Tuesday, 21st July, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Tue 21 Jul 2015 01:47
Noon Position: 19.45S 155.27E

Daily run: 173 logged miles

Monday afternoon and night:
The lower lee cap shroud vibrates alarmingly and shakes the boat from time to time. We have not seen the sun or moon or a single star since we left Vanuatu, except on the day of our departure. One squall after another assails us sending Luna Quest on an involuntary course dead south as against a course west that we need to make the Hydrographer’s Passage. There is nothing we can do about this forced change in direction. The Hydrovane keeps the boat at a constant angle to the wind, so that Luna Quest is entirely at the mercy of the wind direction. Luckily, the squalls don’t last long, perhaps 5 to 10 minutes, but there are many of them. The seas have grown to an intimidating size and speed past us at perhaps 15 mph or more. Squalls confuse the seas. Occasionally, white caps detach themselves from the light blue wave tops that crown the dark seas streaked with foam and launch themselves onto Luna Quest. The decks are awash with water running backwards and forwards as deep as the gunwales. Looking out of the windows one could imagine being in a submarine. All the windows and hatches are closed, except for the companion way unless rain gets whipped into it; then the wash boards are put in and the hatch is closed. To keep the boat on course when not in a squall, we have to nip out into the cockpit to adjust the Hydrovane from time to time. The winds are fickle but strong and adjustments have to made frequently. Showers make this exercise an unpleasant task, as does the jet-like spray from the wave tops. I undertake the task with as little on as possible to save on the dry clothes, but it is cold and the wind gives an extra chill factor. Down below it is warm and feels secure. The oven may be on or a brew in the making. Julia’s cooking skills remain undiminished despite the sometimes violent lurches. There is a need to finish up the fresh vegetables before arrival in Australia and yesterday Julia made a delicious tomato soup. Our fruit and vegetable nets in the forepeak are still laden, but Julia insists that they will all be consumed before arrival.

This morning we changed the rig. We took down the heavily reefed mainsail and the poled-out genoa on the port side and let it partially out on the starboard side. The wind has turned more East in the East South East trade wind and, ideally, we should have been able to maintain the goose winged rig, but the squalls make it untenable and the vibrations from the lower cap shroud unbearable. Our speed has gone down to less than 6 knots.