Out of the Murk

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Fri 17 Jan 2014 15:00
27. 02N 17. 53W

Just as I had posted last night's email to my BLOG, I found Luna Quest enveloped by a huge low squall that stretched from Tenerife to the southern horizon. It had brought rain, but no wind. The sails were slatting from side to side as Luna Quest was rolled around on a cross swell. A little puff here and another there from different directions had me adjust the sails every 5 minutes without any diminution in the banging and crashing of the sails. To save them from wrenching themselves out of their fastenings, I started the engine and rolled up the genoa, but left the mainsail up. That was at 7pm. There were more squalls on the horizon. I pointed the boat to a squall-free stretch slightly to the West and hoped I would be squall free soon. I was very tired of all the sail handling and despite the unpredictable lurching and rolling, crashing and banging, I managed to prepare a meal, which, unfortunately, directly after putting it on a plate, found its way onto the saloon sole (i.e. the cabin floor) with the plate upside down on top of it. I scooped it up, put it back and ate it with joy, but at 9pm I feared that the mainsail might be suffering untold damage if I left up any longer. The wind was now down to only 5 knots. The mainsail came down. Without any sail up, the boat has less stability and so the pitching and the rolling became quite uncomfortable and prevented me from catching any sleep, not helped by the engine's purr and everything not tied down finding a way to make a racket. Pots and pans, jars and tins all created an ignominious cacophony, but at dray break, a gentle breeze from the North sprang up. The awkward swell had gone and the wind was on the increase as the sun rose on the eastern horizon. A squall-free zone had been reached and good progress was made throughout the day under full sail.