S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 123 Sat-Sun 2-3 Feb 2019 Drifting around in little wind all night, slow progress over the day.

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


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.

Day 122 Fri-Sat 1-2 Feb 2019 Relaxing day after rough weather - little wind

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
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

Day 121 Thurs-Fri 31Jan-1Feb 2019 Into next time zone - GMT now. Winds and seas get big as CF gets close.

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


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

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

Day 120 Wed-Thurs 30-31 Jan 2019 A lovely day's sail - but strong weather tomorrow

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
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

Day 119 Tues-Wed 29-30 Jan 2019 Second night drifting off Gough Island - but wind finally kicks in and we sail away

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.

Day 118 Mon-Tues 28-29 Jan 2019 Gough Island

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
SPEED: 1.0
CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1019.3
COMMENT: Genoa furled in - drifting while working on deck. Birds galore!

Day 117 Sun-Mon 27-28 Jan 2019 Getting close to Gough Island, SSE of Tristan da Cunha

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
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

Day 116 Sat-Sun 26-27 Jan 2019 Spectacled petrel seen , at last! Not far from Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island where they breed

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


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

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

Day 115 Fri-Sat 25-26 Jan 2019 Torn edges of mainsail now taped together - more work needed to reinforce it.

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
BARO: 1032.0hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 18.0C SEA_TEMP: 16.0C
COMMENT: Drifting in high pressure & almost no wind from SE...

Day 114 Thurs-Fri 24-25 Jan 2019 Fog finally disperses to give mix of sun and clouds

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
BARO: 1025.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 18.0C
COMMENT: Sunny day with plenty of cloud - some grey.

Day 113 Wed-Thurs 23-24 Jan 2019 Foggy, wet .... Drifted in no wind overnight

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
BARO: 1011.8hPa TREND: - AIR_TEMP: 20.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Fog has come down again. Wind shifty and light all day

Day 112 Tues-Wed 22-23 Jan 2019 Rainy and grey but good wind overnight

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.

Day 111 Mon-Tues 21-22 Jan 2019 Low to S gives wind and rain. Passed into new time zone - now GMT-1hr

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


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

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

Day 110 Sun-Mon 20-21 Jan 2019 Total lunar eclipse overnight - an orange was hanging in the sky!

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


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

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

Day 109 Sat-Sun 19-20 Jan 2019 Damaged mainsail lowered

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.

Day 108 Fri-Sat 18-19 Jan 2019 Ambling downwind in hazy sunshine

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

Day 107 Thurs-Fri 17-18 Jan 2019 Good progress East - at last!

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

Day 106 Wed-Thurs 16-17 Jan 2019 Strong overnight wind - mainsail torn

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

Day 105 Tues-Wed 15-16 Jan 2019 Expecting Low, quickly followed by Cold Front, to come through - strong coditions on both...

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

Day 104 Mon-Tues 14-15 Jan 2019 We end up drifting in no wind - again....

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.