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 2It 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…