S/V Nereida sails around the world

Day 301 Tues-Wed 30-31 July 2019 GMT Expecting TC Erick to pass N later today...

Tuesday 10:30am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Tues 2030 GMT) TC Erick comes closer - due to pass N of us tomorrow afternoon.
Downloading latest batch of weatherfaxes and checking latest gribs.
Also getting regular text updates over the day on Erick and Flossie from Honolulu and Miami.
As of now, seems our position is fine - clearly don't want to get too close, of course, and expect Erick to pass to N of our position tomorrow. Was good to see it heading WNW instead of due W yesterday...
Will almost certainly heave to sometime today, to make sure of being well S as Erick passes by - and that will leave just Flossie to worry about...

12:50pm Rain just came in - so I had to stop the job I was doing on the mainsail... Probably a complete waste of time (and tape), but I just felt I had to try to do something to reinforce where it was torn along the leech - below all the previous leech edge repairs (between batten pocket and third reef point).
Started with sail repair tape (only have spinnaker lightweight tape left now) but that proved very difficult to get nicely into place ... perched high up and with the boat rolling around all the time. So I reverted to Gorilla tape around the edge and onto both sides of the sail - at intervals along the edge. Was adding some more sail repair tape over the torn sail edges in between - but then the rain came in. Might help for a few days of sailing.. or might come completely undone very quickly - but at least I've done what I can to try to improve things...
Time for a short siesta before some lunch.

10:15pm Beautiful night with a refreshing breeze and almost no cloud. Just turned the wheel to gybe around and heave to - boat's bow is now pointing ENE-E-ESE in N-NE wind of 12-15kt and we're drifting due S at about 0.5kt - I just 'stopped the boat' by heaving to. The wind had dropped and has been highly variable for last few hours, and with TC Erick approaching, the wind will be shifting a lot, so it's simpler like this - we'll follow the wind around as it changes direction with Erick's approach.
It feels very calm and peaceful now. Think I'll sleep well tonight.
As I went towards the wheel in the cockpit, I had to stop and admire the night sky with its many stars - and just then, a meteorite flashed across - awesome!

Wednesday 5:20am Drifting still, at 0.7kt, hove-to in very little wind - under 5kt - with first light of dawn beginning in a mainly clear sky with very thin cloud in places overhead but big clouds over E and S horizons. Bow pointing NE-ENE but we're drifting SW, so the wind, what little there is, is from NE quadrant. rolling a lot in swell from N - Erick is getting closer to N of here and sending a swell our way - coming onto us just for'd of our beam, hence our rolling so much.

5.35am Pink-topped clouds in E - sunrise beginning... Drifting due S just now in N swell - not very big but close. Full daylight now but no sign of sun as yet - behind those big clouds on horizon ahead.
Back to my bunk for more sleep.

8am Bright, sunny day with still little or no wind - blades of Superwind not turning and we were drifting (backwards!) WSW, just changed to W, at well under 1kt, bow pointing NNE, rolling in 1.5m swell, hove-to.

____________________________________________________
"QSO Today" podcast of interview with Eric, 4Z1UG, is at:
https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:
https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

Link to the Far North (Queensland) ABC interview (2 days ago) goes out on air this morning and link will be posted once available.

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)
***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 301. We made 21 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Drifting, while mainly hove-to since last evening.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 301 (by daily DMGs): 24,752 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery LH: 2559 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 808 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3438 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1706 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 10-52.56N LONGITUDE: 148-59.42W
COURSE: 273T SPEED: 0.9kt
WIND_SPEED: 4kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: N SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 50%
BARO: 1010.9hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Hove-to, avoiding hurricane Erick, passing by to N today.

Day 300 Mon-Tues 29-30 July 2019 GMT Slowed down still, waiting for TC Erick to pass N of us...

Monday 10:30am Hawaii/Tahiti time (Mon 2030 GMT) Rolling around a lot, every so often - from side to side. Not much wind, maybe 8kt from NE, but quite a big swell which really heels us over. Overcast sky - grey cloud with frequent but light showers. Very quiet with so little wind. Trying to download latest weather to see which way Erick is heading - due W or slightly more WNW as it heads this way... A big difference from my point of view!

11:25am Just had a reassuring chat with Peter, ZL1PWM. According to the usually very reliable ECMWF (European weather model), Erick is expected to be at 15N 150W on Wed 31 July (2 days' time) at 5pm LT and at 17N 160W on Fri 2 Aug (4 days' time) at 5pm LT. We are presently at 10 30'N 147 45'W and won't be going any further N than 12N, maybe a lot less since wind is expected to stay very light or disappear in these parts, to S of Erick's track.

Erick is a very tight, contained system, with its strong winds not reaching out very far from its centre.

Feeling pretty tired - not enough sleep overnight - will lie down very soon, after a late breakfast...

2:30pm Rain, again... Not very heavy this time, and with only about 12-15kt of wind, so not so very strong, but prolonged and coming from a totally grey, cloudy sky, not an isolated raincloud as has happened often, recently.

Just finished chatting to Kier Shorey of ABC Radio Far North (Queensland) in Cairns, Australia about my journey, now into Day 300 - unbelievably long and now longer due to the need to avoid the two hurricanes threatening this week!

Feel a bit less tired after catching up on some sleep before our chat but will probably take another siesta after some lunch.

Speed around 2.5-3 kt and heading WNW still. About to have some more water - feeling parched... Good to know that the watermaker is working fine. Cabin temperature is around 32C/90F.

Downloaded more weather info on Erick and Flossie from both Honolulu and Miami Hurricane Centre. They are both forecast to move more WNW from now on so we should be fine on our present course and (very low!) speed, expecting to stop around 12N and heave to once we get there. The main unknown is how long it will be before we can safely move on again - I'm hoping to make use of wind behind Erick as it passes to our N, but need to know that Flossie will not be a problem if I do that.

4:45pm Sun well hidden now by darker grey clouds, threatening rain again - no longer any blue patches visible in sky. Rocking and rolling a lot in the swell. No wind - Superwind blades not turning. Nearly time to check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net.

Have been looking in bird book - seems the bird I saw a day or so ago was a petrel because of the wing shape, among other things - but there are so many different ones I need to see it again to check its features in more detail. A photo would be helpful but it's often really difficult to get a good enough photo of a fast-moving, unexpected bird passing close by... Often the camera just isn't nearby, anyway.

5:30pm Heavy but short-lived rainfall - boat speed increased to 4.5kt for a time, with sudden wind, but back down to rolling around in little wind now, at just over 2kt. Getting near to sunset - light beginning to fade.

8:45pm Wind is clearly well up - we're making 3.5-4.5 kt - but, of course, now I don't want the increased speed! Hopefully, it's a passing big cloud and we'll slow down soon. Otherwise, when we reach a certain waypoint, we'll have to heave to so as not to make any further headway - but we're some distance away from there still.

Overnight, plenty of clear gaps between the occasional big clouds around to see the many bright stars. Wind has been fairly steady and we've been making 2-3kt on 290T - trying to parallel the course being followed by Erick so as not to have it get any closer. Didn't need to heave to overnight since WNW course kept us from making much northing.

Tuesday 8:20am Sun is already getting hot, shining from gaps in between the many clouds around. Swell is a good 3m from NE and quite close, so plenty of rolling around - especially when swell from another direction (E-ESE) combines.

Downloading latest batch of weatherfaxes and checking latest gribs.

Also getting regular text updates over the day on Erick and Flossie from Honolulu and Miami.

As of now, seems our position is fine - clearly don't want to get too close, of course, and expect Erick to pass to N of our position tomorrow. Was good to see it heading WNW instead of due W yesterday...

Will almost certainly heave to sometime today, to make sure of being well S as Erick passes by - and that will leave just Flossie to worry about...

____________________________________________________

"QSO Today" podcast of interview with Eric, 4Z1UG, is at:

https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 300. We made 64 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 300 (by daily DMGs): 24,731 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery LH: 2550 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 820 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3449 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1707 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/30 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 10-53.32N LONGITUDE: 148-37.54W

COURSE: 290T SPEED: 2.1kt

WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 3.0m SWELL_PER: 5s

CLOUDS: 80% BARO: 1011.4hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 32.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

Day 299 Sun-Mon 28-29 July 2019 GMT Keeping a constant eye on Erick and Flossie...

Sunday 10am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 2000 GMT) Light overcast over most of the sky and seas very confused and lumpy with swell from both NNE and SE at 2m/12ft.

More studying of weather info from various sources - looks as though the first system, 'Erick', might dissipate as it passes Hawaii whereas the second, 'Flossie', could intensify a lot as it closes on the Big Island - not clear which way it will then head. If it heads N, we'll be able to get underway sooner and sail NW and then N - I'll have to wait for a few more days to see how it looks nearer the time.

Presently, we're heading towards a WP at 13N and approximately 150W, expecting to heave to once it's reached, to wait for a clear safe passage onward NW to the channel between Oahu and Kauai.

I'm about to go up on deck to reef down - there would be less time spent hove-to if we can slow down more on our way to the WP.

There's likely to be extremely light wind to the S of both systems - so we could well end up becalmed if it isn't possible to get underway as soon as 'Erick' passes to N of us.

3:20pm Calm and peaceful - just gliding along, at slow speed under a bright but cloudy sky and in seas that have lain right down, although every so often a big wave comes along to test my handholds... Feeling very warm sso a fan on above me where I'm sitting on my bunk - almost dry...

Took in the 3rd reef earlier and furled in more genoa, trying to slow us down as much as possible, to reduce the time we'll spend hove to.. Just had a siesta and waiting for an interview with ABC Far North in 3/4 hour - their Monday - my Sunday.

4:50pm Just mended a rather useful LED flashlight - pleased it turned into a really simple, quick project - the switch had become stuck in the 'on' position but once the unit was opened up and the batteries removed, it didn't take much to persuade the switch to move back into its correct position - so it's working well again now. A well-cooled tea to celebrate - with the Tim Tam I didn't get to yesterday...!

It's calm enough to think about making some pancakes - not been having them so often with the seas having been so rough lately, but cooking makes the warm cabin even warmer.

5:30pm Have just been sent a screen shot of the AIS signals around Hawaiian islands - a lot of activity there - will have to keep a very careful watch when closer.

It also looks as though 'Flossie' is expected to wind up into a pretty bg hurricane by 31 July - three days' time.

8:30pm Downloading weatherfax updates, having finished with several radio scheds - always enjoyable chatting to radio friends!

Changed course slightly with change of plan - now heading to 12N, rather than 13N, after seeing latest Hurricane Centre's graphics showing Erick's likely wind speeds and centre position at different times over next few days.

Monday 1am Hawaii/Tahiti time (Mon GMT) Excellent propagation to Florida and E. coast of USA tonight - good to chat to ham radio friends there on 40m/7163kHz - several I've not spoken to for a while.

2:30am Wind has totally died, so very difficult holding any course... Drifting... Difficult to sleep with AP unable to hold us on course...

3:45am Drifting SE at 0.1kt with full lock to port but no response since absolutely no wind... Nothing to be done until some wind comes up again... Trying to get some sleep...

5:30am Light wind just filled in, so back on course WNW, making around 2kt. Sleep...

8:30am Rolling around a lot, from side to side - not much wind, maybe 8kt from NE, but quite a big swell. Overcast sky- a lot of broken light grey cloud with just one tiny patch of blue seen. Trying to download latest weather - might need to heave to even sooner, depending on whether Erick heads due W or takes a slightly more northerly track in heading this way...

Feeling pretty tired - not enough sleep overnight - will try to get some soon...

____________________________________________________

"QSO Today" podcast of interview with Eric, 4Z1UG, is at:

https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 299. We made 56 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Going slowly under minimal sail.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 299 (by daily DMGs): 24,667 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery: 2549 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 880 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3452 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1680 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/29 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 10-25.66N LONGITUDE: 147-38.60W

COURSE: 303T SPEED: 3.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1012.5hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Going slowly, hoping to avoid TS Erick - will heave to soon...

Day 298 Sat-Sun 27-28 July 2019 GMT ITCZ finally gives heavy overnight rain... and studying avoidance tactics for Erick & Flossie

Saturday 11am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sat 2100 GMT) Spending all my time poring over different versions of the grib files with speed and course varied, trying to figure out my best course of action....

Also looking at satpic of cloud cover and weatherfaxes showing isobaric charts for up to 3 days ahead.

Everything I look at relies on the weather model predicting the track of the first Low and the following Tropical Depression accurately... The TD is shown to be heading to the Big Island of Hawaii by next Saturday/Sunday and intensifying as it gets closer but the main problem seems to be avoiding the first Low - there's time enough to avoid the TD following along behind it...

12:45pm Overcast but bright sky - making 5.5-6 kt on broad reach - just adjusted course slightly to stop headsail from flogging occasionally.

Time for a siesta - I'm mentally exhausted from all the acrobatics my brain has been performing, looking at different weather/course/speed scenarios...

3pm Sky is overcast and wind has died - we're crawling along at around 3.4kt .... My hope of getting N quickly to avoid the Low pressure system coming along soon isn't working out. Unless we pick up speed very soon, we shan't be able to make a good enough distance N.

I sat up in the fresh air in the cockpit, gazing around while having some scrambled egg and I'm about to have some blue cheese on crackers - having to do something positive to cheer myself up with the lack of progress likely ahead! Looking more and more likely that we'll have to heave to for several days to let the Low and the TS E6 pass by at a safe distance..... Grrr!!!

We're nearly out of the ITCZ region - I'm not totally clear if we avoided it or not - I think we have and it's back tomorrow, after we've passed on beyond 10N. Certainly, we've only had a few small showers today and there are no big towering alto-cumulus clouds around, to give stormy squalls.. but we're certainly getting a very light wind just now... in the Doldrums ...?

3:45pm Suddenly, we're making around 6kt! Had to adjust our heading slightly in the windshift due to a light grey raincloud spreading overhead from well off to starboard and on downwind to port astern - just a touch of rain, although I'm seeing more falling in the distance - but it's giving wind - which will probably die away again, once we've passed out from under the cloud. Nice to see some better speed for a time.

4:10pm Raincloud has moved on downwind - and we're back to crawling along at around 3-3.5kt. Wind generator blades have stopped turning, so wind must be below 7kt.

Making a mug of tea - I'll need to let it cool down a lot before drinking it - it's too hot to drink a hot drink - cabin temp is 32.5C - it's a lot fresher up in the cockpit. I'll treat myself to a Tim Tam with my tea.... still a few left, ...intended for special occasions.

7pm Dark, dark night with heavy rain just now - SOG suddenly shot up to well over 6kt for a short time ... but now back down to around 3kt or even less - seeing 1.5kt at times... Struggling to make way and stay on course.

[9am Sunday 28th July: Seems the rain we had overnight was from the ITCZ:

ITCZ 08N140W 10N155W 05N180W. ISOLATED MODERATE TSTMS WITHIN 120 NM OF ITCZ.]

8:15pm Rainsquall - heavy rain and strong wind which must have shifted into the NE quadrant since had to adjust course well to NW to prevent sails from luffing up (being too close to the wind) - major wind shift from SE wind just prior to then!

8:45pm All calm now - making NNW at around 4kt or more in NE wind still - think we just came into the NE Trades from SE Trades... a more sudden transition than I expected....

11:05pm Accelerating again - intead of a sedate 4-4.5kt, we're making 6-6.5kt ...under cloud... up on deck to check things out...

12:20am Finally dried off and in dry clothes ... I was soaked from head to toe - and then some...! Wind is a lot less now but seas are still rolling us around a lot - they always take a lot longer to lie down after the wind has died down... The prolonged, heavy rain has finally eased somewhat.

The weather gods clearly decided that tonight was the night for a thorough deck shower, although I'd never intended one in the dark of a midnight storm, nor had I felt this to be the right time to rinse out the salt in my hair. Be that as it may, I've had a good rinse off all over and the sails have certainly been well rinsed off, as well as the decks.

I had a bit of a fight to get the second reef in, with the dark night and the strong wind (easily 25kt or more, judging by our speed - over 7kt - and the sound it made) not making that so easy - no moon to help with that tonight. Took in a fair amount of genoa also - it was full when the wind got up.

Time for a quick snack - a cereal bar. The rain hasn't quite stopped yet and we're rolling about a lot in much less wind now - our speed is down to just 4-5kt.

Of course, now that we should not go too fast (or far), we're making excellent speed - racing along most of the time, in fact. We'll probably need to heave to once we reach 13N - the first Low has been upgraded to likely hurricane/cyclone status - and named 'Erick'... something to avoid, clearly... and the second system is close behind ('Flossie') and expected to intensify also.

No avoiding them, it seems, if we continue on northward, so we must stop well to the S of them and wait for them to pass, or at least wait to confirm their heading and speed, before continuing on.

Unbelievable that we're having to avoid another cyclone (let alone two!) - I thought one (in the Indian Ocean, in March) was one too many, and it cost me a painful week of time then, and here we are with a repeat of the scenario - and maybe quite a few days lost again.

Sunday 3am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 1300 GMT) Another lot of heavy rain a while ago and we're still making 5.7kt, NNW. Back to my bunk ...

7:20am Have had several emails about TS Erick - so just to set minds at ease and clarify present situation .....

Change of plan ...Will likely heave to heave to for a time - possibly at 13N 150 40W - 300 ml to go... 3 days away. Will wait to see how the two tropical storms pan out and get underway again when clearly safe to do so - probably heading to S of Hawaiian island chain and then between Kauai and Oahu to head N on final leg...

Heavy rain seems to be gone, for time being... but seas from both NE and ESE are rocking us about a lot.

Forecast from Honolulu:

... VALID 0000 UTC JUL 28 2019.

.72 HOUR FORECAST HURRICANE ERICK NEAR 15.0N 142.1W. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED

WINDS 75 GUST 90 KT.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK...USE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY...ERRORS MAY BE LARGE.

.96 HOUR FORECAST HURRICANE ERICK NEAR 16.5N 146.5W. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED

WINDS 70 GUST 85 KT.

.120 HOUR FORECAST TROPICAL STORM ERICK NEAR 17.0N 151.0W. MAXIMUM

SUSTAINED WINDS 55 GUSTS 65 KT.

______________________________________________________

"QSO Today" podcast of interview with Eric, 4Z1UG, is at:

https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:

https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 298. We made 105 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 298 (by daily DMGs): 24,611 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery: 2573 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 935 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3443 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1647 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/28 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 09-48.55N LONGITUDE: 146-55.79W

COURSE: 312T SPEED: 4.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 14kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.2m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1013hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Heading to WP - likely to heave to... ready for TS Erick & TS Flossie

Day 297 Fri-Sat 26-27 July 2019 GMT ITCZ region passed through without a problem - it vanished!

Friday Midday Tahiti/Hawaii time (Fri 2200GMT) Quite a lot of cloud - but mainly scattered light clouds, no big grey rainclouds seen.
Running generator and watermaker. Had a small worry when I saw no water was coming through to the tank - but then, thinking maybe some air had got into the system since last run a few days ago, I ran it for a few minutes un-pressurized and then pressurized it again - problem solved - to my relief! I've been keeping every bottle I can find, small or big, filled with water all the time, just in case...

Still making an excellent speed ... 6.5-7kt. On checking the latest weather info, it looks as though the small Low coming W soon should stay behind us, if we can keep up a good speed, and the Tropical Depression coming next week is also likely not to pose a problem so long as, again, I can keep us going at 5.5-6 kt on average - in that case, we'd be through the Island chain by the time it reaches the Big Island.
We're likely to see some light winds over the next 1-2 days but, fingers crossed, the ITCZ might prove fairly benign, for a change - I live in hope!
Time for a midday siesta...

2:15pm An almost completely overcast sky - very few patches of blue. Noticeable following sea - swell from the SSE, added to the previous SE swell.
Downloading a weatherfax - isobaric chart of SE part of N Pacific and a satellite IR photo of clouds ('satpic').

Forecast from Honolulu: ITCZ FROM 08N154W TO 06N170W. ISOLATED MODERATE TSTMS WITHIN 90 NM OF ITCZ.
Great! Means that here, around 146W, there is NO ITCZ to worry about. We're E of 154W and the region noted... Good news! We're nearly at 7N now, expect to pass 8N overnight and 9N by this time tomorrow.... so likely not to suffer from any major 'convection' in passing through this region where normally the ITCZ is present.
Satpic being downloaded now is showing the cloud cover I'm seeing but mostly just to W of here. Humidity is around 70% and cabin temperature around 32C/90F so a bit warm and muggy...
Grabbing my hairbrush and going on deck, into the cooling breeze - need to keep my hair under control and untangled!

5:30pm Very quiet, peaceful downwind sailing. Wind has dropped and I'm debating letting out a reef - but night is coming on very soon, so unless our speed drops a lot more, I'm inclined to leave the reef in overnight.

Very grey sky, mostly covered in light rainclouds - had a short, very light shower an hour ago.
Enjoyed a mug of broccoli and cauliflower soup before my meal of salmon just now - but had to leave it quite a while to cool down - it's too warm to be drinking hot soup!
A pair of red-footed boobies seen earlier and another bird, possibly a shearwater... dark upper, light below with black breast or chin (just below its head) and thin wings, flying close to the water.

8:15pm Feeling really frustrated just now - speed dropped, so shook out the second reef I'd been thinking about and our speed went up for a short while - but now wind has dropped a lot more and we're struggling to make 3.5kt.
Cloud has almost completely cleared away to leave a beautiful starry sky - but the wind left with the cloud...
Outlook is for more of the same, it seems. So my hopes of keeping ahead of the oncoming weather systems might be dashed - meaning another delay to my finish if we need to avoid the systems rather than sailing fast enough to keep ahead of them. The second system is looking to develop in a particularly nasty way..

Saturday 4:25am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sat 1425 GMT) Woken by heavy rain in the darkness. Not too much wind and not heeled over too badly - glad of my clear screen that kept the open companionway hatch area fairly dry, despite the middle zip being partly open. Hope the rain rinsed off the boat - everything had become sticky with a salty film.

We put on some speed under the raincloud but speed was later back down to around 5kt and likely to decrease.

5:45am Soon after the rain came sunrise, just around 5am - I was able to see the dramatic dark grey rainclouds towering up very clearly - always makes for a good photo-opportunity! A pink cloud high up to port, towards the W, was a pretty sight as was the silver crescent moon high overhead.
Changed course in fair wind from E, now. Getting concerned about the Low coming along soon and the probable Tropical depression following it next week. If we can't keep up a good enough speed to keep ahead of them, I'll have to take avoiding action...

8:45am Downloading satpic of cloud cover and weatherfaxes giving isobaric charts for up to 72hr/3days of forecasts. They add usefully to the GFS gribs I'm already getting for weather info.
Looking at problem Low and TD - seems that anything over 5kt would be fine to stay out of their way, but the faster, the better! All relies on the weather model predicting the track of the first Low and the following Tropical Depression accurately... Holding our present NNW course looks the best - means heading E of the Big Island, not S of it, as originally hoped... The TD is shown to be heading to the Big Island of Hawaii by next Saturday/Sunday and intensifying as it gets closer ... Will keep a careful watch in case change of plan is needed.
Making 5.5kt now and rolling a bit as we sail NNW downwind.

 

______________________________________________________
"QSO Today" podcast of my interview with Eric, 4Z1UG is published now at https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/VE0JS

Link to the Adelaide ABC interview about my Equator crossing is:
https://www.dropbox.com/l/scl/AABxD90n-HB3iQfK-iF5EdSDK2zXs4iF3DU

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)

 

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 297. We made 128 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 297 (by daily DMGs): 24,506 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery: 2632 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 1040 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3405 n.ml. to SSW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1570 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/27 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 08-20.84N LONGITUDE: 145-56.60W
COURSE: 335T SPEED: 5.8kt
WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1012.9hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 37.0C
COMMENT: Raincloud ahead....

Day 296 Thurs-Fri 25-26 July 2019 GMT Excellent fast sailing in SE Trades overnight, headed to ITCZ

Thursday 10am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Thurs 2000 GMT) Was just about to write: "Another bright, sunny day with a few scattered white clouds..." when I realised sun had disappeared and our speed had dropped a lot - grey cloud overhead, rainclouds to starboard (upwind) and also off to port - grey and cloudy ahead, also.. Blue sky and scattered white clouds have been left astern - we're under a long band of rainclouds... but no rain, so far....

11am Dark grey cloud passed well astern and we got just a small amount of light rain as it passed over. By chance, we happened to pass right in between two big clouds! Sky looks to be clearing ahead. Speed was back to 5.8kt for a brief time but wind now only 10kt and our speed down to 4.5-5kt, at best.

Have been studying updated weather info - a Tropical Depression is forecast to move towards Hawaii from ESE as we start heading that way in 3-4 days' time from 10N. Looks as though only slightly N of similar track that I'd planned to sail, so will need to keep a careful watch.... It's hurricane season now. But first we have to get through the ITCZ (Doldrums) below 10N.

Midday Back to sunshine and scattered, light cloud - but wind still down, around 10-12kt, so our speed is also down.

Tightened the grease gland on the rudder shaft - we keep getting some water in the bilges from a leak there and having to pump it out fairly regularly. Made it easier to access, so gland can be tightened more often.

Busy clearing up in the galley. Any plastic items going into the garbage always need to be rinsed with seawater to prevent them from getting smelly while being stored away for landfall - after squashing flat, if possible.

I'm having to remind myself of the opposite circulation around Highs and Lows, now we're back in the Northern Hemisphere after so many months in the S. The winds around Lows are now blowing anticlockwise about their centre and around High pressure systems, wind direction is clockwise.

For several days, Magnetic Variation was a nice easy 10 degrees E but where we are today, it has become 9E.

3:15pm Big grey raincloud off to port - must surely have passed over us and I didn't notice - too busy with weatherfaxes and updating logbook... Making 5.7kt in about 15kt SE wind - pretty steady conditions, just now...

ITCZ ( VALID 1800 UTC JUL 25): " ITCZ FROM 08N148W TO 07N165W TO 09N180W. ISOLATED MODERATE TSTMS WITHIN 120 NM OF ITCZ."

10:30pm Have been making excellent speed for several hours now - looking at weather coming up, seems the only way to beat it is by keeping up a good speed - so into 'race mode' now... for as long as I (and my nerves!) can keep it up... Hope squalls stay away...

Soon will head due N through ITCZ and then will head NW towards Honolulu. Once through Hawaiian Island chain, will head N on 160W or so. Have to get around the N. Pacific High pressure system... Can't go through middle of it or I'll run out of wind! (Have had several emails asking about my route back to Victoria, B.C. - must work with expected/prevailing winds - can't head NNE all the way back from here - just won't work... no choice but to go a roundabout way!)

Friday 5am Tahiti/Hawaii time (fRI 1500GMT) Day breaking - first light in E. A few stars still seen and crescent moon high up in clear sky overhead. Only cloud in sky is a band over E and N horizons.

Just changed course in good wind, to head almost due N now.

ITCZ, if present, is ahead - one day's sail away, at 7-8N...

Making good speed at around 7 kt on beam reach in SE wind.

Back to my bunk for more sleep...

8:30am Lovely sunny day with quite a lot of light, scattered cloud - no grey clouds seen just now. More solid cloud layer ahead, light & scattered cloud in blue sky astern.

Making excellent speed still, as overnight - at around 7kt... Just changed course to due N for getting through ITCZ as quickly as possible - if we're lucky, we won't see much of it, but who knows? "What you see is what you get"...!! Downloading satpic, as I type this, to see where convection was positioned a short time ago... Looks like a broad swathe of cloud a bit further ahead just now...

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 296. We made 145 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Excellent SOG!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 296 (by daily DMGs): 24,378 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Cape Flattery: 2743 n.ml. to NNE; Honolulu: 1147 n.ml. to NNW; East Cape, N.Z.: 3310 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1448 n.ml. to S

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/26 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 06-14.48N LONGITUDE: 145-39.83W

COURSE: 358T SPEED: 7.0kt

WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 40%

BARO: 1012.2hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C

COMMENT: Good speed and course in good SE wind.

Day 295 Wed-Thurs 24-25 July 2019 GMT Lovely sailing in steady SE Trades

Wednesday Midday Tahiti/Hawaii time (Wed 2200 GMT) Another bright, sunny day with a few scattered white clouds. Making just under 6kt in 15kt wind from SE . Seas are still 2m so being tossed around at times but mainly smooth sailing. Full genoa, two reefs in main and on course of 030T.

Fishing vessels N - NW of us... Hope we continue to stay well apart....

Very relaxing, warm day - about to catch up on sleep, as usual around this time, with a gentle breeze blowing down from a small fan - lovely!

3pm Getting meal ready - tuna with some mayonnaise

Latest on ITCZ:

ITCZ FROM 08N146W TO 07N170W TO 06N179W TO 10N170E TO 10N160E.

SCATTERED MODERATE TSTMS FROM 09N TO 03N BETWEEN 148W AND

171W.

Looks as though we'll just catch the E end of it near 145W - hopefully, we might get lucky and not see any major convection giving nasty squalls or rainstorms.

Slowed down a tad with wind down to around 15kt now but still sailing well. On the same good course of around 030T - keeping us clear of fishing fleet as well as giving good wind angle for later on when we head towards Hawaii in the NE Trades.

5:45pm Sun getting low.-- getting noticeably later as we get further N. Continuing steady wind and good sailing...

Thursday 5:30am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Thurs 1530GMT) Full daylight. Wind came up a bit overnight - noise of boat moving faster through water woke me up! A lot of light cloud around but no rain clouds in sight - hoping for another day of no squalls. Cabin temperature 30C or more.

Enjoying lovely Trade Wind sailing - very smooth just now.

8:30am Downloading weatherfaxes, grib files and satpics. Seeing a Tropical Depression forecast to move towards Hawaii from ESE as we start heading that way in a few days' time from 10N - will need to keep a careful watch.... It's hurricane season now. But first we have to get through the ITCZ (Doldrums)

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 295. We made 132 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Another good day of Trade Wind sailing - without any squalls.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 295 (by daily DMGs): 24,233 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Equator: 243 n.ml. to S; East Cape, N.Z.: 3166 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1307 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1223 n.ml. to NNW; Christmas Island: 662 n.ml.to WSW; Fanning Island: 760 n.ml. to WSW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/25 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 04-02.78N LONGITUDE: 146-39.56W

COURSE: 034T SPEED: 5.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 40%

BARO: 1012.8hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Bright, sunny, SE Trades - sailing in steady wind, no squalls, SSE of fishing fleets.

Day 294 Tues-Wed 23-24 July 2019 GMT Pleasant Trade Wind sailing... and no squalls!

Tuesday 11am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Tues 2100 GMT) Bright, sunny day with 20% scattered white clouds. Making over 6kt in around 20kt wind from ESE - seas are well up at over 2m so a bit rough and being tossed around a lot. Well heeled over under full genoa and two reefs in main and on course of 034T.
Downloading satellite photo showing clouds over Pacific and running generator.
Time for (my usual!) late breakfast - will have extra dried fruit and mango juice - we're in 'Equator-crossing' party mode today!

12:45pm Suddenly it's feeling very much calmer - we're gliding along and bouncing gently, not pounding into the seas as we were... The wind and seas must be from more 'abaft the beam' now... Very much pleasanter! This is true Trade Wind sailing, at last.

I've run out of toilet paper... Have been busy cutting up paper from a roll of kitchen tissue!

4pm Wind down a little, so speed nearer to 5kt now but still smooth sailing under mainly blue sky.
Chatted to Stuart Stansfield, of ABC Adelaide Radio, about this morning's Equator crossing and the last few days' sailing. (Link to podcast is on my website 'Interviews' tab)
No sign of any fishing vessels so far.

Sunset Enjoyed a small G&T with a few cashews - found two cans of tonic I'd been keeping were almost empty - corroded aluminium cans had lost most of their content - so no choice (!) - had to empty them and have a small drink (thanks for the nice gin, Randy!) Also enjoyed some blue cheese I'd found low down in the fridge - plenty for several days to come - hoping it will last long enough for a birthday treat mid-August.
Later, enjoyed a meal of chicken breast chunks and asparagus in a white sauce - a very tasty celebratory meal followed by dark chocolate and the last of the mango & dark spiced rum punch.

11pm Calculated distance off of nearest fishing vessels, on assumption of making 5kt directly heading towards us - nearest would arrive close around 7am LT ...

Wednesday 2am Not long finished a one hour radio session with Jim, WB2REM, in Florida, via a phone patch using his radio on 7163kHz and remote/internet link - a lot of people came up from all over the US and Canada and also S.Africa and US Virgin Islands. Good to chat, even if briefly, to so many sending their good wishes - thanks to all of you!
Spent a short time enjoying the cool breeze on deck - almost a clear sky with bright half-moon and the brighter stars shining from between just a few small clouds. Seas not too bad but on the beam, so being thrown around quite often.
Making fair speed, around 6kt just now - wind better than earlier tonight.
Back to my bunk for more sleep... No fishing vessels seen on AIS within at least 20 miles or so and alarm set in case any might try to come too close later.

8am Bright, sunny day - pleasant Trade Wind sailing, although a bit bumpy on close reach into 2m seas, trying still to make Easting while it's possible.
Seems ploy of heading 030T is working - fishing vessels seem to be keeping N - NW of us... Hope we continue to stay well apart... All have stayed well over 25ml away since none seen on AIS display. Ones headed S last night seem to have turned back to head N now - good!

Downloading a lot of weather faxes from Honolulu has been taking up quite some time - should be able to download fewer from now on, now I've seen what they contain. Useful to see satellite photos of cloud cover and to see position of ITCZ.

Photos show crossing Equator yesterday from S to N - at 4:18a.m. LT / 14:18 GMT (Tuesday 23rd July 2019)

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)

 

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 294. We made 122 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Another good day of Trade Wind sailing without squalls.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 294 (by daily DMGs): 24,101 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Equator: 130 n.ml. to S; East Cape, N.Z.: 3035 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1186 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1290 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/24 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 02-10.06N LONGITUDE: 147-47.79W
COURSE: 031T SPEED: 5.4kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 30%
BARO: 1012.5hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Bright sunny day - no squalls so far..

Day 293 Mon-Tues 22-23 July 2019 GMT Tues 23rd July 4:18:23am Tahiti time/14:18:23 GMT - exact time of my Equator crossing into N. hemisphere - in company with friends!

Sunday 1:30pm Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 2330 GMT) What a contrast to yesterday's squally weather! The sky has been mainly blue with just a few clouds - occasionally large but never threatening. The wind has been good at 15kt or more and has consistently allowed us to head more NNE - no backing wind under grey rain clouds, so far today. All very pleasant since even the seas are more spaced apart, so although still over 2m, it doesn't feel so rough.

Have been busy with emails and studying fresh weather faxes and grib files - trying to figure out the best route to take towards Hawaii - I'd like to make for the channel between Kauai and Oahu if possible but must get a good angle on the NE Trades - so heading more E whenever we can just now, since that probably won't be possible in winds further N.

4:10pm Sunset - lovely deep orange globe sinking into the dark sea wih very little cloud around.

Wind getting up a little - boat speed has increased to around 5.5t from 4.5kt - still no squalls - a lovely relaxed day today!

Later: Was chatting on PolyMagNet (Polynesian Magellan Net) to other cruising boats in French Polynesia - invited them all to my 'Equator-crossing party'!

Getting ready the 'tipple' I'll be giving to Neptune as we cross over... making sure it's handy since might still be dark, although could be ~1500Z = 5am Tahiti time which will be closer to dawn, maybe. All depends on wind strength overnight.

8:30pm Continuing with a very pleasant sail at around 5kt in calmer seas - just bobbing around in swell and wind chop, nothing too violent.

Sky mostly clear but a bit hazy with a hint of thin cloud, stars everywhere... A dark night - no moon as yet.

Getting to sleep soon, after chatting with Colin, VK6CI, to check on fishing vessels heading my way - seems overnight will give no cause for concern but could come close tomorrow afternoon unless they change course...

3:25am 03.62 ml from Equator! Went on radio (7155) and immediately heard a familiar voice on frequency- Gil, N2GG, in New Mexico - coming over very loud and clear. Will be keeping me company, along with several others on the radio, as we cross the Equator around 4:30am/1430GMT - that will be fun!

Checking emails - several congratulatory ones in expectation of imminent crossing....

4:18:23am/14:18:23 GMT was exact time of my Equator crossing! Was wonderful to do it in company with so many ham radio friends from both USA, Canada and Australia who got the word and came on frequency to help me celebrate the moment! Thanks to all of you!

On deck to give Neptune his obligatory tipple - a touch of rum - and I kept him company with a small rum punch - made good use of my remaining mango juice...

Making good speed in 15-20kt ESE wind, double-reefed main, full genoa, 2.2m seas - not too close but tossing us around a bit, a hint of half-moon and plenty of cloud - even a slight touch of refreshing rain - all very pleasant and enjoyable!

5:15am Back to my bunk for some sleep before dawn. Party later today - music, nice snacks and a good meal - and maybe a G&T.... I'm feeling great!

5:35am First light before dawn... sleep...

8:20am Bright sunny day with very little cloud. Making ~6kt in 20kt wind from ESE - seas well up so a bit rough. Well heeled over. Course around 030T. Downloading weatherfaxes.

Last night, it looked as though by keeping to this course we stood a chance that most of the big fishing fleet above 01N will be to our W, although three vessels were then heading S to cross our path later today. I'll be in contact later with Colin, who has Internet, to check on their latest whereabouts and course. Hopefully, we'll all stay well clear of each other - maybe there'll even be someone who can speak English over the VHF radio to help in that?!

Looks as though we'll have to cross the ITCZ around 6-7N - I was hoping it might disappear for a time on our path as we get closer, just as it has to W of 175W... but not looking like that just now.

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 293. We made 122 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Good to celebrate Equator crossing with a half-decent DMG!

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 293 (by daily DMGs): 23,879 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Equator: 22 n.ml. to S; East Cape, N.Z.: 2913 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 1076 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1360 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/23 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 00-22.47N LONGITUDE: 148-45.30W

COURSE: 034T SPEED: 6.4kt

WIND_SPEED: 18kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: ESE SWELL_HT: 2.2m CLOUDS: 10%

BARO: 1012.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C

COMMENT: Crossed Eq at 1418Z - in company with radio friends!

Day 292 Sun-Mon 21-22 July 2019 GMT Heavy rain, grey cloud, heeling like mad and accelerating several times - unwanted excitement..

Equator crossing by this time tomorrow, hopefully! Party time! Join me in raising a glass to Neptune/Poseidon for safe passage onward in the Northern hemisphere.

Sunday 10am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 2000 GMT) Another raincloud just passed ahead - now downwind to port ... Furled in some genoa as we got closer to the cloud and mainsail was still slightly de-powered from previous cloud encounter to avoid reefing - wind wasn't too strong this time, so that all worked fine. Will look ahead to see how cloudy-looking it is to decide whether tying back in the first reef would be a good idea.
Several small shoals of tiny blue-grey flying fish took off as we came by - skimming the waves with 'wings'/fins outstretched at complete right angles to their bodies - so funny to see them!

10:45am Finished tying first reef back in - a very large area of rainclouds hereabouts - unfurled genoa to give more speed. Of course, shortly after tying in the first reef again, the wind died and backed a bit more - so we're now crawling along at only 3.5kt at best and onto a course W of N again - on a close reach still.

Still downloading weatherfaxes from Honolulu - need to remind myself of their content to see which ones to download on a daily basis. Very useful for seeing where the ITCZ is now and where it's forecast to be, as well as getting weather info for now and over next few days.

12:30pm In no wind, drifting at 1.5kt SSW - wind had backed a lot in heavy rain just before, under big cloud, so suddenly the sails were backed... and we're now hove-to, waiting for some wind to come back so that we can get underway again. Totally cloudy, rainy, squally conditions so far today!

1:30pm Just back down after a rough, stormy session on deck... Wind came back - with a vengeance! Easily got up to over 25kt in no time... Started furling in some genoa and was very glad to have first reef tied in. But with such strong wind, soon had to ease the mainsheet a lot because we were far too heeled over - made working on deck very difficult but soon after managing that, tied in second reef and furled in more genoa. Seas got up quickly in the strong wind and are still pretty rough just now.

2pm Seas well up even though wind has eased a lot, so our speed has dropped a lot as well.
Just realised that, as well as having had no breakfast, I haven't posted yesterday's reports, having been so busy with different things so far today - will post it now!

2:40pm Enjoying a bowl of thick bean and ham soup - skipped breakfast. Speed is well down now - wind has died again and we were only making just over 2kt in 7-10kt of E wind, so unfurled some genoa which increased our speed to 3kt - must release some more... Just noticed a fresh tear close to the leech between the 2nd and 3rd reef points and a couple of small tears elsewhere.
Having quite a good upper body work-out on the winches today...

4:20pm Another squall came by earlier - just back down below now, after taking in some more genoa just after the sun had set, while still enough daylight to see by. Best to be on the safe side overnight, although sky seems to be clearing so maybe we've seen the last of the squally weather - seas are still rough though - close and steep-to. With a touch less canvas, things seemed to calm down a bit.
3-5 Frigate birds came by, looking as though they fancied perching at the mast top around sunset - something they like to do... Two of the birds were slightly smaller - boobies, perhaps? We're not far from the Kiribati group of islands to WNW - presume that's where they came from.

This is what affected us today:
.TROUGH 02S150W TO 07S140W MOVING W 25 KT. E WINDS 20 TO 25 KT
WITHIN 200 NM E OF TROUGH. ISOLATED TSTMS WITHIN 120 NM W OF TROUGH.
.24 HOUR FORECAST TROUGH DISSIPATED. E WINDS 20 TO 25 KT N OF 06S
FRROM 158W TO 148W.
.48 HOUR FORECAST E WINDS DIMINISHED TO 20 KT OR LESS.

9pm A solitary fishing vessel came S towards us - but changed course to ESE when about 15ml off to our NNE - I wondered if it did so because they saw our AIS signal and realised we would otherwise be getting close?
Looks as though no worries tonight - all fishing vessels are well clear just now.

Monday 5am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Mon 1500 GMT) "Boisterous sailing" overnight in strong wind. A few big scattered clouds... starry sky overhead. Suddenly, the moon came out from behind a cloud high up - it was as though a flashlight had suddenly been turned on, lighting up the rough seas - we're pitching and tossing a lot.

8am A big raincloud off to starboard, upwind - some rain, some increased wind, but nothing major to deal with - excellent! Plenty of sunshine and not many other clouds around, although a band of cloud ahead, far in the distance.
Found a big flying fish in the cockpit - a fresh fish meal today! Scaling them takes no time at all - their scales are so large, there aren't that many.
Wind seems to be from due E, possibly just S of E, so we're able to make a better course now - not far from the NNE I've been wanting for several days.
Seas still pretty rough with 2.5m swell and a good wind chop on top.

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)

 

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 292. We made 104 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 292 (by daily DMGs): 23,757 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): Equator: 85.5n.ml. to N; East Cape, N.Z.: 2793 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 967 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1438 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/22 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 01-25.47S LONGITUDE: 149-41.02W
COURSE: 022T SPEED: 5.0kt
WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 2.5m CLOUDS: 30%
BARO: 1012.9hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C
COMMENT: A lot less cloud. Big flying fish in cockpit. <86ml from Equator.

Day 291 Sat-Sun 20-21 July 2019 GMT Mostly pleasant sailing - until squalls started up on Sunday morning....

Saturday 2:30pm Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 0030 GMT) Very relaxing, pleasant, slow sailing day today, with mainly just a few light clouds and a band of large white clouds presently astern to port.... plenty of sunshine. Wind not very strong, maybe around 10kt, still from ENE, so still not able to make our preferred NNE heading.

Hoping for stronger wind in a couple of days' time but expect ENE wind in meantime, with no ESE wind expected until we've almost reached the Equator - in 3 days, maybe.

5:45pm Sun getting low, near sunset. Having some of my good, thick soup after having fixed the mainsheet traveller line. I'd not noticed that I'd allowed the line to over-ride on the winch while bringing the traveller to windward ... Fortunately, I knew that when I replaced the line in Timaru recently, I'd made it very long, so I was able to cut it close to one end, after tying the traveller in place, to release it from the winch and re-run the line around the blocks and tie it off at at that end. (Couldn't use my usual running hitch.)

9:30pm Wind definitely up a bit this evening - making better speed... but it's getting more bumpy - pounding into swell, close-hauled, as usual.

Sunday 2:45am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sun 1245 GMT) Moon high up lighting up the scene - just a few clouds and plenty of the brighter stars visible. A little bit bumpy in fair-sized swell as we make our way just W of due N towards the Equator.

Running the generator for a short time with voltage having dropped - clearly wind not quite strong enough to give both autopilot (AP) and batteries the charge needed to keep them both up.

Making quite a good speed on a close reach - can't make course any further to E of present one.

3:40am Cargo vessel to NW - expected to pass 8ml off in an hour's time - no problem!

4:30am Cargo vessel passing several miles ahead, heading WNW - all good.

7:55am Wind had died down again but is now back up more - we were making 2kt or less half an hour ago, but now 4kt. Also changed course, with wind having veered a little - so now COG is just E of N - good.

Full mainsail - just spent a time (and effort!) raising it and shaking out first reef for better speed - hope I don't regret it! No squalls in sight .... for time being... Will be keeping a careful eye out for them.

8:45am Downloading weatherfax showing satpic of cloud cover over E.Pacific - useful to be able to see it.

Had a very kind email from Jim Corenman of Sailmail, trying to be of help now that the use of Winlink has run into problems due to lack of USA Third Party Agreements with so many other countries being visited by, or close to, cruisers. Their use of Winlink is for everyday emailing to get weather info, post their position and keep in touch with family and friends - so this new problem is a sudden unexpected and unwelcome surprise for many of us.

Suddenly found us heeling and accelerating..... Heavy rain under big, grey cloud - jumped up on deck to deal with squall... heeling like mad with no first reef tied in... damn!!

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti/Hawaii time) - end of Day 291. We made 113 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 291 (by daily DMGs): 23,653 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2700 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 865 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1513 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/21 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 03-08.44S LONGITUDE: 149-52.32W

COURSE: 009T SPEED: 4.5kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 95%

BARO: 1012hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C

COMMENT: Wind veered after we came out from under rain cloud

Day 290 Fri-Sat 19-20 July 2019 GMT A mix of light winds and a few squalls - but no fishing vessels close by

Friday 10am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Fri 2000 GMT) On a broad reach, struggling to make 2.5 kt. Sky completely covered with grey cloud and there's a good 2m swell from SSE with another swell from E.

11:40am Suddenly I realise we've picked up speed - go up on top - grey cloud ahead to port and light rain. Making 5.5kt with apparent wind just abaft the beam - from ESE, so SE true wind. Not a lot and will probably die down soon enough... Already seeing some blue patches to starboard and we're slowing down.

Have been busy in galley, clearing/cleaning and preparing bean and barley soup plus discovered a last onion hidden in the papers in the onion crate that I thought was empty and had brought aft to clean out. So the very last fresh onion has been chopped up to add into the 'hearty soup' I'm making - diced ham and some green beans to be added very soon, once dried white beans have finished cooking in pressure cooker.

11:50am Speed down to 2.5kt again, blades of windgen hardly turning - so wind down to 6-7 kt now.... Struggling to keep on course and make way. Sun beginning to get out.

2pm Took in a good amount of genoa ten minutes ago, looking ahead at a dark grey raincloud with rain falling ... Also changed course to try to pass it upwind, having not long before been rushing along at around 7kt, as another big area of cloud passed overhead, giving us strong wind to sail at speed for a change. This is why I've kept the first reef in, as we pass through this area of frequent rain clouds... We were not over-powered as the first rain cloud passed by - not over-heeled, although reaching 8kt a couple of times... But that had no rain, whereas this next one did have - so I was a bit wary and took in some headsail so as not to be caught out.

As it is, we're down now to around 5kt so, if there are no other threatening dark clouds ahead upwind, it's time to unfurl some of the genoa to speed up again while we can.

2:30pm Another wide band of rain clouds ahead, so will keep genoa part-furled until past them - easy to let out but takes time to get in...

Had a lot of rain under a big area of raincloud with strong wind - furled in genoa a lot more but managed with just the one reef - so wind must have stayed under 30kt although we were well-heeled over as we sped along at around 6 kt or more for quite a time.

After that, winds were light, so progress was very slow again. Kept checking wind direction to see if we could make any more Easting - don't want not to be able to make Oahu/Kauai (Hawaii) because of wind angle not working out in NE Trades.

8:30pm Several good radio sessions this evening, including to Victoria, B.C. Always nice to chat to other cruisers on maritime frequencies but there was also very good propagation to Australia tonight on 20m so had quick chats with several people I know on the amateur ANZA Net on 14183kHz - very enjoyable.

Heard from friends with Internet that the Taiwanese fishing vessels I've been trying to steer clear of are off to the NE and well out of the way - for over a day, probably - good news, so I was able to relax for the time being. There's another group of fishing vessels closer to the Equator, due N of here, so will need to keep an eye on them over the next two days.

Saturday 12.45am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Sat 1045 GMT) Was sitting up late, beyond midnight, having just finished some emails, and went to check on our progress. Suddenly realised we were heeling and accelerating.... A squall!

Jumped up on deck to furl in some genoa, cursing myself for forgetting to do that around sunset, as I'd intended to, for overnight... Went to take in on genoa sheet (control line) but saw I'd not furled enough in - so back to other side of cockpit to furl in more, then back again to tension the sheet. A dark night with the moon behind a lot of thick cloud so not giving its usual helpful light.

Being close-hauled, trying to make as best a course as possible, means that's really important to get right - if we're too close to the wind, the genoa will luff up (flaps madly!), the wind gets behind it, and we'd end up effectively heaving to, if I let it happen, but I keep us going around in a circle (gybing), until I get us back on course. Happens especially easily in very light winds with the usual good 2m swell knocking us about - far too often... very frustrating with the frequent wind shifts giving no warning...

After things calmed down finally, I left the genoa furled in and got to my bunk.

7am Making fair progress in gusty conditions under scattered light clouds with plenty of sunshine. Wind not very strong, maybe around 10kt, and determinedly from ENE, so still not able to make our hoped-for NNE heading, now we've passed the Taiwanese vessels E of here.

Weather outlook is for stronger wind in a couple of days' time but expect to keep ENE wind until then - damn! Not much sign of any good ESE wind before almost reaching the Equator, hopefully 3 days away, but it should then hold ESE until around 7N, when we'll be getting close to the squally, unpredictable ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone).

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter, and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless

they are notified in advance.)

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 290. We made 101 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 290 (by daily DMGs): 23,540 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2628 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 754 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1748 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/20 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 04-58.88S LONGITUDE: 149-26.80W

COURSE: 347T SPEED: 4.2kt

WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 60%

BARO: 1012.6hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Wind backed still, so can't make preferred NNE

Day 289 Thurs-Fri 18-19 July 2019 GMT Another day of slow progress in light winds between stronger wind under rain clouds

Thursday 10:15am Tahiti/Hawaii time (Thurs 2015 GMT) Heavy rain but no wind just now so only making 0.5-1.5 kt - won't be getting far today at this rate! Quite a large cloud - seems we're in an area of rain today so hopefully we'll get a good wind to move on with, occasionally.
Glad I put back earlier the half of the storm screen I'd taken away a couple of days ago - it's keeping the companionway area dry and I can leave the hatch there open to down below for air.

11:40am That big grey raincloud mass is being left astern and there's broken cloud, some rising high, with big patches of blue sky ahead. Wind is from ESE-SE and we're making 3.4kt.
We were soon making for another grey raincloud ahead - I was happy to see it off our port bow (downwind) as we got closer to the rain - moving well out of our way!
I keep having to watch our course, not to get too close to the wind as it constantly shifts around with any cloud that is nearby.
I need some more sleep - should be OK since I usually get woken if we start accelerating and/or heeling with increased wind - in good time to get on deck to see to whatever needs doing.

3:45pm Under an overcast sky with a thin layer of dull white and grey cloud, making a steady 3.0kt, in seas well down in little wind. The edge of the solid cloud layer can be seen well astern and to starboard - light blue sky with many large white clouds rising dramatically high up - cumulus and/or cumulo-nimbus types. Ahead, a white line of clouds off to the W against a grey background of mixed cloud and overcast.
Had a good sleep, interrupted a couple of times by needing to check on sails and course with genoa flapping noisily as a warning.
Running the generator and watermaker now - batteries getting slightly low. Haven't been needing to run the generator very often with the wind generator working well in the stronger winds - but not much wind now, so good to be able to to up the batteries this alternative way.

5pm Had a lovely deck wash - great to have clean hair for a change!
About to check in to Pacific Seafarers' Net - and then I'll be opening a small tin of wild salmon to celebrate feeling fresh-washed!
Warning from Peter, ZL1PWM, of 6 fishing vessels at 06S between 146W and 149W - which puts me heading to where they are, about 75 miles N of here - not good news!

7:30pm Have been circling in no wind ... very frustrating! Ended up drifting 330T in SE-ESE wind of maximum 4-5kt possibly - at least that's in a straight line and roughly N.

8:55pm Just spoke to MRCC NZ to see if they have any further info on the fishing vessels to the N - Samantha phoned back to confirm details but pointed out that the data was 24hrs old! Heading N-NW is possibly the best option to try to keep out of their area... which I was already doing...

9:45pm Rain! So we picked up speed for a time - up to 5.5kt at one point! Now decreasing - down to 4kt as I write this... and rain has eased. Staying on a course of NNW until I have more info on fishing vessels later tomorrow. Hope they don't move W of where they are just now.

11:25pm Just went circling around again (gybed) after the genoa luffed up with boat speed having dropped to under 1kt and it ended up backed with combination of swell and very light wind - maybe wind was backed due to cloud nearby. Whatever the reason, we gybed and went round in a circle until I was able to get us back on course - but NW this time, not NNW as before... SOG 3-4kt just now..
Very diffiult to do the right thing when you hve only the vaguest of ideas where the wind is coming from! Lots of cloud around - hiding moon, so it's difficult to see exactly what's happening - especially trying to deduce the wind direction in the dark... Windgen blades are hardly turning so wind is below 7kt and windgen is not so reliable for showing wind direction.
Must get some sleep...

Friday 6:15am Tahiti&Hawaii time (Fri 1615 GMT) Raining. Daylight before sunrise. Mostly cloudy, grey sky with hint of orange in clouds to E. On broad reach, making 2.3 kt.

7am Was headed NW still, from overnight, but changed to 350T, since wind seems to be from E just now, and speed went up - now around 3.5kt.
Hair still feeling delightfully clean and shiny - wonderful! Running generator to top up batteries.

8:50am Wind down but we're still making around 3.5kt, on 354T, but slowing down, I think. Sky completely covered with grey cloud, but no rain falling at the moment, and a good 2m swell from ESE.

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)

 

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 289. We made 66 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Light winds in between occasional increased wind under rainclouds.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 289 (by daily DMGs): 23,439 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2569 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 658 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1748 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/19 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 06-35.65S LONGITUDE: 148-59.17W
COURSE: 353T SPEED: 2.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 8kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: SSE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 100%
BARO: 1013hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Light wind again - slow progress N. Fishing vessels 80ml ahead...

Day 288 Wed-Thurs 17-18 July 2019 GMT Creeping along for most of day in very light wind when away from rainclouds

Wednesday 11am LT is Tahiti time (same as Hawaii time) (Wed 2100 GMT) Gusty with so many big clouds around - good wind at times but slow at other times - highly changeable.
Went to release reef but then saw we were heading towards a grey cloud. Wind often dies ahead of a cloud, before coming up strongly when it gets closer, so paused to see what would happen... Really just creeping along - wind has gone...

Ran the small diesel generator earlier and the water maker. Topped up a lot of emptied water bottles - drinking lots in the warmth - cabin getting up to 32C/90F. Running a small fan wherever I am in the cabin - they give a nice cooling breeze but take very little power.
Slowly drying out a lot of clothing and some bedding, although with so much salt in them, they never really feel dry - need a good fresh-water wash. Some have gone mouldy & might have to be replaced on landfall.

12:40pm Just keeping ahead of a large grey rain cloud - rain falling not far off our stern. Making 5.5-6kt in a good wind of 15kt or more - but from ENE, so having to head well W of our preferred course.

No sign of the Chinese fishing vessels, TG!

2:50pm: Wind died again, once we were clear of that rain and cloud. We were making only a NNW course in its backed wind, at very low speed.
Decided it was time to make up for some of last night's lost sleep while the wind settled down away from the cloud.
Woke up to find a veered E-ESE wind, so eased the mainsheet and took up on the preventer. So little wind still that the blades of the Superwind (generator) are not turning - shows there's under 7kt of wind... Creeping along again, although on a better course. No record-breaking big DMG today... and this will mean postponing my hoped-for Equator-crossing party from Sunday/Monday to Tuesday or later...
Time to prepare a simple meal while good daylight - fried potatoes with scrambled egg (dried) and some green beans. Also soaking some dried beans ready for cooking later, for tomorrow's meals.

4:45pm Wind has just filled in a bit from E - windgen is turning, although not very fast, so wind must be close to 10kt. We're making around 4kt now - a lot better than earlier! Some cloud showing ahead but well in the distance - hopefully, no squalls... will need to keep an eye out.
Sun is beginning to get low - dealing with food now, while still plenty of daylight.

6:30pm Finished my meal. Looks as though we're in luck - we're passing under the band of cloud across our NNE path - and found a bit of a gap in the heavier, rainy cloud - so looking good to pass through with no squalls or strong wind. Light has almost gone now but there's enough, despite no moon seen, to see what is ahead - fingers crossed for overnight!
Wind still pleasant at around 10kt from E and seems to be increasing - we're making over 4kt, often getting up nearer to 5kt. Bouncing around in the 2m swell from E.

10:30pm Beautiful moonlit night.
So much for wind increasing - it has, if anything, decreased.... so we're now struggling to make way at 1-2kt and being taken well N of our planned course.
Sleep is very welcome.

Thursday 3am LT/Tahiti time (Thurs 1300 GMT) Moon shining brightly through slightly broken, thin overcast . Genoa started luffing up and, as I tried to adjust course and sail trim in a wind shift, we ended up going around in a circle twice - wind had dropped to below 10kt and backed to ENE-NE so having to head on 350T, resulting in a COG of 344T, at only 1-2kt. .... Rain!! Not a lot but explains why the wind suddenly backed so much to give a problem.... 'cloud effect' working to throw us well off course for the time being..

3:45am Now out from under the raincloud, so maybe we can get back on track - big cloud has passed off to port, headed W. we're going very slowly still, in wind under 10kt - only making around 2.3kt, with COG of 353T, despite boat's bow pointing 000T now.
Back to my bunk for more sleep.. Sky is clear off to starboard and moon is trying to get out from edge of cloud and shining more brightly again...
Proving very difficult to make any more Easting ... and difficult to hold what Easting we have, even. Maybe the wind will veer more towards E or ESE soon, so we can get back to a course of NNE? This is when use of wind-steering is excellent - I'm missing poor old Fred!

5:45am Day breaking - hint of orange light in clouds to E - sunrise not far away... Lots of grey cloud everywhere with one or two small showers seen. Long straight line of rain cloud edge among the clouds seen astern almost from one horizon to the other, with rain falling from it in different places.
Making 1.5kt in wind of about 4-5kt, maybe less... was about to get to to my bunk when genoa luffed up and we went circling around in the light wind from just E of NE... Now back on a heading of 000T but only making a course (COG) of 353T at 2.4kt...

7:15am Suddenly we accelerated to 6kt under edge of light raincloud, mainly off to starboard, on 353T. Didn't last long, but good to see some decent speed for a time!
Lasted no more than 15 minutes. Oh well... back to 2.7-3.2 kt in bright sunshine - we didn't even get any drops of rain!

7:20am Wind has veered a lot - to E - so we're now able to make course (COG) of 014T, although speed only around 2.5kt in about 4-5kt of wind which is likely to die further... Rather faint rainbow showing astern, with grey of raincloud as a backdrop.

8:50am Another big raincloud ahead to starboard - giving good wind so we're up to over 5kt now - have to keep adjusting our course - presently trying to avoid passing through heaviest of rain in centre of cloud... Nice to have some speed but would prefer to avoid the strongest winds likely! Looks as though today will give plenty of cloud and maybe some rain at times - so hoping for better average speed than yesterday if enough clouds around.

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

(I hear that some readers might need to talk to their bank BEFORE trying to make a donation to the RNLI since many US banks routinely block foreign transactions unless
they are notified in advance.)

 

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 288. We made 57 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Very light wind for most of the day.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 288 (by daily DMGs): 23,373 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2526 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 594 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1807 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/18 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 07-40.68S LONGITUDE: 148-48.00W
COURSE: 020T SPEED: 5.6kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: E SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 95%
BARO: 1012.2hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Cloudy with freq rain - giving better wind and speed when cloud close

Day 287 Tues-Wed 16-17 July 2019 GMT Forced to heave to for over 6 hours to avoid problem with Chinese fishing vessels overnight

Tuesday 10:30am LT/Tahiti time (Tues 2030 GMT) A bright day with a few scattered clouds. Wind still fairly light. Pounding into occasional bigger waves from ENE but less so than overnight.

About to make pancakes before shaking out the 2nd reef, despite the likelihood of rain squalls developing over the day being quite high. I'll tie in the reef again later, if it looks as though squalls are beginning to threaten... and certainly overnight, to be safe.

We're still heading slightly off our previous course, in order to be off the wind a little more and keep better speed.

11am Wind up a bit now - making over 5kt - think I'll leave the reef in for time being...

Getting difficult making radio contact on 20m with New Zealand and Australia at this time of day - far better later on. I'm making excellent contact on 20m with Victoria, B.C., just after my sunset (and California also), which time is not much different from there, and the ANZA Net, around the same time and also on 20m, often also works fine from here to Australia.

3pm Vessel 'XIN7804 6V' of 'unknown' type and 'Not defined' status was just over 2 ml off - despite looking out for it for a long time before and after the time of closest approach, I could not spot it. Presumably a fishing vessel since only making a speed of 0.2kt, on a course 325T, just changed to 244T at 1.2kt... Length 0ft; Beam 0ft !! (MMSI 994010198)

Then there's Xin Shi Ji 65 89% (MMSI: 168801305), L 847ft, B 158ft) 6.4ml off making 0.4kt on 301T and similar vessel Xin Shi Ji 65 93% (MMSI: 168801309). A fourth vessel: XIN7804 7V (MMSI: 994010198 - same ID as first vessel? - legally impossible!!), was making 0.6kt on 003T. All within 5-7 miles, one to starboard, one off port beam and one to port astern.

4pm Xin Shi Ji 65 76% (MMSI: 168801301) just popped up on the AIS dsplay - fine on port bow, 6ml off and also Xin Shi Ji 78 100% (MMSI: 168800893), well off to starboard.

We're in the middle of quite a good-sized fishing fleet. I hope they keep clear - they often drag very long lines astern...

According to the chart, there's a 0.5kt current to SW - the South Sub-Tropical Current.

Pressure has dropped quite a lot over last 6 hrs - by 4 hPa to 1007.5hPa now. Wind seems to be dropping - we're only making 4.3kt now.

8:20pm Tahiti time

Vessel ahead: XIN SHI JI 78 96% at 08 45.318S 148 51.013W MMSI: 168800897 LENGTH 847FT COG: keeps varying SOG 0.2kt CPA 3.307 nm, TCPA 34min

Another one, also ahead: XIN SHI JI 78 80% at 08 47.268S 148 44.536W MMSI: 168800892 LENGTH 847FT COG: 153M SOG 0.3kt

I just altered course to head W of N to avoid them and their possible fishing gear lying in my way.... (my present position: 08 49.561S 148 53W)

Suddenly found a third vessel heading E across our path a short distance off - no way to avoid the vessel or its possible gear astern... Having altered course to NNW, we were making over 5kt in 15kt ESE wind...and heading straight to this third vessel... No help from any of them via VHF radio (clearly no English speaking person on board within VHF range, although twice had a brief response to my call) and couldn't pass ahead of this last vessel... No choice but to stop 'Nereida' by heaving to, to avoid possibility of running over their fishing lines and/or gear... Not just a matter of damage to them or their gear - but 'Nereida' could be badly damaged as a result, also...

Midnight Not being able to talk to the fishing vessels to find out if their fishing gear was out or which direction would be safe for us to head to is causing me a major problem now. I spoke to Taupo Maritime Radio (NZ) who contacted their MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre). They gave me the Tahiti JRCC phone number...who finally said that the only safe thing was to stay put until sunrise, when (maybe) the vessels would be pulling in their fishing gear so it might be safe to continue on my way...

I later spoke to NZ MRCC who told me another fishing fleet was 140 ml to our NE! They gave me a Beijing number to call but didn't hold out much hope of a helpful response but a very helpful-sounding, English-speaking person, Zhang, answered and said he'd try to find out about the situation so I could safely continue N past the fishing vessels ahead - I could see the bright lights of a vessel on the horizon not far off.

The big question is whether they have lines out astern overnight and how long those lines are ... so how much clearance will be needed around the vessels to stay safe.. (We can't sail ahead of them because that is too far upwind...)

Problem, even in good daylight, is seeing the baited long lines they might have out that would damage the boat if we try to sail over them.

Waiting to hear back from Zhang - think I need to try to get some sleep in the meantime... We're presently drifting S at 1.5-2kt, having reduced the speed of drift by taking in some genoa.

Tried phoning Zhang to check on situation - "Please phone back in 30 minutes," said another person ... Rang back after 45 minutes... "He's not here - please ring back in 15 minutes....". 3 minutes later , Zhang called me- "Not Chinese - MMSI numbers are wrong - there are no Chinese fishing vessels in your area..."

Spoke to NZ MRCC... two Chinese vessels were nearby just 5 hrs ago - one 10ml to N, other 5 ml to S, both laying lines with AIS transponders - which I'd seen on AIS screen, thinking they were vessels... Back to Zhang in Beijing with the two vessels' MMSI numbers... "Will come back to you," he said... 2am - I'm waiting.... and drifting, hove-to still...

Later: Told by Zhang that one of the vessels was dismantled 5 yrs ago...! (Clearly, another vessel is now using its AIS transponder(s) and had not re-registered it/them...) Pointed out to Zhang that my safety was at risk - I needed to know if lines were out at night and brought in during daytime or vice versa ... He finally got back to me to say he'd spoken to the Capt of the second vessel - "No nets out tonight" to get in my way - so we're finally back underway - at gone 3am...

Unlashed the wheel, gybed round back onto course in 15kt wind from E and unfurled the genoa I'd taken in to lessen our rate of drift while hove to.

Lovely bright moonlit night. Bore away, off the wind a little, to help our speed. Then to my bunk for a little sleep before my interview for a podcast at 6:15am with Eric Guth of QSO Today.. I'll be a bit tired and in need of more sleep after that!

8:30am Interview went fine...will be posted later today.

Good wind at times but up and down in cloudy conditions - big grey cloud astern with rain falling in places. Speed somewhere between 3.2kt and 4.9kt - averaging around 4kt. Choppy seas on top of swell so boat being moved around a lot.

-------------------------------------------------

A Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus) pair came visiting the other day - maybe from one of the Kiribati islands not so far away. Seems Noddies are the oldest type of tern. (Excerpt here is slightly adapted from 'Neotropical Birds'):

Noddies are peculiar terns; first of all they look like a negative image of a tern. Instead of a white bird with a black cap, we have a dark bird with a white cap. The Black Noddy ... the slightly larger Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus) ... . Second of all they have a peculiar name which derives from one of their breeding displays in which the members of the pair nod at each other. Noddies are tropical terns, nesting in colonies on islands, sometimes well offshore. The Brown and Black Noddy nest in the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Noddies depend on large predatory fish, such as tunas, to drive bait fish to the surface where they become accessible to the birds. Unlike most terns, noddies do not dive in the water, they pick food off the water’s surface, or they may plunge into the water without fully submersing. Genetic data shows that the noddies are the oldest branch in the tern family tree, explaining why some behaviours, plumage and even morphology are so different from more typical terns.

(Thanks, Peter!)

*****************************************************

While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!

***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 287. We made 64 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Over six hours spent hove-to or slowed down.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 287 (by daily DMGs): 23,316 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2477 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 538 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1862 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/07/17 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 09-36.42S LONGITUDE: 148-57.44W

COURSE: 019T SPEED: 4.9kt

WIND_SPEED: 13kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 60%

BARO: 1010.6hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 31.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C

COMMENT: Underway after 6hr stop for Chinese fishing vessels. Raincloud astern.

Day 286 Mon-Tues 15-16 July 2019 GMT Pleasant sailing in good wind, apart from a rain squall passing by.

Monday Midday LT/Tahiti time (Sun 2200 GMT) Seeing big clouds ahead mid-morning, I'd furled in a bit of the genoa in case of strong winds.
As we got closer, I realised there was a major rain shower off to starboard - heavy rain. Thinking to avoid it, I changed course to go well downwind of it - or so I thought. It turned out that the wind then backed a lot under the cloud and we were now simply sailing close to the new wind direction - and the rain very slowly passed ahead of us and off to port - in a W direction... We got very little of it. The wind had increased a lot but, although quite well heeled, we were doing fine - at an excellent speed of 6-7 kt!
We drew away from the cloud amd I went below, thinking we'd got away easily and had finished with the band of rain clouds... Although there was another off to starboard, I thought it would pass astern of us as we headed N.
.... It didn't! I heard heavy rain shortly afterwards and came up to investigate. Wind was increasing rapidly under a big rain cloud and we were heeled so well that the tor-rail (upstand on the seaward side of the decks) was in the water and the stanchions kept splashing in the sea above it... We were making well over 7kt, which was great, but I was feeling very uncomfortable!
I decided I needed to ease the mainsheeet to help stop some of the heeling ... and then, still heeling a lot, went on to take in the 2nd reef in the strong wind... There are times when you just have to get on with what needs to be done! A line got caught and I had to go forward to release it... All ended well and, by the time the rain cloud had almost passed over(!), the reef was in and we were more upright - but still making around 6.5kt.
The good thing about getting wet in the Tropics is that it really doesn't matter!
After that, we truly had finished with that band of rain clouds, although there is still a lot of lighter cloud around. As we moved on away from the clouds, the wind came back to its original ENE direction (veered from its NE-NNE direction under the clouds) and we got back on course.
Now we're making a very pleasant 5-6 kt, close-hauled under sunny but cloudy skies and pounding not too badly into a 2m swell. The second reef will stay in for the time being.

3pm A band of big clouds well ahead - will keep an eye on it as we get closer but probably a few hours away.
Full genoa now, with 2nd reef in main still. Bore away a little more off wind earlier - speed was down (better now) and also, coincidentally, means we can avoid a seamount otherwise on our path. Will take a short nap before we reach those clouds.

4:45pm Happy to find the big clouds around all seem to be light grey or white - no strong rain squalls imminent just now! Having a relaxed sail just now, making around 5.5kt.
Getting my evening meal ready: shrimps with sweetcorn... simple, tasty, quick and easy with no cooking needed. It's warm enough not to need a hot meal.

11pm Bright, full moon lighting up the sky and sea - a lovely night!
Wind a lot less than earlier - only making around 4-4.5kt. Should shake out the 2nd reef but that will have to wait for daylight now, so any squalls ahead can be seen.

Tuesday 7:30am LT/Tahiti time (Tues 1700 GMT) Wind stayed fairly light overnight, with lovely bright moonlight and just a few scattered clouds. Mainly gentle conditions although pounding into occasional bigger wave from ENE. Cabin temperature is 30C/86F so I'm making good use of the small fans dotted around to give a slight breeze where I am.
Decided to wait until after breakfast (pancakes!) before possibly shaking out the second reef since the likelihood of rain squalls developing over the day is quite high and we're making a fair speed just now - around 5kt. Speed was improved by falling off the wind a little - maybe the wind had backed slightly, resulting in being too close to it before.

We're 600 miles due W now of Hiva Oa, in the Marquesas, and passed within 50 miles E of the 6 mile long atoll of Karoraina, part of the Kiribati group of islands, soon after midnight. I hear it is uninhabited and a wild life refuge, full of seabirds. There are only a few very small islands on its coral reef and its maximum height is only 25m above sea level.

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 286. We made 116 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 286 (by daily DMGs): 23,252 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2422 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 475 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 1921 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/16 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 09-38.95S LONGITUDE: 149-10.06W
COURSE: 015T SPEED: 4.5kt
WIND_SPEED: 12kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: ENE SWELL_HT: 2.0m SWELL_PER: 5s
CLOUDS: 40% BARO: 1011.7hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Pleasant sailing... a bit bumpy headed into short-period swel

Day 285 Sun-Mon 14-15 July 2019 GMT Excellent close-hauled sailing - good to be seeing speeds of 6kt or more, for a change!

Sunday 10:30am LT/Tahiti time (Sun 2030 GMT) We've slowed down a lot again - now making just under 4kt in E wind under 10kt. Good to be able to make a more E course in the veered wind - heading NNE now. Bright day with a lot of cloud, so occasionally wind gusts up - but not by much, nor for long. 2m swell from two different directions - ESE and ENE.

Midday Wind up nicely - making around 6kt. Keeping an eye on our angle of heel - might need to furl in genoa if becomes too much. Plenty of clouds around still.
Have been catching up with emails and sorting through a lot of damp paper notes - from knockdown - salt keeps the paper damp despite the warmth now.

9pm Having a great sail! Wind is a bit down from an hour or so ago so we're only making around 5kt now but we're still well on course - NNE. Moon is lighting up the cloud layer, making it seem like dull daytime - twilight.

Monday 1am LT/Tahiti Time (Mon 1100 GMT) Seems the wind has backed a little and eased further - had to come off the wind and we're only making around 3.2 kt on a course of 016T - can't quite make our previous course.
Moon is still high, lighting up the scene, with far fewer clouds around now.

6am Wind up a bit as dawn approaches - first light... Making 5.4kt now on 017T, close to the wind. Band of cloud ahead on horizon but mainly clear overhead just now. Bumpy - heading into swell.

8am Bright sunny day with plenty of scattered cloud around. Wind still from ENE, or slightly more to N, so not quite able to make NNE course without losing speed, so presently making 017T - not so far off NNE.

9am Big rain clouds ahead - a band of them, in fact... Will probably have to change course in backed wind until we're through them... Furled in some genoa in readiness for possible stronger wind - a squall, maybe. Making good speed.

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 285. We made 117 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 285 (by daily DMGs): 23,136 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2313 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 364 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 2019 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/15 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 11-29.30S LONGITUDE: 149-47.52W
COURSE: 003T SPEED: 6.0kkt
WIND_SPEED: 17kt WIND_DIR: NE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 80%
BARO: 1013hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 36.0C
COMMENT: Good speed and course to Equator. Band of rainclouds ahead.

Day 284 Sat-Sun 13-14 July 2019 GMT Quatorze Juillet! Dancing and racing celebrations in French Polynesia... and I celebrate getting underway finally - hope it lasts!

Saturday 11am LT/Tahiti time (Sat 2100 GMT) Wind picked up nicely early in the morning - to 10kt or more from ENE - so we were making over 5kt with full sail. Lovely to be sailing well again, in fairly calm seas, since wind hadn't been up long enough for any swell to develop - as it surely will, over the day.

Our Noddy visitor didn't stay much longer after I'd spotted it resting comfortably in the pulpit seat. I didn't see it fly away and I hope it was well rested and survives OK.

10am With some big, gusty clouds around, we were heeling a lot in increased wind, so I put in 1st reef. As I was busy winching, I heard a sudden sound - a whale had surfaced for air close by! Smooth and dark grey/black, with a fairly small, very recurved, swept back, dorsal fin. Neither a grey nor a humpback... smaller than those... and certainly not an Orca.... Minke? Exciting to see it!

11:30am Wind up to 12-15kt at times. Seas are getting up also and, being on a close reach, we're pounding into the waves now which is slowing us down - speed was suddenly less than earlier.. I've taken us a little more off the wind to keep our speed up and wonder if wind has backed a little. Running the generator for a bit to charge batteries and brought my soup in the pressure cooker up to boiling point for a few minutes - don't want it going off with the heat and no refrigeration.

Feeling quite tired after only a little sleep overnight, so will check for squalls and get to sleep for an hour or so.

2:30pm Must have slept for two hours - feeling much better. Went up into cockpit to find the Noddy is resting there - must not be feeling too good to have come back on board. Tried giving it some water but doesn't seem interested - I suspect seabirds normally get their 'drinking water' via the fish they eat.

3:45pm Our speed was down a little so bore away (off the wind) a touch - wind must be slightly more to N of ENE so we're only making NNW at just under 4kt in 9-10kt of wind - as close-hauled as possible without losing too much speed. Our preferred course is NNE and we really don't want to get any more W than can be avoided. I'm always looking ahead and the NE Trades from about 10N on have to be negotiated up to and beyond the Hawaiian Islands so staying as far E as possible on the way up to the Equator is the aim.
Sky has fewer clouds around now and swell has built up more - we're heading into it, of course, since it comes from the wind direction.

10:45pm We've slowed down a lot - now making only 3.5-4kt in lighter wind. Bright moon high overhead.

Sunday 3:30am Near-full moon is getting low in W. We're still sailing slowly in wind of only 6-7kt ... Windgen is just about turning and we've only been making round 3kt, heading just W of due N, close to the wind. Have changed course slightly to come onto due N heading - wind is forecast to be light for several more hours but then should be veering more to E, and eventually ESE, as it strengthens to 15kt over the next two days - I hope that comes about! Swell has lain down in the light wind conditions so we're just rocking slightly from side to side - time for my bunk!

8am Sky mostly covered with broken cloud and wind is still down under 10kt, so same slow progress as overnight, at 4kt or under. Wind seems a bit gusty - came up and our speed increased for a brief time, making me a bit hopeful of a faster passage, but back down now. Direction seems to be more veered, to ESE, so able to change course to 022T/NNE - better.

Sad to report our bird visitor did not survive the night - so has been committed to the deep..... Anyone able to tell me which kind of Noddy this is? Looks so very similat t a Frigate bird - same very pointed, very long, 'elbowed' wings.

 

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 284. We made 92 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 284 (by daily DMGs): 23,019 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2206 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 258 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 2119 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/14 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 13-20.10S LONGITUDE: 150-27.88W
COURSE: 022T SPEED: 4.3kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: ESE SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m SWELL_PER: 5s
CLOUDS: 95% BARO: 1015.2hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C
COMMENT: Wind a bit gusty under cloud. Making good course NNE.

Day 283 Fri-Sat 12-13 July 2019 GMT We crossed the convergence zone Friday - and got fair wind dawn Saturday - underway!

Friday midday LT/Tahiti time (Fri 2200 GMT) The clear line of cloud that stretched ahead earlier this morning from the NW horizon to the SE - marking the convergence zone where opposing light winds meet and air rises to form cloud (see yesterday's photo) - has moved well off to starboard. It does seem it has crossed over ahead of us since we're now into light 5kt W wind instead of the NE wind of yesterday and overnight
We're now headed NNW at just over 2kt under just the genoa and I must finish the mainsail repairs quickly so it can be hoisted to add to our speed.
Sky cleared overhead a short while ago and cloud is now mainly around the convergence zone with almost clear sky to port.
Wind is supposed to back slowly to SE in time but will stay light, initially, as it does so.
At least now the outlook is good for getting N...!

1:30pm Wind has really died and we're struggling to make 1 kt! Wind is supposed to be filling in by tomorrow - but not now... Another slow day...

5:15pm Sky very cloudy now with just a few breaks. Wind from W at 3-4kt - so not much of it and drifting very slowly - still only at 1kt on average.. Checked in with Pacific Seafarers Net and now getting back on deck to finish mainsail repair. Not much more stitching needed so will be good to finish what I can, so it can be hoisted.
Needing plenty of water with cabin temperature at 32C. Sunset soon.

 

9pm Very calm and peaceful with scene lit by moonlight.
Have birds for company - a pair appeared at sunset as I was finishing sewing of mainsail. Think they are possibly a (White-headed?) Black Noddy? - not sure - maybe someone will be kind enough to ID them for me? I'm calling them a Noddy since they look to me rather like the Black Noddy that once previously visited 'Nereida' at sea - but happy to be sent a correct name since there are probably several types of Noddy
Still sailing very slowly - now heading NW at 1.5-2 kt in wind of still only 3-4kt.

Decided to try to get my hair under control before washing it. With little time normally spent on brushing, it had taken on a bit of a Raster look in places Took quite a time to untangle it gently but, surprisingly, managed not to have to cut hardly any away - just a couple of impossibly-tangled knots. Really looking forward to a shower and hair wash soon.

3:45am Moon has just set - a deep orange ball sinking into the calm sea.
Gybed the genoa - on starboard tack now, with 6-7kt wind from SE quadrant, trying to head N, rather than NW, if possible. Still moving very slowly...
Back to my bunk for more sleep...

7am Full sail - added full main to genoa in 7-8kt of wind from ENE - making 4.2kt course 013T. Not exactly the course or speed I'd prefer but not too bad and a lot better than last few days....
Bright sun is getting warm as it gets higher in an increasingly cloudless sky and our bird visitor is not showing any sign of wanting to fly away from the comfortable perch it found on the pulpit seat. Its wings are very long for its body size (remind me of a frigate bird) and its very small black feet are webbed, like a duck. Bill must be good for getting fish - long, slender and slightly curved.

 

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While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
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1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 283. We made 33 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Wind up from dawn today helped speed for a few hours.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 283 (by daily DMGs): 22,927 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2140 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 168 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 2210 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/13 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 14-52.17S LONGITUDE: 150-26.54W
COURSE: 015T SPEED: 5.2kt
WIND_SPEED: 10kt WIND_DIR: ENE SWELL_DIR: E SWELL_HT: 1.0m CLOUDS: 10%
BARO: 1012.8hPa TREND: 1 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 35.0C
COMMENT: Wind up around dawn - full sail now - no longer becalmed!

Day 282 Thurs-Fri 11-12 July 2019 GMT Totally stalled all day - no progress N or NE possible... although some wind with overnight rain gave small NW gain

Day 282 Thurs-Fri 11-12 July 2019 GMT Totally stalled all day - no progress N or NE possible... although some wind with overnight rain gave small NW gain.

Thursday 10:30am LT/Tahiti time (Thurs 2030 GMT) Wind 6kt from NE again - just like this time yesterday but plenty of cloud around today - rain seen falling to starboard and a hint of it on the air here. Rocking gently in very little swell. After a short time drifting due N, we're now drifting NW.
Radio propagation not so good today and we're getting further away - was fine to Polynesia but not good enough to make contact both ways with Fiji - although I could hear them well enough, they could not make out what I was saying.

Another day effectively becalmed - will work on mainsail again - particularly on a repair made at Timaru, just in from the original leech repair - it needs strengthening with more stitching.

Midday Coffee!! Not had any for a long time and decided to use the French press insert in an insulated mug. Worked fairly well and was a good substitute for the out-of-action Bialetti/Italian coffee-maker that succumbed to corrosion a while back. (The steel version was lost a few years ago, unfortunately.) Aluminium and sea air do not mix well - guaranteed corrosion will occur sooner or later. Impossible to unscrew it despite Kroil and major efforts used.
Will be looking forward to fresh milk for my tea and coffee on landfall - this particular brand of dried milk (maybe all 100% dried milk?) is definitely not recommended - despite vacuum-packing! Should have checked it out before stocking up with it and should have bought a good 'creamer' made for coffee, instead. Just does not dissolve well and sometimes makes a paste at bottom of mug - yuck! UHT/long-life milk would have worked fine but I brought a lot less with me this time.

Swell is making boat roll around quite often - tie myself to the boom using my harness and that allows me to get on quite well with the sewing needed, despite being perched quite high up on coach-roof. Patched this particular area back together with sticky sail repair tape yesterday and now I'm sewing the edges at intervals, hoping to keep the patches from coming undone, as was happening to the original ones.
Finishing a (very!) late breakfast (brunch?) before going back on deck - very overcast now - won't need to cover up quite so much. Still a light NE wind - no use for heading N-NNE, as I'd like to. ...And we're not in the Doldrums yet!!

Back on deck - repair work won't get finished if I don't keep at it. Keeping legs/arms/feet covered to be safe from burning...

2:40pm Heard Superwind starting up, turning suddenly - N wind of 7kt, gusting to 10kt, we're drifting WSW . We're right in between two dark grey rainclouds - a little rain but not much, so far. Re-installed storm screen half, just in case... Waiting to continue work on mainsail, clearing up some more, down below...

3pm Completely calm now - rainclouds seem to have dissipated, although remnants are still close by and sun trying to get out.

11pm Managed to get quite a bit done on mainsail today in between showers, although very slow progress with stitching, especially when the fair-sized swell made us really roll around at times.... Was good to strap myself into the boom for some of the work - helped a lot.
Heavy rain just now but no sails up to take advantage of the wind it brought - thinking of unfurling the genoa to try to do just that, although wind usually dies once the rain stops.

Need to get away from this calm patch - if we can't, we could be trapped here for several more days..

Midnight Rain stopped a short while ago but wind still around 10kt from NNE-NE - so full genoa was unfurled and we're now underway - sailing...! Not very fast and main yet to be hoisted (wasn't expecting to hoist it since still being repaired). Headed NW at around 4kt, trying to escape this calm patch, if at all possible. We'll see how well that plan works out...
To sleep now - might have a disturbed night...

4:30am So very difficult to sail close to the wind, especially at night, without a display showing wind direction. The genoa luffed up and then we went around in light wind. I thought maybe we were now in wind from SSW, as in a forecast for our position that I'd seen earlier, instead of NE, so tried gybing around onto port tack... All to no avail... After some time, we're back pretty well on same course, on starboard tack, as before - but slightly more to W - off the wind more, possibly... Now making 295T, instead of the hoped-for 335T which is clearly too close to the present wind which must be roughly NNE, or maybe it has backed slightly, and gone more to N.
Back to my bunk for more sleep... Another couple of hours to sunrise.... Lots of bright stars and a little cloud around, but no moon.

7:20am Bright sunlight now. Wind has now shifted to SW but query, very light - blades of Superwind (wind generator) are not turning at all. Gybed the sail and we're trying to make NNW but difficult holding course in such a light wind.

8am Wind has dropped to 4-5kt - seems we're back to drifting in little wind again. AP cannot hold a course when our speed is under 1kt so we're drifting around in light SW wind. Genoa was not filling, so furled it in and must see to mainsail repair... Need still to stitch in a few places at edges of sail repair tape that was stuck in place yesterday, so it can be hoisted later to help our speed next time we get underway.

Clear line of cloud ahead from NW horizon to SE - convergence zone where opposing light winds meet and air rises to form cloud - see photo. It's supposed to be drifting SE and, at some point in time over next two days (I hope!), we'll end up on its other side and get SE wind finally - to make our getaway N. On reflection, maybe we just crossed over...?

*****************************************************
While sailing around the world, I'm trying to raise funds to help support the superb life-saving work done by the RNLI (Lifeboats) in Britain each and every day of the year, regardless how bad the weather. In fact, the worse it is, the more likely they are out there, helping someone in distress - whether a swimmer, surfer, small boat or big ship, night or day, summer or winter. They are all volunteers with normal day-jobs who respond immediately to a call and it is a charity - no government funding - so they rely on our help to fund their intensive training and maintain their equipment.

It would be great if you would take a moment to click on the Lifeboats link here (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jeanne-Socrates2), if you'd like to show your support for my efforts at sailing solo, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, trying to set a World Record as the oldest person to do so, by donating something towards the great work the RNLI do every day. If a lot of people put in even a small amount, it all adds up... Thanks a lot! If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. Let's see if we can reach my target!
***************************************************

1900GMT (= 9 a.m. LT = Tahiti time) - end of Day 282. We made just 25 n.ml. DMG, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. More than 16ml overnight in wind after rain helped DMG - drifted in almost no wind rest of day

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 282 (by daily DMGs): 22,894 n.ml.

Distances (at 1700GMT): East Cape, N.Z.: 2125 n.ml. to SW; Papeete, Tahiti: 135 n.ml. to S; Honolulu: 2242 n.ml. to NNW

Position, as posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):
TIME: 2019/07/12 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 15-23.80S LONGITUDE: 150-15.19W
COURSE: 115T SPEED: 0.7kt
WIND_SPEED: 4kt WIND_DIR: NW SWELL_DIR: NE SWELL_HT: 2.0m CLOUDS: 90%
BARO: 1013.5hPa TREND: 2 AIR_TEMP: 30.0C SEA_TEMP: 34.0C
COMMENT: Drifting again after sailing NW under genoa o'night, in wind after rain. Convergence line of cloud just ahead.