Lisa Blair's attempted circumnavigation of Antarctica is progressing well. Lisa has covered 45% of the total distance and has almost crossed the South Pacific Ocean. She is currently off the coast of Chile, with Cape Horn firmly in her sights.
March 9, 2017 – Bubbles in the Bilges
Last night the winds maintained a healthy 20-25 knots, however they did occasionally touch the 30 knots range. Given that it was the middle of the night and I was trying to sleep I kept set with the 2nd reef through the night and only a small amount of the No 2 jib out. That way the boat could handle the stronger winds without too much effort. I find I sleep much better if I know that a gust of wind wont risk breaking the sails but it does mean that I am sailing a little slower than I would like in the lighter winds.
When I woke up this morning I knew that the winds were due to ease and the barometer was rising. Given the unpredictability of the winds lately thought, I wasn’t willing to risk shaking out to the first reef until I had watched the wind for a few hours. When nothing was showing above 20 knots I shook out to the first reef in the Main sail and then also unfurled most of the head sail.
Climate Action Now boat speed went from 5.5 knots to 8.5 knots in seconds as the she jumped ahead. If I was sailing downwind I would likely have managed to get higher speeds. Given that I am sailing on a close reach, the winds are 60 degrees of the bow, it makes it harder to get the higher speeds. Lucky for me the winds are due to shift back to the SW from the southerly direction they have been coming from allowing me to get a better wind angle for speed and still make the course.
It was again too cold for me to have a bucket bath. I am beginning to think that I will need to wait a couple of weeks until I am clear of cape horn and back in the warmer latitudes to wash my hair. I am willing to give it another go in the high-pressure ridge due to arrive tomorrow. I am holding my fingers and toes crossed for some sunshine. Unfortunately, in a high-pressure ridge, you often get confused winds and very light winds so the next two days are likely to be slow…
In other news today I have somehow lost a large chunk of sugar soap into the bilge of the boat. The only reason that I noticed this is that over the last few days of sailing into the swell with the boat pounding to windward (sailing up wind) I have noticedpuffs of bubbles coming out from the gaps in the floor boards. Every time the boat lurches the little bit of water in the bilge sloshes pushing up a little cloud of bubbly foam… It’s quite entertaining to sit back and watch the bubble show. I do need to be careful not to slip of them. On the plus side that bilge is likely to be very clean by now…
I also had a lovely chat to the team at D'Albora Marinas today. Its nice to catch up with the guys that were there from the start. I will be looking forward to getting my girl Climate Action Now back to her home in their marinas once we return home.
The day has continued to be cold and bleak, with grey sky’s all around. When I was on deck earlier and there was a drizzly rain, making visibility very poor. The conditions tomorrow is likely to bring a sea fog, further reducing the visibility.
Normally I would be worried about ice, however, I am still sailing in 10 degrees sea temperature. I have spoken with Jeff and Sue from the National Maritime Collage who have been monitoring the iceberg side of things. From the information provided to us by C-Core we can tell that there are no icebergs at present, North of 60 degrees South. This makes the waters around me as safe as they can be.
I am now just over 600 nm from Cape Horn, so I have been making sure that I try to get as much rest as I can. In a day or two, I will be entering back into traffic lanes. I need to not only navigate around Islands and reefs but also ensure that I don’t become close acquaintances with the container ships or fishing vessels operating off the coast of Chile.
I am getting very excited about sailing around Cape Horn and just hope that the low-pressure system that will likely effect my passage is nice to me and gives me the right sailing conditions to allow me to get close enough to land to snap that infamous shot. One can hope.