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Thread: From the fat fingers of the racers

  1. #101
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    July 16, 2021

    From Buffalo Man

    Busy morning after a pretty up and down night (winds from 10k to 20k oscillatingup to 20 degrees).
    Shook the reef out of the main. Put the boat hard on the wind - that the quiet sea state makes quite okay (no "wave drop off" banging at least for the next several days).

    Threw out the fishing line... and before we had it tied off to the stern pulpit it was "fish on" - a 5 lb or so albacore tuna... but it shook the hook just as it reached the rail. But a great sign there are fish out here to be caught!

    Both crew took showers, and opened the forehatch and lazerette so a cool stream of fresh air flowing through the boat... drying out all the nooks and crannies holding moisture. So the boat and crew "smell good". Makes for great crew spirits/morale!

    Wind dropped below 6k just recently... bobbed around sailing "too north" for two hours at just 4k boat speed... so its "engine on". 2200rpm making 6k (mostly motor but a wee bit o push from the sails). Not quite heading down GCR (Great Circele Route)... going maybe 10 degrees north of GCR to optimize engine+sails+desire to get north "enough" to come out of the side of the High in a few days on a beam reach to San Francisco.

    Now we start monitoring fuel usage closely. We started with 100 gallons... with the solar... maybe used 2 gallons in the first 5 day. So now every 24 hours we "dip the fuel tank" (yes a dip stick... I like reliable low tech)... expect to use 15 gallons every 24 hours but time will tell. Likely we refill the main tank from the bladder tanks every 30 to 36 hours. How long will we be motoring? Maybe 4 days/96 hours/580nm/60 or so gallons. Need at least 15 gallons "left" in case we have to motor the last 100 miles into SF (happens more often then one might think).

    Looks like cabbage salad for dinner tonight (unless we catch an albacore in case its sushimi, poke and ceviche).

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  2. #102
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    7.17.21 from Green Buffalo. Brian Boschma has promised Jim that the "fishing gets better", but then, Bob Johnston promised Will Lee that boats never have rudder problems twice. Promises Promises. For now let's just hope the crew of Green Buffalo catches something to eat soon or it's all we'll read about :-0 over the next week.

    Well we are in the High. Wind varying from 2k to 8k from every which direction. Sometimes out of the North, sometimes from South, sometimes from astern. At the momemnt its clear blue skies for as far as you can see (though we had clouds this morning). We have been motoring over 24 hrs now making 5.8k straight down GCR (Great Circle Route) to SF. Clicking off the longitude lines. Doing some fuel use calculations... having left with 100 gallons of diesel and getting 9 or so nautical miles per gallon, we have plenty of fuel (which we may need depending on how elongated this High gets). We shifted 16 gallons of diesel from the bladder tank in the cockpit into the main fuel tank - so we are good for another 30-35 hours of motoring without having to fill up.

    Jeff - the young guy on the crew - spotted a classic Japanese glass fishing float this morning - so he has a "perpetual" of his voyage across the Pacific. A nice blue glass float about 8 inches in diameter. Curious is it has some water in it. I believe (and may be wrong) these glass floats were last use near 40 years ago - so how it gets a bit of water in it but doesn't sink over all that time is a mystery. This is the first glass float the Buffalo has picked up in the last two rides homes (they are getting rarer).

    We really want to catch a fish... after the near miss yesterday... but the sun is going down... maybe tomorrow.
    Vegetarian curry dish with rice for dinner tonight. Though if we had fresh fish...

    Maybe stars tonight? Milky Way? Need to pull out my star chart app on the iPad... refamiliarize myself with the night sky.
    And tomorrow is Sunday... our one week at sea mark... maybe time for a prayer on the foredeck as a "Sunday service"? :-)
    And maybe time to stop tomorrow for a swim (while we let the engine cool so we can check the oil level)?

    How long will we be motoring east for? Good question... inquiring minds want to know. 2 days, 3 days? Now time for me to grab the latest GRIBs and run Expedition to see what the coming week has in store for us.

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  3. #103
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    Sunday July 18 from Green Buffalo

    Lot happened the last 24 hours.

    In the middle of a curry dinner last night we caught a net in the propeller. Thump thump thump and boat speed drooped a half knot. Sun was setting and it was getting dark fast. Our young crew member Jeff threw on the wet suit and mask as Ian and I we set up the boarding ladder. Jeff jumped in and confirmed we had a real rats nest with a net wrapped around the prop and shaft. Knife in hand he did a few dives - but found it hard going and asked for help. Now I may be too old for this but while thinking about Robb Walker of Nozomi's (Cal 40) story of clearing a net from the prop at sea...I jumped in with a second knife (the water was great... not warm but not cold... refreshing). We took turns doing a few dives each cutting away the net (the ceramic knife really came in handy being able to cut anything quickly). After a combined dozen plus dives we had the prop cleared. Just as it went "dark". Just in time.

    Now during one of the dives Jeff bumped his head on the boarding ladder and was bleeding "more then a little" (it was just a nick, but head cuts tend to bleed). So it crossed all our minds - but no one said it to well later - we were sort of chumming for sharks.

    In any case, all now well and motored along all night long.

    Today has been a bit of motoring, motor sailing and sailing as the northerly wind fades, builds and shifts. During one lull after sailing an hour we took the time to check the engine oil (all good, no oil needed since last top off 3 weeks before) - but we also notice a bit of water in the fuel filter bulb - so took the time to drain the bulb.

    We also caught a mahi mahi just in time for lunch! Being north of 35 degrees Lat, I thought we were too far north to catch mahi mahi - and our fishing prayers were for albacore. Well learned something new today. So started with sahimi for lunch, made a ceviche for later, and have fillets left for pan frying tonight (maybe put into baha quesidalla's?).

    At the moment we are sailing along in 10k of wind from the north making 6k to 7k. Full main and working jib. Down right peaceful. Will we need to mor sail or full on motor tonight? Time will tell.

    Half way tomorrow? Maybe?

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  4. #104
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    Monday July 19, 2021

    Back sailing!

    Been making 6k-7k due east the last 24 hours under full main and working jib. Wind out of the north at 11k-15k. Its getting downright bumpy - and a bit dangerous making one's way around the cabin without getting thrown around. After two days of motoring we got used to a quiet existence... but no longer. The head water intake is now out of the water (yes we are heeled that much)... so when going to the head one fills up a few pint bottles with salt water in the galley and brings to the head to "lubricate the flush".

    This wind and sailing fast east is really helping with our fuel budgeting... we thought we might have to motor 4 to 5 days... with 5 days motoring about all we have fuel for... though we still might as the weather is supposed to go light in another day or two... we now are confident we have all the fuel we'll ever need to make it home in a reasonable time (maybe 16 days?).

    Something at lunch or dinner yesterday didn't hit me right... had a case of the runs much of the night and stomache "not quite right". Being "laying low" today as my stomach comes back online.

    And we are half way! Now days and time will tend to "accelerate" as we count down the miles to San Francisco... tomorrow we'll be under 1000 miles to home... a real emotional milestone.

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  5. #105
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    Tuesday July 20

    Still sailing!

    Nice 12k-16k breeze. Though we are all getting tired living on a 20 degree angle that makes going to the head something that requires strategy and tactics. Have been headed a bit so losing a slight bit of Latitude - but mostly going east - burning Longitude.

    Wind is supposed to die sometime tonight... so expect motoring tomorrow and maybe the day after. Crew hoping to stop for a swim (we could all use a shower). Then 2 or 3 days from now the northerly will fill in with a nice comfortable broad reach to San Francisco (I am dreaming... nothing is comfortable in 20k-25k wind and big seas from abeam).

    We are just about to pass under 1000 miles to SF. Yes under a 100 miles is starting to feel "close" - given we have already gone over 1300 nm thru the water.

    Just finished a Mac and Cheese with corn and chicken dinner.

    We plan to put the fishing line out tomorrow - praying for tuna (albacore).

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  6. #106
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    Thursday July 21 from the Buffalo Man

    Name:  photos from Green Buffalo.jpg
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    Name:  Fish on!.jpg
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    photos by some high tech method

    Busy busy day!

    Over night the wind went due east - so though it was blowing 8k-11k - it would have us heading to Mexico or Alaska. So engine on at sunrise making a slow 5.2k (direct into wind and waves and fuel conservation opposing needs). Come 7am the wind went back north and we sailed to 11am - when the "2nd" High became a reality. We have been motoring ever since - and expect to motor all tonight and all tomorrow.

    Refueled and emptied the cockpit bladder tank (shifted 24 gal from bladder into main 33 gal tank). So we have enough fuel to motor another 40 hours (240 or so nautical miles). Nice having leg space back in the cockpit. We have another 30 gal of fuel in a bladder in the bow - so looking good we'll have enough fuel to get home expeditiously (16 days? Monday night or Tuesday morning?). Though its a ways off, the California coastal forecast looks mild... a day or two of 20k and might have to motor in the last 100 nm.

    Then the chart plotter started acting up...sonar alarm going off - but the boat has no sonar transponder. Loud beeping every few minutes (really loud... its the same beeper as the AIS alarm... wake the dead volume). After a bit of debugging, looked like a stubbed cable must have got some salt water on it maybe a "ghost" connection. Cut cable, added sealer, no more beeping. Time for a nap.

    With the arrival of this second High/dead zone, we stopped and went swimming. It was time for all of us to shower - so what better then to jump in, back in the cockpit to lather up, back in the water to rinse, and then a last fresh water rinse in the cockpit. Swimming in the unbelievably blue and clear water is a "real trip". The water is crystal clear. And boys will be boys... "in the buff". :-)

    Then...
    Our second glass ball! Big one... 12 inch or so diameter... green glass... with net still around it. Quite an ecosystem on it... had us chasing crabs down the deck.

    For dinner tonight... its chick pea and lentil curry with boil a bag rice and a can of chicken thrown in.

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo
    Last edited by Philpott; 07-21-2021 at 08:17 PM.

  7. #107
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    This from John Wilkerson s/v Perplexity. I asked him about the zigs and zags in his track, and sent him Jim Quanci's latest note. Here is his response:

    Nice long note from GB - obviously not single handing!

    The most recent big zig was possibly my only tack of the trip - to get on the right side of the second high. We'll see. The smaller zag was reflective of a frustrating night where the winds did not accord with what I was expecting from the grib files (again). I was getting wind shifts of 60 degrees and didn't know where to go. It was very frustrating and confusing.

    But the good news was that I managed to squeeze ahead of the encroaching high and am now ripping along at 7 kts - hopefully for many days.

    Jamie said they got caught in that high and have been motor sailing today. Poor Jamie - if he would have left two days earlier he would have had a much easier trip. But they have caught two dorado whereas I have only lost two lures.

  8. #108
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    Thursday July 23 From Green Buffalo

    Motoring On

    Been motoring the last 24 hours... wind mostly 4k-5k... with sails up and wind out of the north, we are making 6.4k - across calm seas.
    Though the breeze is cool... the water is warm... and sitting in the cockpit is "quite warm". Broken skies... some blue... some low clouds... some high clouds.

    Filled the fuel tank today from the fore peak fuel bladder... so out of the 100 gallons we started with, we are now down to 47 gallons (give or take a wee bit). Enough to motor 350+ nm. Which we shouldn't need as the wind should come in by late tomorrow as we make the final dash for the coast. Though need to keep a bit of fuel "in reserve" as looks like a cut off Low on the coast which may have us motor the last 50-100 nm. One of my crew has never seen the Farallon's so hoping to pass them by in daylight... time will tell.

    Gale alley is looking "clear" with a forecast "relatively pleasant" 20k northerly for our last few days - Saturday till some time Monday.
    Looks like a Tuesday arrival... maybe mid-day (still too early to really predict)... which would be a 16 day passage (last 6 trips home have been 5 at 17 days and 1 at 16 days).

    Cabbage salad for dinner tonight.

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

  9. #109
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    July 23 From John Wilkerson s/v Perpexity

    Still pretty slow going but supposed to improve tonight or tomorrow as a front with rain comes through. Jim is still stuck. Jamie is hopeful he'll finally be able to turn W. I can go W or N (but not NW) and will probably go N to play it same in terms of avoiding further highs.

    Current projections say 8 day at least, which is what they said yesterday and the day before But very comfortable on board.

    Caught a tuna but it wasn't the tasty kind. Almost finished with 'the count'. Great book if you like soap opera kinds of stories. Great story and writing.

  10. #110
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    From Jim Quanci on the Buffalo Friday July 23

    Sun, Moon, Ship, Tuna and... Wind!

    Yesterday was a beautiful day and evening motoring across the high. Clear skies made for a great sunset and then the fulll (near?) moon made for a bit of a "magic carper ride" as we crossed the placid seas.

    We passed 4 boat lengths from a bulk cargo ship from Korea heading too the Canal (4 boat lengths of 700 feet each... but it was quite close).

    Then this morning, fish on! Big albacore. We debated... 20 lbs or nearer 25 lbs? So sashimi it was, tuna steak (lightly seared) tonight on a bed of rice.
    It was way too much fish... even with sashimi, steaks and precooked morsels for tuna sandwiches tomorrow, we had to throw much of the tuna back to Neptune.

    Now we had planned a refuel for late this afternoon... emptying the last 15 gallons out of the forepeak bladder for this afternoon. Leaving us with "just" a full main tank with 30 gallons. We thought we might have to motor another 12-18 hours to get to the wind, but to our delight, at 5pm the wind came in! We are now sailing at 7k in 12-14k of wind. We expect this to build to near 20k over the next two days making for a quick re-entry into NorCal. And with a now full fuel tank, plenty of fuel to motor the last 100 miles or so across the cutoff low (a Monday night task).

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Green Buffalo

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