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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 80 Fri-Sat 21-22 Dec 2018 Another night becalmed and drifting south .... Grrr!!! Visit from RAF Falklands.

Friday 4.30pm Soon after hoping not to have to gybe around, the wind backed more - so gybing was needed to keep our ENE course, passing S of the Falklands and N of Burdwood Bank.
Wind has died right down but the swell is really big - a good 4.5m/15ft, sometimes more. A preventer on the boom is essential in these conditions - but it adds to the time taken to gybe around.
A grey, totally cloudy sky - looks quite rainy but none as yet. Lots of birds - one Wandering albatross glided by and a lot of smaller birds are flitting about near the surface.

7pm The wind died completely and we are drifting around - just like last night -around sunset also.
Eventually, I noticed we were sailing in a straight line at 1.5-2kt - but due W! The wind had gone into the N. Had to gybe around and we're presently making almost no speed close-hauled - but at least we're making way in the right direction now. I hope the wind will come up soon, preferably not too strong... The forecast was for around 20kt from W this evening and around midnight.
Have a problem with Fred - a vital piece seems too loose - something is definitely wrong.

9pm We're still drifting - but no longer ENE - heading SSE instead - very frustrating!

10pm Gybed around to see what course we can make - SW! Boat is pointing NNW - N and drifting SW at 0.5kt - no matter what the boat's heading...

Saturday 1:40am Tried gybing around again - not sure that this is any better - drifting SE at 1-1.5kt with boat pointing NE - must be a SE-going current this way. Making Easting but also going S at a rate of knots... So very frustrating still....

4am Daylight. Wind has finally come up a bit from NNW - nice to be making our course, even if slowly - 4-4.5kt.
Tried to fix Hydrovane ('Fred') but seems a grub/set screw has gone missing from the vane adjuster - working just now but not sure for how long or how to deal with the problem - in contact with John Curry - always very helpful.

Back to my bunk for more sleep - must make sure I get plenty each day - have not been getting enough recently but must prioritize it.

10am Wind up nicely now from NNW at 15kt, maybe. Still have no wind display but we're making 5.6-6kt with wind just for'd of the beam - almost beam reaching. Seas are still very slight - only 1.5m/4-5ft. Sky is full of grey cloud but brighter than earlier.
Bob, VP8LP, has commented that the Falklands are expecting rain on Christmas Day - a present they badly need, in fact! The 'camps' (enormous fields of sparse grass where sheep graze) are very dry and brown now, in midsummer. I met Bob and explored E.Falkland a bit when I stopped in Stanley, in the Falklands, on my way from Ushuaia, in March 2011 - fascinating, very British(!), place with plenty of penguins to see - I saw Kings, Magellanic and Gentoo, with their moulting young, at the Volunteer Pt reserve.

11:30am Group of three storm petrels - all dark with white band on rump/top of tail close to water just astern - using our disturbed water to look for food?

Midday Wonderful! Got very excited to make contact with the Falklands! Just had a long chat with the crew on the RAF plane that flew low overhead, checking out the boat as part of a regular patrol of boats in and near Falklands waters.
They took photos and said they'd try to get them to me - I pointed them to my website and suggested sending to my website manager, Mike... That would be just great!

12:45pm It's so nice being in the cockpit watching the birds around - Wandering and Black-browed albatross soaring, Antarctic prions circling around, storm petrels dancing on the sea surface, white-chinned petrels zooming by - the usual crowd!! But it's so cold, especially in the wind. I've taken, and deleted, so many photos ... the birds always come really close when I'm not ready for the shot!
wind slowly backing - having to adjust Fred at regular intervals - but still very pleasant sailing with seas well down - 1.5-2m - we're just bouncing along on a broad reach now at around 6kt with 2 reefs in main and full staysail.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 80. We made just 70 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. More drifting in no wind overnight again - takes our daily distance run way down.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 80 (by daily DMGs): 8,154 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 308 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falklands: 120 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-24.26S LONGITUDE: 059-33.93W COURSE: 075T SPEED: 5.7kt
BARO: 990.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Still passing N of Burdwood Bank, S of Falklands - 60ml off

Day 79 Thurs-Fri 20-21 Dec 2018 A mix of light winds, headwinds and good wind on the way to the Falklands

Friend Steve Pointon was 'Walking for the Wounded' today (Friday) - 26 miles from work to home. Hope you managed the walk OK with no big blisters this time, Steve, but plenty collected for wounded veterans! Well done!

Thursday 4:30pm A lovely sunny day following on from the big 'blow' just before 2pm - a lot of blue sky around with broken cirrus up above. Feels very quiet and serene, bouncing along gently for a change, in calm seas now.

Later: Wind died away totally - we just drifted around under a blue sky with birds for company, unable to steer in any given direction and with sails doing nothing except slat...
Gybed several times in an attempt to get us moving as the almost non-existent wind shifted around - to no avail... Very frustrating! Was later told it looked as though Fred was having a party!

Lovely sunset .... and a slight wind came up - but from the NE - exactly our planned heading.
I tried heading each possible way - either we could head W or SSE - neither were good. "... that was a nice looking triangle you drew on the Aurora tracker today. What was happening ?", a friend asked later.

By midnight, we were heading roughly on course, tight to the wind making aroud 2-3kt.

Friday 4am Up for radio with Ian, VK3MO, in Melbourne and Bob, VP8LP, in the Falklands who gave Uku his daily weather update for 'One and All' - pretty well the same for 'Nereida', we're still quite close and both now headed NE - or trying to!
NW wind had got up so we're making 6-7kt - and on course...!

7am Changed course to round Burdwood Bank - very shallow. I'd planned to avoid it in case of strong wind - which we're now getting - so I'm please my route planning has worked out well - it's bumpy enough, just now, without adding to the rough seas by crossing a shoal area for a minimum of 12 hours. Off to my bunk, now we're settled - will need to have a series of naps, in case wind shifts over next few hours.

10.40am Up again to trim mainsail and adjust Fred - mostly wind has been pretty consistent at F5, but has backed from NW to W. A gorgeous, sunny, but cold, day with blue sky above. Lots of smaller birds swooping close to the waves, enjoying the free uplift. 23 miles to my WP to round the shallow bank and start heading more E - keeping S of the Falklands Back to my bunk for another short nap - making up on recent lost sleep.

2pm Blue sky and sunshine disappeared a while back - totally cloudy sky now. Changed course -from NNE to ENE, around Burdwood Bank. Wind is W, although it feels rather lighter than earlier, so we can make our course on a very broad reach without gybing - excellent! Time for a very belated breakfast ... or brunch...?!


1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 79. We made just 88 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Too much drifting in no wind plus headwind...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 79 (by daily DMGs): 8,084 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 246 n.ml. to SW; Stanley, E.Falklands: 174 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-35.23S LONGITUDE: 061-29.32W COURSE: 074T SPEED: 5.2kt
BARO: 992.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Rounding Burdwood Bank to N.Big swell.Cloudy, cold, damp.

Day 78 Wed-Thurs 19-20 Dec 2018 A mix of big wind and no wind. The birds enjoy a strong gust...

Wednesday 6pm A lovely blue sky with just a few whispy clouds. Seas around 4m/13ft so not exactly calm! W wind of most of today has just backed enough to WSW to have to gybe to keep on course.

Debating whether OK to cross the Burdwood Bank or not - if winds and seas not too strong, should be fine. Wind has been less, about 20kt now, perhaps, but will check weather forecast. It's 300 miles from here. Reading the S.America Pilot...

Wind instrument display suddenly came alive with sensible readings - but soon died again.

8:15pm Sun getting low - almost a clear sky still - just some white cloud low in S and W.

Having a problem sending the daily news/blog - took a long time and many attempts. Often the Iridium stellite system struggles to make, and keep, connections.

Thursday 12.30am = 8.30pm PST - party time in Victoria! Lovely to speak to my friends at RVYC having a celebration of my Cape rounding! Although middle of the night here, the sky was not dark - more twilight with a bright moon shining every now and then through gaps in the thin, broken cloud layer - and a line of light along the southern horizon in between the cloud layer there. I had a 'Dark and Stormy - Nereida version' ready to share a drink with the party - and again, just afterwards, with my Gibsons friends. It felt good to be celebrating!

4am Spoke to Bob, VP8LP, in the Falklands. He gave both Uku and myself a weather forecast for the next two days - basically no wind over the day today until much later or maybe this evening. 14-19kt WNW then, easing by midnight and on into morning but becoming strong by midday (W 21-29kt) tomorrow, as rain comes in possibly, easing by evening and dying away again by midnight tomorrow to 6-11kt from WNW.

Mark was also on air and heard both Uku and myself talking to Bob but not quite well enough for a chat - pity! I hear he's doing well and closing on J-L. Go, Mark!!

8am A lovely sunny day, making just 2.5kt in not much wind. A pair of Black-browed albatross and a white-chinned petrel keep circling the boat - sometimes close to - and a small dark storm petrel, Leach's or similar, with white band on its rump, is flitting around close to the water

My wind instrument has come alive and is saying there's 10kt of wind from 035T. I can believe the 10kt, since I just gybed the main and got us moving in the light wind, but we're making NNE - so the wind can't be from there... maybe it's from E-ENE, since we're very close-hauled on starboard tack.

I'm having a problem adjusting to sailing north, rather than south... and also having a problem with time - the daylight hours are so long and we've moved through several time zones recently... Uku asked Bob what his local time was - from Bob's answer, it seems that the Falklands keep Summer saving time - his time was one hour ahead of what I expected - but I'm not changing my 'local time' which is presently Atlantic Standard Time (in Canada): GMT-4hr. (52 30'W is longitude of next time zone change)

It's calm enough now for me to have a look at the genoa furler problem - I know it won't be easy but need to get started or it will never be fixed... I'd far rather be in my bunk, getting the rest of last night's sleep!

10am Well, I got out the manual to remind me how furler was put together - drinking some nice fresh coffee. Also had to keep an eye on our sails/course - didn't want to head W of N so we're very close hauled, cutting our speed. Sky is very overcast - looks like rain coming in.

Chocolate brown juvenile albatross is circling around with its parents - Black-browed albatrosses, mainly white body and head, with distinctive mark over the eyes, dark wings & upper body between and black-edged, well-marked underwings - a colony of them breed in the many islands around Cape Horn. Not as large as the Wandering or Royal albatrosses but still impressive as they glide around - rarely flapping their wings.

10.30am Foggy! Adjusted Fred off the wind more - speed up to 3.6kt but had no choice but to accept heading due N. Must keep an eye out that wind doesn't back further to send us NW.

Seeing a boat 'Under Way Sailing' on AIS scteen, just 13 miles away to NE, headed W making just 2.7kt - the "Tai An", fishing.

Midday Wind was taking us W of N - has clearly backed. Tried to tack around - not enough boat speed - so gybed around (always works!) Now close hauled on port tack, making over 5 kt in increased wind. Not quite making our course yet - but wind will possibly back some more soon.

1.30pm Wow! From drifting off course in no wind - suddenly the wind got up ... and up ... and up. We ended up speeding along at 8kt or more for quite a time! wind must have been well over 30kt for some time. Birds appeared in large numbers and were clearly excited by the strong wind - swooping around in small groups, often very close to Nereida. I was thrilled to see a Cape petrel among them - distinctive in its splattered black-and-white plumage. The first time I ever saw one was approaching New Zealand for the first time, at the end of a Tasman Sea crossing. There were lots of different albatross and petrels (but, interestingly, no prions).

Finally the wind started easing and slowly died down - to about 10kt or less giving boat speed of 3.5kt. We're now ambling along at 5kt in seas that are unusually calm.

After the wind had died down, many of the birds took a rest on the water - often in groups. A juvenile albatross had both parents with it. Quite an exciting event altogether...

Took lots of photos - but having a problem downloading them to post here - another project to work on now....

Will post some when I can.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 78. We made 89 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 78 (by daily DMGs): 7,996 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): Cape Horn LH: 160 n.ml. to SW; Staten Island: 26 n.ml. to WSW; Stanley, E.Falkland: 258 n.ml. to NE

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

TIME: 2018/12/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-43.48S LONGITUDE: 063-05.20W COURSE: 036T SPEED: 5.0kt


BARO: 993.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C

COMMENT: BIG gust under cloud - SOG 8kt for a time, until died down.Birds galore!;

Day 77 Tues-Wed 18-19 Dec 2018 0243Z - Cape Horn passed, at last! Now for Good Hope...

Tuesday 4pm Finished speaking to radio friends on 17m a short while ago - was great to hear Tom, N5TW - a continuing help to me on making good contact via Winlink for many of my emails and weather downloads. Many thanks, Tom!
I should also take the opportunity to thank, once again, Luis Soltero for loaning the use of the Aurora/Redport terminal with its Iridium connection giving GPS tracker and phone connection, as well as an email facility - enabling sending of photos with my daily reports. I've been making good use of both systems while on passage.

The sun is shining after a brief shower and I'm feeling very happy - a major problem I was convinced I had several hours ago has vanished into thin air! It looked as though a mast-climb was unavoidable... The mainsail seemed to have become entangled somehow at the first spreader - I thought the main halyard and third reef line, being both looser than they should, together with being on almost a dead run most of the time recently, were the cause of the problem, together with the strong winds and the tossing about of the boat by the angry seas over the last few days. It seemed I'd have to climb the mast and reach out to the end of the first spreader to cut the sail away where I thought it was trapped and damaged - I couldn't see us gybing after Cape Horn, as we'd need to, without the sail tearing if I didn't cut it free beforehand... I got into my climbing gear to check it out, also deck harness and gri-gri, thinking to plan well ahead of the calm conditions hoped for near the Cape ... Then went on deck to trim the staysail for a beam reach - the main had freed itself in the SSW wind and was looking fine... What a reprieve!!!

Having tea with chocolate brownies to celebrate - and then organising a nice meal in the present slightly calmer seas - still the occasional big one coming by to test my handholds...

8:30pm Went to let out 3rd reef in the far lighter, very pleasant, conditions - spotted the lazy running backstay block lying on the side deck with no shackle there to hold it in place... Without it, we couldn't change tack since the running backstay is a strong line that helps support the mast when the staysail is in use - which it is all the time now that the genoa cannot be used. Had to deal with that immediately - searched my spares and found three possible shackles - two of the pins were just a tad too big but the third fitted fine - I've 'moused' the pin in place. I'm sure I 'moused' all the shasckles on deck so I'm surprised this happened... Maybe I missed one or two? I'll be checking tomorrow in good light. Had just enough light around sunset to see well enough.

Took a photo of the group of islands ahead that include Isla Hornos - light is fading and I wanted a record of something close to the big event!

Wednesday 12.30am Cape Horn light seen flashing on the grey 'mound' that is Cape Horn on Isla Hornos - 9 miles off to NE. Seas have got up a bit with increased wind - appropriate, I feel!
Moon shining brightly between a few clouds. Still a lot of light in the western sky.
Can't relax until well past the Cape...
Thanks to so many of you who have sent good wishes for a safe passage past Cape Horn.

2:43am AST Wonderful to be passing the Cape finally! Unbelievably at this hour, there was a lot of light around - it never really got dark and now, well before dawn, the Cape was clear to see, with its white flashing light low down. Took lots of photos in hope that one or two might turn out well. Wind and seas suddenly got up, as I'd been warned they would, and we were making good speed at the time of passing. The wind was cold but that didn't matter, the moon was shining between clouds - there was even an early albatross flying by... The whole setting was exhilarating...

2.45am Took a long time gybing around in big seas after passing the Cape. Caught sight of a sailing boat approaching unexpectedly - hsd to change course to avoid it! Wondered if it was 'One and All' - but Uku had passed the Cape a few hours earlier - close to, I was amused to see. (He'd claimed he wasn't interested in passing near the Cape but I'd pointed out that his friends would like to see photos, if possible - so he clearly dcided to get close - probably having reasonable light, not the darkness he'd expected, helped his decision.) Wind was well up at 25-30kt so I had to reef down again before gybing... Lots to do! Very ready for some sleep...

Wednesday 2pm LT (=GMT-4hr) - into the next time zone - actually crossed into Canadian Atlantic zone (GMT-4) on passing 67 30'W - just before Cape Horn which is at just over 67 15'W (67 15.245W to be precise!).

Now making for E of Staten Island (Isla Estados) and will then head W of the shallow Burdwood Bank - with big swells expected, somewhere to keep clear of. I'm hoping not to get too much swell inshore of it. Then S of the Falklands, past E. Falkland, heading finally NE, aiming to get further from and on the N side of the many strong weather systems down here.

Greetings to the Royal Victoria Y.C. members gathering this evening to celebrate my Cape Horn rounding - I'm honoured that you should do so and will be with you in spirit - I'm hoping to join you in a celebratory 'Dark and Stormy'!!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 77. We made 133 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 77 (by daily DMGs): 7,907 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900Z): from Cape Horn LH: 72 n.ml.; to Staten Island: 68 n.ml.; to E of Stanley, E.Falklands: 298 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 55-32.50S LONGITUDE: 065-15.66W COURSE: 063T SPEED: 5.7kt
BARO: 1004.3hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 9.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Heading to E of Staten Isl. Seas up again in stronger wind than y'day.

Day 76 Mon-Tues 17-18 Dec 2018 Rough going again - wind display gives up the ghost.

Monday 5pm Wind is back up to 30kt - glad the third reef is still in place!
Finished chatting on radio and made a nice mug of hot soup - a big wave came along and half the soup went all over the stove top - so not only did I have half what I had looked forward to - but I then had the job of cleaning up the mess in these rough conditions... with galley sink seacock closed, of course, just to help matters along. Plastic kitchen bowl, emptied into head, and seawater (from dedicated pump) for rinsing the sponge used, to the rescue....
The fact that I'd been needing to clean the stove top anyway is neither here nor there... but at least that job got done at the same time - looks good again!
Bumstrap is an essential in the galley just now - difficult to do anything safely for any length of time without it.

While on the radio, I asked Jim, WB2REM, to place Nereida's position on Google Earth to see if we were on the continental shelf yet - seems we're not, but quite close - which would also partly explain the wave action - they pile up at the edge of the shelf as they head inshore so maybe that's adding to our swell. He said we're running parallel to the edge of it just now. Propagation today on 17m was excellent and several of us were able to have a decent conversation for quite a time - unlike some days.

It has been raining a lot today - grey overcast all day long... Why does the sky look miserable when it's rainy grey but the prions look so pretty in their grey and white plumage ?

Back to the galley - need to have some decent food tonight - last night's choice (a dehydrated meal) is definitely not to be repeated.

7.30pm Wind 30kt, gusting up to 35kt now

Tuesday 6am Presently, 115 miles from Cape Horn. It got very 'boisterous' at times overnight - I understand my tracker might be playing up after a particularly energetic 'wave event' - several have tossed us around vigorously.
Another victim was the wind transducer at the mast top. After wind from W at 30-35kt, gusting to 38kt around midnight, by 1am, I noticed the display was not behaving well and by 2am it had gone completely - a series of dashes on the wind display is all that there is to be seen now - damn!!!! It's very useful to see the wind angle to the boat when nearly dead downwind as we have been for the last few days and it's nice to know the wind speed and direction at a glance from down below.

I've been sent Uku's position ('One & All') at 0400Z and 0800Z today and see that he crossed ahead of us overnight - he's now to starboard of us, roughly ten miles to our S-SE.

Wind feels as though it has eased a bit. We've just crossed over onto the continental shelf where the depths rise up dramatically from thousands of metres to just hundreds.

7am Three Wandering albatross seen soaring gracefully and effortlessly, circling around Nereida under a grey sky. All-white underbody with black underwing tips, no 'splashes' of white on the dark wings but a white upper body in between, extending to just beyond the wing bases. A few prions busily swooping close to the sea and a white-chinned petrel also came gliding by. It's busy out here - breakfast time?

It hardly got dark last night - I've not seen the moon for a time so wonder if it's around full moon so it was lighting up the cloud layer from above? Otherwise, it's simply because we're well south and midsummer is only three days away down here.

Uku commented, during our radio chat yesterday evening, that he'd not seen the sun for several days to get a sight so he's running on dead reckoning. He knows our position and roughly where he is in relation to us which was maybe why he crossed over to get further offshore - there are a few islands ahead, inshore of our path to the Cape.

11:45am Seeing a small grey lump rising from the sea on the horizon off to port - Islas Ildefonso are 9-10 miles off - the reason Uku changed course overnight, no doubt. Wind must still be close to 30kt since we're still making 6kt SOG on a broad reach. One albatross is soaring nearby in the hazy sunlight - clouds are white, not grey, just now, and slightly broken.

2pm Spoke to Uku a short time ago - over VHF - 'One and All' is only 12 miles to our S - friends told him. No sign on my AIS display still.
I re-booted the wind display - readings came back - but total rubbish! No use at all.
Slowed a lot - need to trim sails ... and let out that hard-working third reef?!

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 76. We made 145 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 75 (by daily DMGs): 7,629 7,774 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 62 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 55-58.34S LONGITUDE: 069-07.03W COURSE: 097T SPEED: 4.5kt
BARO: 996.4hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Slowed down in less wind. Some sunshine and scattered cumulus. C.Horn 62ml

Day 75 Sun-Mon 16-17 Dec 2018 True Southern Ocean weather - big seas & big winds - but good speed...

Sunday 6pm Finding the time of day thoroughly confusing - it feels quite early but it's well gone tea-time! Next time zone change is on passing 67.5W - just before reaching Cape Horn.

Sunset is late and sunrise is very early - nearly at midsummer here, so nights are short.

Wind keeps gusting up to mid-thirties - so boat speed is up around 6.5-7kt or more most of the time. Under a grey sky covered in rain clouds with frequent showers - none very heavy this afternoon..

Seas staying well up at 5m - quite rough - so continually being thrown around a lot and surfing frequently over 9kt - just saw 10.0kt and have seen 15kt very briefly.....

7:25pm Daylight beginning to fade. Seems this will probably continue for another day - until midnight Monday at least, before the wind eases on getting closer to the Cape. Being totally honest, I'm right on the edge of my 'comfort zone'!! I have to go up and watch the seas and how Nereida responds so as to convince myself that "Everything is gonna be all right!" Good song that and one I sing often when things get tough....! Definitely not a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

Instead of tea, tending to have a hot mug of CupaSoup - much appreciated in 8C/46F air/sea temperature - must go dig out some more packets and then have some food - something quick'n'easy tonight. Wind 30-37kt now.

Galley is in 'lockdown' mode in these rough conditions - sliding fridge top is bolted down and dry locker (full of tins of food) has its lifting lid well secured -= don't want tins flying around should we broach - lethal missiles! All pots and pans are put away.

Monday 6:45am Had several gusts to 40kt overnight but wind mainly eased a bit now - around 28kt.

Some big waves crashing onto us - a couple just came by - pretty violent - hope not many more like that - nearly broached in wave action.

10am Small group of prions swooping around - they fly so fast.. Sky quite bright, although usual total overcast. Seems a lot calmer now, with fewer of those big waves. Wind now mainly around 26kt. Boat speed less - only making 6kt or just under - varies a lot with waves picking us up and taking us forward with them - we're surfing often - so it's difficult to estimate actual boat speed. Plenty of rolling around still.

Keep thinking I should be letting out the third reef but then I look at the 27kt wind speed, a 30kt gust comes long and I decide to leave things a bit longer.

Seeing coast of Chile on AIS screen 70 miles off - not far. Uku is possibly 28 miles away but not showing on my AIS screen although I've been assured that he's now transmitting. Might not see his signal until we're a lot closer.

1pm Still getting occasional 30kt gust and being tossed around by fairly frequent big waves - nearing shallower water off land (Chile) can't be helping. Looking forward to the calmer seas forecast for when just off the Cape early on Wednesday and on towards Staten Island - which I'll be giving a good clearance, en route to E of the Falklands.

1900GMT (=1400LT) - end of Day 75. We made 147 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 75 (by daily DMGs): 7,629 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 205 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 55-30.40S LONGITUDE: 073-20.54W COURSE: 102T SPEED: 5.6kt


BARO: 1002.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 8.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C

COMMENT: Cape Horn 205ml away. Big seas still. Wind gusting to 30kt

Day 74 Sat-Sun 15-16 Dec 2018 Underway to Cape Horn - the final 3-day run, started unexpectedly early!

Saturday 4:30pm Was just enjoying seeing some sun and bits of blue sky when a big dark raincloud came over and the wind gusted up to 24kt from 15-17kt - rain! Wind was soon back down - to SW 17kt - and then back up to 24kt with another shower... down again ...and then up to 30kt under another cloud - coming and going so quickly.... Blue sky still visible around the edges of each dark grey, angry-looking cloud with some sunshine in between the heavy showers. The wind makes a very distinctive sound in the rigging - a musical moaning noise.... When it arrives, I can pretty well guage the wind strength from its sound.

A pair of white-chinned petrels, around most of the day, were joined by a small flock of Antarctic Prions - quite small birds, swooping around close to the water nearby, staying together as a group. Occasionally, I'm also seeing a solitary Black-browed albatross - quite distinctive from the much larger Wandering albatross seen the other day with its young one.

Pity Uku on 'One and All' didn't head SE to begin with last night, well before the wind went from WNW to SSW - he might then have made his proposed 'photo shoot' rendez-vous with 'Nereida'... The last time we met was quite a few years ago, in Simon's Town, S. Africa - a small group of single-handed cruisers got together at the False Bay Y.C. there, near Christmas, after sailing S from Richards Bay - the usual landfall at the end of the Indian Ocean crossing from Australia.

We'll have to make do with radio contact, either tonight, after the Pacific Seafarers' Net, or after his daily weather update from Peter, ZL1PWM, around dawn tomorrow. Propagation on 40m overnight is excellent just now. I made contact last night again, on 7160 soon after 0400Z, with two radio operators in Chile - I enjoy that - makes me feel close to the people of the country I'm passing by.

8.30pm Close to sunset - but, although some breaks in the cloud, the sun is hidden. Seas are SW 4m, only very occasionally rocking the boat rather suddenly, literally! Today's tally of birds ia: pair of Black-browed albatross, pair of white-chinned petrels and a small flock of prions - all seen from time to time throughout the day - I wonder if they've 'adopted' Nereida' - I hope to see them regularly from now on.
Getting a short rest before PacSeaNet at 10pm LT (=0300Z). Looks as though we'll be here at least until tomorrow afternoon, maybe not getting underway again until dawn Monday. Keeping a constant eye on the weather forecast for the Cape - it's a 3 day sail from here...

Sunday 4:35am LT/EST Just got underway ...unexpectedly! Spoke to Peter at 3:30am, after Uku's daily radio weather update ('One and All' is possibly only about 30 miles away) "Get underway now!" was the advice - weather warnings are diminishing and waiting longer is beginning to look less favourable... So we're heading now to Cape Horn - ETA in roughly 3 days - Wed 19th Dec.
Wind is SW 22kt, sky is overcast and grey (surprise!), seas are SW 4m/13ft or more.
Definitely time for breakfast and coffee... I'll make up on sleep later sometime...

6:45am Wind soon got up to 25kt or more - and then a big rain cloud came over - winds well over 30kt for a time... Rough conditions - 'boisterous' is, I think, the term used... 'gripping' is another - I was definitely gripping tightly as we regularly heeled right over in the bigger gusts! We were galloping along at around 7kt in seas made rougher by the wind... I was very pleased to see the edge of the cloud heading our way - and what looked like a raincloudless sky behind... Getting a hot soup, to be followed by some coffee and breakfast - still not had that yet.

8:10am Wind up to 34kt again under a rain cloud...boisterous conditions! The good news is they pass over quickly, boosting our speed as they do so....

8.30am Just plotted a hypothetical course from an assumed position to our NE for Uku at start of his passage towards the Horn. We're likely to be on converging courses, not too far apart - maybe 25 miles initially? I hope his AIS is transmitting - I'm keeping a careful eye on my AIS screen. We arranged to talk on SSB/HF at 1800Z/1pm LT so we can exchange position info then.
The sun has just come out and several prions are swooping about the boat, low over the water.
Think i'll get a short nap - I'm low on sleep hours at present....

1.30pm Had an excellent sleep! Woke to find sun shining brightly from between scattered white clouds and W wind 26-30kt giving us a good speed towards the Cape on a broad reach. Was hoping to chat to Uku over SSB/HF radio at 1pm - but had no contact on either frequency we'd arranged. Maybe he was busy just then... Should have had a good contact by ground wave. Was hoping to check on his rough position - hopefully, he's going faster than I am, although not by too much - to avoid possible strong gusts when getting closer, W of the Cape. My AIS is still not showing him and the VHF is silent. (I heard crackling yesterday when he tried calling.)

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 74. We made 64 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions - just 9.5 hours underway today, rest drifting at 1kt, hove to.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 74 (by daily DMGs): 7,482 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 354 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-55.30S LONGITUDE: 077-30.88W COURSE: 107T SPEED: 6.0kt
BARO: 1000.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 9.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Cape Horn 354ml away. Bright, sunny, scattered white clouds

Day 73 Fri-Sat 14-15 Dec 2018 - Uku has a plan - but the Wind Gods laugh at him...

Friday 3pm Wind up again now - was down around 20kt or less but now NW gusting to 24kt. Expect it to increase and we're heading a bit S of rhumbline to the Cape now, hoping to avoid worst of wind and swell later. Making ~6kt and surfing on waves occasionally.

5pm Wind 32kt from NNW, with 28 kt in between gusts. Soon after came heavy rain with very reduced visibility. Half an hour later - rain easing off and wind eased to ~27kt, gusting 30kt.

6:45pm Thoroughly enjoying a lovely hot CuppaSoup... Wind is still from NW and still mostly around 27-30kt but the boat's motion feels a lot smoother. Front seems to have passed over but centre of Low hasn't yet because wind direction hasn't backed to SW. Sky is grey and it's still raining, although no longer hard.
(I've come to the conclusion that anyone becoming a sailor (or windsurfer) soon becomes a bit of a meteorologist, like it or not, both to maximise good sailing time and also to avoid strong conditions. Either that, or a 'tree-watcher' - are the leaves moving enough to give good wind for possible windsurfing or sailing after work today...?)

Saturday 3am Spoke to Peter (Northland Radio), ZL1PWM, after he gave Uku on 'One and All' his daily weather update - assumes his present course and speed are held for next few days but does not give Uku his GPS position any longer, as it used to. The warnings of 55kt gusts in two areas and 6m seas or more are still there on two different weather models so I said I'd keep to my plan of heaving to where I was at that point and wait for a day or more so that when I reach the Cape, conditions would not be so intense.
Uku spoke to me also - he was going to continue on, despite the warnings, but was keen to pass close by me so we could tske photos of each other's boats!! At that point he was about 55ml to my WNW, so it was agreed I'd leave my VHF radio on. His AIS would be on transmit, so I'd see when he got close and when then he'd switch his AIS to receive so he could find me.
That's the plan - I'll be surprised if it works but it would be fun to take the photos he wants if it does! We can't get close enough to have a cup of tea together - the 'unassisted' rule disallows that even if it were physically possible in present swell conditions - which it is definitely not (we're rolling all over the place).

4.30am Finally hove-to after a major problem with the staysail furling line. It had clearly been let loose at some point (or maybe had worked loose over last day or so of sailing) and, with the broken plastic part that normally would hold it in place having given way, it had rotated 180 degrees and the line was twisted around the stay below the drum.
I had to get onto the foredeck and untwist the line and position the drum correctly, starting to furl in the sail as I did so, and then keep tension on the line as I slowly inched my way back to the safety of the cockpit. That meant keeping the line in tension past its various stanchion fittings until I finally reached the clutch by the aft deck...
No safety line, boat rolling in big seas...and my boots kept tangling with the surplus line... Felt a bit risky... Then I was able to finish furling in the staysail and get the boat into a hove-to position - and get to my bunk for some more sleep - I'd had less than three hours up to then.

11am We're still drifting at 0.9kt but the wind shifted to SW while I was sleeping so our direction of drift is now ENE, not due S as it was in the NW wind. Our present position is less than 6ml SE of where we heaved to.
Wind is quite noisy in the rigging, although only 19kt now. We have the occasional bird come visit - But I'm getting to a late breakfast while keeping an eye on my AIS screen for any sign of 'One and All'- I think he's being optimistic! ETA around 1800GMT/1pm LT plus or minus an hour or so! Coffee time!

12:30pm Just got a position update on Uku from Peter - he was 36 miles NNW of me at 11am, making 4.7kt, headed ENE. There's no way he can reach me in the present wind, which has backed to SSW - what a pity! No photo shoot... So close, yet so far...!
Our AIS signals are probably too weak to reach each other and the swell doesn't help. I can't see his signal but can usually see big ships 24ml away - their signals are stronger. He'll be feeling pretty frustrated..!

2pm Getting lot calmer although still rolling around often. Blue streaks showing in the NW-W sky - sun frequently shining. A pair of white-chinned petrels gliding around us, close by. I'll see if I can get photos of them later. Taking the down time to re-provision in the galley from stores elsewhere.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 73. We made 86 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions - including 9.5 hours hove to - going nowhere!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 73 (by daily DMGs): 7,418 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 418 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 54-42.04S LONGITUDE: 079-19.02W COURSE: 063T SPEED: 0.8kt
BARO: 981.7hPa TREND: 4 AIR_TEMP: 8.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Still hove to - on to Horn late Sun ..or Mon?

Day 72 Thurs-Fri 13-14 Dec 2018 Underway again - hoping to 'round the corner' on 18th, winds permitting...

Thursday 3:30pm CST Total overcast again. Hove to still. Wind has been building but gusting up and down for most of the day - now to 29kt from NW. Waves are fairly big and the occasional one bangs into us with a sudden noise.

Pleased to find a pair of reading glasses - they'd been missing for several weeks. Had to be somewhere since definitely not thrown overboard...! They'd slipped down side of bedding in bunk.

Thinking about trying to move on S a bit after present winds have eased somewhat. Would like to get more S ready for next system to pass to North - don't like the look of its very big swells added to its strong winds... Means moving later tonight and then heaving to again once we've arrived at 55S.

10pm CST The 'blow' is up to 36kt from NW now, dropping to 32-34kt in between - seas not too bad so far, thankfully. Just the occasional one makes us lurch suddenly sideways as it hits us. Had a good few hours' sleep up to 8pm - missed out making up on sleep earlier today and wanted to be ready for possible early start overnight.

Believe we're about to drift across the Time Zone boundary (into N. American Eastern Time zone = GMT-5hr) - we're now at 082 30.7'W Our drift while hove-to started heading us NE yesterday but is now due East at about 1.5kt -no problem since we've plenty of sea room but I will feel better if we can get underway, even if only for a short time, to get further S once this wind eases - maybe around dawn or soon after.
Must get to my bunk for some sleep..

Friday 4am LT (= EST = GMT-5hr) First light - getting underway towards Cape Horn - spoke to Peter at 0810Z - several weather warnings have been lifted - looking OK to head direct....Grey rainy-looking sky - wet everywhere but no rain, just big seas from both NW and SW - biggest are from NW at 5m/16ft, probably more. Albatross, with white body and dark wings held out stiffly, gliding nearby close to the sea as I came on deck to prepare to get underway. Quite a few things to do .. including gybing the main.

5am Well underway - 540 miles to Cape Horn - about four days away.
Really being thrown around a lot by the two wave trains. Wind just N of W at 24kt.
Fingers got so wet and cold in wind, had to don my leather sailing gloves - couldn't have functioned for much longer without them. Air is 9C/48F - wind chill on wet skin makes it feel a lot less.

10am Sun shining through grey cloud at times. Wind WNW 19kt, swell a lot less now the wind has abated somewhat but still the occasional one that comes to throw us about. Having a late breakfast after a good sleep - making up for hours lost overnight..

Spoke to Uku as well as to Peter before getting underway earlier - was good to hear from Peter that 'One and All' is transmitting on AIS - that means if Uku gets close, I'll see his position on my screen (he can't see his own position nor mine, I believe) - excellent news! With him being only 84ml to my W, I'd been getting concerned since we're both headed to the Cape directly now and he'll certainly overtake me - he's going faster. I was also able to give Uku my position which he was happy to have - he doesn't want a collision any more than I do!

I almost didn't bother noting it down but Peter gave me One and All's MMSI number - I've seen no ships on my AIS screen since passing Polynesia - most never come this way - too stormy, rough and cold and Panama is a far more attractive, usually more direct, option!

Thought I'd post photos taken from Nereida this morning...

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 72. We made 61 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions - drifting hove-to until 1000Z.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 72 (by daily DMGs): 7,332 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 497 n.ml.

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

TIME: 2018/12/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-44.95S LONGITUDE: 081-09.76W COURSE: 135T SPEED: 5.5kt WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NW SWELL_HT: 5.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 988.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 9.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Underway to Horn - slightly S of rhumbline.

Day 71 Wed-Thurs 12-13 Dec 2018 Hove to again - severe wind warnings

Wednesday 2pm Still lovely sunshine but cold air. Went to adjust Fred - wind has backed quickly to WSW from W. Saw two small grey birds swooping and circling around us - prions? Tried hard to take photos - SO difficult as they move so fast close to us. I take lots, in hope, and then have to spend quite a time zooming in to search each frame and deleting most of them....

6pm Warning of high winds near coast on my path if continued on present course - have changed course accordingly to stay further off the coast...

11.30pm Weather warning again - of 55kt winds on my path - even the changed one - so decided best to heave to (again!) so system passes away from us in a day's time... Have not long finished heaving-to on starboard tack - now making 0.6-0.9kt roughly due S. Missed 7160 'sched' - busy on deck organising sails etc.

Thursday 2am Spoke to Peter, Northland Radio, about warnings, along with Uku on 'One and All' who has the same weather - he's not far W. Discussed the area of risk - looks as though Nereida is rather close to it so I decided to heave to on the other tack to avoid drifting any further S.

4.15am Dawn was around 3am so had daylight for work on deck. On port tack now, having changed mainsail and gybed around. Hove-to in W18kt wind, drifting NNE at 0.5kt. Back to my bunk for some more sleep!

11:15am Wind has been slowly building over last few hours - now from WNW at 26 kt. Sun shining, at times, in between gathering clouds - sky nearly covered but a lot of it is thin cirrus and sun gets through.

Wind, which was SW, is now veering to NW and will then back into the W as the system gets close. The next system is not far behind, so. quite soon, the wind will back towards SW and then, again, go W - NW and finally SW when the centre of the system has passed. The wind pattern on the N side of these systems is invariably the same - NW ahead of a Low, becoming W, then SW as it goes off to the East. (To be on the S side, getting E winds, we'd be in Antarctica!)

Photos of Antarctic Prions attached - pretty birds, beautifully marked.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 71. We made 47 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions - a lot of it (14hr) drifting, hove-to, first S then NNE-NE.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 71 (by daily DMGs): 7,271 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 558 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-29.35S LONGITUDE: 082-49.88W COURSE: 059T SPEED: 1.0kt
BARO: 998hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 11.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Still hove to, on port tack. Wind building slowly.

Day 70 Tues-Wed 11-12 Dec 2018 Ralaxing sunny break on Wed in between the strong stuff...!

Tuesday 5:45pm Wind has been consistently NW 24-28kt all afternoon and set to continue. Seas pretty big and throwing us around a lot - really have to be prepared and make sure I'm holding on tightly - you can usually feel the wave coming, so just a matter of reacting quickly to the warning.

Had a very nice 'Southern-style Chicken' chunky soup yesterday, with addition of more chicken - so now adding potatoes, sweetcorn and tomatoes - will bulk it up nicely for tonight and maybe tomorrow - needing hot soups/meals a lot now - it's 8.6C/48F, with both sea and cabin the same temperature - so wearing lots and often tucking in to my warm sleeping bag for extra warmth. Also a good place to be in present rough seas - I'm definitely safe in my cosy bunk!

6:15pm Was nice to hear Sid, K7SID, (8155 group) on 14160 just now - propagation is not good to Phoenix AZ from here without a powerful antenna to help - so was good to hear his voice - Season's Greetings to you both, Sid!

11pm Was nice to make a couple of contacts on 7160 tonight from Chile - not too far away... Both (CA3CLF and CA3HSC) were from Santiago, the capital.
Still speeding along at ~6.5kt in wind from NW at 28kt, gusting 30kt, with seas continuing to toss us around - time to get to my bunk again.... but first I'll study the latest gribs (weather files) that I just downloaded.

Wednesday 3:45am LT Woke up just after dawn - wind had suddenly dropped from around 28-29 kt to 15-17kt and backed into W. Boat's motion noticeably less abrupt now with sea crests not whipped up by strong wind. Boat speed has dropped a lot also - from 6.5kt or more to 5-5.2kt, down to 4.5kt at times.
Clock time seems clearly wrong... On checking time zones' info, change of zone to UTC-5 is at longitude 82.5 degrees W and we've not reached there yet (we've presently only just passed 085W so still in N.American Central time, not Eastern time yet). Early dawn must be partly result of being close to mid-summer here and maybe also being not far from time zone change - feels wrong, though!
Early morning sun is shining through breaks in the cloud - no solid grey overcast just now - just 80% cover, showing plenty of blue streaks - nice! A bird is swooping around fast, close by - shearwater, perhaps? Going to be a slow day today, compared with the speed of last night...

8:30am Bright sunshine and blue sky overhead! White cumulus ahead and spreading alto stratus well astern - hope it doesn't sread over too much, too soon... Wind W14kt, on broad reach.
Saw same quite small bird swooping around - all-brown with yellow beak...
Time for breakfast and I'll see if I can identify the bird. No albatross seen this morning, as yet...

1pm Lovely, relaxing, sunny day with an interesting clpudscape - a breather in between the frequently stronger conditions. Seas still quite high (4-5m) - they keep on coming. They're smoother but still roll us around often. Cold air - put some well-loved ski socks on as over-socks to try to keep my feet, and toes in particular, warm. Helps to warm them up in the sleeping bag often.
No birds seen just now - have been studying my bird book - must make more of a note of feet & bill colouring to make a positive ID. Also known ranges of birds is a great help - unlikely to see a tropical-only or N-hemisphere-only bird down here!
Looks as though my all-brown bird might be a White-chinned petrel (they are common all over the Southern Ocean) but I need to see its bill clearly to be sure - has a dark tip. On my previous two long Southern Ocean passages, I've seen more than one at a time - they're quite gregarious birds and I'd often see them resting in groups on the water, 'chatting' to each other...

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 70. We made 132 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Yesterday's strong conditions up to dawn this morning hrlped our daily DMG.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 70 (by daily DMGs): 7,224 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 604 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 53-01.72S LONGITUDE: 083-52.96W COURSE: 117T SPEED: 4.5kt
BARO: 992.8hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 13.0C SEA_TEMP: 19.0C
COMMENT: Lovely, sunny, relaxing but slow morning!

Day 69 Mon-Tues 10-11 Dec 2018 Albatross frequently seen gliding over big seas...

Monday 6pm Got an email from Peter, ZL1PWM, that the severe weather warning that caused me to heave to is no longer - Predictwind forecast is for far more moderate conditions near the Cape next Monday, as in other weather models. So we were able to get underway again - excellent news! Of course, in shaking out the 3rd reef and raising the mainsail, first a batten got tangled in the reef line and then the sail caught in a lazyjack line - seemed that whatever could go wrong and get in the way did so! Wind: WNW 18-20kt.

A repeat news item from yesterday afternoon - finally seeing Wandering albatross close by and an all-dark sooty petrel(?) as well as occasional shearwaters! I'd gone up on deck to check swell direction and cloud cover and ended up taking time tidying lines in cockpit and saw a grey and white bird swooping nearby (shearwater or prion? I must check in my bird book to remind myself) and then another, very dark, bird (petrel?). Then, along came a Wandering albatross - magnificent! Shortly afterwards, a juvenile came close - they were clearly parent and young and rested for a time in the sea close to Nereida - so difficult to take decent photos in such big swell and with the boat pitching and tossing. (apologies for poor photos!)

6.30pm Made several good contacts on 14160 - unusual - of late, propagation has been bad but talked to Victoria, B.C., Florida, Connecticut....all with good clear signals.

Sailing nicely - staysail sheets had to be untangled before I started out - I'd forgotten that on furling in the staysail when I heaved to under mainsail alone last night, I'd left the sheets too loose and they totally tangled themselves, flailing around in the strong wind. Fortunately, it wasn't too difficult sorting them out.

Daylight fading - time to sort out tonight's meal.

Tuesday 11am Going well in NW wind of 24-27kt, soon expected to back to WNW. Bright overcast with very occasional hint of sunshine. earlier.. Seas at 4-5m - pretty big and small sections of crest breaking slightly from time to time - adds to the resulting motion as we often surf a little - at ~8.5kt - as the wave passes by.
Impressive to see these big rollers approach our starboard quarter - and catching sight of a majestic albatross gliding on fixed wings above. I'm studying my bird book to remind me of all the other different birds hereabouts - prions, petrels, shearwaters, etc.

Weather looking good for next few days' onward passage to the Cape.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 69. We made 114 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Includes 3-4 hrs still hove-to, prior to getting underway again yesterday.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 69 (by daily DMGs): 7,092 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 733 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/11 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 51-41.38S LONGITUDE: 086-44.44W COURSE: 127T SPEED: 6.4kt
BARO: 994.9hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 9.0C SEA_TEMP: 9.0C
COMMENT: Big seas - swinging boat around as crest passes under.

Day 68 Sun-Mon 9-10 Dec 2018 Finally - two magnificent Wandering albatross seen! Hove-to again...

Sunday 3:45pm Wind is beginning very slowly to veer towards the W, as opposed to being from due S, so our course is now ESE, rather than almost due E - good! But still very slow because I don't want to head N so we're very close-hauled trying to head more S than E - never a very efficient point of sail.

I forgot to mention my latest problem - the third reef line clutch has broken - there's a spring missing and a metal part is sticking out - so I've had to abandon using that clutch for the third reef. Fortunately, I can move a couple of other lines (mainsail outhaul and pole downhaul) around to use one of their clutches for the third reef line - essential to have the third reef line through a working clutch and the mainsail outhaul already has a jammer at the forward boom end which is working fine. I'm going on deck now to see about the pole downhaul line on the starboard side (one of the lines involved) - it would be good if I could disentangle it from my lashed genoa on the side deck.

It's getting brighter - rain has stopped and the sun is trying to get out.

5:30pm LT Been busy on deck for quite a time - stowing staysail pole after re-running the third reef line to a good clutch. That meant re-running several other lines - including the starboard pole downhaul which, happily, slipped out easily from the lashed genoa on deck - one less problem to sort out.
Wind has veered to just W of S - so we're finally making a good course towards Cape Horn. Wind from 196T (SSW) at 17kt and we're making 5.4kt under staysail and reefed main. I'm loathe to run too big a mainsail with the small staysail since my concern is that it will unbalance the boat and give Fred a problem steering if we keep trying to round up, as is likely. Will keep our speed down so I'll have to experiment but it's nice to be underway again in the right direction!

The wind is forecast to continue veering so I'll have to keep adjusting Fred to make sure we stay on course.

Nice to see the sunshine again - there are small patches of blue among the grey clouds. Pressure is slightly up - 988hPa now, from the 986hPa earlier, so seems the Low pressure system is moving off to the East now.

Time for a mug of tea and to organise tonight's meal before the light goes.

11pm Back down below - wet from waves washing over the deck - and onto me... hatless but otherwise protected - ended up with a salt water 'hairwash'. Tied in third reef for overnight, with wind up and down around 25kt. Seas well up and throwing us around all the time. Also took a time correcting our course - wind was gusty and shifted around to begin with, under rainclouds.

Lovely crescent moon earlier and bright stars now. Light lingered as a line over the W horizon for a very long time after a lovely sunset in a clearing sky.

Missed my 7160 'sched' completely - boat has to take priority - especially for overnight safety in strong conditions. Apologies to those who hoped to meet me there - another night!

Monday 4am Spoke to Peter, ZL1PWM, at 2am and he repeated a weather warning of possibility of a nasty system expected in Cape Horn area at the exact same time as I was expecting to be there late next weekend: Sun/Mon. 50-60kt winds and 8m swell with 10sec period - very unpleasant and likely to be dangerous...
Discussed my options - very limited, except that if we were to continue on SE, we could not avoid that big system - so best to stay near to 50S. I don't want to get much closer to Chile coast by heading E so my only sensible option is to heave to - now done.

Will stay here, drifting a little, until weather outlook shows it to be clearly safe to move on. Uku on 'One and All' had the same warning - he's likely to round the Cape when I do.

Midday We're constantly pitching and tossing with the swell under a brighter sky than earlier, with just the occasional wave tumbling as it hits us and makes a crashing sound - but not badly so. The sun is managing to get out often now, in the gaps between clouds in a layer of cirrus. It's cold - 10C sea water and outside air temperature, with the main cabin only one or two degrees higher - fleeces and my nice warm hat essential. The only way to dry wetted clothing is by body heat - so most stay damp. Several items are hanging up on my 'washing lines' in the main cabin, but once they've dripped any excess water, they just stay permanently very damp, if not wet.

The wind, consistently around 20kt all morning, has veered from the SW of earlier to just N of W now. We drift in a direction dependent on the wind direction - previously ESE, now due S, but only at about 1 kt, so we're not going very far in a day!

(2pm Had to add this in before posting...! Went up on deck to check swell direction and cloud cover - ended up tidying lines in cockpit, saw grey and white bird swooping nearby (shearwater or prion?) and then another, very dark, bird (petrel?) - but then, along came a Wandering albatross - magnificent! Shortly afterwards, a juvenile came close - they're clearly parent and young - now resting in the sea close to Nereida - so difficult to take decent photos in such big swell and with the boat pitching and tossing - I tried, but.... (photos tomorrow, hopefully)

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 68. We made 74 n.ml.(DMG) over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions. Going well initially then stopped to heave to...

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 68 (by daily DMGs): 6,978 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 846 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/10 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 50-36.03S LONGITUDE: 089-12.18W COURSE: 172T SPEED: 0.9kt
BARO: 998hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 11.0C
COMMENT: Still hove-to. 2 albatross seen: parent + juvenile! Cape Horn: 846ml

Day 67 Sat-Sun 8-9 Dec 2018 South wind forces us East

Saturday - had to spend time dealing with late posting of delayed report for Fri-Sat after deleting a full one by mistake... The result of deckwork at the critical time - had to gybe around and see to sail trim, raised whisker pole for staysail, etc etc... Forgot report hadn't been quite finished and posted and started getting new one ready.... Grrr!! C'est la vie!

11pm Was great to hear, on Pacific Seafarers' Net, 14300, that Susanne on 'Nehaj' had successfully got 'around the corner' - although in very strong conditions (under storm jib alone!). Uku ('One and All') and Mark ('Maverick') came up also for a chat at the end of the Net - both had very good signals on 20m, Mark especially clear. Mark was happy that it was warm enough in the S. Atlantic, where he is now, to be wearing a T-shirt. Uku was very envious, as I was - it's cold and damp down here!

Made a lot of contacts later, in addition to the usual group, during my regular 10pmLT/0400Z sched on 40m (7160), with Matt, W1MBB, kindly in charge initially. Was delighted to find a Canadian contact - Daniel, VA2DF, from Montreal - among them! That's quite a distance away... Was also fun to chat to my friend Robert, WA6AMK - he was 'aeronautical mobile', talking from a plane heading S to Texas, making contact with me, VE0JS - 'maritime mobile' on Nereida...

Sunday 5am Daylight an hour ago. Fine, misty drizzle, right in middle of Low - pressure right down at 988hPa and wind also down at NW 9-10kt, boat speed 3.5 kt.

Nearly made contact again on 40m (7163) with David, MM5BBW, in the Orkneys, but just not quite good enough to make out what he was saying - but we did speak a few days back. I find it wonderful that I can chat to people in the UK and so many other places around the world from close to Cape Horn! Have also made radio contact several times with Lugano, Switzerland, although not quite well enough for a chat.

My other 'sched' of 14160kHz at 0000Z hasn't been working out too well of late - too far and wrong time of day for good propagation to my most of my friends' locations (although Rick, VE7TK, has managed several times from Victoria, B.C.) So it was great fun to make contact by chance, on Saturday, with Julio, WWD4JD, who was chatting to his friend, Juan-Paulo, XE1C, in Cancun, Mexico

- he was happy to look me up on QRZ.com and see a photo of the person he was talking to - gave me a chance to practise my bad Spanish!

Just gybed the mainsail - wind backing slowly from NW towards W and then expected to back further to WSW... Wind strength should increase soon, so hoping boat speed will improve... Dawn not far off...

(Later) .... so much for that hoped-for event! Did not happen. Had a really good sleep and woke to find us creeping along, in wind of 7-8 kt from SW. Spent a time adjusting sail trim and course and letting out a reef - but wind backed from SW as I did so - within half an hour, wind was from the South - yuck!! We're now (11:30am) making 098T (ESE-E) at 3kt with wind still from due S. I really don't want to go East too far since that's where land lies - it's always nice to have plenty of sea room and not be too close to a lee shore...

Pressure is right down at 986 hPa - we must be near centre of the Low we're tangled with. It was supposed to pass over to our N relatively quickly - wind is forecast to veer to SW by early evening - I can't wait to get back on to our SE course again and I have absolutely no problem with going slowly, as close-hauled as possible, in the meantime! At least we're not headed N!

Still a fine drizzle at times, with usual 100% cloud cover - no sign of it stopping.

Time for a coffee while the seas are fairly calm - no big swell at present, we're just happily bouncing along at a snail's pace!

Keep looking to see what the wind is up to.... waiting for it to begin veering...

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 67. We made 98 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 67 (by daily DMGs): 6,904 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 920 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/09 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 49-59.24S LONGITUDE: 090-52.67W COURSE: 099T SPEED: 3.3kt


BARO: 985.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 10.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C

COMMENT: Dull, slight rain, SOUTH wind forcing us East

Day 66 Fri-Sat 7-8 Dec 2018 Good to be underway! Nice sailing in frequent big seas

Just lost my complete report for Day 66 ....Deleted it by mistake... so this will be briefer than usual.

Had a lovely day on Friday - good to be underway - in bright sunshine a lot of the time, with occasional cloud - enjoyable sailing but seas big and quite close - so some steep faces coming onto our stern... a lovely sunset, as well. Overcast Saturday but some sun in middle of day.

Chatted with Uku and Susanne after the Pacific Seafarers' Net - Uku is several days away, to my West, going well - upset with news of Susie but we're all happy she's safe now - on her way to Puerto Madryn, Argentina, ETA just before Christmas- I've heard it's a nice place!

Wind has been fairly consistent at WNW-W, mainly 17-22kt, gusting Saturday morning to 24-26kt for a time.. I was pleased to be reefed down.

Everything is cold and damp - anything wet doesn't get dry - my clothes wet with Thursday's rain are still very damp and even still wet in places, despite being hung up to dry.

Weather looking quite good for next few days - although swells expected to be quite big.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 66. We made 122 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 66 (by daily DMGs): 6,806 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 1018 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/08 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 49-00.95S LONGITUDE: 092-54.05W COURSE: 133T SPEED: 5.1kt
BARO: 1000.7hPa TREND: -2 AIR_TEMP: 12.0C SEA_TEMP: 10.0C
COMMENT: Sunny, blue sky overhead;

Day 65 Thurs-Fri 6-7 Dec 2018 A beautiful sunny day - underway again with sail retrieved from sea!

Thursday 11.30pm Just got down below - soaking wet on top. Apart from my usual overtrousers, hadn't dressed for rain - and there was plenty over the final few hours!

I think I must have started around 3:30pm LT, soon after finishing a 2100Z radio sched. All took a long time - well into darkness hours but fortunately it didn't get completely dark, despite total overcast (moon shining above the cloud layer?), so I was able to keep on working without stopping to get a head lamp.

The plan for getting the genoa (big headsail) out of the sea worked well but there was a lot of work involved to keep in place as much of the sail that was already on deck. Too much of an effort had been made to lose it into the sea now. Firstly, I had to undo a lot of my original lashing to lift the clew and tack of the sail to lead them under the lifelines, so the entire foot of the sail could be brought in under the lifelines.

Once I was satisfied that the sail could be brought in without being tangled, I had to tie a line tightly around the sail that was dangling over the port toerail down into the sea and attach to it another line leading first across the foredeck to a block on the starbosrd rail, from where the line lead back to the cockpit genoa winch through a jammer. Workng with the motion of the boat in the swell, I then winched the sail up until it met the foredeck block. Lash the sail securely in place, take it off the winch line, tie another line around the sail by the port rail, attach the winch line, winch in again....each step involving trips to and from the cockpit either to the winch or to the jammer. It was probably good that the sail was wet and it slowly began to rain - probably helped reduce friction/chafe on the sail. It was great to see, from the start, the sail coming up and moving across the foredeck as it did so...Yippee!!!

Eventually, I was able to lift the head of the sail by hand onto the deck but then needed to release it from the forestay to get it under the lifelines also (the head of the sail had been held securely by the halyard all this time). Without my marlin spike, it was difficult to turn the shackle pin, even with the pliers I'd brought to undo the mousing wire holding in place the pin of the foot shackle. I eventually managed that one but failed to move the pin on the halyard shackle. I never feel too safe with one arm around the forestay, holding me in place, and the other hand trying to work high up - in this case, on the shackles holding either the head of the sail or its halyard- especially with a big swell running... So, reluctantly, I've tied off the halyard to the pulpit for the time being. It was getting dark and I can have another go in calmer conditions.

Next job was to lash the sail safely to the side deck - I used a pole stowed on deck and lashed it to that - another time-consuming job since, with seas washing the deck regularly, it had to be done really well - luckily, I've lots of line on board!

Once finished with lashing the sail (a major job in itself, the sail is so big - it had to be doubled and then doubled again), I had to get us sailing - a Low was forecast in a day or so and if we could get SE it was likely to pass well to the N of us. Gybing around and then adjusting Fred for a broad reach went fine - except that the wind got shifty so it took several trips, still in my wet clothing, to get Fred adjusted right. Had to change out of all my upper clothes - soaking wet. The problem with rain is water getting up the sleeves when hands are raised even slightly - seems to be mostly unavoidable

Very tired now - started just after 3pm, ended about 11.30pm - having a hot chunky beef and vegetable soup/stew, warmed up straight out of a can, and getting to sleep.

Great to be underway and brilliant that the plan worked - thanks so much, Robert!

Friday Pleased to hear Susie rescued safely - ETA just before Christmas in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, it seems... I've heard it's quite a nice place!
I slept and slept.... apart from occasional course adjustments when needed. Eventually got up for this report's timing - had a (very!) late breakfast, checked emails, wrote this... Delighted to find a bright blue sky and lots of sunshine - trying to dry clothes.
Wind is W-WNW 20kt - more than forecast but that's fine. We're sailing well, but a bit slowly, under reefed mainsail and staysail on a broad reach in 4m swell, at 7sec - a bit rolly but not too bad.
I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed - weather is looking good for getting to the Horn - It would be great to have a pleasant rounding without any overly-strong conditions.... Time will tell.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 65. We ended up 71 n.ml.(DMG), measured in a straight line between the two points over the 24 hr period, from yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 65 (by daily DMGs): 6,684 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,139 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/07 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 47-40.38S LONGITUDE: 095-10.99W COURSE: 129T SPEED: 5.5kt
BARO: 1009.8 TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 16.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Good to be underway again in bright sunshine...Blue sky overhead.

Day 64 Wed-Thurs 5-6 Dec 2018 We have a PLAN!!

Wednesday 9pm Checked in to Pacific Seafarers' Net - Jane, NH7TZ, was worried yesterday with no contact, having been busy on deck, fighting the genoa - I'm always so very regular.

Susanne on 'Nehaj' is lying to her JSD (Jordan series drogue), expecting 40-50kt winds - not too happy at being quite as close (~200ml) to the Chile coast as she is but drifting S at present and will clearly keep a good eye on her position as the system passes by. I think she might get around the 'corner' once conditions have eased for her and before the next system arrives - all so very changeable down here that you can never be sure until the time.

Had a useful discussion with Peter, ZL1PWM, on my weather situation over next few days - early on Friday looking like 15kt winds hereabouts.

Seems Susie (GGR 'Starlight)' has a boat coming rather sooner to rescue her well to my west - must be miserable for her in a rolly, wet, messed-up boat, injured and unable to do anything to help herself but having to wait for what is sure to be a difficult rescue - getting safely from a small boat to a big freighter in rough seas is always a problem.

Thursday 4.30am LT Musical moaning of 28kt wind in rigging has died down a lot - wind now down to 20kt and seas lying down too - occasional one still rocks the boat a lot...

Spoke to Uku ('One and All') who's going well in 35+ kt winds just now. We noted each other's positions - we need to keep an eye on each other since he's headed my way, although nearly 600 miles away to my WSW, at present.

Spoke again to Peter, ZL1PWM, about weather situation - Low to our NW coming by over the weekend, behind present system that's moving away to the SE, so best to be moving along the rhumb line towards the Cape before then. Had excellent suggestion on raising the genoa from fellow cruiser-friend Robert in Florida - will get started on that later on in good daylight and when wind and seas down a lot more. Off to my bunk now for some more sleep - very disturbed overnight.

9.20am Downloading weather and clarifying really helpful suggestion from Robert on method of raising sail from water to get it all on deck. Sounds very feasible, although a lot of work involved beforehand, making sure the sail can be brought in under the lifelines, rather than over which is its present situation since it went over the lifelines into the sea. Hoping to be able not to lose too much of the sail back overboard as I switch the ties around.

Wind is slowly easing and backing - now a fairly constant 18-20kt rather than the solid 20kt or more 5 hrs ago, so definitely going down. Seas still making us roll around a lot - they always take longer to lie down than the winds when they get lighter - but I'm hoping today's the day...

Time for breakfast and maybe some coffee, if I stand over the pot as it comes through..

11am (Enjoying my coffee!) Wind 18-20kt, with seas getting slightly less but big wave still coming frequently to roll us about - need then to hang on really tightly! Drifting more S than earlier, with wind having backed to NW now.

Taking my time to visualize all that I need to do to get that sail out of the water - quite a few preparatory steps needed to make sure it comes in safely below the lifelines and not over them - that runs the risk of breaking them with the loading.

One step is easy - I'll use my starboard pole downhaul and block to pull in the sail using the genoa winch - the line already leads back to close to the winch so is perfect for the job - I expect to work with the wave action, winching in when we roll to leeward and the sail goes slack briefly.

I have to sort out my present lashings and re-do most of them, maybe abandon some, to make sure the sail isn't tangled and can come in smoothly under the life-lines. The suggestion is to let the clew and tack go, with the halyard safely holding the head while it's winched in bit by bit.... A slow process, maybe, but it should work.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 64. We ended up 35 n.ml.(DMG), measured in a straight line between the two points over the 24 hr period, from yesterday's 1900 GMT position.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 64 (by daily DMGs): 6648 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to ESE): 1,208 n.ml. Surprisingly, ten miles closer than yesterday.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-48.18S LONGITUDE: 096-20.81W COURSE: 183T SPEED: 0.7kt


BARO: 1015.8hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 14.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C

COMMENT: Hove-to still. Seas a bit calmer but frequent big wave - have to hold tight!

Day 63 Tues-Wed 4-5 Dec 2018 We end up hove-to with a genoa problem

Tuesday Spoke to Mark on 'Maverick' again overnight - he was in nasty seas - like a 'tidal rip' he said - and the wind has been highly variable in direction - not very helpful. A NE wind forced him to the W of the Falklands - little choice. Amazing how he keeps going in difficult, strong conditions - but he really wants to beat Jean-Luc!! He's been working hard at repairing a bad rip in his staysail - he wants to make a really good, strong job of it so it lasts to Les Sables d'Olonne.

2:30pm LT (GMT-6hr) Making good speed, ~6.3kt, in 17kt wind, slowly building, from just W of N - we're almost beam reaching due E. (The wind is actually just 'abaft the beam'!) The only problem with a beam reach in present conditions is that the seas are likely to be on the beam also - so the 'getting-knocked-about' factor is pretty high!
Just moved my sleeping bag over to the starboard bunk - on the lee side of 'Nereida' now. I got away with ignoring being on port tack last night, with the seas being well down, but that won't work now... When it gets rough, the safest place to be is in my warm, soft bunk - preferably with a hot mug or bowl of something nourishing! My beef and spinach curry was great yesterday - and there's plenty more ready for tonight.

Midday Wednesday Been sleeping a lot, recovering from exertions last night....
Got a satphone call just over 2 hrs ago to let me know of Susie's pitchpole and dismasting at 1515Z plus a knock on the head... She was concussed and the boat is in a mess but both more-or-less OK - I hope she recovers OK from her concussion. Two days before any ship can get to her. She was, and Uku probably is now, in the middle of the system that I'm N of - the reason I headed E for the last day or so was to stay N of the same system that was heading SE, to avoid the stronger winds and seas expected to my S.

Well before sunset, I unfurled the small staysail and furled in the genoa, ready for winds to increase. As I went to put a turn of the sheets (lines!) around the furled genoa to keep it safe in strong winds, I heard a noise - the end of the furling line had become disconnected from its drum below the sail. The big headsail rapidly unfurled itself and began madly flapping in the wind, with its sheets lashing out at everything around.... Nightmare! I had to stop it from flogging and get it down somehow...
I heaved to (had to gybe around and sheet in on the main...) and pulled in on the upwind genoa sheet to keep as much of the sail inboard as possible. The problem with getting it down was that it could all end up being blown into the sea - probably heeling the boat over badly...
I had to get out on deck to release the halyard bit by bit, going forward in between to try to grab as much of the loose sail blowing in the wind as I could and bring it inboard, lashing it down if I could (I'd taken some line and sail ties with me) - it was determined to take a swim. All a bit of a struggle, with daylight fading fast.

I got a radio email message, asking if all was OK from Peter Mott, ZL1PWM: "Looks like you stopped making way at 050117 UTC and are now drifting." I'd missed the 0300Z Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0300Z so he'd looked for my AIS signal report. I didn't get back down below until 0400Z so I'd spent nearly three hours trying to tame the genoa.
The best I could do was to get most of it inboard but some ended up in the sea and it becomes impossible then to raise it with all the seawater it holds. I got some up but I'll have to wait for less big seas, causing us to roll around a lot less, to get the remainder up. It was also completely dark when I stopped trying unsuccessfully to raise any more of the sail out of the water. It's not causing too much of a problem just now, while we're hove to but I can't move on before it's all on deck and stowed securely.
That still leaves the furling line problem - it needs to be fixed back securely onto the drum, with plenty of spare turns so the problem doesn't repeat, if the genoa is to be used again.... Not as simple a job as it sounds so it won't happen this side of Cape Horn, I'm thinking.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 63. We ended up 37 n.ml.(DMG), measured in a straight line between the two points over the 24 hr period, from yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Sailed E 43 ml at a good speed and then drifted SW 28 ml at 1.5-2kt! (Total of 71ml)

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 63 (by daily DMGs): 6,613 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,218 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/05 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 46-15.86S LONGITUDE: 096-00.85W COURSE: 207T SPEED: 1.5kt
BARO: 1017.2hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Hove-to, drifting, still & until system passes and genoa dealt with securely.

Day 62 Mon-Tues 3-4 Dec 2018 Two months since leaving Victoria...

Monday 3pm Lovely to see so much sunshine peeking between the broken clouds this afternoon.
Just finished a radio chat on 17m - nice when propagation is good, as it was today - can have a proper chat with no noise on frequency.
I was pleased I'd left the first reef in when the wind gusted up to the low twenties for a time under a cloud - we were galloping away at 6.5kt or so but are now ambling along more sedately at 5-5.5kt in WSW wind of 14-16kt.

With temperatures down to 11C/52F in the evenings now, I'm about to make a beef curry again - the last one was excellent, with potato and spinach added - it lasted easily two main meals and is really tasty! The ambient temperature is low enough now for me not to fancy cold meals of an evening...

5:30pm Curry made ready, to have with Basmati rice and mango and lime pickles. Was hoping to have it after enjoying a lovely sunset, with it having been so sunny for most of the day and an almost clear sky this afternoon but a cloud layer has spread over half the sky from the W.

Will leave sail trim as it is for overnight, although will have to gybe onto port tack as and when wind veers into NNW as forecast. We've light winds at present, close to the High pressure system we're skirting around (pressure has been building over the day and is now 1020 hPa)

Light is fading now. Will have my food while it's hot.

9:45pm Well, sunset did go well, in the end, with the area of low, grey cloud away from the sun just then. The cloud was a marine layer - very low down, waiting to drop as fog, given half a chance, and far lower than the cirrus layer above it.

We're now grinding to a halt - or nearly so - making only 3 kt in 6-7kt of W wind. We're clearly not far from centre of the High pressure system to our NE. The strong N wind is forecast to arrive around late afternoon Tuesday. Seas are right down, with very occasional rolling as a bigger wave finds us.

On the radio I've made excellent contacts on 40m, two nights running now, with stations in Chile - both from in or near the capital Santiago which is about 1,500 miles to the NE.

Midnight Gybed around to head E after taking in 2nd reef - not so simple now starboard lazyjack is missing so took quite a time - decided to do it now while it was easy - we're still making nearly 4kt - I'm quite happy to go slowly in view of weather forecast over next few days.

9am Still heading E in 11kt wind just slightly W of N, making ~5kt on a beam reach. Back to overcast sky. Waiting for wind to begin to build more and will then reef down again ready for the expected 30kt winds for the next day or more. Still full genoa to help boat speed. Seas down quite a bit in the consistent fairly light wind.

Tuesday 12:20GMT = 6:20am LT Just sailed E of 97.5W - into new local time zone .... GMT-6hr (Central Time in N. America)! Adjusted Fred just after sunrise to keep heading East - wind now from NNW at 11kt. Making 5kt SOG under overcast sky.

1800GMT = 1200 LT (GMT-6hr) Just got back down below after tidying away the lines in the cockpit - feel I've deserved the breakfast coffee I'm having now! I'd checked the weather, having downloaded fresh files, and with wind slowly building, we tacked around. Then I put in the 3rd reef - well ahead of time while it was easier to do in the lesser seas. Tying in the reef on starboard tack worked fine and we didn't lose much way, despite our heading being NW, because the boat slowed right down while it was being done. The port side lazyjack held the sail up as usual and I added a sail tie to hold the sail in to the boom before taking up on the reefing line. It's a real pain not having the starboard lazyjack available...

Having finished, we tacked back onto our course - due E - and we're now making almost 6kt, in wind just W of N at 15-16kt, with full genoa. When the wind gets up a lot, I'll change down from genoa to the much smaller staysail.

The sun is trying to get out so it's fairly bright. The solar panels are putting in over 14A - very pleasing!

Interestingly, the magnetic variation, which had steadily increased from 16 degrees E when I started out to 25 degrees E up to midday yesterday, has now dropped back down to 24 degrees E - I suspect that's because we've been heading due E.

1900GMT (=1300LT) - end of Day 62. We made 100 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Expected a low DMG today... Change of course doesn't help - would have been more otherwise.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 62 (by daily DMGs): 6,576 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,255 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/04 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-51.71S LONGITUDE: 096-42.22W COURSE: 092T SPEED: 5.9kt
BARO: 1022.7hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Sun gettng out occasionally - cirrus above low marine cloud layer

Day 61 Sun-Mon 2-3 Dec 2018 Some sunshine again - wonderful!

Sunday 1:15pm LT Back to a cloudy sky - the blue sky and sunshine of this morning didn't last long. I was amazed at how quickly the edge of the cloud layer came over - bringing with it a gust to almost 30kt and a veering wind. Things have settled down now to a fairly steady 20-22kt wind, which backed to WSW, shortly after the big gust. Weather changes very rapidly down here - we're in the 'Roaring Forties' now...

1:40pm A mainly blue sky and sunshine again - wind WSW 24-25kt. 4m/13ft seas are throwing us around as they pass us, even though they're more on our starboard quarter than abeam.

11:50pm Went up to adjust Fred - a beautiful, but chilly, starry sky - spotted the Southern Cross with its Pointers - unmistakeable...
Trying to keep a bit E of rhumb-line course to the Cape - hoping to keep out of strongest winds over Tuesday night into Wednesday. Might have to head more E nearer the time - we'll see!

Monday 4:25am Just gone dawn, raincloud passed by but no big gust - just to 21kt. Scattered white cloud now - 80% cover. Wind in W but only 17-19kt now. Sailing more gently but occasional wave still knocks boat around.

8am Replaced genoa with staysail - on a broad reach, so can't fly both. Having breakfast while I think about shaking out a reef and check the weather...

11am Having coffee - a measure of the seas having lain down a bit is feeling I can safely put on the coffee pot (if I stay close by)! Sun is getting out quite often. There's a thin cirrus layer overhead and blue sky on the horizon - a pleasant day.
Took an age earlier to release the 'nettles' and reef strop before shaking out the reef - having attached them from the opposite side, it was difficult getting to them, not helped by being perched up in the cockpit in the fair-sized swell... I decided to leave reef1 in after looking at the weather forecast for the coming few days, although that means we're a bit slow.

There's a system passing by overnight tomorrow (Tuesday) into Wednesday which I'll be trying to avoid the worst of by heading East for a time from tonight. It will reach the Cape area on Saturday, with a 'squashing' effect resulting in even more strong winds as it passes below the Cape - I'm hoping to stay well to its N, out of the strong winds, as it heads SE.

Then, as we get nearer to the Cape early next week, there's a really big system following close behind that looks almost impossible to avoid, it's expected to be so widespread, with 40+ kt winds, gusting higher, and 8m+ seas. It's expected to begin to arrive at the Cape soon after next Monday. I might have to heave to or, more likely, deploy my Jordan Series Drogue (JSD/series drogue) to stop the boat and stay safe if we expect to be in the middle of such strong conditions. 8m/26ft seas, probably close-to and therefore steep, are nasty!

See photo of grib file for evening next Sunday 9th Dec - system is moving left to right (W to E), colours show swell height, arrows 'fly' with wind, barbs show strength, top left grey area shows rain in another small Low there. The green boat icon shows possible position of 'Nereida' at dawn next Monday and the path shown dwon to Cape Horn will take roughly 5-7 days to sail.

Weather changes very quickly down here but the system is almost certain to arrive pretty well as forecast. All I can do is to try to avoid the immediate threat while keeping an eye on possible future problems. Not being a racer, my priority is to stay safe, even if that means stopping or going slowly at times - no problem!

Second photo (by request!) shows my 'ham shack' - my chart table area in the main cabin with HF/SSB Icom radio and Pactor modem.

1900GMT (=1200LT) - end of Day 61. We made 135 n.ml.(DMG) measured in a straight line between the two points, over the 24 hr period since yesterday's 1900 GMT position. Good speed made yesterday and overnight.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 61 (by daily DMGs): 6,476 n.ml.

Distance from Cape Horn LH (to SE): 1,348 n.ml.

Position & weather report for 1900 GMT posted to Winlink.org and Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign of kc2iov):

TIME: 2018/12/03 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 45-21.04S LONGITUDE: 098-58.52W COURSE: 130T SPEED: 5.5kt
BARO: 1018hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 12.0C
COMMENT: Sun shining thro' thin cirrus layer. Seas lying down a little - not so close and steep