Saturday, 21st March, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Sat 21 Mar 2015 21:54
Noon Position: 8.55S 125.27W

Daily run: 66 miles

The wind failed us again towards evening, when we witnessed a most glorious sunset without a cloud in the sky. The parasailor was struggling, but we decided to leave it up for the night. Unfortunately, it would not hold for long and the collar of the sock (or snuffer) banged against the mast as the sail flailed from side to side with each roll of the swell and then collapsed. Julia was fast asleep when I woke her at midnight to suggest we took it down. It took a little while to bring her back to reality, but once awake, she was ready to help. It was very dark outside save that the stars and the Milky Way provided sufficient light for us not to use any torch power. Miraculously enough, we tamed the flailing sail into its sock and then brought the whole lot down into the forepeak. While Julia made a cup of tea, I cleared up on deck and got the engine going again to give us just over 4 knots of speed.

For the rest of the night we stayed on engine power with the rumbling propeller keeping my mind alive as to its possible causes: I would have another look in the morning, i.e. another dive. After the morning roll call, when everybody in the fleet reported very light winds, some from the West, some from the East, some from the North, but none from the South and many reporting plenty of engine power, I stopped the engine for another dive. The long lazy swell made the boat sway from side to side, a dodgy object to investigate. I might get clonked on the head. In my harness and tied to a long rope, armed with a brush tied to an old broomstick that I had meant to throw away ages ago, I plunged into the heaving sea. I tried to remove some of the growth under the boat, but that proved impossible to shift. It loved the anti foul. Then a deep breath and a dive towards the propeller. I poked each of the three blades, which seemed to be turning fine under pressure from my brush (the propeller is a self-pitching and folding one made by Brunton’s of Clacton). I could not see anything wrong with any of the blades other than that each sported some interesting sealife/growth on it. Back on board I put the engine back on again at 1600 revs giving us a meagre 4.2.knots (a clean boat would give us 5.2 knots). In the meantime Julia had made some fantastic rolls, currant tea cakes and a loaf of bread. Only 850 miles to go...We have enough fuel for 550 miles. However, there are no easy refuelling options in Hiva OA and no boating facilities. The nearest place is Papeete (Tahiti). We shall have the boat hauled out there and re anti fouled.