Friday, February 3, 2012


Noon Position: 41 32' S, 77 37' W, SOG 3, COG 345, Day's Run 110nm.
I've been building 40 S up in my mind as some sort of magic wall, a line
in the sand, that once crossed suddenly the weather becomes crazy.
Yesterday as I was approaching 40S I felt a kind of apprehension, as if
the very moment I hit the line the wind would suddenly start blowing 50,
the seas would suddenly become mountainous, snow and hail would start
pelting my ice covered deck. Luckily, I was wrong. For better or for
worse, right now the High pressure system is parked around 45 S, which
does a number of things. The depressions rolling through are all very
far south, so I get more distance and better weather, but because in the
southern hemisphere wind goes counter-clockwise around a high, I get
prevailing Southerlies as I sit to the East and North of it. Another
frontal system associated with a depression rolled through last night
and today - I went to bed yesterday under full main and jib, chugging
along at 5 knots, and by 1:30AM was up putting in a double reef. The
wind kept building, happily out of the NW, so pushing me in the right
direction, and by 6:30 this morning I was charging along on a beam reach
under triple reefed main and partial jib doing a fairly solid 7 knots.
The seas were a bit confused, with a remnant W swell underneath a
building NNW swell, and the occasional big W swell would catch me off
guard, rolling the bottom lifeline underwater and luffing me up hard,
making the windvane struggle for a minute or two to get me back on
course. Finally I decided to just dump the main to balance the sail
plan a bit more, which made a huge difference - no main and more jib
helped keep the bow down and the speed up - I wish I could have that
breeze for another few days. Unfortunately, right around noon some
heavy rain rolled through, and in the midst of it a 130 degree wind
shift in the course of about 3 minutes - one minute I was charging along
at 200T doing 7 knots, the next I was sailing 070. For the rest of the
day I've been loafing generally E for a smoother ride in the now S swell
and to try to get my self back offshore again. There wasn't a huge
amount of wind with this system - just before the wind went hard SW it
was pushing 40 in the gusts, but the majority of the wind was in the
25-35 kt range. In other news, I finally seem to have managed to start
picking up Valparaiso weatherfaxes, CBV, which is very nice, since it
saves me on sat phone time to download weather files. The Chilean
weatherfax broadcasts aren't very impressive - a very weak signal, and
only broadcast during the day, when reception is bad, but theres a set
of surface analyses and wind forecasts that I can now pick up right
before sunset, which is very nice.

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