19 January 2014

The wind slowly backed round during the evening and night. I was up several times altering course and easing the sheets as the wind came more abeam and then astern. By 0200 I could set the full mainsail again and by 0700 the genoa was poled out as well.

I am spending more time on deck down here. The weather can change so quickly that it as well to be up to see what’s happening. I see Albatross everyday now and as we sailed towards two birds in the water I heard one of them give an indignant, “Squak”! When I looked closer I saw they were two penguins. They gave me the impression that I was encroaching on their territory and it was us who had to move and not them.
I was surprised to see them so far offshore; we were about 50 miles off. They don’t fly so it’s a fair old swim for them. I assume they Magallenic Penguins, as they are the most common around here. We passed another one soon after and another four after that.

The sailing has been good all day. We’ve been running goosewinged under full sail and making good speed. The sky filled with mackeral scales in the morning and the wind picked up a bit but only to a F4. In the early afternoon, when the barometer started dropping, a thin hazy cloud began to cover the sky to windward. I was sure the wind was going to pick up but it cleared again with no real change. But less than an hour later, when the barometer had dropped 5 millibars in 2.5 hrs it was the top end of a F5 and I had to reduce sail.

Not long ago we passed only a few metres away from something, which I thought might have been a wooden box covered in thick seaweed. The big bladed type you find normally clinging to rocks. It was just above the surface and whatever was underneath looked pretty solid. As we were making a good speed I was thankful we hadn’t hit it.
Then we passed another two in less than an hour and I wondered if it was just seaweed and nothing else. If we ran through a clump it could rip the steering oar off.
According to Alyson this N’ly wind looks set to continue all night so we should have a good days run by noon tomorrow.

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