Green Buffalo heading home


As the GRIBs said, after two days of ripping along at 8k and 190 mile days, the wind died last night at about 2am.  Motor sailed for a few hours – and then full on motor since 4am.  Had a close encounter with a 1000 ft long COSCO container ship at sunrise.

Lots of folks fishing 5-10 miles beyond the Farallones – many in quite small boats – taking advantage of the calm conditions.  Calm did I say?  Dead calm. Not a ripple.  I write this email sitting in the cockpit.

Passed the Farallones close by at noon to give Jeff a look sea… it was spooky as the Rock came in and out of the fog.
Sealions, millions of birds and a half dozen or so whales (think they were Grey’s) – including a few just a boat length or two away (Buffalo boat lengths).

We’ve been cleaning the boat… bricked the working jib that took us the whole way, tying off halyards so neighbors can sleep, gathering lines and blocks for rinsing when we arrive (its been 5+ weeks since they have seen fresh water). Stuffing sleeping bags, gathering dirty laundry, cleaning out the reefer, fixing a few dodger snaps and so forth.

ETA at the Gate is 4pm – and Richmond YC 5pm.

Green Buffalo and Jim, Ian and Jeff “signing off” – and wishing you all smooth seas and full moons!

Green Buffalo

Burgers and Burritos on our Minds

Its still bumpy. And windier.  18k-27k. Thankfully we put the first reef in last evening expecting the wind gods to give us a spanking before letting us enter the Golden Gate.  The wind is helping bring us home swiftly… about 190 nm under the keel in the last 24 hours… and still charging ahead.  Only 150 nm to the Gate – and at this 8k (boat speed) clip – less then 20 hours.  But… the cut-off Low is still ahead of us… so speed will drop… maybe hit the Gate at 3pm or so – and dock at RYC an hour or two later?

At midnight last night a tanker bound for LA based us close by… within 6 boat lengths… now this ship was 397 meters long… so 1.5 nm astern.  :-)
The AIS is so nice to have… alarm when we got close, providing CPA (Closest Point of Approach) and much more.

Crew is chomp’in at the bit to get home… its been 15 days at sea and the last few so so bumpy and wet.  Everyone mentioning their wives… Mary, Rene and Evelyn.
Talk of food… Ian wants a burrito and Jeff and I are going for the cheeseburgers (In ‘n Out or Super Duper?).  Dinner tomorrow night on the hard!

Dinner tonight – “The Last Supper” – is Chili on a bed of rice.  A little strange?  Yes ones appetite changes at sea.

We have started getting VHF traffic on channel 16.  Hearing the Coast Guard in Monterey and San Francisco from 150 nm out.  Makes one feel right at home.
And we plan to pass closely by SE Farallon Island tomorrow morning so Jeff can get hits first good look at the “Devil’s Teeth”.

Green Buffalo

Swerving thru the Moguls

Its bumpy.
16k-22k of wind and irregular seas/swells of 8 feet or so with another 2 to 3 feet of wind waves on top.  Cooking has become a high risk position on the boat.
Making near 8k – so good speed toward the coast.  We likely have another 24-36 hours of this “rough riding” – and then the wind will die for the final 12 hr or so motor in past the Farallons and to the Golden Gate.

Not much one can do in these “wet and bumpy” conditions.  The cockpit is wet – and more wet with a good wave coming through cleaning the decks every few minutes. Though given we are in gale alley, these are pretty mild conditions – allowing us to have a full main and working jib (funny we have used the same two sails the whole trip… never changing a headsail since hanking on the working jib in Hanalei.

Dinner was miniature ravioli’s via Chef Boy R Dee mixed in with some stray pasta and red sauce.

320 miles to the Gate… under 48 hours… maybe to the dock Tuesday in the late afternoon?

Green Buffalo

Rolling down the highway

Yesterday I “thought” we had broken out of the high and with the end of motoring.  Turned out to be a bit of a head fake.  We motored and sailed on and off last night… wind varying between 4k and 14k.  Had me a bit unsettled knowing we were down to our last 30 gal of diesel – and now likely down to our last 20-22 gal.  But with the wind “really in” since this morning (11k-16k), and our rolling down the rhumb line at 7k+ boat speed, all is good.  We have enough fuel to motor over 150 nm, and with this wind (and likely more… maybe 20k+ in the next day or two), we are good to “re-enter” civilization – likely mid afternoon to early evening this Tuesday (which would make this a 16 day passage… relatively short for the Buffalo).

Its still t-shirt and shorts on deck… but there is a chill in the air.  Crew debating if we pull out the long johns tonight or tomorrow.
We are starting to get a bit of water across the foredeck – but not all that much as we beam reach through modest seas.

Mac and Cheese with string beans and albacore for dinner tonight (lunch today was albacore tuna fish sandwiches :-) ).

Finished electronic book #8… none (electronic) left… so borrowed a paper book on Winston Churchill from Ian (one of the crew) today that should keep me busy till Monday.

Green Buffalo

Sun, Moon, Ship, Tuna and… Wind!

Yesterday was a beautiful day and evening motoring across the high.  Clear skies made for a great sunset and then the fulll (near?) moon made for a bit of a “magic carper ride” as we crossed the placid seas.

We passed 4 boat lengths from a bulk cargo ship from Korea heading too the Canal (4 boat lengths of 700 feet each… but it was quite close).

Then this morning, fish on!  Big albacore.  We debated… 20 lbs or nearer 25 lbs?  So sashimi it was, tuna steak (lightly seared) tonight on a bed of rice.
It was way too much fish… even with sashimi, steaks and precooked morsels for tuna sandwiches tomorrow, we had to throw much of the tuna back to Neptune.

Now we had planned a refuel for late this afternoon… emptying the last 15 gallons out of the forepeak bladder for this afternoon.  Leaving us with “just” a full main tank with 30 gallons.  We thought we might have to motor another 12-18 hours to get to the wind, but to our delight, at 5pm the wind came in!  We are now sailing at 7k in 12-14k of wind.  We expect this to build to near 20k over the next two days making for a quick re-entry into NorCal.  And with a now full fuel tank, plenty of fuel to motor the last 100 miles or so across the cutoff low (a Monday night task).

Green Buffalo

Motoring On

Been motoring the last 24 hours… wind mostly 4k-5k… with sails up and wind out of the north, we are making 6.4k – across calm seas.
Though the breeze is cool… the water is warm… and sitting in the cockpit is “quite warm”.  Broken skies… some blue… some low clouds… some high clouds.

Filled the fuel tank today from the fore peak fuel bladder… so out of the 100 gallons we started with, we are now down to 47 gallons (give or take a wee bit).  Enough to motor 350+ nm.  Which we shouldn’t need as the wind should come in by late tomorrow as we make the final dash for the coast.  Though need to keep a bit of fuel “in reserve” as looks like a cut off Low on the coast which may have us motor the last 50-100 nm.  One of my crew has never seen the Farallon’s so hoping to pass them by in daylight… time will tell.

Gale alley is looking “clear” with a forecast “relatively pleasant” 20k northerly for our last few days – Saturday till some time Monday.
Looks like a Tuesday arrival… maybe mid-day (still too early to really predict)… which would be a 16 day passage (last 6 trips home have been 5 at 17 days and 1 at 16 days).

Cabbage salad for dinner tonight.

Green Buffalo

Still sailing!

Nice 12k-16k breeze.  Though we are all getting tired living on a 20 degree angle that makes going to the head something that requires strategy and tactics. Have been headed a bit so losing a slight bit of Latitude – but mostly going east – burning Longitude.

Wind is supposed to die sometime tonight… so expect motoring tomorrow and maybe the day after.  Crew hoping to stop for a swim (we could all use a shower). Then 2 or 3 days from now the northerly will fill in with a nice comfortable broad reach to San Francisco (I am dreaming… nothing is comfortable in 20k-25k wind and big seas from abeam).

We are just about to pass under 1000 miles to SF.  Yes under a 100 miles is starting to feel “close” – given we have already gone over 1300 nm thru the water.

Just finished a Mac and Cheese with corn and chicken dinner.

We plan to put the fishing line out tomorrow – praying for tuna (albacore).

Green Buffalo

Back sailing!

Been making 6k-7k due east the last 24 hours under full main and working jib.  Wind out of the north at 11k-15k.  Its getting downright bumpy – and a bit dangerous making one’s way around the cabin without getting thrown around. After two days of motoring we got used to a quiet existence… but no longer. The head water intake is now out of the water (yes we are heeled that much)… so when going to the head one fills up a few pint bottles with salt water in the galley and brings to the head to “lubricate the flush”.

This wind and sailing fast east is really helping with our fuel budgeting… we thought we might have to motor 4 to 5 days… with 5 days motoring about all we have fuel for… though we still might as the weather is supposed to go light in another day or two… we now are confident we have all the fuel we’ll ever need to make it home in a reasonable time (maybe 16 days?).

Something at lunch or dinner yesterday didn’t hit me right… (edited, TMI !), stomache “not quite right”.  Being “laying low” today as my stomach comes back online.

And we are half way!  Now days and time will tend to “accelerate” as we count down the miles to San Francisco… tomorrow we’ll be under 1000 miles to home… a real emotional milestone.

Green Buffalo

Lot happened the last 24 hours.

In the middle of a curry dinner last night we caught a net in the propeller. Thump thump thump and boat speed drooped a half knot. Sun was setting and it was getting dark fast.  Our young crew member Jeff threw on the wet suit and mask as Ian and I we set up the boarding ladder.  Jeff jumped in and confirmed we had a real rats nest with a net wrapped around the prop and shaft. Knife in hand he did a few dives – but found it hard going and asked for help.  Now I may be too old for this but while thinking about Robb Walker of Nozomi’s (Cal 40) story of clearing a net from the prop at sea…I jumped in with a second knife (the water was great… not warm but not cold… refreshing).  We took turns doing a few dives each cutting away the net (the ceramic knife really came in handy being able to cut anything quickly).  After a combined dozen plus dives we had the prop cleared. Just as it went “dark”.  Just in time.

Now during one of the dives Jeff bumped his head on the boarding ladder and was bleeding “more then a little” (it was just a nick, but head cuts tend to bleed).  So it crossed all our minds – but no one said it to well later – we were sort of chumming for sharks.

In any case, all now well and motored along all night long.

Today has been a bit of motoring, motor sailing and sailing as the northerly wind fades, builds and shifts.  During one lull after sailing an hour we took the time to check the engine oil (all good, no oil needed since last top off 3 weeks before) – but we also notice a bit of water in the fuel filter bulb – so took the time to drain the bulb.

We also caught a mahi mahi just in time for lunch!  Being north of 35 degrees Lat, I thought we were too far north to catch mahi mahi – and our fishing prayers were for albacore.  Well learned something new today. So started with sahimi for lunch, made a ceviche for later, and have fillets left for pan frying tonight (maybe put into baha quesidalla’s?).

At the moment we are sailing along in 10k of wind from the north making 6k to 7k. Full main and working jib.  Down right peaceful. Will we need to mor sail or full on motor tonight?  Time will tell.

Half way tomorrow?  Maybe?

Green Buffalo

Well we are in the High.  Wind varying from 2k to 8k from every which direction.  Sometimes out of the North, sometimes from South, sometimes from astern.  At the momemnt its clear blue skies for as far as you can see (though we had clouds this morning). We have been motoring over 24 hrs now making 5.8k straight down GCR (Great Circle Route) to SF.  Clicking off the longitude lines.  Doing some fuel use calculations… having left with 100 gallons of diesel and getting 9 or so nautical miles per gallon, we have plenty of fuel (which we may need depending on how elongated this High gets).  We shifted 16 gallons of diesel from the bladder tank in the cockpit into the main fuel tank – so we are good for another 30-35 hours of motoring without having to fill up.

Jeff – the young guy on the crew – spotted a classic Japanese glass fishing float this morning – so he has a “perpetual” of his voyage across the Pacific.  A nice blue glass float about 8 inches in diameter.  Curious is it has some water in it.  I believe (and may be wrong) these glass floats were last use near 40 years ago – so how it gets a bit of water in it but doesn’t sink over all that time is a mystery.  This is the first glass float the Buffalo has picked up in the last two rides homes (they are getting rarer).

We really want to catch a fish… after the near miss yesterday… but the sun is going down… maybe tomorrow.
Vegetarian curry dish with rice for dinner tonight.  Though if we had fresh fish…

Maybe stars tonight?  Milky Way?  Need to pull out my star chart app on the iPad… refamiliarize myself with the night sky.
And tomorrow is Sunday… our one week at sea mark… maybe time for a prayer on the foredeck as a “Sunday service”? :-)
And maybe time to stop tomorrow for a swim (while we let the engine cool so we can check the oil level)?

How long will we be motoring east for?  Good question… inquiring minds want to know.  2 days, 3 days?  Now time for me to grab the latest GRIBs and run Expedition to see what the coming week has in store for us.

Green Buffalo

The wind has finally tempered… 15k of wind driving the Buffalo at 6k.  Still reefed… but will likely removed the reef tomorrow (holding off in case we have any protosquall action tonight… we all like the easier sleeping this last day.  We are getting more easting with the lower wind and waves enabling us to point a bit higher while staying “comfortable”. Not to say its smooth seas… its still quite “bumpy”.

The cockpit and the cabin sole have dried out… no more wet feet!

Jeff cooked Tortellini today… mmm mmm good!

Then a booby stopped by looking for a place to land… we shooed him off (a booby on a spreader means bird feces mall over the deck… boobies really put out high volumes of s—!).

Will we continue NE tomorrow under sail… or will we make it to the High and start motoring ENE?
We are already at 33-51N – so will pass 35N mid day tomorrow… the “usual” time to make the move east.

I also suspect the crew will finally take a shower tomorrow (its time :-) ).

Green Buffalo

Just when we thought the wind might temper a bit, it didn’t.  Last 24 hours have been 18k-20k – with occasional 24k when clouds pass.
That said, “bow banging” has decreased quite a bit… as we fine tune our direction and sail trim to best “meet the waves”.  Did I mention the wave state is a bit of a mess?

After successful cabbage salad with chicken last night, tonight its mac and cheese with string beans and chicken.

Still looking forward to the wind and waves mellowing… maybe by late tomorrow (we are already at 31 degrees North Latitude and the center of the high is maybe 36-37 degrees).

Crew hanging under the dodger chatting… clear blue skies… just looking forward to less bump and less water on deck.

Green Buffalo

Just over two days into the trip home.  The first two days were quite rough… 18k-22k of wind and big seas. Warm, wet and uncomfortable.  One reef in the main and the working jib (85%). One could sit in the companionway but the whole cockpit and most of the space under the dodger was in the “splash zone”.

Everyone working on their sea legs meant not much food.  Just sleeping and going to the head is real work.

That said, making good progress… 160nm per day (2.5 degrees of latitude) including “some” easting.

Now today it mellowed a bit… wind down to 15k… so we had a chicken and cabbage salad dinner.  And I took a quick shower in the cockpit (yes I was starting to get a bit “ripe”). Now maybe saying it mellowed is a bit premature as its back to 18k as I write this.

Weather forecast looks pretty good… wind should continue to mellow over the coming next two days – and allow us to get a bit more easting… and then comes the “big motor” across the southeast corner of the high.

Green Buffalo

Day 17, 7/5/21, Bring ‘em on home!

The last couple days have been fast and furious!
Five boats arrived Fourth of July starting with,
Nozomi at 12:51:30
Mountain at 15:26:08
Green Buffalo at 18:28:25
Siren at 2223:24
Perplexity at 22:51:25
Made for a long day for the chase boat crew!!

This morning brought us ,
Rainbow at 12:23:18

Presently awaiting Shark On Bluegrass due in around 21:00

Shark on Bluegrass finished at 20:16:50
Being outboard powered and sailing without the engine mounted on the transom, required a tow to the anchorage. We circled the anchorage twice while bleary eyed Falk untangled the anchor rode. 

Hula, 09:14:08, arrived with the spinnaker wrapped having the middle 1/3 still drawing. We put his wife Darlene aboard and they did circles to finish the wrap and head into anchor.

17:27:40 brought us Northern Star with a spinnaker wrap as well.
Chase boat crew Synthia boarded to assist with anchoring.

Sea Wisdom finished at 21:52:24 with a faulty rudder using the Hydrovane as backup rudder. Greg boarded from the chase boat to assist with anchoring.

All times listed here are HST

Day 15, 7/3/21, Here they come!

Our first finisher arrived this morning just after 10am HST
Kyle Vanderspek aboard the Hobie 33, Aloha. Aloooha Aloha!

Four boats are due to arrive July 4, here’s what they’re up to.

Green Buffalo, 7/2/21, 09:18
After a bit of an uncomfortable night with wind direction and velocity shifts, was run over by a day time squall this morning. Nothing dramatic but it was drizzly (flet good) saw 30k of wind – at the very upper limit of the autopilot when the big kite is up. Its a warning… time for me to shift down to the shy kite before sunset tonight (forewarned is forearmed). Now Siren is right on my tail… so gearing down may “hurt” but c’est la vie as I try to avoid any “night time dramas”.

Two days and change to go… about the length of the LongPac. Will likely finish an hour or two after sunset Sunday – but I can hope its at sunset – or at least I see the island before sunset!

Sunday is going to be a busy one for the race committee… 3 or 4 of us finishing.

Green Buffalo

Perplexity,7/2/21, 15:06
beautiful day with lots of wind. starting to figure the squalls out but nights are a nightmare – can’t see anything!

Hula, 7/2/21, 18:17
Note to self: Always keep enough halyard tension so that jib doesn’t start coming out of foil. It’s really hard in 25k to rehoist and keep it in the groove!

I could feel my luck change the moment I saw that the pressure cooker had landed right side up.

(This is Kyle’s last report prior to finishing!)

7/4/21, 03:43
Day 14 Update
Today has been a very rough and tiring day aboard Aloha, and though we will make it out the other side alive, today has proven that at times we have done so by nothing more than endless will power and at times a heavy dose of sheer luck. This will be a brief update as the weather is not exactly conducive to typing out extended articles, but i will gladly fill in the details tomorrow from what i hope to be the shores of a calm harbor or pool.

After an early chicken and dumpling dinner (think home made chicken pot pie), it was an early night in fairly moderate winds. i proceeded to fall asleep a little too soundly and woke short of midnight to the unsettling sound of silence coming from the spinnaker., once again it had gotten wrapped around the forestay and the staysail, this time i was lucky and was able to get it freed without too much effort, however about 45 minutes later it decided to happen again. The second time was a bad one which required lots of effort and the lowering and eventual re rigging of both sails before they could be re set about a half an hour later. In that time after about midnight west coast time, the wind had begun to pick up and the autopilot could no longer keep up with the building wind and wave. This meant it would be me who would be driving for the remainder of the night and morning.

A large number of squalls brought building winds into the mid 20 knot range and some light rain which was just enough to make it a bit chilly on deck as i was very much underprepared to be on deck driving all night. Not too long after day break, i was steering along and noted that i was at 217 miles to go when much to my surprise the forestay came tumbling down from the top the mast, this left the only think keeping the mast from falling back into my lap being the continued wind pressure on the main and spinnaker. To help with this situation, i threw it on auto for a sec and ran forward to attach a spare jib halyard t the deck and act as a stand in for the now gone forestay. At the time the staysail was on that halyard and it was hastily dropped on deck to be dealt with later as and prolonged absence from the helm would lead to catastrophe as the boat would surely round up and the sails would no longer be keeping the mast held forward. Then 17 miles later at exactly 200 from home the spinnaker that i had up exploded leaving me no choice but to once again surrender the boat to the auto pilot and collect the bits of spinnaker and shove them down the companionway.

Not had much sleep in the last few days and being up solidly attentive to the needs of the boat since before midning (it was around 8 or 9 by now) i needed a rest. So i turned the boat straight downwind under the auto, rigged up the second standby jib halyard to again act in place of the forestay along with the other one and i went inside to collect my thoughts and clean up the mess of spinnaker and staysail that was littered throughout the cabin. After getting myself sorted and pointing straight at the finish line, i laid down for a few minutes and weighed my options.

First and foremost is of course to get there in one piece, preferably with the mast still pointed in the vertical direction. With that in mind and having taken some time to recupperate, i decided that setting the smallest A5 spinnaker would both help speed up the process of getting home as well as stabilize that ride and perhaps keep me in contention while not adding any stresses or strains to the jury rigged forestay situation. So i set the A5 which is hoisted in a handy sock to fascilitate setting and dousing in al conditions and have been following it towards the finish line for the past few hours.

An added bonus of this spinnaker and these conditions at present is that the autopilot seems up to the task of keeping a straight course in the heavy sea state and decent winds. With everything back to running well for the time being, i took the time to handle my first pre arrival task which was to shave my face, and without a proper mirror onboard, it will be interesting to find out how i did tomorrow when i get in. Not too long ago I ticked past 150 miles to go and expect to be safely into Hanalei bay sometime during the daylight hours of tomorrow barring another serious catastrophe.

So with that, i ask everyone please hold their breath and cross all their fingers in hopes of a uneventful night and morning aboard Aloha. And for those wondering, i have pre decided dinner tonight will be beef stroganoff and breakfast tomorrow will be biscuits and gravy, two of my personal favorites for last meals onboard. I love you all and let’s hope for a safe last few hours onboard this rocket ship. ALOHHHAAAA!

Day 14, 7/2/21 Moving Closer

With the trade winds fully established our racers are ticking off the miles and posting some good 24 hour averages.

Mountain, 12:54
Hello friends,
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 .
Ever onward!

Aloha, 01:37
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!

Day 13, 7/1/21

With the R/C fully entrenched in the condo overlooking the finish line, the fridge stocked with food as well as beer ;), arrangements made to pick up the chase boat, vhf radios set up and tested, it was time to enjoy Kauai a bit.

Lee Johnson of s/v Morning Star, veteran of the 2018 SHTP, offered a cruise around the corner to view the Nipali coast. 

Meanwhile the racers make steady progress.

Northern Star, 09:03
Northern Star Daily Report, all well aboard Northern Star. Spinnaker snuffer has tangled itself tightly on headstay both preventing me from getting it down and from unfurling jib, so the pace will be slow until/unless I can clear it. The spinnaker was presenting a danger and I cut most of it away so will be without for remainder of trip. All material and lines on boat, nothing was left in the ocean.

All said though, things are fine.


Shark On Bluegrass, 09:43
Wind, alas! Thou shall trim sails to the course of the righteous!

Mountain, 10:40
Intelligent life on Mountain?

Green Buffalo, 10:28
Wind still picking up… zigging and zagging a bit to avoid the proto squalls (more dark cloud then squall but still with an uncomfortable amount of wind to nap thru… saw 24k this morning). Debating if I should go to the shy kite tonight.

Yesterday afternoon was the first real “blue skies”. Glorious sailing with a bit of surfing. Chance to see how much power the solar can put out (a single 140W panel). In prior years, with a 50 year old engine, no solar, and a bit less battery storage, I would end up running the engine 4 hours per day… this trip its been closer to 1 to 1.5 hrs per day.

Had the quesidillas… but I can tell the guac and sour cream are “one time use” (they only made it this far because they were sealed… no refrigeration on the Buffalo).

Still running down the rhumb line… jibing twice per day…

Green Buffalo

Day 12, 6/30/21

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!!

6/30/21, 06:29
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…

Green Buffalo

6/30/21, 10:45
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…

Green Buffalo

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

Mountain, 6/29/21
Quality of life super keen on Mountain

All is peachy on Mountain!

Aloha, 6/29/21
i am here, the trade winds are not.


Perplexity, 6/29/21, 18:39
Tropic birds!!

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
6/30/21, 18:32

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.

Day 10, 6/27/21 Halfway

Boats are crossing the halfway point, Opening their gifts and having parties.
Keeping an eye out for the halfway barge ;)

Hula, 11:29
Went to night school last night and took a 3 hour class in spinnaker sockery and wraps. It was taught on the bowsprit.  Holy Crikey– what a mess!!!

Siren, 12:06
Siren Is ready for the second half.

Northern Star, 12:24
Northern Star Daily Report, 28 June. All good aboard Northern Star. Jamie is alive, well, and in great spirits.

Wishing the race cmte safe travels tomorrow to Kauai.


Mountain, 12:53
Mountain soldiers ever onward!

Shark On Bluegrass, 13:11
All well, light winds, still made 134 miles in 24hrs. Crossing half way point today !

Green Buffalo, 13:46
More of the same… 10k-12k wind from astern.  Sun, blue skies and white clouds. Saw 16k of wind a few times last night – but mostly a very relaxing last 24 hrs.

Siren called this morning… just 3 miles or so ahead on the opposite jibe.  So for fun, jibed to stay near her.  :-)
Its nice having a bit of company for today’s “half way party”.  Though I must confess I have cracked into some of the half way stashes already.  A few folks dropped off half way “bags” in the “leaving the dock rush” – and in some cases leaving me unsure which bags came from who.

Now the bag with the Christmas Card from 2016 was close to the heart (Mary, the kids and I at our nieces wedding in Washington).

The race… its a drag race now… maybe jibe once or twice a day running down the rhumb line.

Mac and Cheese… one full Kraft package goes a long way (with tuna thrown in for a bit more protein)…  for dinner, breakfast and brunch… its all gone now… what to do for dinner tonight?

Yesterday afternoon’s music was a bit of Bowie, Ga Ga, and Neil Young.  Maybe Springsteen and Diana Ross, with a bit of Puccini this afternoon?  Saving the Stones for closer in to Hanalei.

Green Buffalo

Aloha, 14:03
its Monday and i a still with us on this side of the ground. Sure do hope the autopiilot keep on kicking as well.


Forewarded from Brian,
When I had embarked on this adventure, I surely never expected to be composing a day 10 update with this many miles yet to be covered, and yet here I am typing with in the vicinity of 870 miles left. For those who aren’t familiar, that distance still represents well over a third of the course yet to be tackled, and while that task may seem daunting given the circumstances of the last week, it is with great joy that I can officially and honestly say that we are into the trade winds and what remains should be downhill sleigh ride to Hanalei.

Such is my confidence in my noble steed Aloha that I have taken the time to dig up the coordinates for the actual finish line and keyed them into the chart plotter as the GO TO waypoint rather than the arbitrary position in about the middle of Hanalei Bay that I had been using before. Changing those two positions made almost no difference, shy of maybe 100 yards, but boy does it feel good to have a finish line in mind rather than just a proposed general destination.

In the evening yesterday, Simrad autopilot was finally mercifully removed from his duties at the helm as he was struggling to cope with the three or four different cross swells that were pushing the boat in different directions whilst trying to steer to the set wind angle. In his place, the Pelagic autopilot was put back in the game. Though this autopilot is not currently integrated to the wind instruments, I felt that its quicker response and better ability to adjust to the waves and movements of the boat might make coping with the increased wave action easier. To drive this point home, i also got out the Pelagic Autopilots secret weapon which is its small key FOB sized clicker which I can use to adjust the course from anywhere on the boat, including but not limited to my bunk. With this feature engaged, I was able to cope with changes in wind direction and sea state and make the appropriate steering corrections without having to get out of bed, a huge improvement from the way i had been operating up until this point.

The night passed with relative ease albeit short and limited sleep as the ever increasing sea state and wind speeds that are associated with the tradewinds make for a somewhat uncomfortable ride on a boat this small and light. As morning broke, the winds were as forecasted in the 12 knot range which allowed yours truly to take the helm for a few hours and enjoy some good sailing before the sun would begin to cook all things on deck to a crisp. Before long though it was back inside to escape the blistering sunshine and let the tandem of autopilot and solar panels keep this perpetual motion machine moving.

For breakfast I enjoyed some mountain house breakfast hash spiced up with Cholula hot sauce and some salt and pepper. I should also say that for dinner last night to cap off the day’s halfway mark celebrations I indulged in a crowd favorite of the freeze dried meals which is the mountain house beef stroganoff followed by some leftover raspberry crumble, what a meal that was. All that was missing was a glass or two of wine with dinner and a nice port to accompany dessert, perhaps in a few days time we can rectify that need. With the time zones as they are, I have not yet indulged in lunch, though i suspect it will be a standard affair of a PB&J and perhaps a Chocolate Chunk with Sea Salt Cliff Bar to top it off, mixed in with the occasional hunk of beef jerky and a slice of dried mango. the cuisine onboard has been nothing too fancy, but plenty of flavors to keep at least some parts of the voyage from being too monotonous.

With temps and humidity beginning to climb onboard, I suspect today might be the first usage of Aloha’s secret onboard air conditioning to keep the place nice and “cool” (2 small 12 volt fans), between that and trying to rest during the day as much as possible should I need to be up and monitoring or driving through the night, hopefully the miles will keep peeling away with the islands seemingly just over the horizon. That’s about all from here, I will try to provide an evening update later today should the wind and wave not pick up too much. Aloha out.

Day 9, 6/27/21 Moving Again

As the Eastern Pacific high pressure begins to stabilize and move north, our racers will feel the trade winds fill in. 

From Mountain, 07:15
Hello from nearly half way!
In honor of National Dave Letterman day I made a top ten list to share.
Here in no particular order are my top ten unique sailing terms and  deep cut gems from the Mountain ipod:

10. Revenge of scorpio – Ted hawkins
9.  fraculator
8. the seed – The Roots
7. scantlings
6. bad luck city – R.L. Burnside
5. monkey butt
4.  stranger in a strange land – Leon Russell
3.  baggywrinkle
2. for my next trick – Warren Zevon
1. Soak it!

Wishing a peaceful night to friends, family and armchair yachties everywhere…
Sail fast,

Hula, 11:30
Dr. Frankenstein has successfully re-attached the head of the half ounce spinnaker. It’s ALIVE!!!!!

Nozomi, 12:10
Nozomi checking in. So far so good…

Northern Star, 12:10
Northern Star Daily Report. All happy and well aboard Northern Star. Jamie is alive, well, and even typed this message himself!

Happy to be in the Tradewinds, it is a beautiful day.


Shark On Bluegrass, 12:15
Wind finally picked up, 105 miles in the last 24 hrs.  Nice tropical breeze….

Sea Wisdom, 12:19
Hi RC,

The wind die down last night and this morning.  It started pick up again, blowing 8-10 knots from NW. Better than no wind!

Hope everyone is well.


Aloha, 14:41
i think i can see Hanalei!!!!! very small of course…..

Good afternoon from a sunny Aloha, I am writing today’s update from a much better place than we were in yesterday both mentally and physically. As many of you might be able to imagine, the hole in the middle of the course was quite taxing on the sailors out here (speaking for myself anyway) and as it progressed it had seemed like there would be no end in sight. Forecasts downloaded each day made it appear that all we had to do was make it through that respective day and even if no forward progress was made at all, the wind would fill in and it would be right back to racing. After the third day of telling myself that i just had to make it to tomorrow, I quite honestly had a bit of a breakdown of faith in my ability to continue to cope with the lack of progress being made.

Thankfully, not too long after I composed yesterdays update which was written after having sat in about 1 to 2 knots of wind making about the same in speed, some wind did fill in and has mostly stayed with me since then. Last night i went to bed early being that I had suspected I was due for a busy night. Bed time came before the sun had even set and I kept a close eye on my course as it was slowly was beginning to veer again to the north as winds shifted into trade winds with a more east west component. The goal was to keep the apparent wind angle constant but unfortunately to do so the auto pilot had to head up.

At around 1130 (2330) I hit my upper limit which was a persistent course of around 270 (due west) which was about 35 degrees to the north at the time of rhumb line to Hanalei. Getting out of bed was an interesting treat which brought me to a near panic as i looked directly back out of the companion way (due east) and saw what appeared to be either a large tanker on fire about 5 miles back, or perhaps a fishing vessel illuminating the area as squid boats do that was much closer. I stared at it for a minute and contemplated hailing them on the VHF as checks of the chart plotter revealed no AIS signal. The next minute or two passed and I slowly began to realize that i was in fact watching the moon rise between the sea surface and the clouds and much as the setting sun glows a violent orange, so was the rising moon that was reflecting both off the ocean and glowing the clouds orange. Once i realized this to be the case i was able to relax a little bit and enjoy the beauty that nature sometimes provides.

A few minutes later, it was on to the task at hand which would be a midnight gybe to port tack which will have the boat more or less pointed towards the islands. Though not the prettiest or fastest gybe even conducted, it got done with the whole sail stack moved over and the boat dialed in now on port tack at a heading of about 210. Throughout the rest of the night and early morning, winds came and went, but were mostly in the 10 knot range at a direction that had me mainly steering a course of about 220.

Sunrise brought some clouds which i have come to know as a very good thing with regards to wind speed and direction as winds increased from about 9 to 15 with puffs up to 17. A little bit of legitimately fun trade wind sailing ensued before the winds calmed back down for a bit. In the 2018 pacific cup, i came to realize that in the trades, the mid morning is typically a break from the winds of the afternoon and evening, this seemed to be the case most of morning till a little after 1 west coast time when wind built from about 6 to 9 or 10 which is much closer to the forecasted 11 that i should have for the next day or so. This morning we crossed over the halfway marker with 1065.5 miles to go at 5:07 and i will soon be passing to less than 1000 miles to go (just checked while tying and it’s at 1004). Crossing over the halfway marker meant the opening of a few much anticipated halfway gifts.

The first one came as a bit of a mystery to me as it was labeled to Aloha from SV Tortuga, now what’s weird is that I don’t actually know an SV Tortuga, my buddy Elliott has a motorboat called Tortuga but after asking him he confirmed that it wasn’t him. So without the slightest idea who it was from, i dug into a care package that included a bounty of party supplies for a halfway bash for one which included two party poppers, a bunch of glow sticks, some powdered hawaiian punch, some hot chocolate mix (in case you cross halfway in the middle of the night), a lime (to ward off scurvy perhaps)  and a few other goodies along with a hand written note From Captatin Randy of the Westsail 32 Tortuga who competed in the 2012 SHTP wishing good luck and to enjoy the halfway party. If you happen to see this Randy, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.

Next it was on to the flashdrive that Brian had put together with what i have been told is about 25 minutes of warm wishes from family and friends back home. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties with the laptop not recognizing that a usb had been inserted, i am not able to actually see or hear the video until i get to the completion of the second half where Dad assures me he will have a laptop that we can try it again on, or perhaps when i get cell reception near the islands (like 30 miles out) i can get it emailed and watch it then. Regardless, id like to thank everyone who contributed, it means a lot that there’s so many people back home keeping up with my progress on this great adventure that i have embarked on. Lastly was a lovely letter and pictures from our recent adventures in Tahoe and up the Stockton from my lovely girlfriend Eliza.

Though it may just be me out here, I can’t say there was a single dry eye onboard. On to a celebratory lunch which was topped off by  my first mountain house dessert which was a raspberry crumble, absolutely fantastic and because it serves 4, there’s plenty leftover for dessert after dinner this evening.  After lunch the sailing has improved with winds building out of the 6 knot range up to about 9 to 10, not quite what the grib files indicated but after that last few days, it’s hard for me to complain at all. Trusty Simrad autopilot is still back there steering away to the wind angle and i must say doing a very fine job 10/10 would recommend having an autopilot that can be integrated to all your instruments and sensors given the opportunity to do so.

That’s about all from Aloha, again thanks to everyone that contributed to the halfway stuff, i can’t wait to see it as soon as i can, and tank you to everyone following progress from back home. Think windy thoughts. -Aloha.


Green Buffalo, 19:01
Now this is what they call sailing to Hawaii!
10k-12k wind from astern.  Sun, blue skies and white clouds.

The smoothest carper ride ever!
With last week’s Low off the coast, a tropical earlier in the week off Mexico disrupting the trade winds, and the receding High, I have never seen such a flat ocean.  A few foot swell you can barely tell is there, wind waves under two feet… smooth sailing… easy on the chute, good napping/sleeping, and easy on the autopilot (which means low power use with the single 140W solar power keeping the batteries topped and no need to run the engine).

Sardine sandwich for breakfast (one can do that when alone :-) ).

Mac and Cheese for dinner?  Or back to tortellini?
Maybe time for some afternoon music…

Green Buffalo

Mountain, 21:48
Life exists on Mountain!

Day 8, Waiting for wind

Shark On Bluegrass, 12:13
All well on the shark. It’s “Shark On Blue Glass” right now. 57nm in the last 24 hrs. Who said during the skippers meeting “ the pacific high is not going to be in your way?”

Green Buffalo,  13:17
Today mark’s one week on the water… and with the slow going and expected high to head back north tomorrow… likely 8 more days in front of me (if not 9). Slowest of the 19 Hawaii races I have done. C’est la vie. Just be thanful I am not on one of the smaller heavier boats which are doing the math and being unsure if they will make it to Hanalei for the Banquet.

After 20 hrs of a decent run (a decent run is staying above 2k boat speed and not “triple zeroing”), the wind died this morning… 5 hours of slatting with no headsail up. Heard Siren call a freighter passing nearby as he wanted to be sure the freighter knew with so little wind he wouldn’t be able to get out of their way.

Now slatting is good for something… a busy morning… flake and bag the #1, cut the jib halyard back 12 inches to remove a chafe point, and drum roll please… take a shower on the foredeck!
Yes after a week with two clothes changes but no showers, I was starting to smell myself. It was time. Pull out the SunShower, canvas bucket (salt water wash and fresh water rinse), and the Prell (which lathers great in salt water). Boy did that shower feel great!

What else?
I did make that cabbage salad with chicken yesterday for dinner. And had enough left to add some tuna and have for lunch today.

Green Buffalo

Sea Wisdom, 14:39
All is fine, so calm that I flew the drone for some area shot of the SHTP doldrum!
Hope everyone is well. I think we should get wind soon.
All the best,

Hula, 15:48
For those of you flying to Hawaii today, Hula is no longer bright pink, but neon yellow!

Aloha, 17:09
who do i talk to about a refund? these “trade winds” are not what i signed up for!?!?!?!?

22:16, Not a whole lot to convey about the day and night as of right now. I’m not sure I mentioned it in yesterday’s report, but it was up and down three or four times between the code zero and the A2. I climbed in bed at around 11 I believe, west coast time, with the code zero up as the wind had been tight most of the late evening, but not ten minutes after getting in bed the wind backed and I had to swap back to the A2.  

With the moon as bright as it has been out here the last few nights, a headlamp was hardly necessary during the maneuver – lack of visibility is always the most difficult thing about sail changes between sunset and sunrise. Since then it has been all A2 doing its best to keep the boat rolling.

Most of the night from what I could tell we had fairly okay wind, but with the autopilot in wind angle mode, I did wake up to notice a lift had taken us all the way up to a heading on 300 which is quite a long ways off from Hawaii. So while I got ready for a gybe in the wee hours of the morning, the wind fortunately returned to its previous direction just as I was ready to throw the helm over.  

Speaking of gybing, most of the morning was spent very much on starboard in a little bit of wind keeping the boat moving, however watching the plotter and my heading, I noticed the boat slowly heading up from about 235 the night before to about 270. With the autopilot in wind angle mode, this had indicated a fairly sizable shift which is what is expected about now on the course as we should begin to enter the trade winds. With that shift I decided it may be time to gybe over to port and start heading towards Hanalei with the filling trades wind slowly heading me down towards the ultimate destination. But, after maybe two hours on the port board, fate would kick in and the wind out of nearly due west would vanish in favor of the hole that we have been sitting in for the past few days out of the north west. So it was back to starboard tack on a heading of about 250 trying to keep the boat moving in the general direction of Hawaii.

Thinking postive thoughts and hoping to be out of the hole and surfing my way to Hawaii in a few hours. Almost halfway there, Aloha to you all. -Kyle


Day 7, The Doldrums 6/25/21

Northern Star, 12:07, 25 Jun manually-typed check in. Jamie is alive and well with spirits high even though wind speed is not.

First true sunny day and it is hot. Full moon covered by clouds last night but some good shots of it coming up right after sundown.

Hope all is well with the fantastic race cmte.Keep the lights on in Hanalei Bay, going to get in later than I planned :)


Siren, 12:27
Siren is chillin on a gorgeus day out here.

Green Buffalo, 14:12
Slatting, slatting, slatting.
With an occasional sail change and tack.

Saw Mountain on the chartplotter on and off (not sure why most entrants keep turning their AIS transmitter off… what’s the point, its not like one is going to “cover them”… and two large ships have passed by in the last few days and I sure want them to see me).

Spinnaker hoisted and dropped 3 times last night as wind came, went, and came back again from a 90 degree different direction. So dousing chute in forehatch, waiting 10-15 minutes for wind to come in from other side, swapping spinny gear and poles, and rehoisting. Crazy? Yes crazy. Crazier yet, hoisted the #1 this morning beating to the southwest (had the #1 on deck for flaking so was pretty easy to just hoist it). But beating southwest going to Hawaii? Really?

Maybe another two days of this slatting/light variable winds to deal with before the High heads back north to where its “supposed to be”?

Finished last of tortellini for late breakfast, and then a sardine sandwich for lunch. Its getting warm in the afternoon… so maybe dinner tonight is cabbage salad with chicken (not use the stove)?

Chatted with Mary by sat phone… was good to hear her voice! And check how the tomatoes, peppers, and my “baby fern palm tree” are doing up in Napa (and what is up with the boys too). :-)

Green Buffalo

Hula, 15:33
The good news is my wife made a 600 song iPod for me. The bad news is if the wind doesn’t pick up, I may hear the same song twice!!

Shark On Bluegrass, 16:29
SHTP 2021 log Shark On Bluegrass
Transcription of my hand written notes.

Saturday 06/23
Nice send-off: Vanessa , Malina, Tom, Brian, Tibu thank you!
Windy sail to the start.
Light wind outside the gate, change to Genoa, moving at4-5kn.
Sleep in the evening to catch up on my sleep deficit from last week (a lot of work-work finishing and starting a project and the packing prep.)
Change down to #3, don’t want to get caught at night with the Genoa up. Expecting shift to north -which never came as the coastal south Eddie moved between me and the synoptic wind.
Saw a grey whale splashing his fin on the water. He must have been in love with the Shark. Crossing to the north of the north farallones. As predicted fleet split into north and south

Solar cells seem to have plenty of power
Figured out some menu items on the chart plotter. -finally.
Seems I am using the chart plotter as primary navigation tool. INavX app only as cross check. Also keep the chart plotter running most of the time ( despite power consumption)
Dodger: just the way to the start was worth the hassle of getting it. ( overtime, really LOVE the dodger, it allows to keep the companionway open and gives a holding point.) – Thanks Thomas, Brian, Aaron.
Better: dodger with handles on the side and stiffer front. Aaron was right, the natural tendency is to grab the higher point and not the handles on the deck.

Sunday 06/20
Somewhat cold during the night, lucky I brought the additional blanket. Gloomy day, calm. Worried that solar cells do not charge enough, but they do, even on overcast day.4.5-5 knin7-8 kn of wind.
Put the Genoa up. Fast but more stress. Autopilot can’t handle the puffs. Worried to get caught in big wind. Genoa requires a trip to the foredeck to get it down. Big heavy sail. Spin can be doused from the cockpit. ( after a few more days I am now convinced that hanks are the better option for this type of sailing. Jib / Genoa comes down by itself while staying attached without the need to go forward. It’s a Safety feature in heavy wind or seas… Can put up second sail without the need to take the first one off as well)
Decide to keep direct route northerly seems plenty of wind. Find out later that this was the wind circling the hole bringing me dead into the middle of the anti clock wise Eddie. Well second most west boat for tonight, did not last long so.
Still seasick, all the pasta with tomatoe sauce is coming out again. Together with all the water.
Still cold at night , need blanket and sleeping bag.

Additional light blanket (Delta ~ Westin business class blanket for the connoisseurs ) additional layer when needed or as light blanket for naps.
Sleep most of the time in the windward berth. Lee cloth work! Faster into the cockpit. Fore peak is for quiet nights w.o. Foulies, even has a proper sheet.

Monday 06/21
Sailed into the wind hole, the only way around is to gybe, go north and put the spin up.
Light winds, so mostly slept through Sunday and Sunday nights,still working off the sleep deficit. Turns out I don’t need the alarm to wake me up to check. I wake up when the noises change:
Bow wave splashing = speed
Trim = flogging sails
Balance = autopilot only working short bursts not long side to side moves
Overpowered = heel
Traffic – AIS beeping – this one works beautiful I am happy I installed the transponder after Long Pac
Well and once in a while take a peek around of course.
First sunny day

Buckets without flimsy handles. Took the handles off on both buckets and cut holes near the rim to pull string through.

Tue 6/22
Found the wind last night. Making 8kn on a beam reach with the spin up under autopilot, while sleeping!!!.
It got too windy so needed to take the spin down. Manage to shrimp it which tore one clew off the spin. That’s why you use old sails for this. This was a 2011 spin. RIP. Change to #3 as we finally got into the wind.
Slept 6 hrs straight, nice, woke up to a dead main battery. Switched to backup. Let’s see; over discharged li Ion batteries go into sleep mode, manual says solar charger will wake them up. Tried to “jump start’ with the second battery before …. bad idea cable got warm quick. Let the charger do it’s work. Measured the voltage as the battery , creeping up from 11,80 to 12,40 over two hours or so. Battery comes back to life. Nice to see theory in practice….
First sunny evening. Beam reaching, with cross waves. Not quite comfortable.

tool box with voltmeter.
Buying the autopilot one size up ( st 2000 tiller pilot) able to handle a lot. Thanks Rufus for the recommendation.
Less useful: mast instrument, boat speed, and digital compass. I sail mostly after COG and SOG. So take them off the MEMA network to save 0.4A in the power budget .
Useful: camomile tea, no appetite for any of the sodas or power drinks I brought. Drinking lots of water from then jar. The Lee cloth really work (not a common equipment on an Olson 25) allows me to sleep near the cockpit. Also noticed that I am very diligent to keep the cabin and cockpit orderly and clean.

We 06/23
Made 70 or so miles over night on a beam reach at7-8 kn. Slept from 9 pm to 7am with few interruptions.
One AIS alarm. Build into my dream. DCA 1.4 miles in 20 min. Hail the freighter that I see him amd change course slightly to pass his tern more clearly.
Main battery all well at 12.6V in the morning. Once the backup is charged combine both solar panels to charge the main. Getting 6-8A out of 150W solar. Compared to 2-3A use, depending on what is running. Very happy with the solar set up.
Decide against going to Genoa in the morning wind is about 12-13kn. It’s getting lighter rapidly…. I am about 50nm south of the rump line. So the calm of the High is in the way. Keep.going South_West around 215-220 on a beam reach under spin ( my other older spin, likely 20 years old, came with the boat – 1.5 oz cloth so this should hold.). Don’t want to go even more south. The gamble is how much distance to add to go south. I have a short light boat so Minimize additional distance while keeping moving in lighter winds vs the bigger boat. Well see…. from the standings I am in the middle of the field.

Washday, head to toe wet wiping and fresh cloth – very nice – spa experience

Not useful: not bringing hand soap. The bottle I grabbed is shampoo plus conditioner – too oily. Socks; I am basically barefoot all the time. Except when I go forward I put the boots on.
Useful: the Spinlock harness, comfortable, and less bulky than the inflatable. So much easier to keep on all the time.

Ahh, officially managed 1/4 of the to go distance. Let’s s celebrate – freeze dried pasta in tomato sauce, check, apple check, bell pepper check.

Thursday 06/24
Good spin run yesterday evening amd last night. Wind calmed down over night. 5-6kn under autopilot in 7-9kn of wind – autopilot is able to handle it. So go to bed.

Found the Pacific high! It’s where the weather models say it would be…. contemplating or the last two days . Running SW at 210-215 for three days now. Going more south? I am not going to make 200n, to get into the strongest trades. From the position reports none of the competitors went that far south staying north see,s risky as the high sits there. Same conclusion, keep reaching amd keep the boat moving. Making 5kn in little wind…

Have been keeping up with the family amd friends. Amazing that the Sattelite modem works re;active;y seamless even for casual calls. I also opened the first messages in the bottle. A jar full of wishes from friends amd family. Thank you Vanessa f-r organizing. Thanks to all who wrote so,etching. Today I found messages from Fran amd the cousins…

Knee pads – finally started wearing them all the time, who would have thought what a useful invention. Chafe control – probably a know. One to he experience sailor. Manage to nearly cut through a spin sheet rubbing on the life lines on Tuesday. Caught it early enough. Very careful now to keep everything separated

Despite the annoyingly slow progress, this is the first fully enjoyable and comfortable day. It’s warm. The boat does not roll and keeps a steady pace. Finally go to do some house keeping amd to type up my notes from the last days no promises I will keep that up….

Perplexity, 17:15
This is the first ‘race’ report from Perplexity. I hope others have wind – well, not really! I haven’t had it since I congratulated myself on having crossed the high without having to jibe south. Oops. I worked really hard to do that and then let my guard down when I thought I made it. Rookie mistake #12.

On the other hand, it is beautiful out here and I think I’ll go swimming this afternoon.

The race itself has been a real adventure. The sail out the gate was marvelous and the first couple of days were also intense with so many boats in contact. The next few days were great in terms of ideal reaching conditions with a blast reacher, storm jib and reefed main.

Getting used to going with little sleep and taking an hour to change a sail because of all of the back and forth crawling on the deck were also new adventures. The light wind conditions since then have been less great -except I am no longer crawling and getting lots of sleep. But – yesterday 10 days to finish, today 10 days to finish.
Just checked my fresh water…

Big thanks to all of the volunteers who make this ‘race’ possible!

S/V Perplexity

I really do wish that I could tell you today has been an eventful day of sailing, but sadly it really has not been, with that said, it has however been a good day aboard the good ship Aloha with some not particularly sailing related happenings to share.

The day started off rather early on in the evening as I was dragging the watt and sea hydrogenerator overnight, atop the power converter which convert the electricity to charge the batteries is a glowing pad which indicates the status of the incoming power when charging or when no charge is coming in it indicates the status of the batteries. If I recall correctly, the blue glow is used to indicate that between 100 and 200 watts is being fed into the batteries, however in my dazed status, I saw that the inside of the boat was glowing with a faint blue light and I thought “gee, it must be the morning, I feel like I just fell asleep, I can’t believe I slept through the whole night!” after getting out of bed and crawling over to my phone on the charging pad, i realized that it was not in fact morning, but rather it was 1130 at night and between the very bright full moon illuminating the outside and the blue light glowing the inside, i had been completely fooled. Luckily however it wasn’t long before i was able to resume my evening rest after a quick scan of the horizon and the chart plotter.

For those who may be wondering what the sleep/rest schedule in fact is, it’s not a whole lot different from that. I have generally been doing my absolute best to set the boat up under the helm of the autopilot for the conditions which we are in at the moment and the conditions I expect to be in within the next few hours, then I will scan the horizon for any signs of anything and also check the chart plotter for AIS targets. If none are present, and there have been very few, I will rack out as best I can usually with a quick check of the chart plotter for speed, heading and if there are any contacts every so often till I actually fall asleep.

With the size and weight of Aloha, nearly any change in trim, heel, speed (by the noise of the water on the hull, or the pitch of the watt & sea) I can feel in my light state of sleep and will get out of bed and at the very least check the plotter or check sails and helm if need be. If all is satisfactory then it’s back to bed. This process in not just exclusive to the night time, because rest is generally so short and interrupted at night time, I will try to extend this process after breakfast and in the early evening/late afternoon as well to maximize my rest hours.

Speaking of breakfast, this morning was consumed by Mountain House’s Southwest Spicy Breakfast Hash, which is quite good if not very sneakily spicy! lunch consisted of my very first PB&J onboard this crossing coupled with a Fuji apple which made me feel like I was straight out of elementary school setting my PB&J on my knee while I take a bite out of my apple and drink my bottled water, all I was missing was the dried mangoes which I had for an afternoon snack. With the progressing time change as I make my way west, I can’t quite say its dinner time nor do I have any idea what I will be getting after for dinner.

As far as the actual sailing has been today, it has been a mixed bag for sure. All night I had the trusty A2 spinnaker up and had done quite well with it for some time. Come about mid morning the wind had dropped some and shifted forward a bit and after heading down to a course lower than I want to be sailing, I dropped the A2 and put up the Code Zero for a few hours, this sail did phenomenal in the very light air which i have been dealing with all day and was generally able to keep the boat moving at very near the wind speed in much of the lighter 3 to 5 knot conditions when the wind was forward of about 130 degrees true wind angle. Then as of about an hour ago at 5 west coast time, the wind moved back aft and it was time to switch back to the A2. Not long after swapping to the A2 I decided it might finally be time to fold and bag the jib as I very much hope it won’t be seeing any more action for the remainder of the race.

Winds continue to be very light and boat speed is still sadly quite low although on the bright side we are pointing in the right Hawaiian direction and there should be better breeze in the days to come. With that small bit of optimism, I bid thee farewell from the trusty Aloha.