Saturday, 9th January, 2016
W. Eric Faber
Sat 9 Jan 2016 10:57
The wild sea conditions proved too much for the Hydrovane. Cross seas would push Luna Quest’s stern by 40 to 60 degrees threatening the rig and sails by sudden jibing. The sea was more white than blue with long streaks of foam being bounced around in the frantic conditions. Despite being reefed down to the bare minimum and running almost dead down wind, enormous steep seas attacked Luna Quest on the quarter, one after the other with one such sea breaking on the point where it overtook the boat. The breaking crest swamped the cockpit and cascaded down the companionway soaking everything on its way and reaching the chart table. As soon as the water had drained from the cockpit, I jumped to the pump and cleared the bilge in 60 strokes. Not long after that a second such wave swamped the cockpit. The Hydrovane proved unable to hold the boat on its course or bringing it back in time before the next wave would attack her. She was overpowered. At 18.15hrs we switched on the powerful Autopilot that we had installed in Mackay, Australia. She is power hungry, but well able to deal with the heavy seas. She kept Luna Quest steady on her course, reducing the risk of seas boarding her. Watching the power consumption on the electronic battery monitor, it was clear that the batteries would be drained before the night was out if no other source of power could be deployed. We prepared the towed water generator and launched it before nightfall. It steadied the power consumption and we could look forward to a relatively dry night.
Today the seas have eased and the wind has abated to around F6. It will be time soon to shake the reefs out.