Sunday, 21st February, 2016
Daily run: 135 logged miles
Yesterday’s wind continued to favour us during the afternoon enabling us to pole out the genoa to starboard and the staysail to port with the mainsail furled to the boom. We love this rig as Luna Quest stays upright, no banging of sails or booms and stable on its course within 20 degrees either side of the wind from behind, but it was late in the afternoon and we were keen to complete the change of rig before darkness and before the radio net was due at 5.45pm. We had three quarters of an hour to complete it and in our haste I twice failed, having dropped the mainsail, to attach the main halyard properly to its fixing sending the halyard aloft. It swirled about wrapping itself around the lazy lines, the mast steps and anything else it could find to wrap itself round. There was no time to lose and twice I at once climbed the mast on my bare feet and in the big swell to retrieve the wayward halyard. Without mast steps, the task would have been almost impossible. The exercise was exhausting and did my right arm not much good, but I achieved the task without getting bruised and in time for the radio net. At the scheduled time of 5.45pm we called Wandering Dream not letting on that I was pegged out.
After supper, we sat in the cockpit enjoying the cooler air and our progress for the night looked promising, but at about 10.30pm a squall with rain put paid to our expectations. It rained hard and we had to close all the windows as surface water was cascading down the coachroof and seeking to enter the boat through the windows. The associated high wind pushed the boat round to the west, speeding Luna Quest along at 7 knots and 45 degrees from its intended course, but we were not worried as squalls do not normally last long, but a second squall was already on its way, obliterating any light from the moon and hitting Luna Quest harder than the first. More west and longer. The night was black except for the occasional flash of lightning, the rain deafening and the wind doing its best to drive Luna Quest into the coast of Brazil. TG we were some 65 miles off. Another four or five squalls followed without much respite. We had already been pushed 25 miles off our course towards Brazil and more squalls came. There was nothing for it, but the rig had to be changed. In the driving rain, we rolled up the genoa, leaving its pole waving about without sail. We then took in the pole on the port side enabling the staysail to be pulled in to a fine angle to the wind. It did the trick. Luna Quest responded by putting some east into its northerly course and new squalls only pushed her round no further than northwest. I was completely drenched and washed and ready for a hot cup of tea that Julia had already prepared.
This morning the squalls have not continued and we are back on our former course under mainsail and genoa. We shall wait with poling out until further north.