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Daring pensioner Jeanne Socrates from Ealing is attempting to circumnavigate the globe solo in her yacht Nereida, and raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care at the same time. Follow her regular blog in the Gazette.
After the good start, on 22nd October, to my 3rd attempt at a nonstop, unassisted, solo circumnavigation, the loss of my liferaft just four days later came as quite a blow.
But having eventually replaced it in San Francisco Bay, retaining my 'nonstop,unassisted, solo' status by not using my motor and tying to a buoy rather than to shore when I arrived overnight, nor having anyone physically help me and doing all the necessary work of preparing and fixing both the new cradle and raft in place myself, the next problem was leaving the Bay in order to sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge and head south towards Cape Horn once more.
It had been difficult enough making a night entry into SF Bay in winds of only 1-2knots but although I was ready to leave on Saturday with the ebb tide, that became impossible, although I tried ... The ebb tide towards the Golden Gate Bridge was weak and the wind nearly nonexistent...!
I got part of the way towards the Bridge, but after drifting around in the dark for several hours, the tide began to change and I had to anchor ... but found the electric windlass wasn't working...! So, 30m of chain were then waiting to be raised when the wind allowed me to leave - at the right time to catch the ebb...
Sunday 5th November saw bright, hot sunshine - but no wind all day. A busy day on the water, with lots of sailing boats around - several of which came close to wish me well - with two even offering me a bottle of wine! (Pity I'm not allowed anyone on board nor to accept anything from anyone,.....'unassisted, solo' ....!) I'd been hoping for a possible 4pm departure on the ebb tide - but at that time there was a head wind of 5kt... which died to 2 knots not long after .....
I thought about how I could raise 30m of anchor chain with no windlass to help. I made use of a spare pole guy - one end of the line shackled onto the chain, the other taken to a mast winch and another short loop of line on a bow cleat with a shackle - to keep the chain in place while I re-positioned the long line from the mast, once I'd winched some of the chain up. When I used it finally, the system worked well, albeit with plenty of dodging about between bow and mast, with lots of time taken fixing and releasing the shackles onto and off the chain... 5m/16ft of chain were brought up at a time, once I'd got started.
While I waited for the wind, I kept busy with useful jobs - fixed a failed seawater pump in the galley, serviced a winch, fixed the Lexan washboard in place more firmly, and checked the weather outlook. Monday morning there was an ebb starting around dawn - and a N wind was forecast for morning, dying away during the day and staying very light for several more days - so I planned to wake up at sunrise to check on the wind, ready to leave if it was helpful.
Monday saw a beautiful dawn sky...the tide was clearly already ebbing - and the wind was 7-10 kt from NW - perfect!!! I set to, raising first the full mainsail, whose sheet I left loose so as not to start us sailing while I raised the anchor. As the sun came up higher over San Francisco, all was going well. We had plenty of water room, so although we started drifting as the chain came up, that didn't pose a problem... Suddenly, the anchor rose above the water ... and I ran back to the wheel to get us sailing towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
A lovely, sunny day with a clear blue sky contrasting with the red of the famous towers of the bridge - which we soon sailed under. Not a ship in sight...excellent! I contacted Traffic Control and the Coast Guard - thanked both and they wished me 'Bon voyage". We were making over 6 kt with the ebb current ..! We'd escaped - and were having a lovely, enjoyable sail in bright sunshine!! Although the forecast light winds stayed for several days and we struggled to make headway South, with lots of shipping around to keep clear of, we were on our way towards Cape Horn again, finally!
At present, the sea temperature has reached 28C and we're sailing well towards the ITCZ - the zone of unstable air near the Equator - with a good chance of nasty thunderclouds, with sudden strong wind, heavy rain and lightning, in between calms...! I'm hoping to find a 'gap' between the worst of the convection... but it's a good week away still, so plans can easily come to nothing.
I'm posting my usual daily reports and positions, while on passage, to my website: www.svnereida.com (Links can be found on my 'Home' and 'Travels' pages)
Please go to http://www.justgiving.com/jeannesocrates to donate to Marie Curie Cancer Care in aid of their free specialist home-nursing for the terminally ill - even the smallest of donations will be welcome!
For my global position go to - http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/ ...for my positions via my AIS signals and http://oceantracker.net?event=nereida