Wednesday, June 18, 2008
John, Chuck will call you after we enter the Bay. We would greatly like to be picked up. We can discuss itinerary after we dock. Thank you and looking forward to seeing you.
Dawna, I will call you after we enter the Bay. My cell phone is charged and ready to go. I will call others after we dock (maybe wait until after I find a shower, not that I need one. . . HA! I haven't washed my hair for over a week or combed it for 4 days. Talk about a rat's nest!)
Julie, I miss our talks, and I'm looking forward to blabbing with you. Hi to Christina, I was wondering if you got moved; I hope you are enjoying your new place. I'm looking forward to catching up.
Chuck has the prize for the most water in the cockpit. This morning he was driving some on my shift and a huge wave broke over the boat side. A waterfall of saltwater went cascading down the companion way.
Well I have to sign off, dinner is ready. Our last dinner on board: New York Steak and mashed potatoes! Complements to chef Bill!
In the last 24 hours we went 139 Nm and we have 45 Nm to go to the
Reaching in 25-30 knot winds and big seas for the last couple days. Two reefs in the main and almost no jib (most of the time).
Haven't sighted land yet but the Farallon Islands are just behind the curvature of the earth.
Best guess is 1500 PDT at the Golden Gate and another hour or so to Richmond Yacht Club. I am nurturing the fantasy that we might win the beer can race in the special category of boats who by accident rounded Oahu.
Lets hear it for the crew. Dan, Tina, Jan and Chuck. These people have been there, believe me. I've not sufficient words to thank them. As for praise, it would take forever. I'm completely humbled.
That's it for the 2008 delivery part of the blog. Bye!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We have gone 153 Nm in the last 24 Hours and have 184 Nm to go.
Two reefs in main, jib mostly furled. Beam reaching and running to try to stay out of the way of some nasty swells.
8-10 feet at least and winds often over 30 knots.
If we get in in time for the beer can race one of my crew, Daniel Langford, is looking for a ride. Just stop by Cirrus and pick him up. What the heck, I might be looking for a ride myself.
Looks like the tide at the Golden Gate on Wednesday could not be more perfect. A flood starting at 0837, peaking at 3.5 knots at 1145 and lasting until 1506. Hope we make that window.
What a textbook delivery. This is exactly what the Pacific cup racers can expect on their return trip. Up to 40 North and through the high into a week long drive back into the Bay Area. The first part pretty easy, the last part a bit tougher; windy, bumpy, overcast and cold.
As I write this, we are less than 300 miles from land! Yee Haw!!! Cirrus seems to know, as she has picked up some speed and feels more determined!
"Sleep! I need Sleep!" continued. . .
Making the bed. I was going to go into minute detail, but I decided not to put YOU to sleep. So, short version. . . I've been using a lee cloth, which keeps me from perclunking onto the floor. With the boat rocking and rolling, I make my bed one handed; the other hand is holding on for dear life. The red night light doesn't light up my bed, so to add to the challenge, I do it in the dark!
My sleeping bag is big, warm, fluffy and flannel. It's like being in heaven, once I finally get in it. As I settle for the night, (one hour after getting off watch) the lee cloth cradles me, the sleeping bag cuddles and warms me, I start to relax and then start my next exercise program: Jello aerobics.
As I have mentioned before, this boat never stops moving. Laying in bed, my body starts moving in time with the boat: up, down, forward, backward, sideways, sideways, pauses, suspended in air, dropping, etc. It actually is quite relaxing. As my muscles let go, I turn into Jello and soon I am . . . zzzzzzzzz. . .
Monday, June 16, 2008
On the approach to the Golden Gate we'll be making a lot of cell phone calls to friends. On my list at the moment are:
Judith and R.B. Ward
Dave and Lisa Littlejohn
Wladek and Uta Swiatecki
Kim and Lou Ickler
If you would like to be called send us your name and phone number as a comment to the blog or directly to our email address:
We went 133 Nm in the last 24 hours and have 337 Nm to go. Noon (or later Wednesday looks good. Two more nights.
Let's hear it for the provisioning team. Tina with serious help from Donna and Lindsey and probably others has done a fantastic job of stocking the boat for this delivery trip.
And for the race, the next delivery, the race after that and for future adventures as yet undreamed of.
Many of you know that my provisioning style involves six tote boxes strapped down on the starboard bench in the main cabin. Then we put some water bottles behind the benches, some frozen stuff in the reefer and some perishables forward in picnic coolers. This time there were 3 coolers instead of 2 and an extra tote box just floating around. I'm still sleeping with a bag of Krustez Buttermilk Pancake Mix big enough to serve as the grand prize at a rodeo.
Well. We have managed to put a dent in the frozen stuff, but the reefer is still almost full to the top. When I was looking in the tote boxes for a place to put some crackers I found there wasn't any. I know we have been using things so there must be space somewhere. Actually, the tote boxes are still full because they were packed so densely and now they have been stirred up. The coolers forward are mostly empty except for tons of chips and crackers. There is a bucket half full of grapefruit and another of apples. All of which seem to be keeping well. I'm told there are a couple watermelons somewhere. My guess is that the race crew will do a better job of finishing off the supplies.
Because of the difficult conditions that have prevailed since the last tack a lot of the food prep has fallen to the skipper. This has resulted in several interesting - if not to say "unique" - presentations. Yesterday for example. Lunch was 2-3 cans of green beans cooked in 2-3 cans of clam chowder. Magnifique! Dinner a simple - yet elegant - roasted tri-tip steak with mashed potatoes (Powdered) prepared by simply by pouring the powder into a boiling pot of peas. There was general agreement that both meals served to maintain the standard that people have have come to expect.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
We have come 140 Nm in the last 24 hours and we have 470 Nm to go.
It is looking good for a Wednesday arrival.
Responding to Chris' comment to yesterdays blog. Right on. The weather prediction (even in some of it's finer details) seems to have been designed just to give us a nice ride into SF. Yesterday's GRIB for the next four day's run was a little intimidating at first. Starting at 20 knots where we were located but increasing steadily toward SF, 25-30-35......... But the next day's map shows the intensity starting down (but still 20 at our new location). Same thing for the day after and the day after that. Twenty knots all the way. Talk about "Intelligent Design" Somebody is looking out for us.
Ulli's program, Cirrugator, shows us home in 3 days. Problem is that the program doesn't know that there 6-8 foot seas, we have two reefs in the main and a half furled jib.
As I write this the wind is pushing back up to 23-24-... Something we are no longer happy to see. Twenty is plenty. Twenty three is half again as punishing, and 25 is twice as fierce (SINCE IT GOES LIKE THE CUBE).
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We went 141 Nm in the last 24 hours. 610 Nm to go. Pretty unlikely that we can do that in less than four days. So, it's looking like a Wednesday arrival at the moment.
Just as the sun was setting yesterday (gusting to 25 and over, 6-8 ft. seas and building)
I had the thought, "Wonder if we should put in another reef?" As most of you sailors know, that is one of those questions whose answer is "YES". So we did it. Lots of fun up there at the mast. After that it was motor sailing with two reefs in the main and a jib about 3 feet on a side.
As an aside; I was driving during the night and thought I was on autopilot but I wasn't. Good old Cirrus, just plugging along into all this weather by herself with no hand on the wheel.
Speaking of "Good old Cirrus" she sure punches her way through this chop nicely. We've got big bumpy waves close together and it is really tough on the crew. But a more modern boat with a thinner hull would be really scary in these conditions. Lots of "oil canning", hull flexing, and noise. That's not to say that we are having a good time. Hard sailing for the next couple days.
Thank you Dawna and Julie for your e-mails. Julie, I'm glad you figured out how to send it. I'm so happy to hear from you; it made my day!
Sleep! I NEED SLEEP! You'd think that after numerous day naps, I wouldn't be so tired after my night shift. After all, it ends at only 9 pm.
When on watch, I give it my 110% attention and concentration. At the beginning, end, and every 10 minutes during my 3 hours, I scrutinize the horizon line for ships. That's 19 times! (I really, really, really don't want to run into one!) I concentrate on wind angle ( Which is ever changing by 10-20 degrees) and compass heading. In between all that is the really hard work of day (or night) dreaming, star gazing, and reflecting on moon reflections. I wrote a haiku for you Karen:
Night sky, mast head light.
Direction arrow waltzes with the Big Dipper.
Dancing with stars, over ocean.
Is that a haiku?
Oh! I forgot . . . I was going to talk about sleep!
The main salon has a bunk on each side, then a bench on each side. Tina has the starboard bunk. The starboard bench seat has 6 crates of provisions strapped to it. Chuck has the port side bunk and I have the port side bench seat. I like to call it the nauti-sofa. I keep my bed cleaned off during the day (toss stuff up on Chuck's bunk) so anyone can sit on it.
I'd better start talking about sleep now, or I may never get to it.
Every night, when I get off watch, I have to make my bed. Last night, we were heeled to starboard. Just getting down the companion way gave me a whole weeks workout of exercise!
Before I can make the bed, I have to get out of my life jacket and foul weather gear, then stow it. Then, of course, use the head. Remember before? I said to use your imagination in the head and multiply by 5 1/2? Well. . . change that to 25 1/2! I believe that I now qualify for the gymnast Olympics!
Back to making the bed. Well, sorry, I have get ready to go on watch now. I will continue this in my next blog.
She set sail with six and only six,
but a mere five did stand the watch.
The sixth was free to say what he pleased,
as long as he stayed within his notch.
They all knew the sixth and depended on the sixth,
because he kept them straight and true.
But, on the tenth day the sixth mate did say,
without a word "he's through."
The five replied in one great plea,
"Auto I will lay my hammer upon YOU!"
With out a moan, just a series of beeps,
Auto pointed us to Honolulu.
Since he does not have much experience in boating, let alone offshore racing, he is looking forward to his first experiences in a field so different from his regular job of engineering big scale industrial sites.
Please, welcome Bernard!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Finally moving again. 135 Nm in the last 24 hr. 751 to go. That's probably at least 5 days.
Yesterday started out drizzly but soon cleared to cloudless blue. Crisp cool bite to the air. Feels like fall.
Sorry about sending some notes to last years blog. Thought I had that fixed but it came back.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
P.S. Hi Dawna, I appreciate all your e-mails and support. You are indeed a special sister. I Love you!
[recovered from 2007 blog :-\ , ulli]
motor sailing with 1 reef in main and full jib.
We have 886 Nm to go. That is only 51 Nm closer than we were yesterday.
We're having a tough time getting across this HIGH. Wind right on the nose. Have to aim at Alaska or Mexico. Cirrugator says Alaska is the better pick so that is what we are doing.
A little squeak and a little stink when starting the engine. Shut it down and tightened the belt a bit. Constant vigilance.
Well, that wasn't so hard. We had just about given up on the autopilot when Chris sent a note that the factory service people suggested, "A temporary fix to the problem is to rap gently but solidly on the chrome ring that
surrounds the drive unit with a mallet." That is to say....... "Hit it a rap with a hammer." You guessed it. It started working again. None the less I'll probably try to get the drive serviced in SF since it still is a little erratic.
The weather maps and Ulli's routing program "Cirrugator" clearly indicate that we need to keep on plugging northeast for another day. That way, when we tack, it'll be a sled ride down into SF. Tacking sooner would probably result in our having to pinch up at some point to lay the Golden Gate.
I could use a little more shore support. We would like a schedule of tidal currents at the Golden Gate for Tuesday and Wednesday and maybe Thursday (at the rate we are going) June 17-19. Don't need tide, only current. Only a schedule of floods and ebbs.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We appreciate the responses to the blog but can not always reply due to the limitations of the sailmail system, or rather my ability to utilize it.
Currently we have returned to our ol' familiar starboard tack to head further North. The 4-6 hour on port tack was quite disorienting. Not just extremely bumpy, but everything was reversed. We have to brace ourselves on the head or slide off. Cooking dinner required the safety strap. Steering took a while to adjust, up wind is now down wind, etc. Worse of all, I reexperienced Mal de Mer due to the rough conditions. Theoretically one is suppose to get their sea legs by the third day out. Theories, ah! C'est la vie.
One of the great things about being aboard Cirrus is getting to hang out with Bill. He is amazing. Bill easily identified the lights of a passing ship as a tug with a tow. He later commented that after all he did have a 100 ton master captain's license and had to learn lights. Yes, but what is so amazing is that he can remember them. We are all benefiting from the daily mini celestial navigation lessons.
I'm really enjoying my responsibilities aboard. Bill expects me to drive the boat as I see fit, which includes making decisions. Of course big changes are always discussed. Gee, it's like he actually thinks I know what I'm doing. And after 6000 blue water miles, maybe I do. Last night on my 9-12 watch I was thrilled when a few stars came out to provide a sense of direction. Such simple things are a gift at sea. I promise to pay more attention to the night sky once we return to land, it is so wondrous.
Take care, love to you all, Tina
Bill's fishing pole consists of a flat paddle-like spool, about 8" x 12" with a handle sticking out the middle of one side. When you hold the handle, the paddle can spin around. This is the 'reel', so to speak. There is no rod.
The fish lure is a rubber squiddy thingy that dangles over a double hook attached to about 10-15 feet of very heavy (about 2 1/2 ton test?) mono-filament line. This is attached to about 147.32 feet of parachute cord which is attached to the reel. A few feet from the reel is a bungee cord loop tied onto the parachute cord. This bungee cord gets looped onto a cleat and acts as a shock absorber. Whew! I hope you got the picture.
We trailed this in the water all day Sunday and Monday with no luck. Tuesday was so rough, no one felt like putting it out.
This morning (Wednesday) Chuck put out the line about 6:30 am. About an hour later, Chuck saw a fish! . . . bungee jumping in our wake!!! I was at the helm (remember? My watch is 6 to 9, am & pm).
As Chuck started pulling the fish in, hand over hand method, Bill came up the companion way with gaffe hook in hand. Chuck got the fish to the boat and after a brief wrestling match, the fish found itself on the cockpit floor pinned down with one of Bill's boots on its head and the other boot on its body. The 2 1/2 foot long fish showed its extreme displeasure by thrashing its tail, to no avail.
What kind of fish was it? Well. . . I've never seen one in person before, but I thought it was a Rare Sparkling Yellow Bellied, Blue Parrot Headed, Spiky tailed Bungee Jumping Fish. Bill called it a Mahi-Mahi.
I cleaned it, filleted it, sliced some for sushi and put it in the oven for lunch. Delicious !!!!
If you ever have the inclination to go bungee jumping, I would advise you to think twice!
0600 position, 37N54 142W15 C346M S6.7, APP WND 067 S17
It was a SLOWWWWWWWWWWWW day. 58 Nm. Tacking back and forth into 20-28 knot winds 6-8 foot seas with one reef in the main and a half furled jib. Not a whole lot of fun. In addition the autopilot is getting cranky and we have to steer a lot.
If someone wants to do a little research they could call Raymarine and ask what the trouble might be when the unit begins to fail more and more often, with the message "DRIVESTOP". The manual says to check the position sensor. Looks OK. The control unit is a ST6001+, The course computer is their biggest and best, the drive is the biggest linear electric ram. I wonder if the drive unit is just getting old and tired.
The crew is doing well. What a bunch of troopers for a group of first time ocean crossers.
Yesterdays big adventure was pouring 8 jerry cans of fuel into the tank that we had been using. A lot of work in the bumpy conditions. We managed to do it without spilling a drop. Well, maybe one drop.
Well, the answer is yes, I've had my moments. Anytime I do something that I've never done before, I have little twinges of fear. (ok, sometimes BIG twinges of fear!) Sometimes to learn, I have to step out of my comfort zone.
Part of overcoming fear is having confidence. First of all, I CAN DO IT!
I also have confidence in our crew, knowing that when they are on watch, they are giving it their all. Any one of us is willing to hop out of bed the moment we are needed.
Having trust in Cirrus is one of the most important confidences. Cirrus is strong and proven.
The most important, is to have confidence in our Skipper. Cirrus will not sail by herself. Bill is very knowledgeable, strong, experienced, a good problem solver, patient, and a good teacher and story teller. He is the greatest!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Our slowest day yet at 104 Nm. A couple hours of motoring straight into the wind. We were aimed straight at SF and I couldn't decide what tack I wanted to be on. By the way, we just dropped a digit. It is now 999 Nm to go.
A (really rough estimate of our arrival time in SF is a week from today (Tuesday, 17 June) or sooner.
We had the reef out of the main for a little while but it is back in now. The jib is half furled.
We passed the halfway point yesterday (gone 1100 to go). Decided to celebrate by doing the one tack of the trip (stbd to port). Mistake. It started to get cold right away. I almost froze during the evening party. (68 deg)
Around midnight we found ourselves on an almost parallel (but converging) course with something REALLY BIG (a tug and tow). The radar and the good binoculars were helpful in identifying them. They never did respond to 16. So, finally, we cracked off and went behind.
Dan says Caroline cautioned him against using the bunk beside the engine because it is noisy. (The skipper often having nothing better to do than charge the batteries.) Dan, who spends a lot of time on submarines, says it sounds to him a lot like a lullaby.
When the boat is at a constant heel, day and night, even simple things like putting your pants on, becomes an exercise routine of balance, leaning, falling over and collecting more bruises.
I'm not going to talk about using the head, but if you use your imagination . . . and multiply it by 5 1/2 . . .
No one is complaining. I am actually enjoying it. Some times, I have to laugh at some of the positions I get in. I can feel my muscles and joints getting stronger. Yee Ha !!!
The 1st week was a constant heel to port side. The last couple of days have been calmer, because we are motoring through minimum wind. We will soon be into strong wind coming for the North, so will spend the rest of the trip heeled to starboard side.
I'm looking forward to a new set of exercises (including setting up the lee cloth on my bed). I'll probably collect more bruises so I can finish the Monet paint of yellows, purples, greens, blacks and blues on my legs!
Writings from Chuck:
I Was Here
I was here. That is the mark I left.
It's probably not here any more.
It either blew away or floated away.
Take a globe and find San Francisco (it's on th 38th latitude on the West coast of the United States). Draw a line from San Francisco, west along the 38 degree line until you reach Korea. Now start at Hawaii and draw a line 45 degrees NE. Where the 2 lines cross is where I left my mark.
This is where I was on June 8, 2008.
Out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
1000 miles from anywhere; with sunny skies, warm air,
calm seas and nothing to see but water and sky.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Today was shower day. Not much wind. I did manage to squeak 4 knots of speed from 4 knots of wind, but most of the morning we were doing 2-3 knots or less. The ocean was so calm, Tina suggested shower time! Bill and Dan hooked up a salt water hose up on the bow deck. We all donned our swim suits and took turns. A bottle of fresh water for a final rinse and we were all squeaky clean!
After the first couple of days, appetites picked up. (I no longer carry a zippy in my pocket.) Tina did a super job provisioning the boat. what an overwhelming task! Food, drink and snacks for five people for 21 days in limited space and refrigeration.
Dan make the most delicious French toast and scrambled eggs with fruit for breakfast, several mornings. I don't know how he managed because I was at the helm and the seas were rough and we were heeled way over. We also have fresh French Pressed coffee!
Lunches have been mostly sandwiches and salads.
Some of the dinners have been scrumptious pork chops, tastiest meat loaf and lasagna. We all gather in the cockpit for dinner and lively conversation. Bill always has interesting stories to tell as the sun goes down. Story example: (short version) The earth turns 1 degree every 4 minutes. The sun is 1/2 degree in diameter. Therefore when the sun touches the horizon, it takes 2 minutes for it to sizzle out of sight. 'The green flash' is the very tippy top of the sun, right before it blinks out of sight, it sometimes turns green. It's not really a 'flash'. We have seen it twice!!!
writing from Chuck:
All I can see from horizon to horizon is water.
The sky comes down from the heavens to meet the water.
Days from land and all that surrounds us is water.
On a little boat that is blown by the wind, across the water.
Motoring with furled jib and full main. Gone 1091, 1109 to go. Went 122 Nm in the last 24 hours.
I was pleased to see that my deliberately introduced error in the last blog elicited so many responses. Got to keep you guys on your toes.
What a great day. Since we were still worried about the cutlass bearing we sort of drifted to a stop yesterday morning at about 0830 when the wind died again. A cry went up for showers (we could have gone swimming). So we rigged the salt water system and had an hour long showering session (one at a time) on the fore deck. Fantastic. Lifted everyone's spirits.
Afterwards I decided to cautiously try putting the prop in gear while running the engine to charge the batteries. It seemed to work ok, so we motored for awhile until a little breeze picked up. Maybe the noise the other day was the folding prop jammed at a funny angle.
When we quit motoring Cirrus did her usual number in these light airs. At one point we were reaching at about 6 knots in an apparent wind of 5.3
Passed the 1000 Nm point at about 1400.
I had been doing my usual number on the crew about the "optimum" track from Hawaii to SF being marked with black balls about a foot in diameter. Sure enough, today we passed one after another (some close aboard) for the entire afternoon. More myths.
This morning the color of the balls changed from black to white. Probably because we are passing the halfway point.
Just before dinner we spotted a large number of dolphins about a quarter mile away. There were a dozen at a time leaping out of the water.
At 1600 yesterday we had been underway exactly one week. At 1017 Nm. that's a 6 knot, 145 Nm./day average.
As the sun came up this morning it revealed another freighter approaching from our port quarter. Big sign on the side said "Gearbulk". We picked this one up way off in the distance because of the morning sun and calm conditions. He agreed to change course to port in order to pass well ahead of us. (Freighter whisperer.) Otherwise he was pretty terse. It seems like the ships were a lot more chatty last year. (When Lindsey was making the calls.)
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tonight in 10 knots of wind, making dinner was very comfortable down below. Again thanks to Donna and her amazing daughter Lindsey, we feasted on CostCo's finest - pot roast, noodles, & green beans. Their expertise on provisioning and galley management has been invaluable. We are all very grateful for Donna and Lindsey's four solid days of hard work spent shopping, hauling, packing, freezing, stowing so that we can eat this well. They are so generous with their time and energy.
Bill and I are already discussing how to reprovision the boat for the race. I suggested just flying Donna and Lindsey over San Francisco to help. I don't think he's going for it.(Let them eat Spam?)
We saw the fabled Green Flash tonight at sunset. This night's watch promises a starry sky with Cheshire cat smile of a moon. Love to all, Tina
We have gone 129 Nm in the last 24 hours, which is not bad considering a lot of light (or no) air.
The GPS computer still says 9 days to SFO
Yesterday morning I thought we were punching into the long awaited HIGH that precedes the sled ride down into SFO. Nope. Not yet. The wind came back, then faded, then came back .........
So we decided to run the motor for a couple days and just push our way across. Noisy, but what the heck. Maybe we could get there in 13-14 days and impress everyone. After all, The boat is loaded down with a ton of fuel. (Enough for 6-7 days of continuous motoring.) Up until now we have hardly used any fuel. Even when charging the batteries, we were often going too fast to engage the prop.
Well, "push through" was not to be. After about 3-4 hours a bad vibration set in that I'm pretty sure is a shot cutlass bearing. (Last replaced 2 years ago at Swenson's.) So, it's back to sailing and hope for the best on getting across the high. It's so close. Wonder if we can go up and over?
Besides, it is after all an ocean racer. We don't need no stinking engine.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
San Francisco 1366 Nm, Kaneohe 840 Nm
136 Nm in the last 24 hours
More than 1/3 of the way.
Yesterday was absolutely glorious. All morning we charged along (as usual) with Cirrus feeling like the old work horse that knows it's headed for the barn at the end of the day. The wind still steady at 20 but clocking down more and more toward San Francisco. I happened to glance at the GPS "Time to Go" and "Oh my God!" we were in single digits. The computer was predicting that we would be in San Francisco in 9 days.
Then, around noon, the wind started to fall off and by 1400 we were down to about 15 knots. We cracked off a little. and Cirrus (true to form) was still doing 7.6 knots. (And the TTG is still 9 days.)
In the lighter wind the seas dropped to 1-2 ft, the clouds (what there were) all went away. What a glorious day.
This morning at 0400 the wind reversed direction a couple times (causing the auto pilot to have a fit) and then died. So now we are motoring with the apparent wind from ahead at the same speed as the boat speed. As I'm typing this the wind just kicked back in. That's probably going to be the story for the rest of the morning.
Monica (Chuck' niece), I thought about you last night during my watch. It was very dark; everyone was in their bunks. The ten hundred ka-trillion and one (seems like there are more every night) stars were out. The 2-day new moon was low on the horizon, sending a freeway wide river of moon reflection on the ocean from its self to the boat. I was standing on the bench behind the helm, just to starboard side, holding the back stay with my left hand, and my right hand was balancing in the wind. Cirrus was slicing thru the waves at 7.5 knots and heeled over just the same as we were when you were driving 'Wind Watcher' (Chuck's and my boat). Monica, you were in your element the and were really enjoying it. I felt like it wasn't the auto pilot steering, but your spirit was here steering. Master Of The High Seas!!!!
In case any one was wondering, I went my whole morning watch without getting splashed in the face. Yeah!
Does anyone know about other boats being en-route, and if they blog do you know their blog address?
Friday, June 6, 2008
San Francisco 1502 Nm, Kaneohe 681 Nm
More than 1/4 of the way. By virtue of a 169 Nm day yesterday we have increased our average speed to 148 Nm per day for the first four days. Not bad for close reaching into 20 kt winds.
For people new to sailing it must seem strange to be reading all this bragging about going 7-8 knots. That's about 8-9 mph. You could go faster on a bicycle. Trust me. For us it is a big deal. For other sailors, like us, considering a similar trip it is interesting to note that we basically have not changed course or speed or point of sail or, for that matter, wind conditions, since we set out 5-6 days ago. Another point is that my original plan of going without a dodger was a really bad idea. I'm so glad we put the frame back on at the last minute. The protection we jury rigged out of a storm sail, on the way out the Sampan Channel, is not perfect, but it's a big help.
The health benefits might not be the first thing you think about when considering an ocean crossing in a small boat, but they are considerable. Just about everyone on the boat can probably expect to be more fit at the end of this voyage than they have ever been in their lives. Think about it. Six hours (watch) of aerobics a day, and the rest of the day spent in a small room lunging about at a 20 deg. angle. Even while sleeping. I'm a good example. At age 72 I've been (for the last year) waking up each morning with an ache in my lower back that goes away with some stretching exercises and a cup of coffee. On this trip the problem simply disappeared.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Not all of the waves are out to get me. Most of them just pass by, waving merrily. (I guess that's why they are called 'waves'). It is really interesting to watch how Cirrus handles each wave. Each one is different and Cirrus knows exactly what to do and she does it so smoothly! What a great boat!
This morning on my watch, one wave took its job seriously. It slammed the starboard hull and made a boom, loud enough to get Bill's attention. He came up the companion way and asked if the shrouds and the sails were ok, of which they were, because that wave was only after me. I did manage to duck, but I swear, that wave dumped a whole 5 gallon bucket of water on my head!
If you have a queasy stomach, you might want to stop reading here. I'm going to talk about sea-sick-ness. Are you still reading? Well . . . I warned you!
Bill and Dan don't seem to have any problems, but Tina, Chuck and I have had our spells. We aren't 'sick as dogs', but we have our moments.
Throwing up on a boat that is constantly moving and heeled to port at 20 to 40 degrees is indeed a challenge.
In my opinion, the hardest way is to throw up is over the boat side. For sure, not over the starboard side - the wind would blow it back and I'd much rather have a wave in my face, for sure, for sure.
Now, port side is a little easier. One practically has to lay down for it. With the body more or less straight, it gives more power for the previously consumed escapees and they get projected quite a ways out into the ocean. There is also quite an echo of all the accompanying belching music.
Cup-of-Soups are quite tasty and really hit the spot going down. When they don't stay down very long, they taste exactly the same coming up!
I was sitting in the cockpit one morning when Chuck came up the companion way carrying a whole serving of chicken noodle cup-of-soup in a Ziploc baggy. I asked him why he made his soup in a zippy? He just looked at me and proceeded to pour it overboard. It appears that the best way to throw up on a constantly moving boat is into a zippy!
I hope I didn't gross anyone out too much, but, after all, I warned you.
San Francisco 1621 Nm, Kaneohe 522 Nm
More than 1/5 of the way. Average of 141 Nm per day for the first three days. Not bad for close reaching into 20 kt winds.
Bright sunny faces greet the dawn. (See photo above.) Chuck is on watch 0300-0600 and is relieved by Jan who stands the 0600-0900. The other watch standers are Dan at 0000-0300 and Tina at 0900-1200. PM is just a repeat of AM. The skipper is on 24/7.
The crew is finally starting to eat something and Kim Ickler's pork chops were a big hit last night. Later in the evening Chuck discovered a huge jar of jelly beans that he was willing to share. There are still some left.
Tonight it's probably Valerie's meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner and a big salad for lunch. I seem to be thinking a lot about food.
Yesterday after our freighter encounter there was mumbling among the crew along the lines of: "The skipper just spoke firmly to them and they changed course to avoid us." The story will improve with retelling. This is how myths are born.
The second night's sunset was as wonderful as the first. Little poofs of clouds, one at a time, floated past the sun during its descent. One cloud, bigger than the rest and composed of (about) 78 fluffy cotton balls, paused in front of the sun. This created sun beams in all directions. Breathtaking! Then, it was back to the little poofs of clouds, when POOF! The sun was gone! (I guess that's what little poof of clouds do.)
At this time of night I seem to notice the horizon line changing. Somehow, it is more pronounced, a contrast between ocean and sky. Surprisingly, it doesn't look flat, like I've visualized it before. Sitting in the princess chair, it is a slight curve and my eyes can follow it all around the boat, back to the beginning. The seas have gotten darker. It feels like a huge watery circle with us in the middle. We aren't moving, but the HUGE water disk is transporting us to San Francisco.
By the way, there were millions of stars in the second night.
I'm getting better at avoiding these waves splashing in my face! This particularly aggressive wave sent a huge splash. I turned my face away just in time for it to land, wasted, on the backside of my hooded 'REI Arc'teryx Gortex' waterproof jacket. I shook my fist at the wave and shouted, "You tried your best! I'm in control now! Bring it on!" BIG MISTAKE!!! No sooner had I turned around, the next wave got me! Drenched my face, glasses and all down the inside front of my jacket. Now, waves do talk, because I surely heard it laugh as it rolled out of sight, "Ha Ha Ha . . . ha ha ha . . . ha-a-a-aaaa!"
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Well, if it isn't one thing it's another. In the course of a chat with the watch officer on the freighter he suggested that he could change course and pass behind us. To which I readily agreed. They were, at the time, only about a mile away. It is really bumpy and even at that short distance the ship would sometimes disappear behind a wave. So, it was nice to know they were looking out for us.
On another subject. Comments to the blog come to us by email but we are not able to answer back with another comment. To reply we have to look up your email address and send a separate reply. Conditions being what they are, beating to weather in winds often over 20 kt., we do not always get around to replying. But, but, but.....We love to hear from you and encouragement is always welcome.
Look at the weather faxes first: The Pacific Surface Analysis (left picture) shows a High (32N/142W) with the note 'STNRY' (stationary) next to it, and the 2 day forecast (right picture) confirms stationarity for even 2 days later! The High isn't moving any time soon. If they were sailing-only, with no option for motoring (as in a race), they could go either below the High and face 10+ days of close hauled misery, or go above the High, and go comfortably but almost 2 days longer. The many colored routes in the first, topmost graph represent all the options. The second graph shows that they can go fast (red diamonds, with speeds into 8 knots!) but in misery (blue filled circles for Apparent Windangle).
Now in delivery they can take advantage of the engine and go through the center of the High as a compromise, but that would require a lot of diesel fuel. And to decide on this in the early part of the trip is also no good option; they might regret this dearly later on.
This is a situation we would like to have during the race, going the other direction, but not now. So what to do now? Stay tuned to see how Bill will decide.
San Francisco 1746 Nm, Kaneohe 367 Nm
Boy, talk about classic squall activity. Somewhere around midnight, with Tina on watch, the wind ramped up from it's background value of 20 kt to just over 30 with pounding rain. That will get your attention!
Then the wind dropped under 10 kt, almost tempting us to start the engine, before settling back to 20 kt. Cirrus, of course, took it all in stride.
That's about it. The crew was treated to another in the on going series of mini celestial navigation by the skipper. No one fell asleep this time.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Covered about 140 Nm in the last 24 hours. Moving along.
Yesterday was a typical Cirrus day. Close reaching into 18-20 kt wind. About noon the boom brake fell off. The pin had come out of the shackle. The shackle itself was still hanging from the boom, the brake was on the deck and the shackle pin was resting against the leeward toe rail. A quarter in from the ocean. So, we put it back together. We'll keep an eye on it.
As I write this, today's adventure is already behind us (I hope). When I started the engine this morning to charge the batteries (and computer and palm pilot and backup battery and ipod)the engine belt driving the alternator slipped and started to melt filling the cabin with smoke. (Practice fire drill.) Installed a new belt. Those of you out there thinking of replacing your wimpy alternator with something bigger take note.
Currus was clipping along at about 7 knots. The wind was 22-25 knots off starboard bow. The swells were, gee, it was hard to know, about 5-6 feet? A few were above the horizon line as seen from the princess seat (stern rail seat). We were heeled over so far, the port toe rail consistently dipped in the water. Every so often a wave would break over the bow, sending a splash of water directly at my face. SOME of these, I managed to avoid. Mmm, salty!
Our first sunset was beautiful. The sun slowly played peek-a-boo between the little puffy clouds as it lowered in the sky until it sizzled into the ocean, and then it was gone.
But, the sun's job wasn't done yet. Its colorful rays gave life to the little clouds and they became my friends, as they marched across the sky, morphing into animal and fish shapes. I took their pictures so I could always remember them. Too soon it was dark, and my new friends faded into the night.
Now I had new friends! The stars twinkled on, one by one, until there were thousands! The Big Dipper was right above us and the Southern Cross was (duh) on the Southern horizon.
My 3 hour watch came to an end. I was tired, but Cirrus was still going strong and steady at 6.5 to 7 knots, using the constant 20 to 22 knot wind.
It was a perfect first watch!
Monday, June 2, 2008
Started out yesterday, exactly on schedule, at 1600. Put a reef in and started motor sailing hard to weather in 20 knots of wind. Shut down the engine and unfurled the jib about an hour later and were making 6-7 knots close hauled into 18-20 knots of wind. Wind really erratic. Ran into a little zero wind hole around midnight.
Looks like we've covered about 76 KM so far.