Tuesday, 12th January, 2016
W. Eric Faber
Tue 12 Jan 2016 12:23
Daily run: 163 logged miles
Yesterday afternoon was most enjoyable; we sat in the cockpit for the first time since leaving Cape Town to relax and enjoy the sailing without the risk of being soaked by boarding waves. We carried out various little jobs that had had to wait while the sea was raging. A strong additional whipping was created around the end of the old water generator tow rope to prevent it knotting up in the same place in case the spinner should jump out again. We had shaken out the last reef and were bowling along at over 6 knots. We decided to carry the full rig into the night and at first that seemed a sound decision despite evidence of some squalls on the horizon. However, at 4am this morning a large squall hit us taking the wind speed up from 18 knots to 32 knots and sending us along at over 8 knots of speed for nearly an hour. Luckily, the sea was relatively calm so that the stress on the rig was contained. In case the direction of the wind should suddenly change, we disengaged the Autopilot and engaged the Hydrovane so that Luna Quest would follow a sudden change in wind. The change, however, did not come with the abatement of wind strength, so the Autopilot was put back on again.
This morning the wind proved dead aft. Having the wind dead aft means that the genoa can be blanketed from time to time by the main sail causing it to flap about. We were, therefore, unable to maintain our desired course of 308 degrees for St Helena and it was either a case of having to slalom or take the mainsail down and pole out the staysail opposite to the poled-out genoa. We decided on the latter as it is a better rig to cope with squalls and high winds. It took us quite a long time to effect this sail change as I had made the classic mistake of taking down the mainsail first and then preparing for the hoisting of the staysail. We got there in the end, but not without some mental and physical pain. Poseidon may be getting familiar with my vocabulary…