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Division 2: Fighting for Position... and Rum?

July 19th, 2006

As the Division 2 boats near the 100 miles to go point, they continue to battle each other and Mother Nature. Mother Nature has not served up the traditional strong trade winds, but instead a low pressure system is causing fickle winds. Making the most of the available breeze and avoiding being becalmed are key.

Over the 24 hours since last roll call Kahuna has vaulted from 4th to 1st on corrected time, by virtue of hanging onto better breeze longer than the boats ahead of her. Antares climbed from 6th to 5th. With the wind being light and fairly “spotty”, we may well see further position changes before the finish.

And the rum? If you read the daily updates below you will see a number of boats have wagered rum on beating competitors across the finish line. The fastest course to the finish might now be referred to as the rum line!

Daily updates:

From Kintec:

True wind speed 13, boat speed 8 starlight and low scudding clouds, impending moonrise.

Early in the evening, we ran through large flocks of seabirds, wheeling and feeding in the waves. A sign of nearby land, we think. The wind is holding for now although it has dropped a little from earlier in the evening/night. We take nothing for granted, having previously been swallowed by a few too many wind holes. Refreshing showers spritzed us and lightning flashed around us as we sailed through and between ominous squalls.

We have run out of propane, meaning no more cooked meals or hot drinks until we get ashore. Given the past and present depth of provisions and waistlines, and the ambient heat, neither are likely to be missed much. Everything is dripping wet in the hot and humid climate. And that’s outside the boat! Down below is a veritable sauna.

We hope to see and overtake another race boat sometime today. But first we have to find them, gain the weather gauge on them, and ...

We have not seen land day 1, 16 days ago, nor have we stood on solid ground in all that time. After very little seasickness offshore, crew are mindful about the possibility of landsickness, which can be experienced in the first few days ashore after a long passage at sea. Contributing factors are believed to include dehydration, alcohol consumption and exuberance.

The crew’s level of excitement is rising as the TTG (time to Guinness) is declining. Touch wood, this should be our last race report before finishing in Lahaina sometime overnight tonight. We’ll file one more report, post race, to let you know how things turned out on finishing and arrival.

And another update later in the day from Kinetic:

Sail Ho! cries crewmember Clayton MacKay (or he should have).

Broad on the starboard bow, four or five miles ahead, flying a huge yellow spinnaker, almost certainly Kahuna, who we have been grinding miles out of for some days now. Now obscured by a line squall. Did they see us? We have the weather gauge and we are overtaking them, sailing out of the bright morning sky where they may not see us right away. On the other hand, we are flying a brilliant fuscia kite which would be difficult to miss in the broad daylight.

Kinetic will stand a bottle of rum to Kahuna, if they cross the line ahead of us. It’s well aged, as we won it from Antares the same way two years ago.

Update: Kinetic report Day 17, July 19 1325 HST

Sail Ho! cries crewmember Damien King

After some two thousand four hundred miles of ocean sailing, we have three competitors in sight at the same time, two ahead, one behind, as the fleet converges on Maui and struggles to finish in unusually light winds. Directly on our bow, several miles ahead, two enemy sails! Most likely Turicum and Tripp Tease ... We are grinding them down, sailing our light air machine. Kahuna is now behind us on our starboard hip, with a bottle of rum already staked for line honours.

From Kahuna:

drifting...hot...humid...stinky...we had a good yesterday afternoon and last night but this morning has dawned ugly. Kinetic had appeared from over the horizon and probably will pass us by the end of the day...not unexpected. At 0600 this morning we were estimating a finish of 0400 tomorrow...that is straight out now and I am unwilling to hazard a guess...but probably sometime Thursday. 119mi to go.

my how fortunes turn...and turn... As of 1100hst we are back in the breeze...10kts, and sailing on a close spin reach on port jibe. Kinetic is approximately 3 miles to port on the same jibe and slightly diverging sailing a hotter angle. We are sailing closer to the rhumb line.

Speaking of rum, we are down to our last bottle and have made a wager with Kinetic, whomever finishes first wins a bottle of Nelsons Folly (Rum) it should be no contest for them to cream us...being much faster but a good rum bet sharpens the crews’ killer instinct!

Roll call showed that we carried the strange northerly breeze much longer than the front-runners and gained significantly overnight. At roll call this AM everyone ahead had very light breeze and it has filled from behind so we are optimistic but not too...currently 108 to go and we are averaging 5kts so a Thurs. mid-day finish looks probable (knock on wood).

WHOO HOO for Kahuna! If you have not seen yet, today she is in first place in her division!

From Passepartout:

By day 16 of the Vic-Maui race, Passepartout’s crew of eight has eaten two boxes of cookies and two cans of Pringles. Our goal was to have something hot at every meal and eliminate the junk food. Here’s what worked:

Keep dinners to a bowl. Starch on the bottom, vege in the middle and chicken thigh on top. Bowl in one hand, fork in the other, nothing else.

Oven bags work great with almost no clean up. Use skinless chicken thighs if you want to save the meat for later. Use skin-on with veges to make a stew but this will be too greasy to look at if you don’t serve it right away. Cut the potatoes and carrots bite sized or they’ll take longer than the chicken to cook. Steak, hamburgers, green salads  €”anything that comes in courses or requires a flat plate  €”should only be served at dock. You can’t control the plates well enough when a sneaker wave hits and the barbeque wastes massive amounts of gas underway.

Cauliflower cut up with blue cheese dressing goes over well before dinner. Cole slaw is good if served before the entrée. People won’t come back for salad so serve it first. Cabbage lasts forever at room temperature. Broccolli doesn’t.

Carrots and radishes are worth the fridge space. Wrap them in a wet towel with a rubber band. They add crunch to everything else. Dried chives look okay reconstituted but have to be backed up by thinly sliced onion to flavor anything.

Cream and sour cream keep for weeks in the fridge but can’t be frozen.

Coffee is a red-state, blue-state issue. The rednecks are threatened by Seattle strength coffee while the Sissies don’t recognize Midwestern morning wash as coffee at all. After months of negotiation, we precisely measure grounds, and use a filter cone. The cone has been custom fitted to the thermos which is wedged into the sink with sponges. Still, flying coffee has burned one crew member and fouled the race binder. The logical answer is to make strong coffee and thin it down for those who prefer it weak but the thermos is bigger than the tea pot so there is never hot water to do this with. Keep instant coffee or coffee tea bags around.

We assign coffee cups, with names on them, and use stacking juice cups. This change was the best improvement we ever made in the galley. Frees up the sink which used to be overflowing with dirty cups at all times. Everybody also has their own personal water bottle. We keep our silverware in REI bags made to insulate water bottles. The silverware doesn’t rattle and you can hand out all the spoons or forks at once. For breakfast, pancakes work great because our cast iron skillet spans two burners on the stove. 5-grain cereal is popular. Egg beaters and precooked bacon round out our breakfast menu. If you are going to serve sausage, precook it at home and freeze it. Dehydrated hash browns beat the frozen ones in every way. The ketchup cannot be gotten out of the fridge while you are cooking so get it out before you start.

Tacos are popular for lunch in calm enough seas. Use flour tortillas and precook the meat at home. Grilled cheese sandwiches, frozen stew and canned chili all made good lunches. Pizza is good but takes forever to make enough.

One-pot pasta dishes make great dinners. Boil the pasta. Add olive oil, crushed garlic from a jar and smashed anchovies from a can. Then anything else you have. Green beans work well. Our pasta pot is bolted to the stove and the lid can be fastened on. Frozen meat lasagna is good for stormy seas. Spinach lasag turns to a saggy mess. So does chicken lasagna.

Next update, July 20, 2100 PST

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