Sailing Total Eclipse

24 July 2022 | Kaneohe Yacht Club
20 July 2022 | 0 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
20 July 2022 | 12.8 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
19 July 2022 | 127 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
19 July 2022 | 176 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
18 July 2022 | 282 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
17 July 2022 | 474 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
15 July 2022 | 693 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
15 July 2022 | 840 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
14 July 2022 | 880 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
14 July 2022 | 904 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
13 July 2022 | 1035 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
13 July 2022 | 1050 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
13 July 2022 | 1145 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
12 July 2022 | 1202 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
12 July 2022 | 1238 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
11 July 2022 | 1317 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
11 July 2022 | 1350 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
10 July 2022 | 1465 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
10 July 2022 | 1589 Nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI

Celebration and “More”…

24 July 2022 | Kaneohe Yacht Club
Roger Wise
A short 61 hours after sailing into the Kaneohe Yacht Club in the middle of the night, the crew of Total Eclipse gathered together for the Pacific Cup awards ceremony. Crews, family, friends, and well-wishers applauded the achievements of boat and crew alike as the top three finishers in each class were announced and special awards were given. Of note were seven boats with an entire crew of which none had previously made an ocean crossing. Their courage and determination was highlighted as this endeavor feels massive if no one aboard has done it before. One of the rookie captains came to the mic and announced, "You've got to start somewhere!" So true. For me and Total Eclipse, it started nearly 10 years ago when I invited a friend to sail on the Wednesday night race in Alameda aboard my previous boat and she brought along Dane. Who knew that we would end up here? ;-)

The "more"...

A skipper has to use discretion when publicly sharing information in the middle of a long ocean crossing. It was unnecessary and unkind to worry family and friends with respect to situations they can do nothing about. In our case, about four days out from Hawaii, the diesel engine refused to start during the morning battery charging session. We went through nearly a full day of various troubleshooting exercises to try and determine the cause. The electrical system seemed the most likely as the engine starting battery showed fairly low voltage. We tried numerous methods to enhance the battery power including using two different small booster batteries that would typically be used to jumpstart cars with no success. At that point we assessed our house battery bank capacity which was doing well after being enhanced by the solar panel that Greg had gotten working earlier in the voyage. OK, all fine with respect to navigation and communication systems. The next step was to inventory our water supply. We had used the water maker to make 20 L of water four separate times during the journey to use for cooking and drinking, but were due to make it again when the engine refused to cooperate. We had 15 L of water remaining in our dispensing cube in the galley, but were unsure of the amount in the boat's tanks after nearly 11 days of sailing. Per the race requirements, we had 70 gallons total onboard and 7 gallons of emergency water (the e-water was sealed and would disqualify the boat if opened before the end of the race). The reason for the e-water disqualification is to prevent very light and aggressively sailed race boats from having too little water onboard in case of a true emergency. Water is heavy and adds weight to the boat slowing it down. On Total Eclipse, the water is divided into three separate containment systems, the bow tank (27 gallons), the main cabin (40 gallons), and water in eight separate 1.25 gallon plastic storage bags located under the quarter berth. As was planned, the bow tank water had been used in the first four days to lighten the weight in the bow and then we switched over to the main cabin tank. The main cabin tank had sputtered a few times in the previous days when using the foot pump to draw water, but that was attributed to the boat healing so far over to port that the water pick up on centerline was likely sucking in air periodically. With the boat sailing flatter at this point, we pumped a couple of additional gallons of water out of all available sources to be included with our community use supply. We also distributed one of the plastic bags to each crew member so they could decide how to consume their 1.25 gallons of water over the remaining 2 1/2 days. The crew was never in any danger as we had an additional 7 gallons of emergency water in the sealed containers and even more in the survival pack in the liferaft canister. However, you can imagine the crew's concern when necessities like boiling a big pot of water for coffee in the morning was called into question. Lots of good problem-solving went on as we continued to try and come up with solutions to getting the engine started. Greg rewired the solar system and charged the starting battery for a full day. When reconnected to the engine, the diesel still refused to start. We had the option to use our battery bank to run the water maker, but the heavy power draw of the high-pressure pump would drain about half of our remaining capacity in order to get about 10 L of water. This remained an option if needed, but we wanted to reserve the battery capacity for navigation and communication functions and the solar could only replenish a relatively small amount of the battery capacity per day.

Simultaneously, we were communicating via email with my dad who was consulting with two different diesel mechanics as to possible causes and solutions. We also had my wife, Noel, inform the race committee and Kaneohe Yacht Club about the possible need for a tow into the dock after finishing the race. Further complicating the situation, it was becoming increasingly likely that we would finish in the middle of the night with a difficult to navigate choice of ways to get past the barrier reef and enter Kaneohe Bay. The quickest way to the yacht club is via the Sampan channel at the southern end of the bay. This narrow pass has a limited depth and can only accommodate boats that have less than an 8 foot draft (the vertical measurement from the waterline to the tip of the keel). That was fine as Total Eclipse draws a little over 7 feet. However, the channel is only about 50 feet wide and is not marked at night with the exception of a lighted entrance buoy and two lighted range markers on land that must be kept in line with each other to know that you are on course between the shallow reefs on either side. The alternate route was the ship channel about 4 miles north of the finish line and then an additional 5 miles back down Kaneohe Bay once inside the reef. This channel is about twice as wide as the Sampan channel but also is not lighted at night with the exception of an entrance buoy and range lights. Volunteers from the Kaneohe Yacht Club come out in small powerboats to guide finishing racers in through one of the two routes and to their slip at the yacht club. At this point as no outside assistance is allowed during the race (except in emergency situations) we were unable to determine whether we would be able to travel under sail alone through either of the routes or would need to wait for commercial towing assistance the next morning. We formed various navigation plans including the option to finish the race and then tack back out heading offshore for several hours in order to tack back and finish back at the Sampan channel in daylight when a commercial tow would be available.

As you can imagine, we were motivated to sail fast and get into port where cold water and other beverages would be waiting! It is worth mentioning that the backpacking and adventure skills of the majority of our crew came in very handy. We dined on a variety of not too salty and liquid-rich canned foods and fruits during the two days of limited water. Canned pineapple and peaches were favorites. Canned or pouched chicken and tuna in its own water packing formed liquid rich salads eaten on a tortilla with canned beans and canned green chilies adding to the taste profile. A little water rationing would not prevent us from eating well! The crew did an amazing job of dealing with adversity and refusing to lose their sense of humor or camaraderie as we sailed on.

Nearing the finish line, the crew sprang into action, readying on the foredeck to take down the poled out genoa and potentially put a reef in the main sail in order to control our engineless boat. With David at the helm, Hans trimming the main sheet, me navigating and doing radio communications, and Mardi, Dane, Russell, and Greg on the foredeck ready to handle sails, we crossed the finish line at 2:48 AM Hawaiian standard time as confirmed by the race committee on the VHF radio. Upon finishing, as we rolled in the headsail and cleared the foredeck, we were greeted on the VHF by Danny, the ebullient Hawaiian escort boat driver, who reassured us that it was a beautiful night to sail down the Sampan channel. He graciously offered to take us under tow once we neared the yacht club and get us into a slip before the ice melted in the mai tais! A relieved cheer rang out - we would not be forced to sail back out to sea, keeping clear of a lee shore (a situation where the prevailing winds will cause a boat to drift on to the reef or shore if she is unable to make her way back upwind) as we waited for daylight! Although a bit tense as we got lined up and followed close in behind the escort boat, the sail was indeed beautiful down the channel and into the highly protected Kaneohe Bay. It was such a change to have smooth water and almost no motion of the boat that the crew fell quiet and reverently introspective. About a quarter mile from the yacht club, we were instructed to head up into the wind and drop sail as Danny and his wife came along side in their fishing boat and rafted up to our starboard quarter. Once under tow, the crew used this time to change into their Total Eclipse shirts and hats and clean up a little for arrival. As we neared the dock, cheers arose from the dozen people forming the yacht club welcoming committee! We were astounded to see so many people at nearly 4 AM in the morning. They took our lines, made TE fast to the pier, collected our agriculture form and race tracker, and handed out the mai tais and pineapple boats (so yummy) as they placed a tropical leaf garland and our name plaque on the bow rail. Smiles were in abundance as photos were taken and congratulations shared amongst the crew and the shore party.

Certainly a journey to remember, the crew of Total Eclipse will have plenty of stories to share as a result of this adventure...

Thank you, Eclipsers!

Aloha!
Roger

Here is the link to Russell Baldon's amazing photos taken along the way - -

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pusballoon/albums/72177720300820088/page1

And So It Ends...

20 July 2022 | 0 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
Roger Wise
At 0248 Hawaiian Standard Time, Total Eclipse and crew crossed the finish line outside of Kaneohe Bay! We were greeted by a wonderfully accommodating escort boat that encouraged us to follow them and sail through the Sampan Channel. It was a beautiful and peaceful moonlit sail through calm water before we were taken under tow (more on that later) the last 3/4 mile to our slip. The Kaneohe Yacht Club staff gave us a wonderful greeting at 3:30 AM in the morning with a wonderful pineapple boat and delicious Mai Tai when we landed! The crew compared our staggering gaits on land as we sipped the beverage and explored the facilities at the Yacht Club in the predawn hours. Our families started to trickle in not long after the beautiful sunrise and the hugs were heartfelt and welcome. This journey is over, but the whole story has not yet been told.

Stay tuned...

Nearly Finished

20 July 2022 | 12.8 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
Roger Wise
The half moon is rising behind us as we barrel towards the finish line (an imaginary line between two GPS coordinates) at a speedy 8 knots! Before the moonrise, the stars and galaxies were out in full force. When you look at a hazy area of sky through the binoculars, you gasp as a sheet of another thousand points of light appears in your field of view. The seas are aft and slightly quartering, making our last bit of downwind sailing a good upper body and core workout. Once we cross the finish line, we need to be ready to jump into action and take down the spinnaker pole to be able to maneuver the boat as the reef is only about a half mile ahead and too shallow for any boat to cross outside of the two channels (the Sampan channel on the south end and the Ship Channel on the north end). Once we finish, an escort boat will give us instructions on the safest course and route. Once inside the barrier reef, we still need to navigate several miles of channels and patch reefs before reaching Kaneohe Yacht Club. When we eventually tie up to the dock, the families, mai tais, and smiles will be waiting. We are ready!

Motivation

19 July 2022 | 127 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
Roger Wise
The Eye of the Tiger plays in the cockpit. The driver works hard to keep the chute full despite the confused sea state causing the threat of constant collapse. With under 17 hours to go, we can smell the leis, taste the mai tais, and feel the hugs - here we come!

Sailing at Night

19 July 2022 | 176 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
Roger Wise
The moon is out illuminating the sea but at the same time washing out the less bright constellations. We have a couple of planets in the southeastern sky, Mars smaller and a beautiful orange and Jupiter larger and more yellowish. Capricorn has been accompanying us to the south providing a guiding light to steer by. The rush of water beneath the hull, the occasional clank of a pot shifting as we roll on a wave, and the gentle snoring of at least one if not more of the crew provide the soundtrack. Rings of clouds bring the stars in and out of view. Dark patches with a veil below bring the possibility of a squall to mind. The subdued almost reverent conversation in the cockpit is of the 100 nautical mile check-in tomorrow starting the sequence of events that is the beginning of the end of this journey. Then all is quiet, except for the rushing of the water, the clanking of the pot, and the snoring... ;-)

Deep Downwind in the Final Stretch

18 July 2022 | 282 nautical miles NNE of Kaneohe, HI
Roger Wise
The crew of Total Eclipse has already started to talk about reintegration into society. From who will spot Hawaii first and do the obligatory "land ho" to will we be able to walk on land after two plus weeks of constant motion to the taste of a cold beer (after the welcome Mai Tai) and the hug of a loved one, we all have our sought after thing that will happen in 1 day and 17 hours (estimated time to finish)! We have the spinnaker up, pole squared back, and are driving nearly dead downwind with the waves coming directly from the stern. The winds are a little lighter than typical for this time of year, but we are making good boat speed.

Yesterday evening as we prepared for the night-o-many-squalls, David hit our top speed mark of 10.5 knots driving TE on a broad reach and surfing down the 8-10' swell! After the adrenaline rush subsided and the sun settled in the western sky in a multitude of orange and yellow hues, we took down our medium air spinnaker and raised for the first time our medium air 117% genoa to be poled out on the windward side. This was a good call as during the 0200-0400 watch we were hit with a line of 3 squalls in a row. The middle squall had torrential rain and gusty winds up to nearly 30 knots. The boat and crew on deck got a good washing (of course at this point in the race it is quite warm at night, so we are generally wearing only a long-sleeved shirt and shorts - not much rain protection)! Today the outdoor temperature is 81 and the cabin temperature is the same. The driver really appreciates the shade that Greg's bimini provides. It is comfortable in the shade and the crew is enjoying a periodic bucket of cool seawater poured over your head as you sit amidships on deck in our special non-inflatable "showering harness".

Many stories will be told of this experience - join us at the Kaneohe Yacht Club bar in a short couple of days!

Aloha...
Vessel Name: Total Eclipse
Vessel Make/Model: Kalik 40
Hailing Port: Alameda CA
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Total Eclipse's Photos -