Monday, 18th May, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Tue 19 May 2015 01:54
Noon Position: 15.20S 158.46W

Daily run: 72 miles

The fleet operate a radio net at 9am and at 6pm via the SSB radio (single side band). Last night at the 6pm net, wind speeds of up to 50 knots had been experienced by one boat and quite a few had 30 knots or more. It would not be so bad if the winds came from somewhere behind the boat, but the winds backed from the Northeast through north to the Southwest and therefore heading us on our way west. We had reefed the sails down as far as possible for the night just in case we were going to be hit. At 2am this morning we were hit with wind speeds of 30 knots, accompanied by torrential rain. The near gale force winds stayed with us all night whipping up a most uncomfortable sea. It was hot in the cabin as the windows had been closed all day to keep the seas at bay. Now they remained closed to keep the seas and the rain out. Large waves cascaded over the cabin into the cockpit and battered our yellow and blue jerrycans on deck full of fuel and water. The jerry cans are tied to planks port and starboard, which are bolted to the stanchions. Every time Luna Quest dived into a wave trough, the jerry cans were trying their best to tear themselves free from the planks, but they would only flex. These were anxious moments. This morning, therefore, we have been transferring their contents as much as we could into the ship’s tanks.

The sky is grey with massive, thick black clouds speeding along and dropping their contents randomly. We are currently in one of those black squalls, but they are relatively low to the sea so that there is little wind in them. We have been motoring today from before lunch time, not so much to give us some progress, but to give me time to repair one of the winches that seemed to have packed up this morning. Whilst I was busy taking the winch apart in a confused sea, steadying myself carefully and transferring bits into an old baking tray, which Luna Quest carries for such a purpose, Julia lost her grip in a sudden lurch whilst trying to make porridge and was thrown backwards against the chart table spilling the contents of the porridge container that she was holding over the chart table and the saloon sole (i.e.the floor of the cabin). She hit her back in exactly the same spot that caused her a fracture early in our crossing of the Pacific from the Galapagos to the Marquesas. Luckily, the fall did not cause any damage and the porridge was duly made. The sun came out briefly to help me concentrate on repairing the winch, for which, fortunately, we carry some spare parts.