2013 Transpac, Part II

So here’s the skinny.

After a horrible escape from coastal California, we have been rumbling along aboard Hula Girl in the 2013 Transpac. It’s been an interesting and funky race, and it’s going to remain that way for a bit, or so it seems. For our fleet, after carrying light spinnakers before we drifted out of sight of the start line, we finally got into some good breeze, mostly from the north… and so it has remained. Usually, as we cross the ridge and get into the SE corner of the Pacific High, the breeze pretty quickly shifts around to the NE and we start the long VMG run to Hawaii. But not so this year. It’s been super reachy. A couple days with the Jib Top, then we are pushed into day three with the 1A spinnaker, a flat cut reacher, and our staysail. Good news for some of the other boats out here that like the reachy stuff, but our ultralight Santa Cruz 50 is a bit tender and excels more in the downwind mode. Early this morning, the breeze shifter around a bit and we finally set the big 2A spinnaker.

But we had a couple awesome days of sailing. Mostly 15-8 knots, with breeze increasing to 18-22 in the evening, and we have been cutting it up on the Pacific swells. We had one snorting, chuffing 30 knot puff and Tom got the Girl up to 19.4 knots, top speed so far this trip. Pretty comfy aboard, but a bit noisy when we really get moving, and everyone is getting used to that. Had a wonderful dinner of home made Lasagne (ok, ok, so it was freeze dried). Everyone has been doing a great job and making significant improvement… which is good since the nights are still pretty dark (there is a bit of moon, but lots of cloud cover). Mario at the wheel right now, with Dave trimming, James grinding, and watch captain Geoff providing parental supervision.

It looks like the “big boys” behind us are diving pretty far south… I’m curious how much of that is a push for boatspeed (cracking off a bit really makes a big difference) combined with the farther north than usual wind direction, or how much of it is a result of their expectation of more wind down there as the week progresses? We’ll see…. it’s going to remain a bit strange. There is a big ol’ blowing low pressure north and west of Hawaii that looks like it might affect the winds a bit, and a developing /expanding high near the racecourse…. but the computer generated forecast models (‘Gribs’) and the meteorologists seem to be disagreeing on the precise impact to our winds. I’ve got a guess, but I’ll leave it at that for now!

More soon…

All the best,

Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl Team


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