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June 30th Update: The Trade-winds Arrive


  • June 30th Update: The Trade-winds Arrive

    Aloha Day 11 Update
    Well, it’s day eleven underway now and I just passed the 700 nautical miles to go marker a few minutes ago. For those whom are somewhat mathematically challenged, that puts Aloha at just over 2/3 of the way through from San Francisco to Hanalei Bay.

    I have begun to slowly try to actually adjust my sleep schedule/internal clock to Hawaii time however the introduction of the trade winds light (as I have been calling them because they are lighter than normal in my experience) makes it difficult. The reason is the trades generally around noon local time or a little later begin to fill in, then as the sun goes down they maintain a steady pressure with the afternoon, but you get the addition of night time squalls. Through the night and into the early morning the squalls tend to build in strength and will have a greater effect on the boat. Then, not long after sunrise, winds die down to a moderate 8 knots or so typically (less the last few days), until about noon when the cycle beings to repeat itself.

    The rub being that with this schedule the ideal time to get some rest becomes the hours between about 7am and noon Hawaii time. Tie that all in with other important things onboard such as navigating, keeping a relatively decent watch out, meal prep and eating - so meaningful rest can and will likely be put on the back burner for the remaining few days should the winds continue to build as they are forecasted to.

    Today we saw a slight windshift which had been predicted in the gribs. It came in at around 4pm west coast time and led to a gybe back to starboard allowing to gain some mileage back to the west for a better angle to the eventual finish on port tack in a few days time.


    Last night for dinner I enjoyed a full serving of lasagna from backpacker pantry, this one I must say is right up there with the beef stroganoff as far as dinner quality goes. Obviously it lacks the form of a proper pan baked lasaga, but all the great flavors are there from the delicious ground beef to the noodles and spicy marinara sauce, what a treat, certainly better than I could ever make from scratch back at home.

    Last night I had a minor issue with the autopilot as it decided to veer about 30 degrees downwind of the course which I had set it for. In the span of about a minute before I rolled over in my bunk and noticed it, the spinnaker had taken itself and gotten wrapped around the furrled up staysail at least 8 times. This meant I had to throw on my life jacket and head lamp, tether in and run up to the bow, pull both sails about halfway down and unwrap them. Fortunately at the time, the winds were a fairly moderate 11 knots. After unwrapping the two, the spinnaker was still very much wrapped on its own, so I doused it all the way into the cockpit so that I could run the tapes on it and get out any twists before heading back up to the bow to hook it back up and reset it.

    A process that took maybe 15 minutes and shouldn't have cost me more than a half a mile, but which should be easily avoided had the autopilot done its job and been able to steer a straight course. As I type out this email, the autopilot again has been choosing to vary wildly in heading with a range of about 30 degrees which it is willing to steer. Imagine a blind driver on the I-5 freeway who is taking up all 6 lanes of traffic and only veers one way or the other when he hits the rumble strips on the shoulder, that's about what I’m dealing with for an autopilot from time to time.

    Breakfast this morning was a standard affair of Mountain House granola with blueberries and milk, a very simple one that doesn't even require heating but still very much hits the spot for breakfast with a bit of sweet along with the grains. For lunch I had a PB&J as per usual and an apple, and while i have two apples left, i fear they may have met their demise as the one i had with lunch had passed by ripe and was no longer at its peak of freshness, a sad moment. After lunch i had a very nice sea shower to wash away the stink of the last few days and a great fresh water rinse from the Waterport. From my observations and experience, simply washing with sea water will never quite do the trick as the salt residue left over always seems to leave me itchy and feeling very dirty, for that I am very grateful for my ability to properly rinse off with pressurized fresh water whenever i feel like it.

    With that, I suppose I should begin to rummage around and see what I should have for dinner before calling it an early night to hopefully get some rest should I need to hand steer or make any major corrections this evening. Keep on hoping for wind! Aloha!


    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Green Buffalo:
    “Smooth sailing... 12k-14k... saw 17k a bit (which makes napping a bit "edgier"... going to take some time to acclimate too sleeping under chute in the increasing winds... yes you would think I would be used to it... but not yet).

    Read a book yesterday... "Beneath a Scarlet Sky"... great book about a teenager living in Milan in WWII... the brutality, the camaraderie, tragedy, love story (exactly what one would expect from an Italian story/opera).

    Not that I planned to read a book. But things are so "steady" - getting a bit bored.

    Luckily I had at some point downloaded a few books off Amazon onto my mobile.

    And then book #2... what I found in the SHTP goodie bag... half way thru Jackie Philpott's "Not a Yacht Club" novelette... great fun reading about old friends! And getting to know some old friends a bit better! Running down the rhumb line...”


    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Hula:

    “After a terrible beginning to the relationship, the spinnaker sock and I are now the best of friends! He saved my butt twice last night. 3 hour class paid off!!”

    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Hula:
    “Went to night school last night and took a 3 hour class in spinnaker sockery and wraps. It was taught on the bowsprit. Holy Crikey-- what a mess!!!”


    Day 10, June 28, "We are surfing!”
    It was a great day, just a sunny day on “Cloud Street” south of the Pacific High. There was not even a squall to contend with. It was nonstop high speed surfing. There was so much sailing that I got exhausted, so I took a few naps in between. Sea Wisdom is surfing down waves in a hurry to try to make to the finish line before the other racers go back home! My mistake for this race was not to have any light wind sails, that cost me many days of delay when the wind was light. This is a rookie mistake. In San Francisco, I’m so used to 25 to 40 knots of wind. Heavy weather is what Sea Wisdom is rigged for. And I haven’t seen wind like this on this passage to Hawaii yet. 20 knots downwind would be perfect for me! So I have to make work with what I have, a sub-size 95% jib that is poled out for reaching.

    Even with all this fast sailing, I had an important maintenance project which took the first half of day to complete. It was to winch each starboard and port lines that are jury rigged to provide extra support for the Hydrovane. Sea Wisdom has 10 winches which is plenty on board for this size boat. I ran the lines all the way from the transom to the mast and tightened each line on its dedicated winch. I would suggest to the delivery crew to keep this setup for the trip home to provide extra support as the lateral force is so great on the Hydrovane rudder post. It’s a good safety feature. This is in addition to my daily routine of making sure there are no extra play in any of the rigging, everything has to be tight and steady. Chafe prevention is also top of the list of inspections multiple times a day. The boat talks to me, and if there is a new sound, I have to understand why.

    My new dining routine is a hot meal in the morning while I run the engine to charge the boat’s batteries. Then I would just snack through out the day. Today, the hot meal of choice was an extra soupy version of Yellow Chicken Curry with Rice, and a cup of bone broth with ginger. This helps me recharge my battery after waking up multiple times at night to check for things. And of course, then I had to take a nap after breakfast because of food coma.

    Here is a photo of Sea Wisdom’s “surf board” for her to surf down those waves. I took this underwater photo while I had to fix the Hydrovane a few days ago under a much calmer condition.

    1) You can follow along via the satellite trackers for each boat. I’m Sail #42, SEA WISDOM.
    2) Live tracking with weather information:
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