Well, I have certainly had easier sailboat races.
So not only is our destination halfway across the Pacific Ocean, and our route taking as far from dry land as you can get on mother earth, we are also being thrown some quite interesting weather. Usually by this time in the Transpac Race from LA to Hawaii, the spinnakers are coming out as the breezes freshen and get behind the boats, giving crews the thrilling surfing conditions in warm weather that contribute to making this event one of the all time classic yacht races.
Not so right now… After our last post, the breeze lightened up, and has been shifty and challenging for the past day. Last night, we were slatting away at about 1 knot for far too long. It was phenomenally frustrating to see the lights of a boat which had been about 5 miles astern all day, just take off like we were standing still (which we were), and they were motoring at full steam (which they can’t of course, since it’s a sailboat race). Demoralizing, to say the least. But much to our happiness at the morning position report, we learned that the mystery boat was in fact the Alaska Eagle, the escort boat and communications center for the fleet who reported that in the middle of the night they had, in fact, started motoring to keep on their schedule. Much relief aboard, followed by satisfaction when morning roll-call indicated that we had gained nicely on most of our fleet. One notable exception is the One-Design 35 in our class, Relentless, an ultralight which does not seem to be struggling as much as us heavier boats in the light winds… They are currently winning our class, with us in holding onto second.
So what to report of life onboard? The day was warm and mostly sunny. They layers of clothing are getting peeled back, but the nights are still a touch chilly, so the foulies haven’t gone too deep in the sea bags yet. We pulled out the sextant for a bit today and practiced taking sights. It was a bit bouncy (trust me, it’s surprisingly hard to get an accurate reading), and there’s a bit of room for improvement… let’s just say for now that if all our GPSs took a dive, we could probably see the islands before we sailed past them. Probably. Like I said, a bit of room for improvement, but that’s what we are here for. We cracked into the freeze dried rations this evening, with a dinner of Lasagne and vegetable medley. Not too shabby… We were accompanied by dolphins earlier this evening (I seem to have slept thru it). The moon rises an bit before dark, and the early evenings are glorious. It’s now late night (around 2:30am) and dark dark outside. Really puffy too, with breeze at 2 knots, then 12 knots… but at least we are still moving.
Yes, I have certainly had easier sailboat races. But not many more enjoyable.
All the best from Wayne and the J World team from out here in the wide blue Pacific. More later…