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The Solo March To Hanalei Has Commenced

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  • Photoboy
    Then There Were 3

    Day 17, July 5, “A challenge at the end”
    Sometimes in life, however much we prepare and learn from our past experience, the same problem could happen again. Two years ago today, towards the finish line of the 2019 LongPac race, my rudder came lose because somehow the upper bearing housing was ripped apart (we thought the boat hit something underwater) and at that same moment, my backup autopilot (Hydrovane) was also knocked out of place.

    Without both rudders, I had to call for rescue from the Farallon Islands. We spent the last two years improving the steering systems on the boat, so something like this would not happen again.

    Today with only 200 miles from the finish line, I heard the cracking sound of metal rubbing against metal in the rudder compartment. After analyzing the situation with KKMI, my delivery captain Steve, and the race committee, we realized the main rudder has come loose and dropped a couple of inches, making it useless. To reduce stress on the boat, I’m now sailing with a triple reefed main, and storm size poled out jib, and using the jury rigged Hydrovane to steer.

    My land based team of professional mariners and friends are advising me at the moment. My big gratitude to all of your help so far. The goal is to get to Hanalei Bay tomorrow night safely.

    Over the weekend, 7 additional boats sailed into Hanalei Bay, finishing their 2 week voyage. Now just 3 more vessels are working their way, Hula is 11 miles out making 6.6 knots, Northern Light is 80nm away doing 6.3 knots away and Sea Wisdom is 91 nm away doing 5.8 knots...

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  • Photoboy
    Paradise Found

    Aloha Final Report
    From Kyle Vanderspek

    As I write this, I am sitting comfortably on a couch at the Hilton with a mai tai in hand having had a great lunch, a dip in the pool, a coffee from Starbucks and a lengthy warm shower. Last night not long after I wrote my report indicating that there was not much left that could go wrong, I had neglected to remember that the spinnaker halyard had been slowly chaffing away for the last thousand or so miles and with one minute it was flying nicely and the next it was dragging in the water. Thankfully this was long before it had gotten dark and I was able to collect the spinnaker and sock un damaged from the water. Without having any other options for large headsails, I was left to resort to the Genoa staysail for my only headsail and was able to point the boat dead downwind sailing mostly wing on wing right towards the finish line.

    Having pushed so hard for so long, it came as nearly a relief to be stuck in this unfortunate sail setup as I was able to get a decent nights rest in what were some of the windiest conditions of the whole race. At times I looked up from my bunk at the chart plotter and noted the boat under full control of the auto and with a fairly undersized sail setup surfing down the face on a Hawaiian roller coaster ride to 15 knots, not bad at all.
    Morning came pretty early for me as nerves and excitement for arrival were nipping me in the heel. So around 1 Hawaii time I was mostly up laying in bed chatting with some friends on the east coast before adding a cousin in Texas as the day slowly began for folks across the country.

    With so many of you all tracking progress, it was an easy distraction from watching the miles inch by to keep people informed on where I was and when I thought I might be arriving in Hanalei. Some time after sunrise although much later than I had expected, I was finally able to make out the outline of some land for the first time since the farallones. Having never made the approach to Hanalei I spent the next two or so hours trying to decide which corner was the right one to turn into. Eventually after cross referencing the chart plotter about a hundred times, and having communicated with the race committee briefly about my arrival ETA, I turned in to a finish line and not long after heard the announcement over the VHF that I had successfully finished the 2021 Singlehanded Transpac.

    Very quickly after finishing and turning up a little towards the bay, a small rib with a welcoming committee that included my Dad and Bill Sweeney came out to greet me and guide me to safe harbor. I quickly got the sails down and secured and made a beeline for the anchorage. With the boat settled into a spot, we put the sails away and made our way ashore having finished with the best elapsed time this year, about three hours later I could say for sure that I had secured first in my division and will be patiently awaiting the arrival of the rest of the fleet to see how I placed among my competitors.

    With that, I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who followed along and sent their warm wishes, it has been an epic adventure which, one that I will surely be reminiscing about for years to come. Until next time....ALOOOHHAA!

    Aloha day 14 Update
    Today has been a very rough and tiring day aboard Aloha, and though we will make it out the other side alive, today has proven that at times we have done so by nothing more than endless will power and at times a heavy dose of sheer luck. This will be a brief update as the weather is not exactly conducive to typing out extended articles, but i will gladly fill in the details tomorrow from what i hope to be the shores of a calm harbor or pool.
    After an early chicken and dumpling dinner (think home made chicken pot pie), it was an early night in fairly moderate winds. i proceeded to fall asleep a little too soundly and woke short of midnight to the unsettling sound of silence coming from the spinnaker., once again it had gotten wrapped around the forestay and the staysail, this time i was lucky and was able to get it freed without too much effort, however about 45 minutes later it decided to happen again. The second time was a bad one which required lots of effort and the lowering and eventual re rigging of both sails before they could be re set about a half an hour later. In that time after about midnight west coast time, the wind had begun to pick up and the autopilot could no longer keep up with the building wind and wave. This meant it would be me who would be driving for the remainder of the night and morning.

    A large number of squalls brought building winds into the mid 20 knot range and some light rain which was just enough to make it a bit chilly on deck as i was very much underprepared to be on deck driving all night. Not too long after day break, i was steering along and noted that i was at 217 miles to go when much to my surprise the forestay came tumbling down from the top the mast, this left the only think keeping the mast from falling back into my lap being the continued wind pressure on the main and spinnaker. To help with this situation, i threw it on auto for a sec and ran forward to attach a spare jib halyard t the deck and act as a stand in for the now gone forestay. At the time the staysail was on that halyard and it was hastily dropped on deck to be dealt with later as and prolonged absence from the helm would lead to catastrophe as the boat would surely round up and the sails would no longer be keeping the mast held forward. Then 17 miles later at exactly 200 from home the spinnaker that i had up exploded leaving me no choice but to once again surrender the boat to the auto pilot and collect the bits of spinnaker and shove them down the companionway.

    Not had much sleep in the last few days and being up solidly attentive to the needs of the boat since before midnight (it was around 8 or 9 by now) i needed a rest. So i turned the boat straight downwind under the auto, rigged up the second standby jib halyard to again act in place of the forestay along with the other one and i went inside to collect my thoughts and clean up the mess of spinnaker and staysail that was littered throughout the cabin. After getting myself sorted and pointing straight at the finish line, i laid down for a few minutes and weighed my options.

    First and foremost is of course to get there in one piece, preferably with the mast still pointed in the vertical direction. With that in mind and having taken some time to recuperate, i decided that setting the smallest A5 spinnaker would both help speed up the process of getting home as well as stabilize that ride and perhaps keep me in contention while not adding any stresses or strains to the jury rigged forestay situation. So i set the A5 which is hoisted in a handy sock to facilitate setting and dousing in al conditions and have been following it towards the finish line for the past few hours.
    An added bonus of this spinnaker and these conditions at present is that the autopilot seems up to the task of keeping a straight course in the heavy sea state and decent winds. With everything back to running well for the time being, i took the time to handle my first pre arrival task which was to shave my face, and without a proper mirror onboard, it will be interesting to find out how i did tomorrow when i get in. Not too long ago I ticked past

    150 miles to go and expect to be safely into Hanalei bay sometime during the daylight hours of tomorrow barring another serious catastrophe.

    So with that, i ask everyone please hold their breath and cross all their fingers in hopes of a uneventful night and morning aboard Aloha. And for those wondering, i have pre decided dinner tonight will be beef stroganoff and breakfast tomorrow will be biscuits and gravy, two of my personal favorites for last meals onboard. I love you all and let’s hope for a safe last few hours onboard this rocket ship. ALOHHHAAAA!


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  • Photoboy
    The Drum Beat of Ku

    Day 13, July 1, “The drum beat of Ku”

    Mars is usually the first object in the night sky to greet me, even before it gets dark. Last night, a bird came out of nowhere in the dark and circled around my mast. I wasn’t sure what kind of bird it was but it was not small but not as big as an albatross. I was worried about the mast hitting it because it was flying so close. After a few minutes, it flew away as quickly as it appeared. We are about a thousand miles from any land, I’m not sure where it came from or where it wanted to go. But another bird wished me bon voyage by pooping in my cockpit later in the day. I also saw a thumb size flying fish landed on my foredeck. It was dried and crispy by the time I discovered it. I did not think I would add it to my nori ginger soup in the morning.

    There has been this new song that I hear the boat chanting to me, this song is more like a battle march with drum beats. Like people going to battle. My STHP race division is “Ku”, in Hawaiian means “God of War”. The way the wave hits the boat and caused the poled out jib to fill with a soft snap, that is the marching drum beat. The wind hitting the rig and from the ocean are the chants. It also reminds me of the music from “Game of Thrones” (Spoiler Alert) when Arya Stark killed the Night King in slow motion, while the rest of the mankind went into this epic battle with the White Walkers. The second half of this passage is more like a march, the condition is similar everyday, a deep broad reach with 15-20 knots of wind surfing down steep 6 foot waves (please see today’s photo). Sea Wisdom and I have a mission to march across the finish line of the race. Even though I’m in the last place of this race, I’m still marching on this personal battle to cross a major ocean passage solo.

    In the meantime, there are a lot of things to do on the boat to keep our mission successful. Complacency brews unforced errors. I take care of Sea Wisdom’s every need. Twice a day, I go on deck and inspect every single shackle, line, pin, bolt, screw, block and every rigging under load and without load. Trying to see if there is anything out of ordinary and adjust accordingly. I put the lower companionway door up and shut the hatch when I go to sleep at night, just in case a wave comes into the cockpit snd inside the boat. Keeping Sea Wisdom clean and in tune is my top priority. I cleaned the head today, trying to keep it spotless. Keeping the boat in top shape keeps the morale up. Happy boat, happy crew.

    Part of the good morale is to have decent food aboard. Today I started with my go-to comfort food, Chicken and Rice with lots of air dried tomatoes and sesame oil, and finished the day with a pouch of Indian Madras Lentils. My hands are hardened, chafed and worn like sandpaper. I’m losing sensitivity of my palm skin. I have to wear gloves when I go on deck. When I finally gave them some rest at night, I can feel a burning sensation. However, I loved it, it means I’m maximizing the effort to maximize this once a lifetime experience.

    1) You can follow along via the satellite trackers for each boat. I’m Sail #42, SEA WISDOM.

    2) Live tracking with weather information:

    Signing off

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

    “Wind still picking up... zigging and zagging a bit to avoid the proto squalls (more dark cloud then squall but still with an uncomfortable amount of wind to nap thru... saw 24k this morning). Debating if I should go to the shy kite tonight.

    Yesterday afternoon was the first real "blue skies". Glorious sailing with a bit of surfing. Chance to see how much power the solar can put out (a single 140W panel). In prior years, with a 50 year old engine, no solar, and a bit less battery storage, I would end up running the engine 4 hours per day... this trip its been closer to 1 to 1.5 hrs per day.

    Had the quesadillas but I can tell the guac and sour cream are "one time use" (they only made it this far because they were sealed... no refrigeration on the Buffalo).
    Still running down the rhumb line... jibing twice per day...”

    “Day 13 Update From SV Aloha

    Today is the first report I never hoped to have to type, at least not from a moving boat anyway. Generally, most predictions for a Hawaii race onboard a Hobie 33 have you finishing on day 12, not still being a couple hundred miles away (just under 350 as I type). But that’s not the case with this crossing, thanks to two adverse weather patterns that slowed the initial push away from the west coast with the "southerly surge" and then the very pronounced and unavoidable hole in the middle of the course.

    Thankfully after all the trials and tribulations of the beginning parts of the course, Hawaii has finally delivered on the champagne trade wind sailing which we all sign up for these races eager to do.
    Last night after MH spaghetti and meat sauce, I turned in early with an eye towards building winds throughout the night likely pulling me from my rack to hand steer when the auto would get overwhelmed by the winds and the waves. This did indeed happen not too long after midnight when the autopilot had finally rounded up after threatening to do so a number of times throughout the earlier hours of the evening.

    For the rest of the night I was either standing by in the cockpit to take over at a moment’s notice and eventually just steering myself.
    With winds slowly building into the low 20s, boat speed was good and the headers that I had hoped for and expected were beginning to roll down with them each puff of wind and squall pushing me lower and lower towards Kauai. Not too long after day break I saw the highest winds of the day coupled with the highest boat speeds with a velocity made good towards Hanalei bay of 15.5 knots in short bursts while riding down the face of some good Hawaiian waves. The size of the waves unfortunately is not quite large enough to really sustain extended surfing nor connecting of multiple waves to keep speeds up in the mid teens for extended periods of time, but it is always nice when the boat gets powered up and comes screaming down the face of a wave.

    A couple waves caused me some issues as I plowed the bow into the backside of one while surfing the one behind it sending water all the way back to the cockpit and with the hatch wide open, quite a bit made it inside Aloha. Fortunately I had taken the time to move all the family heirlooms up to dryer areas of the boat as the companionway has been ground zero for water splashing in from any and every conceivable angle.

    Around 9 or 10, winds eased up and i was able to do my morning breakfast routine of eating and downloading the latest weather files as well as getting the position information of the rest of the fleet. Not long thereafter the sun broke through and with the decreased wind speeds i felt it might be a good time to try to get some rest. Try of course being the opportune word as i lay in my bunk for seemingly forever without a wink of proper rest. That being said, any time horizontal when not consumed by worries of sail trim and heading are still considered quite restful in my book. Even as I write this email I am able to take my mind off of sailing, enjoy a snack of beef jerky and rest my mind if not my body. Again tonight I suspect an early dinner and more rack time to follow as winds will surely build through the night and keep pushing me ever faster towards a cold drink, warm shower and soft bed in Hanalei.
    With that I bid thee farewell. Alooohaaa!”
    You can follow the race here:

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  • Photoboy
    400 Miles DTF For Aloha

    Aloha Day 12 Report
    From Kyle onboard Aloha:
    Another eventful evening last night has given way to a very, very mellow day.
    For dinner last night I enjoyed Mountain House Mexican Rice and Chicken which for anyone who has been onboard for dinner knows the elevated levels of flatulence to follow. Fortunately this issue is dramatically reduced when one happens to be sailing alone.

    Sometime around dinner, after I had written my last update about the blind rumble strip driver that was the autopilot, I decided to throw in the towel on that head unit for the pelagic and try out the spare one that I had brought in case the original one died. The spare one is borrowed off of Elliot James's boat Bloom County and is programmed to face a different direction. Because of this I had to basically duct tape it to the outboard back rest on the port side of the cockpit back rest. However with the "install" complete, I plugged it in and put it to use and it drove (and continues to) drive straight as an arrow! Such a relief to be able to relax knowing the boat will continue on its same course without constant attention from yours truly.

    This unfortunately backfired on me some time around midnight as a minor wind shift that I didn’t feel let the spinnaker collapse and wrap itself about a dozen times tightly around the forestay. It couldn't have been wrapped/wrapping for more than a minute but the damage had been done and it required lowering, disconnecting and an extensive headlamp-lit struggle on the bow in the dark to get it unwrapped.
    Eventually after getting it unwrapped and totally doused, then re-packed and re-set, we continued on our merry way with speeds likely never dipping below six or so knots thanks to the continued push by the main and staysail.

    I have learned my lesson to avoid sailing deeper angles when attention is not fully on the sails. I can also now say I have totally changed my opinion of spinnaker nets which many shorthanded sailors employ to specifically prevent this issue. I have seen two very tight wraps in my time on other boats that end up back at the dock still sporting a spinnaker wrapped on the forestay, and I must say that I sympathize with them and hope dearly that I don't find myself in that situation ever and especially not while single handing.

    At around 5am Hawaii time I decided to gybe back onto port tack, heading me back in a direction which more closely represents final approach towards Hanalei. I gybed a bit early as you might note if tracking closely, with the intention being that with wind accelerating as we approach the islands it will also shift to a direction more out of the due east and I will get turned a bit down towards Hanalei rather than the course towards more or less Kahului (Maui) that I am currently heading.

    To add to the Spanish affair of the night before, I chose the MH Spicy Southwest Hash for breakfast, a nice spicy changeup from the blueberry and oats of days past. In the early morning around the time of the gybe, I ticked past 600 miles and still had decent breeze of the evening which would gradually give way to light air most of the day. Coupled with overcast skies, waves and wind chop that matched up with much windier conditions, it made for a very frustrating morning and early afternoon of painful progress at an angle that I was not quite hoping for.

    That being said, it is my hope that while i may be suffering in the lighter air in the morning, I rather hope to not be alone in the struggles with other boats hopefully facing similar conditions that I am.
    To pass some time this morning in the lighter air, I finally straightened up the boat a little to film a quick tour of the inside of Aloha. I should emphasize its brevity because there really is not a whole lot to see. After that, having finished the two books I brought, I opened up a book on my kindle app that I have already read, i must say times are getting desperate to pass time in the light stuff and I would so much more enjoy some serious breeze on sailing.

    Inside of Aloha has gotten a bit warm and muggy, and gone are the nights of getting warm inside a sleeping bag, but now trying to rest during the heat of the day so I can take advantage of the cool and wind at night.

    Lunch was a standard affair PB&J with a cliff bar and a water bottle. The last of the apples bid farewell over the side to hopefully be enjoyed by some happy apple eating fishies out there. Speaking of fish, during the early morning gybe I came across a dead squid up on the bow, and when moving the sail stack a few small flying fish had met their demise when washed up under the sails. Just when settling into the new gybe in the wee hours of the morning i heard something flying in and vibrating really hard and loud - scared the hell out of me before it bounced back into the bucket i have back under the tiller - a quick look down and i realized aloha had passed in the flight path of this unfortunate flying fish who was now flopping around in the bucket. I quickly threw him back, both to maybe keep him alive and but also prevent the whole cockpit from smelling too fishy. I'm not sure I was all that successful in either of those endeavors.

    Dinner is yet to be determined for the night but I think I might tap into another freeze dried dessert to cap off the evening - I’m thinking either crème brulee or perhaps the dark chocolate cheesecake, only time will tell.

    As for now, the wind has built a little in the afternoon hours and we are moving along at an acceptable pace. Winds are forecasted to improve the entire way into Hanalei so I am very much looking forward to that with not many miles left to get some good trade wind sailing in. Here's hoping for a good night and next couple days with good wind, wave, and and sunshine. Aloha out.
    Tracker is here

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  • Photoboy
    Great Info For Armchair QB's!

    Here’s a great status update on the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race from Brendan’s (s/v Siren) Uncle Carl!

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  • Photoboy
    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:
    Signing off

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  • Photoboy
    June 28th Update

    Day 8, June 26, "Happy Anniversary”
    I would like to dedicate today to my wife, Chloe, the real life “Sea Wisdom”. For those you who don’t know, Sea Wisdom is the literal meaning of Chloe’s Chinese name, 海慧. I want to thank her for all the love and support throughout the years. Imagine what I have to put her through when I embarked on this solo journey across the ocean.

    Another day to celebrate, so I started the day with one of our favorite ramens, the Demae Ramen, “出前一丁”. I had the original soy sauce flavor, that’s supposed to be the #1 ramen noodle soup in Hong Kong.

    Chloe and I love eating that, also it reminds us our youth growing up in Hong Kong. I added some dried seaweed to it, which gives it extra flavor. We love ramen. One winter, Chloe and I went to a ramen building in Sapporo, Japan, where it is known to have delicious ramen. I’ve never eaten so much ramen in one seating.

    What to do with another light wind day during a race across the ocean? I flew my drone from the boat to capture what a beautiful world we live in. Because the boat was moving, I had to catch the drone by one hand while flying the drone with the other hand, and while the boat is moving under full sail however slowly. I have a special pair of “lobster” gloves to protect my fingers to do this stunt. I don’t want to lose a finger. I have Chloe to thank for introducing me to flying drones. My first drone was a gift from her many years ago. She went all out and got me the best of the best, a model that is used professionally by Hollywood filmmakers. It’s a big drone spans across 3 feet. I saw the professional filmmakers wearing ice hockey helmets and armors while filming with that drone because you don’t want lose your head or limb. The photo here is one of the shots I got this morning.

    The rest of the day was a spa and self-care day (that’s probably why I’m in the last position in the monohull fleet). I did 100 push-ups between the starboard and port cockpit seats. Then 30 pull-ups underneath the companionway hatch. The unstable pull-up bar was difficult for me, so I had to break it down into sets of 5. I got to take another hot shower thinking it would be another calm night. For an early dinner, I had Indian Madras Lentils.

    Then out of nowhere, the wind came. Within an hour, we got 10-15 knots of wind on the beam. The sea was still flat from days of calm and didn’t have the time to build. It was like sailing on ice, so smooth, quiet and fast. And the sun set around the same time. In no time, I started to sail at hull speed of 7-8 knots under a clear sky. The stars finally came out the first time since the race. I lay down on the cockpit and stared at the stars. A shooting star came out early to give me an idea what this experience is all about. All this while Sea Wisdom and I were all alone in the ocean. It was one of the most beautiful sailing experience I had.

    To Chloe (aka real life Sea Wisdom), thank you for the love. I’m forever grateful to be on this life journey with you. I love you!
    1) You can follow along via the satellite trackers for each boat. I’m Sail #42, SEA WISDOM.
    2) Live tracking with weather information:
    Signing off


    Day 9 Aloha Report
    Kyle Vanderspek

    From Kyle- Good afternoon from a sunny Aloha, I am writing today's update from a much better place than we were in yesterday both mentally and physically. As many of you might be able to imagine, the hole in the middle of the course was quite taxing on the sailors out here (speaking for myself anyway) and as it progressed it had seemed like there would be no end in sight. Forecasts downloaded each day made it appear that all we had to do was make it through that respective day and even if no forward progress was made at all, the wind would fill in and it would be right back to racing. After the third day of telling myself that i just had to make it to tomorrow, I quite honestly had a bit of a breakdown of faith in my ability to continue to cope with the lack of progress being made.

    Thankfully, not too long after I composed yesterdays update which was written after having sat in about 1 to 2 knots of wind making about the same in speed, some wind did fill in and has mostly stayed with me since then. Last night i went to bed early being that I had suspected I was due for a busy night. Bed time came before the sun had even set and I kept a close eye on my course as it was slowly was beginning to veer again to the north as winds shifted into trade winds with a more east west component. The goal was to keep the apparent wind angle constant but unfortunately to do so the auto pilot had to head up.

    At around 1130 (2330) I hit my upper limit which was a persistent course of around 270 (due west) which was about 35 degrees to the north at the time of rhumb line to Hanalei. Getting out of bed was an interesting treat which brought me to a near panic as i looked directly back out of the companion way (due east) and saw what appeared to be either a large tanker on fire about 5 miles back, or perhaps a fishing vessel illuminating the area as squid boats do that was much closer. I stared at it for a minute and contemplated hailing them on the VHF as checks of the chart plotter revealed no AIS signal. The next minute or two passed and I slowly began to realize that i was in fact watching the moon rise between the sea surface and the clouds and much as the setting sun glows a violent orange, so was the rising moon that was reflecting both off the ocean and glowing the clouds orange. Once i realized this to be the case i was able to relax a little bit and enjoy the beauty that nature sometimes provides.

    A few minutes later, it was on to the task at hand which would be a midnight gybe to port tack which will have the boat more or less pointed towards the islands. Though not the prettiest or fastest gybe even conducted, it got done with the whole sail stack moved over and the boat dialed in now on port tack at a heading of about 210. Throughout the rest of the night and early morning, winds came and went, but were mostly in the 10 knot range at a direction that had me mainly steering a course of about 220.

    Sunrise brought some clouds which i have come to know as a very good thing with regards to wind speed and direction as winds increased from about 9 to 15 with puffs up to 17. A little bit of legitimately fun trade wind sailing ensued before the winds calmed back down for a bit. In the 2018 pacific cup, i came to realize that in the trades, the mid morning is typically a break from the winds of the afternoon and evening, this seemed to be the case most of morning till a little after 1 west coast time when wind built from about 6 to 9 or 10 which is much closer to the forecasted 11 that i should have for the next day or so. This morning we crossed over the halfway marker with 1065.5 miles to go at 5:07 and i will soon be passing to less than 1000 miles to go (just checked while tying and it's at 1004). Crossing over the halfway marker meant the opening of a few much anticipated halfway gifts.

    The first one came as a bit of a mystery to me as it was labeled to Aloha from SV Tortuga, now what's weird is that I don't actually know an SV Tortuga, my buddy Elliott has a motorboat called Tortuga but after asking him he confirmed that it wasn't him. So without the slightest idea who it was from, i dug into a care package that included a bounty of party supplies for a halfway bash for one which included two party poppers, a bunch of glow sticks, some powdered Hawaiian punch, some hot chocolate mix (in case you cross halfway in the middle of the night), a lime (to ward off scurvy perhaps) and a few other goodies along with a hand written note From Captain Randy of the Westsail 32 Tortuga who competed in the 2012 SHTP wishing good luck and to enjoy the halfway party. If you happen to see this Randy, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.

    Next it was on to the flashdrive that Brian had put together with what i have been told is about 25 minutes of warm wishes from family and friends back home. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties with the laptop not recognizing that a usb had been inserted, i am not able to actually see or hear the video until i get to the completion of the second half where Dad assures me he will have a laptop that we can try it again on, or perhaps when i get cell reception near the islands (like 30 miles out) i can get it emailed and watch it then. Regardless, id like to thank everyone who contributed, it means a lot that there's so many people back home keeping up with my progress on this great adventure that i have embarked on. Lastly was a lovely letter and pictures from our recent adventures in Tahoe and up the Stockton from my lovely girlfriend Eliza.

    Though it may just be me out here, I can't say there was a single dry eye onboard. On to a celebratory lunch which was topped off by my first mountain house dessert which was a raspberry crumble, absolutely fantastic and because it serves 4, there's plenty leftover for dessert after dinner this evening. After lunch the sailing has improved with winds building out of the 6 knot range up to about 9 to 10, not quite what the grib files indicated but after that last few days, it's hard for me to complain at all. Trusty Simrad autopilot is still back there steering away to the wind angle and i must say doing a very fine job 10/10 would recommend having an autopilot that can be integrated to all your instruments and sensors given the opportunity to do so.
    That's about all from Aloha, again thanks to everyone that contributed to the halfway stuff, i can't wait to see it as soon as i can, and tank you to everyone following progress from back home. Think windy thoughts. -Aloha.


    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Mountain:
    “Hello from nearly half way!
    In honor of National Dave Letterman day I made a top ten list to share.
    Here in no particular order are my top ten unique sailing terms and deep cut gems from the Mountain ipod:
    10. Revenge of scorpio - Ted hawkins
    9. fraculator
    8. the seed - The Roots
    7. scantlings
    6. bad luck city - R.L. Burnside
    5. monkey butt
    4. stranger in a strange land - Leon Russell
    3. baggywrinkle
    2. for my next trick - Warren Zevon
    1. Soak it!


    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Green Buffalo:
    “Now this is what they call sailing to Hawaii!
    10k-12k wind from astern. Sun, blue skies and white clouds.
    The smoothest carper ride ever!
    With last week's Low off the coast, a tropical earlier in the week off Mexico disrupting the trade winds, and the receding High, I have never seen such a flat ocean. A few foot swell you can barely tell is there, wind waves under two feet... smooth sailing... easy on the chute, good napping/sleeping, and easy on the autopilot (which means low power use with the single 140W solar power keeping the batteries topped and no need to run the engine).
    Sardine sandwich for breakfast (one can do that when alone 🙂 ).
    Mac and Cheese for dinner? Or back to tortellini?
    Maybe time for some afternoon music...”


    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Hula:
    “I wish glass balls were still made of glass...
    No spinnaker, no 7 knots, and alas, no more bird companion. For two days we shared music, stories, and hemp seeds..
    For those of you flying to Hawaii today, Hula is no longer bright pink, but neon yellow!
    Dr. Frankenstein has successfully re-attached the head of the half ounce spinnaker. It's ALIVE!!!!!”


    Leave a comment:

  • Photoboy
    June 26th Update Part II

    Day 7, June 25, "Tried going for a swim”

    We continue to sail under very light wind condition. I don’t have a spinnaker, so I’m definitely feeling the handicap. Even with a wing-n-wing arrangement, I’m doing about 1-2 knots when I should be going a little faster. Doing 1 knot would take me 3 months to get to Kauai!

    In the morning, while I was having Yellow Curry for brunch, I saw this beautiful pink spinnaker in the horizon. A fellow competitor, Hula, caught up with me. I hailed him on CH 16 VHF. He sailed over within a few boat length and we took photos and videos of each other. That was a treat to see another human being after a week at sea. After the rendezvous with Hula, her beautiful pink spinnaker slowly disappeared into the horizon.

    But I have to say, I’m blessed by the light wind condition today. Because it was so calm, I was curious to feel what the ocean is like when there is 13,000 feet of water below me. I double tethered myself on two independent attachment points and lowered the swim ladder on the aft of the boat. As I was going down, I saw the Hydrovane (my spared autopilot and my emergency rudder) was dangling loose with a missing bolt. I can write a whole book of what happened next. Fast forward, I spoke with KKMI (thanks to Jock and he also consulted with Hydrovane), because I didn’t have a spared bolt, I jury rigged a Dyneema soft shackle and lashed it tight, and treated it as a thru-bolt and provided additional lines to support left and right of the Hydrovane rudder post. I sealed the “Dyneema bolt” with Water Weld. All the while when I was in the water for this repair, the boat was moving at 0-2 knots. I am very grateful for the light wind condition! And by the way, the sun was out and the water was warm, I’ve never seen this kind of clear blue water before. And the boat became even better.

    To celebrate, I had a glass of sparking water and Italian Style Pepper Steak with Rice and Tomatoes while watching the sunset. Now I’m ready for some wind.
    1) You can follow along via the satellite trackers for each boat. I’m Sail #42, SEA WISDOM.

    2) Live tracking with weather information:
    Signing off


    ALOHA Day 7 report
    From Kyle Vanderspek-

    I really do wish that I could tell you today has been an eventful day of sailing, but sadly it really has not been, with that said, it has however been a good day aboard the good ship Aloha with some not particularly sailing related happenings to share.

    The day started off rather early on in the evening as I was dragging the watt and sea hydrogenerator overnight, atop the power converter which convert the electricity to charge the batteries is a glowing pad which indicates the status of the incoming power when charging or when no charge is coming in it indicates the status of the batteries. If I recall correctly, the blue glow is used to indicate that between 100 and 200 watts is being fed into the batteries, however in my dazed status, I saw that the inside of the boat was glowing with a faint blue light and I thought "gee, it must be the morning, I feel like I just fell asleep,

    I can't believe I slept through the whole night!" after getting out of bed and crawling over to my phone on the charging pad, i realized that it was not in fact morning, but rather it was 1130 at night and between the very bright full moon illuminating the outside and the blue light glowing the inside, i had been completely fooled. Luckily however it wasn't long before i was able to resume my evening rest after a quick scan of the horizon and the chart plotter.

    For those who may be wondering what the sleep/rest schedule in fact is, it's not a whole lot different from that. I have generally been doing my absolute best to set the boat up under the helm of the autopilot for the conditions which we are in at the moment and the conditions I expect to be in within the next few hours, then I will scan the horizon for any signs of anything and also check the chart plotter for AIS targets. If none are present, and there have been very few, I will rack out as best I can usually with a quick check of the chart plotter for speed, heading and if there are any contacts every so often till I actually fall asleep.

    With the size and weight of Aloha, nearly any change in trim, heel, speed (by the noise of the water on the hull, or the pitch of the watt & sea) I can feel in my light state of sleep and will get out of bed and at the very least check the plotter or check sails and helm if need be. If all is satisfactory then it's back to bed. This process in not just exclusive to the night time, because rest is generally so short and interrupted at night time, I will try to extend this process after breakfast and in the early evening/late afternoon as well to maximize my rest hours.

    Speaking of breakfast, this morning was consumed by Mountain House's Southwest Spicy Breakfast Hash, which is quite good if not very sneakily spicy! lunch consisted of my very first PB&J onboard this crossing coupled with a Fuji apple which made me feel like I was straight out of elementary school setting my PB&J on my knee while I take a bite out of my apple and drink my bottled water, all I was missing was the dried mangoes which I had for an afternoon snack. With the progressing time change as I make my way west, I can't quite say its dinner time nor do I have any idea what I will be getting after for dinner.

    As far as the actual sailing has been today, it has been a mixed bag for sure. All night I had the trusty A2 spinnaker up and had done quite well with it for some time. Come about mid morning the wind had dropped some and shifted forward a bit and after heading down to a course lower than I want to be sailing, I dropped the A2 and put up the Code Zero for a few hours, this sail did phenomenal in the very light air which i have been dealing with all day and was generally able to keep the boat moving at very near the wind speed in much of the lighter 3 to 5 knot conditions when the wind was forward of about 130 degrees true wind angle. Then as of about an hour ago at 5 west coast time, the wind moved back aft and it was time to switch back to the A2. Not long after swapping to the A2 I decided it might finally be time to fold and bag the jib as I very much hope it won't be seeing any more action for the remainder of the race.

    Winds continue to be very light and boat speed is still sadly quite low although on the bright side we are pointing in the right Hawaiian direction and there should be better breeze in the days to come. With that small bit of optimism, I bid thee farewell from the trusty Aloha.
    From Brian,

    I have been getting a lot of questions asking about Kyles different sail combinations so I have attached a few older pictures to show which is which.
    Tracker info can be found at


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

    “Slatting, slatting, slatting.
    With an occasional sail change and tack.

    Saw Mountain on the chartplotter on and off (not sure why most entrants keep turning their AIS transmitter off... what's the point, its not like one is going to "cover them"... and two large ships have passed by in the last few days and I sure want them to see me).

    Spinnaker hoisted and dropped 3 times last night as wind came, went, and came back again from a 90 degree different direction. So dousing chute in forehatch, waiting 10-15 minutes for wind to come in from other side, swapping spinny gear and poles, and rehoisting. Crazy? Yes crazy. Crazier yet, hoisted the #1 this morning beating to the southwest (had the #1 on deck for flaking so was pretty easy to just hoist it). But beating southwest going to Hawaii? Really?

    Maybe another two days of this slatting/light variable winds to deal with before the High heads back north to where its "supposed to be"?
    Finished last of tortellini for late breakfast, and then a sardine sandwich for lunch. Its getting warm in the afternoon... so maybe dinner tonight is cabbage salad with chicken (not use the stove)?

    Chatted with Mary by sat phone... was good to hear her voice! And check how the tomatoes, peppers, and my "baby fern palm tree" are doing up in Napa (and what is up with the boys too). 🙂
    Green Buffalo”


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  • Photoboy
    June 26th Update

    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Shark on Bluegrass:
    SHTP 2021 log Shark On Bluegrass

    Transcription of my hand written notes.
    Saturday 06/23
    Nice send-off: Vanessa , Malina, Tom, Brian, Tibu thank you!
    Windy sail to the start.
    Light wind outside the gate, change to Genoa, moving at4-5kn.
    Sleep in the evening to catch up on my sleep deficit from last week (a lot of work-work finishing and starting a project and the packing prep.)
    Change down to #3, don’t want to get caught at night with the Genoa up. Expecting shift to north -which never came as the coastal south Eddie moved between me and the synoptic wind.
    Saw a grey whale splashing his fin on the water. He must have been in love with the Shark. Crossing to the north of the north farallones. As predicted fleet split into north and south

    Solar cells seem to have plenty of power
    Figured out some menu items on the chart plotter. -finally.
    Seems I am using the chart plotter as primary navigation tool. INavX app only as cross check. Also keep the chart plotter running most of the time ( despite power consumption)
    Dodger: just the way to the start was worth the hassle of getting it. ( overtime, really LOVE the dodger, it allows to keep the companionway open and gives a holding point.) - Thanks Thomas, Brian, Aaron.
    Better: dodger with handles on the side and stiffer front. Aaron was right, the natural tendency is to grab the higher point and not the handles on the deck.

    Sunday 06/20
    Somewhat cold during the night, lucky I brought the additional blanket. Gloomy day, calm. Worried that solar cells do not charge enough, but they do, even on overcast day.4.5-5 knin7-8 kn of wind.
    Put the Genoa up. Fast but more stress. Autopilot can’t handle the puffs. Worried to get caught in big wind. Genoa requires a trip to the foredeck to get it down. Big heavy sail. Spin can be doused from the cockpit. ( after a few more days I am now convinced that hanks are the better option for this type of sailing. Jib / Genoa comes down by itself while staying attached without the need to go forward. It’s a Safety feature in heavy wind or seas... Can put up second sail without the need to take the first one off as well)
    Decide to keep direct route northerly seems plenty of wind. Find out later that this was the wind circling the hole bringing me dead into the middle of the anti clock wise Eddie. Well second most west boat for tonight, did not last long so.
    Still seasick, all the pasta with tomato sauce is coming out again. Together with all the water.
    Still cold at night , need blanket and sleeping bag.
    Additional light blanket (Delta ~ Westin business class blanket for the connoisseurs ) additional layer when needed or as light blanket for naps.
    Sleep most of the time in the windward berth. Lee cloth work! Faster into the cockpit. Fore peak is for quiet nights w.o. Foulies, even has a proper sheet.

    Monday 06/21
    Sailed into the wind hole, the only way around is to gybe, go north and put the spin up.
    Light winds, so mostly slept through Sunday and Sunday nights,still working off the sleep deficit. Turns out I don’t need the alarm to wake me up to check. I wake up when the noises change:
    Bow wave splashing = speed
    Trim = flogging sails
    Balance = autopilot only working short bursts not long side to side moves
    Overpowered = heel
    Traffic - AIS beeping - this one works beautiful I am happy I installed the transponder after Long Pac
    Well and once in a while take a peek around of course.
    First sunny day
    Buckets without flimsy handles. Took the handles off on both buckets and cut holes near the rim to pull string through.

    Tue 6/22
    Found the wind last night. Making 8kn on a beam reach with the spin up under autopilot, while sleeping!!!.
    It got too windy so needed to take the spin down. Manage to shrimp it which tore one clew off the spin. That’s why you use old sails for this. This was a 2011 spin. RIP. Change to #3 as we finally got into the wind.
    Slept 6 hrs straight, nice, woke up to a dead main battery. Switched to backup. Let’s see; over discharged li Ion batteries go into sleep mode, manual says solar charger will wake them up. Tried to “jump start’ with the second battery before .... bad idea cable got warm quick. Let the charger do it’s work. Measured the voltage as the battery , creeping up from 11,80 to 12,40 over two hours or so. Battery comes back to life. Nice to see theory in practice....
    First sunny evening. Beam reaching, with cross waves. Not quite comfortable.
    tool box with voltmeter.
    Buying the autopilot one size up ( st 2000 tiller pilot) able to handle a lot. Thanks Rufus for the recommendation.
    Less useful: mast instrument, boat speed, and digital compass. I sail mostly after COG and SOG. So take them off the MEMA network to save 0.4A in the power budget .
    Useful: camomile tea, no appetite for any of the sodas or power drinks I brought. Drinking lots of water from then jar. The Lee cloth really work (not a common equipment on an Olson 25) allows me to sleep near the cockpit. Also noticed that I am very diligent to keep the cabin and cockpit orderly and clean.

    Wed 06/23
    Made 70 or so miles over night on a beam reach at7-8 kn. Slept from 9 pm to 7am with few interruptions.
    One AIS alarm. Build into my dream. DCA 1.4 miles in 20 min. Hail the freighter that I see him and change course slightly to pass his tern more clearly.
    Main battery all well at 12.6V in the morning. Once the backup is charged combine both solar panels to charge the main. Getting 6-8A out of 150W solar. Compared to 2-3A use, depending on what is running. Very happy with the solar set up.

    Decide against going to Genoa in the morning wind is about 12-13kn. It’s getting lighter rapidly.... I am about 50nm south of the rump line. So the calm of the High is in the way. Keep.going South_West around 215-220 on a beam reach under spin ( my other older spin, likely 20 years old, came with the boat - 1.5 oz cloth so this should hold.). Don’t want to go even more south. The gamble is how much distance to add to go south. I have a short light boat so Minimize additional distance while keeping moving in lighter winds vs the bigger boat. Well see.... from the standings I am in the middle of the field.
    Washday, head to toe wet wiping and fresh cloth - very nice - spa experience

    Not useful: not bringing hand soap. The bottle I grabbed is shampoo plus conditioner - too oily. Socks; I am basically barefoot all the time. Except when I go forward I put the boots on.
    Useful: the Spinlock harness, comfortable, and less bulky than the inflatable. So much easier to keep on all the time.
    Ahh, officially managed 1/4 of the to go distance. Let’s s celebrate - freeze dried pasta in tomato sauce, check, apple check, bell pepper check.

    Thursday 06/24
    Good spin run yesterday evening and last night. Wind calmed down over night. 5-6kn under autopilot in 7-9kn of wind - autopilot is able to handle it. So go to bed.
    Found the Pacific high! It’s where the weather models say it would be.... contemplating or the last two days . Running SW at 210-215 for three days now. Going more south? I am not going to make 200n, to get into the strongest trades. From the position reports none of the competitors went that far south staying north see,s risky as the high sits there. Same conclusion, keep reaching and keep the boat moving. Making 5kn in little wind...
    Have been keeping up with the family and friends. Amazing that the Satellite modem works re;active;y seamless even for casual calls. I also opened the first messages in the bottle. A jar full of wishes from friends and family. Thank you Vanessa f-r organizing. Thanks to all who wrote so,etching. Today I found messages from Fran and the cousins...

    Knee pads - finally started wearing them all the time, who would have thought what a useful invention. Chafe control - probably a know. One to he experience sailor. Manage to nearly cut through a spin sheet rubbing on the life lines on Tuesday. Caught it early enough. Very careful now to keep everything separated
    Despite the annoyingly slow progress, this is the first fully enjoyable and comfortable day. It’s warm. The boat does not roll and keeps a steady pace. Finally go to do some house keeping and to type up my notes from the last days no promises I will keep that up....


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  • Photoboy
    A Dome Frustrates The Fleet

    Competitors sailing in the SHTP have found themselves in a mid race purgatory with winds less tan 5 knots and variable.
    Reports from the previous 48 hours had the flavor of finally getting into the trades and the joyous part of the ride to paradise
    in full swing, now they solo sailors must work their way south to escape the dome of light winds and resume the conveyor ride
    to Hanalei Bay


    It is a tight race with the top 5 competitors less than 70 miles apart. The pace has slowed a bit as the wind has lightened and looks like it might be patchy for the next day or two.

    Aloha continues to lead with just over 1300nm to go! As the fast boat of the fleet there is a good chance they will win line honors (first to finish) but Then will have to sit and wait as his competitors finish and see what their corrected handicap times are!

    The two Cal 40s continue to battle with Jim on Green Buffalo just 9 miles ahead of Robb on Nazomi. Very exciting!

    Tony Bourque

    From sailing vessel Mountain at 2:30am. Mountain, 02:40

    Greetings from Mountain, where the ship smells of feet and the Captain wishes he smelled half that good.

    All is well here – Mountain and I are working hard. According to the latest fleet position reports though, so is everyone else! Really fun race so far- just hitting my stride. Taking naps, tweaking the sails, making repairs, enjoying the view.

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

    Had that tortellini last night... with red sauce... half a package made two meals worth (so tortellini again tonight).

    Wind finally went aft late last night so put the chute up this morning. Only 10k of wind so cannot drive as low as I would like - to get under the dropping high - but c'est la vie. Sailing to Hawaii is always a struggle to drive the boat low without going to slow (or accidentally gybing).

    Suspect another day or day to be south enough to turn west and aim at the finish. Though the weather looks light "most of the way"... 10k-12k of wind... so going to be a "long one" (Mary will get to Hanalei a day or two before I do).

    The broken vang bracket was despite all I tried to stabilize it was just not good enough... especially thinking about heavy air squalls later in the race. So after thinking, planning, thinking, napping and gathering all the needed tools and hardware, went forward this morning and removed the solid vang. Took the blocks, plus a few extras I had on the boat, plus a few shackles and loups, and reinstalled them - so now I have a "regular" vang (12:1 purchase instead of the sold vangs 24:1 purchase). A rare job I didn't have to go back and forth to finish up.

    Took a good long time to flake the Jib Top... such a big sail so a lot of back and forth from point to midship. Now I need to flake the code zero (ripped) and the hard one - the #1. Not sure I can get the #1 out the forehatch as It was a bit "big" when I stuffed it away (was that two days ago?). Maybe tomorrow I tackle flaking the #1 tight.

    Heard Robb on Nozomi talk to Siren on VHF last night... but I couldn't hear Siren and they couldn't hear me. So they are "in the neighborhood" but not close. Late last night Reed from Mountain rang and we talked for just a minute (signal strength was a bit week)... but it was real nice talking to someone after 4+ days alone.

    Broke into the boys half way cache for my candy fix... the boys know well about my Walgreen's candy aisle "habit".

    Cherry licorice... mmm mmm good!
    Green Buffalo


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  • Photoboy
    ALOHA Day 6 midday update
    From Kyle-
    Today is Thursday the 24th, I only know that because I checked my phone three times while I typed it to confirm it, and life onboard Aloha is just as one might expect it to be if you have been following along with the last couple updates or have looked into the weather for the part of the ocean I'm currently sailing on.

    For anyone interested, i would highly recommend the "Windy" app, i use it on my phone quite often when I'm back home and has a very good user interface to look into forecasts for anywhere in the world using some of the same models we use out here while sailing as well as other nifty features like looking into cloud cover or Doppler radar and such. If you happen to check on Windy with my current position (31* 05N 135* 55W) you might notice that there isn't a whole lot of wind out here. Happily I can say that I am not the only one in this boat when it comes to this rather large hole as its basically unavoidable for this fleet shy of sailing perhaps to the Aleutian islands or maybe via the equator.

    With that being said, last night was a fairly calm night with the Simrad Autopilot following the dying breeze along its course and I was able to get a considerable amount of rest till about 2:15 (PST) when a puff came along and tried to round the boat up a bit, the autopilots reaction was of course to pull the tiller all the way towards it which in turn somehow made the lever of the auto pop off the little knob on the tiller, not a problem at all, but with the tiller and the autopilot no longer attached, the boat continued to steer as it pleased till i climbed out of bed and rectified the situation. At the time the wind was still a pleasant 10 to 12 knots and it was a beautiful night so I decided to hand steer the boat for a bit under a somewhat clear sky that was illuminated beautifully by a full or nearly full moon. A couple hours of hand steering led me into the path that i knew was coming of sailing slowly into dying winds.

    As winds backed to around 6 knots, I decided it was time to pack it in and get some rest and let the autopilot do some more driving. The morning broke and mercifully there is a little more wind than i had expected there to be, almost all morning i have had around 8 knots of wind with puffs to 10 and 11. for the junior sailors out there, that may seem like plenty wind in your sabot, but having come off of 18 to 20 knots, and still having over 1300 nautical miles to go, I could surely use a bit more wind, couple that with it being nearly right on my transom, and the apparent wind speed is down to a few knots across the deck.

    Brian had mentioned there was some curiosity about my water onboard as well as how i am getting electricity. For water, the race requirement was that we start with 21 gallons of water, this is far more than I could or would consume on a race of this duration with a pretty easy rule of thumb being or about a gallon of water per day. To satisfy this requirement in the most logical manner, I have two small tanks that have been onboard for previous races of 3 and 6 gallon capacities each, I supplemented these two with two Water port tanks, one is a 5 gallon that is mounted on the stern pulpit and the other is the 8 gallon Weekender which is situated under the port bunk.

    Both the Water port tanks have hoses on quick connects and pulp caps so that i can pressurize them for onboard showering and wash down, and with the pulpit mounted one sitting in the sun, it gets nice and warm as an added bonus which we took advantage of upon finishing the Delta Ditch Run in Stockton two weeks ago, nothing beats a nice warm shower after a long day of sailing. For those of you interested you can learn more or buy yourself one of these great units at

    Should I somehow run out of water, we also have an onboard water maker which runs off of 12 volt power or manually in case of an emergency, during normal racing, this would be employed to keep up with the larger water requirements of a full crew.

    Electric power to power everything from the autopilots to the navigation system to the running lights and this laptop I'm typing on is all powered through a Watt & Sea Hydro-generator. During the day when its sunny, two solar 100 watt solar panels feed juice into the Watt & Sea convertor which charges the batteries. At night when there is no sun, should I need to charge the batteries additionally, i can deploy the Hydro-generator off the stern, its hinged and looks a bit like a little electric motor back there and when deployed makes anywhere from about 50 to 300 watts of power depending on boat speed.

    In addition to the obvious power it provides regardless of the cloud state, when deployed the hydro-generator provides a nice whirling sound which is directly related to speed through the water and at this point I can just about gauge to within a half a knot what the boat speed is based on the pitch of the whirling, as far as drag is concerned, i have done lots of testing with it and have never noticed any speed differences although I'm sure there must be some minute drag. More later unless the wind happens to pick up. Think windy thoughts for me out here and let’s hope my five to the south pays dividends like I have planned. ALOHA!

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  • Photoboy
    Aloha In Lead At The 1/4 Way Point


    From Kyle-
    After yesterday’s debacle with the main spinnaker halyard mast shiv coming out, the mood onboard between me, myself, and I had become a tad bit gloomy - due to the prospect of not being able to continue to run a spinnaker with a primary halyard and having to utilize the backup as a primary. But, these worries were cast aside as I was able to get a good night's rest last night running under the rather benign jib, and day broke on another beautiful day on the Pacific. Plenty of sun today made for a very welcomed change as winds slowly eased back behind us and are now pushing us along under the guidance of the trusty A2 spinnaker.

    This morning I broke into my first freeze dried and jet-boiled meal of the race, Mountain House breakfast hash was just the warm meal the doctor called for after a chilly night, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and a dash of Cholula hot sauce it's as if it was fresh out of a gourmet 5 star kitchen. The biggest disappointment of the day came when I realized that all five of the avocados I had brought magically and mysteriously ripened at the exact same time, so lunch time called for an avocado with salt and pepper of course, some beef jerky and a little dried mango, not exactly your typical meal, but it sure hit the spot.

    The afternoon and early evening consisted of lots of sunshine and hand steering to pass the time and the miles away. As some of you may have noticed, I spent a good portion of the day making progress to the south of the general track of the fleet and of rhumb line. My reasoning for this is that over the course of the next two days, a rather large hole of no wind will develop right in the middle of the rhumb line course between SF and Hanalei. By taking a dive to the south it is my hope that I can just skirt around this hole without getting sucked up into miserably light winds. I do suspect that over the next 48 hours I will come be into lighter winds, but I hope to power through them with the leverage that I have gained by making moves to the south over the last 24 hours.


    Having officially passed over the quarter way marker this morning and noticing right now as I type how sunny it still is for 8:40 west coast time, I am actually feeling like there's some significant markers of my progress towards the islands. Of note as well is that I have now passed the latitude of Aloha’s home port of Mission Bay with my current latitude being 31* 50 and Mission Bay being 32* 45.

    Additionally having passed a quarter of the way this morning, I was afforded the opportunity to open a envelope that contained a whole bunch of hand written cards from some of the MBYC juniors, mostly well wishes and some very sound advice including “don’t luff, ” “check for kelp,” “don’t drop your main sheet” and my favorite “pay attention.” Just the coaching I need as I cleated off the main sheet, threw on the autopilot and headed back inside for some lunch and time out of the sun.

    The Simrad autopilot has taken over piloting duties while I rest and do all the other million things to do onboard when I'm not driving. So far using the apparent wind angle function, it has been steering pretty well under the A2, I sure hope this trend can continue as we progress forward.

    Dinner this evening will surely be some mysterious yet-to-be-decided-upon freeze dried food and I must say I'm quite looking forward to it. Hope anyone reading this is enjoying as much as I am out here but I can't wait to make it to Hanalei. Until tomorrow, ALOOOHHAA!


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  • Photoboy
    June 23rd Update

    From Will Lee s/v Sea Wisdom @ 1654 on 06.22.21

    Hi Jackie, good afternoon. This is Will from Sea Wisdom. My email system is acting up and takes me hours to send and receive email msgs. So I’m switch to texting as my primary way of communicating with other people. I informed Brian about this already. Just in case if you don’t know it yet. Thanks for your email. Because you don’t have Facebook, I can text you my daily blog entry.

    Day 3, June 21, "It’s getting hot here in the doldrum."

    Day 3 began with light wind, and the sun came out for the first time since last Saturday. The wind was so light, there were actually more work on the boat. I had to make every slight adjustments to the sails in order to take advantage the occasionally rare but short lived breeze. For example, spending 30 minutes to set up the whisker pole to only use it for a few hours before taking it down.

    I made some fresh water today using the water maker, and was able to make sparkling water from the ocean with my Sodastream! I don’t need to carry any plastic water bottles. I even added some EmergenC to the homemade sparkling water, then I get to drink soda that is healthy.

    I started the morning with a nori ginger soup to warm up my body. The ginger helps me getting my sea legs. To celebrate the change to warmer weather today, I modified the Beef Stroganoff to have Cajun spices. At noon, the color of the ocean is deep and dense blue, amazing to watch each of the 10 foot swell goes underneath the boat ever so quietly. I went from wearing 5 layers of fleece and foul weather gear to just wearing a think base layer.

    Around noon time was when I receive the position report from the race committee on where all the racers are. Oh boy, was I wrong about picking the southern route. Here I was getting stuck and trying to figure out a way out of the doldrum. I am in one of the last places in the race.

    The NW wind finally came in the late afternoon. I could not be happier. There are still 1900 miles to go, so anything could happen. My number 1 priority is to get to Kauai safely.

    I have more gear issues to deal with. The Iridium Go system is not able to send and receive email reliably. I spent hours trying and I got lucky a few times. But texting works. Also, the Gsrmin inReach is my spare satellite communicator and tracker. It decided not to work anymore. At least I still have 2 independent satellite devices that work, Iridium text and a handheld Inmarsat.

    The block holding the starboard jib sheet is showing some metal fatigue because when there was no wind, things get banged around. If that block fails, I have a few other blocks that can do the work. Having redundancy and spare parts are so important when I need to be self sufficient.



    Another busy last 24 hours.
    After reaching all night under the big (155%) jib top... come morning the wind went aft... "aha now the wind swings toward Hawaii" - but I was wrong.

    Flew the kite 8 hours only to be steadily headed. Strange... looked at gribs a second time... aha, the wind turning east around the bottom of the low.

    Time to drop the kite and back to the jib top. I am getting too old for this... back and forth several times between cockpit, mast and bow... dragging sails, dragging lines, getting everything ready for the kite hoist and jib top douse. Oh and don't forget untangling and hoisting the spinnaker net... and then reversing all this late in the day.

    Good thing I went back to the jib top... over night the wind varied from 14k to 24k from 80 to 110 degrees apparent. Perfect for jib top... ugly for a kite.
    So reaching along under jib top for 20 hours making great time straight to my "waypoint".

    Am I going to far south or not south enough? Time will tell. Getting a grib as I sent this email that will tell me more...

    Food... grapes, raisins, about to cook another 2 cups of rice plus a ramen cup of soup. "Real food" will need to wait till we get off tis "bumpy" reach. Tomorrow? Maybe Tortellini? Cheese and crackers?

    Still overcast.

    Green Buffalo


    From Kyle- Today has been a trying day to say the least, full of ups and downs. To begin the day, we saw some good jib reaching into warming temperatures after what ended up being a fairly pleasant night. Good wind in the morning led to some lighter air in the low teens around mid day which threw me back into decision time as to if I could and should fly a spinnaker. After much internal deliberation I decided to go ahead and put one up, the wind had lightened and backed a little and the sun was shining, it was obviously the right call.

    Again I chose the smaller A5 spinnaker which went up without a hitch, I bumped up the gain to the maximum on the autopilot and it had no issues holding with the kite today for about an hour. Unfortunately the wind had other plans as it steadily built and I had to continue to fall off on angle to keep the autopilot in control.

    This process continued until I reached an angle where I felt I had to take over to maintain some height. So I hand steered for a bit in some really good conditions through mostly sunny skies with a few of what I could only describe as mini squalls rolling through with dark clouds and more breeze.

    After some time and still falling to leeward of the course I wanted, I decided to take down the spin in favor of the jib. This is where things got a little sideways, the spinnaker came down without a hitch but unfortunately it brought down the shiv at the top of the mast with it (the shiv is a wheel at the top of the mast that allows the halyard line to move freely whiteout chaffing.) All 8 rivets had sheared and the turning block exited its hole and had decided it was done being up there.

    The only consolation is that I do have a spare spinnaker halyard, though it is somewhat undersized for some of the conditions out here and will likely only see use once the wind’s back and loads on the spinnaker halyard is reduced. Till that time I will be stuck with the jib hoping to make the best of it, and for the mean time, the jib is for sure the right sail (as I type surfing to 14 knots at a great angle). It’s going to be a good night. Aloha!

    Side note from Brian- Thank you everyone for the calls and messages from those of you extremely concerned with what looked like on the tracker Kyle’s decision to randomly gybe and head south this morning. I am happy to report it was a glitch in the software and he remained on this gybe the entire time. It is impressive how many of my friends and family have become expert meteorologists/ navigators/ and strategists over night. ��

    But much contrary to Aloha’s Cabo race tracker and Newport to Ensenada race tracker when we did in fact take a flyer and gybe, this one was wrong. Also you’ll note the scoring spreadsheet has been updated to reflect the correct ratings. Kyle currently is in second and is averaging the best speed. The photo from the start is courtesy of Pressure Drop.

    ************************************************** ******

    Singlehanded Sailing Society’s 2021 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race update from Mountain

    “Greetings from Mountain, where the ship smells of feet and the Captain wishes he smelled half that good.
    All is well here - Mountain and I are working hard. According to the latest fleet position reports though, so is everyone else!
    Really fun race so far- just hitting my stride. Taking naps, tweaking the sails, making repairs, enjoying the view.
    Many thanks to all who helped with our prep the last few days leading up to the start.
    Hi Grady!”
    Last edited by Photoboy; 06-23-2021, 02:24 PM.

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  • El Capitan
    Looks like things are about pick up!

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  • Photoboy
    June 22 Morning Update


    From Kyle-As you all may have noticed, last night was a pretty big turning point in the race for most if not all of us out here. I began the evening firmly on port tack with the code zero up. Several times through the night the southerly wind attempted to die and give way to the synoptic northerly. for me this happened at i believe around 1 am PST when I slowly headed more and more south before committing a gybe to starboard tack that was taking me north at a heading of around 300. Not much later the wind went forward and i was able to continue on a course of about 250 as the wind slowly began to build.


    During the night after the transition, I was very happy to have popped my head out and noticed some stars attempting to poke through the wet marine layer which had soaked the boat with a light drizzle for a few hours before the sun came up. At day break, the clouds persisted but were beginning to show signs far off on the horizon. Not long after, i made the decision to change headsails to the A5 spinnaker which is the smallest I have onboard. Though winds were not too high at the time, they were forecasted to increase as the day went on and this spinnaker would provide me the best opportunity to make good progress in the direction I want to sail without getting pushed too low.

    With morning winds in the low to mid teens and the sun making an appearance in a blue sky, I was able to put together a few good hours of boat speed with the waves lining up well with my course and surfing waves from a steady 8 knots up to about 12.5. Noon time brought some lightening winds which although frustrating at times certainly could have been worse and as we ease into the third evening underway the winds from this morning seem to have returned. Not present however is the agreeable sea state that had allowed for surfing before, but now I am seeing a bit of a swell well forward of the beam making for a somewhat bumpy ocean.

    Once again, the sun is unfortunately long gone, but the temperature seems to have gotten maybe a little warmer since yesterday and the night before so that is a small gain. Tomorrow will likely see the beginnings of the freeze dried selections as I intend to finish up the last slice of pizza for dinner this evening. For those curious, I haven't seen any whales since the first afternoon which has been somewhat pleasant as they gave me quite a few scares early on. I have seen a few jelly fish and a sun fish today along with a couple balls of discarded mooring or fishing lines.

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