So on the wee morning hours on Wednesday, still some 900 miles from Hawaii, a mishap in the darkness led us to rip our last big chute. Big rip. Basically blew two long tears along two of the three edges. Ouch. We pulled out each of the damaged sails, and determined that none of them could be fixed with any degree of certainty. So off we went with a smaller, heavier kite, and we set out looking for squalls and the stronger winds they bring! We managed to hook into a couple of fun ones, seeing winds to almost 30 knots, and the hunt continues. It;s a bit more difficult at night to see them coming and line ourselves up with them, but we are managing ok. Also, we are deeper in the trade winds so the breezes are a bit stronger in general, and the team has taken too racing this like a leg (a LONG leg!) of a buoy race: we are watching each shift and gybing as much as necessary to always keep on the favored gybe. We think this aggressive sailing is going to be the only way we can keep up with the rest of our fleet, and even so it’s going to be a tough battle. It will be interesting to see in this mornings roll call how we have managed. Even just sticking with the other boats will be quite an accomplishment.
Anyhow, the sailing is spectacular now. Right around midnight each evening, a big moon rises in our wake. Throughout the evening it works its way ever higher into the sky, lighting up the sea and the tropical cloud formations. Ron’s driving at the moment (graveyard shift, 4:30am), with Tanya on trim. We have a little over 15 knots, and are running along at around 8 knots… I’m down below, just having pulled down weather, doing a bit of nav-a-guessing, and occasionally sticking my head out the companionway to remind them to “bear away… stop going so fast/high! Hawaii is over THERE!” Seems like the eternal job of a navigator. We’ve had only a couple of squid and flying fish come aboard as unfortunate hitchhikers. Today we were accompanied a couple of times by big schools of large fish, guessing tuna. Pretty cool. And the company aboard is great. Since we have a chemist, a couple of doctors, and other various participants much smarter than ourselves, the big discussion today revolved around the possibility of developing dehydrated beer. Despite being told it’s impossible, John remains hopeful that breakthroughs will someday make it possible. A boy can dream, no?
Anyway, we’ll give an update once we hear the morning position reports… keeping our fingers crossed that we have been able to keep in touch with the fleet!
All the best,
Wayne Zittel & the J World Team