Update from Gerry 9th September 2012

Long period of swell in Southern Ireland - peace and a chance to sleep
Long period of swell in Southern Ireland - peace and a chance to sleep

Sunny in Southern Ireland
Sunny in Southern Ireland

Gales just off Mull of Kintyre
Gales just off Mull of Kintyre

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Quest III is going well and has been sailing well through rough seas. Have however experienced a few problems during strong gales. Last night she was sailing at up to 10 knots and as we reached the Bay of Biscay we experienced strong swells and west winds blowing towards France that made it difficult to keep a southern course. After the wind dropped I decided to hoist the geona sail but was unable to fully hoist. I discovered a problem with the forestay furling gear which had caused the ropes to lock. I had to make a quick decision to either to take the geona sail down as the wind was starting to get up or to try and fix the furling gear. And so with lifejacket on and clinging on the the safety harness I crawled down to the bow and with the other hand attemped to fix the problem. Discovered an allen screw was loose and had to remove the rope. This took ages and after 3 hours, soaked to the skin I get everything sorted and I scramble back to the cockpit with a huge sigh of relief. I can't believe the problems we've experienced so far and we haven't even reached the southern seas. Make a mental note to keep an eye of the furling gear as I believe I had a similar problem as we sailed round Ireland by Tory Island. The strong winds at that point had her heel over and I had to reef her and set the staysail to stabilise her. The problem here was that I'd lost a pully from the 2nd reef and the shackle went misisng. Luckily I had a spare shackle on board. Thank God I had spare shackles but can't believe I forgot my bread and cream crackers! It's all been a good test though before we hit the first of the Capes.   

The last couple of nights have been most uncomfortable sailing through the Bay of Biscay with enormous waves breaking over Quest III. Sitting down below I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster, bracing my self against the roll in my soaking oilskins. Throughout this time I'm half asleep making sure she is sailing well. Finally the sun comes up and I manage to get some sleep. I have another 750 miles until we reach Madeira.

So as at the 9th September I am fine and well, being kept busy making sure all is in working order on the boat; heading for Madeira and hopefully a chance for some sun-bathing and relaxation!