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Unlucky 13th

July 13th, 2006



Unfortunately this morning the Davidson 72, Cassiopeia had an unwanted visit from the ghost of Sir Isaac Newton. We have received reports from Cassiopeia, that at 2215 HST this morning their mast broke two thirds of the way up.

Fortunately everyone on board is OK.

Cassiopeia has withdrawn from the race and is continuing under her own power to Kahului, Maui.

We are sure that Gary and his great crew will have Cassiopeia back and racing (and winning) in the Pacific Northwest as soon as they can. Thanks for being part of the 20th running of the Vic Maui.

Over the last 24 hours in Division 1, Voodoo Child managed to extend her lead by a few miles over Horizon. Voodoo Child will likely be first to finish the race and is expected to cross the line sometime before noon, Hawaiian, time on Saturday.

Division 2 is where all the action is! Over the last day the shuffling of positions has continued. Conditions favored the boats to the northwest of the fleet, while, the more southerly boats found lighter air and slower going. As of today the C&C 44, Turicum assumes the lead in Div 2 dropping Tripp Tease to second. Night Runner moves up to third, dropping Kahuna to 4th. Kinetic moves up to 5th, Antares remains in 6th and Red Heather falls to 7th. With the Div 2 boats still 1000nm from the finish and with just 50nm separating first from 4th, final positions are far from certain.

In Division 3 Blue Moves II contiues to lead, adding a few miles to her lead over the last day.

On board reports:

From Kahuna yesterday:

Well, this morning finally our light air suffering has ended...for now.

The difficult decision ahead is to go south or north of Maui as we cannot point directly at the islands without going very slow (dead downwind). Turicum and Night Runner have come charging from the north in more breeze and a favorable angle and probably are ahead of us for now...the Tripp gained some on us overnight also. So the decision is to go south to more breeze (the conventional wisdom supports this) or go north-ish (250 degrees) to forecast stronger winds. The north course gets us to more wind faster and the model shows it sticking for some days. The south course takes a bit longer to get to the breeze and it should last some days but shift maybe 30 degrees to the east...leaving us again running dead down to the Islands. So, our move is going to be to the north...quicker to more wind, covers Turicum and Night Runner and should result in a much better angle the last several hundred miles into Maui....a bit of a dice roll...but that’s boat racing!

At roll call today there was an official announcement from the communications vessel that all boats are now required to listen to the Kahuna CD and Kahuna will now officially be referred to as “El Conquistador” if you have heard the CD you will understand.

Today was official Coug (Washington State University) day aboard Kahuna.. Phil, John and Ken class of 1987 and Scott B. class of 1990.

From Turicum today:

The wind started to build in the early hours of this morning and has settled into a steady 17 to 20 NM/HR out of the North West. We are flying a 1.5 ounce chute (symmetrical spinnaker) and running straight at our destination. The seas are a little confused but are beginning to organize nicely so that we are able to catch a surf now and again - we are occasionally hitting boat speeds in excess of 14 NM/HR as we slide down the back side of these little rollers.

As the wind and sea conditions come up, we become increasingly vigilant about wear and tear on the rigging. We are particularly careful about the spinnaker halyards (the lines used to haul the sails up the mast) which are prone to chafing at the turning blocks located at the top of the mast. An elegant solution to avoid excessive wear (and ultimate failure) of these halyards, is to affix a large strap at the top of the mast which is fashioned with a snap-shackle. When the spinnaker is hoisted up the mast, the spinnaker is attached to the shackle on the strap and the halyard is eased off to allow the strap to take the load rather than the halyard.

The down side of all of this is that each time we hoist a different chute Jeff needs to get himself to the top of the mast as well to actually attach the sail to the strap. This trip is a bit of an adventure, as the pitching of the boat in the heavier wind and seas is significantly magnified at the tip of a 56 foot mast.

The highlight of the day is that we are preparing for our “half-way” party tonight. Half way is the theoretical mid point along the rhumb-line distance between Victoria and Maui - in practical terms, we expect to arrive in Maui in about 5 or 6 days’ time. The party this evening, with be complete with formal attire (Hawaiian shirts), Mai Tais, Cuban cigars, party favours, party costumes (cutlasses, head-bands, eye-patches and earrings are bound to feature big this year), as well as poetry readings. We are also being treated to a special Beef Wellington dinner with wine.

From Kinetic:

Day 11, July 13 0550 HST

true wind speed 15+, boat speed 8.5-12, mixed sun, clouds, squalls and rainbows.

Kinetic is trucking along in the early morning light, weaving a course among ominously dark squalls, intense rainbows and patches of clear sky, doing boat speeds of 8-12 knots with 15+ knots of wind and a quartering sea. Flying fish scatter ahead, along the wave troughs, perceiving Kinetic as a predator. Of course, it’s not the flying fish we are actually after.

After yesterday’s banishment of the bad luck doll (a veritable Jonah-ette as it turns out), our navigator is much relieved by the favorable turn in the weather as the other crew were starting to close in on the culprit who had brought the doll onto Kinetic in the first place.

The first showers of the trip, yesterday, were described by the recipients as cleansing, bloody beautiful and rippa and by the non-showering crew members as an olfactory relief of epic proportions.

We have one Australian, Geoff Hargraves, onboard, and one ex-Australian, Bernie Walker, onboard. Bernie is sounding more Australian by the day. A regression? In any event, both are cunning linguists and the other eight of us are learning to speak Australian. We’ve been boiling our billy for a cuppa at daily smoko, eating tucker including chooks, sangers and even vegemite (only the most dedicated among us go that far), using braces, uplifts and tweakers, talking footie, berrimundi and so on.

From Blue Moves II:

We had winds under 10 knots most of the night and morning, with patches of 4 or 5 knots. Flying the new asymmetrical chute made a big difference. We could keep the boat moving at approximately 75% of the wind speed straight down the rhumb line again. The crew was awesome, trimming right on the edge the whole night as if it was a 2 hours day race.

There were a few squalls early this morning but now the sun is up, and the sea the same blue as the sky. Earlier a young Albatross effortlessly gave us an aerial display of swooping below the tops of the waves with its wing tips just off the water and soaring up a crest, then banking and diving into the valley of the next. Incredible freedom without flapping its wings once.

Considering the average wind speed was low, since noon yesterday we have made approximately 121 nautical miles straight at Maui, passing the halfway point at about 3:00am. I am sure that some of the speed can be contributed to our own wind, given the last two days’ menus of chicken curry, mexican refried beans in burritos, and baked beans.

If we can do another 120 miles at least today, the risks of becoming becalmed in the approaching high are reduced.

Thanks again to the onboard reporters. Keep those reports coming.

Next report 2100 PST July 14

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