Anyone that was faithfully following our blog may have noticed that we did not finish it with details of the finish of the race. We are now safely home and sitting around a table at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club with an ample supply of good rum so it is time to finish the blog:
We left off with a report of our fun on Friday night. A few more details are in order. You may recall that we were discussing a name for our green spinnaker since she had carried for thousands of Transpac miles. Some of the suggestions were Dolly Parton, Farrah (we are from her hometown), Jane Mansfield, Gina Lolabridgida, Eva (another Corpus Christi girl), Tiffany, Sofia, Penelope Cruz (we are racing a Santa Cruz) and a few others with similar attributes. As Billy and I are sitting on the foredeck at 6 am with the remains of our green spinnaker in our laps he looks and says "Obviously she was Jane Mansfield, she died a similar death." Sad but true.
No more green kite so we put up the smaller pink kite and take off. Our best hope of catching up with the boats in front of us is to hook into some good squalls with big wind. When you can do that the boat takes off like a sleigh ride. About noon on Saturday we caught a good one and Billy hit 18.3 knots surfing down a wave. We rode that squall line for about an hour surfing the waves and trying to keep the mast over the keel. We continued to hunt squalls all day long and had our best mileage day of the race. Roll call showed we covered 250 miles by Sunday morning, which was more than any other boat in our class. It proved to us that if we had been able to find wind we had the boat speed to do well in the race.
Well we talked about how to jibe for 8 days and have not got one right yet. Well today we pulled off our first successful jibe. Unlike most of the time when you jibe going fast in the Pacific you have to jibe when the chute is loaded up so the sheet will smoke out and get in front of the boat. The bad news is that with the carnage from the night before we now have a new foredeck and he is an old guy. Maybe that was the secret, getting him out of the cockpit. You figure out who was on the bow.
Suzie is still serving up wonderful meals. The 10th day at sea the meals were just as good as day one.
Just a day or so to go looks like we will have a daylight finish off Diamond head and we are all ready for the finish. We expect to see the lights of Hawaii sometime tonight and land when the sun comes up.
We jibe at 2 this morning, the new bow man figured out a way for us to jibe shorthanded and it is working. Just after we jibe onto starboard to miss the big island a really big squall rolls in around 3AM with the wind up to 25 plus and the boat surfing along at 16 to 18 knots we are having trouble staying off the coast of the big island. To add to the excitement we blow the hydraulic hose on the vang. The vang is a hydraulic cylinder that connects the boom to the base of the mast. It both pulls the boom down and keeps it from going out of control when the mainsail is lowered. It helps tension the back edge of the mainsail and is critical in controlling the power from the main sail. Steve and Gary go about rigging up a mechanical vang we can trim while we try to keep the boat under control. They pulled out several blocks and lines and rigged a series of mechanical advantages to make the purchase of 16:1 and then lead the end of the line to a winch to be able to pull in the line. Tense times passed in the middle of the night with lots of oil on the deck. As we pass the big island around 5AM we can see an eerie glow, turns out it is the Mt. Kilauea volcano glowing thru the low clouds, which is a pretty neat sight. As the sun comes up we realize that we will finish in few hours and everyone is up.
As the sun comes up we can see the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Molokai. Our course to the finish takes us down the coast of Molokai toward the Molokai Channel, which lies between Molokai and Oahu. A rain shower passes over us and we get a beautiful rainbow in front of us on our way to the finish line. The Molokai channel is an area that is famous for high winds and damaging boats. We are fortunate to enter it during daylight and 20 knot breeze. We see a boat inshore and jibe a couple of times to reel them in. It turns out to be Charisma, a 56 foot boat that started 4 days in front of us. With our new jibing skills we are able to pass them in the Molokai channel. About 15 miles from the finish we start the discussion about finishing with Marilynn up. It will be a difficult spinnaker change as we are not setup for pealing chutes. We go to work on the problem and figure out a way to make it happen. The wind goes aft as we approach the finishing buoy and we do our first peal of the race and out comes Marilynn. We have her up for the last 5 miles of the race and she does a great job for us. We finish the race at 2:08:13 local time, which means we took 11 days 6 hours 8 minutes and 13 seconds to travel 2500 NM for an average speed of 9.25 knots. This was .75 knots slower average speed than the last race and took us 5 hours longer than the race in 2007.
After we pass the Transpac finish buoy we douse the spinnaker and head for the Ali Wai Harbor in Honolulu where are met by our families, friends and Hawaiian host with Mai Tai's, food and smiles. After eleven days at sea there is not a better site to see than the wonderful people that have let us go off on this adventure.
07/11/2009, 23 19'N:15045 22'W, Too dark to tell
The morning roll call had us 4th in class and 33 in fleet with 539 miles to go. We thought we had a bad day which was a bad day and still ended up going 215 miles. You will read about our bad day later. It turns out that Horizon who is leading the class went 243and Allure went 225 and the Mighty T went 217.
When we left you yesterday morning according to the routing software we were about 200 miles from jibing. The course to Hawaii was 247 degrees. That means any wind reading higher than 67 it was favorable to be on port jibe and head to the mark. Now I must remind you that the mark is 680 miles away. We looked at the grib files and saw the wind lift us to 70 then 80 then 90. At 1:45PM on July 10th just as the spouses were flying overhead on their way to Hawaii we jibed to Port.
That was not an easy move after 8 days on starboard. First we had to take down the spinnaker net then move all the sails that we had on the starboard rail to the center of the boat. Did I tell you that they were all spinnakers and they had gotten wet so they were heavy wet sails. We had not thought much about which winch to use for a jibe as it was 24 hours away. Getting the idea! It took 30 minutes to get ready. Being our first jibe it went ok. No one got hurt, nothing broke and most of the lines were led right. So after another 30 minuets we were settled down to a port jibe. The course made good was now 233 only 13 degrees off where we need to go and about 15 degrees closer then we were on starboard jibe. Now I have told you that the wind out here does strange things so time will tell if we made the right decision. I am sure we will see the wind shift again and have to jibe a few more times.
Now here is where it starts to go wrong. Around 430 PM we jibed back to starboard and we tore Marilynn. So we hoisted the old standby and sailed on. At 6PM the boat felt slow and so we dropped the chute and stopped the boat, Will dove in and took a look. Whatever it was did not want to deal with Will and his knife as it was gone when he got there. So we hoist the chute and we are off again about 1.2 knots faster.
8PM jibe back to port playing the 30 degree shifts it was an ok jibe. When I come on deck we have a wind of 95 degrees and I decide that we should jibe. What I should have decided was to stay in bed. We wrap the ¾ chute so tight we have to drop the main send Will to the top of the mast to cut the chute away and Steve and Billy take out the knives to the bottom. Total time with the main down was 45 minutes. The other 2 hours was spent sailing to Hawaii at a reduced speed trying to deal with a wrapped chute. So we lost 10 to 15 miles and the crew was worn out. After we clear off the ¾ we hoist the 1.5 and set off again. So now we decide we are good at the jibing thing, no so fast. We try to jibe the 1.5 and get a wrap on it now I have just seen this movie and did not like the ending so with only 2 wraps on the head stay we drop the 1.5 send it below for a repack all during a squall where it is blowing 28. When we rehoist the 1.5 we have a couple of issues and it starts to wrap the head stay again. The good news of the day it clears it self and we are now on port headed to Hawaii. The crew is exhausted and we spend the day trying to recover.
Ok for the fun stuff we saw a moon bow. No one on the boat had ever seen one before. After a squall passed the moon was out and formed a white rain bow over the horizon. We decide they are bad news as you can see by the night we had.
A report from the ships doctor. All in all we have a healthy crew and have had few medical problems. We were prepared for anything from minor cuts and sprains to broken bones, heart attacks, and of course urinary retention (I am a urologist). Due to the light air early-on we had minimal problems with seasickness. Preventative measures of not partying too much the night before the race, taking our "mal de mer" medication of choice, and staying well fed and hydrated did the trick. Our main health issue has been aching muscles and joints-we have devoured over 250 advil so far! Yours truly did fall victim to vertigo one dark night at the wheel. The sky was overcast and the seas were very disorganized. We had a kite up and I was steering too far downwind. The crew called for me to "head up" just at the time that a sideways wave rolled the boat hard. As a consequence, I became totally disoriented, thought I was heading up when in fact I was heading farther DOWN. Fortunately, I was the only one affected, and another crewmember came to the rescue. We have had two finger lacerations to deal with. Our esteemed chef Suzy sliced her thumb one morning instead of the melon. Superglue and duct tape patched her up. Then last night during the melee described above, our mast monkey Will cut his thumb while cutting the kite free from the forestay. He required stitches (his first), but didn't even flinch when the needle passed through. Just a few more days to go. Hopefully, the med kit will stay stowed away. Jim
Later, signing off from the SV Passion located at 23.27 N and 150.06W only 448 nautical miles from Hawaii (getting closer every day at 10.2 knots) looking at a Monday noon Hawaii time finish.
07/10/2009, 23 57'N:14145 36'W, Looking for a place to jibe
Preparing to Jibe
Ha ha maybe in 24 to 36 hours, currently doing the same thing headed to Hawaii. Off wind sailing what a concept. A couple of squalls where the wind picks up then dies. Every now and then we get some good news. On one of the position reports we gained on the boats in our class. That was until the morning roll call.
The morning roll call had us 4th in class and 32 in fleet with 754 miles to go. We thought we had a good run of 246 miles. It turns out that Horizon who is leading the class went 241 and Allure went 252 and the Mighty T went 246.
We have our work cut out for us with a third of the race left we need to put the hammer down and gain some miles. So out comes the hammer, actually it is our new spinnaker. We affectionately refer to her as Marilyn. She gets to show her stuff as we hoisted her at 9:45 with19 knots of wind from 060 degrees. Now we can make a course 20-30 degrees deeper than we could carry with the A-Kite.
Some other trivia about the race yesterday. We changed out the port spinnaker sheet after 4 days with brand new sheet for the race. We thought we should give the other side some work. We still have another day or so on Starboard before we jibe.
How about sails, the main has been up approaching 200 hours and the ¾ A kite was up for114 hours and looks like it will get another chance later down the track.
The hours on the blue ¾ oz A-Kite are about like 2 years of Wednesday night racing. Probably not quite as tough on the sails as Wednesday sailing as we are not flogging them too much. We have decided she needs a name too. She was our primary offwind sail in Transpac 2007 and has already been up for over twelve hundred miles this time. Name that chute is the contest of the day. Candidates so far are: Dolly, Penelope Cruz, Cindy, Jane Mansfield, Pamela, Tootsie, Raquel, Farrah, and Ann Margaret. Is there a trend here? Your suggestions are invited as are your votes.
Now to the good stuff
From the galley Suzie reports
For lunch we had a flour or whole wheat tortilla wrap stuffed with migas and topped with refried beans and fresh cilantro. This was a special request from Young Will
For dinner I prepared angle hair pasta spaghetti in a spicy marina sauce with venison sausage and sage sausage and a light sprinkling of parmigiano regiano cheese which was imported from Italy especially for the trip.
Ok so we are not losing weight we have our whole life to get fit.
Yesterday was shower day for most of the crew. They were refreshing themselves on the aft deck with the hot water shower. We are now all a good smelling bunch. That was until night time when Jim was the target of the flying fish. His time smelling good was over. Those fish really do stink. I mean stink.
The sun set yesterday was just ok and last night and this morning were once again cloudy so no view of the moon.
Yesterday was one of the first sunny days we have had during the trip. Good news about sun it brings out the bikini. Yep Suzie got out the bikini to do a little sunning and reading on deck.
We spent some time getting ready for the upcoming jibe, you know the one in a day or so. We moved some of the heavier jibs off the rail to down below. This will make the boat more stable as they are now on top of the keel.
The spouses are on their way to Hawaii to sort out the hotels. We found out from the forward team of Tammy, Holly and Cody that the Ili Kai hotel we had booked, right by the boat, is closing today. Cynthia went to work to find new accommodations for us. I am sure by the time we get there in 3 days all will be ok.
Later, signing off from the SV Passion located at 23.57 N and 145 36W only 696 nautical miles from Hawaii (getting closer every day at 10.2 knots)