• Half Way Home: Vic-Maui Fleet Looking For Trades

    Kraken Log - Day 9

    0405 HST; the sun is just coming up on the Eastern horizon and the darkness is slowly being taken over by the light. At first it's black, then dark gray, then lighter gray then lighter gray again, until it's finally light.

    One of the things that is interesting about off-shore sailing is that you are out all night every night. In our terrestrial lives most of us normally sleep through the night. We only see the start and the finish. Ask yourselves; how many entire nights have you actually seen in your entire lifetime? How many sun rises? How many times have you seen the moon rise AND set?

    Sailing into the night always brings on a certain feeling of anxiety while sailing out of it brings relief. I guess it has to do with the fact that we can't see in the dark. At night our lack of vision makes us helpless; what if there is something out there, say some of that floating fish netting that you see out here a lot, or a container, or a whale, or a North Korean fishing boat that is fishing illegally so has their lights turned off, and you hit it?

    In the light you can swerve to avoid, at night it's just the luck of the draw. What you have to ask yourself at night is "are ya feelin lucky punk ... well are ya ... are ya?"

    The half way party went great yesterday. All the preparations and planning paid off. Annette made us a fantastic meal of garlic fried prawns & scallops, with pasta in sun-dried tomato sauce and crispy green salad in a lemon dressing. We did not get as many guests as we had planned, I guess everyone was busy with other engagements.

    We are still on starboard tack! Other than some sail-changes, we have been on Starboard since we arrived on the open ocean last Sunday - 8 straight days now and into our 9th.

    We are also still going up wind - day 7 up wind (or close reach).

    The last 24 hrs has seen steady-ish winds at 8 to 12 kts so we have made decent progress of about 160Mi. Hour by hour the latitude keeps ticking down, and the longitude keeps ticking up. For reference Victoria is at Lat/Lon 48/123 and Maui is 21/157.

    The forecast says that in a few hours we will run into very light wind which will last about 24 hrs. This is the worst thing for us, becalmed in the middle of the ocean with nothing other than the sun searing down on us. I hope the crew does not go crazy and begin eating each other.

    We are still having electrical trouble. We believe we have a faulty alternator which is not providing adequate charge to the batteries. It does seem to charge a bit but the charge voltage may to be dropping and the thing may be dying. We have been deploying our solar panels which help (if there is sun during the day) and are on a program of reduced consumption.

    We have turned off all un-necessary devices, instruments, and are managing refrigeration at a minimum mode. If we loose the ability to charge completely we will need to bring out the sextant - wait - we don't have a sextant - mo matter, we don't know how to use one anyways.

    We we do have a hand-held GPS, as well as 3 cell phones and 1 IPad with Navionics (GPS navigation software), and of course, a paper chart. If it comes to it we may be finishing this old school - with solar panels and GPS, and I-Phones alone.

    Life Aboard - personal safety

    All crew have inflatable life jackets (PFD's) equipped with a harness.

    Inside the boat the PFD's come off, but crew must remember where theirs is in case they need to put it on quickly On deck PFD's are always required.

    On deck crew are ALWAYS tethered to the boat.

    The boat has a number of fixed D-rings for crew to clip into at different locations in the cock-pit and at the mast.

    Along each side of the boat there a 2 jacklines (a strip of webbing for clipping into while moving along the length of the boat) one jackline is low along the deck, and the other is higher on the cabin top.

    Moving around on the tether takes some getting used to. You need to do things methodically and always be aware of where you are clipped in and what potential things are around you that could foul you or your tether.

    There are so many ropes on a sail-boat that this is often a challenge. If a slack line suddenly comes under load and is wrapped around, or just under your tether, you could find yourself in a compromised situation.

    Each PFD also has a Man Over Board device. This is a thing about the size of a fat cigar. If the PFD is inflated the device triggers and automatically sends an emergency distress call to the boat.

    The devices are all programmed to call our specific VHF radio.

    They will also send a signal to anyone else in the vicinity. The device will also pick up a GPS location and relay it's position back to the boat's systems. If someone goes over-board, our plotter screens will show where they are.

    Each crew also carries an emergency knife in case they need to cut themselves free.

    Kraken out

    Salient has answered some of your questions! Keep 'em coming!

    Roger: We posted the new moto on the companion way!!

    Evan: It is way more fun to punch into the wind for 1,300 NM west of the rhumbline than going the 'old fashioned route'. And yes, we work hard to be faster than the other guys and having fun doing it.

    Marie: Ede's Beef Stroganoff was a hit. Thank you very much.

    Jane: Stby will get Suze to answer that one

    Penny: Glad you enjoy following us and the fleet. Yes, our shore crew does fantastic work!

    John: Wise words indeed. Wish you were here too! We had a trying night with light winds, but see some breeze again now. PS" Great spi run yesterday with the yellow sail Thank you again for this!

    Leor: Happy to hear you enjoy following the race. We look forward to seeing you in Maui and doing it all again in a couple weeks this time from Maui to Vancouver!


    Day 10 finds the boats doing everything to eek out a mile and get closer to the promised trade winds. At one time this morning, the three leading boats were all pointed to Baja, doing 1 kt with an ETA sometime this fall. This is giving time for boats like Turnagain to get lots of practice on their big-boat "coffee grinders". As the Weather Eye said this morning "the cookie will crumble based on hard work, skill, and luck". The only boat making good progress is Serenite - Cruising Class is allowed to use their engine to move along.

    Still leading the way in Firefly, now with 804 miles to go and a slightly bigger lead over Joy Ride 27 miles behind. Following behind (Distance to Leader) are Salient +73, Kraken +144, Turnagain +145, Anjo +205, Serenite +226 (believed to be motoring some), and Oxomoxo +253.

    After a night of going no-where, it finally looks like the lead boats in Racing 1 have finally found a bit of wind and are starting to move.

    In Racing 2, Kraken has found the same breeze and has moved in front of Turnagain. Salient is still ahead by a bit, but they are holding their breath waiting for the breeze to catch up with them. But every hour, Kraken closes a bit more. Oxomoxo and Anjo are waiting out the calms, with Oxomoxo having time for a turtle rescue (pictures to follow).


    The trade wind run under spinnaker to Hawaii beckons, but more changeable winds are still in the way of the Vic-Maui fleet. The boats are stuck in a form of purgatory close reaching in wind speeds are fluctuating from non-existent to 12 kts – not exactly prime conditions for an ocean race. And the boats are soooo tired of seeing the white sails hoisted on a perpetual starboard tack and are getting frustrated by the time it is taking to make southing to the trade wind latitudes. And they are getting nervous as everyone has now figured out that the boat that finds the right path to the trades will likely win the race.

    And they are now clearly in the North Pacific Gyre (aka the Garbage Patch) with Joy Ride quite surprised by the amount of plastic garbage floating by. With Salient also report seeing lots of whales, you have to wonder how our leviathan friends are faring in a sea of fish nets, plastic cups and other urban detritus.

    At Roll Call Firefly is 901 miles to the finish. Joy Ride +22, Salient +84, Turnagain +115, Kraken +137, Anjo +190, Oxomoxo + 224, Serenite +278

    n Racing 1 Firefly has increased its lead over Joy Ride by 5 miles over yesterday’s report. But the last 24 hours has been a game of snakes and ladders as one boat, then the other, loses wind pressure and finds it again. This will likely be a dog-fight right to the finish.

    In Racing 2, Breaking News ..... at 1515 HST Salient just raised their reaching kite - a change is as good as a rest. But at Roll Call Salient had also increased its lead by over Turnagain by 18 miles and by 14 miles over Kraken since yesterday. But all boats have lost distance over Anjo who is coming up from behind. But this has also been a game of snakes and ladders and as the first 4 boats have very similar time allowances, the battle for first to Hawaii is also a battle for first place, corrected time. And don’t forget Oxomoxo who the other boats owe roughly 17 hours on corrections. Serenite, in a battle to keep up with the Racing 2 boats, lost a little distance overnight and has dived east to try something different.

    The crew on Gemini's Dream, still disappointed that boat issues have stopped their adventure to Hawaii are making good progress and now about 350 miles from home motor-sailing under jib and trysail.


    The last 24 hours have been rough, or should I say incredibly calm. We have been working our way east in search of some additional wind, but haven't been very lucky on that front. We have been discussing the definition of becalmed and have formed a consensus that we are not, but there have been periods over the last day where the question has been posed. The monotony was broken this morning when some of the crew rinsed off in the ocean. It felt amazing! After 10 days of stink there's nothing like tying a rope around yourself, jumping off the stern and letting the ocean wash you from head to toe. The water is crystal clear blue and there's about 10,000 feet of it between you and the bottom. But enough of that, this is a race we are in some seriously light conditions. Until now! Finally, as I sit here writing, the wind has begun to build and we are sailing along at 6kts in 7kts of breeze. It feels like we're on a rocket ship compared to the last day. Is this the freshening breeze we've been waiting for or just a tease? Time will tell, but Brad's antennae are up and it looks like our swimming days are over. Maui lies just over 800 miles in front of us and we are now beginning to discuss the first round of cocktails in Lahaina. But before that we have some sailing to do!

    A note from one of the less experienced sailors on the boat: There are many parts about this trip which were more or less expected, but many more which were not. While I expected some of the mental challenges such as the requirement of patience, importance of crew morale, and dealing with some of the monotony, I was unprepared for the physicality of the endeavor. The lack of sleep, recurring sail changes, and grinding out of tough late night watches has given me even more respect for the crew onboard who does this stuff on the regular. It's hard, but satisfying and I wouldn't trade this experience, the good and the bad, for anything.


    July 10
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Vic-Maui 2018 started by Photoboy View original post