such big seas with strong wind if they're avoidable. I'll be keeping an eye on forecasts in the meantime, of course - the weather is so changeable down here!

Photos of dawn Tuesday morning - with Venus and Jupiter high in E.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 126. We made 115 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 126 (by daily DMGs): 11,800 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 700 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 806 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 772 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2866 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2852 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2954 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2674 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-45.09S LONGITUDE: 004-41.94E COURSE: 079T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1011.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Light rain, strong wind, rough seas- reduced genoa a lot

Monday 9pm Fine rain .... glad it was not heavy! I might be partying but the weather takes no account of that! Suddenly spotted that the wind must have backed and gusted up a lot... We were heading NE at nearly 7kt, having been ambling along at around 4kt.

Had to don my wet weather outers, boots and headlamp and get up on deck to adjust Fred to take us off the wind more - almost on a dead run now so we might have to gybe soon, which will mean dealing with staysail pole. I though I might have had to furl in some genoa but wind died back down quite soon...we're now making 5kt ENE. I'll wait a bit - wind will either veer to previous direction, stay as is or back more...

9.30pm According to weather forecast I just checked, it will back a lot now and over tomorrow until coming from S, at which time we'll be in a High pressurre system (giving headwinds a day later). So we'll definitely have to gybe sometime soon..

Enjoyed my chicken and asparagus ... now for a touch of a nice dessert wine and chocolate to finish.

10:40pm Grinding to a halt! Speed right down now - to under 3kt. Will need to keep a careful eye on things overnight.

Tuesday 4:30am Dawn breaking - Venus and Jupiter bright above E horizon before light.

Back down below after being on deck - had to gybe around, so staysail pole had to come down and several lines organised. Now on a beam reach in 12-15kt SW wind, making 5kt, heading just S of E. Back to my bunk for a couple of hours of sleep after checking radio emails and a couple of really clear 40m contacts with US - E & W coasts - first contact with California for a long time.

7:30am Up at 6:40am for weather/position reporting, as usual. Monitored the 20m frequency that Tapio and Jari would be on, while I was busy - nothing at all heard. Put out a call at 7am, as I'd said I would, to see if either of them would hear me. 7:10am, went to 40m frequency - could hear them talking but not good enough copy to make out what they were saying (in Finnish, no doubt, anyway!). Tapio called me at 7:15am, as arranged - I could hear my callsign and "over" but not able to make out anything else - a frustrating amount of static on frequency and they were right in it. We'll have to try other times/freqs if we're to make better contact.

Still making a roughly E course when I went back to my bunk (...should have set an alarm and didn't!)

3pm Woke up at 2pm after a good sleep (surprised to have slept for so long - should have had that alarm set...) to find, to my dismay, that we were heading NNE at 2.5kt - oops! The wind had died down and backed from SW to ESE. I hurriedly tacked us around but, in the lighter wind, very close-hauled, it's difficult to make any Easting, despite unfurling the staysail to give us more canvas area, trying to give us more speed. Although the boat heading is 160T, we're struggling to maintain a S course, occasionally edging slightly E of south by only just a few degrees. Pressure is way up at 1022 - we're in the expected High pressure area with its light winds - going to be a frustrating day or two!

6.20pm Several S.African stations are making, or trying to make, contact - including Marjoke, ZS5V, whose husband Joost, ZS5S, ran a Winlink station near Durban for many years. All a matter of finding the best time and frequency so we can hear each other well enough.

Murky, damp, grey conditions under total overcast skies... and light fading now, as well.

Still struggling to make S course, even becoming a bit W of S as the light wind shifts - E is where the wind is coming from, so no chance to head that way at present... Waiting for the wind to back to the NE, as forecast.

6:45pm Had high hopes just before - wind seemed to be up and backed enough for us to make fair speed (3-3.5 kt!) just E of S. Didn't last long, though, and we were soon back to heading SSW .... but, a short while later - looking better - heading just E of S once more. The wind is very shifty just now.

A good time to be on wind-steering since we follow the wind close-hauled and when it backs more definitely to NE, we'll follow it around and make a far better course than now. In the meantime.... patience...!

Nice to see several white-chinned petrels and one Yellow-nosed albatross in the gathering twilight - seeing very few birds, in general, now.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 125. We made 62 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 125 (by daily DMGs): 11,685 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 120 n.ml. due W; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 795 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 885 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 840 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2827 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2767 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2870 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2568 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-03.39S LONGITUDE: 002-35.93E COURSE: 140T SPEED: 3.8kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1023.1hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Grey cloudy sky, twilight. Wind just backed nicely!

Sunday 8:30pm Speed right down again - I'd hoped wind would be stronger to give better progress - but we're only making 4kt and often down to 3-3.5kt. Frustrating...

11pm A beautiful night - clear sky, no moon, so lots of stars in sight.. a good breeze - but just not quite strong enough for my liking.... still only making 4kt.

Pleiades low down but bright, with Taurus above and gymnastic Orion coming to the rescue... Sirius way higher than when seen in Northern hemisphere.. Stayed on deck for a time after adjusting Fred... Too good to rush away from.

Monday 0335am I hear the Patriots won a rather boring, very defensive game....!

Just had some rain - cockpit wet, no stars in sight now - overcast sky. But wind up more - making 4.9 kt - was just over 5kt but I adjusted Fred to take us slightly more off the wind - we were heading ENE. Now heading more towards E and just over 23 miles to Greenwich Meridian - by 0900Z might be across, if wind holds up.

Had usual 0300Z contacts with Florida and E coast USA plus Argentina, Uruguay and Newfoundland (difficult copy to there - getting to be a long way now!)

Back to my bunk....

7am Wind up more and still total cloud cover. Making over 5 kt a lot of the time - nice to see!

Have sent in usual daily weather and position report to Winlink and now dealing with emails and checking weather - looks settled for next day or so - no storms looming! (Later: Speed back down a bit - to 4.7kt at 8.30am)

Hoping to make radio contact soon with Tapio - we'll see if the propagation Gods are in our favour! Lost contact with Uku a while ago. Tapio is about to round Cape Horn in a day or two - getting very close. Hope weather is kind to him.

08:09:15 GMT - Time of crossing over Greenwich Meridian - zero degrees longitude - from W to E. Now officially in Eastern hemisphere! Having a party on board Nereida later today - music, dancing.... everyone is invited!!

11am Nice to see us making around 6kt or more - wind has clearly increased and we're flying more sails - just spent ages sorting out lines in order to pole out staysail since we're running downwind at present. Found several problems needing to be dealt with... I'm more than ready for a late breakfast now!

3pm Coming out from under the cloud layer into an area of blue sky with thin, broken cloud - so it has become more sunny now - a lot pleasanter. Not seeing birds so often now.

Speed down from earlier 6kt now - making 5.5kt on a broad reach - wind is clearly still up but not quite as strong as earlier - maybe 18kt or so? A small Low has passed by to the S and we're heading into yet another High pressure area - the sequence repeats never-endingly - the wind is set to ease slowly and our speed reduce accordingly.

Having a celebratory light lunch of things I fancy - cheese, green and black olives, hummus, some (wild) salmon... and I'll have a nice meal later - probably chicken in white sauce with asparagus and potatoes.

6pm Light beginning to get dull. Speed varying a lot - 5-5.7kt - under cloudy sky. Wind is definitely dying down.

7pm Beginning my party - music, dancing, food, drink (just a tiny bit - this is normally a 'dry' boat underway). Come and join in a celebration of a Greenwich Meridian crossing under sail in the S.Atlantic...! Fine misty rain beginning but all fine down below... Enjoying chicken and asparagus in sauce!

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 124. We made 117 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 124 (by daily DMGs): 11,623 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 64 n.ml. due W; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 858 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 945 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 900 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2768 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2706 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2810 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2510 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-09.53S LONGITUDE: 001-15.91E COURSE: 090T SPEED: 5.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1010.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: 117ml DMG - improved by good wind this morning. Fine rain now.

Saturday 10pm Our speed has definitely increased a touch - so wind must be up a little. Now making over 4kt some of the time - still headed NE, close-hauled, so wind still from SE.

Sunday 7:20am Great Shearwater flew close by astern and soon after an albatross appeared - with no camera to hand! - as I was adjusting Fred after drifting all night long, mostly at 1-2kt. Gybed onto port tack several hours ago as wind backed towards NNE. Now making roughly E course at around 2kt. 10kt NW wind forecast to arrive by midday - I'm hoping that's correct. Grey clouds everywhere and feeling damp - air very moist- very slight, misty rain.

We're just under 100 miles W of the Greenwich Meridian marking 0 degrees of longitude, where we'll cross from the W hemisphere into the E hemisphere - longitude will change to E from W.... party time to celebrate!

2pm Wind has slowly increased, so we're now making a steady 4kt or more due E. Clearly, we need more than 10kt of wind to make better speed! Hazy sun trying to shine through the thin cloud layer. When there's the occasional break in the cloud layer allowing the sun to shine brightly, it feels quite warm. The cloud layer is just like a fog that's not at the sea surface but has lifted to just a bit higher up.

5:30pm It's a good thing I like just about any cheese! I found some Brie I'd overlooked - had to discard some but a lot of it is fine - so long as you like strong cheese!! Had it with some nice crispy crackers and a big mug of tea I already had waiting (teatime!).

7pm That grey, thin cloud layer just came back and spread over - all sky but a patch on NE horizon is covered now. Slow going in light wind from WNW - broad reaching. Feeling very calm - had expected/hoped for more wind by now... but maybe not until tomorrow midday when a Low passes to S of us. After that, another day or more of High pressure - probably with headwinds...but might be a chance to get back on deck to the sail repair. Would be nice to get further on with that - has been static for a time now.

Been working on some sail material - preparing for when I can add it in to mainsail - trying to figure out a method of adding it over the leech in situ that will work.... Need to measure out length of the affected area - not easy when it's all folded onto the boom.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 123. We made a mere 55 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. A lot of drifting around overnight over a very convoluted track.... some was due N and some was due S but at least we kept heading E-ish some of the time! This is a real test of my patience.....

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 123 (by daily DMGs): 11,506 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): To Greenwich Meridian: 56 n.ml. due E; WP due S of Cape Agulhas: 972 n.ml.; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1057 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Town Hbr entrance: 1010 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2697 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2595 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2698 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2396 n.ml. to WNW.

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

TIME: 2019/02/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.83S LONGITUDE: 001-16.47W COURSE: 081T SPEED: 4.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1010.3hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: WNW-NW wind - broad reach.Grey cloud layer just spread over - sunset, but can't see it.

Friday 9pm Seas about 4.5m/14.5ft and wind around 30kt - strong, very rough conditions but effect of big waves is lessened by running off more downwind. putting the seas more astern - otherwise, we were being threatened with being knocked over by the tumbling crests hitting us on the beam.

Saturday 2:15am The Cold Front has passed over....pressure up, noise down! Wind has died down somewhat and our speed is down to 4.8kt, compared with our earlier 6.8kt, making 8-9kt as waves picked us up. Wind is beginning to back. I was able to change our course to ENE - the waves were no longer threatening to knock us over when headed that way.

3:20am Speed down to 4.2 kt in a light W wind, expected to back and die further. We'd made 45 miles in the seven and a half hours the very strong conditions had lasted, giving an average speed of 6kt while running downwind under staysail and trysail - I was surprised at the jump in speed (and comfort) when we started downwind compared with being on a beam reach in those big seas.

I'd had a short rest before the usual 'late shift' radio sked at 3am - if propagation weren't so very good at this time, I'd cancel it in favour of more sleep! Was great to make contact again with Montreal, Ottowa and Newfoundland, as well as the usual US stations and some S. American and S.African ones.

7am Up on deck at 5:45am to deal with sails after wind died down completely to under 10kt and backed all the way around to SSW from NW. Had to gybe the sails and change course to head more East again - back on course, but very slow sailing in the light wind from well abaft the beam. Seas are still well up at ~4m but they are well-spaced. Will unfurl the genoa to speed us up but wind is forecast to die even more soon, as we come into yet another High pressure area behind the Low that just passed over and before the next Low on its way... "From feast to famine"...! (Hopefully, back to 'feast' on Sunday)

Very grey sky and we clearly had overnight rain. Had to retrieve the loose ends of a few lines on the starboard side which had been washed overboard by the rough seas.

I thought Iwe were going to get in a good distance with last night's winds when we were often making 6.5-7 kt - but have only made 57 miles since 7pm/1900Z last night and we shan't make very many more with today's very light winds - and even possible head-winds.

8:15am Finished unfurling genoa and furling staysail - speed slightly up but not much in such light wind.. Wind expected to back further - to SE and E, and become even lighter at 2-4kt... So not much progress will be made today. Back to my bunk for a bit more sleep before breakfast. The sun isn't managing to shine through the overcast sky - maybe it will later.

The cockpit is a mess of wet lines after the rough seas of last night - will take some sorting out!

8:40am Just spotted a ship heading W - at 39S. It's likely that W-going ships are further N than E-going ships - so they pass each other the standard way - 'port-to-port'.

Midday Just got us moving in roughly a NE direction after drifting in a circle in almost no wind - and shifty at that! At speed of 1.0kt or less, difficult to hold any course. Tidied up lines in cockpit - all soaking wet - no sun - total cloud layer.

Swell still big at around 3.5m - coming from both N and W, but well-spaced ... Rolling about a lot, though. Air feels damp - even my bedding felt damp when I got into my bunk earlier this morning. Tidied up in cabin also - a lot of small items ended up on cabin sole in the rough seas last night. About to put on a pot of fresh coffee - have been missing that. Will need to stay close by to make sure it doesn't spill when it finishes percolating - that would be very upsetting!

3:30pm A very relaxing day, in a way. Hardly any wind so not much I can do other than try to keep a vaguely E-going course in an unhelpful wind direction and strength. Presently, judging by the ripples on the water surface, it looks as though the wind is coming from S - but so light, we're lucky to make any Easting at all. COG at this moment is 037T - almost NE, which is pretty good, considering... Since I can't do anything about it, I refuse to get too stressed out by our speed - a consistent 0.7kt, occasionally making 1.2kt!!! At least we're going E-ish....
Eventually, we'll get NNW wind - but not for a while. Seas are slowly diminishing but it's still very rolly. No sunshine - total cloud overhead, so nothing is drying out very much.

5:30pm Still managing to head NE - presently at 2.5-3 kt - wind is from SE and clearly increasing very slowly.

Been busy clearing up & sorting out... Checked my sail-sewing items - all there, waiting for the moment... Have needles, palm, thread & whipping twine and enough sail material to use for 'tabling' once extra Gorilla tape has been added at right angles to leech edge and beyond the present repair. Sail is too wet just now to do anything - and it would be too rolly to work, perched up at the boom, anyway.

Grey sky all day long but seas have calmed down a lot - we're mostly rocking/bouncing gently all the time, with occasional stronger motion, aimed at testing my handholds... Air temperature is around 20C - so not feeling too cold at all. Better than Montreal's -20C that I heard of.

7pm Nice to see a pair of both albatross and white-chinned petrels just now. Birds have been absent almost all the day but now the wind is increasing a little, they're back, just around sunset - daylight is fading now and clouds are looking very grey, as though it might rain. The albatrosses are either Atlantic Yellow-nosed or Grey-headed - my inclination is to Atlantic Yellow-nosed from underwing markings and dark patch in front of eye.

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 122. We made 66 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 122 (by daily DMGs): 11,451 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1113 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2650 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2538 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2642 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2343 n.ml. to WNW

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

TIME: 2019/02/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-14.21S LONGITUDE: 002-27.40W COURSE: 069T SPEED: 3.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1009.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Swell from both NNW and W - NNW 3m, W 2.5m Grey sky. Calmer

Thursday 7:50pm Change of time zone - into Greenwich Mean Time (= time in U.K.) now!

Sunset behind low cloud. Wind slowly increasing, backed slightly. SOG 5.7kt. Another small adjustment to Fred to head off wind a bit more. Getting ready for strong conditions expected - wind, seas and rain - coming by midday tomorrow and on into Saturday.

9pm Furled in genoa a bit more and unfurled staysail while still some twilight to see by. SOG 5.3kt - a bit slower than before but that's OK. As wind increases overnight and into tomorrow,, will furl in genoa until we're just flying the staysail.

11:30pm Making 5.5-6kt. Lovely starry sky overhead - Southern Cross high in S and 'upside-down' Orion high in N. No need to adjust Fred - all good for now... A few radio contacts made on 7163 at 2300Z but conditions not too good - lots of static on frequency.

Had 1-2 hrs' sleep - back to bunk after hot food finished.

Friday 3:30am A yellow crescent moon rising low down in SE forming a line with Venus and Jupiter - two bright planets - quite a spectacular sight and very eye-catching... Milky Way strewn across the sky and myriads of stars everywhere - more than making up for the rain and clouds coming in soon, later today...!

6:40am Sky clouded over - daylight. All's well. Small amount of sail, making just 4kt in 20kt wind from WNW, seas not built up yet, so still 2.5m from WNW. Waiting for wind to build more - and expecting rain this afternoon....

'Star Planet' passing to N at 12kt, making for Singapore - ETA 22Feb. Most of the traffic is keeping to 40S - we're just 11-12 miles S of that latitude.

Back to my bunk for another hour or two of sleep, after sending position and weather report.

10am Finally getting brighter - the sun has been struggling to get through the cloud layer all morning and it's now nearly making it. We're making 5kt in more wind - about 24kt. Seas not much more than earlier but expected to build later.

A Chinese ship heading E, but to S of us - another ship was seen to N of us a short while ago. All the ships I'm seeing are heading E - it seems maybe there's a W-going lane to N of here somewhere?

11:30am Very noisy on deck with wind whistling and moaning in the rigging - a sure sign of Force 5-6 wind (F5: 17-21kt, F6: 22-27kt) or more. Seas are rough and almost on the beam - often with crests tumbling a little as they come onto us. Regularly, a wave washes the deck if we catch it at the right moment as its crest breaks beside us.. Lots of 'white horses' - another sign of F5 or more.

Down below., it's noisy but less so than on deck and the noise of the wind in the rigging is muted.

2:20pm Sun disappeared quite a time ago, behind solid grey overcast layer. Boat is rolling about all the time in the seas - 5 sec period means they're very close. Lunch and then a nap.....

4:30pm Spent a time on deck, under grey skies, watching the big seas roll in with large white patches of foam on the surface from tumbling crests - pretty stormy-looking seas! Listening to the sound of the wind in the rigging and watching how Nereida rises to the waves and comes down the other side got rather hypnotic - was difficult to tear myself away and come back down below. We're making around 5kt in winds of 25-30kt and Fred is coping fine. Waiting for the rain to come - none so far but pretty certain to arrive sometime soon.

6:30pm Definitely very 'boisterous' conditions now... Tried to head slightly more to starboard onto our planned course from the course we've been making so far but it put us totally beam on to what are now very big seas with tumbling crests in strong wind - threatening to knock us over - so decided to run off more downwind - feels a lot better and safer with the seas coming from astern, onto our port quarter. Means we're heading almost SE for a bit but we'll change course again when the wind subsides tomorrow sometime - probably not until mid-morning. In the meantime, we're making a much better speed, around 6.5kt, and if there's a wind shift, we'll change course with it. Have only had a shower or two so far, not the heavy rain expected - still on its way, maybe?

1900GMT (=1900LT) - end of Day 121. We made 115 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 121 (by daily DMGs): 11,385 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1172 n.ml. to ENE; Cape Horn LH: 2609 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2475 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2580 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2278 n.ml. to WNW

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

TIME: 2019/02/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-06.88S LONGITUDE: 003-51.90W COURSE: 124T SPEED: 6.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 30kt WIND_DIR: 350T SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 4.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1006.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C

COMMENT: Running more downwind - seas getting big in strong wind.

Wednesday 9pm Wind backed a while ago - now abaft the beam and we've slowed down to around 4.7kt. Seas are only about 2m (6ft) so feeling pretty calm with mainly just a slight rocking motion - the occasional bigger wave comes by, but not often.

We're passing over an undersea mountain - a 'seamount' - about 20-30 miles wide - looks like an old volcano. Crater area comes to within less than 600ft of sea surface, rising up steeply from the seafloor which is 4,000-6,000ft deep nearby. Not a problem in present sea conditions but probably something I'd avoid in stormy weather in case it caused even rougher seas.

Thursday 2:45am Adjusted Fred - wind is a little stronger and has backed more to NW - we're making 5.2kt. Spoke to several radio stations on 7160kHz, including Brazil and Newfoundland, and was delighted to get an unexpected call from Randy, KH6RC, on the Big Island of Hawaii, who assured me he was recovering well - good to hear, Randy!

'African Starling' is passing to our S, 23ml off, on its way E to Durban - well clear of us! Back to my bunk after another small adjustment to Fred - wind is still slowly backing...

8am Another adjustment of Fred needed - wind has backed further. Speed down again ...on a very broad reach. Wind keeps shifting slightly - need plenty of patience after an adjustment to wait and see what happens, otherwise it gets frustrating if I jump in too quickly and adjust a bit more - only to find it's now too much and I have to undo it. Patience, patience....!

A few prions around, with occasional albatross, but noticeably fewer birds than close to Gough Island. That short visit was wonderful for the variety of birds seen close to and being visited by the pod of about a dozen Dusky dolphins was great also. They were just cruising along and probably came by 'Nereida' just to check us out - dolphins are very sociable beings and usually come to visit the boat if they're somewhere close by. This kind I've not seen before - they would blow hard as they surfaced for air and they were rather chunky in appearance, not as sleek-looking as are some other dolphins. They were all dark, except for the white patch just behind their very rounded and swept back dorsal fin.

9:15am All of a sudden, cloud layer disappeared completely! Must have been a thin layer - some remnants still seen over to starboard (downwind). Blue sky and sunshine - very pleasant.

Expecting a bit of a 'blow' to bring in February - 20kt wind by midnight tonight, increasing over Friday to 30kt, with 35kt gusts expected until midday Saturday, with a period of heavy rain.

Seas will be very rough, becoming 3.5m/12ft over Saturday, with a period of just 5sec around midday Friday, gradually becoming 10 sec by midday Saturday. The only good news, if I can call it that, is that the period is shortest (5sec) when the seas are smallest (2-2.5m) and the period gets slowly longer as the waves get bigger. Clearly, it will be an unpleasant day or two.... (Short wave period = steep, close, uncomfortable waves...)

12:30pm Been busy going into 'lockdown' mode - making sure that anything remotely heavy and loose is put away or secured... just in case. Also making sure I've cooked food ready for the next couple of days. I'll be stowing the pressure cooker - it's too big and heavy to leave out.
Lovely sailing just now - bright sun, good wind - we're making 5.5-6kt now with the increased wind.

Pity such strong weather is on its way. I'll be furling in the genoa bit by bit, as wind becomes stronger, and then switch to the (furling) staysail.

1:30pm Of course, seeing wind well up and Nereida making 7.2kt, being the cautious person I am, I furled in some genoa - so then the wind died back down again.....it was just a gust...!#@%&*! Unfurl... sheet in...

Cargo vessel 'Graecia Aeterna' is heading E to Sosin (China?) to N of us. Was going to pass within 5 mls but has changed course slightly to pass 10 mls away now - must have seen our very non-linear course-keeping and is keeping well off - excellent!

4:30pm Still a lovely sunny day. Wind is down a bit but will make up for that tonight and tomorrow, I'm sure!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 120. We made 115 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 120 (by daily DMGs): 11,270 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2523 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2363 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2467 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2170 n.ml. to WNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1287 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 162 n.ml. to W

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

TIME: 2019/01/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-11.54S LONGITUDE: 006-21.65W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 16kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 60%
BARO: 1016.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 21.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Pleasant sunny, downwind sailing. Strong weather on its way for tomorrow

Wednesday 2am Still drifting in no wind, within 16ml of Gough Island. Poor radio connections tonight - lots of static and often difficult copy. Sent position and weather reports early, while a good radio connection with shore station was available. Back to bunk for more sleep.

6.20am Still drifting... Wind might be picking up...? Gough 18ml away to S.

8.30am Took a time to be sure wind was definitely up and then get organised but we're now underway again - a light wind has filled in a bit from NNE, and it's backing and increasing slowly Sky clearing to give blue sky and sunshine between fluffy, small cirrus. Group of terns came by with their excited, high-pitched calls and a parent and young albatross soared by as lovely, green, mountainous, wild Gough Island faded into the distance.

3:50pm A beautiful day! Would be nice if we were going faster than 5kt but... Bright sunshine, sky partly covered with a thin cloud layer that just spread in from the W. Wind from NNW around 15kt, I think, and we're sailing pretty well due E.

Just spent a time in the cockpit watching the birds around - several Antarctic prions - lovely colouring - all blue-grey on top, with darker grey & black markings, and mainly white underneath. They swoop around to gain height and then dip down to the disturbed water astern.. over and over, soaring so very close. A big, heavy-looking Wandering albatross glided by - white body and dark upper wings. Several petrels.. I could sit and watch them for hours...

Had a really good 'catch-up' sleep earlier - couldn't believe it when I saw I'd woken up just before 2pm, having got to my bunk soon after 9am - that's five hours of almost solid sleep!! Could only do that knowing the wind would be very steady with no big gusts or wind shifts expected and knowing no other vessels (or land) were around. I'd been very short on sleep yesterday but just had to keep working, to take advantage of the relatively calm conditions while they lasted - although I have to admit that having such a variety of so many wonderful birds attracted to 'Nereida' was quite a distraction at times. Allowed myself to stop for a few minutes every now and then to watch an albatross, or a Great shearwater, or the terns - even a skua, harrying a smaller bird for its catch.

Was very amused by a young, brown and white albatross when it plopped into the water very close by and gazed at me as it rested, totally unafraid - almost as though it expected me to feed it. I finished work on deck just as darkness was falling - good timing!

We're getting close to being in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) time zone - the 'marker' is at 7*30'W and we're not far from there now. (Each time zone is 15 degrees of longitude wide.)

7:15pm Clear sky above but a big bank of grey cloud coming over slowly from SW - totally hiding the sunset. Several birds around as light fades. Cooking evening meal before darkness sets in.

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 119. We made 39 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. We were mostly drifting in no wind!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 119 (by daily DMGs): 11,155 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2440 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2249 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2354 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2060 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1404 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 48 n.ml. to WSW

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

Date/Time: 2019/01/30 19:00GMT Latitude: 40-09.62S Longitude: 008-51.73W Speed: 5.2kt Course: 092T
Wind_Dir: NNW Wind_Speed: 14kt Swell_Dir: N Swell_Ht: 2.5m Clouds: 5%
Baro: 1018.6hPa Trend: 0 Air_Temp: 20.0C Sea_Temp: 18.0C
Comment: Underway - Gough Island 48ml WSW. Lovely sunny day.

Monday 7:30pm Sunset a short while ago but grey clouds on W horizon. Lots of birds flying around near end of day - albatross in distance and a group of white-chinned (spectacled?) petrels close by - couldn't see well enough to determine if they had any white around eyes.

Quite big SW seas on starboard beam and wind from S - likeyl to drop slowly overnight to well under 10kt by dawn.

Will bear away to pass further off Gough Island - since I won't be able see much, if anything, in darkness of night, best to stay well clear.

Presently, just 16miles away - but can't see it and, at 7:50pm, it's almost dark.

9pm Wind has died right down - only making 2-3kt now.

11pm Clear sky overhead - lots of stars but no moon. Heading off Gough Island by about four miles. No hazards - coast is very steep-to and ocean floor drops to 2,000m or more where we'll pass by. Slow progress at 2.5kt!

Tuesday 2:30am Passing the north of Gough Island - visible only as a dark high mound - its mountains rise to nearly 3,000m - no lights since uninhabited except for lots of birds and a S.African scientific team of 10 people in their base halfway down the E side of the island. A waning crescent moon, hazy behind thin cloud, throwing very little light over the sea. Light wind, slight swell in the lee of the island, making only 1.2kt.

Just made several familiar contacts on 7160 - excellent propagation - and about to get back to my bunk for more sleep.

5:15am Sun hidden by mostly grey cloud everywhere. We've moved so little over the hours of darkness that dawn has come - and we're still only 4.5ml NE of Gough Island - within sight of its rocky outline and with birds flying around - an albatross came close as I took a photo of the scene. We've drifted 1.6ml in two hours... But I need more sleep - so back to my bunk after making my position and weather report slightly earlier than usual....

7:30am Was woken with feeling something was amiss - we were drifting N in light wind - now from SE Can't make our preferred course to ESE - being forced NE at best, if very close hauled. On alternative tack, would head towards Gough island.

8:20am Tried tacking around just to see if we could make it - sure enough, we were heading SW - straight to Gough Island - on a lee shore and with wind likely to get lighter as we got closer - not good. So, reluctantly, tacked back around onto starboard tack and onto NE course.

Had hoped we might clear the island but it was too dangerous to continue that way - wind not strong enough to give us a good speed to make it safely. Want to get S if possible to avoid the unfavourable winds above the centre of the High we're in now. Possibly, once further from the island, we can tack around to get S. Wind is likely to back into E later, making that more of a possibility.

Lots of different birds around - and, being close to land and nesting sites, there were skuas, harrassing smaller birds for their catch, and lots of terns - so graceful! - along with the occasional albatross - one dark brown juvenile seen.

Still didn't get much sleep so will get to my bunk - need some more if I'm to work effectively and seems we'll be in this High, with light winds, for a day or more...

10:50am Well, that didn't work! Just lay there thinking about mainsail and trysail 'challenges' and worrying about which way we were heading. Then saw we were headed NNW - so got up to try to get us headed in a vaguely East-ish direction - tried gybing around again but we headed towards Gough Island (now still only 11mls away to SW) so, again, that was not good. Finally, we're headed NNE at 1.7kt.

Had a look at what is involved in hoisting trysail which I dug out of its locker yesterday. Means undoing all my very well-secured lashing of kicker/vang connection to mast, as well as the boom gooseneck lashing plus a couple of other lines, since the lines run either over the trysail track or through its stopper. I'll have to use the mainsail halyard since the topping lift is holding up the boom aft end - that's another challege in rolly conditions - releasing the halyard from the mainsail and using it to hoist the trysail. That will get interesting, as I perch on a mast step for access to the hayard shackle at the head of the sail without letting go of the halyard when I get back down...

The idea of hoisting the trysail was to give a bit more speed, or for use in strong conditions with the staysail, as well as helping balance the genoa better, and also give a possible heaving-to option - which I don't have just now.

Having breakfast while I come to a decision - must keep my energy up.

Decided to undo lashing etc and try to hoist trysail - gives time to finish off the mainsail repair. More tape needed there (at right angles to edge) and then some stitching, maybe of fabric over the area around the leech and onto the sail body on both sides ('tabling?).

These High pressure 'work windows' come quite regularly and I don't want
to hoist the main before I think the repair will survive - too much time and effort will have gone into it.

Late posting: 7:30pm Just finished organising trysail and re-doing lashing etc before dark - nice just to be able to heat up a good meal.

Looking forward to a good sleep!

Trysail now hoisted and genoa furled in since early afternoon - waiting for wind. Presently drifting N at 1kt in a High pressure area.

Lots of different birds here and many are curious - fly to the boat to check it out. Pod of Dusky dolphins came cruising by - Quite different from any I've seen before. identified for me while chatting over radio to one of the scientists on Gough. Was delighted to hear the RSPB in UK are funding an eradication program for the mice on the island who are threatening the Tristan albastross with extinction, otherwise... (See www.goughisland.com)
Just when battery went dead, a young albatross came and landed in the sea very close by - looked at me, on deck working, with interest....

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 118. We made 37 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 118 (by daily
DMGs): 11,116 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2415 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2210 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2314 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 2019 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1445 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 16 n.ml. to SW

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

TIME: 2019/01/29 19:40GMT 8:41 PM 29/01/2019
LATITUDE: 40-04.39S
LONGITUDE: 009-42.53W
COURSE: 355T
SPEED: 1.0
MARINE: YES
WIND_SPEED: 5
WIND_DIR: S
SWELL_DIR: S
SWELL_HT: 2.0M
CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1019.3
TREND: 0
AIR_TEMP: 20.0C
SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Genoa furled in - drifting while working on deck. Birds galore!

Sunday 8pm Making good speed in stronger NW wind - 5-6kt. Enjoyed my newly-made stew!

Passing S of Tristan da Cunha - 190 miles away. Expect to pass by Gough Island, 200 miles to its SSE, on Tuesday - hopefully in daylight, so I can enjoy the many birds when I get there. Will be in a High pressure system at that time, so likely to be making suitably slow progress past its dramatic steep cliffs and rocky outcrops - keeping well off, of course!

Monday 4:50am Position and weather info just sent over radio - mostly grey, cloudy sky with a streak of a clearing along the E horizon - getting coloured, ahead of sunrise. Making good speed still at ~6kt. Gough Island 67 miles to E.

10:30am Very bright overcast sky - feeling quite warm. Behind the protective storm screen in the cockpit, it's 23C/73F - not bad! Wind over 15kt, I'd guess, and seas well up - lots of white horses - a good Force 4-5. Rolling around a lot and making round 5kt.
Unfortunately, if we keep up this speed, we'll make Gough Island in darkness - that was not on my plan!

1pm Had several chats by phone with Andy Repetto, Radio Officer on Tristan da Cunha, but was unable to make the radio contact I was hoping for. He could see 'Nereida' on AIS. He'll be checking his radio antenna shortly - must have a problem - he wasn't hearing me nor was I hearing him - but I know my radio is working fine...! Said he'd not long got back on station after his long Christmas break. He's had no radio contact with the S.African team on Gough Island since they arrived there last September - for a stay of a year! I'd hoped to chat to them but that is clearly not going to happen, unless on VHF Ch.16, possibly - but they'll probably be asleep!

1:45pm Fine misty rain - almost foggy conditions. Temperature had dropped to 18C and the air was definitely feeling a lot cooler.
Was just relaxing, about to don my wet-weather gear ready for an expected gybe coming up in the rain, when I realised we were heading N! We were banging into the seas and feeling very uncomfortable. The expected Cold Front had just passed through and the wind had backed very suddenly from WNW to SSW - taking us from heading E to heading N. Hurriedly got my foulies on and went on deck to gybe around - now back on course towards Gough Island on a near-beam reach at 5kt on starboard tack.

6pm Sun finally getting out .. first time today. Getting low - not far from sunset. Pressure up - High pressure area coming closer.
Will clearly pass Gough Island overnight - disappointing!!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 117. We made 121 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 117 (by daily DMGs): 11,079 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2382 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2174 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2278 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1990 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1480 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 23n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-12.94S LONGITUDE: 010-31.80W COURSE: 092T SPEED: 4.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: S SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 30%
BARO: 1014.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Sun getting out - first time today. Gough Island 23ml to ESE

Saturday A good day's work on mainsail - all torn edges taped together now - needs some more work to reinforce.

Wind died soon after sunset so furled in genoa that was flapping to save wear and just drifted for several hours. Wind has been feom SE pior to that, so unable to make a good course.

Sunday 3am Up from bunk for radio on 40m - stations from USA, Canada, Argentina - mostly familiar ones spoken to before.

A beautiful night - clear overhead with quite a lot of cloud over the horizons. Bright moon high up, Southern Cross, Venus and Jupiter in E - both very bright.

Light wind from W - unfurled genoa and got underway SE - lovely gentle night sailing! Making 2.7kt.

5:45am Up again to send position and weather reports while have radio propagation soon after dawn - normally lose it within a short time, until late afternoon. Mostly using Neil, VE1YZ, in Nova Scotia, but Cape Town, ZS1RS, 1585ml away, is getting better by the day. Very many thanks to Tom, N5TW, for so much help up to now in getting connected to WL2K - Austin, Texas, is now just a little too far for my rig to connect to!

10am Making 3.4kt - wind increased a bit... 10kt? Sky covered in bright, white cloud layer.

Managed to download emails and weather over breakfast and coffee - spent a time poring over weather info, as usual. Seems Mark has his work cut out to make up two days on Jean-Luc - unlikely to manage it - will take a miracle for that to happen! I hear 'Spindrift' are making use of the strong winds to the S of here in their RTW speed record attempt.

About to work on mainsail - want to add some long reinforcing strips at right angles to, and over, the edge. Swell up a from earlier light swell of 2m or so - hope not too much. Have a small window this morning before wind increases as we lose the High and next weather system comes closer. Pressure not quite so high now - down to 1026hPa from 1032hPa yesterday.

11:20am Gybed on to port tack, SOG 3.5kt. Making much better course towards Gough Island in NW wind. Sky still totally clouded over.

Heard the loud bird call again - an albatross courting??

Cargo vessel 'GH Rich Wall' 18ml to N - making 13kt, headed for Hamriyah. Seeing quite a lot of traffic to and from S.America and S.Africa and beyond over last few days.

Back to mainsail - haven't achieved much so far this morning - too many other things getting in the way.

1:15pm Suddenly realised we were heading NE - too much lee helm on wheel - Fred struggling to fight it - all good now wheel centred but all time taken from getting on with mainsail work. Wind increasing slowly and swell with it - having to be very careful...

Added cable tie onto bitter end of bowline in each long string holding scissors and tape to my harness - scissors line came undone with no tension on the knot yesterday - don't want to lose either overboard.

2pm Feeling very frustrated! Didn't take me long to realise that with increased swell rolling us about all the time - up to 3m or more (far bigger than yesterday) - my planned job was well nigh impossible without more hands available... Access is needed to both sides of the sail simultaneously to stick one length around the leech edge onto both sides - quite a long length - and the tape needs to be tensioned before being positioned if it's not to stick to itself. Not feasible without two hands and need one hand to hold on in swell most of the time. The roll of tape is also quite heavy so can't be left while sticking tape down without holding onto it - tape often has to be cut shorter than I'd like.

I've had to content myself with rubbing the tape everywhere accessible to help it stick even more firmly - couldn't leave the sail ties holding sail to boom untied but I could hold onto the boom with one arm while rubbing hard with the the other hand (actually, back of a nail!) I'll keep an eye on the wind and sea state over today but it looks as though that job will have to wait for calmer conditions.....grrr!!

If it weren't for that job on my mind all the time, I could be enjoying what is actually a very pleasant sail, often in bright sunshine. The wind is up so we're making way nicely at well over 4kt but it's shifty, so Fred needs adjusting occasionally to keep us on course. In fact, that's a lesson in patience - the adjustment often takes a time to show a result so I have to leave Fred to his own devices for a while and then look to see where we're headed. Sometimes the wind does the job for me and we're suddenly back on course with an opposite wind shift.

Solitary white-chinned petrel is soaring back and forth astern of us on fixed wings - rarely flapping them. Occasionally, a wing tip will touch the sea surface, it glides so close - graceful to watch.

4pm Tea-time! Cleared up in galley and now making a big stew in pressure cooker - sliced potatoes, chopped onion, beef chunks in gravy, celery, green (French) beans, white beans, sweetcorn and a touch of fresh chopped garlic...plus beef bouillon to taste, if needed Should last several days of easy evening meals. Water is one-third seawater from seawater tap - adds minerals and saves fresh water. Pressure-cooking potatoes first saves on propane.

6pm Spectacled petrel seen!! Definite white seen around eyes as it swooped close to Nereida! Maybe that's what I saw earlier?

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 116. We made only 49 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Drifting overnight from 6pm to 3am in no wind didn't help the distance made.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 116 (by daily DMGs): 10,958 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2290 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2054 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2158 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1881 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1600 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 142n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-18.04S LONGITUDE: 013-09.35W COURSE: 095T SPEED: 4.6kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WSWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1021.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C

COMMENT: Broken cloud layer over, clear sky astern, rain cloud ahead.

Friday 7:30pm Sun has just set behind a bank of grey cloud astern. Clear overhead at moment but another bank of grey cloud ahead. Making just under 4kt close-hauled - wind is from S now.

Trying to avoid heading any further N - otherwise, will end up with headwinds in a High pressure area in a few days' time. Bad enough that we'll have light winds without the added problem of them heading us.

Hoping the High pressure area will give a chance to repair mainsail.

Saturday 3am Just spent a time adjusting Fred, up and down several times... Difficult to get it right in such light winds - we're only making 3kt, often less.

Chilly air tonight - only 13.3C, cold compared with several nights of 19C. Antarctic cold air coming up on the S wind.
Bright moon shining through thin cloud layer, Southern Cross high up in clear view, Venus and Jupiter close together, both very bright in the SE - a lovely night but cold.

Was nice to make quite a few familiar radio contacts on 40m earlier, from both N. and S.America and Switzerland also - many sending encouraging good wishes!

Back to my bunk for more sleep....

5:45am Up to check on course being made and send off weather and position report while radio contact possible - not long after dawn. Sky mostly clouded over, speed 2.3kt, making way on course - roughly. Swell down in light wind, air temperature 13C, air temperature 16C (56F/61F).

9am Bright, but no sun visible - a cloud layer covering the sky - not quite foggy but almost. I'd been hoping for sunshine and maybe even warmth - even dreaming about it! - this is not going to help dry the sail... Air temperature 20C/68F so maybe, being optimistic, the sail might dry out a bit if I release the sail ties and expose the torn area - at least there are no grey rainclouds around to threaten rain just now...

Almost no wind - we're only making around 1.2 kt ... soon we'll be drifting in circles. I'm amazed that Fred has kept us roughly on course up to now. Looks as though what wind there is is coming from SSE - makes 098T course difficult.

Time for breakfast and hope the sun gets out while I'm having it. Feeling frustrated!

10am AIS alarm went off - cargo vessel 'Luenho' heading towards us and making 12kt on way to Pt Elizabeth in S. Africa - coming to within 0.3ml. Called them on VHF - very pleasant officer with good English said they'd keep clear. Later: Can see them diverting to starboard so they pass S of us - excellent!

Went to check sail and open it up a little - pleased to find it's actually feeling fairly dry but needs trimming of loose frayed ends with scissors before doing anything else - step 1 for today...

Can see large cargo vessel 'Luenho' on S horizon, passing upwind of us - will be just over 2 miles away at closest point.

3pm Got started very soon after 10am - trimmed loose threads and then set to with Gorilla tape - REALLY difficult perched up high, even though the swell is only 5-6ft/2m. Had to lean on sail on boom for a stable, secure position to 'pre-unstick' the tape, it sticks so well to itself on the reel, and then tape was stuck in place in overlapping sections. If dealing with the one side wasn't too bad, the other side was that much more awkward to access... Very slow going.

Have taken a break now to check on our course (actually OK - amazing!) and have a drink, having taped about half the tear on both sides. Will try to complete this initial taping and see how much tape is left. Next section of tear will be even more demanding since it's over the sloping, slippery windscreen area with no handholds other than the tied-down sail itself and/or boom.

Not totally convinced the taping will last very long - but we'll see... Hope to reinforce with tape around leech and at right angles onto body of the sail.

Wind is dying which in this situation is good since should mean swell will stay right down. We're making 1.8kt - but on course!

3.30pm Well - we were on course! Was about to adjust Fred to sail off the wind more. on seeing us heading SE.... but then saw we were almost back on course again - good old Fred! At 1.5kt, it doesn't really matter where we go - it's such a small distance over a short time - but it's psychological - I just prefer to keep heading in the right direction!

Back to the taping....

6.30pm Finished with initial taping - 3/4 hr before sunset. 7 hours of work. All torn edges now held together on both sides. Needs reinforcing to help it not to come undone. Lower/2nd batten end area slightly torn - will need extra reinforcing. Tied sail to boom for overnight.

Wind came up a bit, along with swell, as I was finishing - but then died with sunset - so furled in genoa to stop it flapping uselessly and wearing itself out.

Will be having a nice 'ready-made' meal tonight to celebrate getting well started on mainsail job.

While I was finishing, heard an eerie, loud, quite long call - must have been from a large bird although I couldn't see one - came twice.

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 115. We made 61 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 115 (by daily DMGs): 10,909 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2268 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 2008 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1831 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1775 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1647 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 192n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/26 19:30GMT LATITUDE: 40-01.34S LONGITUDE: 014-09.72W COURSE: 043T SPEED: 0.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 4kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: S SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1032.0hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in high pressure & almost no wind from SE...

Thursday 8pm Fog disappeared just before sunset - nice not to have the damp air and to see clear sky above! Expecting Cold Front to come through in a few hours' time with 15-20 kt wind from NW, backing to SW quite quickly - will need to gybe the genoa but should make better speed for a time. Noticing more of a swell now, ahead of the stronger wind.

9:30pm Radio contact with Florida on 20m not working too well - far better on 40m overnight (0300Z). Had to abandon 14160 kHz - too much static on frequency and signals too weak as well.

Friday 1am Wind behind Cold Front has backed to W/WSW so gybed the genoa and changed course from ENE to ESE - we'd followed the wind around, being under Fred's wind steering, so time to get back on course. Wind expected to back to SW by around dawn and on to SSW later in morning. Moon shining through cloud layer (foggy?) made a headlamp unnecessary - bright enough to see by. Very moist air and wet on deck.

7am Sunny sky with some cloud and no fog around. Now in SW wind but expected to back more - to SSW.. Made 5.7kt for a time, just before, but now making 4.7kt - wind varies a lot...

8am Well, so much for clearing skies and sunshine - back under total grey cloud cover and moisture in the air - but wind is up, so making around 5.7-6 kt now.

Several white-chinned petrels around.

2pm Bright sunshine and a few fluffy white cumulus. A few prions and white-chinned petrels - definitely no short-sighted ones...! Some sail trimming, as always, made for better speed in the S wind. Seas are a lot bigger and closer - so very rolly, especially since they're on the beam and steep.

Tried contacting the South African Maritime Mobile Net (SAMM Net) at 1100Z on 14316 but nothing heard - maybe they weren't expecting my call? Still a good distance away but a good rig should enable contact. Will try again tomorrow.

5pm Frequent adjustments of wind-steering (Fred) needed in shifty wind - partly caused by nearby clouds - some grey and threatening showers, although none have fallen so far. With S wind bringing colder air, air and sea temperatures are down - definitely feels cooler on deck now, even when sun is shining. Seas still well up although wind has dropped quite a bit.

Frequent birds around are prions and petrels - still none with spectacles, though...!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 114. We made 88 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 114 (by daily DMGs): 10,848 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2227 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1949 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 2054 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1775 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1707 n.ml. to ENE; Gough Island: 255n.ml. to ESE

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

TIME: 2019/01/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-56.03S LONGITUDE: 015-29.49W COURSE: 098T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 4.0m CLOUDS: 60%
BARO: 1025.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Sunny day with plenty of cloud - some grey.

Thursday 2:30am Wind totally down to almost nothing - just about making 1.1kt - difficult to keep sail filled and to keep going in right direction! Wind is also forecast to veer slowly more to WNW/NW so will need to gybe the genoa onto port tack very soon.

Waiting to make radio contact with a pilot en route from Sao Paolo to Buenas Aires - will be an aeronautical mobile to maritime mobile contact if we make it!
3:05am Well we made contact but not quite as good as we were hoping - will try again at 6am - back to my bunk in the meantime!

8am Foggy, becalmed - SOG 0.3kt COG: all over the place! Everything is dripping wet... Rolling around in swell but water surface is glassy smooth.

Went on deck thinking to gybe around - but soon realised there really is NO wind - so furled in genoa - it was doing nothing but flapping around uselessly. Turned my face around to find where any wind was coming from - the only breeze I felt was when we rolled over in the swell - then I felt an apparent slight breeze on my face for a few moments!!

Made good contact at 6am with a pilot for DHL delivering to varous cities in S. and C. America - they were coming in to Buenas Aires from Sao Paolo - had good propagation on 40m so we had a long chat.

Downloaded latest gribs/weather files and emails and sent in position & weather report. Difficult making contact over radio with shore stations for emailing now - very few 'windows' when it's possible - mostly overnight - and then, even if I'm lucky, downloads are often very slow. At present, the only station of any use is in Nova Scotia, Canada - a long 'skip' up and down the Earth's lines of magnetic force! Thanks to Neil, VE1YZ, for time spent keeping his Winlink station near Halifax working so well.

10:45am Sun seemed to be getting out, with patch of blue sky above, so released sail tie enough to expose torn edge and leech strip in hope they might dry out a bit. Of course, as soon as done, sun disappeared - can feel moisture droplets in the air.

Also a touch of wind from N quadrant so unfurled genoa to get us sailing - had to put some weather helm on the wheel to make our course in such light wind with only a headsail - will need to keep a careful eye on that or we could go badly off course as wind increases. Can see I'm going to get a lot of exercise today - up and down to adjust Fred!

11:30am Albatross and Gt Shearwater both circling around - mostly at a distance but often coming close. Want to get a good view of the albatross - might not be Black-browed but a Yellow-nosed, possibly. Sun still not getting through the (lifted) fog layer. Better wind - making 4kt at times!

1:30pm Slight rain but not for long - fog layer lurking in the near distance.

Checking out any white-chinned petrels that fly close enough - looking for a Spectacled petrel - easy to spot the white 'spectacles' if close enough.
Getting plenty of leg exercise - wind is very shifty so frequent adjustment of Fred needed to stay on course. No helm to weather on wheel now - trying to manage without. Wind down again - only making 2.7kt, at most.

Outlook for a fast passage to and past Africa looking bad. Forecast is showing high pressure on top of us for quite a time over the coming days, so light winds will mainly continue - with some occasional rain also. Reason for heading slightly S of E is to keep in a good wind flow, however, light, rather than facing head winds, by being in right place - to S of the High's centre. If head much further S, chances of very strong wind are increased and also chances of mending sail decreased.

3pm Raining...as forecast, likely from now until morning. Wind up a little - making 4.5 kt.

Just tucked away, as much as possible, the exposed torn edges of mainsail to protect them since clearly no chance of repair today.

5:30pm Fog has come down again and wind has veered to N - adjusted Fred yet again - the wind has constantly shifted around today! Everything wet on deck. Hazy sun showing through the fog and reflecting on the water... Picture in shades of grey....

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 113. We made 52 n.ml. DMG, with a lot of drifting in no wind overnight, 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 113 (by daily DMGs): 10,760 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2172 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1862 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1967 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1692 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1795 n.ml. to ENE Gough Island: 339n.ml. to ESE

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/01/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-43.74S LONGITUDE: 017-23.17W COURSE: 100T SPEED: 3.1kt
WIND_SPEED: 7kt WIND_DIR: N SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1011.8hPa TREND: - AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Fog has come down again. Wind shifty and light all day

Tuesday A dull, grey, rainy day - even a hint of fog later on towards nightfall. But wind came up again, so good speed, around 6kt, was being made, despite only genoa.

8pm Had a nice chat with Uku - propagation was in our favour, for a change! He's finally got to the Trade Winds so a lot happier to be sailing well after several days in a 'wind hole' in the High pressure area (St Helena High)

Wednesday 2pm Continued to be grey and rainy until mid-morning, but then the wind dropped and backed into W so our course described a nice arc of a circle, ending up totally off course (NE!). Had to gybe onto starboard in order to make course toward Gough Island, 210 ml SSE of Tristan da Cunha. It's on our route anyway, so seems a pity to miss seeing it again, if weather permits. Its birdlife is spectacular and the rock formations and steep cliffs around its coast are amazing - it's a truly isolated, uninhabited, green wilderness in the middle of the S.Atlantic Ocean. Last time I was there, adrift while taking in the surroundings and birdlife, a Tristan albatross rested in the sea close by, gazing at me and wondering what we were doing there...!

Only making 4.2kt just now and the sun is struggling, mostly unsuccessfully, to get out from behind a thin white cloud layer. After all the overnight rain, the mainsail is soaking wet - no chance to stick anything by way of repair tape on it just now - it needs to dry thoroughly first. Not an easy thing to achieve but working on ways and means... Thanks to those of you who have made some useful suggestions.

4pm Went up on deck to check on weather - but saw a bird resting in the water, drifting by - rushed to get my camera - none of the shots I took were any good (but best of a bad bunch is shown here!) Looked like a Great Shearwater relaxing.

Sky is mostly cloudy and there are definite patches of rain around and a big area of rain astern - so no point to even thinking about dealing with the mainsail repair just yet.
Cooking a soup - lentils with ham - a change from green pea soup. Will add in to it so it makes a few easy meals.
Wind is really down - well under 10kt - and from astern so speed is down to 3-3.5kt. 24hr DMG won't be breaking any records today or tomorrow!

Photo of moon just before totality during lunar eclipse two days ago - 'upside down' compared to view from Northern hemisphere!

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 112. We made 121 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Not as bad as I feared!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 112 (by daily DMGs): 10,708 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2145 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1815 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1920 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1644 n.ml. to NW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1845 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-30.68S LONGITUDE: 018-28.44W COURSE: 102T SPEED: 3.5kt WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: W SWELL_DIR: W SWELL_HT: 2.8m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1017hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Slow going in light wind from astern. Grey sky, occasional shower.

Monday afternoon A good job done on torn area of mainsail - thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water and wiped down firstly with wet cloth and then with paper towels to remove excess water. Now leaving to dry before applying tape - Wednesday, probably. Windy tomorrow - 20-25kt expected as Low passes by.

Wind has been dying since sunset, ahead of strong winds later. Only making 2.5-3kt in veering wind, become slowly more northerly - keep having to adjust Fred so as to keep heading E.

Tuesday 1:30am Bright moon shining from in between light, broken cirrus layer - light enough to adjust Fred in veering wind and go to mast to tighten main halyard and re-do the tie holding down the sail. Wind up a little - our speed has increased to 5kt. Spoke to a few radio contacts just before - including ones in Switzerland and South Africa. Back to my bunk now!

7:30am Total cloud cover - no hint of sun. Adjusted Fred again - off the wind a little, this time - back heading E again, at 5.1kt. Had furled in some genoa earlier, in increased wind, and have been close-hauled since then, pounding into waves somewhat. Back for some more sleep....

2pm Have been making good speed, around 6kt all morning, but a bumpy ride with N-NNW 20kt wind and rough, beam seas. Occasionally, a wave will wash the deck - I just hope the sea water stays clear of my freshly-rinsed mainsail area. Everything is damp and moving around is a matter of looking for the next good handhold and being very careful. Same conditions expected through to tomorrow morning, when it should ease by midday as the Low to the S of us, that's giving this strong wind, passes on to the East.

Difficult to do anything when not at chart table or on deck adjusting Fred but stay in bunk where it's soft and safe as boat moves around in these rough seas.

Occurred to me that we'd passed the 22.5 degrees West marker for moving into the next time zone - so local time on board 'Nereida' is now just one hour behind Greenwich Mean Time - Azores Time (not that my iPhone knows that the Azores exist!).

4:45pm Suddenly, after a big gust, the wind has eased - we're making 5.5kt instead of 6.3kt... Five minutes later: That was a lull! Wind soon got back up to give us SOG of well over 6kt again.

Later: Wind beginning to get increasingly gusty - must be dropping...? Speed suddenly went right down....

1900GMT (=1800LT) - end of Day 111. We made 112 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 111 (by daily DMGs): 10,587 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 2062 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1694 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1800 n.ml to W; Rio de Janeiro: 1537 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 1965 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-26.35S LONGITUDE: 021-04.30W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.4kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1016.5hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Dull, grey day. Light rain. Wind beginning to drop?

Sunday 6pm Feeling a lot cooler now. The blue sky and sunshine disappeared slowly this afternoon while I was working on the mainsail - mostly a cloudy sky now, as the sun gets low before setting.

For overnight, I've tied up the sail in the damaged area to protect it but must try to rinse it off tomorrow before the wind gets up in the evening and overnight, as a Low passes by.

11pm Will be looking at the full moon to see if the total eclipse occurs here - might only be partial here in the S. Atlantic. 4.40Z is time of totality on Bonaire, in the Caribbean, I was told tonight by Steve, PJ4DX, who now lives there and was on the radio this evening. A lot of thin cloud around but hoping to see it well enough. If he hadn't told me, I'd have probably missed it - was unaware of the event, after midnight hereabouts.

Monday 1.30am/0330Z Top right part of the moon is in shadow - will look later to see if more will be in shadow during the lunar eclipse happening tonight. Might not be total here, might only be partial but sky is clear overhead so good view of moon.

Making better speed at 4.5kt.

2:45am/0445Z Almost total - 95%... The moon is deep orange except for the very bottom edge which is brighter than the rest of it. Must be because we're far S on Earth that we see a different portion than friends in Canada - who saw the lower portion go into shadow first, not the top section as I saw here - fascinating, the difference it makes due to where on Earth one is watching it!

3:30am All the moon is orange - totality! Slightly brighter orange on right hand edge .. First light of imminent dawn is showing in opposite part of sky - line of light on E horizon where sun is soon to appear.

4:30am Right-hand side of moon is back in light, left-hand side still in darkness. Moon is in the NW and light of dawn is to be seen in the East - interesting conjunction of events!

10:30am Bright sunshine. Making 4-4.5kt E-ENE - downwind under genoa alone.

Finishing breakfast before starting on mainsail - still a lot of rocking around, not calm at all, so will need to tie myself in very well to be able to work safely while trying to rinse salt off the torn area of sail.

Have seen two ships on AIS screen so far today - one will be ten miles away in 3hrs' time, the other is well off. Both heading E-W or W-E ... one to Recalada (S.America) from Jakarta, the other from Argentina, Uruguay or Brazil towards S. Africa.

2:45pm Finished rinsing and wiping down the torn area of mainsail - quite difficult since little to hold onto and it's not anywhere near as calm as I'd have liked - and there's no nonslip on deck just there. A good thing I could tie myself onto the boom.

After giving a good, firm wipe on both sides with a very wet cloth I ended up dousing it all with fresh water and then drying off again with paper towels to get rid of excess water. It's now drying in the sun and wind - mainly wind since quite hazy now but temperature is 21C or more. The torn edges are well exposed to dry thoroughly - I hope!.

The final step of applying Gorilla tape to hold the damaged area together is not going to be easy - that much I've now confirmed. Will have to start at one end and work my way along in small sections. Hopefully, there'll be less swell when I do it.

Later today, I'll tie that section of sail in to the boom again, since strong winds are expected overnight and tomorrow.

As I was just getting started, I radioed to the cargo vessel 'Siana', also headed E, which was soon to overtake us, coming fairly (but not too) close. They said they saw 'Nereida' on AIS, having checked our MMSI number, and they confirmed they'd stay clear and pass to starboard. I was amused when they came back to me a short time later asking for our course - being under sail and wind steering, we're not moving as much in a straight line as they undoubtedly are!

They diverted slightly to come fairly close - probably wanted to get a sighting of this small sailing vessel in the middle of the Atlantic heading East. (I told them we were under sail with no engine!)

3pm Was delighted to find a spare pair of reading glasses I've been missing for several weeks - safely tucked into the pocket of a jacket I've not needed to wear for ages.

Wind is now dying and sky is mainly overcast. Instead of 4.5kt we're only making 3.5kt. Will have a short nap, after some food, to make up for overnight sleep lost to the eclipse.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 110. We made 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 110 (by daily DMGs): 10,379+? n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1910 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1487 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1592 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1375 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2170 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-24.95S LONGITUDE: 023-28.59W COURSE: 092T SPEED: 3.2kt

WIND_SPEED: 9kt WIND_DIR: WNW SWELL_DIR: WSW SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1024.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C

COMMENT: Overcast, gloomy. Slowed right down in light wind



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