Double Espresso says “Start all over again …”

Not your typical day
Today was different. The morning wind thought it was afternoon and we made better progress than usual, or so it seemed to me. I was quite excited about the afternoon ride but it was not to be, quite the contrary. We’re now doing less than 5 kts. What looked like a squall but apparently wasn’t showed its head from behind. It didn’t cross my path, instead it veered the wind 50 degrees and left a patch of light air behind. Then a small rainy squall followed and it did its thing. It took probably another hour before the wind came back to the original direction, but much lighter. I’m looking astern and see no white caps … Oh, I don’t like this.
Back after a couple hours we’re on a light air beam reach … It’s the start all over again. I sure hope all the other guys are/will get their fair share of this. 5 kts of wind …
One more thing…
After we got started again an ominous cloud formation appeared on my starboard bow (probably was there for a while) and the wind started to veer. I decided to go South of it and the wind is coming down a bit. I went back to some of the SSS and PacCup handouts and this fits the description of what I would experience if that thing is a tropical depression. I hope it’s moving a little North … Didn’t see that on the weather charts.

back on the night train run to Hanalei for PJ

We’re back on the night train run to Hanalei. I took the opportunity of light air to apply Dacron sticky back on a previous repair patch on the #2’s tack. I hope this helps hold it together until the finish. I also tightened up the foot line to stop the fluttering. And last I reset the pole ring as somehow the pin had come loose.
Pfew I don’t know what that was but no more please! Insert pretty pleading eyes here
PJ on DE

Phillippe is a little sleepy

We’re still making our way to Hanalei Bay, under poled out jib and full main. For the past 4-5 days the mornings started slow with this sail plan and then picked up a little afternoon. At night things picked up a little more and we made good progress. I didn’t see squalls this past night.
My activities on the boat are fairly minimal. I take care of myself, do daily deck checks, check keel and rudder twice a day, monitor heading and adjust the AP regularly to keep us on track or off sailing by the lee, get Grib files and weather charts now and then, and communicate a little with the “world”.
We’re doing 7+ kts on a COG of about 240T. I wonder what it’s like to watch the race. I also wonder how the other skippers are sailing their boat. It looks like Nightmare is going hard!
I mostly sleep on the cabin floor now. It’s still noisy and my mattress is about 1 foot wide but I find it easier to relax there.
Fatigue from sleep deprivation has settled in and I’m being cautious with everything I do.
It’s time I start to think about the finish line. It looks like I’m due for a night arrival, which may mean beating to shore.
I’m not writing much about my surroundings as much as been said before. It is blue, beautiful and breathing!
Everything, movements, sounds, seem to join forces to make me feel sleepy … I’m going for my morning nap.

Day 10 Summary – Wind all around

Well, today saw the end of the fleet reach halfway, and it appears they are getting blasted, with reports of winds at 20 kts and building to 27 kts.    Just the kind of conditions the back of the fleet thrives in.   The weather is warming up and some boats are having fun with squalls.

The comfort clump has expanded into more of expanded mesh as boats take off and sail to their ratings.  One of these is Dark Horse who has surged ahead of the slower boats and has closed the gap on some of his ultra light competitors, sneaking up behind JouJouNightmare continues to bullet along, giving Passages a tease as he creeps nearer.  Crinan II, in contention to win after time correction, has jibed south and continues to hold his stead.  Double Espresso is maintaining first to finish position and is looking at landfall likely sometime on Thursday, July 5th, if all continues to go well.

Dolfin has broken away from his nemesis Jacqueline and it appears Iris and Owl may dance together next.  Our eastern protector Morning Star has now under 1000 miles left to go.  The wind should hold for most of the fleet, but we are hoping the tail end doesn’t get waylaid by the coming tropical disturbance upsetting the tradewind flow.  Let’s all blow in the direction of Kauai, perhaps our collective hot air can help to keep the windspeed up enough.  Well, no, but it would be pretty cool to watch if the whole Bay Area stood along the coastline blowing in the direction of the fleet.  Digression, but it is exciting to begin preparing for finishes as the first of RC has arrived in Hanalei and is prepping everything to be ready to greet the first finisher. Mai Tais are pending!

From 6A evening SSB net

boats are reporting 20 knots and rising through to 27 knots sustained,
speeds in the high 6’s.    They are moving right along.  Sounds like folks are reefing down.
They were told RC is beginning to arrive in
Hanalei.  The response was we want to get there, too.

And more carnage…

From Double Espresso:
What a night! It all started with late afternoon squalls then the night squalls. They were rapidly following each other and were preceded by a bit of rain. We were running under full main and poled out #2. It was exhilarating. After driving through a bunch of them to get a sense of how they work I set the autopilot on and moved in my downstairs apartments. Then laid in the pipe berth. At some point we got rocked 90 degrees to port and the autopilot slowly got us back on track. I didn’t make much of it. I went on deck later during the night and discovered that the jibe preventer wasn’t on the boom anymore, not only that the whole line was gone. It was made fast to the boom with a snap shackle to a fuse line and then routed back to the cabin through a cam cleat. I rigged a new one.
The morning came and as I was watching astern hoping for our first sunrise, the auto pilot stopped working. It was still on but wouldn’t go in auto mode. I wasn’t sure what to do next. First I had to recover the boat, which was now going backwards with the wind in the jib and main aback, poled out and preventer on. I eased out the preventer and was able to regain control. From then on I tried different things with the goal to continue moving forward ASAP. I managed to get the spare autopilot and it worked, then no more. I thought it was the batteries again (I had been monitoring them though). I got the generator and chargers out and  started that out. At that point I was still sailing to Hanalei with main only as I managed to drop the 2.
In the end a restart of the autopilot seemed to fix this.
I wanted to be a little faster without encumbering the deck so I poled out the #3.
And finally, a couple hours later, the batteries were at 75%, I stowed the generator down and poled out the 2 again. Then I brought back the generator to finish the charging.
It looks like another slow start to the day. The position report said I was 555 miles away from the finish … I like that 555. SailGrib says I may arrive Thursday 5am pdt. No fireworks then …
The cabin has remained somewhat organized. There’s just too much stuff aboard.
I do feel tired having helmed through the squalls and dealt with the fallout of this morning incident. A quiet room with soft music please …
I’m left with a few bruises and scratches, pain in the right hip and tip of the right index. Pfew things could have been worse. Imagine this happening during a squall …
rcvd 7/1 16:16 PDT

Day 9 Summary – Nearly all are halfway and puff on!

Day 9 finds all but two racers ticking off the halfway point and everyone is reporting the wind building.  Double Espresso is maintaining his lead in distance to finish, if he hangs on and doesn’t break anything major, we can expect that he’ll be the first to say Aloha.  As the wind fills in on the whole course, there is not likely to be a whole lot of change in position among the first few boats, though those in the clump could see some movement as conditions better for heavier boats.  The racers will move from “doing everything to keep the boat moving” mode, to “doing everything to keep the boat from breaking” mode.  Always a fun transition.

We saw Kyntanna stabilize her track a bit with the stronger winds, and Owl became our new northwest flyer, heading off even  further relative to the past northerners.  Nightmare also tracked more northerly today, as did FuguDark Horse advanced a little further away from the comfort clump.  We heard Dolfin and Jacqueline are in active avoidance mode of each other.  Morning Star is still holding off to the east and Riff Rider is our southern most track.  Wind should hold for most for the remainder of the race, and least for the front half of racers.  Tropical weather may disrupt the tradewind flow for the slowest boats, it all depends how well they advance in the current wind.  It is amazing how northerly overall this fleet has been able to sail, almost straight rhumb-lining it.  And though slow, they really did not have to experience days of jelly fish passing them by.  I wonder if they know how lucky they are!

Day 8 Summary – more halfways and steady on in a new month

The bulk of the fleet has or will be hitting the halfway barge today, quite a busy place it will be, there could be a queue for the ice cream, wink.  Double Espresso seems to have grown his first to finish lead despite his kvetching about slow speeds followed at the moment by Passages (the nemesis O30) and NightmareCrinan II and Riff Rider are holding their own along with Rainbow  and Fugu who appear to have crossed tacks in fairly close proximity of each other.  Perhaps they exchanged hello by wave or VHF.

Kyntanna has kicked some serious southing butt today, closing the gap a little bit with the comfort clump, some apparently setting off each others’ AIS alarms.  Morning Star continues the eastern defense.  He was closer to the finish for a time than Kyntanna,  saved now by the aforementioned butt kicking.  Both of them will likely be seeing the coming increase in wind before the rest of the fleet, so we could see the kicking continue.  By tomorrow the wind is forecast to do the kicking and we’ll see how our intrepids fare as they begin to enter or continue in the stiffening trades.  Boat parts that have been worked slatting around in lighter air will be in for a test.  Less than 800 miles to go for our faster boats.

Hanalei awaits their arrival:

Hanalei Bay this morning (7/1)

-Photo courtesy of Veteran Buglighter s/v Tiger Beetle

Delivery Boy aka PJ hits magic threshold of wind

3pm pdt, the wind has hit the magic threshold. Below that we’re just plain slow. I feel really blessed to have been advised to get a whisker pole for the #2 and to have found one on Craigslist. It’s made all the difference.
For the past few days it’s been the same scenario. The wind petters out at sunrise and remains puffy in the 9-14 kts of range. I look at my 6 spinnakers, begging me to “pick me, pick me”. “You’ve got the wrong guy”, I say, “I’m just the delivery boy.”
According to the forecast the wind should stay above that threshold until Hanalei. I sure hope so.
I wonder how Dave is sailing his O30.
Less than 700 nm to go; I don’t think I’ll see the fireworks 🙂
rcvd 15:48 PDT 7/1

Philippe: “Where is the sun? “

Sunday 7.1.18   Noon  …Where is the sun? I’m afraid I may have to put the generator back to work.
I saw those pop corn clouds yesterday. They’re cute and shy, hiding behind the cloud cover.
We saw squalls and rain during the night, some stars too. I mostly staid inside back in the pipe berth. I dropped the 3 before closing shop and put it back up this morning.
You know … I wouldn’t mind arriving in Hanalei Bay when they start up the fireworks. But that’s my grandiose thinking at work again and a safe landfall is cool too.
For those in the know I’ve got three heads! A pink one, just for me. A small white one for the kiddos and a green one I keep in the stern lazarette for the guests.
I noticed pictures don’t look great so sorry about that.
It’s another slow start for the day. With twin jibs the boat lights up right about 15 kts of wind, when everything works together. Below that it’s not pretty and a spinnaker would help. I considered that for a moment this morning and then declined.
I have rigged an afterguy on the whisker pole and hopefully that’ll help prevent the crazy wrap I got when I jibed this sail plan for the first time. I’ve rehearsed the steps and thought about ways to depower or drop the rig. Wind is supposed to go up so … Better be ready …
Out …