Tortuga: “have never been in conditions like that”

July 10 again

Day 17 update: 23.57n 156.42w c217 s 5.9 DTF 189 sail config double reefed main, staysail & working jib
Wow Sunday night was rough! around midnight I awoke from a nap to the boat stalling out and saw that the windvane on the monitor had shifted, figured it was the jerking motion of the rough sea state, it was raining so just thought i’d pop out in shorts and foulie jacket & harness for a quick adjustment, boy i was wrong. once i got in the cockpit I could see that one of the control lines had disappeared and chaffed through, this happens when one of the lines jumps out of the pully and gets jammed (i’ve had this happen to me before, 2011 longpac) as soon as i got the boat on course we were powered up and took off like a rocket downwind. it was too much for the tiller pilot so here i was in shorts and a heavy rain wondering what to do next, luckily at the time i had the double reefed main and staysail only, but even that was almost too much sail, then it became too much sail quickly as the winds excelarated into the 30s. i hand steered downwind for a few hours seeing 8’s and 10s and then it started to get even gustier. i was in the middle of the left overs from tropical storm Celia. the rain was sideways at that point and actually hurt if it hit my face, i kept waiting for the right moment to get some sail down because it was only going to get more intense. i found my window and attached the tiller arm just to hold the helm in place for a moment then rushed up to take down the main sail, that helped for a little but we were still doing 10s with just the staysail up and it was shifting back and for so the sail would fill, collapse and fill backwinded so it took a beating with some tears and hanks coming off. i did the same and found the right time to get the staysail down too down. now were about 3:30/4am and at that point we were running downwind bare pole doing 7 knots, i’m guessing in was in the 40s at that point. nuts. . i ran with out sail until dawn and then got some warm dry stuff on and rested for a moment. the winds didn’t really abate until around 11am today and I was able to get some sail back up. needless to say,  that was my fastest 12 hour run of the race. 🙂

Tortuga: “This trip has been quite the challenge”

July 10

12:06 am Day 16/17 update: 25.00n 151.19w c243 s6.5 dtf 330nm sail config double reefed main and staysail. It has been quite the exciting 24 hours with winds in the high 20s & 30s and a large sea state. We’ve got about another 12 hours of these conditions to go before we get into the transition part of the system with winds switching to the south and then and it looks like some frustration on the other end, with light head winds to the finish line. With the heavy weather. the boat is closed up with the hatch board and cover closed so its been pretty warm down below all day, luckily i have a couple fans to help things out. I switched out to the monitor steering and its been steering in the heavy seas for the last 24 hours. this trip has been quite the challege all around with frustrating conditions at every turn. With any luck we will finish on Wednesday but with the lighter winds forecast all bets are off…xo team tortuga

Tortuga Day 14- it ain’t over till the fat bottom boat sings!

Day 14 update: 27.25n 149.30w c231 s6.4 sail config reefed main,poled out jib and back sheeted staysail. been a rolly day along the course, lost some miles getting some sleep last night keeping the boat moving but not heated up. 

thinking about my miles so far and we have radio check ins at 8 & 8 so basically a good tally of our 12 hour runs, my 8pm to 8amruns are always the slowest because i’m sleeping on and off or reefing the boat down, i think that is my biggest draw back so far this race is losing miles over night while the other guys seem to be able to keep their boats moving along. Saraband is 126 miles ahead of me, basically gaining 9 miles a day averaged over the 13 days so far, and Elizabeth Ann is 63 miles ahead of me averaging 4.8 miles a day farther, it doesn’t sound like a lot each day but they really add up. spent the day surfing down doing 7’s and some 8s. there will be more of the same the next few days. we should be seeing the strongest winds on sunday from Celia I believe in the 30’s. still time for it to peter out, lets hope it doesn’t pack any punch. saraband lost his tiller pilot today so had to switch to windvane steering when he is not hand steering. that means he won’t be able to stay on the course DDW with the least amount of miles sailed, so he’ll have to sail more miles. Elizabeth Ann is gaining on him. it ain’t over till the fat bottom boat sings! Saraband DTF = 508 / Elizabeth Ann DTF = 563 /  Tortuga DTF = 635  Not forgetting about Lee on W32 Patience but he isn’t on the SSBcheck ins so i dont have accurate same time position reports like the other boats. hopefully he isn’t too far behind!!  xo, team tortuga

Tortuga – Squalls, and Squalls and Squalls, and nothing more than Squalls….

Day 13 update: 28:23n 147.30w c220 s5.8 DTF-740nm, sail config 1st reef main/staysail. squalls squalls squalls! did i mention squalls? there was a series one right after the other today for about 5 hours, great for boat speed but tiring to hand steer with all the shifting winds. saw a steady 8.5knts of boat speed for a few minutes being hurled downwind wing & wing with one of the livelier ones. finally had to reduce sail and jibe over to course line. i had the jib poled put to port and took that down and now settled in for the night of, you guessed it more squalls! this point of sail is going to be much better and easier to handle tonight with minimal adjustment, with no squalls passing through my speed is about 5.2knts but then when they pass through the boat bursts up to 6.8 knts and the autopilot can handle it, going to try and get some sleep tonight, last night tried making miles with the asym up most of the night but just can’t close the gap. saw some more albatross today, so cool to watch them glide along. saw a lone fishing boat which I hailed approaching to pass which was long lining for tuna. it was a small ish in size 75ft. imagine how much fuel they have to carry to go 800 miles offshore to get fish? after passing remembered reading about how albatross are becoming endangered by this type of fishing, would explain why I saw a few of them flying around today in the vacinity of the fishing boat to dive on the bait/lures. if i can keep and average of 6knts boat speed i could in theory finish on tuesday but i’m going to call in wednesday to be safe. xo team tortuga

Tortuga Day 12 – Fish flying, turtles rolling

tortuga RandyL 4c_160

Day 12 update:  29.33n 145.06w c224 s6.8 been getting a lot of good boat speed today with the first part of the day squally and then in the late afternoon it looked like it was going to be another long rolly DDW night but i was able to jibe and have been on a broad/beam reach into the night on course with the asym up. we’ll see if this lasts into tomorrow. saw some albatross which is always cool, and what I think are storm petrels. also had a visit from a flying fish into the cockpit, he much have tried really hard to get out because there were scales everywhere. still trying to make up the miles i am behind Saraband and Elizabeth Ann, it seems like when i get some good boat speed it makes the gap even more. very frustrating. xo team tortuga

Tortuga Day 11

IMG_5274Day 11 update:  30’14n 143.22w c240 s5.2  sail reefed main and poled out jib. weather wise it was a beautiful day with lots of sun in between squalls and about 15knts of breeze, that said it is crazy rolly with a confused cross sea state, i’ve had to jibe off the course line a few times just to get the motion to calm down from swinging 25 deg back and forth. i’ve got to move slowly on deck to get around and keep balance etc. well folks, we made the 1/2 way mark today! not in days, but miles, so a good milestone. had a few gifts to open including a few from the race commitee including a book about the history of the single handed sailing club written by Jackie on Dura Matter,very cool,also a lovely card from the admiral and a goodie pack of snacks from my race inspector Joe and a nice note. thanks everyone! a nice sprit lifter indeed. all the chatter on the ssb check in is around the storm activity that could be on our course around Saturday, still a few days out not exactly sure what will happen with its track but right now we shouldn’t see anything over 25/30knts fingers crossed. its been an interesting year to say the least,from frustrating winds and seas to weird weather. ok, back to rocking n rolling in the literal. xo team tortuga

Tortuga – Day 10 – Rolling on out

Tortuga on its way to HI 2

Day 10 update: 31.20n 140.20w c220 s6.1 – Main 7 poled out jib. trying to make as many miles as possible with the rolly conditions and keeping my eyes on the squalls more now since they are getting more serious and as we’re now in the official trade winds. should hit the halfway mark tomorrow, not for days (thank goodness) but for miles! saw a large black albatross today and watched him fly around the waves and boat for about 30 min. pretty amazing birds to be so far from any land and how they can skim just above the surface of the waves. my autopilot was making some creaking noises so opened up the area of it to add some lubrication and it seems to have helped. good to see my old back up tiller arm worked fine while I had the other primary one apart. hadn’t used the old one in over a year at least.  ok, back to trying to play the wind shifts and keep my balance on my rolling world. xo, team tortuga

Tortuga – Day 9 competition check

Tortuga on its way to HI 6

Day 9 update: 32.28n 138.22w c235 s5.5 DTF 1280. reefed main, poled out jib. its been super super rolly all day today with a large cross swell hitting the boat at different angles making it uncomfortable. still making good progress today. thought about getting the spinnaker up again but with the sea state it would prove to be very difficult so opted to keep it simple and just make miles on the rhumb line. at radio check in that latest is that Dave on Saraband is about 60 miles in front of me and Gary on Elizabeth Ann is about 5 miles behind me. Not sure where Lee on Patience is relative to all the other Westsails. There are a few other heavier boats in the pack too with Mouton Noir and Owl in and around our same finish time. Just need to work on getting more distance between Tortuga & Elizabeth Ann. No way I can catch Dave at this point. He crushed us is the light wind are really put miles out front of the other Westsails. hopefully I can finish around Wednesday at this point. I would have liked to beat my own 17 day passage time from 2012 but with the light winds the first few days, its just not in the cards. xoxo team tortuga

Tortuga – Wine & Cheese is over!

Day 8 update: 32.57 135.20 c 232 s6.2 DTF 1421. hard to believe its been a full week since i left. its all a blur of drifting, changing sails and drifting. What started out as an pretty windless day turned into becoming a gorgeous sailing afternoon cruising along with the Asym up doing 5-6 knots. there  was a series of nice little squalls that provided good wind and added a better point of sail, the squalls up to this point have been super mellow and somewhat pleasant. just before getting ready for radio check in there was an upcoming squall that looked a little more dark than the others so we were cooking along nicely at 7 knots and i decided to take the reef in the main just to keep an easy helm when we got into it, but this one was different and picked up velocity really quickly and next thing I was almost laid over with a burst of wind, i was able to release the sheet right away and get the sock down over the sail with some struggle and effort luckily not getting it in the water, I already had a the double reefed main so I raised the stay sail and was blasting along the course at 6.5 knots. the wine and cheese part of this voyage is officially over. its been super blustery and a very uncomfortable sea state since then. its like we crossed the line into a different sea  I learned at radio check in that the other guys that had kites up had similar situations, way too much sail up and then, uh oh! a reminder of who is the boss out here and its not us. had an amazing find in my book shelf, i brought a few new things to read and some classics i read years ago and wanted to re read. Opening up Lord Jim, I see an inscription from my friend Roger from years ago “To cure boredom on the high seas, Happy 25th Birthday” too funny! who would have guessed all these years later it would have found its way sailing across the Pacific with me. Thanks Roger! xo team tortuga
Tortuga on its way to HI 2