07/09/2009, 23 48'N:14141 19'W, At the winch again
As in most team sports there is usually a position player that gets little notice unless he screws up. In football it is the down linemen, in NASCAR, it is the tire changer and in sailing it is the Grinder. For all you non sailors, a grinder is a person whose sole job is to provide the horsepower to turn a winch, usually on command of a trimmer or other person higher up the pecking order of the boat. In other words anybody other than said grinder. Just about every line (rope to the uneducated) on a racing yacht at some point is pulled in by a winch, and there are lots of them on Passion, therefore there is always someone in need of a little verbal encouragement. As you would expect they never start fast enough, turn the winch quick enough or stop soon enough, but they do usually work very cheap. Most common form of payment is beer, so there is usually never a shortage of conscriptees. This being a long distance downwind race with a spinnaker flying in constant need of adjustment, there is always a lowly grinder at work around the clock. Anyone heard of a grinders union? Maybe someone ought to look into that.
Now I must say this is an equal opportunity boat, everybody gets to be a grinder every watch, everyday. It is the chance of a lifetime for someone like me to yell at the skipper or the esteemed Admiral Foster, GRIND!!!
07/09/2009, 23 48'N:14141 19'W, Getting closer
Lets get this part out of the way sailing is the same as it has been for the last how ever many days. Same sail same direction same same. Although we have begun to encounter some rain showers and the additional wind that comes with the rain. We're going to need some extra push to catch and pass the boats that went further south.
Roll call has us 4 in class and 33 in fleet with 1000 miles to go. The computer says we will be there in a couple of more days. Time will tell.
- In the speed department Jim hit 16.5 last night and Will topped him at 17.2 this morning then Captain Bill schooled the boy and pushed it up to 17.9. As of 10 AM Thursday we have traveled 1478 miles at an average speed of 8.8 knots
Now for the other stuff
Some may wonder why I am doing all the blogging. Well here is the answer, up to now I am the only one crazy enough to give up sleep and sit wedged in the nav station to write all of this on the computer. Plus with the little book I have notes from the last 24 hours to refer to. Others will read the blog for approval. So there you have it.
So today we are bring you two guest bloggers, Steve to tell you his story on the tradition of the half way party and , Suzie to give you complete gourmet food report.. See their stories below.
Around 1PM on Wednesday Steve Hastings will be as close to his wife, daughter and youngest son as he has been for 25 days. She is flying to Hawaii today and around this time they are about 35000 feet above us.
Now the Gourmet food report from yesterday provided by Suzie
Breakfast I let the boys fend for themselves. I have two cereal choices, Raisin Brand and Honey nut clusters with ice cold milk in the reefer. I usually have to ban one or two a day for the condition they leave the galley.
Lunch was fresh crisp Canadian bacon, sweet Fuji apple slices and pan fried French toast made with sweet Hawaiian bread covered in maple cream syrup.
Dinner was a Savory cassoulet full of juicy shrimp, venison sausage, sautéed butter nut squash, with roasted red bell peepers, cannellini beans and hominy Served with a side of Irish soda bread dripping with butter and pesto sauce all the better to soak up the deciduous juices
The local scenery has not changed much we see a lot of ocean and then more ocean. We did finally get a break in the weather yesterday afternoon and the sun came out around 6PM just after the first squall passed it allowed us to have a wonderful evening for the halfway party which you will read our thought in another article on the web page, well you read our comments. Then we had the most amazing sky to the east there was a line of clouds with a sliver of white across the top very spectacular. The sunset which happened at 9:03 PM PDT was one the first of the trip with a few clouds to break things up. Then around 10:30 the moon snuck it head up ands we were treaded to a quick glimpse before the clouds came back. The overcast skies have kept the trip cool but limited our view of the moon and stars. Last night was the first where we were warm enough just in shorts and foul weather jacket. At about 4 a.m. Carter was grinding the winch for the spinnaker sheet on the low side when a flying fish landed in his lap. This is a better place than when in the 2007 Transpac his sister Holly got hit in the head by a fish. The puzzlement to the crew is why is it only the Hastings kids that get hit by the fish?
The Halfway Party we enjoyed is a long standing tradition of Transpac. We learned about it while watching the History of the Transpac DVD. Crews have been known to bring a wide variety of attire and beverage for the occasion. Pictures of the parties are turned in to the race committee so that everyone can enjoy the best ones at the awards banquet.
Later, signing off from the SV Passion located at 23.49N and 139.58W only 1000 miles from Hawaii (getting closer every day)
07/08/2009, 23 39'N:138 21'W, Half Way To Honolulu
Will - My costume was the best. Period. End of story. Well the end of my story at least.
Carter -Will's costume was the best as anyone could tell. It was a fun halfway party although this year we did not have a Fred the bird to celebrate with.
Steve - My thoughts on the halfway party go more to the people I am doing the race with. For example, Billy and I have been sailing together for over twenty years. His son Will was two years old then. Will is on board with us. My son Carter wasn't even born then. He is on board too. Suzie has been sailing with me for twenty years too. Gary over ten years. This is my second Transpac with Mark. Jim is new but has fit in perfectly. Sailing is a great part of life and these people are a great part of my life. Wouldn't be here without them.
Suzie - Once again I find myself on another adventure, this time with the Aloha Eight., How fortunate I am to be part or such a wonderful crew life doesn't get any better.
Jim - Half way to Hawaii. Suzy's great food is keeping us in the mood. Have no fear, have broken no gear. Surf some more and we just might score. Not much sun, but still having fun. Just five more days, we'll be ready for leis.
Admiral Mark - the half way party was perfect timing. Too much fun with a great group. We had following seas beam winds sailing at 12 knots headed to Hawaii. The S/V Passion is taking good care of her crew and the crew is treating her well in return. A great crew having a great time supported by the best spouses and shore team in Texas. Not sure how to have more fun. Aloha
Gary - My second Transpac hard to believe. The first one was a once in a lifetime deal and here I am again having another adventure of a lifetime. Being part of this crew for the last 11 years has been one of the great treasures of my life. Here we go on the downhill run to Honolulu and more adventure to come I have no doubt. "Sharing Times are Happy Times" is a quote you hear a lot from this crew, never a more fitting statement. Aloha
Captain Billy - Another Great Adventure with great friends. This trip is a lot of fun and an adventure of a lifetime. I am very glad to be able to have such an opportunity with such good friends. Will has fun as he displays his sense of humor; I am glad to have him back to play with after his South American Adventure.. Thanks so much to Steve, Mark, and Jim for having us aboard, and thanks to all of our spouses for letting us go play. Life Is Good!