7 January 2014

The wind backed during the night and at 0230 I had to pole out the genoa in order to keep us on course. Otherwise it was flogging in the lee of the mainsail. It’s certainly cooler now in the early morning but as the morning grows there is still a fair bit of heat in the sun yet.

There has been poor radio propagation the past few days, and as a result I haven’t been able to send or receive email. Alyson got an email from Dean, a radio amateur in Chile who works with this service. He has volunteered to help by targeting his antenna towards me. So Dean, thanks very much for that.

I have the Aerogen wind generator rigged so that it can be taken down and taken inside if need be in strong winds. Normally it runs with six blades but today I took it down and removed two of the blades. I did this on the last trip about this latitude as well.

There are a few reasons for doing this. With the stronger winds in the south it’s not so liable to overcharge with four rather than six blades. Also it means I can get the whole thing through the cabin door without having to take the blades off the machine first. Inside I have a box rigged under the foredeck which holds the four bladed unit once it’s off the machine. I can stow it in there and it is completely out of the way. With all six blades on it is a circle about a metre in diameter and far trickier to stow so that it doesn’t get damaged. The downside is that it doesn’t spin so well in lighter winds but that’s something I’m willing to accept. The pros of downsizing outweigh the cons for me.

We’ve had some good sailing today. The wind has been F4-5 from the NE and we have been clipping along goosewinged at a good rate of knots. We will be south of 30º S by tomorrow and I will have to dig out new plotting sheets for the sights. The next sheet will take us down to 48º S. Whether we get much sun down there and whether it is possible to get reasonable sights we’ll just have to see.

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