Day 22 - Better Stars

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 5 Jan 2022 01:09
Noon Position: 46 18.0 S 172 10.6 W
Course: E Speed: 3 knots
Wind: NNE, F3 Sea: slight
Swell: WSW, 1.5 meters; N 1.5 meters
Weather: overcast, mild
Day's Run: 102 nm

The news dominating my concerns just now is an intense low pressure system of 958 HPa forecast to develop in the next 48 hours about 400 nm to the east of us. Not wanting to get tangled up in it more than can be helped, I have altered course to the NE, hopefully to allow it to pass well in front of us. With a little luck we will only experience strong SW winds as it passes.
My postmortem on Monday night's stars revealed all sorts of errors, including the misidentification of a star, all of which I have now resolved to produce a satisfactory fix, even if it was a tad out of date by the time it was plotted.
Last night's stars went quite a bit better though one sight reproduced the same error from Monday night which is what led me to discover I had misidentified a star, namely mistaking Betelgeuse for Aldebaran. There is only two degrees difference in their altitudes and 22 degrees in their bearings. Normally the difference in bearings would be reasonably obvious if both stars could be seen at once but last night there was broken cloud and Betelgeuse is the slightly brighter star so would have appeared first as the sky grew darker. This is why one practices celestial navigation, so as to learn from all the mistakes that one can make and thus, if not always able to avoid them, at least recognise and correct them more readily when they do occur. If we have a reasonably clear sky tonight I will try to improve on my performance from the previous two nights.
The winds at this stage remain light but, while progress has been relatively slow, the sails have remained full and we continue to make steady progress. Indeed, as mentioned, I am in no hurry to get too far east for the moment.
The news from Coconut from last night's radio sked is that she spent most of yesterday becalmed and drifting, so now lies only some 350 nm ahead of Sylph. She is also going to be closer to the low pressure system but hopefully still sufficiently to the west of it to avoid the worst winds. I believe Mark's intention is also to make ground to the north to try and keep clear of it as much as possible.
This afternoon we retarded ship's clocks 24 hours to time zone +11, which means we get to repeat Tuesday 4 January.

All is well.