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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Saturday Sunset around 8pm - went to adjust Fred - a pair of storm petrels dancing on the water surface astern of 'Nereida' - using the disturbed water to find food, I suppose... Their feet must continually get wet, they're so close, so much of the time.
Really slow - making 4 kt if we're lucky, in WSW wind...

11:30pm No need for a headlamp when adjusting Fred - the moon is so bright, it's lighting up everything clearly.

Was delighted to find an excellent connection tonight for radio emailing with Ian, VE1YZ , who runs a Winlink station near Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Earth's magnetic field helps the connection - and 'Nereida' is almost due S of his station just now so we're effectively making use of the N-S lines of magnetic force - works brilliantly even though he's so far away!

Getting some sleep before the 'late night shift' at 0300Z on 7160kHz.

Sunday 1:50am Unfurled most of genoa and adjusted Fred for nearly a beam reach - wind has backed into SSW now. Making better speed - had dropped to 3.5kt but now around 5kt. Back to my bunk...

4:45am Course adjusted - wind keeps shifting a little and want to keep heading E. To N is High pressure with light wind, to S is stronger wind - not good for damaged mainsail. Sent off Position and weather report and checked on radio emails while have connection - lose that by morning, until later in day.

6am Had long discussion with Peter on weather outlook - need to keep heading due E for time being so as to avoid stronger winds on edge of Low passing by to S. Will give short window to work on sail before stronger winds of Low come along and then winds will die back down again, giving possibility of sail repair later, in lesser seas also. Another Low coming on 25th so might not have time to do all the repair needed - will have to see how that goes at the time.

10am Bright, sunny day with just a few small white clouds but seas still well up. No birds to be seen. Adjusted Fred to keep E course. Wind dying and veering to WSW - only making 2.5kt now.

1pm still bright and sunny - would be enjoyable, even though we're really slow, if if it were not for the mainsail problem ...
Feeling very frustrated - wind has died down quite a bit but we're rolling around a lot still in big seas so working while standing on deck is difficult and forecast doesn't show swell diminishing much over next few days.... Still have just over a day, before Low with strong winds comes by overnight tomorrow, to try to rinse the torn sail area. Need to remove salt on sail and hope it will dry enough for adhesive to stick later in week. Will try lowering sail soon just to assess the situation for access to torn area for repair and hope to wet it - if not today, then early tomorrow - pity no heavy rain just now!! The Low might bring some very light rain - but likely not enough.

5pm Just finished lowering mainsail - took quite a time, having to be careful with main halyard, not to let it catch on mast steps and tying in sail also took a lot of time in swell. So far have left damaged area untied, to give access, but will need to tie it in when the wind gets up more - wind is only about 10kt now. Gybed onto port tack.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 109. We made 81 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 109 (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: 2019/01/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-33.51S LONGITUDE: 025-32.53W COURSE: 082T SPEED: 3.6kt
BARO: 1025.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Mainsail lowered and tied, ready for repair - under headsail (genoa) alone.

Friday 6pm Slowing down - seas still well up but further apart so feeling less rough.

Good to see several different birds close by as the sun gets low - albatrosses, prions, petrels. Looking out now for a Spectacled petrel (a type of White-chinned petrel with white 'spectacles') - endemic to these waters around Tristan da Cunha and the further off incredible wilderness of Gough Island with its amazing birdlife. It's surrounded by cliffs so access is difficult and the only people there form a S.African team of scientists - they're helicoptered in for a 6-9 months' (or more) stay, coming in by the freighter that supplies Tristan from Cape Town. The convoluted rocky formations off its coast and the birds everywhere make for an amazing experience when passing close by - as I have twice before.

9:30pm Moon shining brightly in between clouds. Slowed right down - clearly, wind has dropped. Struggling to make 4kt, mostly less.

Saturday 1:30am Wind has suddenly picked up so we're now making 6kt or more, instead of struggling to make over 3kt - excellent!

Had brief contact tonight with US stations and also Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil - strong signals so good clear contacts made.. Poor signal from Lugano, Switzerland: Richard, HB9FHV, was too weak tonight but often comes up.

4am Just furled in the genoa which was being blanketed by the main and flapping uselessly, wearing itself out.. Just coming in to first light and not good enough light to pole it out. Think the wind is backing more anyway, so best to wait and change tack if and when wind goes WNW. Grey cloudy sky - looks like rainclouds but no rain so far - decks are completely dry - not even any dew.

9:30am Making way downwind in 15kt from the W. Some sunshine peeking through the clearing, broken, light cloud overhead, with heavier clouds in the distance. Swell still 3-4m, so continuing with plenty of rolling round ...

Busy thinking through how I might do a deck repair to the sail... The more I think about removing the sail to bring it down below, the more fraught with difficulties that seems. Have been looking at the sail, seeing where exactly the damaged area will lower to the boom for access to the damage. So many steps to think about - including making myself safe by tying myself in to the boom and maybe from several other directions while I do it! Monday and Thursday are 'least-swell' days - but 2.8-2.6m (9ft) on Monday is not as good as 2.0-2.3m (7ft) on Thursday.

Breakfast with fresh coffee - I'll treat myself! - while I think more about the possible timeline, steps and materials needed .... and likely complications.

Midday Slowly tidying up and clearing away. Galley duties have been somewhat neglected of late and other items not stowed away neatly as they should have been - so have been busy doing all that. Too warm (23C/72F) for my top fleeces - have had to discard them...

Weather is looking settled for a day or two, before a Low passes to S of us on Tuesday - possibly bringing some light rain which will last all through to Wednesday. Would rinse off the mainsail, if heavy enough, but would prevent me from doing anything around that time other than making use of the fresh-water rinse-off - need a dry sail for the tape to stick to. Thursday is looking good for light wind and less swell but is quickly followed on Friday by heavy rain and strong wind, as another small Low passes directly over us so would need to complete quickly.

My thoughts are with my mainsail most of my waking hours....!

I'm glad I'm not attending any functions just now - my nails are a total mess, so many are broken! Lost sight of my nail clippers after using them a long time ago ("How can that be?", you ask. Easy, they're so small!) so I'll be using the galley scissors and a nail file to deal with them now. A guy asked me some time ago to look at my nails when I'd finished telling him of some job I'd just done on board - the fact that they were broken and not presentable convinced him my story was genuine!

2pm Hazy sunshine through light cloud layer. Wind about 15kt from W - making 4.5kt or more, due E. Wind display gone totally now - not even the wind direction is showing correctly any more. Only the Windex is working - and my eyeballing the ripples on the water for true wind direction from the cockpit compass.

Sliced potatoes boiling and chopped onions already nicely browned, ready for beginning of a big stew - with celery, sweetcorn & green beans and beef chunks - should last several days. Have not been eating too well last few days, so decided time to do something about that while in settled conditions. Galley clean and tidy and cabin (and nails!) looking neater also.

Later - the beef stew tastes wonderful!

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 108. We made 103 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 108 (by daily DMGs): 10,298 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1853 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1405 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1510 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1314 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2251 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.72S LONGITUDE: 027-17.70W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.6kt


BARO: 1016.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Ambling alog DDW - sunny sky, seas still up but lessening slowly

Thursday 2:30pm Underway, at last, headed ESE towards 40S in W wind. Expecting wind to back to SW by morning, as Cold Front moves E. Seas still very big but feel so much kindlier when headed downwind.

Friday 1:45am Wind suddenly came up half an hour ago... We increasingly picked up speed until making well over 7kt. To my relief, although we frequently surfed on a wave to 8-9 kt, we did not seem to go any faster. The wind noise in the rigging was loud - wind probably around 30kt, gusting higher at times. I forced myself to leave the speed display and lie down to relax and close my eyes! I wanted to keep going E, if possible, rather than heaving to again - progress has been so slow since Cape Horn.

5:30am Daylight ... and seas still very steep but in slightly less wind, from SSW now - 20-25kt? Still strong conditions but nice to be making a good amount of Easting at 6 kt. Back to my bunk.

9am Unfurled some genoa - speed had dropped in maybe 15-20kt wind from SSW but we were soon back up to 6kt. Sun trying to get out, seas still big.

Spending a lot of my time thinking about practicalities of removing sail and bringing down below for repair - very complicated and not a task I'm looking forward to. Trying to look ahead to possible problems I'll need to overcome and figure out ways to make it easier, if that's possible... Pondering best way to make repair itself, as well. Options really depend on contents of my spares lockers and I might not have the very best choice possible since have no 5200 on board, unfortunately. But I do have Gorilla tape! Fingers crossed, that will stick to the salty sail... I'll be checking to see if on-deck repair is at all feasible...

3pm Ambling along in gentler winds - 12kt? - from W-WSW under mainly sunny sky - very pleasant! Have been increasing the genoa as the wind has died down and backed again - making around 5kt now.

5pm Lovely to see a couple of albatross flying close by - they've been missing for a bit - one a juvenile - kept coming really close - no camera to hand... Also other birds - petrels, prions and shearwaters. Seas not calmed down enough - still quite rough - so they enjoy the uplift they get from the waves, despite the lighter wind.

Looking out now for a Spectacled petrel - endemic to these waters alone, not far from Tristan da Cunha and nearby Gough Island - incredible for its wilderness and birdlife

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 107. We made 119 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 107 (by daily DMGs): 10,195 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1780 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1301 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1407 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1243 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2354 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-32.87S LONGITUDE: 029-30.82W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 4.8kt


BARO: 1014.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C

COMMENT: Wind down Seas very big still

Thursday 2am After heaving to late afternoon, and then changing tack, prepared boat for strong conditions by securing all loose items and got to sleep.
Woken up at 1am by the quietness - wind had died temporarily! Wind now from NNE... Pressure has dropped right down to 1005hPa.. System has still not passed over but centre close by now.

Lots of static on frequency when tried usual radio 'sched at 0330Z on 7160 - difficult to copy many stations that are normally very loud and clear - unusual! Put it down to Low nearby us and similar bsd weather in Florida and on East coast of USA. South African stations had good reception.

Raining now. Back to bunk while wait for Low to pass over - will probably have to stay hove to until much later today.

5am Nearly completed a full circle with boat drifting! Raining ... First light. Drifting WNW at 0.5kt in N wind 60 degrees to starboard. Rocking around in swell. Wind howling in rigging.

8am Again woken by silence and lack of motion - no rain, no howling of wind in rigging and no swell - but not for long. Wind and swell were back soon after - within half an hour, in fact. Looked out on deck - mainsail was fluttering in one place - a length along the leech edge has torn and separated from the body of the sail between the top two battens. Will need stitching back into place with reinforcing as soon as possible - not sure when, since will need to remove the entire sail from the mast to do the work down below...not simple or easy when at sea... not good news.

Thought the wind, now from WNW, was down - but not so and seas are still very big - 4-5m/15ft - and close together, so steep-faced. Will wait a bit longer before heading E. Still expecting the Cold Front to come through later tonight, with 30kt wind.

2:30pm Underway, headed ESE towards 40S. Expecting wind to back to SW by morning, as Cold Front moves E. Seas still very big but feel so much kindlier when headed downwind.

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 106. We made 23 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 106 (by daily DMGs): 10,076 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1696 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1185 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1290 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1173 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2470 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-37.43S LONGITUDE: 032-04.79W COURSE: 090T SPEED: 5.0kt
BARO: 1000hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 21.0C
COMMENT: Wind lighter and slowly backing. Seas very big still

Missed changing into a new time zone on Sunday! On passing East of 37*30'W (on 13th Jan), we moved into GMT-2hr so our LT is now one hour forward.

9:30pm Very quiet and peaceful - totally becalmed, with sails lowered still. Slight breeze coming from SE - the direction I'd lke us to be heading in.

Just lashed the wheel to starb'd instead of to port - has headed us more into the wind and slowed our drift from 1.1kt to 0.3kt - both give drift WSW - which is astern just now!

10pm Cargo vessel 'Silvermine', headed E to Singapore, is passing 5.9 n.miles to N of us at 12.1kt - well clear!

Wed 1.45am Underway again in NE wind around 10kt or so... Headed nearly SSE, banging into swell a bit. Wind is forecast to back slowly so course should become more SE, as Low approaches from WNW.

Missed radio sched with being on deck, getting organised - apologies!

7:30am Thin, broken cloud cover and hazy sun. Adjusted Fred and sent position report. Wind has backed some more so making SSE course at 4.5kt. Pounding into waves - swell is from E at 2.5m/8ft and waves are quite close together so rough going.

Back to my bunk for more sleep....

10:30am Wind has backed , as forecast, so our course is now SE.

Magnetic variation has increased to 20W hereabouts - not something to ignore when going between reading the compass and using a chart or giving a course to someone off the boat. There's so often a big difference between 'true' and 'magnetic' values which is the reason why courses (COG) and headings are normally best noted as 'true', rather than 'magnetic' - unless being given to someone at the wheel, handsteering by compass.

Midday Slight change of tactic - trying to head further S for a few hours, until we heave to. The imminent Low will have less winds on its S than on its N side, so if I'm below it when it passes over (which it will soon, for sure) then winds will be that much less. Don't want to go too far S (the reason I was happy to head S slowly earlier), but in about 3-4 hours that won't happen. Following on soon, behind this Low, is a big system, centred to the S, whose Cold Front will pass over this area with strong winds - the further S, the stronger the winds... So heading far enough but not too far S now is good!

I've already tied in the third reef and the genoa is partly furled, ready for the winds to increase further ahead of the Front - we're still making over 5kt SOG but we're ready to heave to as and when that looks to be needed.

Time for coffee and a very late breakfast....maybe I should call it brunch?

3:45pm Getting close to where I planned to heave to. Downloaded latest grib files and thinking to head a bit further S - all a bit of a lottery...! Making 7kt headed SSE with two reefs in genoa and 3 reefs in main.

5pm Hove to - received two separate warnings of gusts to 40-50kt both here and especially if head further S. ..... I thought I was dodging the worst of the oncoming Low by getting below it - but being told that's not so....

Wasn't too happy once I'd heaved to on port tack - we were frequently beam on to the seas and our drift was 2 knots SSE! So finally gybed around to be on stbd tack instead - much better wind angle and drift is only about 0.7kt although direction is SW (I'd hoped to be drifting more N) Looking at the two directions of drift, I'm deducing the wind is from ENE - midway betwee the two drift directions.

Making sure as much as possible is stowed away or can't move.... Seas will probably get up a lot with the strong wind coming, so it will get pretty rough... Also protecting certain important items from getting wet - just in case... :-) Having some food now and keeping fingers firmly crossed...

1900GMT (=1700LT) - end of Day 105. 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 105 (by daily DMGs): 10,053 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1692 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1163 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1270 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1151 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2490 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/16 19:36GMT LATITUDE: 39-24.71S LONGITUDE: 032-28.77W COURSE: 248T SPEED: 0.8kt


BARO: 1015.1hPa TREND: -4 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

COMMENT: Hove to on opposite tack- stbd now - slower drift & better wind angle

Monday 10:20pm Sat in the cockpit for a time, after adjusting sails and Fred - a beautiful evening. A bright half moon sending a path of light across the sea to Nereida - refreshing, cool night air - not feeling cold at all... A few clouds... Calm, peaceful....

We're creeping along at 3kt under full sail and wind is likely to lighten even more.

Time for some sleep before the evening radio scheds.

Tuesday 12:10am Dark sky with no moon - plenty of stars but a bit hazy and some cloud near horizons.

Tried to check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net - very light signal - could hardly copy Jane, NH7TZ, in Kauai - will have to wait until back in Pacific (or nearly so) to resume check-ins. But did make contact with Susanne on 'Nehaj' - difficult copy on 40m but good enough to know she's OK.

4am First light - dawn soon. Saw Jupiter overnight when on deck, adjusting Fred - definitely the planet seen soon after the 'Chinese fishing vessel' incident!

6:30am Totally overcast sky now, very light wind from NNW - trimmed sails for a close reach, trying to make some way - only 2kt.

8:15am Grey cloudy sky still. Wind has picked up from N - we're making 5.5-6.0 kt, close-hauled. Nothing like what is forecast in the gribs - according to them, we're in almost no wind from WNW... That's OK - I'm happy to be making good speed, more-or-less on course!

10:20am A big (3-4m/10-12ft) swell from SW - clearly, there's a big weather system down that way. We're still making 5.5-6 kt in a N wind, heading NE.

One lone white-chinned petrel seen occasionally. All the other birds are nowhere to be seen.

Midday Wind really has died now and backed to WNW - we're struggling to make 2-2.5kt and keeping on course downwind is difficult. We're finally getting the forecast wind - unfortunately! We were lucky to get the wind we did, earlier, and make the speed we did for a few hours. Decided to change course slightly to make the best of the wind - heading NNE and making just over 3kt.

3pm Decided to drop the mainsail - there's no wind, and the full sails were 'slatting' in the swell - not good for the sails. Followed Uku's example - he's frequently dropped his mainsail when becalmed in a High pressure system - so I thought maybe I should try it... A lot of work but better than the sail getting damaged - and a lot quieter. Would have been a lot easier with the starboard lazyjack in place. I basically had to put all reefs in as I lowered it, to help hold the sail in place on the boom, and then add in sail ties.

If I thought we'd be in no wind for just a short time, I wouldn't have bothered but it looks like well over six hoursmore.

I also don't really want to go any further N - the Westerlies are below 40S for most of the time and by going further N, the High pressure area I'm seeing is giving Easterlies and even more very light wind - not helpful for heading towards Africa! The original idea behind heading NE, rather than ENE, was to avoid a nasty Low expected soon - but that's looking less of a problem now and, if necessary, I can always heave to for a short time again.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 104. We made 86 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 104 (by daily DMGs): 9,992 n.ml.
Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1727 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1144 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1250 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1094 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2517 n.ml. to ENE

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/01/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 38-24.71S LONGITUDE: 032-47.10W COURSE: 325T SPEED: 0.3kt
BARO: 1017.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 23.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Drifting with mainsail lowered and genoa furled in - no wind. Sunny, warm.

Sunday Excellent speed continuing to be made - frequently seeing SOG just over 8kt and mostly in the 7-8kt range - making really good progress NE!

Monday 4am Usual position and weather report sent and updates downloaded - dawn beginning - wind and seas getting less - wind expected to become almost nothing in a day or so - High pressure system is moving E so its centre will be over us.

6am Definitely slowing down in less wind - making 6.4kt now, not over 7kt, as overnight. Full genoa, about to shake out 2nd reef in main.

6:30am Back up to 7kt with one reef in main. Found a big squid on deck while going to mast to free sail which had caught on a clutch while being hoisted. Back to bunk for more sleep...

11:40am Breakfasted at 9:30am - a very civilised hour!

We're still skirting the same High pressure system which is moving slowly E as we are - so we're staying in its easterly wind flow for several days but will run into light winds eventually - by tonight, probably. Then will be overtaken by yet another Low system - later on Thursday into Friday. We're trying to head NE to keep it below us at that time - but all depends on how well we can keep up speed...

Wonderfully peaceful sailing under partly blue sky, part thin, broken cloud layer - small, fluffy, white - cirrus, I think. Making 7.3-8kt with one reef in main and full genoa...excellent speed again! Wind was expected to lessen and seemed to for a time- but clearly it has come up again. Feeling thoroughly relaxed and enjoying the passage. The boat is moving so smoothly to the gushing of the water along her sides... sailing at its best!

Mornings are very good times. Much as I enjoy the radio contacts, it's also good to be alone with the vastness of the open sea and the sky. Time for relaxation and reflection... This is what ocean crossings are really about - away from the hustle and bustle - and stresses - of life back on shore.

Caught up on a lot of overdue email replies.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 103. We made a fabulous 164 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. WOW!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 103 (by daily DMGs): 9,906 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1649 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 1076 n.ml to W; Buenos Aires: 1180 n.ml to W Rio de Janeiro: 1190 n.ml. to NNW; Cape Agulhas LH (SA): 2578 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-07.57S LONGITUDE: 034-22.23W COURSE: 061T SPEED: 7.0kt
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 24.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C
COMMENT: Lovely bright sunny day with good wind and small seas..

Saturday 7pm Another colourful sunset tonight - very similar colouring and nearby clouds to yesterday's. Sat out in the cockpit to relax and enjoy the scene - wind still light but we were sailing gently and smoothly at 3-4kt and seas were well down - all very pleasant...

Sunday 12.30am AIS alarm went off - a fishing vessel was coming our way at over 12kt and effectively on a collision course. Chinese? Name: Shen Zu 86; MMSI: 12421145; callsign: BZUK2 Closest approach predicted was just a couple of hundred feet - no reply to repeated calls on VHF radio when within range. Brightly lit all along her sides. Had me very worried...

Had no option but to unlash the wheel (Fred was in charge of wind steering at that point), turn on the autopilot and add twenty degrees to our course to be sure of avoiding a collision and keep a straight course. They made no effort to change course or speed. I switched on the navigation lights (in addition to the masthead tricolour) and fore-deck light - that lights up the genoa beautifully and makes us highly visible!
I stayed by the wheel until we'd passed each other a mile apart, but my change of course worked fine. Never mind that we were under sail and they were under power so should have given way to us - with no communication happening, bottom line of the Colision Regs is - avoid a collision!

1:30am Cold Front passing over from dawn onward (only two hours away), so decided to reef down overnight to prevent any unwanted excitement due to bigger gusts than expected - can always shake the reef out again in the light of day.

Saw very bright light low down in the E - a ship? But decided it was a planet maybe...? Kept an eye on it - it was just above the horizon and not moving. Looked just like a bright top light on the mast of a boat very close by - but no dark shape below it - turned on radar just to confirm! Eventually relaxed - but was difficult - so very bright and looked to be so close! Can someone ID the planet? Not Venus because yellow in colour and too bright for Mars, I think - Saturn or Jupiter?

10am Bright sun in clear blue sky with almost no clouds. NW wind well up - around 20kt? Trimmed sails earlier so now making good speed on beam reach with full genoa and two reefs in main: 6.5-7.5kt ... Excellent speed! Time for a late breakfast.

3pm Wonderful sailing just now in bright sun still, very good solid WNW wind - we're making a consistent 7kt or more - often hitting 8kt or just over! This is just like Trade Wind sailing but we're not in the Trades... It's also feeling very warm - 22C air temperature but in the sun it feels more.

Just spoke to Uku on 'One and All' - he has almost no wind now - making only 2kt, so it's frustrating for him - I know the feeling well! I asked if he would clean the boat again but he said he has no need to yet - maybe near the Equator. Propagation was not good - difficult to hesr him over the static on frequency so we just confirmed that "all was well on board" and we'll speak again later today.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 102. We made 127 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Fast second 12hr period.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 102 (by daily DMGs): 9,742 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1490 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 954 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 1057 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1095 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2700 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 40-31.10S LONGITUDE: 037-25.53W COURSE: 062T SPEED: 7.9kt
BARO: 1018.7hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 22.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: 2 reefs in main and genoa Bright sun. Warm!

Friday 7:20pm Sunset a short while ago, and a Wandering albatross circles the boat, as yesterday, under a clearing sky. From the mighty to the tiny - by contrast, I spotted a storm petrel also circling us - so small by comparison. A slender crescent moon is high up above a long line of dark grey cloud astern, contrasting with the orange-pink on the western horizon... We're even making a good speed, for a change ... and on course ... wonderful... Exhilarating!! I don't need a sundowner to make me feel good... I'm drinking in the scene....

Time for my evening meal and some sleep before the 'night shift' as Matt, WiMBB, calls it - Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0310Z (12:10am LT) and a radio sched on 7160 at 0330Z.

I was delighted to make contact yesterday with the US South Pole station - marvellous to chat with KC4AAA in Antarctica just yards from the Pole!! Felt very special, somehow. I have previously made contact with KC4AAA, near the McMurdo Sound US Antarctic station, and their other station on the peninsula S of Drake Passage - but that was in Jan 2011 on my approach to Cape Horn, just before my knockdown...

Saturday 1:25am Beautiful starry night - almost no cloud to be seen, although always difficult to spot clouds in dark of night, with no moon just now. Adjusted Fred to head more off the wind - necessary in order to make a better ENE course.
Had a good radio session on 7160 an hour ago - excellent propagation tonight. Back to my bunk...

3:30am Dawn already! Line of gold along E horizon, with a line of grey clouds over. Adjusted Fred - light conditions - then back to sleep.

6am Radio weather session for Mark and Uku - I could hear Mark well but had no copy on Uku at all. Later gybed around - trying to make a bit more northing.
Downloaded emails and weather files - looks as though this slow progress will continue for several days as we skirt around a developing High pressure system - no avoiding it and winds will be very light. Frustrating!
Lovely sunshine again with just a few scattered white clouds. Making 3.5kt in W-WSW light wind.
Making up on sleep in short timed sessions - wind varies too much for long naps.

Spent quite some time trying to remove one of the remaining rivets in the kicker-to-mast connection - moved it a lot but it won't quite come out - has part of a lip inside still, I think. Keep re-positioning the anti-chafe lashing protector which keeps moving.

2pm Going even slower now in dying wind - 2.5kt, swell rolling us around often.
Getting warm on deck in the bright sunlight - too warm for fleece tops.
Trying to organise more anti-chafe for rod-kicker lashings on mast.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 101. We made just 83 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Another very slow day in light winds.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 101 (by daily DMGs): 9,615 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1372 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 947 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 865 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 947 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1130 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2798 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-30.91S LONGITUDE: 039-54.41W COURSE: 051T
BARO: 1017.9hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 25.0C SEA_TEMP: 20.0C
COMMENT: Another very slow day, skirting High pressure system. Sunny,warm.

Thursday 7:30pm A lovely sunset - and a magnificent Wandering albatross glided by, circled around and came back to have another look!
Went to the mast to have a look at a problem with the lowest mainsail batten - the complete slide has pulled out of the mast track... Will need to lower the sail to that point, in calm conditions and minimal wind, to put the slide back - it should not have been able to pull out of the track insert.

Wind is far less now - we're making just 5kt in SW wind of 10kt maybe.

Friday 6am - soon after dawn. Grey, slight fine, misty drizzle. Checking over latest weather reports and hearing Jean-Luc, Uku and Mark on radio - receiving their weather also. Position and weather report sent to Winlink.

Slow progress to NE in light wind from SE - very close-hauled, making 3.2kt. Forecast is for same for rest of day - becoming light variable - even worse!

1:30pm Success - batten end slide back in place! Realised we were in almost no wind and swell was right down - so got to work in a hurry. Was very unsure I'd manage it - had slept badly overnight, thinking about it...

Had to lower main and remove slides below that one - relieved to find only two other slides below. Couldn't remove ring from track end-stop pin, however hard I tried - but then found the other end of the pin had its ring missing...! Good news, since at least that meant I could remove it and the end-stop and deal with the three slides, but could well have been bad news if the pin had come away by itself... all the sail slides would have slid out and I'd have lost the end stop overboard, no doubt!!

Track is damaged where batten end slide sits just now - expecting it to come out again if sail 'slatting' a lot in light winds - will have to try to avoid that but difficult with so much swell always.

2:30pm We're drifting at 1-2kt, roughly on our ENE course - not 'speedy Gonzales' for sure, today! Constantly having to adjust Fred in the highly variable wind - getting frequent rain showers and sky is totally grey.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 100. We made 79 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 100 (by daily DMGs): 9,532 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1305 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 805 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 796 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 893 n.ml to NW Rio de Janeiro: 1132 n.ml. to N; Cape Agulhas (SA): 2873 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-46.49S LONGITUDE: 041-43.07W COURSE: 079T SPEED: 3.0kt
BARO: 1012.4hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Variable light winds under grey showery clouds. Very little swell.

Wednesday 11pm Underway - wind has backed into the N at 20kt so we can make a course upwind to ENE. Dark, rainy, bashing into the seas - uncomfortable, as always! Suddenly heard a noise - the removable inner forestay was swinging around - it had come away from where it was lashed down to the foot of a shroud. Had to take a line forward and tie it down again.

Thursday 6am Up at 4am to check on things in first light and send position/weather report- all well before dawn. Unfurled full genoa to add in to staysail and main. One reef in main but wind dropping from 19kt to 12 kt so speed now down to 4.5kt. Will need to shake out 1st reef if wind stays down.

Grey, rainy-looking sky - clearly rained overnight. Adjusting Fred to make a course can get time-consuming - the wind constantly varies anyway so best to accept a course that's roughly correct and adjust occasionally at longer intervals.

9am Wind from NW - adjusting Fred and trimming sails for beam reach. Sun trying to get out but not having much success - total overcast.

10:30am Dull, fine drizzle. Wind has backed further - from WSW now and still light - 9kt. Staysail furled away - of no use, now that we're on a very broad reach. Will need to gybe very soon to get back on course..

Midday Well, I could have done without the sustained flurry of activity I just went through! With the wind backing quite quickly to SW, I should have connected that fact with a Cold Front (or deep trough?) coming by - often with strong wind - as just happened...!

Having let out the 1st reef earlier in light wind, I had to centre the full main as much as I could, in order to gybe and get back on course. But the wind was gusting up to 20-25kt (wind display has just gone down again so no precise info) and that proved very difficult...

Furled in some genoa to lessen our heeling, got the main in a good way and then gybed onto port tack. Headed upwind a bit more and the main was dropped enough to tie in the first reef, although a couple of trips to the mast were needed to help things along.

Good to see that my recent first reef line 'fix' works well. As it was all being finished, the wind began to ease - to 15-20kt, maybe - and we're now making 6kt on our ENE course. Our speed had gone up to well over 7kt for quite a time.

Annoying to be without the wind display again. Clearly it didn't like the strong conditions we just went through. Last time it went down was also in strong wind... On the analogue display in the cockpit, wind direction still seems to be showing correctly.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 99. We made 84 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 98 (by daily DMGs): 9,453 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1230 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 805 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 760 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 855 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 2926 n.ml. to ENE

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

TIME: 2019/01/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-28.87S LONGITUDE: 043-12.70W COURSE: 078T SPEED: 5.5kt


BARO: 1002.5hPa TREND: -4 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Front came thro' before - wind gusted to 25kt.. wind display gone

Tuesday A lovely clear blue sky all afternoon and a pleasant sail in light winds. Made good use of the genoa..

5pm Wind WNW 5kt - heading downwind... but not going very fast!

8pm Sunset was glorious - a clear pink-blue sky and lovely orange setting sun. Almost immediately, a thin broken cloud layer spread over but I spotted the sliver of the new moon just above the W horizon, almost too slender a crescent to see.

9pm The wind seems to have settled into the NNW at 15kt. We're making over 6kt, heading ENE, and seas aren't too bad - it's feeling relatively smooth, in fact. Finished my curry earlier, so time to get to my bunk - can't sleep too long at a stretch since the wind is forecast to be all over the place - so regular checks are needed and Fred (the wind-steering Hydrovane) adjusted if we're to stay heading roughly NE-ENE. I use a timer with a loud chime to wake me up.

Tuesday 3am Up on deck to adjust Fred - nearly dawn and Southern Cross almost overhead. Lots of bright stars. Wind backing to W, so course too far N before being changed. Also sails needed trimming for new point of sail - very broad reach now in W 8kt, making 3.5kt now - slowed down a lot from around midnight when making 6kt in NW 18kt.

By 4am, a line of pink on E horizon and plenty of light to see by. Back to bunk for another short sleep.

5:30am Glorious sunshine, little swell, heavy dew.. Received fresh gribs (weather files) and adjusted Fred - nearly dead downwind now - will need to gybe around soon to maintain course in backing, very light wind - just 6 kt from WSW now and we're struggling to make 2kt.

8:30 am On radio. Uku, followed by Mark, getting their usual daily weather report from Bob, VP8LP, on 20m radio band. I could not hear Uku, but at 2000Z (5pmLT) copy was good yesterday and he was also able to chat to Mark and relay to me - so I'll do that again, later today.

Ian, VK3MO came on freq later and changed frequency to give me update on the five racers - nice to have. Mark just 306 miles behind Jean-Luc at 0900Z.

7:30am Just gybed back again after gybing onto starboard tack a short while ago. Wind looked as though it had backed and was coming from the WSW so I'd gybed around, hoping to maintain our course - but the wind promptly veered to WNW again - so had to gybe back again. Wind is very light, at 4kt, so that's probably why - it's just being fickle!

Back to my bunk for some more sleep - with timer set.

10:45am Bright sunny day, few clouds around. Wind has decided to veer into the NNE-NE ... so difficult to head ENE. Fortunately, it's still very light, at 6-7 kt, so we're effectively drifting ESE at about 1.7 kt. Time for coffee...

12:30pm I decided that it was pointless heading SE at 2 kt in the present 10kt NNE wind, forecast to remain for several more hours, so I have just furled in the genoa, sheeted out the main a little more, turned the helm into the wind - and we're now hove-to, making 0.3kt - effectively stopped. The fact that we're drifting downwind is almost irrelevant since our SOG (speed) is so low - better than making 2kt SE. East would be fine but I've no desire to head any more S just now than is avoidable.

I like this way of heaving to - when I want to get back underway, all I have to do is to unfurl the genoa (or staysail), sheet in on the mainsail, turn the wheel to point us in the direction required - and we're away.

It's feeling very peaceful, drifting in the bright sun of a southern hemisphere summer day...

3:30pm Sun has disappeared behind a cloud layer and wind has increased to a little and backed very slightly to NNE.
Had a good long chat with Uku - nice to find a good frequency and have good propagation so a sensible conversation can be carried out! He's in a S wind just now, so making fair progress.

Waiting for the wind here to back to N at ~15kt - maybe in a few more hours' time - so then we can get underway again and sail E, hopefully.

Getting a few jobs done around the boat. Adjusted the rod-kicker lashing's 'chafe protector' which keeps moving - not happy about that and trying to figure out what I can do.

A problem I noticed yesterday was that one of the genoa car sheaves has broken - could give a big chafe problem. I'm trying to keep the car more upright to stop the genoa sheet (rope!) getting onto that broken side and chafing - a difficult problem to overcome.
Another minor problem, easily overcome but annoying, was that both zipper tags on the storm screen zip broke off on the same day - aluminium is not good in a salty environment and corrodes quickly.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 98. We made 63 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 98 (by daily DMGs): 9,369 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1170 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 740 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 660 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 787 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3007 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-38.79S LONGITUDE: 045-04.70W COURSE: 181T SPEED: 1.2kt
BARO: 1012.5hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Hove to, so as to prevent faster movement to S if sailing

Monday 4:15pm Have to repeat it - SUCCESS!!! The genoa sheets were undone and organised - important to have them ready, to restrain the sail in case the wind got up. Lashings holding genoa down onto the deck were removed - not as difficult as I'd feared, but took a time. What then took a long time, but was vital to get right, was following both the foot and the luff of the sail and making sure they were straightened out, being very twisted. The sail having been doubled and then doubled again, head to foot, in order for it to fit on deck when lashed down, didn't make it easy, nor the fact that it's a big, heavy sail to move about. The foot of the sail was then moved to the port (leeward) side deck, as far as possible - the sail being on the windward deck, just to make things awkward ...!

Next job was to insert the luff bolt-rope at the head of the sail into the foil on the forestay and raise the sail by its halyard, using a mast winch. A pre-feeder was really useful in keeping the loose sail close to the foil as it fed into its groove. Hoisting it took a long time and involved lots of trips between sail and mast, to make sure the sail was free to hoist but also make sure it didn't catch in the wind which had got up more by then. I had to lash it down temporarily a couple of times - no way was I going to let it get anywhere near the water or blow in the wind, out of control! Finlly, once hoisted, it was furled up - without ending back in the sea and with plenty of turns still on the drum! Winching it up got really difficult - the halyard was very tight on the winch but, even so, it didn't seem quite tensioned enough, looking at the sail - I'll check it next time it's unfurled. Took nearly five hours in total with the wind slowly increasing from 10kt to 14kt - just to help things along (!)... I was more than ready for a nap but that had to wait a bit...!

Great to have the sail in place again and available for use!! Dealing with it made good use of the time while hove to today, going nowhere - well, actually having gone backwards and then in a circle.... There's one very 'happy bunny' on board Nereida just now!

6:20pm Tidied up on deck just as light rain started under a very grey sky. The wind is now 20kt from E so the nearby Low must be due N of us as it heads SE. Hopefully, we're far away enough from its centre not to see its very strong winds.

The bad news is that the next Low is only two days later - and is beginning to look too threatening to ignore. I thought I'd be able to head N as the present Low passes on and get far enough away not to be affected by the next Low but there are light winds in between the two systems so not enough wind to help us to escape N.

11pm Raining gently ... and the swell has become a lot more noticeable - we're rocking from side to side all the time and occasionally a wave breaks onto us - not so very big, but noisy! Wind is 22kt from just S of E so Low is just E of directly N of us.

Had an excellent 3-hour sleep so feeling very refreshed. About to have a CupaSoup and then some of my curry before start of Pacific Seafarers Net at 0310Z (= ten minutes after midnight LT !).

Tuesday 5:30am Up to send position/weather report and check on wind - SE 20kt - not too bad...

9:30am Sun is shining, wind is 21kt from SSW - the Low has passed over - time to shake out third reef and get sailing. The next Low is no longer looking threatening - so we can head NE without worry.

11:30am We were underway by 10:20am, running downwind. It took a short time to decide to shake out the 2nd reef also but that might have been premature since the wind from SSW has gone from 17kt to 20-22kt - hopefully, that's a gust and not a sign the wind is inceasing - it's supposed to be getting less...

It did! Flying the genoa was great and definitely helped our speed, especially when the wind died later.
Lovely sunshine and a clear blue sky - pressure's up - probably meaning wind will stay down for a bit.

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 97. Drifting, hove-to again for quite a lot of the time... We made just 33 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 97 (by daily DMGs): 9,306 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1125 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 695 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 660 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 745 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3060 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-51.54S LONGITUDE: 046-29.14W COURSE: 082T SPEED: 4.5kt
BARO: 1004.8hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Underway. Sunny in between clouds

Sunday - sunset was around 8pm local time (GMT-3hr) and I'd decided that we'd heave to around then - always better to have daylight, if possible. Lines get caught or tangled and other problems too often arise when working in the dark, even with a good headlamp. We were within 10 miles of the WP I'd been aiming for, but the wind had really got up - it had been NW 24kt for a few hours and, having finally shaken out the third reef in the light winds a while back, we were making good speed - but seas had also increased and got rougher, of course.

I was due on 14160kHz around that time - a regular schedule with excellent propagation and very little noise just now - but I made that very brief with just a few 73s exchanged - I needed to get on deck - dealing with the boat must have priority!

Once hove to, it was still extremely rough with the seas trying to throw us around - but Nereida has plenty of handholds for those conditions, so it's not too difficult to stay safe. There's usually also a warning 'lifting up' of the boat as we rise on a big wave before the strong heeling occurs as we come down on the far side. We had plenty of rocking and rolling...!

It was very nice to have my curry ready and waiting just to warm up - no effort needed in the galley while we were being tossed around - great!

Another radio schedule on 7160 later on - getting quite a few 'regulars' on frequency which is very nice - from USA, Canada, Switzerland, S.Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay...more recently, Brazil and even Germany and UK occasionally (mobile - "Coming along the M4," Rob, M0KPD, said last night... I know it well!)

Monday 11am Woke earlier to a quite different scene - we've been drifting around almost in a circle, the wind and seas are far less and I'm even thinking about the genoa - if these conditions continue, maybe I can deal with that. I'll check the weather files I downloaded around dawn - I'm up at 5am daily to do that while 40m radio propagation is still good and fresh weather files (gribs) are available. I need to see if winds are expected to increase soon because once I've spent quite a time removing all the many lashings holding the sail onto the deck, I'm committed to hoisting it and, in even a very light wind, that could get difficult by myself. Having a coffee while I visualise all the steps I need to take - must make sure I'm prepared and do everything correctly.

4:15pm SUCCESS!!! Genoa unlashed, off the deck, untwisted(!), hoisted on to the forestay foil and furled up - without ending back in the sea and with plenty of furling line turns still on the drum! Has taken nearly five hours in total with wind slowly increasing from 10kt to 14kt just to help things along(!)... I'm more than ready for a nap - I'm exhausted!
Winching it up got really difficult - the halyard is very tight but, even so, it didn't seem quite tensioned enough - I'll check it next time it's unfurled. Great to have it in place again and available for use!! A bit of tidying up of lines still to do. Made good use of time while hove to today, going nowhere and actually having gone backwards.... One very 'happy bunny' on board Nereida just now!


1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 96. Drifting, hove-to, again for quite a lot of the time... We made just 27 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 96 (by daily DMGs): 9,223 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1093 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 662 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 678 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 760 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3060 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/07 19:15GMT LATITUDE: 43-24.06S LONGITUDE: 046-35.10W COURSE: 151T SPEED: 0.4kt
BARO: 1004.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 17.0C
COMMENT: Just finished hoisting (and furling) GENOA - YIPPEE!!!!! Hove to still

Saturday 2:15pm Heaved to after weather warning received - if continued on course, the Low coming by on Tuesday would be right on top of us - with gusts around 45kt expected, so better to keep away.
Decided to wait overnight and see if forecast any better in the morning - really hoping not to have to move SW to keep safe but....

Made a nice curry to compensate for lack of progress - beef and spinach balti with basmati rice... Nice!

Sunday 6:30am Was up just after dawn - a lovely sunny morning. Seas have been well up overnight with the increased wind.
Weather news unchanged - so, regretfully, decided to 'retreat' a distance to the SW. With wind from NW at 24kt couldn't make hoped-for course but making as best as we can - 240T. Will heave to before sunset.
Back to my bunk for more sleep...

11am Sun still shining brightly but becoming overcast, wind increased to ~26kt, definitely feeling warmer. Close-hauled, so fell off the wind very slightly to give better speed - wind has backed a little more to W, althouh still from nearly NW. Seas well up and throwing us around on a regular basis.

Feeling a bit gutted to have to be doing this yet again - I really thought we were finally 'escaping' this region of persistent strong Lows to get to above 40S. I expected to have been making a beeline for Africa soon after rounding Cape Horn - as in my last trip this way, when that took under 4 weeks in total.. We're presently retracing our path from yesterday!

3.30pm Lovely to chat to Uku ('One and All') again - I'd forgotten he has a food problem - he needs to finish before his supplies run out! He had no wind this morning (lowered his main) but has light wind now so slowly sailing. I could only hear Mark ('Maverick') faintly in there but Uku relayed - he had good copy on Mark who is now within 500 miles of Jean-Luc and two days from the Cape Verdes - GO MARK, GO!! He's done amazingly well to make up so much of a deficit before the Horn and has been lucky with conditions in the Doldrums - you never know what you're going to get there!

My vivid memory of heading S through that area just S of the Cape Verdes in 2009 was of lightning bolts falling into the sea around Nereida overnight - not at all pleasant, waiting for us to be struck... (we weren't...TG)!


Photos of Nereida goose-winged and a Peale's dolphin - looks like dolphins seen last week (thanks, aggie!)

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 95. We made 50 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position. ... but heading backwards...grrr!!!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 95 (by daily DMGs): 9,246 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1112 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 690 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 665 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 765 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3048 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-03.30S LONGITUDE: 046-10.77W COURSE: 220T SPEED: 4.3kt
BARO: 1004.5hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Heading SW to avoid strong weather on Tuesday...

Friday 9:30pm Lovely starry night sky - Milky Way strewn across the sky and Southern Cross clear to view... Remaining pink-orange light of sunset low in West sky, along with some distant, dark clouds.

Finished gybing onto port tack and staysail is poled out - we're goose-winged (wing-on-wing) again, ready for overnight. Wind is 16-19 kt and we're sailing smoothly downwind at nearly 6kt.

Added some potato to the last of the ham and split pea soup to bulk it up nicely - enjoying it as I write this...

Will need to keep an eye on our course and adjust Fred from time to time - wind is forecast to veer a little overnight and end up from NW by Saturday evening as a High pressure system develops to our N and expands to the E over Saturday.

10:45pm Wind has died down to 12 kt - we've slowed to just 4.6 kt.

Later: Had a great radio session just after midnight on 7160kHz (0330GMT onward) Made new contacts in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil - to add to ones in Canada and USA. I really enjoy making these contacts with the countries I'm passing, just a few hundred miles away and several have come up regularly to send their greetings, which is really nice of them. Brings a smile!

Saturday 8:30am First reef line problem dealt with...! I'm more than ready for a quick breakfast and some sleep!

I've been up since 4am, downloading weather files, while propagation was good, and making a brief contact with Ian, VK3MO, wh0 gave me Uku's position and agreed to pass on a message to him, with Peter, ZL1PWM, acting as a relay between us.

Peter had already told me that my best chance of dealing with my first reef line problem was this morning, since that was when wind and seas would be least ... That was necessary since I had to perch high up in the cockpit to access the boom end (having centred the boom) to try to place a block there and tie in the new reef line around the boom, onto the block and then onto the sail's reefing point.

The swell was not too bad, although I had to make sure I was totally secure at all times, ready for the occasional big wave that came along, causing a lot of rolling around...

I placed a block at the boom end, a shackle was used to act as a guide halfway along the boom and another block was placed at the boom forward end, leading the line down to a mast foot block from where it leads back with the other reef lines to a clutch at the cockpit.

I had to take away from their clutches and leads both the sail outhaul and the pole downhaul lines, to make the necessary leads and clutch available for this extra reef line, so they had to be re-routed and tidied away also.

The line I've used is good and strong and very long. A small bit of line showing a chafed section at one end has been cut away. So the only difference from before is that the line is outside the boom and the luff and leech reef lines are separated - back to good, basic, reliable twin-line reefing!

When I first got the boat, I insisted that reef hooks and jammers at the for'd boom end were provided in case of need, so I could revert to simple slab reefing if the single-line reefing system should fail - here I am making use of one of those jammers for the sail outhaul.

I could have dispensed with the luff reef line and hooked the reef cringle in place, instead - but I prefer to lead all reef lines back to the cockpit to avoid having to go forward to reef in rough conditions. However, the option to reef at the mast, using the mast winches if necessary, is still there.

10:45am I've cleared up, had breakfast and I'm enjoying some fresh coffee before heading to my bunk. Wind was just W 8kt while I was working earlier but it has slowly increased - now 12kt - and is veering, so Fred needs adjusting every so often to keep us on course.

The sky had been clear but scattered cumulus is now spreading over from the W

- the direction the frequent Lows always come from. One is expected to develop on our path during Tuesday (8th). I can't get N of it to avoid it so I'm hoping the winds won't be too strong - they're presently expected to average just under 30kt, so likely to have gusts over that.

11:30am Wind almost NW 11-12kt - adjusted Fred for a beam reach - small, dark, white-rumped, Black-bellied storm petrel danced over the water astern very close by (poor thing - what a name!)

Bright blue sky - just one or two, tiny, fluffy white clouds... Ambling along at 4kt - a genoa would be handy. .... We'll be paying for this slow speed later, when the Low reaches us on Tuesday, but it's very pleasant, although the swell has never really laid down completely, so occasionally we're still rolling around - but nothing too violent. Feel really pleased to have solved the first reef problem. Back to my bunk - after adjusting Fred again - wind has veered a touch more and down to 10kt.

2pm What a beautiful day! As so often happens when the wind and seas calm down, the birds disappear. I visualise them, sitting on the surface in sociable groups somewhere in the vastness of this ocean, chatting to each other...! Under the vivid blue sky, it's become so warm, at 18C/64F, I've had to discard my fleece tops for ahort while - summer has arrived!

Wind is 12-14kt but from NNW. I've adjusted Fred so we're a little more close-hauled but don't want to cut down our speed much more..

3pm Wind is now up at NNW 18kt, so we're making better speed. Expecting 20+ knots by this evening. A small flock of prions have appeared, now the wind has increased and the sea surface is no longer so smooth.

Tried to contact Uku on the radio - but I seemed to hear Mark's voice on frequency - frustratingly, could only hear someone in the distance - impossible to make out their words... Will try again tonight

As I took down the staysail pole, which I'd left up in case needed, I noticed that my 'chafe protector' on the rod-kicker lashings had moved and was no longer protecting the line from the roughened trysail track edges. Got a hammer and managed to get it back into position - but clearly that's something to keep a constant eye on - it's all moving too much as the boom moves and I'll have to see if there's some (easy) way to stop that happening.

While things were relatively calm, took up the cockpit washboard and cleaned the scuppers' drain hole covers - amazing how quickly they get clogged up with fluff and that would stop water draining away - not good!

4pm Just heaved to - yet again... The latest updated weather info is showing the Low forming to the NW is expected to develop worse than forecast before - so waiting, stopped by weather warning, to decide what will be the best course of action...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 94. We made 111 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 93 (by daily DMGs): 9,196 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1170 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 740 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 624 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 772 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3019 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 42-30.90S LONGITUDE: 045-19.64W COURSE: 040T SPEED: 5.2kt


BARO: 1009.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C

COMMENT: Bright sun. Heaved to at 1915Z - weather warning...

Thursday Strong winds and big seas throwing us around over afternoon and evening - to 30 kts, later reducing to 20-25kt, but then up again overnight into Friday around dawn.
Beautiful clear star-filled night sky early on was replaced later with cloud as new Low passing close by affects our weather.

4am Wind veered and increased to NW 30-32kt with rain... Lasted for quite a time before eventually down to 27-29kt, with occasional gusts, backing to WNW

10am Wind has backed further - had to trim sails and adjust Fred for broad reach. Really having to be careful moving around down below with the seas coming every 8 seconds or so. We suddenly lift and then heel one way and then the other - the rocking motion can be quite fast and violent at times and is a real test of whether or not things are well secured...

Midday Wind now around 20kt from WSW and seas still impressively big at around 5m/16ft but heading downwind always feel so much better and smoother than the rough and tumble of beating upwind as we were earlier - that was really not pleasant but all feels good now. The sun is even getting out again in between the big white clouds.

2.30pm ....So there I was, sipping a late morning coffee,trying to figure out where certain downloaded grib files are stored on my computer, feeling slightly guilty that I should have shaken out the third reef some time ago, with wind having generally eased to just under 20kt, when I realised we were speeding along at around 6.5kt - in wind of almost 30kt that had suddenly appeared from nowhere - well, maybe from a big grey cloud, well off to starboard...? A quick rethink... maybe we'll leave it in a bit longer!!! But gybing on to starboard is getting urgent - we're struggling to make NNE whereas NE would be good...must get on deck and not leave that any longer...

Having just finished my coffee, I noticed a lot of dried milk powder paste in the bottom of the mug. Clearly, the skimmed milk powder I'm using for tea and coffee instead of the equivalent UHT milk (liquid, long-life) I normally use, stowed for this trip in an effort to reduce weight on board, does not work as well as the Nestle milk powder that I just ran out of and got in Mexico. That might not be 100% milk powder but it dissolved far better and tasted fine... Oh well...!

3:45pm Lovely being in the cockpit in bright sunshine, watching the birds wheel around us close to the waves - not many, but the usual ones - a Black-browed albatross with its distinctive bright yellow bill, Antarctic prions with their dark 'collar', Gt shearwater - brown on top and mainly white below with distinctive black and white head markings, a dark white-chinned petrel. Of course, very difficult trying to get decent photos and as soon as I started to go down below, a Great shearwater came really close...grrr!!

Wind is dying down - that 3rd reef has to come out...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 93. We made 137 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT position. Good speed in strong winds overnight until mid-morning.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 93 (by daily DMGs): 9,085 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 1062 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 630 n.ml. to SW; Montevideo: 670 n.ml to NW; Buenos Aires: 750 n.ml to NW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3084 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 43-41.14S LONGITUDE: 047-16.93W COURSE: 050T SPEED: 5.1kt
BARO: 1001.5hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 17.0C SEA_TEMP: 14.0C
COMMENT: Lovely sunny day, seas still big but lying down. Broad reach.

Wednesday 6:30pm Spotted first reef line had broken again, with sail slatting in the light wind. (Should have replaced it before leaving - hindsight is great, isn't it?!) This time the end of the line is way inside the boom - very difficult to get at while sailing. Reef strop is now essential for using first reef. Will leave in place for when in strong conditions coming up.

Tying in first reef from full sail will now require lowering sail to below first reef position so strop can be attached to leech cringle on sail. Will still have a line at the luff of the sail to use - but need to fix that in place now. Also spotted screw coming undone at boom end - have tightened with Loctite - need to keep an eye on that. Genoa will have to wait...

Still drifting in 3-4 kt of wind on starboard tack - wind presently from NNE or thereabouts...

Raincloud on N horizon... Cloud cover complete..

Later: Have replaced the line attached to reef cringle on luff of sail but have no way, as yet, of holding leech/clew back towards end of boom - working on it.. Fortunately have a strong strop to hold leech of reefed sail down to boom, so long as I can reach to fix it in place through reef cringle, but it needs to be pulled back as well, somehow...

10:30pm It's dark under the cloud cover - no moon visible, although moonlight seen around edges of clouds astern.

Tied in 2nd reef using headlamp - best done while on starboard tack and will be needed later in stronger wind when on port tack - so getting ready well in advance... Wind is building - now from E at 16kt.

Thursday 8:30am Was up 5am to make contact on radio with Ian, VK3MO, and Peter, ZL1PWM, and download latest grib (weather) files - shows we're on safe side of Uku's Low - but he's going to be in the middle of it over the next day with gusts to 50-60kt and seas of 7-8m. He'll be having a tough time and must be getting very tired. I think about what he must be going through constantly and feel sad knowing it was avoidable.

Raining now, with wind of 10kt, veered to SSE from earlier ESE, and seas of 3m or so - we're ambling NNE, waiting for the wind to increase to 20kt or more by early afternoon and then increasing more to 30kt with higher gusts possible for a few hours.

While in light conditions and on starboard tack, I've tied in the 3rd reef to be ready for the stronger winds. Means we'll be a little bit slower in the lighter wind but we're in the 'safe zone' now, with the big Low already to the E of us and heading ESE.

The small Low following directly behind is not looking too bsd and will be developing in the early hours tomorrow and giving winds of 20-30kt, possibly with higher gusts for a short time, as it passes to the E below us. Hoping it will give us wind to get NE and out of this unstable area - I can't wait...!

Time for a short nap before breakfast - I'm short on sleep hours. Can't sleep too long since we'll need to gybe at some point when the wind veers to SW, as forecast.

9:30am Wind has veered to SSW at 9kt. Time to gybe if we're to maintain our course.

Nice sunshine most of the morning - plenty of prions, shearwaters and petrels around.

2:30pm Went up to adjust Fred to bring us closer to the wind. To port and astern ... big grey rainclouds... To starboard and ahead ... the nice blue skies that we've had for the last few hours. Clearly, a change about to happen!

Within minutes, the wind was up to 30kt and we were rushing along under a cloudy, grey sky at 7-8kt - more when surfing slightly on waves which, of course, increase with the wind. We're getting the tail end of Uku's Low! The good news there is I gather he's still OK but having to head East, running with the storm - almost certainly with just a storm jib and no main.

Expect these strong winds to continue for several hours, with a short lull to 20kt before another small Low forms to S of us overnight tonight, probably giving similar conditions for a time in the morning.

4pm Lovely to see how the birds enjoy the stronger winds! Bright sunshine now but winds and seas still well up - no lull as yet...

The bonus of these winds is that we're now making good speed N - the direction that takes us away from all these frequent Lows with their strong, often nasty and dangerous, conditions.. We've had to stop too often and have got to know this part of the S.Atlantic far too well - time to move on...!

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 92. We made 77 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Mainly very light winds until two hours ago...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 92 (by daily DMGs): 8,871+? n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 923 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 494 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 785 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3132 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-34.74S LONGITUDE: 049-04.43W COURSE: 042T SPEED: 7.7kt


BARO: 995.4hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT:Heading NE to get N away from all-too-frequent storms!

Tuesday 4:30am Still hove-to in WSW 16kt wind. Awoke to an alarm, to try to make contact with Uku via Ian, VK3MO, who was due to read Uku his NOAA weather report for the S. Atlantic at that time. Heard Ian reading out the weather, but not sure if Uku was on frequency. Heard Bob, VP8LP talking to Mark, but unreadable - too light a signal...
Checked emails and gribs. Had message from Peter, ZL1PWM, that would be good to get underway now and head N as fast as possible to get clear of Low following on behind present big Low system - now safely heading E-SE out of our path but almost certain to cause Uku a big problem still, with 50kt winds, gusting higher, very likely on his present path. Hope he gets through OK - another bad experience for him.
Got underway as soon as possible, after shaking out reefs, and enjoyed a good sail for several hours in WSW wind up to 20kt

Realised yesterday that we're into a new time zone. Having passed East of 52 30'W, we're now in Greenland time = Z-3hr = Falklands time (they keep perpetual 'summertime' all year round) and Buenos Aires summertime.
Getting closer to the Greenwich Meridian and GMT ...
Also, Magnetic variation is now 7 degrees W - so need to subtract 7 degrees now from compass readings to get True readings. ("East is least, West is best", I was taught, to help remember when looking at the compass readings)

11:30 am Enjoying the sunshine as we sail smoothly in lessening seas ... and also, unfortunately, lessening wind - now W-WSW at 12kt, down from the WSW 15kt of a couple of hours ago and forecast to get even lighter by this evening and into tomorrow.
Bonus is ....coffeepot is on again!

2pm Struggling to keep on going and on course in 5-7kt of wind under a bright blue sky - such a different scene from the grey sky and mountainous seas in the frequently stormy weather this same area must see....
A small flock of prions is busy nearby, and one or two(?) Great Shearwaters seem to have adopted us - have frequently seen one circling around for the last few days. As I came up on deck to start getting us underway this morning, a Wandering albatross came by - such huge but graceful birds!

Busy making some more split pea soup, in between adjusting Fred as the wind varies. Also plan to make another beef and spinach curry - the last one was excellent. Adding potato, surprisingly, to my mind, works well also.

4pm We're drifting in 3-4kt of highly variable wind, making 1.2 kt NE under a very cloudy sky.
Debating the genoa hoist possibility. Would be nice to have the use of it but still feel very trepidatious about starting on that - it's a long job with several possible pitfalls and, once started, needs to be completed all in one go...

1900GMT (=1600LT) - end of Day 91. We made 52 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 91 (by daily DMGs): 8,871 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 847 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 423 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 825 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3143 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/02 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-45.36S LONGITUDE: 049-46.64W COURSE: 030T SPEED: 1.3kt
BARO: 1006.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in 3-4kt variable wind....

Monday Had quite an enjoyable New Year's Eve - the sky was totally clear all afternoon and so sunset was lovely, with wind and seas not too great.

Made lots of contacts on radio, so lots of New Year greetings exchanged, and being hove to made for a relaxed atmosphere on board to enjoy a little celebration.

Tuesday Was woken just before 7am by F7 winds from NW. Then I had a message to say that the nasty Low forming soon seemed to be expected slightly further S than previously forecast so it would be a good idea to move Nereida more to the SW so as not to be at risk from being too close. I was really pleased I'd taken the time to tie in the 2nd and 3rd reefs on heaving to yesterday, expecting stronger winds to arrive!

9am With winds forecast to back from NW to WSW, I had soon realised that, in order to head SW, there was no alternative but to move now! It was blowing around 30-32kt with total cloud cover and seas were 6m or so - pretty steep, rather close and often washing the decks - I got a dousing fairly soon! There was a flash of lightning and thunder - that worried me but I was relieved not to see or hear any more. So, we're now underway and have been sailing in big seas and 30kt winds ever since.

By midday, the wind had duly backed from NW to W so our course changed accordingly - we were as close-hauled as possible, trying to head SW and making 4-5 kt.

3pm The sun was out again and the sky had cleared but the wind and seas were still well up. Wind had been from WSW for a time and our course was finally becoming just E of due S so I felt we should stop rather than heading on any further. So we heaved to yet again - it's becoming a familiar routine...!

Seeing our drift was about 1.5kt to the SE, I then changed tack to drift, I hoped, to NW. As it turned out, we drifted more to the N, even just E of N, but only at 0.9kt so that was acceptable. Seas remained high all day long, so the boat was rocked quite violently at times, with seas washing the decks regularly, as we came off the top of one wave and heeled over into the trough before the next.

I'd had no breakfast as yet, so I was more than ready to settle down and catch up, both on sleep and food - writing up my log report would have to wait a bit - I was very tired after a late New Year's Eve...!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 90. We made 41 n.ml. DMG over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions... we'd gone back on part of our previous day's track!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 90 (by daily DMGs): 8,819 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 815 n.ml. to SW; Falklands: 383 n.ml. to SW; Buenos Aires: 857 n.ml to NNW Cape Agulhas (SA): 3145 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2019/01/01 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 47-35.74S LONGITUDE: 050-07.71W COURSE: 015T SPEED: 0.7kt
BARO: 1001.3hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C
COMMENT: Heaved to again - on port tack, after moving a bit more SW.

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