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Date: 18 Feb 2016 19:36:24
Title: Thursday, 18th February, 2016

Noon Position: 11.02S 36.03W

Daily run: 112 logged miles

Early morning we were fully expectant of another hot slog up the coast in a gentle breeze from the East, the sun overhead and a cloudless sky. However, during the morning clouds began to build ahead of us, dark grey clouds that foretold squally weather. Half way through the morning the breeze fell to a light air and the engine was put on heading us away from the coast. Half an hour later Luna Quest was struck by torrential rain and a strong breeze from the Northeast, the very direction we wished to go. We already had one reef in the mainsail from the night before and with the genoa furled up, the engine was barely making any headway, so we half unfurled the genoa and headed out on a course just south of East, close hauled with the wind on the port tack. Engine off. The sea got up quickly and knocked us back and down with severe slams in the hollows of the waves. The 8 jerrycans on deck (4 water and 4 diesel) threatened to leave their lashings. The wind was up to 25 knots and there was no sign of any abatement. How long was this squall going to last? Then, when the wind changed Luna Quest’s course from 120 degr. to 150 degr. (the Hydrovane attempts to keep a constant angle to the wind), we tacked on to the starboard side and made our desired course of 45 degr. along the coast with an offing of 40 miles, not enough, but it would have to do. Then the wind fell away to 9 knots. The squall had passed. All reefs out. A new squall appeared on the horizon ahead. We made ready reefing the sails again.

The winds are fickle, the seas lumpy and confused and the crew tired of so many adjustments to the sails to keep some speed going. Next week we should be round the northeast of Brazil and pick up the trade winds to Grenada. I suppose you could say we are currently in the doldrums, i.e. lack of wind and squalls all around.

Eric



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