Well all right now. This is feeling more like a Transpac.
On Saturday morning, the wind started to steady out a bit, and it shifted around to the south. So while it felt a bit strange to be putting up a spinnaker for the first time on a port tack, we here aboard Hula Girl welcomed the opportunity to, well, go for a sail! It had been a tough couple days. We had a 12 hour run (7am to 7pm) somewhere along the line of about 20 miles down the rhumbline. Some 58 miles in 24 hours, and a series of tacks through 130+ degrees?? Are you kidding me? All while looking at the computer and seeing 2100 miles to go! Ouch.
But that is all behind us. Saturday morning we carried the 1A until midday. We had a bit of wind build and a header, and shifted to the Code 0 for a while, then back to the 1A. The breeze shifted around a bit, and we did a couple gybes to keep the boat headed towards Hawaii. Eventually, the wind worked around to the NE, and we ended up going into the night with the 2A up,. more or less VMG running towards the Islands on starboard tack. The Transpac is back!
Ok, well how did we fare in all the fluky shake-up? Hmmm… not so great. A couple of boats punched out (Allure, Horizon, Paranoia), then the rest of us are left slugging it out. We gained some 15 miles on Lucky Duck yesterday, but Relentless was able to keep their delta on us. We got past Hokahey after the breeze stabilized, and that has simply whetted our appetite for more! Regardless, we still have some 1800 miles to go AND our team is really starting to learn the boat. It is always tough for us the first couple days (we run with three J/World coaches and six clients/sailors). This year we have a group of Canadians, plus one Coloradian, who sail everything from Melges 24s to a J/160. I’m very much happy with how well everyone is doing for day 2 of the offshore spinnaker work, so I have high hopes that we’ll reel some of these boats in… but it won’t be easy because, well, this is the Transpac and all of these teams are exceptionally good!
What else to report? In the calm drifter the other night, a couple of whales crept over towards where we were floating. The crew could hear them blowing/breathing in the stillness. The watch captain turned on the engine which (my theory is) makes a lot of noise reverberating in the water (we can run the engine in neutral to charge batteries, just not to propel the boat). It seems to work pretty well… we didn’t see the whales again. Call me hypersensitive, but I think I have reason to be! Sunday afternoon now. Wind 15 knots. Bjug hit 11.5 knots just a bit ago. Sean on the helm right now, doing a steady 10.5 or so. Brian and Steve are crashed out. I think Patrick is pitching our Pepsi/Frito Lay guy some idea about pickles?!? Chris is designing a carbon sax so we’ll let him bring it on the boat. And me, well, I’m going to wrap this up and go outside… I think there’s a race on!
Wayne Zittel and the Hulagains