As I had expected, it was a slow night. No squalls came through during the night nor today. That wasn't the case for some boats, who did loose spinnaker, halyards and other goodies during intervals of heavy wind, such as those we had experienced earlier that day (but came through without damage). Since we haven't had any additional ones of these encounters, having the white sails up did not give any more protection, but did hurt our performance. While the rankings actually haven't changed, my Cirrugator program allows a little bit of crystal balling and it told
me that other boats are working hard, a bit too hard for comfort. Kokomo isn't standing still, and Urban Renewal showed some amazing improvements. I convinced Bill that we needed to have the chute up, and we did hoist the heavy 1.5 oz one. This was done by our foredeck team with a combined live experience of 210 years. The picture is enclosed to prove it: Bill, George and Larry are at the mast and prepare the hoist. If they look a bit puzzled it is because they have forgotten what to do, but this is explained in our recent limerick ;-)
The weather is as you expect it from a Pacific Cup: sunshine from a cloudy blue sky, it is hot, big waves, and wind up to 20 kn. Driving was more of this Wiggle-Your-Butt thing: Standing at the helm requires a constant dancing to counterbalance the boat motions and keep a clear view on the boat, the water and the instruments. Your body posture and movements are a bit like in
downhill skiing, and you can imagine that after 40 min at the helm - our standard time - you are ready to hand the helm over. But it is wonderful when you are able to master the big waves and ride the boat up and down the mountains of water, and feel and hear it gushing by.
To my surprise we still haven't seen flying fish. At this location we should be chasing them out of the water by the hundreds of swarms, but nothing this year so far. What we did chase out of the water was - a whale! I have seen it come up only a hundred feet away, but the watch crew said that he first came up no more than 50 feet away. Other boats have seen a whale too, possibly the same one, described by one as a juvenile humpback whale, and one boat apparently had suffered some damage from this encounter! There may be more on this topic on the PCup website.
We exchanged a friendly chat on the radio with E.T., a boat from Division D, when they crossed our stern in close proximity. See the picture which we took. This is a very unique event; for me it is the first time in five Pacific Cups that we come that close to another boat. We were jealous to see how easy and fast they went by. However, this is a sport car E.T. meeting the SUV Cirrus.
We are almost on a Great Circle Route to the finish line, and with a bit of luck we may not even need to jibe again, but go straight through with the current port pole. Expected arrival is midnight Hawaiian time on Sunday, or shortly after.
Position: July 26, 2008, 2051 PDT, lat 23n6, lon 154w09, cog220M, sog8.0kn