Thursday, 5th November, 2015
Daily run: 174 logged miles
All day yesterday and all night we received the most fantastic buffeting. The wind had risen to 35 knots and sustained between 27 and 33 knots. The swell and waves had been whipped up to furious proportions by the centre of a fast moving low pressure gradient. The troughs were deep and the waves crowning the 3-metre high swell toppled with tremendous force leaving just trails of foam behind. The breaking waves would slew the boat round, cause the sails to shudder as they waited for the Hydrovane to put the boat back on its course. The reef in the genoa of approx. half its size proved too much for crew and ship and Julia urged me to get out into the wave-swept cockpit and in the driving rain to shorten sail more as the bashing we were receiving would not allow any sleep or drive the risk of damage nearer to breaking points.
The prospect of going out into the wild was an unpleasant one, but needs must and out I went first easing the windward genoa sheet until it began to shudder and then winding in the furler with the winch handle. I repeated the action several times until I was satisfied that Luna Quest felt happier. Returning down the companionway I noticed how cold I had become and estimated the outside temperature at between 12C and 14C, but there was no peace for the ancient mariner, as the sheet that I had eased, had unwrapped itself on the winch and together with the genoa was banging itself furiously to shreds. I jumped back into the cockpit, now half dressed, to tame the flogging sail. I grabbed hold of the uncontrolled sheet, wound it round the winch, pulled it taut and then winched the flogging sail under control. Luna Quest liked that as she responded with a kick in her stern to develop 7 knots of speed without being thrown about as much.