Such Fast

June 28th 8am
Hello and good day from Such Fast. It has been cloudy the past few days, which is normal, and the race for me to date has been keeping up with sail changes, navigating around a big high pressure and deciding whether to stay south or stick closer to rumb line. Same question as every race to Hawaii.
You can see from the tracker where I went and for the first night and second day, I was totally overpowered with 2 reefs in the main and the reefed J4.  I guess a J5? Toe rail in the water and any course the autopilot could drive, which was south, was more than I wanted. Sailing at 30 degrees makes everything but laying in the pipe birth hard. 
I’ve seen a few whales and lots of boats until the sunset June 25th, then at sunset we spread out into the dark. Nights have been the darkest black, black-black.  You are in a tiny bubble of the lights from the autopilot control…and how do I turn those lights down again? Two layers of black tape I guess.
Today the boat told me to check the water tanks, and I started in the aft most tank, a hose clamp had fallen off the tank, I lost about 3 gallons but was able to put the clamp back on.  I still have plenty of water onboard for the entire trip. 
My getto solar panels are hanging in there. I give the two outside panels 90% chance and the center one 60% chance of making it the entire way. Extra parts are on board just in case.  Always have back ups to my back ups.
My sailing plan for the first part is to keep the toe rail in the water, keeping the boat powered up, which is not hard to do.  This boat is light and tippy.  It requires lots of reefing and letting out of reefs and going between the J2 and J4. 
For those of you wondering, I have not been seasick too much and today the patch came off, unintentionally.  No idea where it went.  The sea ate it. 
Water has not been coming into the boat, only 2.5 gallons to date, and I found the source of about 2 of those gallons.  This boat has been pretty wet in the past.  I have a new under the floor pump system version 3 for those who know what I’m talking about.  It has been sending water from the port underworld overboard and that seems to be keeping the boat dry.
I’m catching up on my sleep and have been eating and drinking.  The food is great, especially all the fresh food like salads, which are amazing. I still have some ice in the water bottles. That is about it for this morning. 
David/Such Fast

6/30/23Check in Such Fast

7/2 information:  a repair was installed into the forestay system and it seems to be working.  

Dave Garman with Such Fast POL check-in (below).
Dave has been having problems with his auto pilot so he has been hand steering. Dave said “Either the auto pilot motor is burning up, or I can smell land”.
Little sleep. Much Boat! He sounds exhausted.
The bird that landed on his boat yesterday I guess is not much of a conversationalist. He may be ready for social hour with a rum and coke in hand. :)…and sleep. 



Running a knife edge here on the isobars using that barometer you like. The wind and pressure is actually a little better than expected. Maybe I’ll be lucky, I fear not! Hope I don’t complete screw up and stall for days. Sorry in advance. Fixing a lot of stuff as I go along. Figuring out a lot of stuff too. I am having fun though and that was your last bit of advice.

Sunday Day 1

Flooding at the start line already. I knew that and still messed it up. Every year we get huge runoff from the Sierra, I windsurf off Crissy and it is ebbing all the time at the red nun buoy but flooding all the time at Blackaller buoy and all the way down the edge. Thanks though Jackie for starting me early because I’m not sure I would have got over the start line much later. Had to take care not to get in the way of Randy short-tacking a Westsail. He times it well, me not so much. Then I am slow off the coast as usual. Messed all that up. Rough sea state and looks like it could get windy too. I’ve done the sail out to the Farallones a few times now for practice, but I know how bad it can get. Hopefully it doesn’t get that bad.

Momday Day 2

It was bad. Very rough. 25g30, but it was the very messed up sea state that made it so bad. Mayhem for 24 hrs. No sleep. Randy sent me an email to encourage me to keep going. That helped. Equivalent of three reefs in my Schaefer roller main. I heard on VHF that Jamani broke the vang and was ready to help but he got it fixed. Later I heard Circe had to retire. Looks like everything is OK on the boat despite a real pounding, so on we go. Pumped more water from the bilge than I ever have before. I think it was from repeated waves flooding over the cockpit and leaking down the locker hatches. There’s a reason the GGR makes you seal those. So easy for water to get in if there’s any way it can.

Tuesday Day 3

Still using reefed main and my small staysail only. It was crazy to rig a Solent stay on the mast myself the week before the race and Joe built me a staysail over the weekend, but as it turns out I’m glad we did it. Still should not have done it though. Funny it wasn’t the first sail folks said I should get next. They probably thought I had a bunch of sails already. I drool when I see those fancy black racing sails, but then my wallet smacks me on the head.

Food is working out OK. Should have just got more oranges, grapefruit and apples at the Marina Safeway the night before the start though. So easy to just grab one of those and no waste. More baby carrots too.

Getting good at going to the bathroom. Should have practiced that more.

Wednesday Day 4

Parked it in the North Pacific High with no wind. Or in pieces of the NPH. Fog everywhere. Both 130 Genoas up rigged as twins but used as a sandwich but didn’t help. I thought I could skirt around the pressure mess using my barograph but I’m not smart enough. I can hear my friend Dwayne laughing and nodding. Should have listened to everyone and followed everyone. Learned a lot though. Wow: there is nothing out here. No birds. Nothing. I guess I’m the only one who didn’t read the memo to avoid the NPH. In fact it was the last thing Randy said to me. So I messed that up. Another newbie mistake.

Thursday Day 5
I didn’t lose as much time parked in no wind in the remnants of a scrambled NPH as I could have. At points I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life there. A very long night to think about what I’d done. Anyway, took what wind there was during the day and that took me south. Turned out to be a good time to fix things including a sheet that had chafed through already. How does that happen so fast and why did I not see it coming? Good questions. Still no sun and a lot of fog. No stars either so far. How the heck did people do this before the transistor?

Those that know me know I have labeled and numbered everything. What I forgot to number was my underwear.

Friday Day 6

Started a fast (for me) “Kessel” run overnight (but no crazy Ivan’s yet in case Ivan is listening – and yes Ivan I did notice what you did with all my pens and pencils). Wind stayed at 350M-ish at 10-15 knots so far. Not sure how long it will last. The splattered sausage of an NPH could, would, should give me longer sailing at an angle of 70 degrees AWA which is the only sailing point of wind I have in any way tried to measure and optimize. I only have sails for that angle and dead downwind really. Well I did get storm sails but I hope I don’t get to use them out here; scary enough to use those in the bay with my friend Dwayne laughing the whole time. There are some storms coming down the west coast that I think will push into the reforming North Pacific High and strengthen the winds where I am. That was the idea of going north anyway. Well north of everyone else, as I’m pretty much on the shortest distance line, or rhumb line, close to the great circle line. But I think I messed up by going too far north early on. Learned a lot though! Anyway what I have to now is point at Hawaii. I should be able to manage that.


My fast run ended when the wind shifted to 020M. That happened sooner than I thought. Now I have 15g20 kts but at a bad wind angle for me. I have a poled out jib, my 10 oz. very heavy cruising Genoa. Not the fastest setup but that’s what I have. It’s a fun ride anyway. Finally blue skies.

Had to fix a floorboard yesterday. I stumbled, landed on it and two screws supporting the joist popped. When people see my boat they wonder why I label everything, even the screws! I try to touch every nut, screw and bolt on the boat but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to unscrew everything. This was a case where I should have: the screws only went 1/4” into the wood underneath. Getting the wood piece out of the bilge 5 ft below was interesting. Either deliberately flood the bilge or try and use a 3 ft long pair of forceps I have. I just managed to get it out and replace it properly.

At 3am the VHF alarm went off for no position input. Something wrong on the bus that joins all the gadgets. I had an LED terminator from Actisense that allowed me to chase around the wiring and find the problem. Without that LED light telling me where things are good and where they are bad it would have been like fixing Xmas lights.

Monday Day 9
Is it Monday? Is it day 9? I’m losing track. If it is and I’m nearly half way that’s not too bad.

Water situation all sorted out and good. Electronics back in shape. Now just need to tame these poles. I wish I had asked around and maybe bought some beefier ones. I know Randy looked at them a bit funny. I’m using three sheets on each clew so the pole just really acts to pull the sail out and most of the load is still taken on the active sheet.

I saw another glass float today. That’s two in two days. Given the sample size that probably means there are a lot out here. I don’t see too much trash, mostly what looks like soggy cardboard, but again given the sampling size that means there is a lot.  

7/5/23 6:28 PM 

Happy July 4. I was going to hoist the Union Jack but nobody here to see it.

Yesterday was grey skies all day. In general in this stretch the wind has been lighter and switching around by as much as 40 degrees in the morning building slowly during the day and then ramping up a notch after sunset while settling down in direction. Follows the windward side trade wind pattern in Hawaii which makes perfect sense. Does make a huge difference to me as the twin headsails only work above a certain wind speed and in a very narrow wind direction. I don’t think I’d change anything though without having a lot more experience flying spinnakers. For example last night at almost exactly 10pm I got hit by a huge 25-30 knots gust. Like a blast from a canon. I had already furled everything for the night. I don’t think I would want to be flying a spinnaker in that.

If I were good at sighting I could probably have got a sextant sight by now, but I haven’t.

Today turned out to have everything. Grey skies and light winds gave way to real rain storms. Then finally back to blue skies, puffy clouds, real waves to ride and solid trades. What a day!

Well this is as fast as I go so I’m settling down for safe and steady and enjoying the ride. 

Wednesday Day 11
I think I did 150 miles yesterday. Probably not today. Grey skies are back. Light wind at about 10-12 knots this morning but at least it has clocked around to 60 degrees towed Hawaii. Over the last 72 hours the wind has not stayed stable in speed or direction for more than a couple hours at a time. Not as advertised.

The last 48 hours for me were tougher than the first 48 hours. I mentioned the rain squalls night before last. Then last night was horrendous. One after another rip your arms off squalls. What’s that song about a little black rain cloud? Somewhere I read (I think it was Jim) someone say he’s never seen more than 25 knots in all his time doing this trip and back. I took some screenshots during one that hit over 30. There is a big difference between 25 and 30 knots at night trying to go downwind. I’m just not that good at it yet, but I am getting better. I can unfurl pretty quickly, that’s easy. But now I can furl even faster, driven by blind panic. Slack on the port side outhaul, slack on the port side clew haul, same on starboard, haul in the jib furler, PDQ. I can do it in the dark with no lights now in about 30 seconds. I have to. Weirdly I have stopped using headlamps or cockpit lights, I literally just feel for everything.

I don’t think I have seen more than the Big Dipper once on this whole trip so far. From where I am it looks like the whole Pacific is covered in cloud. I would like to see the satellite photos.

I fixed the last squeak that was bothering me, the boom mandrel. I inspect most things every day, but I go a lot by sound. The less extra squeaks, knocks, bangs, taps, and the like the easier it is to hear something that ain’t quite right. I caught one of my autopilots, the CPT, yesterday. It was making the normal “brr, brr” sound clockwise but “grr, grr” the other way. I shot some WD-40 in the bearing. About 10 minutes later, back to “brr, brr” on both sides, and quieter, almost “prr, prr”.

Must… keep… going…


Alive and well on Iniscaw.

Alive and well on Iniscaw.

Max is alive and still aboard Iniscaw.

7/3 Broke wiskr pole. Annoyed but alive

7/4 Max is alive and still aboard Iniscaw.

7/8 Max ok. Bruised ribs. Taking it easy today, maybe rest of way.

7/10 Still alive. I hate squalls!

7/10 I’m alive. 43 miles out


D1 ELMACH : close call with a buoy on the start (there is a picture) and a whale indulging me with the smell of her breath. Happy with my position in the pack

D1 ELMACH : Cold, 20 to 25 Kts, waves cross beam. A sense of deja vue with the recent crossing from BC, at least I knew where to find the tuque

D2 ELMACH: 14C in the cabin, tuque on, that old sleeping bag shows up unexpected … from Tibet to the Pacific Ocean, who would have guessed ?

End of D4 – ELMACH: Enfin du soleil ! Shorts, a bit of Gennaker, still catching-up on some sleep. Sea state much easier with .5 to 1m waves.

7/01 Check-in. All good

7/2, Canada Day report from ELMACH – sailing with a flag. A bit of gennaker but then above 18 Kts it feels like dancing with a partner who can hurt you…

7/2, Clear sight of Henna Cargo ship passing by at 2nm … in clean air condition means probably 5nm of visual

7/3 What a ride yesterday with Gennaker. It went from surfing the waves at 10.4 Kt to watching it roll around the jib furler … 2 hours to untangle. Exhausted. 

Today too many squalls to open-up the flying machine. Heading Southwest will be tricky while wind too much on the stern and waves abeam are rolling Elmach

Bestiary report (all landing on deck) : Squid, Sardine, Flying fish … and unidentified fishing boat spreaders wide open, no AIS on my 6 in the squall 

Towards the finish line with hard sun, squalls and the dolphins for the welcome committee to the Hawaiian island.  
Had to do some acrobatic repair in the middle of the night to reconnect the mainsail to the boom … 25 to 30 Kts squalls didn’t passed unattended. 
But those surfing sessions pushing ELMACH’s 35000 Pounds to 12kts in the middle of the night will not be forgotten.


Just finished mimosas and now working on those chocolate covered …

Definitely not…
Now I know why the goody bag had a personal potty.
Brilliant idea!

Solstice POL check in for 6/29/23 at 3:05 pm PST.
All is well.

Solstice POL on 6/30/23 at 1:08 pm PST. Are we there yet???

It’s Alive!!!
Me that is…. POL on 7-1-23 at 1:05 pm.

Solstice POL check in for 7-3-23. Less than 800 to go now!!! Omg that’s like sailing from SF to Cabo

Solstice checking in… happy 4th of July

Solstice is VERY happy to report in POL today 7-7-23.

Green Buffalo

Green Buffalo POL (and more ;-) )

June 25th
Day 0

Lots of humpback whales… maybe saw 20 including a few “feeding” breeches.  One came “too close”.  Maybe 20 foot in front of the boat “crossing” – so pointed up to clear its tail.

Now the sailing…
Mediocre start that had me playing catch up till the Lightship (when I finally “caught up”).
#1 was the right choice to start… a bit much at times but paid off over time as wind tempered.
Wind slowly backing – so at 6pm went for the “not easy alone” sail change from the #1 to the Jibtop (all went well if a tad slow).
Passed south of the Farralon’s at about 3pm… am now a good 20 miles past the the Rocks – and into the “synoptic” winds (ie the offshore winds that blow day and night).
Wind oscillating from 290-320 degrees (mag) and from 14k-18k.  AWA 60 degrees so 18k with the big 155% jibtop is “okay (but hoping we don’t see 20s tonight).

Jim Q

Green Buffalo POL (and more ;-) )

June 26th
Day 1

Beam reaching in 20k-25k of wind and moderate seas.  AWA 76-100 degrees… “almost” spinnaker time but too bumpy and too windy for this tight a reach when alone.  Crossing the North Asia to Panama Canal shipping route… saw three ships today and one “quite close” (consider a half mile is 3 boat lengths for a large ship). John on Perplexity is right behind me maybe a mile back… as he has been since the start… which makes using the AIS Alarm tricky as it keeps going off because John is so close.

Started eating a wee bit… sardine sandwich… swiss cheese on crackers… trail mix.  This is “early” for me as usually I need to avoid food for 2-3 days to avoid mal de mer… the meclazine I started taking the day before the race must be working.

Weather forecasts has me going further south then first planned as the High in the middle of the track is delaying going NW as originally expected.  And how close to pass the High pressure ridge?  The secret to the Universe like 42.

Spinnaker tomorrow?  Maybe.  By Wednesday the wind lightens and backs another 20 degrees so Wednesday for sure.

Jim Q

Green Buffalo POL (and more ;-) )

June 27th
Day 2

Still beam reaching but in a much easier 10k-16k of wind… gave me the chance to flake and brick the #1 that has been on deck since yesterday.  Bit of an ordeal as the #1 is maybe 50 pounds dry but 100 pounds wet (want to get the deck clear for possible spinnaker launch tomorrow and dropping the jib top on deck). AWA 76-100 degrees same as yesterday. All entrants are now far enough away I can properly set my AIS alarms without the worry of frequent false alarms.

The solar panels (280W)run the boat maybe 6 hours a day (albeit its still a bit overcast with a bit of sun hear and there)… the other 18 hours means running the engine to keep the batteries charged… and I have the “large” autopilot ram which is a real power hog… so running the engine 3 times a day.

Ate some more but not much… swiss cheese and ramen… why so little when I feel just great?… mostly about the hassle of preparing food when at an angle with an occasional “large surprise bump” from the thrice an hour large wave from the north.  Tomorrow comes “real food”… will it be Mac and Cheese or Tortellini with marinara sauce?

Did I mention how much I have been sleeping/napping?  Beam reaching there isn’t much to do.  Check the sail trim and maybe tweak the autopilot a degree or two once every hour or so. I probably slept 10 hours in the last 24.

The weather folks cannot make up their mind on where and when the High in front of us is going to head northwest. Yesterday the forecast had me head a bit lower… this morning a bit higher… what will I see this evening?

Four years ago my wife Mary bought me a book for my 60th birthday titled “Sixty” – which I have now taken up reading (the writer is a literary sort so a lot of soul searching about what one has done with one’s life).  Given I am retiring next year… an interesting read.

Jim Q

June 28th
Day 3

The wind swung aft at 5am early this morning… AWA went from 70-90 to 100-120 degrees… 14k-16k… spinnaker weather!  Watched the wind direction oscillate a bit over a few hours while prepping for the hoist.  Getting pole setup.  3/4 oz AP on deck and hooked up to sheets, guys and halyard.  Double checking everything to insure a clean “first hoist” (nothing worse then making a mess of the first hoist :-) ).  So at 730am up it went.  Clean and easy.  Had plenty of yarn on the chute including frogs legs so it was all the way up before it opened.  Then hustling to get some basic trim while getting the jib top down on deck.  Took two hours to settle everything down… tweaking sheets, tweaking autopilot, tweaking heading… till it got to the point I could stop and take a rest (yes a nap).

All day the wind “occasionally” swings back (a header) and I have to trim the sheet and guy and head off a tad… currently heading off a bit more then I want but I believe the extra speed from the spinnaker makes it worth it. Now hoping the night quiets down a bit… having seen 18k at times on a header (okay but uncomfortable being on the beam)- so I can get more sleep (yes I like my sleep).

Real food today (though not everyone would call it that)… mac and cheese with a can of tuna thrown in (I should have thrown in a can of string beans but forgot).  It was a lot of mac and cheese so had it for both lunch and dinner (waste not want not).  As some of you know I am not a foodie… really just need to get some calories on board after “not much” the first two days.

Had my first bowel movement.  Now non sailors might wonder why I would mention this.  But when going offshore, ones first BM is a good sign that “all systems are go”.  The bump, food and sleep disruptions can make one a bit irregular… and constipation offshore can be a serious thing.

Stripped down to just my longjohns as the boat heated up quite a bit today… foulies and boots are put away till the next time I have to go on the foredeck (as I was this afternoon to flake and brick the jib top and get the spinnaker net set).

T-shirt and bathing suit tomorrow and maybe a shower?

And when is that High going to leave in a NW direction so I can just “point the boat to the palm trees”?

Jim Q

Green Buffalo POL (and more ;-) )

June 29th
Day 4

Restless night last night.  Wind speed as low as 7k and as high as 12k (yes liht).  Wind direction oscillating from 95 to 170 AWA.  Up down. Trim the spinny and tweak Otto (the autopilot).  All night long.  And then the morning was light somewhat frustrating 6k-9k though with less oscillations.  I think I am now across the High pressure “ridge” as the wind has built to 10k-13k and rarely changes directions… and settled in at a great 100-120 AWA (ie fast given these lightish winds).

Hooked up the outgrabber (sheets the spinnaker to near the end of the bottom while also reducing “boom bang”).  Moved a few sails that were on deck to down below (grunt… that heavy #1 and jib top).

Over the next day the course takes us over the “Moonless Mountains” which is a bit of an oxymoron as the moon is out most of the night and you can just about read a book by the moonlight.  The Moonless Mountains are near 4000 feet tall… but off a “plain” that is over 5000 feet below sea level.  So that makes them about the same size as Mt Tamalpais, Mt Diablo and the Santa Cruz mountains (but yes their “tops” are still well over 1000 feet below the surface).  Pull out your chart and take a look at 30 degrees Lat by 140 degrees Long.

Finally got to that tortellini (cheese and spinach) with marinara and parmesan.  mmm mmm good! (despite not being Campbells :-) ).

Did a little sunbathing in my birthday suit (just 15 minutes) to help me feel a bit more human (all the time below deck makes one start to feel like those subterranean people in the “Time Traveler”).  Though I hoped to shower today… that will wait till tomorrow (boy am I looking forward to it).

The boat is “almost pointed at the palm trees now… but that is premature… it will likely be two days on this spinnaker run with the wind slowly lifting before the first jibe (140 ish?).

Jim Q

June 30th
Day 5

Good night and day on the Buffalo.  Chatted a tad with Dave Garman on Such Fast… boy does he have a great VHF installation… he must be over 30 miles away! Still a bit of wind direction and strength oscillating but not so much as prior day.  Took last sail off the deck (the too heavy #1) – and then took a shower! I really needed it. Funny Mary and I purchased a Sunshower at West Marine back in 1989… the plastic water bag that is black on one side so heats up under the sun… and hear it is 34 years and 17 passages later and we’re still using it.  Makes for a great warm shower (in the cockpit… crewed showers are on the foredeck for a wee bit of modesty). Put away the thermals – and its t-shirt and shorts from here on in.

Thinking about the spinnaker… it does a small “pop” every ten minutes or so as the boat rolls… as happens with every boat and chute.  But do the math… 6 pops an hour (most small but maybe one more significant)… 144 pops a day.  The chute has been up 2.5 days so far so that nearing 500 pops.  In another two days it will be over 800 pops.  So when to change out to the next and possibly the “heavier” spinnaker?  Before the inevitable happens (and always at night :-) ).

Course is pretty steady as she goes.  Hanging as high as I can without stressing the chute (which has me just a tad south of optimum course… but “close enough”.  Waiting for the wind to swing further aft – likely late tomorrow – when I will start driving as deep as I can safely (leading up to the first jibe).

Food… finished off tortellini leftovers… snacked on string cheese… and then Korean noodle fish soup (pretty good considering its out of a cardboard bowel).
Had a absolutely scrumptious apple (better get to eating more before they get over ripe).  And I got into the red licorice my son gave me when he dropped me off at the boat the evening before the start (Mary was in Europe <sigh> making the world a better place while I get some alone time. :-) ).

Half way early Sunday? Which could mean finishing Friday the 8th (but its way too early to talk finish dates… a topic for another day).

Fair winds and seas!

Jim Q

July 1st
Day 6

1072 nautical miles that is to both Hanalei and the Golden Gate Bridge.  So half way! And the second half should be a bit faster to the first half – with winds forecast at 19k-20k over the next several days (what I have right now).

I should probably have swapped to the heavy kite today… but mornings are lighter 14k-16k and there are “light patches” at night.  That said, I will do it tomorrow.  The 3/4 oz AP kite will have been up 5 straight days come tomorrow morning.  It mneeds a rest.

Getting used to sleeping while the boat is surging down waves at 10k-12k boat speed… takes some time for the emotions to “acclimate” to sleeping with Otto at the helm when the wind is brisk.

Most years at this point in the race one would be running dead down wind and preparing for the first jibe.  But not this year.  The High is racing NW as fast as we head SW so we end up on its SE corner where the wind still has quite a bit of NE in it.  So here I am on starboard tack easily sailing low of the islands – and struggling to
point to the islands (shortest course) without “spinning out”.

Food… tuna fish sandwich with crunchy chopped celery for lunch.  Why does celery sometimes go limp in a day yet now 7 days after I bought it its still got great crunch? Back to tortellini for dinner… that’s what happens when I but a four serving bag… needed to cook the “second half” before it starts to “grow” something.  :-)

Now its time for getting my evening weather surface progs (ie forecasts) as well as GRIBs to determine if I should try to lean right or left… or just “steady as she goes”.

Give your sympathy to the SHTP Race Committee… they arrive in Hawaii on the 7th… sure possible a boat gets to Hanalei before they do.  Its going to be a close one.
Hey it would be like the inaugural 1978 race… no one there to greet them when they arrived so they had to greet themselves.  :-)

Jim Q

Green Buffalo POL (and more ;-) )

July 2nd
Day 7

Changed the 3/4 chute for the 1.5.  The 3/4 had been up 4.5 days so it needed a rest.  The things one finds… having been on the same jibe the whole time, the after guy was getting a bit chewed up… not near breaking but enough to want to take a few minutes and cut the ragged end back a foot.  The 1.5 that is now flying has a much slower “motion” to it (drags the boat around less) – plus its socked so I can “reef it” in a pinch (the sock lines go back to the cockpit so in a pinch I can grind the sock down without leaving the cockpit).

Now its still a tad cool – and the ocean off Mexico is cool (why tropical depressions spinning out of Central America this last week have quickly died when they hit Mexican waters).
Will this mean less squall action this year due to less “heat”?  I have seen no real squalls yet – or their younger brethern “proto squalls”.  I have heard of Hawaii races with zero squalls but I have never seen one personally.

And what about that fist jibe?  If you believe Expedition, it will be Tuesday (mighty late as these things go).

Oh… the weather forecast has reduced the wind forecast for the next few days from 19k-20k to 16k… so just maybe “smooth sailing” all the way to the palm trees?

Will skip the food situation as its been pretty boring… more tortellini… more tangerines… etc.

891 nautical miles left to go (Friday finish?).

And time to pack that 3/4 chute I just took down…  see ya tomorrow!

Jim Q.  

July 3rd
Day 8

Relaxing day… big heavy chute and moderate 16k-18k breeze… though mostly no sun (but that’s okay because that means no squalls <yet>).
Passed the fishing boat “Sylvia” out of Oahu skippered by a Hawaiian native out of Maui – Nathan. He took a few pics of the Buffalo in her element (albeit from a distance… see details below on Nathan’s mobile… text him and he’ll send the pics… he has “Starlink” so lots of bandwidth). He is a long liner… has been motoring into the wind for 4 days… one more day to go and he’ll be putting his lines out to catch tuna (Ahi?).

The fore guy I had shortened yesterday is peeling its cover “again”. Guess the fore guys are “past their due date”… I’ll swap out for a new one after tomorrow’s jibe Yes its going to happen tomorrow… I suspect this is the latest I have ever jibed… really hitting the right hand corner hard… at risk of over standing the finish line… wouldn’t be the first time having finished two PacCups reaching in under white sails (I have a target finish 50 nm upwind of the real finish to avoid over standing).

Food… more boring… ramen for lunch and chili mac for dinner.

Sure looks like a Friday finish… a day before I booked a hut near the beach for… and two days before Mary and crew arrive. Do I sleep Friday night on the Buffalo, on the beach, or find a lounge chair in someone’s back yard? :-) 

July 4th
Day 9

Miserable last 24
Squall at midnight laid me out… boom in the water… okay time to see if that snuffer works (in 28k of wind)… and IT DID! Eased the fore guy and sheet, ground in the snuffing line which was pre-led and already on a cockpit winch. 20 minutes later the real problem… no wind. Rain… bit of wind… 50 degree wind shifts… more no wind… more rain… spinnaker all over the rig…6 hours later the wind filled in. Yuck (later calculations showed I lost 3 hours in this one “incident”).

Now I did get much better at working the snuffer… 10% snuff… 20% snuff… 40% snuff. Have had a few passing clouds deliver wind in the upper 20s to “practice makes perfect”. I also learned Otto needs to be put to bed when the wind is in the upper 20s… though snuffer+Otto will take me to 30k of wind.

Oh… did I mention we jibed last night? Uneventful (once the wind filled). From here to quite close to the finish is a port jibe most all the way in.

Food… mac and cheese with string beans and chicken thrown in. Yes not a lot of eating today… spent much of the day napping after the too busy night.

With the 3 hour loss… could be a sunset finish Friday (barring I fall into another one of those “half the night” dead zones).

Oh… and happy independence day!
Despite it being the 4th of July… with a little luck no fireworks from the Green Buffalo today/tonight!

Jim Q 

July 5th
Day 10

What a difference a day makes… (“Lovin Spoonful”?)
Last 24 hours hours have been easy fast sailing (unlike the prior day). No squalls. 16k-22k of wind. Rumbling down the road.
Now there have been a few “things”… after taking a shower (which was way way hot… that Sunshower was “cookin”) and changing clothes so I smelled so so sweet… a small seam opened in the big kite (just 3 inches long)… but these things tend to “unzipper” along a seam… so took the kite down, a bit of rip stop tape repair… and back up it goes. Maybe 20 minutes all told. Does have me thinking thru what I do if this chute gives up the ghost… Put up the already socked shy kite… or sock the 3/4 AP and put it up.
Did I work up a sweat! Guess I am taking another shower Friday morning in any case so I am ready for “re-entry” into the world (no one wants to hug a stinky, sweaty, stubble faced sailor).

One dreams A LOT when single handing to Hawaii. At least dreams one can remember details of. Getting up every hour to an abrupt alarm (loud kitchen timer in my case)leaves the latest dream fresh in ones mind. Several times a day for several days. A whole lot of dreaming going on…

Stray factoid…
How much toilet paper should one have on the boat for a passage like this? Well back in 2021 I used 1.5 rolls of toilet paper – and this “fast passage”, I am still working on the first roll (but suspect I’ll move to that second roll before landfall).

Sea life… birds that is…
As I am getting closer to land the birds start showing up… first a frigate bird (many of which hang on the north side of Kauai out by the lighthouse)… then a bird I couldn’t identify but was sort of like a Tropic Bird only a darker color… and then came the booby who made several passes eyeing the Buffalo for a ride. Boobies “love” to hitch rides on passing boats and will leave a mess on deck when they do. I gave this passing boobie a few threatening looks to make sure she/he took a pass on stopping on the Buffalo.

We all know about a “meal in a pot”… well that mac and cheese with string beans and chicken from yesterday is looking to be three meals in a pot (its a lot of food… more then I can finish today).

383 miles to the finish… less then a LongPac… so two days (and two nights). I see no real squall activity… so maybe tonight will be quiet like last night (I can always hope).

Jim Q.

July 6th
Day 11

Another beautiful day…
Last evening started a bit ominous with a great big long black cloud going over head just after sunset… but turned out to be no big deal and the start of a beautiful quiet night (now maybe 15k-16k of wind is too quiet… vs today has been more 16k-18k which really helps move the odometer forward). No excitement and no drama. I thought I would need to jibe onto starboard to get a bit mor enorth before getting to Kauai – but I have been slowly headed and are just going to need a short jibe and jibe in maybe the last 50 miles (vs I am 214 nm from the finish as I write this). And maybe I get real lucky and get headed enough I don’t need to jibe at all (though unlikely).

After 11 days at sea it was time for Mary’s famous cabbage salad. Cabbage, ramen, tuna, dressing (without the slivered toasted almonds and green onions one would have at home). Sorry but I think I waited too long. The cabbage salad was “okay” – but it was a wee past due not having the “cabbage crunch” one expects.

Spring cleaning…
Getting the boat organized for re-entry to civilization. Sole scrubbed, sails organize, extra water stored away for the trip home (just a few cases). Organizing my “go bag” with wallet, mobile, drugs, maybe the laptop (maybe not)… knowing I will likely finish 11pm ish. Too late to hit a bar or restaurant – and my cottage doesn’t become available till 3pm on Saturday. There will be several finishers early Saturday so easy enough to catch a ride (ashore or afloat? not sure where I will end up Friday night… maybe just helping the support boat meet finishers?).

This year was about getting away from the “electronic buzz” we all live in these days. Unplugging. I know as soon as I get a cell connection (typically 10 nm from Kauai)I won’t be able to resist cleaning out the email inbox, text messages and the sort. My work and private electronic life is pretty mushed together… no real separation. Which make dredging thru 12 days of email (likely several hundred emails) sort of like an easter egg hunt. I know most of you know… but if you don’t… I retire from Autodesk at Aprill end 2024 (in 9 months). Which should reduce the gain of my “electronic buzz” a bit. :-)

Jim Q  

July 7th

Day 12 (day 12 ended mid day today so really working thru Day 13)

Last night and day…
The night went easy… 16k-23k of wind… plenty of sleep… except the two hours I sat in the cockpit as two “black meanies” (black clouds) went overhead – which turned out to be much about nothing (but don’t want to get caught flat footed on my last night). Jibed at 5am (Cal time… 2am local time)… uneventful (just what one wants). The morning was blasting with 20k-24k of wind… I even drove a bit. And jibed agin (its hard calling laylines from 800nm, 100nm and 50nm out). Now this afternoon has been a bit frustrating as we approach Kaiai… waves from three directions… oscillating wind direction and strength. Boat “spinning out” even though the wind wasn’t all that much (ie 23k)- which kept disturbing my “beauty sleep” (I like to get a good sleep before landfall to insure I am thinking straight when making mooring decisions).

A visitor…
I caught the culprit “brown handed” last night and even took a few mug shots. Culprit was leaving hazardous waste on deck in the middle of the night. It was a brown footed boobie. He started camping out under the stern solar panels but got uncomfortable when I came his way – so he moved to the boom vang (I think he liked the 20/20 instruments as they make kind of a “red light district”. :-)

Organizing, cleaning, reviewing finish procedures, dumping the last of the fresh fruit (there wasn’t much), getting anchors sorted…

And prepping for two last jibes when I am “up close” to Kauai (fingers crossed… I do want to finish with the kite up).
ETA Todat at 11pm Cal time (8pm Hawaiian time). Sun should have set but still some light in the sky.

So thanks to any of you that have been following along with me on this “12 day tour”!
Some chance will do something similar for the trip home (starting Sunday July 16th if the weather cooperates).

Jim Q.

The Trans Back. 
July 15
Day 0 6pm

Left Hanalei this morning at 10am (thanks Greg!). 50 miles out as I write this.
Wind 11k-14k out of the NE (so we are not getting much Easting… mostly headed north to the land of the walrus).
Looks like we will have these mild winds for the next few days (avoiding the 20k+ coming to Hawaii in a few days as the remnants of a “tropical” passes thru).

Several of us left today… Alex on is Tartan 41 Reverie (he is in sight at the moment), Gary on his Westsail 32 Elizabeth Ann, and Sean and Kim on their J120 Jamani (Sean and Kim left early this morning so well ahead of us). Partings are such sweet sorrow…

Crew (Mary my wife, and Jeff and Glenn – good friends) are settling in to the 2 hrs on and 6 hrs off watch schedule… and learning to live “on a tilt” (eating, toilet, etc).

Will crew want to eat tonight? Or let their stomachs settle a day? We’ll know soon…

Jim Q. 

July 16
Day 1 6pm

200 miles out of Hanalei… 150 miles in the last 24 hours. Wind 11k-20k and gradually lifting us.
Bumpy… though we managed to have our first real dinner tonight (mac and cheese, with string beans and chicken).

Close (5 miles) to Alex on Reverie (Tartan 41) who we chatted with about his fighting off the boobies that have been defecating on his winches.

Weather looking mild and steady for the next 2-3 days – before it goes “quiet” as we approach a wide elongated high (which might mean long 600 mile motor… but its still early).

Its going to be windy in Hawaii in the next few days as a tropical depression collapses as it reaches the islands (why we were quick to exit stage left).

Jim, Mary, Glenn and Jeff


Hi all!

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. 

Tuesday 6/27/2023

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 :)

Happy Friday!

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. 


Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Sunday June 25th

It was a misty morning at the start of the day.
I had finished most all of my last to do projects about 9pm the previous night. The last things to take care of after the swirl of the emergency haul out (oh yeah that’s right, I had to haul the boat on Friday and splashed Saturday morning to fix my max prop that came loose and made it to the skippers meeting just in time!) were to finish installing the boom pieces and lines for the 3rd reef, get the dingy secured and remove the last minute things off the boat I didn’t need. The saying that getting to the starting line is the hardest part of this race couldn’t be more true!
The Admiral Dani and Sailor the dog we there in the morning as well as Jim from W32 Resolve and his sister came by to wish me well at the dock at Pier 39 along with Chris from the Pork Chop Express and his wife Charlotte who are my dock neighbors so we also got to wish each other a safe passage.
I wasn’t sure which head sail to start with as the forecast was for lighter breeze outside the gate. I’m so glad I didn’t try to fly a larger jib! It was breeze on getting out the gate. I had a terrible start and got caught in the counter flood current that had started to flow. I was trying to start with just the staysail to make it easy to tack back and forth as need, but then realized I had to get the jib up to get enough speed to make it across! The other 2 Westsails pulled away from me and made it under the bridge before me. The nice consolation were the pics Dani sent me of my friends from onshore who came out to GGYC and friends that came to see me off from on the water and the day before at RYC, THANK YOU!
It was a washing machine ride out with the last of the ebb pushing us out under the bridge and past point Bonita doing almost 9 knots! It lighted up a bit and I knew the breeze would eventually pick up so I was torn about expending the energy to put up a bigger headsail or not. I decided to leave as it was and made some decent progress in the lighter breeze and nap. I could see about 8 other boats just to the north of me so that was good. The breeze did fill in and we were bounding along at 6.5 knots later in the afternoon. it was a bouncy night with lots of shipping traffic and so I was eventually down to a double reefed main with the working jib and staysail.
A pesto margarita pizza from the oven with fresh basil topped off the evening!

Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Tuesday June 27th
Got some decent rest on and off throughout the night. Woke up early to light conditions and shook out the reefs in the main. Sleeping conditions are great with the port settee on the low side and a great place to nestle in. Some things are money well spent. ie the worlds most expensive sleeping bag from Ocean sleepwear. They make them for the extreme survival ocean races like Vendee type conditions etc. A nice thick fleece liner with an amazing outer shell. Doesn’t seem to mind if you’re wet. You’re still warm and cozy. I call mine The Revenant. If you’ve seen the movie, you understand.
Made some blueberry pancakes to kick off the day and then switched out to my super yankee and we’ve been flying along all day a 6.5/7 knots in 12/14 knots. Could use some more sun to top off the house bank. The new AP is a bit power hungry. Got the folding solar panels out on deck for goal zero battery that I use to charge all the devices etc. Hope I’m sailing down south enough of the high pressure zone. Can actually be out on deck today without getting soaked. A welcome change and I think we are out of the “windy reach”. I set up the Monitor Windvane to start steering this afternoon to give the AP a break and conserve more battery power. If the wind backs a bit more tomorrow I will fly the code 808.
Looks flat up ahead. Hope I don’t sail over the edge…
⛵️Team Tortuga


Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Monday June 26th
A rolly night dodging lots of shipping traffic. There are quite a few big container ships out just marking time and don’t answer their radios on 16 or 13 so you’ve got to try and pass safety while bashing along in the big seas and breeze. Working jib, staysail and double reefed main are the combo today. Tried to get some naps on and off keeping a watch. I do a deck walk (more like a crawl) in the am and before the sun goes down to check nothing is working loose of chafed. All good so far.  Some of the wave trains are off the starboard bow and give a great smack and showering of sea across the whole deck. Amazing the force they have. Had a good breakfast burrito scramble with fresh spinach, tomato and cheddar. The sun came out for a few hours which was nice to feel the warmth and charge the batteries up. Have not seen any other boats in the fleet and AIS is not showing anything either. Hard to gage everyone’s position with the daily update since the pings are not all the same times. My emails to the RC email alias’s are bouncing from my IGO so there was a little swirl on my Pol check in but have that sorted now with Dave. If I was doing a LongPac race I would have hit the turn around mark today! Heard about Circe. My heart goes out to Tony. I can only imagine how hard that was to have to turn around after having to abandon the PacCup last year too. After the blood, sweat, tears and boat bucks that it takes to do this. No easy decision I am sure. Hope he is safe and back in the bay now.
Eggplant Parmesan and garlic bread on the menu for dinner tonight. Always fun trying to meal prep at 30deg of heel!
No sea monsters sighted yet.
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Wednesday June 28th 12:25
It was cloudy with mist on and off through the night with the Wind gusting up into the teens. I had put a reef in the main to keep the weather helm to a minimum. I was still doing 6.5 with the reef. The house bank was down to 12.2 so I decided to run the engine in neutral for 45min before going to “sleep” (which consists of a series of 30 to 45min naps) That engine run took the house up to 12.7 so I called that good for the night. With the cloud coverage it’s not enough sun to top off the house bank and I don’t want to run it down too low. Before running the engine I discovered a coolant leak underneath the heat exchanger. I hope it was just the loose clamp I found. Lost about 1/2 cup of coolant in the small bilge under the engine. Man, a good mechanic is hard to find! who did such a shotty job?! Oh, wait. that was me.
I left the clean up of that for later in the day. Heard a VHF response from a container ship in the am, assuming he was responding to another racer, I saw him pass behind me about 3mi with the AIS alarm blaring. I find comfort in that annoying sound.
Looking at the daily gribs it seems like I was about to sail into a small high pressure zone in the am so I fell off course quite a bit and it seems like I’ve avoided that high pressure area and was still moving at 5.5/6knts. Took the opportunity to clean up the engine room mess and add more coolant with the mellower point of sail before hardening up again once past the last the small high pressure bit. Ive seen a few more container ships throughout the day with no name on the AIS ID. I thought I was out of most of the shipping lines but that’s not the case. I’ve been about to put up the Asymmetrical spinnaker a few times today, got the sheets ready and run and pulled the sail from the V berth but each time the wind starts blowing agin and we start doing 6.5+ knots and would be overpowered by it. There has been a parade of mini squalls all day where the wind puffs up and it gets cloudy and misty as it passes over which is helping my speed. Tortuga has been doing 150 mile+ days which is nice and my fastest time so far doing this race at this point. The other times I’ve sailed the race there was a wind hole for a full day on the day of the start off shore and another I sailed into a high pressure zone with no wind for a few days. I just need to keep the boat moving and not break anything except my own record for the crossing.
A mushroom Pizza is in the oven for dinner tonight. A pacific crossing menu that incudes Pizza multiple times a week is highly recommended! A pizza within a pizza sounds like a good idea = Pizza-ucken. Need to work on the name a bit…
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Thursday June 29th
Its been super light winds all night/morning. At first light I got the Asymmetrical spinnaker up and going and we’ve been ghosting along about 3-5 knots. Treated myself to a toasted egg, avocado and cheese sourdough breakfast sandwich after getting the spinnaker all sorted. Last time that sail was used was on my friend Marks boat for the PacCup last year. We tested it for his boat but never ended up using it on the race. I thought I had made it around and out of the high pressure zone but no luck. I even noticed the barometer went from 1016 to 1020 when I was making my log entries this morning. I wonder how the other boats are fairing or if they made it more south. From what I can tell on the daily position report it sounds like there are a few boats much farther south than me. Probably in better winds I would imagine. Spent the afternoon with the Asym up and gliding along 3-4 knots. If the gribs I’m pulling are right, I’m right along then southern edge of the high pressure blob and should have some more breeze this afternoon. Kicking myself for not giving it more margin and heading more south. If this wasn’t a race, it’s down right pleasant! I don’t have to do parkour to make it across the cabin, I can just walk. What a concept! Took the opportunity to wash the dishes and was able to open the sink drain and it would actually drain. The Asym has been flying all day. The zone of the micro squalls the last few days is no longer. Not sure if that’s because I’m skirting the high or not. Will keep the kite up into the night if the breeze stays this light. I’ve got my mental fire drill all worked out if I need to douse it quickly. By 1700 we were back to doing 5-6knts right on course. 6 or 7 would be better, but compared to earlier today, I’ll take it! Really nice steady sun this afternoon for a few hours and it topped up all the batteries nicely.  Got a couple emails from other racers and it’s nice to see how everyone is doing now we are in a more pleasant phase of the race. The last few hours before sunset it got really light and foggy. Was sailing along at 2-3 knots inside a cloud. The AP was barley doing any steering and it was eerily quite. The wind picked up after the “sun” went down and I was back to 5/6 knots. I could see a moon trying to peek through the clouds giving the sky a pale glow. With the slight wind increase the spin halyard started its squeak again and the sound reminded me of Sailor the Dog telling me it’s his dinner time.
Mermaids? None so far…
⛵️Team Tortuga


Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Friday June 30th
WWDKD? What would Dave King do? For those friends who don’t know Dave, he is the Westsail racing guru, having sailed and raced to Hawaii more times than I can count. His wisdom and words have been with me this trip with his main advice was, “if you’re not sailing at 7.4 knots, trim your sails”. well I’ve been doing plenty of that and trying to keep the boat speed up in the light air. I know the other Westsails are ahead of me at this point from the daily update, but Im still trying to do the Westsail family proud keep the boat moving as best I can and at least beat my previous best time doing the race of 17 days.
The Asymmetrical spinnaker has been flying for 24 hours now. Will likely be another at least another 24hours before the wind starts backing too much for that sail. Then will need to decide on flying the symmetrical spinnaker based on winds and squall frequency. No sun yet this am. Another grey day so far. Pulled another GRIB report and I really hope I’m out of the light winds now although there looks like another possible spot late morning for a few hours, looks too big of an area to try and skirt around. Headed down a bit more south. We shall see. Was a great afternoon and the sun came out for quite a few hours. The little squalls have become bigger and the one around 1900 decided I shouldn’t be flying the asym anymore. It was a good 36 hour run with that sail up. The squall didn’t look like much on the horizon but it was more windy that the others had been on the leading edge and we started rounded it up pretty quick. jumped into quick douse plan action and fell off 40deg, released the sheet and went forward to sock the sail. that worked well and got it all back on board with minimal drama. set the super yankee and staysail for the night and we are still bounding along at 6.5 knots. the sea state has definitely changed and there is a swell off the starboard quarter now rolling under Tortuga. The overall wind speed has increased to about 15knots too, so dare I say we are out of the lighter winds. I put the big clear drop board back in the companionway just in case we get a sneaker in the cockpit.
Had the first spectacular sunset of the trip so far along with a moon rise at the same time over my other shoulder.
Feeling like the planets are aligned…
⛵️Team Tortuga


Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Saturday July 1st  
Really really frustrating morning, the wind shut down around 0200 – 0600. We were ghosting along around 3 knots for most of that time rolling around in the swell. The squall type weather affected the forecast of 15 knots I think. there wasn’t one particular squall, just a large patch of light winds, drizzle and rolly seas. Was felling really down about my position but got a note from Elizabeth Ann early morning and Gary said they were in the same weather pattern. so I felt a little better about not falling even farther behind, but not sure how much it slowed their lead. Had an actual visible sunrise this morning with a rainbow to cheer me up.
The last of the blueberries are gone, with a batch of blueberry pancakes to start the weekend off right. I bought super green avocados and haven’t been able to eat more than one so far. They’ll be great next week I bet. Only a few bananas left and the oranges and apples are holding strong. Have not started using the lemons yet so I think I’ll be able to avoid any scurvy outbreaks onboard. The wind filled in by late morning and started backing more,  so I got the staysail down and poled out the super yankee to port. It’s Day 7 of being on a starboard tack. Been cruising along in the mid 6ks all day. Get bursts into the low 7s with the squalls passing over. Still too breezy for me to fly the symmetrical spinnaker comfortably. There was a period where it lighten up and I thought about it but will see what tomorrow brings. I can cruise at 6.5-7 with no fire drills and ride the squalls passing over with the current sail config. That seems to be working right now. I’ve been seeing lots of batches of old fishing gear and netting going past me today. Disheartening to see and certainly I would not want to get caught up in one of those floating islands of debris.
I noticed my bilge pump going off before taking my evening nap. I investigated further and found the starboard cockpit drain thru hull weeping around its base. There is no seacock or valve it’s just a straight thru hull that the cockpit drain hose attaches too and goes overboard just above the waterline (when not moving around). I tried tightening the hose clamps but seems like it’s weeping at the base. Possible the inner retaining nut is loose or something else is the issue with the thru hull piece. Not sure. I mixed up some splash zone did some boat yoga to reach it and put it in the affected area. It’s curing now and seems to have stopped the water. Will try a second application once the first is cured.
“If it was easy everyone would be doing it”
⛵️Team Tortuga


Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Sunday July 2nd
Was a rolly night and I started my day by checking out the splash zone epoxy repair on the thru hull. I think my first applications were not generous enough with it so mixed a 3rd batch and covered the whole area. Will check on it it a few hours after it cures more. A really beautiful morning although I spent it pulling myself in and out the engine compartment laying across the top of the engine while not trying to damage anything to reach the thru hull and apply the epoxy. Was trying to summon the energy to get the spinnaker back up and then the wind filled in and we are doing 7knts again.
Had our first squall downpour for a few minutes where it was raining hard. Nice to clean the decks and the sails off from the crusty salt build up. Right before that downpour hit, the wind went super light so were kind of thrashing around in the swells with no wind in the sails. Surprised how cool the temperature dropped while it passed over us. It’s been continuously raining most of the day now. Checked the epoxy repair and it seems to have mostly stopped leaking for now. The true test will be when at some point I’ll need to be on a port tack and that thru hull is completely submerged. For good measure I added a 4th layer in the evening so I really hope it holds.
I thought I had been resting up enough on the trip so far, but today it really hit me how tired I am from all the months of race prep and the crazy last minute haul out etc. Took a lot of naps today and kept the boat moving as best I could in the lighter airs.
It’s been a full week underway now from Sunday to Sunday. Should hit the half way mark tomorrow.
It was overcast and rainy all day but had a nice sunset. Thought I saw some small birds going in and out of the waves but the realized it was flying fish!
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Monday July 3rd
We hit the 1/2 mark at 0630 SF time this am! Was nice to get to that milestone.
The wind got very light and shifty in the night so it was hard to find a point of sail that wasn’t thrashing around in he swells.
Finally found a good point of sail that was a bit higher than I wanted to head but it mellowed out things and I figured it would shift back. Finally got a few hours of sleep in the early morning. Today was supposed to be in a zone of about 12-14 knots of breeze but it was more like 5-8knots for hours this morning/early afternoon. Rolling around like that is hard on morale and the gear. Just trying to stay positive knowing my position in the race standings can’t be good unless this crazy light air stuff is spread through the course. Was getting ready to set the spin with enough breeze and then in a matter of 10min it went from 10 knots to 20 and we were barreling along at 7.5knts of boat speed. Had that boost for a few hours. it’s going to be a long last half of the race if the wind continues to be so much less than forecast.
Had my 1/2 way mark celebration with the presents, cards and pictures Dani sent along with me and some ice cream. The freezer isn’t really all that frozen since I’ve been shutting the refrigerator off at night to save power, with all the cloud cover we aren’t getting a full charge everyday. It was super mushy ice cream, but delicious nonetheless!
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Tuesday July 4th

Happy Birthday America! Was another super light shifty wind to the start of the day. Was just trying to find a combination of course and sails to minimize the rolling in the swells. The wind finally filled in and we were 5.5/6 knots all day. I was feeling pretty lethargic and couldn’t motivate to get the spinnaker up. I smashed my knee pretty good a few days ago tripping on deck and it was sore, but then doing the thru hull repair I had to do some crazy boat yoga to get all the way over the engine and into the stern area. The only way to support myself and have my hands free, was to put all my weigh on my right knee. After doing that for a 4th time, I’d really done something to my knee cap. It started swelling and getting red. In the picture, its looking better than 2 days ago when it was a big red blob. Been icing throughout the day the last few days and taking it easy and that’s helping keep the swelling down. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so run down. Anyway, It’s hard to move around right now so my moves getting around a bouncing boat are very calculated. Today was spent being mellow and icing my knee. Hoping the wind holds and we don’t start the day again tomorrow bobbing around for a few hours before the wind fills in, which seems to be the pattern the last few days. Still mostly clouds today but actually had a sunset for a moment.
Day 10 and still not shorts weather! I want my money back!
⛵️Team Tortuga

Wednesday July 5th
Another light wind start to the day. Looking at the weather forecast it’s going to be pretty light today and tomorrow. Usually on this part of the race it’s blowing in the high teens and gusting into the 20s and you’re basically holding on for the ride. That would have been fantastic this year but not the case. Feeling a bit better today although my knee is still pretty swollen and it’s a challenge to move around. If it continues to be on the lighter side maybe I’ll try to get the kite back up. Would be so much faster, but it’s a lot of foredeck work get the all spinnaker gear up and launch with limited mobility etc. Made contact today with the medical outfit the PacCup uses for medical advice at sea. Just to be safe on the safe side. The knee is definitely painful, but the swelling is more alarming, it’s also swollen off to the side of my calf, not where I injured it. The feedback from the Dr is I’m doing all the right things, icing it elevating it taking ibuprofen and trying to keep weight off it it. They had me draw a circle around the red swollen area with a sharpie to see what the progress is the next 12/24 hours. Great idea! So Taking it easy again and been doing a comfortable 5.5 knots pretty much all day. Great for cruising, terrible for racing. The ring that the topping lift and down haul attach to on the whisker pole decided today was its last day. Heard the pole drop and some chaos. Got some dyneema lashing and made a new loop and back in business. Was sunny pretty much all day and the batteries got over 13 for the first time the whole trip. Ended the day with a gorgeous sunset. As the sun went down I could see a series of squalls running mostly parallel with us all stacking up and making one larger black squall mass, getting bigger and darker and more ominous. I dropped the head sail to slow us down a little to try and let is pass and after about 20 min I also headed up about 40 deg for 30 min to let it pass. I didn’t want to take any chances of getting caught up in that one. It looked nasty! There was a large white light off in the distance to port. Assuming it was a commercial shipping operation of some sort. Didn’t see anything on AIS but with the amount of light, assumed it was still a good 5-10 miles away. Eventful way to end the uneventful day.
Singlehanded sailing takes a village. Dani helping coordinate coms with the Drs and my friend Jim sourcing all the parts I need for repairs HI, just another example of the team efforts. There is no “I” in Team Tortuga
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Thursday July 6th
The most uncomfortably night of the trip so far. Near impossible to get any sleep with the crazy rolling motion side to side with the counter sea state colliding. Did slightly doze off for a bit to be shaken awake around 0530 with the sails slating terribly and doing about 2 knots. Could sort of make out the squall behind me headed our way and made sense being on the leading edge no wind zone. Calm before the storm! Well not really, but had a nice burst of speed for an hour and was doing 7.5knots. First time the chart plotter showed less than 100 hours to finish. 99 hours of miles on the wall, 99 hours of miles, take one downpour, pass it around, 98 hours of miles on the wall… Now THAT is a song I can get behind! If only that was a consistent boat speed. Back to light winds all morning and eeking out 5.5 knots. The swelling on my knee has gone down a bit, still swollen on the side of my leg though. It’s turning a dark red hue. Really can’t put much weight on it. Keeping off of it as much as I can. More light winds all day. Really hoping the gribs are right and we start getting into wind in the mid to high teens soon. Had a view to an amazing sunset tonight and a pesto penne with fresh spinach, tomatoes and olives for dinner.
The Kraken has not been sighted as of yet.
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Friday July 7th
I’m no longer awarding the most uncomfortable night of the trip, as I had thought the previous was it, but now all the remaining nights want to win it? Nope. Sorry. No longer part of the Tortuga awards program, so you can all stop vying for it! I will say, there was a real moment of zen hand steering around 0300 doing a smooth 7.7 knots of boat speed as a squall was passing over us and the boat felt perfectly balanced while the rain and winds whipped past for about an hour. The winds, dare I say, have picked up a little this later this afternoon in more the 15 knot rage which is keeping us closer to a steady 6 knots of boat speed and which is bringing us that time to finish read out on the chart plotter so much closer! When we occasionally jump up to 6.5/6.7 of boat speed it actually becomes less than 72 hours! Thats only 3 more days of singing sea shanties, getting rum rations and carving exquisite scrimshaw art. Because of course that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time!
The red sharpie perimeter drawn on my leg has worked and kept the swelling from my knee from spreading farther. Every medical kit should have one of these magic markers. Still lots of icing, elevation and taking vitamin I. Had another great sunset, the boat was doing 6/6.5 with winds the high teens into the wee hours.
We are getting there. slowly, but we are getting there.
⛵️Team Tortuga

Tales from the deck of Tortuga
Saturday July 8th
The squalls continued throughout the night helping keep the boat speed up. Had just popped my head up the companion way to check the glowing sunrise happening behind us. No sooner had I done that AIS alarm went off. There was a boat headed our way on our starboard quarter. There was no name displayed for the AIS ID, but saw it doing about 9 knots so assumed it was a Transpac fleet boat. Hailed them on the VHF radio and sure enough it was SV Juno from the transpac fleet. Had a nice chat with them. The asked me what my wind speed instruments were reading. I said “light in the morning and windy in the afternoon.” “Oh, you’re a real Sailor” was the reply” I don’t have a wind speed indicator regardless. Haha. They passed me astern by about 2 mi doing 10knots under spin. Light air and rolly seas most of the day. Frustrating knowing that it’s normally much windier on this part of the course and I should have been making a lot better progress. The swelling of my knee cap has gone down but not the swelling of my leg around the injury. The Dr‘s recommend I start taking antibiotics today just in case something else is awry with fluid build up etc. Danielle had sent them a list of all my meds on board so I had what was needed.
Was hoping for a Mai Tai Monday arrival but will be more like a Tiki Time Tuesday one at this point…
⛵️Team Tortuga

Sunday July 9th
Had a clear sky for a few twinkling hours with loads of constellations visible before the light pollution of the moon rise. Steady breeze throughout the night with another beautiful sunrise. Had a few intense squalls in the morning with some rain. I’ve been able to keep my sails up and just drive the boat down as it passes over us. Saw. 8.4knots of boat speed for a bit as one was passing over. The swelling of my knee and the part of my leg that puffed up next to the injury has gone down a little. Hoping the antibiotics are doing their job. The wind was strong in the mid to high teens today until about 3pm and then it got into one of its light zone moods of 10-12 knots with rolling cross swells. Super frustrating watching the time to finish diminish when you go from sailing at 7 knots to 5 knots. It’s almost a day longer.
Made up a batch of pesto gnocchi for dinner as well as the next few meals.
I’ve been using both Pelagic autopilot actuators switching between “Cheech and Chong” as they have become affectionately named. Cheech is the standard size Pelagic that a I’ve been using at night, because it takes less power but he likes to talk and talk and is always telling stories. Chong is the heavy unit (heavy man, heavy) I installed it before this trip. He’s a lot less chatter, but you’ve got to keep an eye on him and his course sometimes gets cloudy. He’s tripped on the breaker a few times, but I’ve got on a new higher amp one coming to the islands. Far out man!…
⛵️Team Tortuga

Circe retires from race

Tony Bourque s/v Circe has retired from the race.
From Tony, ” I got hit by a big wave at about 4am this morning.
Spun me around and wiped me out good. Many things on boat aren’t
working and I took a big fall. Nothing broken. Just bruised. Also have really really bad seasickness. Headed back to SF.”


Horizon, Day 1:  It’s been a day since I cast off. The sea has been angry with me all night. Chastising me for a bad start? Washing off my sins? Horizon and the yet to be named Windvane did me a solid. I tended to their needs and they kept me safe. 30 kn gusts, went south a bit. Daylight reveals the carnage, but also gives me back my confidence. :)

Horizon, Day 2:  Sometimes I have more choices than I need. For example, all my gloves are either damp, a little wet, or wet.  If I choose the damp ones they might get wet, so I decided to wear the wet gloves.  That’s a problem I was solving last night.  Bummed to see my friend turn around.  This morning seas are relaxed, feeling good.  Morning made better by chocolate covered almonds. 

Horizon, Day 4:  SSDD = Spinnaker set, Deep downwind.  I’m trying to get out of low wind as quickly as possible.  Working a lot harder today than any other day trying to get the boat to move.  Finally moving at 6, with 8 on my back.  Not in the direction that I want to go, but I’ll take it.

July 1, 2023    I requested a dinner reservation with 360° ocean views. Fortunately they had a table for one.

July 2
Horizon, Day 7

This morning, the Pacific surprised Horizon and I with a gift of flying fish on deck to commemorate one week at sea. I respectfully returned them to the ocean because they couldn’t help me trim the sheets.

July 4
Here’s Horizon latest race report. Safe travels to Kauai!! See you there!

Horizon, Day 10 They tell you to just wait for a squall and you can shower. What they don’t tell you is that you’re probably nervous as heck trying to avoid the squall and making sure it doesn’t rip anything out. So, I just used my shower head in the cockpit today for my first shower underway, with views of the setting sun and amazing clouds! Don’t shower in a squall. Happy 4th!  

Horizon, Day 10
90% of my trip has been with the wind wane steering. Yes, it is slower, but I feel safe knowing that any sudden wind shifts won’t negatively affect my rig when I’m snoozing. Also that I am not stressing my ship’s rudder, which seems to be a frequent cause of failure for some boats in the past. I was surprised to see that it outperformed my auto pilot when deep reaching. It especially shines at night under a starlit sky mirrored on the black sea by sparkling bioluminescence gushing over my side decks and in my wake. I often think about how privileged I am to be part of a timeless tradition of Polynesians who charted these same waters eons ago. I can imagine their excitement at nightfall which was their only way of knowing where they were. Although they would have had bad luck on this trip. Most of the nights have been very cloudy.