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Hawaii Bound Hamachi Fixes Gremlins


  • Hawaii Bound Hamachi Fixes Gremlins

    Janette Laffiitte provides the color from the course where family members are guiding the J-125
    across the Pacific in The BMW division of speedsters heading to Kaneohe Bay

    July 11th

    Good Monday All! I wish the news was better but yesterday's elation turns into today's deflation. As the song goes, Monday Monday, can't trust that day.

    Mind you they are still sailing hard but from the sounds of it, they let speed rule over course, sailing too high heading for Japan instead of Hawaii. The day started off well and good with their own private Idaho squall, ripping along and putting 6-10 nautical miles between them and their fleet in 2.5 hours.

    The team was pushing Hamachi hot and fast on the edge to gain as much speed as possible. You feel the rush and get greedy and then the bottom falls out. In this case, they lost their wind angle while the rest of the fleet was sailing low and slow towards destination. Maybe Fred wanted to fish King salmon in Alaska?

    Hamachi was forced to jibe at 10:30pm last night "in unfavorable conditions" meaning, it was not a shift in the wind. When a gybe is called, it's all hands on deck and this occurred in the middle of a watch so very little sleep was had. The next watch (midnight to 4am dog watch) had to grind it out in sloppy lighter wind conditions. All hands on deck at 1:30am for a sail change to switch from the A2.5 down to the A2 spinnaker. Touche' both watches got very little sleep and the results are displayed on the tracker.

    Hamachi is now farther south but they gave up their advantage on the fleet. Gremlins are still wrecking havoc. Jason spent his day chasing/troubleshooting IT issues instead of downloading weather and navigating-his day and night job for this race. He thinks he has it sorted out for now. Fingers crossed.

    As for the weather, Mother Nature has not waved her wand to bring the conditions back to normal for the race. In July, the Pacific High is usually well established. It's like a big blob of no wind that moves north south and dictates the weather patterns in the Pacific and the trade winds around Hawaii (a very simplistic description).

    This year, a string of low pressures keep rolling through the Gulf of Alaska disrupting the normal high pressure resulting in lower pressure gradients, less wind. The brochure for West Coast to Hawaii races advertises champagne downwind sailing in 20 knots. But as every seasoned sailor knows, there is no real normal, just the conditions you are in.

    Hamachi is wallowing in 12-14 knots. Everyone out there is in this predicament-just look at the speed of Pyewacket. If their speed is below 18- 20, it's just a light air year. What all this means is that this will be a LONG race and you may be stuck reading these emails for longer than you anticipated and I need to squeeze out all my creative juices to keep you on the edge of your seat!
    It is Day 4, they want to finish on Day 9 but it could be Day 10. They think they have enough freeze dried food. But I think we need to use our Amazon Prime Days to order drone drops of mai tais to Hamachi!

    On the good side, the team is in good spirits and working well together. The boat handling is phenomenal. The competition is on for who drives the boat fastest and is currently held by Shawn. Camera, lights, Shawn struck a pose for the GoPro.

    Paper towels are a premium. And the last tidbit I'm so afraid to have it turn into another potty discussion but here goes: most, maybe all have changed their underwear. TMI!!I received a very good analysis of the difference between the Yellowbrick standings and the Official PacCup rankings from Jim Murray.

    If anyone is interested, I'm happy to forward on or you can write to Jim directly. Basically, yellowbrick calculates from the start to the present position, whereas PacCup determines rankings based on the last 24 hours. That explains the discrepancy in the two rankings. Whichever way you look at it, Hamachi: sail hard, sail fast, sail smart and keep your eye on Kaneohe!

    Go Team Hamachi!


    July 10th

    Good Sunday All!Three days offshore, three guys on watch trying to figure out what day it is. Life at sea where named days are unimportant and you are solely restricted by the change of watch. This is where we find Hamachi today.Jason reports that yesterday's brilliant skies lasted well into the dog watch (i.e. whoever has the 3-6AM watch). Clouds and squalls then settled in. The forecast is not matching the actual weather.

    The boat has new instruments that are not fully calibrated so they may be reading higher or lower than the actual conditions. The wind has shifted aft 6-12 hours earlier than expected which means they are able to change from the Code Zero to the Spinnaker. The forecast is for 10-12 knots but they've had upwards of 15-18 knots. Boat speed is up also at 14 knots. Funny how wind can dictate the mood. Wind up, boat speed up, the mood is up. They are in the moment and enjoying the ride.

    Offshore, meals are cherishable moments to look forward to. It breaks up the routine and you wait with anticipation of what will be on the menu. Everyone becomes a cook. Well, for Hamachi maybe not so much. They are down to the last of the frozen foods so burrito for every meal is soon history. As a side note, I have a sailing buddy who is on this email list, who has won PacCup with a sizable stack of pizza boxes (pizza inside of course) and called it good for food. (Don't hate me JG!)

    They have made contact with some of the competition. Pyewacket, the modified Volvo 70 took their stern last night. They are a crack team, many of whom I have raced against in Etchells so Hamachi feels they must be doing something right. Hamachi passed some of the slower boats in the night also.Nature update: a juvenile humpback whale swam alongside the boat for 20 minutes the first night. A hitchhiker came aboard and was a dissatisfied customer leaving only squid ink all over the cockpit. No large garbage sightings yet.

    Fred commented that the boat is cleaner than in 2019 and everyone seems more safety conscious. First, they haven't had the same wet conditions as in Transpac. Jason thinks it's an age thing as the younglings are maturing. I think if you or I walked on board we would disagree, that it still smells of heavy body odors. How can it not?

    Hamachi is receiving fleet updates from the race committee and he swears they are determined over a mai tai. But if you look at today's official standings, not the yellowbrick standings, Hamachi is in1st (Division and ORR) and holds a 5:12 lead over their nearest competitor Rufless. Bartender, another mai tai please!

    Go Team Hamachi!!!

    July 9th

    Evening Update:

    Gremlins here, gremlins there, gremlins everywhere! Apparently gremlins do not survive on an empty battery. The onboard tablet battery ran dry and when restarted, it was able to communicate with the Iridium. Whether the weather is what they want, they now have access to the files. They have pulled the first grib files since the start of the race and, hang on to this intel they know where they are and where they need to go. Phew! I was afraid they were going to cross the equator.

    The navigator is happy so the stress level is down. They still can't get yellow brick for everyone else's position, but they are good for now. Besides the glitch of not knowing where they were, the sailing has been good. The sunrise was beautiful with clear skies and light northerlies (6-10 knots). The wind shut down after lunch but now they are ripping along in 16 knots. They have the Code Zero flying and it has been up for the past 48 hours.

    The merry maids put on their aprons and did some housekeeping today. The lee cloths which are strung across their berths (beds) to keep them in the berths were reworked. Some kind of cleaning occurred, white gloves not necessary. The spinnakers were unbricked in hopes of hoisting them in the near future. Water and power were also on the to do list.The trip so far has been warmer than expected. Long underwear and sleeping bags are not necessary.

    The menu on board is so far the same for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: burritos.

    The servings are hearty and the fixings remain frozen so they are able to fill 'er up with the healthy portions that were prepared ahead of time. The onboard weather routing puts them in Kaneohe Saturday morning (7/16). Go Team Hamachi!


    Good Saturday to All!

    Day 2 on board and the Hamachi Boys have settled into a routine. Recounting the start, Jason felt it was a great start at the pin. They made a total of four tacks to exit the Bay and sail through the Golden Gate Bridge. The first day and night were breezy with 20 knots. As mentioned before, the weather is unstable and has actually produced three routes-North above the ridge of high pressure blob, middle or straight at the ridge, with the hope that it would dissipate, or South running well below course, adding extra miles.

    It was obvious for the first starters in the beginning of the week but for the Hamachi Team, it was to throw up your hands and say a prayer. In the end, they chose the shortest route and so did most of their fleet which makes it a safe choice. That was the good news.
    Now for the (bad) other news, there is digital drama onboard. We live in a digital world on land and the same is true for ocean racers.

    Satellite communications allow racers to receive weather in the form of gribs which is what your local weather forecaster uses and can give you fleet position reports, i.e. where your competition is.. Software can provide you with optimum routes and long range forecasts. Unfortunately, the navigation software is no longer talking to the Iridium network, Iridium being the method for obtaining data. This puts Hamachi at a distinct disadvantage since their competition uses the same devices. They have been trying to fix the problem for the last THIRTY-SIX hours which is basically since they left San Francisco. There is an array of IOS devices onboard that will talk to the iridium but they have no way to interface the data from IOS to Windows and the navigational software is windows based.. A Call for any software techies, please!!! Hamachi is using the last set of weather data collected as they passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the routing it provided. They are able to receive the US government forecast which is a big picture forecast on the ipad. This is when the experience of a seasoned ocean sailor will be an asset.

    I named Fred old but at least not coconut navigational old. We raced many times across the ocean with sextant, loran, rdf, single side band, weather fax, all devices used before the digital age. He can help fill the gap while trying to solve the problem. Marian is attempting to fix the problem here on land and without the devices on hand she has been able to make email communication available. Superstar Marian!

    It takes a village. They hope to get the issue resolved but they have no sense of when they will finish but at least they can continue on.
    The good news is they have plenty of food and snacks. The new 50W solar panel is generating needed power. The wind fluctuated between 4 to 12 knots in the last 24 hours. Fred is threatening to fish. Jason reflects that it is nice to be half blind in the ocean. They don't have enough data to second guess themselves. Is this the "stop and smell the rose" or "it's the journey cliche'?"

    I'm sensing some zen moments with Shawn leading a chant on the cabin top.
    Go Hamachi!


    July 8th

    Good Morning All,

    First night, check, done. Now to settle into a routine and leave land worries/stress behind. Some people are able to adjust immediately to the motion of the boat while others may take longer. Of the six, four are fully functioning. Matt P. is now over his seasickness, Shawn not so much, yet. One day out and you would expect the aroma to be acceptable. However, Jason reports that the boat is starting to get warm and funky i.e. six male bodies in close quarters. This is really early to be overripe! Do I want to be out there? Answer: six guys, no head, no way!!The action is outside anyway where they are in a match race with Rufless. They are working hard to keep the boat speed up but the wind is backing down. Keep your fingers crossed that the ridge of high pressure dissolves in the next 12 hours, as per Windy TV. In the words of Jason, "The routings all suck!"No fish caught yet, no breakage to report.

    All is well onboard.

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