Afternoon all,

Last night was a late night with changing winds.  By yesterday afternoon the winds had increased to 25 knots so I needed to change from my large head sail to the next one down and the put a reef in the mainsail.  This is where we tuck a section of the sail down to balance the boat in increasing winds.  The winds were mostly from the west offering a great course sailing North towards my rounding mark outside the Great Barrier Reef.  It was a great run and I was able to hold better speeds than previous days however it dose make the boat lean over a lot so life on-board was a little more tricky.  

After sunset the winds started veering and moving to the NW and pushing me off course.  It was also pushing me into a container ship highway that is at sea as I was now sailing a NE direction.  I sailed right to the edge of the marked virtual highway and then decided to tack back as I really needed to be sailing NW towards my next way point.  This also had the advantage of keeping me out of the path of the 7 ships that were transiting that highway at the time.

I decided to sail for another hour west on this new tack before I noticed that the winds were once again backing to the NW so I would now be able to make a more North direction.  I tacked back and hoped that the winds would hold for a while and I would be able to get some sleep as it was past midnight now.

In bed at 1.30am in the morning I woke to the sounds of the boat coming to a halt and rocking side to side in the swell as the winds dropped to below 5 knots.  I was really tired by now and really really didn’t wish to shake a reef out of the sail but given that I was going no-where fast I had little choice.

It took me well over 20 minutes to winch the main sail back up to its full height and to change the jibs back over so that I was again sailing on the largest one and by the time this was all completed the new winds had arrived and I was now gently coasting along in a westerly 7-10 knots of wind.  

I managed a few hours sleep and was up and about by 9am just keeping an eye on things.  There has been many ships around as most of the shipping containers or bulk carriers all need to go around the outside of the Great Barrier Reef so I am mostly following the same path however there seems to be radio relay stations out here or something as the AIS signal which runs of a VHF antenna is reaching over 150 nm out.  This means that I can see any vessel carrying an AIS for up to 150nm.  Normally this very useful piece of safety gear can only really reach line of sight and when mounted high around 24nm so the bonus miles is great for me as it allow me to schedule my sleep to co-inside with the light traffic areas.  Yeh for me.

At the moment I am about 40nm to the SE of the for section of reef and if this wind holds I will be starting to sail past the reef later tonight.  I am conscious however that the winds have been very fickle and changing every day so I am making sure that I wont be too close to reef incase the winds drop out and I end up becalmed and drifting.  So tonight I likely wont get much sleep but that is nothing new on a trip like this.

Also I have been finding it too hot to really eat a good freeze dried meal and seem to be surviving of muesli and tins of cold baked beans.... mmm.  But all in all I am still in good spirits and I am still enjoying the challenge.

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel  B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft