R/C has arrived at the condo overlooking the finish line at Hanalei Bay.
Here are the latest reports from the racers.
Northern Star, 6/29/21, 09:30
Northern Star Daily Check-in. Passed the halfway mark last night, thank you for the party goodies from Randy. All is well aboard Northern Star. Jamie is alive and healthy.
Hula, 6/29/21, 10:23
After a terrible beginning to the relationship, the spinnker sock and I are now the best of friends! He saved my butt twice last night. 3 hour class paid off!!
Wild night of driving. Pretended I was an Olson 30 and put a 1 in front of the knotmeter. I hit 19.5 knots!! Naptime…
Green Buffalo, 06/29/21, 10:29
Smooth sailing… 12k-14k… saw 17k a bit (which makes napping a bit “edgier”… going to take some time to acclimate too sleeping under chute in the increasing winds… yes you would think I would be used to it… but not yet).
Read a book yesterday… “Beneath a Scarlet Sky”… great book about a teenager living in Milan in WWII… the brutality, the camaraderie, tragedy, love story (exactly what one would expect from an Italian story/opera).
Not that I planned to read a book. But things are so “steady” – getting a bit bored.
Luckily I had at some point downloaded a few books off Amazon onto my mobile.
And then book #2… what I found in the SHTP goodie bag… half way thru Jackie Philpott’s “Not a Yacht Club” novelette… great fun reading about old friends! And getting to know some old friends a bit better!
Running down the rhumb line…
Wind picking up a bit… say 15k average… under dark clouds have seen wind speeds in the low 20ks (which makes for restless sleeping). So decided it was time to drop the 3/4 and hoist the 1.5 (which was in a snuffer).
All went well till I finished the hoist and saw the “pull the hoop down” line had untied from the hoop and was now laying at my feet! As they say, snuffers are “cranky”. Maybe drop it tomorrow and rety on the hoop line – so I can be ready for the last few days as the evening winds can be expected to increase (but some chance light to no real squalls because the water is cooler then normal).
Broke the temporary boom vang “sling” (where it attaches to the mast)… just a minute to replace (and I suspect it will break a few more times between now and the finish… a lot of cyclic loading on vangs).
Back to cabbage salad for dinner last night… maybe quesidilla’s for dinner tonight (I wonder how the cheese, guac and sour cream have stood up… I will know soon).
Running down the rhumb line…
Shark On Bluegrass, 6/29/21
All well, moving slowly but moving at last!
Finally some wind during the night! All well on the Shark
Quality of life super keen on Mountain
All is peachy on Mountain!
i am here, the trade winds are not.
Perplexity, 6/29/21, 18:39
I’m feeling better because we are ripping along tonight and I think I now appreciate that the wind builds through the day. That said I tied my spinnaker in a knot and dropped my jib over the side today. Oy!
Aloha, 6/29/21 17:58
Well, it’s day eleven underway now and I just passed the 700 nautical miles to go marker a few minutes ago. For those whom are somewhat mathematically challenged, that puts Aloha at just over 2/3 of the way through from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay.
I have begun to slowly try to actually adjust my sleep schedule/internal clock to Hawaii time however the introduction of the trade winds light (as I have been calling them because they are lighter than normal in my experience) makes it difficult. The reason is the trades generally around noon local time or a little later begin to fill in, then as the sun goes down they maintain a steady pressure with the afternoon, but you get the addition of night time squalls. Through the night and into the early morning the squalls tend to build in strength and will have a greater effect on the boat. Then, not long after sunrise, winds die down to a moderate 8 knots or so typically (less the last few days), until about noon when the cycle beings to repeat itself.
The rub being that with this schedule the ideal time to get some rest becomes the hours between about 7am and noon Hawaii time. Tie that all in with other important things onboard such as navigating, keeping a relatively decent watch out, meal prep and eating – so meaningful rest can and will likely be put on the back burner for the remaining few days should the winds continue to build as they are forecasted to.
Today we saw a slight windshift which had been predicted in the gribs. It came in at around 4pm west coast time and led to a gybe back to starboard allowing to gain some mileage back to the west for a better angle to the eventual finish on port tack in a few days time.
Last night for dinner I enjoyed a full serving of lasagna from backpacker pantry, this one I must say is right up there with the beef stroganoff as far as dinner quality goes. Obviously it lacks the form of a proper pan baked lasaga, but all the great flavors are there from the delicious ground beef to the noodles and spicy marinara sauce, what a treat, certainly better than I could ever make from scratch back at home.
Last night I had a minor issue with the autopilot as it decided to veer about 30 degrees downwind of the course which I had set it for. In the span of about a minute before I rolled over in my bunk and noticed it, the spinnaker had taken itself and gotten wrapped around the furrled up staysail at least 8 times. This meant I had to throw on my life jacket and head lamp, tether in and run up to the bow, pull both sails about halfway down and unwrap them. Fortunately at the time, the winds were a fairly moderate 11 knots. After unwrapping the two, the spinnaker was still very much wrapped on its own, so I doused it all the way into the cockpit so that I could run the tapes on it and get out any twists before heading back up to the bow to hook it back up and reset it.
A process that took maybe 15 minutes and shouldn’t have cost me more than a half a mile, but which should be easily avoided had the autopilot done its job and been able to steer a straight course. As I type out this email, the autopilot again has been choosing to vary wildly in heading with a range of about 30 degrees which it is willing to steer. Imagine a blind driver on the I-5 freeway who is taking up all 6 lanes of traffic and only veers one way or the other when he hits the rumble strips on the shoulder, that’s about what I’m dealing with for an autopilot from time to time.
Breakfast this morning was a standard affair of Mountain House granola with blueberries and milk, a very simple one that doesn’t even require heating but still very much hits the spot for breakfast with a bit of sweet along with the grains. For lunch I had a PB&J as per usual and an apple, and while i have two apples left, i fear they may have met their demise as the one i had with lunch had passed by ripe and was no longer at its peak of freshness, a sad moment. After lunch i had a very nice sea shower to wash away the stink of the last few days and a great fresh water rinse from the Waterport. From my observations and experience, simply washing with sea water will never quite do the trick as the salt residue left over always seems to leave me itchy and feeling very dirty, for that I am very grateful for my ability to properly rinse off with pressurized fresh water whenever i feel like it.
With that, I suppose I should begin to rummage around and see what I should have for dinner before calling it an early night to hopefully get some rest should I need to hand steer or make any major corrections this evening. Keep on hopping for wind! Aloha!
Aloha Day 12 Report
Another eventful evening last night has given way to a very, very mellow day.
For dinner last night I enjoyed Mountain House Mexican Rice and Chicken which for anyone who has been onboard for dinner knows the elevated levels of flatulence to follow. Fortunately this issue is dramatically reduced when one happens to be sailing alone.
Sometime around dinner, after I had written my last update about the blind rumble strip driver that was the autopilot, I decided to throw in the towel on that head unit for the pelagic and try out the spare one that I had brought in case the original one died. The spare one is borrowed off of Elliot James’s boat Bloom County and is programmed to face a different direction. Because of this I had to basically duct tape it to the outboard back rest on the port side of the cockpit back rest. However with the “install” complete, I plugged it in and put it to use and it drove (and continues to) drive straight as an arrow! Such a relief to be able to relax knowing the boat will continue on its same course without constant attention from yours truly.
This unfortunately backfired on me some time around midnight as a minor wind shift that I didn’t feel let the spinnaker collapse and wrap itself about a dozen times tightly around the forestay. It couldn’t have been wrapped/wrapping for more than a minute but the damage had been done and it required lowering, disconnecting and an extensive headlamp-lit struggle on the bow in the dark to get it unwrapped.
Eventually after getting it unwrapped and totally doused, then re-packed and re-set, we continued on our merry way with speeds likely never dipping below six or so knots thanks to the continued push by the main and staysail.
I have learned my lesson to avoid sailing deeper angles when attention is not fully on the sails. I can also now say I have totally changed my opinion of spinnaker nets which many shorthanded sailors employ to specifically prevent this issue. I have seen two very tight wraps in my time on other boats that end up back at the dock still sporting a spinnaker wrapped on the forestay, and I must say that I sympathize with them and hope dearly that I don’t find myself in that situation ever and especially not while single handing.
At around 5am Hawaii time I decided to gybe back onto port tack, heading me back in a direction which more closely represents final approach towards Hanalei. I gybed a bit early as you might note if tracking closely, with the intention being that with wind accelerating as we approach the islands it will also shift to a direction more out of the due east and I will get turned a bit down towards Hanalei rather than the course towards more or less Kahului (Maui) that I am currently heading.
To add to the Spanish affair of the night before, I chose the MH Spicy Southwest Hash for breakfast, a nice spicy changeup from the blueberry and oats of days past. In the early morning around the time of the gybe, I ticked past 600 miles and still had decent breeze of the evening which would gradually give way to light air most of the day. Coupled with overcast skies, waves and wind chop that matched up with much windier conditions, it made for a very frustrating morning and early afternoon of painful progress at an angle that I was not quite hoping for.
That being said, it is my hope that while i may be suffering in the lighter air in the morning, I rather hope to not be alone in the struggles with other boats hopefully facing similar conditions that I am.
To pass some time this morning in the lighter air, I finally straightened up the boat a little to film a quick tour of the inside of Aloha. I should emphasize its brevity because there really is not a whole lot to see. After that, having finished the two books I brought, I opened up a book on my kindle app that I have already read, i must say times are getting desperate to pass time in the light stuff and I would so much more enjoy some serious breeze on sailing.
Inside of Aloha has gotten a bit warm and muggy, and gone are the nights of getting warm inside a sleeping bag, but now trying to rest during the heat of the day so I can take advantage of the cool and wind at night.
Lunch was a standard affair PB&J with a cliff bar and a water bottle. The last of the apples bid farewell over the side to hopefully be enjoyed by some happy apple eating fishies out there. Speaking of fish, during the early morning gybe I came across a dead squid up on the bow, and when moving the sail stack a few small flying fish had met their demise when washed up under the sails. Just when settling into the new gybe in the wee hours of the morning i heard something flying in and vibrating really hard and loud – scared the hell out of me before it bounced back into the bucket i have back under the tiller – a quick look down and i realized aloha had passed in the flight path of this unfortunate flying fish who was now flopping around in the bucket. I quickly threw him back, both to maybe keep him alive and but also prevent the whole cockpit from smelling too fishy. I’m not sure I was all that successful in either of those endeavors.
Dinner is yet to be determined for the night but I think I might tap into another freeze dried dessert to cap off the evening – I’m thinking either crème brulee or perhaps the dark chocolate cheesecake, only time will tell.
As for now, the wind has built a little in the afternoon hours and we are moving along at an acceptable pace. Winds are forecasted to improve the entire way into Hanalei so I am very much looking forward to that with not many miles left to get some good trade wind sailing in. Here’s hoping for a good night and next couple days with good wind, wave, and and sunshine. Aloha out.