RTW Day 136 - Better progress in WSW winds .. and another time zone reached.

After a few days of fog and light wind, Jeanne Socrates is moving into GMT.

Wednesday 6th March 2013 We move into GMT + 5hr, on crossing 67:30E

6am Up around dawn - wind had shifted dramatically and increased - so body sensed change in boat's motion and I got up to investigate! We'd changed course (automatic with windsteering!) from SSW to slightly N of due E - in rain.. For next hour or so, I adjusted course as showers came and went - 'cloud effect' several times over! I'm happy to head SE still and we've made some good Southing - we're now at 42:30S so we've made some progress ... Would prefer to get to 43S or further S maybe - keeping an eye on gribs and weatherfaxes (from Wiluna, Aus). High pressure area just to N is still set to cause a problem for me for some time yet... but don't want to get caught out in 'furious fifties', or close to there, by the strong winds of a deep Low coming to where I'll be - as one surely will, at some point!  

Interesting that Mark, AF6TC, in San Diego, was able to make better radio contact on 40m at 0130GMT by beaming over the North Pole for signals from him to me ... on 'long path', rather than 'short path' which uses the opposite way around the globe to me !! It's all a matter of where is most in darkness around sunset or sunrise for best path...!! Eric, WA7LNH, in Seattle, had worked that out but wasn't on frequency - I hadn't expected to be up at that time when he suggested it one or two evenings ago during our regular chat, together with Frank, N7EKD, in Portland, on 40m around 1540GMT...  

I'm still finding it amazing that I can be chatting to N. America so clearly and regularly around sunrise and sunset times!! I'm hearing just about everyone clearly, although they don't always hear me well - a matter of how powerful their equipment is. A short time later, soon after 0300Z, Ed, KL4KN, in Virginia Beach, had good copy also .... No problem also with Randy, KH6RC, taking my report for Pacific Seafarers' Net at 0330Z - he came booming in from Hawaii! I mixed voice radio contact with getting emails, which again were difficult to make good enough contact to upload and download - but early morning is the best time still to try to do that.  

4pm A lovely sunny,warm afternoon - and we're continuing to make good progress SE, even though not very fast in 10-15kt of wind all day long - good to be reducing the mileage, at last! In noting details for position report, realised we're over halfway across the Indian Ocean towards passing S of Cape Leeuwin (SW Australia) from Cape Agulhas (S.Africa). Very few birds seen - just an occasional white-chinned petrel and Antarctic prion. Contacted the DX Net on 20m at 5pm - mostly Australian and US stations, often very clear, with US (Chesapeake/Ohio) tending to be clearer than Aus stations at present .  

Sunset around 7:15pm No sighting of comet Panstarrs because of cloud low on horizon again, although sky was clear overhead. Excellent contact with W.coast US tonight from 1430-1600Z - and also with Bowen Island, B.C. - I was delighted when Bill, VA7ZOO, came up to make contact - he's just across the way from good friends in Gibsons... felt very special! Also, although I thought I'd lost evening contact with S.Africa, several familiar voices came up near to 1600Z tonight - so that was also nice.  

Although swell was not so much, it was enough to make me disinclined to remove the heavy companionway steps to access the engine - and the seawater pump in particular - so the impeller has still not yet been checked on - but it's too urgent to leave much longer - tomorrow, I must 'bite the bullet' - before the swell builds more... Engine has to be useable with cooling water circulating OK, if only to be ready for possible emergency use, as well as a back up to generator for battery charging.  

I've come to the conclusion that my log/speed impeller is gunged up - some growth on it, I reckon... It has frequently given boat speed of 0.0 kt on display when I can see us moving, albeit slowly, through the water - it's probably under-reading as well. If I felt it was urgent, I'd remove the impeller and clean it - but it's not a job that's high in priority just now, since SOG from GPS input is fine.... just means current display is wrong and should be disregarded, since basis of calculation is in error...  

Wind slowly veering, so heading frequently needing to be adjusted for broader reach.... Will probably need to gybe tomorrow, if wind becomes WNW-NW, as forecast.  

24hr DMG at 1100GMT : 92 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 2247 n.ml.; Ile Kerguelen: 354 n.ml. (171T) Ile Amsterdam: 542 n.ml. (060T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2056 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)  
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For my positions, see:  
http://www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"  
and/or:  
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/