This is a communications test as well as a report of the first two days of the 2023 SHTP.
Reverie started the race at 10:15 (Group B – Lono division – also Green Buffalo (Cal 40), Solstice (Cal 40) and Circe (Freedom 40)).
Winds on the nose W 12-18 coming out of the Golden Gate. Ebb tide about 2kts. Doing over 9 kts SOG for a while!! Got out of the shipping lanes by 11 am. Light winds NW 10 kts. Following Solstice and Green Buffalo.
Big pod of grey whales (short dorsal fin like a little hook) before the South Faralones, spouting on both port and starboard – looked like they were swimming in circles (maybe feeding?)
Light winds Sun afternoon, 6-12 kts. Flew code Zero for a couple of hours (inspired by Perplexity who passed me flying his code 0 around 14:00). By 16:00 it was getting to about 15 kts so the code 0 had to come down.
Sunday evening and through the night the winds continued to build, eventually topping at NNW 25 kts, with a couple of periods above 25. Beam to broad reaching under full main and 150 genoa furled in to about 100%, doing 8-9 kts. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this fast in Reverie. Pelagic autopilot was struggling (expectedly) on the beam reach point of sail, I had to adjust sail a few times during the night. Had a better time after the wind backed so that we had 100-105 deg true wind.
Fast, bumpy, and wet ride, lots of water in the cabin (leaks and showering down the companionway), sleeping in my foulies. No sea sickness (took Bonine), but not much appetite. Just ate some bananas and power bars for dinner.
On AIS, Green Buffalo, Jamani, and Solstice ahead of Reverie, and Circe, Siren, Elmach, Gwendolyn, and Pork Chop Express just behind. Perplexity was also ahead but disappeared from AIS during the night. Until early evening also saw Such Fast peeling off to the south, and Elisabeth Ann, Horizon, and Eos South.
The winds abated some but still NNW 17-23 though out the day, Reverie averaging around 8 kts on beam to broad reach. By the morning only Green Buffalo, Solstice and Jamani ahead and Siren behind could be seen on AIS.
Daily report from aboard Reverie
Winds steady all day in 12-18 kts range, backing from NNW in the morning to N in the evening. Seas calmer, much more comfortable ride, still pretty fast, averaging 7-7.5 kts. Have been following Solstice, who is about 10 nm ahead, in VHF contact. His AIS receiver is not working, while I have non-functioning AIS transponder. So between the two of us we have a fully functional AIS system This was useful as there were a couple of close crossings (within a few nm) with tankers going SE towards the Panama Canal.
Reverie daily report Wed 6/28
Winds light and shifty all night, but I decided not to put up Code 0 and get some sleep instead. As a result, Solstice sailed away from me and out of AIS range. Elmach caught up and passed me in the morning. Grey skies and occasional drizzle. Put up code 0 after breakfast (around 09:00 – I slept in :), as the winds were fluctuating every 30 min from less then 10 to over 16 (and getting headed as wind piped up). Got hit by a ‘micro squall’ – wind headed about 30 deg and got up to 17-18 kts for about 5 min. After that wind abated to 9-12 kts and code 0 was not enough. Finally (after much wondering if I’ll get hit by another wind shift) put up A2 at 12:30 after waiting out a squall to pass behind me.
After that, it’s like someone flipped a switch – felt like a completely different world. Going downwind, sunny, and much warmer than the previous couple of days.
Awaiting the afternoon position report – I think I slipped down a few places due to procrastinating with the code 0/spinnaker. I feel I need a lot more experience sailing downwind – trying to figure things out as I go.
Had a bit of fun last night (Wed) with the big A2 (asymmetrical spinnaker, almost 1500 sq. ft.) as the wind freshened towards evening, 16-18 kts with gusts up to 20-21 once every 15 min or so. A2 getting overpowered, Pelagic not coping, rounding up in gusts. Had spinnaker wrap around 19:00, but it came undone with a few course changes and pulling on the sheet (need spinnaker net – should’ve listened to Jim Quanci!
After sundown winds lightened but still some gusts. Had to sit at the wheel till midnight. Not much sleep, worried about rounding up. Finally figured out that the wind mode on Pelagic works fine, so got some sleep 30 min at a time.
6/29/23 (Thurs) wind backed and got light (ENE 6-8 kts maybe? – my wind gauge seems to be off for low wind speed), not enough to sail deep, slow going, main flapping, A2 collapsing all the time, only doing 3-4 kts. Even went wing-in-wing with A2 for a while. Some wind finally filled in around noon. Warm, partly cloudy, t-shirt and shirts weather, I guess we finally made it South!
Fri 6/30 – everything ok aboard Reverie, a pod of dolphins playing under my bow
Nice steady winds all day mostly in the 14-16 kts range, champagne sailing (a welcome change after the last two nights with multiple gusts and round-ups). Trying to learn to sail VMC angles – slotcars phase of the race!!
Pod of dolphins played around the boat around 14:00.
Made (over the last 2 days) and installed spinnaker net a la Green Buffalo.
Saw some floating plastic trash in the water – I guess we are skirting the great Pacific garbage patch
Sunday 7/2 – half-way party, yay!! All good aboard Reverie – and quite a few things happening, see report by e-mail
6/30/23 (Fri night): Not many stars seen at might due to clouds, but can definitely see Venus and Mars every evening (around 22:00-midnight) as they are on top of one another and look super bright. First time the clouds cleared and I saw it, I thought it was a helicopter with its projector beam on flying towards me.
7/1/23 (Sat) Forecast models predicted 14-15 kts (45-50 deg) but I’ve been seeing 20’s all day. Fast but not comfortable ride, constantly worrying about rounding up, between wave action and A2 overloading, Pelagic does not cope well. There’s lot of shock loads on the sail and the rig when it happens (I guess my A2 was designed for that? – it’s a heavy 1.5 oz spinnaker).
180 nm made good in 24 hrs 14:45 Fri to 14:45 Sat!
7/2/23 (Sun) Passed half-way point (DTF 1060 nm) at 01:30. But did I have to work for it!! Around 22:30 last night the spinnaker wrapped. 2 says ago I put up a spinnaker net, and it worked. Well, the A2 found a way to wrap around the dousing sock line! It was cinched pretty tight, I tried puling on the sheet, changing course, but nothing worked. And since it was holding the sock line pretty tight, I couldn’t douse the sail. It was blowing about 20 kts and no indication that it would abate any time soon. So after some pondering I decided that I had to take it down without the sock. Boy, that was a workout! The foot of that sail is 35 ft, so inevitably some of it got blown off the deck and into the water. Luckily, I was able to pull it back onto foredeck before the whole sail got sucked under the boat (that would have been bad!!) Once the pile of wet mess was on deck, the sock line unwrapped easily but I had to thread the sock back over the sail so that I could hoist it without it deploying. All of this took the better part of 1.5 hours, but around midnight the A2 was flying again and Reverie was making good progress. The wind lightened a bit to 17-19 kts and got steady, so I was able to go below and get some sleep, checking on it every hour.
The last check, around 8am, showed that we were moving slowly (only 5 kts), and the spinnaker was wrapped again. This time, it wrapped around itself into an hourglass (it may have been related to the previous wrap – perhaps I didn’t fully undo it in the dark). Down came A2 again, this time it took about 2 hours to lay the kite on deck, unwrap it (it put at least 10 turns around itself!), and pull the sock over it. Hoisted it for the 3rd time around 10:30, only to discover a menacing looking cloud that formed on my starboard quarter a half-hour later. I watched it for a while, but it was clearly catching up with me, so I took A2 down again. After that, I decided that I needed a break; Unfurled the genoa and went below to have breakfast and open half-way party box – thanks Margie!!! It was awesome to get some kind words of encouragement at that moment.
At 11:05 sailed close by a big floating piece of fishing net.
Finally, the clouds cleared, I put up A2 for the 4th time at 13:15, and was rewarded with a few hours of glorious sailing in 15-18 kts of steady winds. Champagne and candy for lunch!! (Literally – that’s what was inside Margie’s half-way box – thanks again!!).
7/3/23 Variable winds all day, sailing under a cloud cover which makes wind fluctuate in strength and direction. This makes for slow going since A2 cannot set properly and collapses often even in 15-20 kts of breeze. Hit a slow patch in the afternoon, wind kept backing, so I decided to jibe around 18:00. This worked out ok since the wind kept backing to about 55-60M, so I was able to sail rhumbline towards Kauaii on port pole.
7/4 Reverie and skipper ok, but ripped A2 last night after hourglass wrap
Sailing with poled out genoa as winds were gusting into 20’s all day
7/4 16:00 Reverie is reporting loss of tiller for aux rudder, meaning can’t use Pelagic to steer as intended. Trying out different ways to steer
Pelagic itself is ok and primary wheel steering is ok. Trying to drive the wheel with Pelagic, but it’s slow (3rd reef in main). I guess I’ll do some fishing:)
7/4/23 Around 05:00 PDT (03:00 local time?) the A2 once again wrapped itself into an hourglass. I tried to unwrap it, but in the process the lower part got overloaded (it was about 20 kts of wind at the time) and ripped about 8 feet from the clew
So I packed it, poled out genoa and went to sleep. We were making 225-230M course (Hanalei is 238) going dead down wind all night in 14-16 kts. In the morning, around 09:00 PDT, there was a big cloud touching down behind the boat. Once it caught up, the wind piped up to 20-25 and Reverie was off surfing down waves touching double digits.
Winds stayed in the 18-20 kts range most of the day, so going ok without spinnaker, dead down wind wing-on-wing.
16:00 PDT: discovered that the tiller arm and tiller of my aux rudder are missing! The tiller arm is a 3/8” x 1” stainless steel bar stuck through the rudder stock, which is a 1.67” diameter stainless steel pipe (1.5” diam. nom schedule 40, through which a rectangular hole was made for the tiller arm). The bar snapped clean off where it exists the stock!
This is a major set-back as it was my primary method of auto-helming the boat (Pelagic tiller pilot turning the aux rudder).
Spent a few hours trying to come up with another way to steer. Tried wind vane, but it has difficulty steering downwind, and also rudder shaft seems ‘sticky’ and the trim tab cannot turn it quickly (it gets stuck at an angle and then it takes a while for the trim tab to force it to turn).
Finally, attached Pelagic to the main rudder steering wheel (I previously made an attachment bracket specifically for that), and found the sail combination that allows it to hold DDW course (3rd reef in main and fully unfurled poled out genoa let forward). Slow going, it does ok but gets knocked off course once in a while (on average once every 1-2 hours). Barely able to steer, a spinnaker is not an option. My competitive race is over
Now I’ll just have to cruise into Hanalei Bay and see if I can make repairs there. 640 nm to go.
7/5 Wed – Reverie ok, making slow progress (poled out genoa and 3rd reef in main) with alternative AP set-up Pelagic driving main rudder steering wheel
Have been making decent progress with the emergency AP set-up, averaging around 5-5.5 kts as wind was 15-17 kts, and was able to get some sleep.
Saw flying fish this morning – flying low, very fast, in an arc, like tracer bullets.
The wind abated to below 12-13 kts in the evening, not enough, crawling along at 4 kts.
I’ve been seeing floating plastic pieces in the water every day since we got below 30 deg South. Clump of fishing nets, a volleyball, cutting board, etc. mostly white – bleached by the sun – so been floating for a while.
Still light wind in the morning, direction shifted slightly to 70M. Changed to port pole for genoa and 2nd reef in main, a little better, doing over 5 kts in 12-13 kts of wind.
7/6 Thurs - all ok on Reverie, but reporting now complete loss of aux rudder (shaft broke inside blade). Continuing as before with Pelagic driving wheel
Fri 7/7 – all ok on Reverie, found sail config that works with Pelagic/wheel combo, have been making decent progress (for non-spin division:).
Sun 7/16 All good aboard Reverie, Pelagic coping ok, sailing close to Green Buffalo.