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Point the Bow at Maui!

July 7th, 2006

Happy Friday everyone!

As of noon today (Day 5) the Division 1 boats are now all further south than San Jose. They are also starting to sail further offshore, and toward Maui, finally!

In Division One, the Santa Cruz 52, Voodoo Child and Horizon the Santa Cruz 50, from Dana Point, California (only a few hundred miles from her current position) made some good gains on leader Cassiopeia by sailing closer inland over the last few days. As the competitors turn west for Hawaii, and the drag race begins, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

In Division Two,  Tripp Tease,  the Tripp 40 from Comox,  BC and Kahuna,  an Express 37 from Tacoma Wa. have been sailing inshore of the rest of their division appear to have had more consistent breeze and have made some gains on the boats outside. Tripp Tease and Kahuna are now further south than the fastest rated boat in Div 2, Kinetic the Beneteau 47.7 from Vancouver, who has sailed a more westerly course and is therefore closer to the finish. It will be interesting to see if Kinetic can cut the corner on the more southerly boats in the division and make the most of the shorter distance she now has to sail to the finish.

In Division Three there could not be two more different tactical approaches to the race. A long way to the west, nearly on the rhumb line, Blue Moves II a Beneteau 393 from Vancouver BC has so far managed to make very good time. On the Eastern side of the course three boats from Washington State race each other south in very different conditions than those experienced by Blue Moves II. Passepartout the Stephens 47 from Anacortes leads Freehand a Beneteau 35.7 from Sequim Bay and Full Moon an Island packet 40 also from Anacortes. These three boats to the east experienced some lighter air yesterday afternoon and evening, but latest reports show the breeze is building again and their boat speeds are climbing. Will Blue Moves II decision to stay west prove to be the race winning or division winning tactic? The next two days will likely hold the answer.

2:00 pm PST Update: This afternoon at roll call Full Moon reported that they were withdrawing from the race because of electrical problems: Batteries low, going into Eureka Harbour for alternator repairs.

On board Report from Division One.

From Voodoo Child yesterday evening Navigator Brad Baker sent the following thoughts on their race tactics:

In my last entry I briefly described how we were making a move toward California. I wanted to go more in depth on what has transpired. Early on in the race it became clear that we needed to sail south past lighter winds to the west and around a high that was going to find itself well east and south of where it should normally be,  I then focused my efforts on to what would be the best track heading south. I felt as long as we kept our longitude inside 127 W we would be ok. As early as Day 2 the weather routing software showed the oddest thing. It wanted us to take a jibe to port towards California for a good 7 to 8 hours and this blip would not go away. It was getting hard to ignore. So I fretted over analyzed and then finally decided as we started to get light the more west went decided to go for it. The idea is we would sail to the stronger winds that are caused by an in land low whose nickname is Lucifers thumb and the high that is now positioned just to the west of us. To do this we jibed towards cape Mendecino and sailed on this jibe for a good 7 hours. During this time were not making any miles to Hawaii. Everything has worked according to plan. As I’m sure you have read in others emails we did get good pressure setting speed records and having a great sail.

I knew that at roll call the picture may not seem all the pretty. For those of you out there following the position data don’t worry. Things should change rapidly. Now we have the luxury of sailing a more direct course towards our destination and in good wind pressure and at an excellent angle. We WILL eat into the leads set by Cassie, Horizon and all the others and it should be fairly dramatic as early as tomorrow. As I type these words the wind is blowing 20 knots,  the boat speed reads 14.1 knots and we have the code 5A up,  which is the smallest reaching sail we have. We are sailing as hot as we can and still keep the spinnaker up. We should have an epic day tomorrow in total miles sailed. Speaking of total miles sailed, I’m sure you all noticed that we sailed more miles then all the other boats out there to the tune of 22 miles. Of course not all these miles were toward HI and so this does not show in our position reports.

Life on board has taken on the routine. This is a good bunch. We are very intense about racing the boat and going fast and all get along. We are all doing more then our share,  though I get some heat about spending so much time down at the Nave station playing on the computer. There is a lot to do down here. I have to make sure the weather information downloaded to the computer. The gribs show more of the same. The high pressure is going to hang out for a couple of days and then start making it’s way to the West just in time for us to arrive and sail in the wind filling as it departs. It looks as though we will slowly arc SSW then SW the WSW then mostly West as we reach about 28N. We will likely sail this way for a long while until jibing SW for the final approach to Maui. The grib files have us finishing sometime around 6pm HST on the 15th. This would be a 12 day trip which is not all that fast for this boat. But you have to remember we’ve sailed a few hundred extra miles to get there.

On board Report From Division 2.

After an earlier report yesterday from Kinetic in which they told of tearing a spinnaker we get the following report from Skipper David Sutcliffe:

Report from Kinetic,  July 6,  2018 HST

In an attempt to soften up some monofilament sail repair line (at least that's what we claimed it was to the Kinetic weight police in Victoria when we were caught smuggling it onto the boat), we trailed the line in the water behind the boat. Somehow we caught a nice tuna, which had become entangled in the sail repair line. As the unfortunate tuna became deceased in the process of retrieving the line, we decided to make the best of the situation and keep the meat to augment our gourmet lauder. Plus we still have to soften the line up some more before we can use it for sail repairs.

Shortly afterwards, we were overflown by small dark birds, one of which flew full force into our mainsail. He/she then carried on.

There being no Voodoo on the good ship Kinetic, we take these fortunate events as good omens for tomorrow's wind and progress to Maui.

On board Kahuna the crew sent the following report last night:

Tonight at happy hour (5:30-6:30+++) we were having a cocktail, sailing in awesome conditions..10kts wind with a spin reach and not a cloud in sight.

There were thousands of tiny sailing jellyfish this evening. I think they are Portuguese Man 'O`'War. I just heard the shout upstairs that there are whales to stbd....you can see huge clouds of steamy breath blow up a mile or so away.

We feel pretty good about our position...a little sketchy as there is kinda a slot to slip through here in the next day or so and then we all drag race to HI. The boats inside (W) have less wind now but are closer to HI....anyone outside (E) has a bit more breeze but longer distance.

Dinner was lasagna and red wine...Kenny makes an awesome lasagna! (wine was good too).

Both watches stayed on deck from 5:30-7:00 enjoying great sailing, happy hour and a Who sing along.

Awesome stars and a half moon last night. We witnessed meteor activity last evening...have named them the Kahuenid meteor shower...Wolf says his Kahuenids could use a shower. Also noted a distinct lack of bats, carpenter ants and termites...suspect human actions and global warming has caused the sea bat et.al. extinction.

Today is warm and sunny...some socks and shorts were sacrificed to Neptune.

Newbie drivers have adapted extremely well and we have only suffered 10 wipeouts to date...keep in mind we keep score and each one = a round of Mai Tais in Lahaina. There is no I in Team Kahuna...but there are 2 I's in Mai Tai!

Followed up by a brief note this morning:

We have made a bit of a move to the west over night...suffered in lighter (6kts) of wind for a few hours but have gotten back into 12-15kts and are moving well. Today's roll call will be telling.....

On board Report From Division 3:

From Blue Moves II Navigator Tim O’Connell last night wrote:

Roll call was very interesting today. Our move towards the rhumb line with more wind,  albeit on the nose,  has kept us moving more directly towards Maui. Other than Cassy, Voodoo and Horizon,  it seems that most of the fleet met much lighter winds and we think we gained some ground,  at least for now.

Antares seemed surprised at our position since they asked Kinetic (Communications vessel) to confirm. That caused a chuckle aboard Blue Moves 2 with rounds of high fives.

It was a sunny day with consistent wind between 12 and 17 knots and the boat was meeting it's target speeds for the wind speed. It feels like the boat has come alive after all the work to bring it up to an offshore racing standard. Last night we had a half moon dead ahead with a silver road laid out in front and a few billion stars.

We were visited by a whale in the night which was curious for a few minutes and took off again, along with a very noisy sea bird that flew around us for hours..

Despite being sunny today, the wind is cool and the temperature is around 17 degrees. The further we move south, the lighter blue the sea becomes. We had the fishing line out a couple of hours ago and within 30 minutes we had a big bite which cut the steel leader cable. We are now down 1 tuna lure.

Today we redistributed the dry ice and checked the freezers. Food looks OK and we had Buffalo cheeseburgers in pita bread for dinner.

Tonight we will probably meet the 20 to 25 knots of wind from the low pressure area to the west of the rhumb line. Between us and the fleet is the high pressure area showing large areas with low or no wind. At roll call, many boats were reporting winds under 5 knots while we enjoyed our 17knots heading straight down the line for Maui. All the weather systems are quite volatile but we are guardedly optimistic that we will have good wind for the next 700 miles.

Morale is high with some hilarious inter-watch rivalry to keep the boat moving fast.

This morning Tim followed up with another report:

What a stormy night. We have been on a charge beating into 30 to 35knots of wind and fantastic waves. Very majestic. This once casual little Beneteau 393 dockaminium babe, has matured and is showing some attitude !!! We are flying the #3 with two reefs in the mainsail. She's well balanced and doing about 6.8 to 7knots straight at Maui.

The crew had some tough watches last night. John, Fraser and Go were on from 1800 to 2200, then again from 0200 to 0600,  joined by Marque at 0400. They're having a well deserved sleep until they are on again at noon.

Duane, Ryan and Coco are on deck right now having a blast (literally),  and enjoying the experience. While I write, we occasionally have a wave wash right over the boat. Feels like Cape Horn. The temperature is still about 17C.

We wonder what the rest of fleet are doing. The forecast for them yesterday and last night looked like winds under 10 knots. Roll call will be even more interesting today. We are so far west of the rest, we hope we will pick them up on the SSB radio. If not, I'll email Kinetic with our position and ask them to broadcast to the fleet and email us the fleet positions.

Well that's it, must get some coffee going.

Sounds like everyone is having a great race, no matter which boat they are on! Keep the e-mail reports coming.

Next report 2100 hours July 8.

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