Day 112 Tropical Cyclone 22/12/13

Dec 22, 2013 Position: 32.51 S, 83.05 E

I’m starting to see and feel the effects of the tropical cyclone (TC). We are running south as best we can to avoid any direct contact with the storm and we are making good time 5.5- 6 knots . We have a double reefed yankee poled out to the port side and a triple reefed main on the same side with preventers and vangs on so the sails are secured in place. We are running just off the North wind on a course of 205 True. The sky is mainly clear with wispy high clouds coming from the northwest. Most noticeable is the build up of swells, very impressive and lots of power. They’re are relentless in their march. The waves from the north are 2 metres but the swells from the Northwest are 3-4 metres and it is quite a sight as there are many small breaking waves on the swells. West Wind II is handling them well, rolling back and forth yielding to the great waves coming up behind us.

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Visit earth wind map to get an animated look at what’s happening in oceans around the world. The small green circle on the map above is Glenn’s approximate position. 

Every once in a while, a wave dumps some water in the cock pit or on deck.  I have her under short sail at the moment so she is not at all over powered in this 15 knot wind. The next sail reduction will be to roll in some more Yankee. I’d like to keep our speed around 5 – 6 knots so we are still making time south.  The air temperature is a little cooler today. I started moving South a couple of days ago in anticipation of this TC and have come down two and a half degrees of latitude since then. My best guess is I can move south at about 1 –  1  1/2 degrees every 24 hrs. The TC is due to arrive at 35 S, 80 E  on Christmas morning but could and most likely will change course over the next few days. Going south will put me in a better position either way. Looking at the weather grib files gives a very graphic picture of the storm. shows it well. I feel fine about our strategy and will just keep moving south as best I can.

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I’m reading Painted House by John Grisham at the moment and have a good pot of stew on the stove so I have done all I can and will wait to see how things look when I get my next weather update from Ron in about twelve hours. Till then I will try to relax and read a book and watch out for chafe on the lines and keep the waves that are trying to get on board.

I am well and in good spirits and am thinking of you sweetheart wishing with all my heart I was there with you.

Course 195 T Speed 4.5 knots Wind N 10 knots Waves NW 3m Cloud 30% Temp 27 C Baro 1014 Miles in last 24hrs: 85 nm Volts 14.1


Day 111 Making good time South 21/12/13

Dec 21, 2013

Position: 32.18 S,  83.18 E

Nice quiet night we are making good time on a Southerly course in order to side step a tropical cyclone (TC) that will be here Christmas morning. It may in fact change course but just in case I am moving south as fast as I can. I am not too worried about the TC as it is not too strong but better to avoid it if possible. Sun is coming up with all its drama and beauty. I am feeling the effects of the storm in the form of bigger seas coming from that direction.

Course 200T Speed 5 knots Wind N 10-15 Waves N 2 metres Cloud 60% Temp 23 C Baro 1017 Volts 12.7


Day 110 Quiet night 20/12/13

Dec 20 2013Position: 31.05 S, 84.53 E

All is well. A quiet night. 

The wind has increased to just over 10 knots which is good because the wind vane works better in more than 5 knots especially if we are off the wind. The speed of the boat (3 knots) is subtracted from the actual wind speed (5 knots) which leaves only 2 knots of wind to drive the vane which is not really enough.

On deck, the stars are filling the sky right down to the water and an egg shaped moon is rising bathed in amber light. A soft light is reflected across the water right to the edge of West Wind II. The stars are bright and the milky way is just becoming apparent as a cloud filled with the dust of a billion planets. I just made myself a Nutella filled pancake as a snack before bed.  And another day of voyaging on the ocean comes to a spectacular end as I lay me down to sleep.

Earlier, I caught sight of 10-15 dolphin feeding about 500 metres off our port side. 

Course 240 T Speed 3.7 knots Wind NW 10 knots Waves swell N 2 metres Cloud 60% Temp 22 C Baro 1021


Day 109 Feeling healthy 19/12/13

Dec 19, 2013Position: 30.19 S, 88.50 E

Sun has just gone down and it feels like a long day. I’m up at 0430 and it’s now 1940 (0545 Victoria,BC time, and 1345 Zulu.)

I’ve set the rig up for the night so I should be fine until morning. It is so unexpected to be sailing in this kind of weather at this point of the voyage and quite different than last time for sure. Very humid on deck this evening, the decks are wet to the touch. It has been a hot day and I have spent a lot of time below decks to stay cool.  I open the hatch in the main salon about four inches and lie on the bunk dressed in shorts. The sea is relatively calm, 1-1.5 metres, and because the wind is aft of the beam 10-15 knots, the motion is not bad. I am so used to it now that when I’m in my bunk, I don’t feel any motion at all. All I have to do is look aft through the hatch into the cockpit and see the motion and it is quite significant.

A word about food. I’m feeling very healthy and that’s in part due to my food which is excellent quality. I don’t eat much in the way of meat, but I do eat lots of grains, oats, rice, couscous, quinoa and granola. It’s keeping me going every day. My heartfelt thanks to all of the generous food suppliers who provided me with a lot of my food for this voyage and to PSC Natural Foods for bringing them all together.

Well there is very little left of dusk. The stars are coming out and the moon will be with me within the hour. I’m very sleepy so I going to brush my teeth and go to bed. I will take the sunny thoughts of you to bed with me tonight. 

Heading  275 Boat speed  5 knots Wind  N 10 knots Swell N 1.5 m Cloud  40% Temp  28 C Barometer 1020 Miles in last 24 hours: 115nm 


Day 108 Winlink station down 18/12/13

Dec 18, 2013Position: 31.15 S, 91.06 E

My Winlink station in Western Australia is down today so I have not been able to get my email out til late in the afternoon, early evening and there’s nothing I can do about it. Alek said he would speak to them and see if they could get it up and running soon. I feel a bit panicky when I can’t send my messages out to you right away and most of all not get any back til much later but that’s the way it is. I’ll have to get used to it. Getting mail from you in the morning is such a nice way to start my day. I have been reading all day as we roll along down wind. I’ve been trying to relax today as I was up late last night and early this morning sending email.

West Wind is doing fine sailing along and has been on course all day and hopefully all night as well. The sky is filled with puffy white clouds, no rain clouds to chase today. While I was becalmed, I noticed WW II has some growth on her bottom. Not as much as Kim Chow had for the same time period. Perhaps the warm water encouraged more growth. I’m surprised how bony I’m getting. I eat very well so I’m healthy, just no extra weight. I’ve been making videos quite regularly. They’re good in fact, at least I think so. The content is so unique. I start out videoing the scene and then turn the camera on myself and explain what’s going on. What do you think we can do with all of them? 

The sun is low in the sky and the ocean sparkles across the waves. Tonight is a full moon. I will be thinking of you. Hope you are doing well. Missing you as much as ever sweetheart.

It is midnight here on the Indian ocean just got up to go on deck and water my horse. What a sight to behold. A bright full moon fills the night sky with soft light and a warm breeze blows through my hair and ruffles my tee shirt. I’m standing in the cockpit riding WW II down the waves at a good speed. It makes my heart soar. These are heady days, warm, dry, down wind sailing so much for beating into the head winds of the southern ocean. You are right about the connection and the ebb and flow of emotion and feelings between couples who have been together for 30 + years, and being apart. We’re lucky we have a good bank of memories. I am going back to bed now and dream of you.  

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Course 290 T Speed 4.8 kts Wind SE 10-15 knots Waves SE 2 m Cloud 60 % Temp 24 C Baro 1020 Miles in last 24hrs: 80 nm Volts 14.10