Last night was rather mellow with the wind being down to 10 kn and less and the waves no more than 2 feet. We expected to have fallen back, being a big and heavy boat, but apparently other boats had similar problems. Our #2 position in the division was confirmed, and we actually gained an additional 1.5h on the first boat. However, we noticed that Music behind us is coming up strongly; we remain alert. Among the Hawaiian boats we are now first. Not sure what happened to Buzz off - they did not report today, and yesterday were way back with their fast boat. Smells like technical problems. Urban Renewal went from 12 to 33; wonder what happened to them. In the overall ratings we actually went one notch up, now on position 13. But the race isn't over yet. The wind is pointing almost directly to Hawaii, so it is like a horse race. The difference, however, is that boats don't sail well directly downwind, requiring some zig-zaging for better speed. The winner will be among those who do this best.
The weather has changed and so has our outfit. The days are warm to hot, with the sun being out occasionally, but mostly hiding behind a cloud cover. Even the moon had been visible for several hours, as well as some stars. But since the moonlight was so bright, and the sky cloud covered or at least hazy, only the most prominent stars were visible. Jupiter is very prominent: look at the sky in a southerly direction - the brightest "star" is the planet Jupiter. Our foul-weather gear gave room for T-shirts and short pants, and boots were put away for sandals. I went through my traditional cut-the-long-pants-once-per-day routine, and will have shorts when arriving in Hawaii. Down below it is now hot and it becomes strenuous to sleep during daytime.
Finally I also got to my first saltwater shower on deck. We laid a long hose from the forward end of the boat down below, where the hose is connected to a pump sucking in saltwater, up to a place forward of the mast, where one can sit down safely. The water is still so cold, it takes your breath away! But it felt great. And here it comes, faithful readers will already be expecting it, my pitch that saltwater showers taken on the high seas do not need a fresh water rinse. Everyone has the experience that after swimming at the beach leaves you somewhat itchy until you had a shower and washed off whatever the seawater had left on your skin. Not so on the high seas. You feel great without that rinse, and can even wash your hairs, and they will be soft and fluffy,. The only problem is that you need a special soap, because regular soap simply does not work!
There were years when we did not see a single boat or ship during the whole race, but this year it feels crowded. Today we saw four (4!) boats, likely all racers, at the horizon at the same time. Strangely, everyone went off into a different direction.
Yes, we made it to the half way point. For me it was earlier than ever before on Cirrus. This point is 1035 nm (nautical miles, some 2000 km) away from land. The whole track is about the distance from New York to San Francisco, or from Moscow to Portugal. There is actually no point on earth, which is further away from any land than this midpoint in the pacific Cup! Downhill from now on; we think we can already feel going faster. The skipper brought out a bottle of Champaign - gasp, alcohol on Cirrus! - and "Tina's Diner" served Braised Chicken Thighs with noodles and green beans in mashed potatoes (the latter a special of the skipper from his yet-to-be written Bachelor's cookbook). Desert was Tina's famous Ka'alua Cake. It was wonderful and with the weather and sea being rather mellow, we could all sit in the cockpit and eat together. Thinking about it, I can't remember that we ever had bad weather during the halfway party.
Unfortunately, as pleasant as the conditions were for the halfway party, it meant that there is not enough wind for decent speed. This morning we took our very first jibe of the race! Cirrugator suggested that, and we did it. Hopefully this will position us better a few days down the road. The next jibe may come during the night; we'll see. We expect the wind to be picking up steadily over the next days. I wonder if the tracking website let's you actually see our route in sufficient details to make out tacking and jibing?
Time to hit the cushions, it is now cool enough in our bunks,