It’s a keeper!

So action this morning right after dawn…

The call came from the cockpit that a glass fishing ball float (the ones that were historically used by Japanese fishermen to keep their nets afloat) was spotted. The timing could have been better (we has a squall bearing down on us), but we soon had the trophy aboard… and it was a big one… beach-ball sized, made of hand-blown lightly tinted glass, and home to a couple mussels and crabs (sorry guys!). Who knows how many years and decades these things have been floating out here?

Anyway, our charge north continues. We are about 600 miles from Hawaii as I write this at about 2am on the last Friday of July. The going has been pretty mild… some boats have been complaining about too little wind (we have seen lots in the 10 knot range), but the Hula Girl loves this stuff, trucking along at 8 knots in 10 knots of breeze.

We had a problem with the Single Sideband Radio yesterday. In fact, it hasn’t seemed to be as clear as it should be, and has acted erratically a couple of times. Two days ago, we couldn’t check in with the net of boats sailing from Hawaii to CA. Then the unit just clicked off, and stayed off. Well, after digging around a lot, it seems the the culprit was a loose wire in the new distribution panel yours truly installed in CA. Whoops. A quick fix, and we were loud and clear, “5 by 5” at this evening’s position report!

ANyway, that’s about all the exciting news (and boring details) from out here in the middle of the night, in the middle of the Pacific. The Moon is up. It’s quiet and aboard, with most sleeping. Barry is on watch with Madeline driving. 10 knots of wind from 080 and we are scooting across a glittery surface at 8.2 knots, heading 030… northward bound. I love this stuff.

Talk to you all soon… right now, I’m going to grab my iPod and park it in the cockpit for a while…

Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl crew…

Our Spot tracker page is:

Homeward Bound (… and I can get used to this)

Ok,Ok… I know I still need to get to writing the post race skipper’s wrap-up for the 2010 Pacific Cup… but it was a busy week. First off, there were all the great post race events in a wonderful tropical setting… a big distraction from the necessary projects of getting the boat cleaned up, and then ready for the return trip… yep, there is more sailing yet to be done!

On Monday, five students for our annual offshore cruise from Hawaii to San Francisco left Kaneohe a touch after first light. The going has been mild, but more or less as expected: we have bent tight reaching north and eastward, heading toward the Pacific High. It was a bit lumpy when we left the islands, but has really calmed down… almost too much so! Right now we have only about 8 to 9 knots breeze, but I am happy that we are in a good quick boat… we are clipping right along at 7 knots.

So this cruising thing… let me tell you, I can get used to this! Say goodbye to the freeze dried meals: dinner this evening was smoked ahi, with shitake mushrooms, filed tomatoes, red onion, and smoked ahi over pasta,with an apple/avocado salsa garnish. Seriously. Served in the cockpit right at sunset. And we were Still sitting around rubbing our bellies when this eerie glow on the horizon grabbed our attention… and we had the ensuing Moonrise Over The Pacific for desert. That racing stuff might be over-rated! but then we still have some 1800 miles to go, and we aren’t hooking up any spinnakers in the foreseeable future…

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that we are still out here, with the Hula Girl bringing us home. We’ll keep you all posted (it’s also a bit of a interesting year for the return, as the Pacific High isn’t doing what the Pacific High normally does). Our Spot tracker page is:, but I’m not 100% sure it’s working out here. For anyone keeping score at home, right now (about 0300 Pacific Time the morning of August 28) we are at 24 49 N by 155 36 W, heading of 030M at about 7 knots.

Cheers all, have a nice slumber and we’ll catch you in the morn…

Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl crew.

Uh oh.

Our plan was working…Until it wasn’t. 165 miles to go… We’ll know tomorrow how we did. Enjoying the ride for now on this fast, fun but sweaty, hot and stinky boat. (as opposed to the wet, cold stinky boat it was just a few days ago)

Doesn’t appear that our lot is increasing during this port tack drag race to the finish. More headers than we’d like to see. Hoping to claw back the hour or so lead Deception gained yesterday, but expect it to be challenging. No matter the outcome tomorrow, this is an AMAZING charge to the finish.

If you don’t like this, you don’t like offshore sailing.

All good aboard “The Girl.”

Apologies for a pretty lame blog. Nobody stepped up to take editorial responsibilities away from me. The coaches have been busy with regard to our watch schedule, driving, navigation and the more mundane shipboard duties of housekeeping, sail repair, kite packing, food prep, dishes, etc.

The J/World customer participants on our team have settled in and stepped up in all areas, from spinnaker peels, banding and packing, trimming and grinding, hanging on while the boat slides sideways after a sheet (the “Sully”) gets fouled during a 30 knot “puff” from a squall, filling drink bottles with various color and flavoring substances, indulging in a endless potpourri of snack fud, determining the most appropriate hot sauce of the three for specific freeze dried meals, (Cholula on most, but definitely Tabasco on the Polynesian Chicken), crafting various nicknames for Kevin (a.k.a. Sully, Deck Ape, Looney Tunes, Bow Monkey, Monkey Boy, Curious George, Curious Jorge, Jorge Curioso, JC, and Boots, so far.) – even driving this great boat!

Wish us luck on our final 165!

Thanks to all who have supported us in this effort: J/World Partners, and the spouses and significant others of all aboard. We appreciate this great opportunity.


Barry, Wayne, Geoff, Kevin, Mark, Tom, Rick, Vern, Bob

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:

A Nice Day…

Not too much to report from Day 7… 18:30 PDT.

A nice roll call of course, and a close dual for second shaping up. We’re very pleased to be in the hunt for a top spot. Our Ti leaves are drying out, and need to get home asap! 610 NM to go.

(plus the level of slap happy and inappropriate humor is on an uptrend)

All of the “fresh” food was finally disposed of today. Any meat implying a need for refrigeration was discarded. Still, no shortage of food aboard!

Fresh squeezed lemonade was served out of Mt. Gay Rum cups this afternoon, refreshing for all, but disappointing to most!

(apologies to Mike Priest for inappropriate use of the sacred logo cups!)

Winds on the lower side – happy with our reachy course so far… 13-15 knots most of the day. Can’t imagine it’s better for those more south of us.

Only time will tell. Geesh – 2 minutes between us and Deception. Glad they’ve sorted out their water ingress issues at their rudder bearing, so we won’t feel bad trying so hard to beat them!

To M.L. “Happy Cow!”

Cheers to all,

Barry and the Hula Girl Guys (this would be a very bad name for a band)

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:


2010 Pac Cup, Pro Forma Summary.

Start on Starboard, Tack to Port ASAP
Port board to Mile Rocks layline, Tack
Sail approximately 1220 nautical, Gybe onto Port
Sail to Finish

Truth be told, we put in two extra tacks before Pt. Bonita to stay in touch with our Division…
And, 823.6 miles out, who really knows what lies ahead. But, at present it looks like you could have sailed this Fun Race to Hawaii tacking twice and gybing once.

So, today’s first big fun was…

All needed them, but not all took them. (ick)
We have a fresh water nozzle at the stern, so there are few acceptable excuses.
Stronger suggestion may be required tomorrow!

Next big fun was the gybe. Everyone was experiencing the strange phenomenon whereas it seems one leg is decisively shorter than the other, so we decided to gybe and start sailing towards Hawaii. The left leg will have a chance to rest, now.

We had a chafed sheet that needed to be changed, so Sully got to leave the boat for a bit of fun. Once we sorted out the choreography in the relatively tiny cockpit, it went pretty smoothly. But, after the gybe, we noticed a small tear in the kite. We did a pretty quick baldheaded drop, fix, band, bag and relaunch. So much for that freshly showered feeling. In the end, we figured this was better (and probably a whole lot less to botch) than two peels.

Chile Mac with Beans was a big hit for dinner. Hopefully no significant downside to that…

We’ve put a lot of faith in NOAA’s 96 hr surface forcasts… Hoping our routing keeps us in fresh breeze, where others may stumble into some light stuff. Fingers crossed.

(and if anyone from Horizon is reading this, I may or may not be bluffing)

822 to go!

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:

Hula Girl is Dancing


Kite up at 0900! 1.5 oz 3A to be exact. Hopefully tolerant of our course and 22-25 kt winds.
So, the Hula Girl is dancing, on her return to Hawaii!

Most of the gang still on deck, so I assume they’re liking it!
Since the kite went up, we’ve been averaging 14.5 knots with the top speed recorded just over 20 knots.

920 down. 1150 to go!

Casualties of the dry ice meltdown have been discarded. Some on deck were not too pleased by the aroma as they jetisoned the nearly explosive bag salads.

Not sure we’ll be able to tear down the course with the kite up at night, but expecting to sag down to rhumbline, and reach back up during the night. In the meantime, Wayne and Kevin fighting for wheel time – damn near have to pull Kevin off the wheel!

Best to all,

Barry and the crew of Hula Girl

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:

First tastes of the fun race today!

A 245 mile day is a pretty good day, by any stretch. Though scored in 5th so far, our remaining 1315 miles could mix things up a bit. We’re sailing the boat pretty conservatively, so unlikely that we’ll be able to catch the experienced programs who are dialed-in for this sort of thing. (and unlikely that I’ll be able to claim a bottle of Mt. Gay sitting at the KYC bar for the first to finish between Horizon and us.

Wind looks like it could go light, south of the rhumb line as the High ticks north and east and some influence by what seems to be a low energy low to the south of us.

Had a reef in the main for several hours today, as winds were consistently over 25. Pretty much held the same speed with the reefed main, gen staysail and blast reacher. 17 is the top speed recorded so far…

Spot should be updating as I send this. Hopefully the blog is, too. (as I had reports that it wasn’t)

On a positive note, all aboard took part in tonight’s main course: Lasagna with Meat Sauce. That’s a good sign!

Spot should be updating as I write this.

Best to all!

Barry and the Hula Girl Boys

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:

This will be the fun race, when we can sail downwind!

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This was sent on night two:


A bit bumpy this early evening, as it’s still a largely upwind race to Hawaii, though perhaps we are seeing a persistent clocking, that bears hints of easing the sheets and shifting gears through our sail inventory: Blast reacher, Jib Top and spinnakers…

Getting ready to download weather, and then make the first batch of freeze dried dinner. Wanted to get a quick message out, though.

Hula Girl is trucking (and bucking) along in 12-16 knots from 300-310 and 2-3 ft seas from the north (hints of downwind in our future?)

Best to all!

Barry and the crew of J/World’s Hula Girl

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Good Evening!

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This was sent on night one:

Life is good aboard Hula Girl (HG from now on).

We left San Francisco is 14-16 from the West, #3 and full main… Went for a non-aggressive, STBD start, footed under Condor for clear air, and exited the Bay on port, until a fat layline towards Mile Rocks.

We talked back to the shipping lane to stay in touch with our division, and finally decided we’d had enough sailing AWAY from Hawaii. So, off to the Great Circle, direct route… well to windward of Condor and apparently more South than the others… Saw a few pods of Humbacks passing south of the Farallones. Nice for all to see the wildlife! I enjoyed the view from afar, too.

We changed up to our #1 jib for a while, and then our 3, and finally tucked a reef in our main as the wind has stayed up and gone right more, and earlier than forecast.

Trucking along doing 8.5, staying in touch with a great circle route.

A big thanks to all of the people and partners who helped us in our preparations for this race: The Waterfront Hotel, Miss Pearl’s, Spinlok, Mclube, West Marine (and particularly Dan and the gang at the Alameda store), Expedition. The Dominos gang did great getting us pizzas at 0945. They were meant to be dinner, but were pretty well consumed by 1400. Sandwiches from Autobahn Cafe in Oakland made for great dinner! (hopefully all remains well in Oakland)

Off to check the weather forecast and get back on deck.

Cheers from HG,

Barry, Wayne, Geoff, Bob, Sully, Mark, Vern, Rick and Tom

Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is:

First was short lived!

It’s always nice to be on the top of the leader board, but it doesn’t really meaning anything on days one through three, as boats have cast their best interpretation of the pre-race weather analysis and the conditions they’ve been experiencing – all in an effort to minimize miles sailed and maximize boat speed in the right direction.

We’ve stuck to our original “Great Circle” strategy, with the hope and expectation that we’ll be on the southern edge of good (enough) pressure from the High without sailing too far north. We see no reason to go south – unless they continue to get good pressure and a lift right to Island.

We’ve been sailing with our blast reacher and genoa staysail up most of today. On the edge of wind direction and velocity several times to put up a kite, but have stayed in this configuration to maintain this course and make the boat relatively easy to handle. Still doing good speed, but I’m sure our competition are able to push a little harder with full crews of seasoned veterans. We’re doing 9-11 in wind of 17-20 from the north.

Though a couple of us have fought through various occasions of sea sickness, all are fine aboard the Hula Girl.

Sadly, our dry ice that was meant to last 4-6 days has given up on Day 3. Hopefully most of the fresh produce is good for a day or two. We might have to lose some of the non-cured lunch meats and eat softer cheese 😉

I think we have enough Snickers bars alone to make it to Hawaii, though.

Dark and foggy night, and warmer because of it. Looking forward to the growing moon, shedding more layers and a boat shower!

Recently updated Spot.



Official race tracker is:
Our Spot tracker page is: