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I Would Walk 500 Miles

July 17th, 2006

 Fairly light breezes have made the this last stretch to the finish very demanding, and fairly slow. In Division 2 Tripp Tease is now shown in third place, dropping Kahuna to 4th. Passepartout continues to lead Division 3, but today is projected to finish 4th overall, up two spots from 6th, bumping both Night Runner and Kahuna down one spot in the overall standings.

As we await the boats in Divisons 2 and 3 over the coming days, here are a couple of reports from Division 2 boats:

From on board Turicum:

Last evening found the Lotts (Jamie and Nic) cooing in the cockpit to the sentimental strains of Tony Bennett on the stereo as the sun flamed and settled gently into the sea. There were dolphins too - weaving in the bow wake, angling away, and shooting back in for another ride. Jamie, it seems, has earned a reprieve from his nocturnal exile in the aft cabin and now spends his off-time (when he’s not getting all mushy in the cockpit) in the forward cabin with Nic and the boys. Somehow, he appears to be very anxious to get to Maui to resume his honeymoon.

For the past several days, we have been sailing in close proximity to one of our competitors, Night Runner - separated by as little as 4 or 5 miles at times. After our recent difficulties with the spinnaker in the water, Night Runner had established a lead of some 16 miles over us and as of early today, that gap had grown to 20 miles. Throughout the day today we have managed some respectable boat speeds in fairly light air, and as at the writing of this email we have again spotted Night Runner some 7 miles off of our port bow.

Throughout this race we have had several birds pay us a visit. During the past week or so, we have seen a number of albatrosses. They glide just centimetres above the water, and there is no perceptible movement of their wings as they ride the up-draft of the waves. We have also been visited by several very curious birds that we believe to be shearwaters, who fly in very tight circles around the boat as if to get a better look or perhaps a hand-out. They rest every so often on the waves before getting up to fly again.

As at 1900 (GMT) we had 482 miles to go to Maui and our position was N25.48; W149.36. We are in light air flying a light symmetrical kite on a port pole. This years’ race seems to be unusual in that the winds are uncommonly light and the Trade Winds, if they have formed, have not done so according to their predicted pattern. The weather is very warm and we are all in shorts and T-shirts, wearing a lot of sunscreen. Night sailing can be quite challenging out here if the moon is down, the winds are up, and the sky is overcast. It is much less of a problem when one can sail by moon or star light. During the past few nights the skies have been quite clear (at least between rain squalls) with gentle winds, and at that time before the moon has arisen, the stars are so bright that we can actually see their light right through the material of the spinnaker.

An update about yesterday aboard Kahuna:

continued more of the same...hot (90’s), not very windy (8’s) and slow (5’s). We are holding up well but the prospect of a very slow trip in from here is looming large. It looks like the forecast low will suck up all the wind over the next few days and leave light and variable conditions. We are pretty well committed to sailing as straight to the islands as we can at this point and who escapes the light air, where and how will be a bit of a crapshoot.

512mi. to go at 1400HST so we are moving along...that’s 27mi since 0900HST today.

A pod of dolphins visited us at dusk last night...maybe 20-30 of them with several babies. They swam in our bow wake for quite a while some of them were jumping completely out of the water right next to us.

Dinner last night was Pizza cooked by Philm. Once again Kenny’s meal planning has been stellar. Tonight is enchilada night....hope the peppers sit alright with the Rocket. The last of the ice went away today...pretty amazing it kept this long considering the heat.

Happy hour last night had the Wolf singing Satisfaction karaoke.

Right now we are moving along alright at 6.5kts and the 11kt breeze is helping cool things a bit (and keeping away the sea mosquitoes).

We are out of ice, oatmeal and shaving cream but still have fresh fruit and Rum.

Next report July 18, 2100 PST

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