Update from Dark Horse 7.7 9:15 PM PST

Tonight is my last night at sea. The trades have been very steady, around 20 knots with some squalls up to 30 knots. I have just the mainsail up and trucking along, the boat and autopilot have been dealing with it pretty good. It has given me some time to recover and fix some things. I got my solar charging at a sufficient rate after I lost one panel. I had to rewire a controller back to the battery. I have also had time to read “Not a yacht club”, which is a great book and I am very proud to be part of the SSS.  I also found time to read “Experiment in Survival”, an interesting book. Seems like a lot of trouble for a publicity stunt.

I am really excited to get to Hawaii and see everyone and start eating again!  I’m really looking forward to tree time. Looking back at the trip, I was expecting to say the hardest part of it was leaving, but I can’t say that. There have been some very challenging, emotionally and physically, times over the last 2 weeks. Overall I am really happy with the boat and how it performed. The biggest thing I would change is to bring a whisker pole. Not having one really reduced my miles in these conditions leaving me to be under a main more than I would like. With the heavier conditions, it was too risky for my to fly a spinnaker.  20 knots was my limit. I was expecting to do a lot more spinnaker work, but it didn’t allow for it. I also expected it to be a lot warmer. It really didn’t get warm until 4 days ago.
I am happy with how dry my boat has been, the bilge hasn’t even filled up once!  Thanks to the dodger, and new hatches and all the work I put into sealing all the holes.  It sure makes a big difference psychologically having a dry place to go to and sleep. I am happy with my autopilots and electrical system. Everything ran perfectly and I had plenty of power.
Next time I would bring more fleece pants and long underwear. I also would provision a little more differently too. The same meal gets pretty boring and then I don’t want to eat.  I spent today cleaning up the boat and packing bags that go ashore so I can just anchor and head to the beach. It will be a dream come true tomorrow, hopefully the squalls won’t be too bad tonight.
2 days ago I came across a group of dolphins, there must have been hundreds of them. They would swim along the boat and jump right in front of it, kind of playing with it. This went on for about a half hour, sailing along with all these dolphins in the middle of the sea, it was a very unique experience I won’t ever forget. Reminds me of a time I was working on a ranch that borders Yellowstone National Park, and after a long day of fixing fence up in a high mountain pasture, I was riding home across a hay field and came across a herd of 400 elk. Next thing you know I was loping my horse in the middle of this herd of elk across a field. There was nothing like that in the world. Purely living in the moment.
Well, that’s all for now, gotta get things set up for night squall sailing!

2 thoughts on “Update from Dark Horse 7.7 9:15 PM PST”

  1. Shad, those are some beautiful experiences you describe, and I enjoyed reading your writings throughout the race. It dug me deeper into my own soul and kinda soothing it was.

  2. Shad
    Andy and I had to withdraw from the PAC CUP. We just weren’t ready this year. I’m very excited for you it sounds like you had a tremendous time. In the early 70s I jumped a fire on the Thorough Fare at the southern edge of Yellowstone. We walked right up to herd of about 250 elk, Being that close it’s hard to describe. When you get back to Montana I want to hear more about your race and more details. Jim

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