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)
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!!!