Seasickenss Forces Us Out of the Race
12/27/2010, Approx 50 miles north of Eden
A great start in the harbour and a few hours of spinnaker work saw the impending arrival of the forecast southerly buster. It was an awesome sight to see the big cigar shaped cloud looming closer over the horizon. It brought 40+ knots winds, but not a huge swell and the very high winds were over in 30 mintues or so. A lot of changing winds over the next few hours saw the wind finally settle in SE at 18- 20 knots. We lost two key crew to seasickenss over the course of the night but were able to continue without too much trouble.
Around 5pm on the 27th the second wave of southerly change came through with a vengance, 35 knots consistently, with gusts into the 40+ knots range and huge breaking seas 4 - 5 meters. We rigged our tri sail (orange storm jib) and a triple reef and Nemesi was handling things beautifully - as she does in heavy weather. We experienced a few minor breakages but nothing serious. Unfortunately we now had four crew confined to their bunks with extreme seasickness (two of them our primary helms), and a couple of others not feeling 100%, which left us too short handed to continue racing.
We made the very difficult decision to retire but we have to keep the crew safe and are now headed to Eden where we will sort out the few small issues on Nemesis, wait for a weather window and deliver the boat back to Sydney.
Nemesis was ready to continue - unfortunately we just couldn't keep up her! Maybe next year and good luck to all those who are continuing on with the race.
Counting down to the start of the Sydney to Hobart
Its Christmas night and we are just about to feast on some Bugs as part of finishing off our XMAS lunch / dinner. After a huge amount of time and effort to get rid of her cruising weight, Nemesis is ready to take part in her first Sydney to Hobart - start time is 1pm tomorrow.
We are heading down with a crew of 9 and current weather reports show a strong "noserly" for the first 48 hours, which is sure to test us.
CYCA have installed a satellite tracker on all boats - you can check out the race progress at cyca.com.au and we will try and update our sailblogs from time to time - all depends on what is going on aboard.
Looking forward to celebrating NYE in Hobart - weather permitting!
Lord Howe, Part Two
jT - 20-30knots and 2-4meter seas
10/30/2010, Broken Bay, Tasmin Sea, Pacific Ocean
Lord Howe II
Morning broke the sea in a glow, low clouds obscuring most of the view. Damian and Jordan were looking forward to the sunrise, after the ominous rising of the moon the night before (we had just tacked out to sea from the heads when a red glow appeared on the horizon, it looked like someone had deployed a red emergency flare. I was almost ready to call it in on channel 16... then took a closer look, and checked the moon rise time and cardinal direction on the GPS... ahhhh my friend the moon rising in a blood red mist over a gently rolling sea). Once the sun was up, we could see that the previous three hours of watch had gained us two miles toward our goal, but closed on the coast by another few miles. We also tried to sail our way out, but were defeated by the lack of wind and strong swell. Not racing, motor on, problem solved! We closed on the entrance to the Pittwater and Hawkesbury and by halfway through the watch had the autopilot on, dawn watch after your first night at sea is always the most difficult. Greatly relived when it was our turn to sleep again, daylight or no we all sacked out.
SPLASH! I heard as I drifted back into consciousness from a deep sleep. Popping my head up, I could see Sam climbing back on board. We were mooring in America's Bay in the Hawkesbury and did the water ever look inviting... Sam had decided it was time to test it! With the crew awake we heated the last of the English muffins with cheese and bacon to start our day. Bag the Americans all you want, but no one has complained about the Starbucks coffee we serve on Nemesis! Sumatra bold is the flavor, and a 1L stainless steel french press is the device that renders it almost straight into our bloodstream ... With breakie done, we set about tuning the placement of our spinnaker sheets and braces. Nemesis is pretty wide in the middle, so finding a perfect spot to run the brace blocks without crushing a stanchion proved pretty hard. We settled for the worse of a few evils, kinda like some of the US election candidates, or so I'm told.
With time drawing near to the 1pm race start we dropped the mooring and headed the few miles to the start. Kirsty was helming us fast as the wind picked up back into the high teens and twenties. From the Northerly direction, anticipated to build to 30 knots with 4+ meters of sea, it was going to be a rough race for the Lord Howe group. We set up on the start with Jordan on the helm, Francisco on the bow, Sam and Kirsty trimming, Damian on the main, and I was a floater and generally running the boat. We picked the far north side of the start and a few seconds late (to avoid the yachts truly in the race) we swung into the racing fleet. The main purpose for me was to match us against some known competitors to see how Nemesis is matching up in the open ocean. It was a great run up Broken Bay, smooth tacks, and generally a quite fast run. We switched positions giving Sam and then Damian the wheel. After 90 minutes we were approaching the northern head of Broken Bay and the fleet would have to decided if they would tack out to sea or continue up the coast. Nemesis was to turn back to Sydney and see if we could get a kite up.
Good racing and a good run home in fairly heavy seas, so we opted to pole out the #3 instead of popping a kite (spinnaker) in 20 knots apparent of breeze as we are running downwind at 7-10 knots (True wind is if you stand still and let the "true" amount of breeze wash over you, apparent is if you stand on the back of a moving vehicle with the apparent wind being how much breeze you feel while already moving, so you need to add the apparent plus your moving speed). This means that it was true wind of 25-30 knots... too much for a big kite with only six crew on board.
We decided to press home for Sydney and then hoist a kite in the harbor. Everyone got a chance on the helm, Damian's beef stew was a hit for lunch, a few naps were had, no fish jumped on the line, and a beer or two when down in the spring sunshine. We arrived back in the harbor in a few hours time, and turned towards Manly to think about raising a spinnaker. I took over the helm and set the crew to stations on preparing to hoist at the upcoming mark. We were a tad behind and not quite ready when the mark hit, but we rounded and did a successful hoist. The wind was really moving the kite and without tweaker's set it was hard to trim in. I decided that we would not be gybing the spinnaker as the headlands of middle harbor approached, the boat was just slightly out of control, mainly due to not enough crew on board and the spinnaker settings not quite perfect. The drop when fairly smoothly, but poor Francisco was heaving in the spinnaker up front until he got jack of it and holler for Damian to come help before he was blown off the deck. Kite down, we debriefed on the good and bad and headed for home.
All and all it was a successful practice run. We got my goals accomplished: night watch, race start, holding off faster boats, spinnaker up in heavy weather. In two weeks we have another race to the Pittwater, then stay there overnight and race back. Looking forward to it. With the wedding looming, on the 20th, we are just about to get flooded with friends and family. My Dad, Gary, is flying in this Saturday and has decided he wants to come out on the short ocean race that same day! Go Dad! We'll pop a few seasickness tablets in him, put him in the princes seat (in the back to watch all the fun) and go for it! After the weekend Dad heads off for Darwin and Ayers Rock. The following week Marko and Erin will be coming through Sydney on their honeymoon (bummer but missing our wedding by a week). My cousin Rebekah arrives on the weekend, then it's the week of the wedding and all of our Victorian and overseas friends and family get here. Tracy and Chris on Friday, my best friend Denise on Friday. It's all happening! If I don't blog before then, well, you now know why!
Lord Howe Training Race
jT - 20knots and 2-3meter seas
10/29/2010, Tasmin Sea, Pacific Ocean offshore of Sydney
Nemesis is finally on the race standings board... With finishes in the Grant Thornton Short Ocean Race and in the Monday night Mt. Gay Spinnaker races we have hit the scoring board! We are still shaking out yacht systems and getting crew sorted into primary positions, but this all takes time. It is amazing how different popping a spinnaker is when your cruising vs. when you are about to round a mark with other boats right on top of you in a race. So with a few races under our belt we planned to do a mock start with the Gosford to Lord Howe Island race. This is the only other Cat1 race in Australia (the other being the Sydney Hobart).
The crew started to assemble at 7pm on Friday. We had six solid confirms for the training and I was looking forward to the weekend of sailing after a long week. Kirsty and I are closing on a property in Surry Hills this week, so it was been that stressful period of cramming too much into a week. Sam and Francisco arrived at the dock and a little stowage and sorting out later we were ready to leave the dock. Sam has been continuing to race with Assassin during the Monday night races and with Nemmy on the weekend and offshore ones. He was mostly done with work but poor guy had an 8pm concall with Europe he would have to take. Francisco has been sailing with us on the Monday night races and is looking to do more offshore sailing. He is from Spain, so it is nice to have someone to practice Spanish with and the occasional joke no one else gets (PM Que?). Getting under way we head over to CYCA to pick up the last of our crew and fetch our sails from the Doyle sail locker. With Sam burrowed into the foredeck with all the other sails, so he can hear on his concall, we motor over on a perfect Sydney night. Just a slight chill in the air as we ghost under the Harbor Bridge and are, as always, delighted with the cityscape and Opera House.
We tied up in the "pond" at CYCA with minimum drama, our newest crew Jordan is waiting to take the lines. Jordan is a Canadian and is over in Australia to sail and race. She is keen as and has booked in several weekends flying down to Sydney to race and get familiar with the boat and crew. Damian had grabbed Jordan from the airport and dropped her and the food supplies off at the dock while he took his car home. We get our sails out of the locker and load them as well as all the food Damian prepared. We had talked earlier in the week and Damian had taken on the cooking and provisioning for the trip. Sandwiches, English muffins with cheese and bacon, Beef Stew, Pasta, chocolate and nuts, it was all going on in the food department. Once again we are true to form and will NOT go hungry on Nemesis!
The weather is predicted to be strong Northerlies in the 15-25 knot range over night, building the next day to 30 knots. Seas will be 2-4 meters, so we are in for a bit of a ride. We get all the crew settled and then have a quick safety briefing. With the rules and procedures for things like Man Overboard sorted we are ready to sail. Motoring out of CYCA we put up the main sail in 15 knots of protected harbor breeze. It is dark as, and the city lights are casting eerie glows about the rippling waves. We keep into the breeze and prepare to hoist our big #1 Kevlar headie (the big gold head sail you've seen in the photos). I still marvel and love this sail. It is huge and stretches back 2/3s of the boat. Tacking it is a challenge with all the sail to go flying around the mast, usually attached to the foredeck-d-jure that is helping carry it around it's tack. But does it ever power up the boat. We get the sail set and we put in a few tacks to start and work our way out of the harbor. The wind is already increasing, but I just wanted to get the big sail up for practice, as the wind speeds will be a tad much for this sail for the rest of the weekend. With the first watch ready to start, we do a quick sail change to our fully-battened #3. Folding big sails on the foredeck is always a pain, but the crew nails it with efficiency. We are about forty minutes late on starting our first watch, the plan was for 10pm, so we send Kirsty, Sam and Francisco down to bed with a new second watch time of 2am.
Damian, Jordan and I take over the boat as we continue to work our way out of the harbor. We are approaching Taylor's Bay as a big set of lights starts looming in the distance. Twin stacked white lights and a glowing red light tell me something is coming at us that is over 45m (150') in length and by us seeing his red light I know we are looking at his front, port side. Just a few seconds and now we are seeing both green and red navigation lights, hence his is aimed right at us! But we quickly continue into Taylor's Bay and the Manly Ferry plough's on through the water with Nemesis in her side wake. Never an issue, but amazing how different things look and appear in the pitch black. We tack for the heads and I have Jordan take the helm. She has been sailing most of her life, but mostly in smaller racing dinghies, so she is quite keen on the bigger boats. We are nearing the South Head and in the middle of the harbor will be a reef known as Sow and Pigs. We spot a few marker lights and carefully pick our way through. One mark is barely apparent as we ghost up towards it, thinking it is an unlit racing buoy. As it tucks by the starboard rail I look up to see two triangles pointing up, our North Cardinal mark is right there, unlit and letting us know we had just past the top of the reef!
Two tacks later and a dark hole shows us the exit from Sydney Harbor and out to sea. We settle back into enjoying the night sail, lights of phosphorescence is glowing in the bow wake, clouds and dim stars start to take over our field of view. A quick look over the shoulder shows the cityscape and skyline of Sydney glowing in hues of blue, white and red, but quickly fading. Damian is on the helm and we can finally turn North, having put out to sea enough to pass the mile long "Long Reef" by a very comfortable distance. We are heading about 15 nautical miles (nm) north to the Pittwater and Hawkesbury area. Gosford is at the Northern end of that set of inlets and will be the start line for the Gosford Lord Howe Island race (http://www.gosfordsailingclub.com.au/ look under Lord Howe Island race to see the most Southerly tropical island and reef around, absolutely gorgeous and I hope we can complete the full race next year). It was 1am with an hour left in our watch and we were all exhausted; it didn't help that if we hadn't got the 2nd watch down to bed 40 minutes late we would now be off watch and in bed. Nice thing about a training race is you learn these things, and we could switch on Robby and let him rip! (Robby, you will recall is our Robertson autopilot who was waiting six months for the repair part to come in, but is now fixed and fully operational).
The coast and time ticked by as we waited out the final hour in the chilling breeze. We have the dodger (cover and framework over the companionway that protects us from wind and breaking waves) off to be repaired, so there were hardly any places to shelter from the crisp wind. With all eyes glued on the clock as it ticked closer to 2am, we finally were off watch. After a full week the three of us dropped into hot bunks as Sam, Francisco and Kirsty took over the watch, brewed and drank coffee and started their three hours of night watch.
Bang, bang, bang... woke me from my sleep, and then Kirsty whispering in my ear... I normally like that, but at 4am after only two hours of sleep its not quite as nice. She updated me on the wind dropping out and wanted to motor sail for a bit. I was fine with that, and after a quick look at the GPS map saw we were being pushed toward land by the growing ocean swell. Good time to gently motor enough to allow the sails to fill and plod on towards our goal of Broken Bay.
(I'll leave you dear readers here... as it's Sunday morning around 9:30am now, and crew will be arriving for a work party in a half hour... will finish the part two soon! jT)
Blowing it's tits off!
jT - 45kt and 13.6 downhill
10/16/2010, Port Jackson, Sydney Harbor
Well, if you saw my Facebook post about the sailing conditions, both Del and I were right! It was a massive wind storm that swept through last night. I had to get up several times and adjust the "batter boards" (wood cushioned by inflated fenders that rub against the two wooden pylons in our berth) to keep the boat from rubbing and grinding against the wood pole. So for the first time in weeks, I slept through to my 7:15am alarm clock. Tired, but eager to see what the day and race had in store for us, I started the coffee. The huge Low pressure sweeping over Tasmania brought with it a cold night in Sydney. After slipping into my fleece and foulies I started to finish off the small items of prep work before the race.
By 10am Del and Damian (same crew from Bird Island) and our newest crew member Chris hopped aboard. We started to pull out of the slip around 10:15 and I know I'm tired when I forgot to slip the two rear lines! So backing up just churned some water and resulted in a tad of line creaking. With a quick disconnect, the two lines were hung on the post and we were off for the races.
It still amazes me just how protected our marina in Berry's Bay really is. It was barely reading 6-8 knots when we pulled out (although I had the instruments on while setting up all morning and saw a bullet of 33 knots come shooting through). Just around the corner and I whooped with delight, the entire HARBOR was churned up with whitecaps! We quickly put the anchor away into the front locker and Nemesis was race ready.
An efficient hoist of the main by Chris and Damian and a mob of 200 spectators cheering us on from the old BP site
(These were actually spectators for the protest of a proposed marina to replace where we currently keep Nemesis. The marina lease was wrestled from it's proper trust and put into the hands of NSW Maritime. They are putting Berrys Bay on the block for a controversial new marina development. A Queensland marina builder, Meridien, has proposed a huge powerboat marina with little regard to the community or to the hundred plus years of yacht building that has occurred in this specific bay. So community outrage is in full swing, as it should be, to oust the plan - and maybe they'll have to sack the Minister for Ports and Waterways, Hon. Eric Roozendaal, and his boss, Hon. Kristina Keneally, the Premier of New South Wales while they are at it. I can't vote in Australia, but I sure and be outspoken and put my boot into it! That said, I will be getting behind this killing of the marina plan, as it is a short sighted profit taking by the state government, NSW Maritime, when the city of North Sydney has a good master plan for the area that should and shall be respected. Go to www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/saveberrysbay for more info and write to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help Nemesis save her current home!)
So with a huge crowd looking down on us we pulled up our mainsail into a double reef (reefing points, our new sail has three, allow you to reduce the size of the mainsail in heavy winds. Each of the reefing points reduces the sail and makes the boat easier to control in higher winds) and set out for the start line. As soon as we eased into the harbor, and out of the lee of our bay we heeled over and shot off like a rocket. We were speeding along over 7 knots on a beam reach with just the main up. We figured it was a good time to sail past the Sydney Opera House and pull down the main to rig up the three reef.
With the Sydney skyline, botanical gardens, Harbor Bridge and Opera House all watching, we doused our main and hooked the first reefing line into position to pull on the 3rd reef if needed. We decided to hoist the main with the 3rd reef in and then after the race started we could shake out a reef if needed. We pulled out of Farm Cove and headed over to the starting line. But funny thing, it was empty! A quick call to CYCA by Chris confirmed that our race had been abandoned! (races are sometimes called off if the weather conditions warrant it) Well, we were out here so it's time for a wind-blown day cruise of the harbor. We pull into the lee of Point Piper and pull up our heavy weather jib, turn off head to wind and start racing down the harbor to Manly.
The days stats:
High wind seen: 45 knots (and we think our wind instrument reads a tad low)
Highest downwind speed on the log: 13.6
Highest uphill (hard on the wind) speed: 8.75 on the GPS
Size of waves in the harbor: 1 meter
Number of other race boats out playing with heavy weather sails: 5
Number of times I had to clip in to do something forward of the cockpit: 1 (remember folks, this is in a fully protected harbor!)
Number of old, re-cut sails torn and left with a 8 foot bit streaming off the rigging: 1
Number of jib sheets (the rope that pulls the end of the front sail tight) snapped like a gunshot: 1
Number of times we heeled over, felt the boat shoot ahead and grinned from ear to ear: 501
Waves over the bow (again in the closed waters of the harbor): 101
Crew damage: none, save a wet bum by Kirsty's need for new foulie bottoms.
Beers drank: 12ish when we got back to the dock... but do you count the ones consumed at the Sydney Hotel Beer Festival that the boys when to after cleaning up the boat?
Blogs written after 1am on a Saturday night: 1 (and hence why I'm signing off and heading for bed!)
Middle Harbor Journey
jT - 10ish knots in closed waters, building in the afternoon
10/04/2010, Port Jackson, Sydney Harbor
Middle Harbor Journey
Last weekend was extended for Labor Day here in Australia (I know it probably give my Australian readers the pips as I don't spell it Harbour or Labour... guess that's the nice thing about sitting on a patch of American "soil", errr fiberglass while I write) Kirsty and I had several months of boat work and projects, with the hydraulics and boom being off the boat for repairs, sails being purchased, just a ton of different boat projects had been taking up our time. So we decided to take the yacht up to Middle Harbor for the weekend... errr for Sunday night at least! Kirsty just had to watch the 2nd installment of the AFL Grand Final (Australian Football League) in which her team, Collingwood, played a starring role. The previous weekend it was tied up (score-wise) while I had her captive on the Bird Island Parking Lot race. Because of the tie, they had to REPEAT the Grand Final this weekend, so we decided to wait until Sunday morning to go to Middle Harbor.
Of course this is a cruising boat being re-trimmed for racing, so I had another project or two in the works even on the "relaxing" weekend. After I spent 12 hours in the "hole" (starboard aft locker which leads to the rear of the boat where the steering and engine are all located) fixing and replacing the broken shifting cable, I was tired and a bit cranky. But Collingwood won convincingly over my Saints, so Kirsty at least came home in a great mood! The next morning we loaded up our two spinnakers and the old jibs (our #1 and #3 have been cut down by Doyle's to perform as a #2 and heavy-weather jib, respectively). First stop was CYCA to meet up with John Anderson (he measured Nemesis and help push through the paperwork to get our ORCi rating a day before the Bird Island Race). He was there doing an inclination test on another racing yacht and would have time to measure our spinnakers to input the last correction to our measurement. With the new engine control cable in place, we easily got over the CYCA with just the two of us on board. Of course, it was a torrential downpour when we arrived at CYCA and hoped John was still there. The measuring went quick and was performed in the lee of the CYCA building, so we stayed pretty dry. Funny thing is we call the 3/4oz spinnaker (3/4 ounce is the weight of the spinnaker fabric) the small spinnaker, and the 1.5oz we call the large spinnaker. They both have slightly different shapes; so to our surprise the two spinnakers measured to within 1/10 of a square meter in size of each other!
Middle Harbor was calling, so we did an easy motor over to the Spit Bridge (drawbridge on a sand spit connecting Manly and the Northern Beaches to Sydney) and waiting a few minutes for the 1:30pm raising of it. With the bridge up, we slid into Middle Harbor and cruised up to Sugarloaf Bay for the night. This is a beautiful anchorage, in the middle of the Garigal National Park, but also right on the fringe of the city. The view is a pristine bay with all trees, rock outcroppings, birds, and just a few houses in the very back of the inlet to let you know you are anywhere near several million people. It was a rainy weekend, so we just relaxed on our Sunday night and had a brilliant sleep in the millpond of flat and calm water. In the morning we stowed all the tools and prepared the boat for a sail. It felt good to be dragging headies (jib or front sails) up to the bow while Kirsty maneuvered us back to the bridge. I would have raised the sails on anchor and sailed off; we were running late and didn't want to miss the 11am bridge hoist.... A quick lunch while waiting, then we got through and finally put up our sails.
Of course one of the few times Kirsty and I fight is when we are sailing two handed, changing or setting sails is the main cause to be correct. I visually see things and want them done my way, she thinks things out and goes about it in her own method; of course we are both right! A "discussion" was had as we got the mainsail up with shallow water and a few boats around too close for Kirsty's liking being the culprit. That done Kirsty took the helm and I trimmed us as we chased down the other sailboats that had motored away from the bridge. It's amazing how helming under sail can relax and reset both our personalities. Nemesis is really moving nicely under the new mainsail, and with the re-cut #2 up we were having a great ride. We sailed up the harbor and as we turned the corner to see the Sydney Harbor bridge we were rocking along on a beam reach... PERFECT! It was incredible bay sailing with the sun out, big puffy clouds, warm weather after the cool rain of the weekend, so we stripped down to shorts. We marveled on how this weather had to wait until the long weekend was nearly over to show itself. Figures!
After we sailed under the bridge, it was time to change headies. The wind had been a tad over 10 knots all day, but we could see some clouds and the predicted squalls starting to churn up the harbor a tad. We sailed into the next bay, Balls Head Bay, (home of the Coal Loader, the Australian Navy's HMAS Waterhen, and our favorite Northern Sydney anchorage). This is just over the hill from where we keep Nemesis in Berry's Bay and with some choice swear words, getting picked up off the deck by the errant headie, and of course having to now fight 20 knots of breeze during our two handed sail change, we struggled and got the "new" heavy weather jib up. It is an older Mylar sail, and never had previously fit the boat well, this is the one that would shake and rattle the rig in any heavier winds so Kirsty hated it. It only worked well on the Pacific crossing when we had it poled out, as it fit the length our of spinnaker pole perfectly (cruising downwind, you can place the spinnaker pole out perpendicular to the boat and hold the "loose" end of your jib sail out in order to catch the wind coming from behind). It was now totally reduced in size and just a thin ribbon of sail to keep the boat moving under heavy wind. How's the timing for the wind to blow up above 20 knots right when we get this sail up? Perfect timing for us to check out the shape of the "new" sail in some heavier wind. So with a full main still up, we turn and start to run with the breeze up the Parramatta River.
We are cranking along! 7.5 knots in 17 knots of breeze almost dead downwind (all the sailors know what I'm thinking next - with the boat going with the wind, i.e. the wind is behind us, we are moving at 7.5 knots, and you have to ADD the speed of the "apparent" wind showing on your wind gauge to your speed to get what the "true" wind will be when you turn back into it... yeah, quick calculation and it's going to be in the mid-twenties!) We finished our run down passed Cockatoo Island (where ships have been built in the Sydney Harbor for the last hundred plus years) and knew we were going to be slammed as we turned the corner. The old main would have rounded us up in an instant when overpowered, but the new Doyle sail is incredible. Perfect contours and we can actually tweak and trim it into proper sailing shape. No surprise that when we turned the corner and BANG!, we healed over and started to fly through the reach as we came onto the wind. It was heavy enough where Kirsty was struggling to pull in the main sheet and close-haul it (the mainsail).
We quickly switched positions with Kirsty helming while I trimmed and tacked us up the channel. I was reading 23 knots on the wind instrument, and while looking up at our "Windex" it showed us pointing almost dead into the wind. Damn can Nemmy now point! I checked the log and blinked as it was hovering over 8 knots! Naw, I think to myself.... hull speed is just in the high sevens so we are smoking along as fast as she should ever go. Just to verify the log (it is a small disk that spins under water and shows speed based on revolutions) I check the GPS and it too is over 8 knots... DAMN I think as a huge grin spreads across my face. Eight knots uphill... SWEET!