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S/V Nereida sails around the world - Day 231: Very nearly there!

by Jeanne Socrates 23 May 02:55 UTC
S/V Nereida sails around the world © Jeanne Socrates

Midday Wednesday - Seas have got quite big again - a good 5-6 m and rolling us around a lot now. Sky looking very grey and rain is looking possible.

Albatrosses are wheeling and soaring in the wind and a white-rumped brown-backed storm petrel is fluttering astern, often dipping into the sea.

Just furled in some more genoa to try to slow us down - difficult in good wind! The wind keeps gusting up and then abating - it's mainly around 20kt, but just gusted up to 28kt for a short time - possibly these grey clouds are making that happen.

Presently hoping to round the final Southern Ocean Cape - on Stewart Island, NZ - tomorrow.... Have been deliberately going slowly to get there soon after dawn - having expended so much time and effort (and anguish!) getting here, I didn't want to pass it by overnight - as would have happened if I'd kept up a good speed yesterday and overnight!!

I've noticed that close by the SW Cape there's a S Cape on Stewart Island. Which is the one referred to as the 'Great Cape', I wonder? I've been thinking the SW Cape was the one to go for - but since they're so close (only 3 miles apart), I'll pass by both tomorrow morning. Until fairly recently, only the three named Capes were referred to as the 'Southern Ocean Great Capes' - Horn, Good Hope and Leeuwin, in S.America, Africa and Australia respectively.

3:15pm - Running watermaker now - we'd run completely out of tank water... The gauge must have got stuck since it had been showing half full for a time - until the knockdown jarred it into a correct reading. Hadn't run it at all so far this trip so was worried I'd forget to do something and it wouldn't go well. Read the manual section on starting up with 'pickle'... checked valves were open and that water was diverted from tank to galley sink... checked membrane was de-pressurized... started up generator... crossed fingers very tightly... took a deep breath....switched on pump 1... seemed to be working fine...went on deck to see if water was exiting OK - yes!! Turned pump 1 off and pump 2 on... water seemed to be coming out again. Difficult to see that in present swell since involves leaning right out over side of boat to look down to just above water level - but the water exiting makes a bit of a splash so seeing that is good enough. I didn't fancy a swim just now...

Had the two pumps running for half an hour to purge the 'pickle' thoroughly out of the system and then pressurized the membrane. After 5-10 minutes, switched product water to the tank. System is making about 40l/hr (10 gall/hr) on one pump (makes slightly more efficient use of power than on two). After running generator for one hour, switched it off - I want to see how long it takes running the watermaker to bring the batteries down... (The Spectra is a 12V system.) At present, I'm seeing 10.3A discharge - that's running instruments, AP and Spectra (on just one pump - turned off pump 2) - so not too bad. Seems, in fact, that if pump 2 was working before, it is not working now... but have a spare, if needed.

5pm - Battery voltage has dropped by 0.2V in two hours. Ran watermaker for another hour - I need the water and I want to pressurize the fresh-water system if I can. (Later: Did that, so that's good.) Should have 50l or more in tank now - I'll run the watermaker often when running the generator from now on.

Time for food - it's a grey, cold, damp day and I need something hot...

6:30pm - Dark now and raining slightly. Gybed onto port tack. We were having trouble making our course in a WNW wind, and speed was too often around 4kt or more - meaning we'd arrive at Stewart Island in the dark - not in my plan! So I've furled in the genoa to a handkerchief size. Amazingly, we're still often touching 4kt - wind has been around 20-24kt all afternoon. Will gybe again around midnight and head out if still going too fast to make the Cape around dawn or later...

Thursday 1:45am (Wed 1345GMT) - Beautiful clear, starry sky with oh-so-bright moon lighting up the sea and making sail-handling no problem.

Gybed around with slightly-increased sail area - making 140T at 3kt in wind from WSW at 22-25kt, gusting 28kt. Waypoint well off S end of Stewart Island, to SW of Cape, is 21 ml away - so ETA there is around 8am NZT - dawn - or soon after. Seas are quite rough - a good 4m with wind waves and plenty of 'white horses' (white foam crests of a F6 wind) on top. Pressure has risen a little to 1017 hPa and air is 15C/59F.

Nearest small islands off Stewart Island are 14 ml way - so I can safely get another short nap with alarm set.

6am - Full genoa now to speed us up - we'd dropped well down... Will take about three hours from here to passing Cape. Wind is ~18kt from WSW and moon is shining hazily at times from behind thin cloud cover. Saw the Southern Cross high up in a gap in the clouds.. The moon is bright enough that it lights up the clouds from above to give a good twilight to see by.

Have to keep well clear of small islands to W of SW end of Stewart Island on the approach... Is the wind dying...? I hope not!

There's an E-going tidal current from now until 11 am, just S of the Cape, and from 8am until midday, further to the E.

Feeling decidedly damp and cold in the 15C air - heating up the remains of a chunky soup from last night and added in some potato powder to bulk it up - nice and warming...

We're just a few hours away from rounding the final Southern Ocean Cape - and heading N up the Pacific, at last.... Can't wait to get to warmer seas!

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, 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 (= 7 a.m. NZT, 12 hrs on) - end of Day 231. We made 74 DMG, over the 24hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900GMT positions. Slowed down deliberately.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 231 (by daily DMGs):19,835

Distances (at 1900GMT): SW Cape, NZ: 10 SE; S Cape: l3 to SE; nearest SW NZ coastline (Bluff): NE; Dunedin: 164 to NE; Hobart (Tasmania, Aus): 881 to NW

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

Time: 2019/05/22 19:00GMT
Latitude: 47-13.74S
Longitude: 167-13.95E
Course: 123T
Speed: 3.8kt
Wind Speed: 16kt
Wind Dir: WSW
Swell Dir: W
Swell HT: 4.0m
Clouds: 95%
Baro: 1019.1hPa
Trend: 2
Air Temp: 15.0C
Sea Temp: 15.0C
Comment: W of SW end of Stewart Island, NZ. 10 ml from the Cape

This article has been provided by the courtesy of the S/V Nereida.

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