Slow Going….

We knew it was going to be a tough one as we motored out to the
starting line off Point Fermin on Thursday morning. The atypical
rainy weather had brought with it a breakdown of the normal thermal
pattern in Southern California, so racers taking off on the second (of
three) start days for the 2013 Transpac drew the short straw this
year. In 2-4 knots, the fleet started on port tack. We went from a
#1, to a Code 0, to an 1A spinnaker, to a windseeker, back to a #1
jib… all before Catalina Island! It was painful as the shifts came
thru… hero one minute, zero the next. The case was the same for
pretty much every boat in the fleet.

The challenging conditions persisted thru the first night. Sailing
from puff to puff, zephyr to zephyr. We didn’t care where the wind
came from, as long as it came. Onboard Hula Girl, we had a great team
who worked very hard, knowing that in all likelihood a couple boats
would punch out of the light stuff, and we wanted to be one of them.
We had a close shave with a BIG kelp bed off Santa Barbara Island, but
good eyes and quick crew work saved the day. Then in the early
morning we got stuck in a huge hole out near San Nicholas Island. We
could see a number of our fleet just there in front of us, oh so
close, when the breeze filled over their way and they sailed on
without us. But still we floated in our hole. Finally we broke free,
but the damage was done. When we got into the steady breezes, we were
some 3-4 hours behind most of our fleet. Argh. But with over 2000
miles still to go, we are resolved to chase them down!

Onboard, life is good… we changed from the #1 jib to the Jib Top
last night, and have been blasting along in 15 knots from the NNW.
Nights are chilly, and it’s a bit wet on deck, but everyone is really
stepping up to all the challenges thrown at them, and I have a good
feelings about our odds of making up lost time!

Out here, 300 miles off the coast of California, we were surprised to
hear another vessel calling Hula Girl… another racer? We could
hear them ok (and another vessel attempted to relay), but they
couldn’t get us so well so details are sketchy, but apparently someone
aboard the research vessel Challenge Explorer (I think) knows me, had
seen some of the Transpac fleet go by, and was just calling to say hi
and good luck. Hah… small world indeed. I’m curious who it is, but
I’m sure it will be revealed in time…

That’s about it for now. Nearly midnight out here, and I’m waiting
for the weather fax broadcasts to start in about 5 minutes. Got to
see when we’ll cross this ridge and get into some spinnakers. So
goodnight for now. More soon…

Wayne ZIttel and the Hula Girl Team

2 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the delay in posting… There was an addressing issue from the boat, and I was on the water all day! (barry)

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