Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 8 Jan 2022 00:23
Noon Position: 45 37.7 S 164 00.3 W
Course: NE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: S by E, F6 Sea: moderate
Swell: SW, 3 meters
Weather: mostly sunny, cool
Day's Run: 135 nm

We have enjoyed a reasonably comfortable night despite the increase in wind and I did not notice too many rain squalls going over us. We spent most of the night with two reefs in the main and about 60% of the jib out, but at 0430 the wind was increasing noticeably and seeing as it was already daylight at this early hour, I donned foul weather gear, went on deck, put a third reef in the main and rolled up a bit more jib. We also bore away to the ENE, placing the wind slightly abaft the beam, which has also helped make the ride a little more comfortable.
Despite the heavy reduction in sail area, Sylph is still tearing along at six to seven knots, which is a good speed. She feels well under control, the wind vane holds course with relative ease and nothing feels over-strained.
However, I am a little concerned about getting too far north and getting caught up in the centre of the high pressure system moving in from the Tasman, but I am hoping that the wind will ease and the seas subside by tomorrow morning, as per Wayne's forecast, which will allow us to get back south and remain in the W'ly airstream.
A couple of minor issues have arisen over the last 24 hours. The GPS plotter has been sounding an alarm saying that the antenna has a short. I have unplugged the relevant antenna which has stopped the alarm and, somewhat to my surprise, the plotter is still getting a GPS signal. I presume it is coming through on the data bus from the AIS's antenna. Hopefully this second antenna won't short out as well otherwise I might be putting my astro into practice. This forenoon I pulled the offending antenna off the dodger and inspected it. The joins and cabling looks dry from what I can see, and the antenna is a sealed unit so there is no reason to suspect that water had gained entry there. I can only think that the cabling might have gotten damaged somewhere between the antenna and the display. But that is something I will pursue when the weather is a little less boisterous.
The other issue is that I lifted the bunk mattress up yesterday afternoon to air it and discovered that the inspection port for the water tank that the mattress sits on top of had been leaking, so that the underside of the mattress was quite wet. I tightened up the port a little, being careful not to over-tighten it, and have dried things out as much as possible, sleeping with a towel under the mattress last night. This morning I stripped he bunk mattress and ran a bead of silicone sealant around the inspection port. Hopefully that will eliminate the leak and reduce the accumulation of moisture in the mattress. In colder climates bunk mattresses tend to get pretty damp anyway due to body moisture condensing in the cold air of the mattress. Fortunately gravity pulls most of the moisture to the bottom of the mattress so the bunk still does a pretty good job of keeping its occupant reasonably warm. I expect when we start to head further south as we approach the Horn that keeping things warm and dry, particularly myself, is going to be a major challenge.
But for now, the wind is fresh, the sun is shining, the barometer is slowly rising, and the dark towering cumulonimbus clouds have given way to streets of puffy white fair weather cumulus.

All is well.