Ok, we are approaching the halfway point on the 2011 Transpac Race. We are still in light-ish breezes (8-12 knots), as was the case thru last night. Our team did a fantastic job at working the boat hard all night long, and at the 6am position report we found out that ourselves and Allure posted the highest daily runs in our fleet of Santa Cruz 50s, tying at exactly 199 miles. That’s good close racing! This made for a nice gain on everyone (except, of course, Allure). But about an hour later we got caught in what has subsequently become known as “the blackhole”… 2-3 knots of breeze from the east for two hours. Ouch. Still not sure what it was, maybe the back of a forming squall that we didn’t see in the darkness? Regardless, we struggled thru it in the early morning hours. In the position reports we are getting just now (remember all the reports of our competitions positions are delayed six hours), it looks like we were singular in this experience, and it looks to have cost us some of those hard earned miles… so it goes…
Onboard life is good. We are all dried out now. Everything that got a dousing in the upwind days, from sails to sleeping bags, has found it’s way on deck and the sun here makes quick work of it. Been a big lack of wildlife for us so far. Dolphins at the start, and then not much. One unfortunate squid on deck this morning. Hardly any flying fish at all so far… hmmm… where are our friends?
The upside of the blackhole experience is that we have seen what a difference the constant work can make, and we are eager to get back at ’em. This crew is fantastic… they are tireless, committed, and fun. We are really fortunate to have gotten such a great bunch together for this race, so win, lose, or draw, I think we are going to remember this one fondly.
Right around happy hour this evening we’ll pass halfway mile marker. At this point, apparently we’ll be farther from any patch of dry land than you can get anywhere else on the planet. We’ve got a little surprise for the team which I’m sure will make ’em all happy, and we’ll offer up a couple of toasts to the grand Pacific for contributing a spectacular view, for the good fortune that got us all out here together, for the fine sailing vessel Hula Girl for taking good care of us and giving us a fantastic ride, and to all the friends, family, and loved ones back ashore.
But then it’s back to the grinding pedestal and tending the spinnaker sheets. We have some unfinished business out here. Half-finished, if you want to be precise.
Wayne Zittel and the J World Team
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