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Changes in Latitudes

July 12th, 2006

Positions have remained the same over the last 24 hours in Division 1. Cassiopeia, who was the most northerly of the three, has now sailed to the south of the two Santa Cruzes. Over the last couple of days Voodoo Child has worked south onto Horizon’s line. This seems to have negated the advantage that Horizon had over the last 3 days, with both boats posting nearly identical 24 runs today.

In Division 2 the musical chairs continue. Kahuna, who yesterday pipped Tripp Tease for the division lead, fell to 3rd overnight. In a real reversal of conditions the two northerly boats, Turicum and Night Runner, had the best 24 hour runs, while the southern boats had less breeze. Tripp Tease leads, followed by Tiricum, up one place to second, then in third; Kahuna, fourth; Night Runner and dropping one place to fifth; Red Heather. The southern most boat in the fleet, however, did make up some ground, Antares jumps to sixth relegating Kinetic to seventh. With most boats in Div 2 still 1000nm from the finish, it is likely not the last time the position chart will change.

In Division 3 today, like Div 1, no positions changed. Blue Moves II, refreshed after their swim stop a few days ago, found good conditions and logged a division best 158nm over the last 24 hours to extend her lead on the rest of her division.

Today we get an update from Passepartout, the Stephens 40 in Division 3:  

Day 9, July 11, 2006

Today is the day we decided to switch the watches and clocks to Hawaii time. The watch system we’re using is the 6-6-4-4-4, with two six hours shifts in the day and three four-hour shifts at nigh. In order to switch to the new time zone we added one and a half hours to each daytime shift today, making both shifts seven and a half hours.

Now we’re thinking in Hawaiian!

The crew is all well and getting along great. Food has been exceptional and plentiful, but we’re still trying to catch a fish. Last night was the first time I was able to stand watch in short paints all night. A treat today was to load all the digital photos onto my computer and have a look. We’re selecting a few to send to the other world.

Day 10, July 12, 2006

Last night we had the half way party. It was more of an excuse to cook food that was going to go bad otherwise, we had more food than we could eat. We’re still waiting for a fish. In previous radio roll calls we were told to slow down in order to catch a fish. Yesterday we proved that speed was not the problem, and it was not intentional. We had a slow day of mostly 5 knots. We also had another water maker problem yesterday and we were considering cutting back on daily showers, but our superb ships engineer fixed the problem because he was starting to smell bad.

Radio contact with home was a huge treat two nights back. A good friend with a ham radio talked to me on a pre-arranged frequency and then patched me through to home so I could say hi to my kids.

As far as the sailing goes, the wind is up and we’re running for Maui. The boat is performing extremely well. We worked our way farther south than most other boats. This was for better wind, something this boat needs more than others. Now that we’re south we can run straight for Maui hopefully with a little more wind than others.

From Blue Moves II:

Winds on the starboard beam, 15 to 20 knots, and tight reaching over some big criss-crossing waves. There has been constant attention to keeping the sails powered up to the extent we have been rotating the mainsail trimming job every 15 or 20 minute to ensure we stay fresh and focused.

The boat speed has been sustained at over 7 knots with some peaks of 9.2knots.

John Verver’s watch that includes Go Nakamaru and Fraser McMillan, holds the inter-watch speed record at the moment, with top speeds of 9.2knots (John) and 8.97knots (Go Nakamaru), with ace “Young Skywalker” Fraser McMillan trimming to achieve these speeds. Fraser’s own speed runs on the helm have been impressive too at sustained speeds of 8.8knots.

A protest has been lodged by the “A” Team (Duane Elverum, Ryan Robertson and Coco Hess) that these records were atttained while driving further off the wind and not on course. The “A” team Master Duane wearing his dark cape has been heard to mutter “the force is strong with young Skywalker.... we must bring him to the dark side”

Amongst gruff grumbles from the dark side “A” team, Judge Marque Thompson rejected the protest and the records stand (for now).

It’s now dark and John’s team are on watch. We have covered 80 miles in the last 10 hours and if we can sustain it, we will be in for a 190 mile day which we desparately need to converge with the fleet further down the rhumb line and hopefully maintain the lead on our division.

The wind has been steadily moving aft and we are setup for hoisting a spinnaker at any time.

We ate very well today: meat pies with baked beans for lunch/brunch, and chicken curry with popadums for dinner.

We look forward again to the morning roll call to find out who’s where.

From Voodoo Child:

1220 PDT and we’re chowing before taking the 1300 to 1900 watch. Our 0300 to 0700 watch was a tough one with some close calls for loosing the chute. Conditions lightened up from when we relieved Brian’s watch. We were looking at 20 knots vs. 25 knots. Our first problem happened when the spinnaker sheet cover shredded. This is the outer covering to this very used line and constant wear on the primary winch causes the cover to break down quickly. The call went out to Lydia who was down below for a new sheet. While changing over to this sheet we managed to put a wrap in the spinnaker making it look like an hour glass. We also managed to tie one heck of a knot in the new spinnaker sheet. No names are being mentioned because it’s all a team effort on our watch and the team shares both glory and shame together. Going back to the old sheet temporarily we were able to extract the hourglass and get on our legs again finally putting the new sheet in order.

Bad maneuver number two occurred at about 0615 when a wind shift dictated a jibe from port to starboard. Due to being very west of our time zone, it was still dark It was blowing about twenty knots at this time. Sam was sent to the bow, Eric and Lydia took care of the cockpit and I was at the helm. Somehow the new spinnaker sheet went under the bow and we were unable to trim on the new side after jibing the main. The only thing we could do was jibe back to port. When we did this, a gust of wind hit and the main, being sheeted in hard, rounded the boat up for a small broach(round up and heel violently). We quickly recovered when I tripped the hydraulic vang panic button by the helm. The boat actually wipes out very smoothly. Recovering from this ballet of maneuvers we ended up with a small and easily removed hourglass in the spinnaker. Thank God for the anti-wrap net between the headstay and mast. Surely we would have ended up with a maypole of fabric and carbon fibre had this not been in place. In the end, we lost only a few minutes of time. No one was hurt and no gear was damaged. We’ve decided to use at least five crew for jibes when it’s blowing over 18 knots. That means waking an off watch crew. We all agree that avoiding a big time loosing event is worth a few minutes of lost sleep. The helmsman simply can’t trim in the mainsail and concentrate on keeping he bobbed chute filled just before the jibe, particularly at night. At 0700 we went to bed exhausted, humbled, yet ready for more jibes and night watches.

We just completed roll call. I was only able to get Horizon’s position. The hemorrhaging has stopped! We both had identical mileage, but we sailed a little closer to Hawaii then them. I suspect we sailed more miles but gave up some by working more south. That is good news. Also, they are not almost directly upwind of us which increases the distance between us going to Hawaii. Just before roll call we had a big lift on starboard tack and jibed to port. We are now sailing on port just slightly above the course to the finish. The grib files have not been very good thus far at giving us a good representation of what is happening out here. So, we are doing what it says to do in the book. When in doubt sail towards the mark. With that in mind we are going to, for now sail on the jibe that takes us most towards Hawaii.

Thank you to the crews who are sending us updates, or posting them on their websites. Please keep sending them in!

Next report 2100 PST, July 13th.

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