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From the Blog of Family Affair

by Paul Michael, July 18th, 2014

"Shortly after midnight, we were surprised by a stronger than usual squall with winds over 30 knots and suffered a moderate roundup.  Our spinnaker is still intact, but the spinnaker net did its best job, but was destroyed.  We have a second one that is up now.  Aside from about 100 gallons of seawater coming in from an open hatch, everyone is safe and uninjured.  We quickly got back on our feet with a smaller spinnaker and began making minor repairs to the one we had up.  We opted to continue for a short while on a new port tack to work behind the squall where there are lighter winds.  It cost us some ground with the race fleet, but provided calmer waters to carry out repairs and nurse our egos.  Once our big spinnaker was repaired, we got back on our feet for a final 50nm starboard tack run in the slots.  I calculated our final lay-line jibe and we performed this shortly before dark.  We're on our final approach for the Islands!

The red light bulb mystery may be solved!  Apparently, from two shore support members, the bulbs are manufactured by Takuyo Riken of Japan and are used on squid fishing boats.   Retired NOAA oceanographer Jim Ingraham reports: "At 500 watts, they probably are red light bulbs from squid boats.  They string them around their vessels to attract squid.  When the bulbs wear out they throw them overboard and they wash up all around the Pacific.  I would doubt that it's a massive spill but rather one or several squid boats changing their light bulbs.  A single squid boat wears hundreds of such bulbs around the edge of the 100 foot boat.  I would not be surprised that a spill was just a boat throwing overboard its garbage."

It's been very warm here.  This evening we were in and out of heavy rain squalls.  They gave us some great sailing speed, but left us soaked with a lot of soggy clothes and rain gear.  On top of that was the inability to open windows because of the heavy surf and rain plus the noodles we boiled and sauce we heated up.  Add nine crew that haven't had a proper shower in two weeks and the cabin was a funkified steam house.  We'll get the boat and ourselves cleaned up before arrival in Lahaina.  At the moment, we're all just pushing hard for the finish."

Paul Michael

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