With the trade winds fully established our racers are ticking off the miles and posting some good 24 hour averages.
It”s been a busy few days aboard Mountain.Aside from the routine small maintenance chores that popped up (they always do) I had the distinct pleasure of fishing a couple of my sails out of the sea. This type of thing happens from time to time, one prefers it not to happen in a race though. Nothing damaged, just a bruised ego and a loss of a few miles to my competitors. We will bounce back! I remind myself that each of the other ten yachts is also having their share of minor misfortunes. It”s how we handle them that makes the difference .
Day 13 Update
Today is the first report I never hoped to have to type, at least not from a moving boat anyway. Generally, most predictions for a Hawaii race onboard a Hobie 33 have you finishing on day 12, not still being a couple hundred miles away (just under 350 as I type). But that’s not the case with this crossing, thanks to two adverse weather patterns that slowed the initial push away from the west coast with the “southerly surge” and then the very pronounced and unavoidable hole in the middle of the course.
Thankfully after all the trials and tribulations of the beginning parts of the course, Hawaii has finally delivered on the champagne trade wind sailing which we all sign up for these races eager to do.
Last night after MH spaghetti and meat sauce, I turned in early with an eye towards building winds throughout the night likely pulling me from my rack to hand steer when the auto would get overwhelmed by the winds and the waves. This did indeed happen not too long after midnight when the autopilot had finally rounded up after threatening to do so a number of times throughout the earlier hours of the evening. For the rest of the night I was either standing by in the cockpit to take over at a moment’s notice and eventually just steering myself.
With winds slowly building into the low 20s, boat speed was good and the headers that I had hoped for and expected were beginning to roll down with them each puff of wind and squall pushing me lower and lower towards Kauai. Not too long after day break I saw the highest winds of the day coupled with the highest boat speeds with a velocity made good towards Hanalei bay of 15.5 knots in short bursts while riding down the face of some good Hawaiian waves. The size of the waves unfortunately is not quite large enough to really sustain extended surfing nor connecting of multiple waves to keep speeds up in the mid teens for extended periods of time, but it is always nice when the boat gets powered up and comes screaming down the face of a wave.
A couple waves caused me some issues as I plowed the bow into the backside of one while surfing the one behind it sending water all the way back to the cockpit and with the hatch wide open, quite a bit made it inside Aloha. Fortunately I had taken the time to move all the family heirlooms up to dryer areas of the boat as the companionway has been ground zero for water splashing in from any and every conceivable angle.
Around 9 or 10, winds eased up and i was able to do my morning breakfast routine of eating and downloading the latest weather files as well as getting the position information of the rest of the fleet. Not long thereafter the sun broke through and with the decreased wind speeds i felt it might be a good time to try to get some rest. Try of course being the opportune word as i lay in my bunk for seemingly forever without a wink of proper rest. That being said, any time horizontal when not consumed by worries of sail trim and heading are still considered quite restful in my book. Even as I write this email I am able to take my mind off of sailing, enjoy a snack of beef jerky and rest my mind if not my body. Again tonight I suspect an early dinner and more rack time to follow as winds will surely build through the night and keep pushing me ever faster towards a cold drink, warm shower and soft bed in Hanalei.
With that I bid thee farewell. Alooohaaa!