Halfway across the Pacific, that is. About as close to the definition of “middle of nowhere” as you can get. The nearest patch of dirt is over 1000 miles away. In fact, you can’t get any farther from terra firma anywhere else on the planet. That’s where we are aboard J World’s Hula Girl, competing in the 2013 Transpac.
The morning roll calls have been bringing good news for our hardworking team. We’ve been steadily recovering form a bad (horrible?) first day and the now legendary hole-off-San-Nicholas-Island. We got past Chasch Mer. We got past Bodacious. And we made time on every other boat in our fleet. We are reeling them in, and we have every intention of kicking, clawing, staggering back into this race! Oh, and we are having a great time doing it.
It’s been amazing out here…. The water is a shade of blue that words cannot do justice to. The skies are big and blue… a wholly different but equally mesmerizing blue. The sunsets? We’ll as Don put it earlier tonight, momentarily emerging from a cockpit conversation to admire the view, “Wow, that’s a beautiful sunset. Didn’t we already see one tonight? Or was that last night?” Tough to tell. The hits keep coming.
The breeze tapered off yesterday afternoon to a mild 10-12 knots, and our pace slowed. And so it remained into the night. In the middle of the darkness, we crossed gybes with another boat, maybe 100 yards off. Not really sure who it was… likely one of the earlier starters that we are catching up to. Then, early in the morning, our anticipated shift came, earlier than expected, and we were free to gybe towards the south with a good angle, and hopefully towards more wind/pressure. Most of the day was spent in 8-11 knots, pretty slow going, but we worked it pretty hard so it will be fun to see where we are in the morning. This evening at sunset we had a celabratory toast in honor of the halfway point, then, as if on cue, our breeze came back. 17 knots, just like that. We shifted gears, and were quickly rumbling along towards the Islands.
It’s now midnight. Breeze is 18-20 knots, we are skimming along in very flat seas at about 12. The waxing moon plays off our port bow, a perfect light for the stage we are sailing across. Dave just got off the wheel, and Tommy is now driving. Don went on watch just moments ago. Mario’s watch ended almost a half hour ago, but he’s still out in the cockpit. It’s pretty much an amazing evening out there, and I can’t think of many places I’d rather be. In fact, I’m going to leave the computer here in the nav station to the project of downloading the new weather faxes, and I’m going to go join them.
Pleasant dreams to all our land bound loved ones… we’ll see you in the morning. For now, we’ve got some sailing to do…
Wayne Zittel and the J World Team
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