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Voodoo Child First to Finish!

July 15th, 2006

0830 HST Update from Maui.
Voodoo Child is expected to cross the finish in the next hour. The winds are very light off Maui and are making for an extremely frustrating last leg of the race.
1030 HST Update
Voodoo Child crossed the finish line at 0848 HST. A beautiful finish during daylight hours - a real plus for a crew who hasn’t seen land for days - let alone palm trees and beaches.
Brian Duchin and his crew brought Voodoo Child into Lahaina Harbour where they were met with a enthusiastic group of greeters and well-wishers who welcomed them Maui-style. As I write this update - the party continues with food, drinks and music. Congratulations to Voodoo Child - Brian Duchin and crew - GREAT RACE!!
After some light air conditions, the breeze appears to be building and Horizon is expected to arrive later today.
This years race has proved to be tactically challenging, given the fairly unique weather conditions experienced. It has also been a fairly slow one, with generally lighter than usual winds.
Blue Moves II, employed a unique tactical strategy, sailing very close to the rhumb line, hoping that the high would break down and they could break through to the trades. For the first four or five days their stategy looked golden, as they not only lead their division but were very well placed overall. In the last few days, however, mother nature has delivered the hammer blow and they found themselves belcamed.
Today at 06:30 HST having been becalmed for 2 days with little good news ahead for 4 days Blue Moves II officially retired from the race. They plan to proceed under power approximately 600 miles into the Trades and then to Lahaina under sail.
To the crew of Blue Moves II: Thanks for being a part of the 2Oth runing of the Vic Maui. You certainly had a few boats second guessing their tactics in the first half of the race. Thanks also for the insightful daily updates. Safe passage to Hawaii.
After the retirement of Blue Moves II, Passepartout leads Division 3, followed by Freehand and Norena of Wight. Freehand had a slight better 24 hour run than her division rivals. Passepartout has a sizeable lead, but all the remaining boats in Div 3 each have at least 800nm to sail to the finish. Might we see another new division leader before Maui?
An unusual 24 hours in Division 2, as there were no position changes. Turicum leads, while Night Runner continues in second with Kahuna third. If Turicum can keep up the same pace she had over the last 24 hours, it looks like she should be finished on Thursday, July 20th.
On board report from Turicum:
We are enjoying a fine day of sailing indeed. The weather is warm with just a few squalls here and there and the winds continue at a steady 20 knots. The winds have now clocked to the East North East (we are hoping these are the harbingers of the “Trades”) and we have gibed onto a port pole. Our VMG (velocity made good) numbers are currently within about 5% of our boat speed numbers. In other words, the speed at which we are travelling through the water is almost as fast as the speed at which we are advancing on the finish line - in a perfect world, our VMG would equal our boat speed.
As at 1900 (GMT) our position is N29.29; W145.56. We have logged 604 miles in the past three days. Two hundred miles a day is our goal, so we are quite pleased with that progress. Our day, it must be said, started off at a sub-optimal level today. Just at day-break, we were treated to two simultaneous events: we had a failure at the top of the mast, and the solenoid at the propane tanks quit working just as Jamie was putting some crescent rolls into the oven.
Hale, in a welcome diversion from those head-related activities, quickly attacked the propane issue and we are now again cooking with gas.
The mast-head problem took a little longer to sort out. The bale (a steel u-bolt thingy) which is attached to the crane at the top of the mast and which provides the anchor for the spinnaker halyards and the spinnaker strop sheered off, blowing the spinnaker into the sea. The fix for this problem required two trips up the mast - one by Jeff who is the usual mast guy, and one by Steve who is a bit of a technical/fix-it-all genius and one Hell of a climber.
We estimate that that problem has cost us about 5 or 6 miles’ progress as against the competition, but we are very much relieved that the spinnaker was not damaged, that the difficulties were not worse, and that we were able to fix things so quickly. We have now had our warm crescent rolls, the spinnaker is up and flying again, and all is right with the world.
From Naomi Roddick aboard Kinetic:
It’s Day 12, Friday. After suffering through several days of light winds, we finally started moving Wednesday night. What a relief to start actively sailing, instead of listening to those sails go “thwack, thwack”, and the boom shock loading with the swells with an alarming crash. The weather has been warm, mostly overcast with some light showers.
Speaking of showers, port watch never did get their turn for a shower, as the wind picked up and all were busy sailing the boat. 12 days without a shower...that’s a record for me. I have resorted to wiping my hair down with baby wipes. Everything feels sticky and damp, my skin, clothes, sleeping bag. The cabin walls are dripping with condensation. We hang towels off the life lines in an attempt to dry them, but every stays damp, damp, damp! I’m surprised I’m not growing mould behind my ears...
Fatigue is setting in, especially on the night watches. Little routines like brushing your teeth seem less important than diving for your bunk on your off-watch to get some shut-eye. Sleeping is not easy, as the boat is rolling from side to side, and there are alarming crashes and shouts above decks as sails are changed or wrestled into trim.
Yesterday was very grey. Grey skies, grey seas. I was on the helm trying to get the hang of steering downwind in rolling seas with the spinnaker up. Keeps the trimmers on their toes, as I go from almost gybing to rounding up. Damn this boat is big! Once you catch a wave however, the bow points down, you feel the boat surging beneath you and hear the water rushing behind the transom - yeeehaaaa!!! I can see why this is so addictive.
We had our little half-way celebration yesterday. There were grass skirts, leis, coconut-shell bras (I won’t say who was wearing one, only it wasn’t me), and rum drinks strong enough to make your eyes water. We’re goin’ to Maui!
We will be posting further updates as boats finish. Next Daily Update July 16, 2100 PST.

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