Kung Hey Fat Choi

Rich Carey
Wed 25 Apr 2018 16:20
07:39.039S 109:38.510W

'Merry Christmas and a happy new year'. It's the one bit of Chinese I remember from being a small boy in Hong Kong. I must have been amused at the thought of hailing a passing fat Chinaman - and it stuck.

However, I kept it to myself, it being an inappropriately timed VHF greeting to the illegal Chinese fishing trawler I passed in the night. How would I know it's an illegal?, because fatty didn't turn on his AIS until I was two miles away with a computed CPA (closest point of approach), of 62ft. 62ft is more than incredibly close, especially as fatty was 180 ft long. You need to think about that one - 62ft away from the transmitting antenna on the 180ft ship - I wonder where the transmitting antenna is mounted ... Hello trawler, meet x86!

The illegal's do not broadcast their position, unless they're not sure that another vessel has seen them. Then they flip it on, until they're sure, and then turn it back off. In this case - no worries mate - I'd seen them at 4 miles out, as a nice big blobby on the radar. Then, while scratching my head at why a ship would not have AIS (ships have to have AIS by international Law), I saw them flip it on at 2 miles.

There was no real safety issue for x86 here, more a potential blood pressure issue for the skipper. They were probably at the worst angle of approach for my radar guard zone to alarm, as they were coming from 8 o clock and I have the radar guard zone set to 30 degrees either side of my forward path (I can set it to 360 degrees [all around zone alarm], but that vastly increases false alarms from wave clutter). This means that when they entered the zone and triggered the alarm, we would have been very close - hence the blood pressure comment. However, when they flipped the AIS on, it tripped that systems proximity alarm, so I did have an electronic 2 mile warning. Anyway it's incidental, as I'd tagged the blighter's at 4 miles out with the mark one eyeball. Screw you fat Choi, you couldn't give a damn, ocean pillager.

In other news.

There's some water getting into the Starboard bilge - requiring me to hand pump it out daily. Not much, but needs to be watched, and diagnosed when x86 is at repose. Two constants in the 'sailing successfully' formula: don't hit stuff; keep the Ocean on the outside.

Sail schema couldn't be simpler, with the trades as they are. Leave the jib alone. 1st reef set for day sailing at 06:00. 2nd reef set for night sailing at 18:00. I'm still dropping daily under the direct path to target, but not by much. I've been loath to drop too far south, fearing I'd later have to claw my way back up. That's likely to change, with the forecast showing the wind moving to a full easterly next week, so it makes sense to keep the same wind angle as the trades shift. Thus as they gradually become more easterly, I'll gradually become more southerly (maintaining the angle, means maintaining the speed - if I didn't turn, I'd slow as the wind moved to behind). Then I need to hold nerve and watch sea state, before eventually switching tack. If this remains my plan (and the trades do shift), I'll probably go down to 11 or 12 degrees south.

I have a tablet at the Nav station (downstairs), monitoring the raymarine plotter, to show me what's going on. It's questionable how much I need it as I have another tell-tail device - my chair. Its mounted on a swing arm, so it can be tucked away under the desk when not in use, to free the passageway. With the boats motion as it is, I swing wildly around, sometimes at the desk, and sometimes in the hinterland!

My book 'Old man's war' is going. That's it, it's not going well or badly, it's just going. Pity, as the concept is really good, but the author keeps trying to thrill me with over the top stuff. Maaaaate - your idea is good, run with it, don't spice it to death.

I adjusted my watch. Easy operation - just put it onto GPS mode in time settings, and a passing satellite flipped it back an hour for me :-)

All's well on x86, as written by the swinging typist.

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