Towards the Bay of Biscay

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Wed 17 Jul 2013 11:30
> Dear Family and Friends,
> It is noon, Wednesday 17.7.13 with a position of 87 miles due west of Pointe du Raz (near Brest). I left Falmouth on Tuesday morning that heralded a beautiful day with a gentle northerly breeze. I thought this was too good an opportunity to miss testing the parasail that could take me all the way across the Bay of Biscay. For an hour I wrestled to hoist the massive sail up the mast and praised myself for completing the two-man job on my own. However, an hour later the wind failed and the sail was rendered useless. As I needed to change my course more to the West, I decided to take it down and motor free of the Lizard. Just after noon the wind returned from north of north west at 12 knots. I set the genoa and mainsail and adjusted Fred (the name I have given to the Hydrovane self steering mechanism) to give me a new course of 220. I am still on that course and have not had to adjust either sails or Fred.
> Throughout the day I had been aware of an offensive diesel smell that at first I ascribed to having perhaps overfilled the tank or the extra two 20-ltr re-enforced plastic jerry cans that I had bought in Las Palmas some years earlier and thought the smell would go away of its own accord. I was still trying to find my sea legs, so that I could have done without the sickly smell. I nevertheless ate well in the evening, watched the sun set from the cockpit (to avoid having to be in the saloon) and pretended the smell had gone when I went to have a lie-down at 2200hrs. Every now and again the radar alarm would have me up to check what was in our way. The AIS would occasionally scream or the sails bang about because of the rolling we were experiencing in the light winds, so that I cannot say I had a good lie-down or rest, let alone sleep. Every time I got up, I was met by the nauseas diesel smell, however. At 06.30 I had had enough. I would locate its source and deal with it after breakfast. It did not take me long. One of the jerry cans was found to have a hole in its bottom and had already leaked some 12 litres into the bilge of Luna Quest. I poured what was left into the main tank and will dispose the can in due course. I then set about cleaning the locker, the bilge, the cockpit and anything else that had been affected. I chucked out some diesel-stinking rope and rinsed everything afterwards with sea water. The smell seems less; it will take some time to go completely.
> Eric