Sat. 14.2.15

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Sat 14 Feb 2015 17:05
Noon Position: 5.38N 80.10W

Daily Run: 160 miles

Destination: Isla San Christobel - Galapagos Islands

We set off yesterday at 11am from beautiful Contadora. There was a strong breeze from the NNE and under reefed genoa to port we crossed the starting line a minute after the gunshot. We were in the back of the fleet of 15 boats (you can track each boat by visiting the Yellow Brick website) and stayed there till most of the bigger boats were lost out of sight over the horizon steering a southerly course. A depression over the North of South America produced the strong and steady breeze, which allowed us to pole out the staysail to starboard. Our speed improved considerably, but by late afternoon the wind had risen to over 30 knots and we were keen to get the rig set up in advance of nightfall. Erring on the side of caution, we reefed the genoa to a scrap of a sail leaving the staysail up in full. During the night the wind rose to gale force and lifted by some of the bigger waves, Luna Quest accelerated to over 9kn, but generally maintained a speed of 8kn. At 11pm a monstrous breaking wave boarded the cockpit over the stern half filling it and dumping a mahi-mahi with it, which, unfortunately, was not big enough for consumption. I threw it back over the side. The Hydrovane sometimes had difficulty coping and Luna Quest would gyrate alarmingly in some of the breaking seas causing one of the sails to flap a little, but every time the Hydrovane brought her back on course. 

When the sun rose at 6.30am the winds and seas had calmed down a little allowing us to unroll the genoa to the same size as the staysail. With a steady fresh breeze we are making 7.5kn of speed. Over the next few days the breeze will peter out as we are sailing away from the depression and entering the ITCZ (intertropical conversion zone).