Contrary to what everyone says….

Contrary to what everyone says… we really are nice guys. A couple of days ago we got word that another Santa Cruz 50 heading home from Hawaii had a problem with their batteries and weren’t able to start their engine… which meant no more power aboard. They had backup navigation systems and communication (a charged Sat phone and handheld VHF’s) and were rolling along fine (even landing some good fish, I hear), so it wasn’t an emergency by any stretch, but with a week still to go, it’s nice to have power. There is an informal radio net on the way back to CA, and a number of boats (Green Buffalo, Jamani, Rhum Boggie, among others) were pretty close and offered help, but we were a bit closer and sailing on the same line (they left a day before us), so all they had to do was slow down and wait for us.

Well, after a couple of emails with the owner and a couple of calls with the crew, we arranged a rendezvous… literally 1000 miles from anywhere! We removed one of our house batteries, lashed it into a canvas bag we use for gear, and hung the package off the end of our boom. They sailed under main only on an upwind course and we maneuvered under power carefully, coming in to weather from behind, so that our boom would hang over their aft quarter. Jasper aboard Deception did a great job snagging the heavy battery, with the comment, “It was like trying to catch a cannonball!”

Well, 15 minutes later they were all powered up and on their way.

We are almost halfway home at this point, and getting pretty close to the Pacific High, but still carrying great breeze (more now than we had in the Trades!). Looks like we’ll just graze the bottom of the high (instead of the typical route up and over or thru it), and have pretty good winds all the way in. In fact, there are a lot of boats out here with a lot of extra fuel this year. Such a surplus, in fact, that the good natured bidding started on the radio net at $1 per gallon, and seemed destined to fall from there! As early as tomorrow afternoon we’ll actually tack over to port tack (after about 1100 miles on starboard!) and point our bow at the Golden Gate.

Jon and Madeline made a great pasta lunch, while our on board cinematographer-in-training Jorge continues to capture everything that moves (and many things that don’t) on film. I think his production has already easily exceeded a feature, and in now somewhere in the realm of a Ken Burns epic…

We’ll keep you all posted on progress!

All the best,

Wayne Zittel and the Hula Girl Crew

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