Blessing in Disguise

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Sun 26 Jan 2014 13:55
Time Zone: 2

Position: 20.14N 42.07W

Daily Run: 125 miles

Saturday was a rough day with winds sustaining between 25kn and 38kn all day. The sun hardly put in an appearance, the sky was leaden and the sea rough with Luna Quest regularly being heeled or rolled to some 50 degrees, first one way, then the other. At about 13.30hrs (ship's time), the uphaul, attached to the outer end of the starboard boom that carries the staysail, became undone. A shackle pin had come out. In 28 knots of wind I tried to house the boom while the staysail banged about madly. I managed to secure the lower end of the boom to the lifelines, but with sheet of the sail still threaded through the boom-end fitting and the sail flapping wildly, I had to choose my moment carefully to attempt re-shackling the uphaul. In the end I managed it and began to re-hoist the boom, only to find that the uphaul was twisted round one of the stays. I had to take it down again and re-attach the boom end to the lifelines. I then discovered that the boom had unshipped itself from the track on the mast. To rectify that problem, I would need a nice quiet day and a kind sea. It took me until 3 o'clock to clear up the mess, lash the boom on deck and stow the staysail down the forehatch. Luna Quest was still making over 7 knots of speed on the one reefed poled-out genoa, but later in the afternoon, the wind rose to 38 knots (gale force) and the Hydrovane had difficulty coping with keeping Luna Quest on course. I reefed the genoa further to about half its former reefed size and all the sail Luna Quest now carried was a poled-out genoa to port that measured about one fifth of its full size, a scrap of sail. She had been overcanvassed, but still made 6 knots of speed.

The violence in the boat's motion and the incessant rolling caused the domestic battery bank to shift from side to side in the battery compartment, a first since installation in 2005. It was essential to stop it forthwith or else I might invite electrical cutouts or more serious problems. The gap between the in-line batteries and the wall of the battery compartment was about 3", but only a small hole amongst all the wiring to stuff something down the gap. Loo paper is a handy thing to have, but completely squashed-down loo rolls have found a glorious new purpose aboard Luna Quest.