San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race – 36 hours in…

Well all right now.
It’s middle of the night here off Baja. All the sensible people are at home in bed. But us head cases, well, we are now some 36 hours into the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race. We still have breeze and are still trucking along. It’s pretty spectacular out here tonight.
So we are now on port gybe with the breeze NNE. In the last hour or two we’ve seen a big right shift, almost 20 degrees… to think we could be beam (or close) reaching along the lower bight of a day or two. Interesting times… but I am getting ahead of myself.
Nice day. Really nice day. occasional punches past the 20 knot barrier. Not frequent, but also not rare. The 4A is still up. Been up all day with a brief drop to back down and clear something unruly off the rudder, which turns out to have been nothing at all. It seems that, after charging the batteries this morning, in an honest mistake, one of our gang thought the engine was off when they put it in reverse. Going 15 knots. Ouch. The engine shook and shimmied and otherwise objected. And in the process we broke a shifter cable to the motor right off the binnacle and apparently jammed the prop open (or one blade or???). Who knows, but it was causing the turbulence that felt like rudder drag. We let the prop freewheel for a second, popped it into gear (had to shift down at the transmission), and got her sweet and smooth again. And that was the excitement for the day.
Actually, that was the intermission. The excitement was the sailing. Man, this is some fun boat. Long and lean, she really gets going. The strut/bulb ‘T’ keel really feel great at speed… low drag and the Girl doesn’t want to trip over it on the big surfs. You hang that bulb off to the side as the boat heels when you head up slightly to catch the wave, and you feel it’s weight lever against the rig, against the sailpaln. If you can resist the temptation to crank the rudder over to turn down the wave (effectively killing your speed and hope of catching it), if you can just have confidence in the boat, you can feel the weight out there stand the boat upright, turn her down the face of the wave, and in an instant, you are off to the races…
We’ve hung it out here to the right side of the course…. partially due to intent, partially due to sail choices made early to help keep the wheels on the wagon for a crew who are mostly unfamiliar with the boat. But I’m ok with it. It’s going to go soft,,, we could spend a couple of days in winds close to 5 knots and we are hoping that we 1) might have a better shot at maintaining some breeze and 2) get a better reaching angle in the light stuff. So we are rolling the dice, but when playing against boats as well sailed at Ocelot and Blue Blazes, we have to take our calculated risks.
Now the crew slumbers. Wind 20 knots, plus or minus 2 (although here at the nav table I just looked up and saw a 26 knot puff) from about 010 magnetic. The moon just rose off to starboard. As it gets a bit higher, it’s going to make the ride even more fun… you forget how fast you are going when it’s really dark, but when the light plays off the waves, well, you are ripping across a lunar surface. That all I got for now. Going to grab something warm to drink and get into the cockpit as this nav table is killing the sailor in me. Well, right after I look at the latest weather report… that’s the competitor kicking in…
Cheers all, have a good night and we’ll see you in the morning…
Wayne Zittel and Team Hula Girl
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1 reply
  1. Dirk
    Dirk says:

    What beautiful weather and good winds. Looking at the winds looks like the outside was a good bet! Watching as you guys close in on PV!


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