• Notes From Boats July 23

    Callisto

    Jason's daily report arrived just after midnight and read on to see why: "Just about 500nm to the finish. It has been crazy busy with gybes and sail changes-some planned and others unplanned. We are sailing 4 on and 4 off (ed note: 4 hours on deck, 4 hours below sleeping), but have been woken up mid off watch for these events so haven't slept more than 90 minutes in 2-3 days. We are in the trades not with 18-25 knots and occasional big seas. We have stuffed the bow (ed note: the bow goes underwater while the boat is at high speed-you don't want this to happen), several times and exploded kites (ed note: sails) and ripped the front pulpit off. Lots of excitement." $$$$ Go, Go, Callisto


    *********************************
    Horizon

    July 22, 2021

    The significant event of the last 24 hours of sailing was that blue skies greeted us this morning after an intense 10 minute rainshower at 7am. The crew on deck got a free shower with fresh rainwater! Winds continue from a north/northeasternly direction as we sail along on our code 2 spinnaker, but wind velocities have increased to 20-22 kts with a brief period of 24 kts while we were in the vicinity of the rainstorm.

    Seas are now a bit bigger which is good for HORIZON because frequently it allows the opportunity to surf down a wave, thus increasing our average speed toward the mark. But one side effect of the bigger seas was that when the wind and rain increased, one rogue wave managed to splash over the top of the cabinhouse and into the aft cockpit and down an open cabin hatch. HORIZON is normally quite a "dry" boat, even in rough seas. The unwelcome wave prompted us to move the on deck sail bags (ie BALLAST) furher back to redistribute weight and keep HORIZON's bow further above the attacking waves. We are now 820 miles from the finish line in Diamond Head, Hawaii.

    We continue about 13 miles behind the lead boat which is less than one hours sailing time at current boat speeds. Temperatures are warm but not overly warm except when sitting directly in the sun, which is now shining down on us with great intensity. We have our cooling fans going full force below decks to avert the eastern pacific heat and crew are now walking around without shirts. The sea breezes are still fresh and cooling.

    Last night we ate tortilla chips and a great enchilada dish prepared by Jennifer Bose, Len's wife and everyone enjoyed it immensely. Great taste! And this morning cereal, yougert, coffee and milk were on offer for breakfast.

    Our MVP was again Chris for going up the rig to fix a lower runner detachment to the mast which had shook loose during a jibe.

    All crew are in good spirits, and getting at least some sleep although last nite was pretty demanding sailing for the rotating watch crews on deck!

    July 21, 2021

    As I write this we have completed 5 days of sailing and crossed the halfway point of the race! We are now 1075 miles from the finish!

    We continue sailing under overcast skies and the temperatures have gotten cooler. Wind is from the North/Northeast typically 17 kts but ocasionally gusting to the low 20s. We think we are quite close to regaining the lead in the Santa cruz 50/52 class. It's very intense competition.

    Last evening we ate stir fry vegetables and chicken cooked up in a skillet on our force 10 galley stove, and this morning Chez Pete prepared egg sandwhiches for us consisting of canadian bacon, cheese, english muffin, and of couse scrambled eggs. Both meals tasted really great!

    A couple of the crew took showers on the rear of the boat using the boat's pressurized fresh water system. (We have a 50 gallon fresh water tank onboard). Gentleman sailing conditions compared to some of the other boats on the course.

    Most of the fleets are now sailing slightly upwind of our best routing models, including the big boats, so we are staying with them rather than sailing further south, which might yield a bit more breeze will requiring us to sail further. In essence we are sailing a more direct course to the finish which I guess everyone thinks will be the best strategy given that the winds are holding up where we are situated in the isobars.

    Every one in good spirits and all boat systems are working properly.

    July 20, 2021

    We've completed our 4th day of sailing in the Transpac Race! We are sailing with our Code 2 spinakker in 15kts of north/northeasterly breeze and overcast skies. The temperature is no longer cool but not hot either, just comfortable.

    In the afternoons the sun tries to break thru with bright shafts of sunshine turning the sea a deep purple whenever it hits. There are now more frequent breaks in the stratus layer as we sail a south westernly course about 900 miles southwest of Long Beach.

    The wind is out of the north/northeast and within the last few hours the wind speeds have increased a couple of knots. We are now sailing with a steady 18-20 kts and we are starting to see following seas and a few whitecaps. Winds have recently shifte a little bit left which is good for us since our routing takes us further south in the days ahead.

    Our competitors in the Santa Cruz 50/52 fleet are closeby. Last nite at 1am we jibed left for 1.5 hours to stay on our routing which took us out of the lead temporarily but we think we will regain the lead today and be in a better position to take advantage of the expected stronger breezes, our new A2.5 spinaker at the ready.

    Last night we had chili verde, spanish rice, tortillas, chips, and refried beans obtained from a mexican deli near John's house. The very spicy food was a big hit with the crew after a number of days of only moderately spicy casseroles.

    All crew are in good spirits. Most of the guys brought the personal selection of music to play on deck. Its been a magical mystery tour of everything from reggae to rock to country to classical. Gives the older guys a chance to hear what newer generations are listening to! But the old guys still love their rock! Particulary appeciated by all was a downloaded channel on spotify called boat rock!

    Chez Peter served up a great egg and sausage casserole which was tummy stuffing and tasty, sure it will carry us through dinner tonite.

    July 19, 2021

    This is a report of our 3rd day of sailing in the Transpac race. At 9pm last nite the wind shifted to north/northeast and we were able to put up our Code 2 (thats the big balloon sail that flies in front of the boat). Winds continue at about 15KT in a relatively smooth sea with overcast skies and cool temperatures. Our entire Santa Cruz 50/52 fleet is close to us. We are now 650 miles from long beach and about 1580 miles from the finish line in Hawaii. The sailing, sleeping and walking about the boat is easier now since in this sail mode the boat is relatively flat in the water.

    Introducing Horizon's crew:
    LEN (LENNY BEATS) BOSE, Yacht Broker, Experienced Sailor, 11 prior Transpacs
    PETER (DONT CALL ME DICK) HECHT, Volvo 70 around the world sailor, 3 americas cups, Whitbread sailor, US Sailing team, 18 prior Transpacs
    JAMIE (J-WOW) MALM, All American Intercollegiate Champion, Businessman
    STEVE (SCUBA STEVE) NATVIG, Sailing Director at Cabrillo Yacht Club, Maxi Sailor, Govenors Cup Champion,
    JACOB (MAUI BOY) RICHTER, Hawaii Collegiate Sailor, Race Manager for GP sailing, engineer
    TAYLOR (TPAIN) SCHLUB, J24 Nationals and Worlds,J125 racer
    JOHN (DONT CALL ME FISHBAIT) SHULZE, Owner, Businessman, 3 prior Transpacs
    CHRIS (ROOKIE) VILICICH, Intercollegiate Racer, Kennedy Cup Champion, 1 prior TRANSPAC

    Last evening we ate a green salad and meat and pasta casserole made by Melissa Olsen, Steve's significant other. Thanks so much Melissa for the great dinner! And once again this morning fried egg, canadian bacon, cheese on an english muffin prepared by our navigator Pete.

    Most valuable racer for today was Chris for going up the mast to fix a broken halyard.

    We think we are slowly gaining gauge on our competition, but damn, they are sailing well too! Looking for a bit stronger breeze to allow Horizon to accelerate as we continue down planned routing to Hawaii. Everyone feels good and all boat systems operating normally.

    ****************************
    Triumph


    July 22, 2021

    Saw a fishing boat with 5 blinking buoys out this morning, about the same location identified yesterday by Rapid Transit. Spoke with captain - deep nets and no issue to us. One Cabo race to go (or 7.4 Ensenadas)!

    July 19, 2021

    Good morning Friends & Family of Triumph.

    We have entered the "slot cars" section of the Transpac. We are riding the bottom edge of the weather pattern known as the Pacific High. For the most part, you will see all boats in their lane until the decision to gybe down to Hawaii. The good part is that the boat has flattened out and we can move about without holding on for dear life at 20% of heal - just imagine your house tilted up 20% in a light rain storm with the windows open.

    David, Chris and I saw a whale jump 40-50 feet in the air, twice. We are glad it happened a second time as we were not sure it was real. Chris actually said it looked like something fell out of the sky.

    Not much excitement other than a likely seal failure in the Backstay Ram - this is the device that increases or decreases tension on the backstay which in turn stiffens the forestay and the mast. This might sound trivial but it actually is a critical part and without it we are all but dunfir. This actually is a critical item when sailing upwind and reaching. The hydraulic repair was undertaken by the Navigator, who will remain nameless, for this report. My dad always said stick to what you know but when on board, everyone is an expert at many things 😊. The repair involved bleeding the oil under the backstay ram but rather than capture it, we drained it off the transom and we can't say where it went from there. We carry a quart of spare hydraulic but I was told we should always carry a barrel (i.e., 55 gallons) or fill one of the unused water tanks with it. We adapted and overcame - our on board Olympic hopeful and rigger extraordinaire, David Liebenberg, worked his rope magic and so far she is holding. This kid is a bundle of energy.

    Tonight we have the "Navigators Stew". Jeff (it is ok to use his name in this case). This meal is labeled "Hagis" on the boat menu as a place holder but this meal is reportedly a step above and would make the Scottish blush. The stew contains Pork Shoulder, poblano and jalapeno peppers, garlic with Romano and parmesan cheese and beer. We are eager to report back on this delicacy.

    A few brave soles are taking transom showers today. I am one of those. These sort of things should be mandatory but are not until day 5. The skipper will start adding labels in strategic spots on the boat to encourage this.

    As the YB Tracker shows we are in a dual with Horizon. Nothing we haven't planned for. We have a secret weapon which we will share in the next communique. We also have the legendary Navigator, cook and hydraulic repair man onboard. We will prevail!

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


    Hula Girl

    July 22, 2021

    Hello from the crew of Hula Girl, mid Pacific in the 2021 Transpac Race. Spirits are high as we roll into the new day given the spectacular 24 hours that preceded. Yesterday the cloud cover broke, and it started looking more like the trade wind sailing we have been waiting for. The water is that shocking shade of blue that only revels itself far from civilization, and I really don't think any paint card or pantone color could ever do it justice. We crossed the halfway point yesterday, more than 1100 miles from any dry land. It is said that this is farther away from land than you can get anywhere on the planet.

    Yes, it's a big ocean out here... but also this year it's been a pretty narrow racetrack. Most boats have maintained pretty similar lines as they headed West, and we have seen a number of boats relatively close by. At one point three of us were sailing within sight of each other. Big ocean, but not alone.

    After a fantastic day and a brief happy-hour halfway celebration, we slipped into an equally (if not more) beautiful night. With only patchy tradewind clouds, the large moon finally got to show off her luminosity making it markedly easier to sail through the night. The moonlight reflecting off the backs of waves as you surf down them shimmers like a huge school of silver fish giving chase. Just an ideal night, and with all the hours of practice the team has been getting, I have to say they really did an excellent job.

    Today we start looking for our opportunity to jibe south. Some of our pack has already taken little bites that direction, but given that we are trying to work back from an early speed deficit, we have opted to take a bit of leverage to see what we can make happen. The Pacific High is supposed to split over the next 48 hours, with the eastern portion moving east and causing a right shift in the wind as we close in on Hawaii, and with a bit of luck we are positioning ourselves to eventually capitalize on that.

    Everyone onboard is doing a fantastic job. We really have a fun bunch and we are all excited for the next portion of the race: days of ocean surfing on our wind powered sled! Bring it on, and let's go catch some of the boats that got away from us when we were getting to know Hula Girl!

    July 20, 2021

    Ah, it's good to be back. The water hissing by the hull, the rhythmic rolling and surfing on the Pacific swells, the groaning of deck hardware as the sails are trimmed. We are off, heading West and South, Hula Girl has a bone in her teeth and couldn't be happier.

    Friday afternoon, our fleet left California in the 2021 Transpac Race to Honolulu. One of the world's most renowned and revered offshore yacht races, it also happens to be one of our favorites. The course has exactly what a great event should: a healthy mix of challenges and rewards. The early upwind days in the colder coastal winds are soon forgotten once you cross the ridge and begin the many miles of surfing blue swells to tropical islands.

    This year, the what the post-pandemic fleet lacks in numbers, it definitely makes up for in sheer competitiveness. The scratch sheet reads a list of some of the hottest racing sailboats on the planet. And the crew lists are virtual who's who of offshore racing. This year, our 14th year of offering racing programs to Hawaii, J/World is fielding two boats in the event, each comprised of three coaches and six clients. It's a crash course in a whole host of fields: yes, sailing mechanics, sail trim, helming, and boat systems of course, but also in team building, cooperation, communication, and and just plain ol' simple courtesy. After a couple of days 'rehearsal' in LA where coaches covered everything form how to 'peel' a spinnaker to where you should hang your foulies, we were excited to get sailing.

    This year has, from our perspective, been remarkable in the fact that it hasn't (yet) been terribly remarkable. If that makes any sense. I mean, the departure from the LA coastal waters was easy and relatively mild. We got into the offshore winds smoothly before the first night. The winds have been idyllic, averaging maybe 18 knots, rarely below 14, and similarly rarely above 22. We spent the initial push away from the coast with our #1 genoa up, reached for a while with our Jib Top, and with the wind shifting around behind us are now sailing with the A3 Spinnaker. Really, conditions have been just superb.

    While the sailing has been smooth, we have been taking some lumps on Hula Girl. Our 'young' team has been paying some speed dues to the seasoned teams out here while our crew learns how to sail this boat. We were a little off the pace the first couple of days, but I have to say I think everyone is getting the hang of things and I expect to start reeling in some of our fleet. Unfortunately, it's a pretty 'narrow' course this year, so there aren't s lot of passing lanes, so we'll have to see what we can do!

    Hula Girl has been fantastic, as always. One exciting mishap: as we neared Catalina Island, the new steering cables must have seated/stretched under the high loads allowing one of them to slip off the steering quadrant in our first tack. So that made an exciting couple of moments, but we were able to quickly get the cable back into place, then tighten them both, and we were back in action.

    Ok, it's a little after 1am out here mid Pacific, so I should sign off. Hah, quick side note, I almost titled this post "Hula Girl - Back in the Saddle" but my sleep deprived mind couldn't shake the image of a hula girl on a horse, so I had to scrap that one.

    Anyhow, we have a super fun group on board this year, and with the spinnakers out and the weather warming, spirits are high!

    Mare (pun intended) soon...

    Wayne Zittel & the Hula Girl Team

    ************************************
    Warrior Won

    July 22, 2021

    We had our belated halfway party last night with a swig each of tequila and lots of laughs, even as we continued to send it. Skipper Sheehan said a few words to acknowledge how hard we've been pushing the boat and how much still had to go in this great ocean race to paradise. We also toasted our friends on Denali to acknowledge all of their work and preparation to sail the Transpac only to be dealt a cruel hand of cards after the start.

    July 19, 2021, 0800

    Yesterday was Skipper Chris Sheehan's birthday. He didn't even know we knew it was his birthday as he didn't mention anything and we all kept quiet. Imagine his shock at the surprise birthday dinner-party we threw him hundreds of miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean. He was super touched by laminated/waterproofed cards from loved ones that we smuggled on board. We each had a single Budweiser, the King of Beers, to toast him, which helped wash down the Freeze-dried Chocolate Pudding with Marshmallows. We all chipped in and got him wanted for his birthday-- the boat in "full send" mode with big numbers. Slingshot Engaged.

    July 17, 2021

    Meet the team:

    Watch Captains Stuart Bannatyne, Hartwell Jordan
    Navigator Christopher Lewis
    Boat Captain Collin Leon
    Trimmers Malcolm Parker, Morgan Gutenkunst
    Grinder Scott Ewing
    Bow Dylan Vogel
    Helm /,Skipper Christopher Sheehan
    Shore Team Dominque Tanton
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2021 Trans Pacific Yacht Race! started by Photoboy View original post