Wednesday, 4th November, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Wed 4 Nov 2015 10:26
Noon Position: 27.49S 46.57E

Daily run: 164 logged miles

Lashed to a board between two stanchions, we carry on deck, port and starboard, towards the bow, four 20-litre jerry cans on both sides for additional fuel and water. From the time we carried the jerrycans (yellow for diesel and blue for water), we have had concerns about heavy seas washing them overboard, bending the stanchions or ripping out the stanchion feet. As part of our precautions in the face of the heavy weather to come, we did not take on extra water but only extra fuel in the four yellow jerrycans. The weather forecasts we downloaded told us of heavy seas to come. Day before yesterday we unlashed them and stowed two fuel jerrycans in the focsle with the sails and two in the cockpit locker stashed among the fenders together with two empty blue jerry cans. The other two empty blue ones were already lashed in the heads.

At 4.15pm yesterday afternoon the front hit us with a violent squall that not only sent the boat round 180 degrees into the East, but also brought 30 knots of wind and tremendous rain. We thought the squall would not last long, but the fact that we were being driven eastwards at an alarming rate of knots for more than half an hour, had me in the cockpit with only my boxer shorts on trying to bring the boat back on a westerly course. Because of the inner forestay, we cannot tack without rolling up the genoa first, which means losing all speed to effect a tack. We need the engine to help us. Having brought the boat round, we rolled out half the genoa to take on the strong southwesterlies that would follow the passing of the front.

As soon as it had passed, the southwest wind brought 25 knots with a bang. The bashing we received and are still receiving, was the worst I have ever experienced. Close-hauled on a fully reefed mainsail and half the genoa, Luna Quest received a true buffeting. Towering waves on a 3-metre swell would make her rear steeply and then cast her down with an almighty bang, as though a pile of bricks had been knocked over accidentally from the scaffolding boards. All night long she suffered the battering. Everything in and on the boat banged and bangs with it, including all the fruit and vegetables jumping out of their nets and finding a new home among the sails and clothes and other paraphernalia in the focsle. Luckily, Julia had prepared a generous supply of cooked food for supper last night and today and tomorrow, but she wanted to cook some spaghetti last night, which predictably landed on the floor. Never mind, it tasted just as good! After supper we noticed lightning just where we had come from, but the singing rigging and the breaking seas all around rendered any thunder inaudible. We sang ‘ we all live in the yellow submarine’ as one wave after another cascaded over the boat. Nevertheless, Luna Quest powers along at 7kn steered by the Hydrovane taking on wave after wave. Thank goodness we had removed the jerry cans from the deck or else they would have been carried away for us…