FROM 1-25. Blowing a (super) gale

Oct 22, 2005 – 0400hrs UTC

0400hrs 22 Oct 2005 UTC 39’39”S 014’11”E Ref 469

We’re struggling on a bit here. Back to NW 35 kts, huge following sea, storm jib only and only making SE. Should back to W later today. Bloody uncomfortable, noisy, jerky and unpleasant. It has just started to rain – another cold, bleak dawn No wonder the old sailors called this the Cape of Storms. Will we never get past Africa? We’re in warm water – 16 degrees – so must be the Agulhas current mixing with the S. Atlantic.

Malcom – tis is a big empty ocean. As far as I know, we have ‘seen’ only two ships since the Cape Verdes on AIS and we never actually saw them visually. AIS works from a vhf signal transmitted on Ch 70 – mandatory for all vessels over 300 dwt. We have a vhf aerial dedicated to it about a metre and a half above the water on the pushpit and the range would be line of sight to that aerial, so depends a bit on the transmitting aerial but not likely to be more than about 20 miles max. In the English Channel, the screen was cluttered with ships. The software tracks them and gives essential safety info – CPA etc – as well as mmsi and destination, ships name, course, speed etc if transmitted. We don’t transmit, just listen, but we can send DSC messages after receiving a hit – either general or specifically to the mmsi number to wake them up – we hope!

Jennifer, good to have you back, Tim, watch those vapours! Bill W, hope you had a good party, Maureen and Ralph – we look forward to meeting you.

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