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Tiny Bubbles!

July 10th, 2006

With apologies to Don Ho.
An interesting day on the water.
In Division 1, Cassiopeia and Voodoo Child are sailing within sight of each other, and have both gybed to the south, towards Horizon’s line.
In Division 2, it has been a tough 24 hours for Kinetic, who has dropped 3 places to 6th. Kinetic and Antares continue to sail south towards the course taken by the lead boats in the division: Tripp Tease and Kahuna. Turicum, shown in third, and Night Runner, 4th, are shaving a bit of distance off the corner, having turned more towards Maui from a position to the north of the other boats in division.
In Division 3, Blue Moves II had a…swimming stop… imposed upon them by the wind gods. (There weren't even tiny bubbles from their bow wave at the time.) Latest reports have them back up to speed. Freehand and Passepartout continue to sail in a southeasterly direction towards the finish.
Onboard updates:
Today we have two updates covering Sunday July 9th, from Blue Moves II:
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 2:36 PM
Subject: We are becalmed
Well the high risk strategy has taken its toll. We have been becalmed on the rhumb line for 8 hours and the forecast looks like more of the same for the next 24hrs. Last night's weather forecast showed us getting 15 knots straight down the rhumb line, which we did have for a few hours, but after 2:00am it started to fall apart. I downloaded the latest weather at 7:00am to be greeted by the news that we will be here for at east another day. Need to start thinking about conserving battery power and water as we still have 1580 miles to go.
We took the opportunity to drop sails and swim. Fraser has demonstrated his dive from the lower spreader and Ryan, his back flip off the stern pulpit. The water is so clear that you can see the sun's shafts of light disappear deep down, like something from the movie Abyss.
The wind is still almost zero. We had scrambled eggs, bacon and raisin muffins for breakfast. We have officially opened the casino in the cockpit to be followed happy hour. Spirits are high and everyone is in the cockpit at the moment playing cards and having a laugh.
That's it for now. Wish us luck with the wind.
Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 12:00 AM
Subject: Update July 9 22:30
After a hot day becalmed, swimming 650 miles from the nearest land, and generally relaxing, the wind picked up and again we are straight down the rhumb line with low clouds and a fine drizzle. Visibility is down to perhaps 2 miles. We had two huge container ships pass us within half a mile today and so tonight we'll turn on the radar to let any others know we're here in this poor visibility.
We have about 15 to 17 knots at a true wind angle of 60 degrees off the port bow, and going well on a course of 210 magnetic.
It looks likes we'll have this for the next 6 hours with a gradual turn to the west as we join the new wind from the starboard tack in the early morning. The forecast shows 3 days of close reaching on starboard tack down the rhumb line again. If it holds, we may have an outside chance of still placing well in our division.
None of the crew regret taking the adventurous path down the rhumb line. It's exposed them to some hard conditions they will never forget, and the very demanding conditions of keeping the boat moving in light wind a sloppy ocean swells. We are working hard with continual trim adjustments to make up for the time we lost today, and the morale is incredibly high.
The dawn will hopefully bring the wind we need to work our way back into the race.
A few hundred miles to the southeast Turicum sends their version of Sunday’s events:
Last night was uneventful, if somewhat drizzly, but the skies have now cleared and we are footing South at a bearing of 190 degrees (magnetic) in a warm moderate breeze. Our boat speed is averaging about 7.5 NM /HR and we are flying the heavy #1 Genoa which we have barber-hauled to the leeward toe-rail.
Turicum is performing very well with remarkably few technical failures thus far. That being said, we did manage to sheer a shackle pin at the foot of the starboard running backstay (You may recall this happened to the port runner a few days ago). This problem was however quickly remedied with a short length of Spectra line and the expert ministrations of our on-board mechanical/technical guru, Gregg Parsons.
The crew is adjusting reasonably well to the relatively tight living quarters and to the truncated sleeping schedule. It takes a certain getting-used-to to be awoken out of a deep sleep at 1:30 AM or 5:30 AM by a cold, clammy, gloved hand on the arm, then to suite-up in damp fleece and foulies, and then to step out into the chill wet night to try to get oriented to the wind, and the heel, and the dim horizon.
We are currently (20:00 GMT) at N36.02; 132.37W and have logged 183 NM in the past 24 hours.
From aboard Voodoo Child, crew member Peter McGonagle wrote:
It’s 1821 PDT Sunday and we have two vessels on the horizon. One to starboard is most definitely “Cassiopeia” who is closing on us fast on port jibe, headed south, and should cross our stern quite closely. Right now she’s hull is just showing on the wave crest so at 1.17 x square root of our height of eye (9 feet), she’s about four miles away. Pretty amazing after almost 1500 nm of sailing to be so close to another competitor. The other is a large container ship on our port bow headed southeast. Probably from China to the Panama Canal. Probably loaded with Chinese product bound for Walmart. Quiche is in the oven for dinner and we’re snacking on salami, cream cheese and crackers. Life is pretty good right now.
From Kahuna - we have evidence that the crew are a finely tuned eating   .uhm... racing machine, possibly suffering some sort of tropical delirium?
Another good 24hrs making 196 miles...still not pointing to the barn so the boats behind how well on Dist To Maui. Within 36hrs we will be headed to Maui and then it's game on. As I sit at the chart table typing we are going 8.5kts in 15kts wind...
Ken is singing and cooking in the galley...a special treat as we caught a Tuna this, afternoon and we are having Tuna marinated in red wine, garlic salt, pickled ginger and veg oil...rolled in sesame seeds and served in a strawberry jam reduction of the marinade. Tuna steaks to be served with curried rice, wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.
Curious things abound here...at night we sometimes hear the telltale thump against the hull that can only be another sea-possum fish meeting its fateful end. Sea bats remain few and far between. I am told this is because the breeze keeps away the sea mosquitoes (note Blue Moves may well be in the presence of many sea bats at this time) also Brownie continues his vigilant watch for the elusive Suckerus newbieus (a.k.a. Hummingbird flying fish).
Got to go now. Its Scooter's (a.k.a. Wolf) favorite hour of the day (the happy one) and "play that funky music white boy" is blasting out of the speakers! You ever see that scene in Hunt for Red October when the sonar man says, "Captain...they are singing.."
Keep those great reports coming!
Next report July 11, 2100 PST

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