Well, it’s Monday morning. That means you guys are back at work, but our boys have been at work nonstop since they left San Francisco last Tuesday. So…feel better! Before we share the emails, we have an important position update as of this morning at 4:00am PDT, our boys have unfortunately dropped to 2nd in their division, and to 6th overall. But there’s still over 900NM to go, so let’s all cheer them on and keep our fingers crossed.
Yesterday was a big day for our two intrepid sailors, which is why we didn’t hear from them until late in the evening. Your GBC (Ground-Based Crew) went to bed early and didn’t catch the emails in time. So first, and in chronological order, an email from Charlie talking about Saturday afternoon and the start of their Sunday:
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you please bow your heads, as we celebrate the passing of Patator, veteran of 2 Pacific Cup races, he was a small but mighty spinnaker used for night time sailing when the winds were capricious. Patator succumbed to his injuries from a 3:00am gust that inflicted many entry and exit wounds. Patator is now Resting In Pieces (see what I did there?), but thanks to his donor card, we hope he will live on and maybe be used to make handbags for classy ladies.
The evening started out fine: I steered 4 hours and Fred was sleeping… Quiet for the first time since we passed the starting line. Moonlight, peaceful ups and downs of the boat on the road to Hawaii with 16 to 20 knots of wind… Dire Straits, Coldplay, Moby …. Auditory BLISS! Then it was time for Fred to take over and an hour later, the winds started acting up, clouds… and all hell broke loose! Not much sleep for me: we had to clean-up the mess and throw up the S4.
Yesterday was nice. Good meal: filet mignon and potatoes for lunch, then fish and rice for dinner. No wine. Not exactly light, but… We will probably have wine today: it’s a tradition that Gilles started in 2011 for our Captain’s dinner during the TransPac. We will have duck confit, maybe some foie gras and possibly some Bordeaux like Lynch Bages. We still have 2 oranges for dessert (no longer worried about the scurvy).
Yesterday was problematic. We covered 208 NM but we could have gone 10 or 15 more. We kind of had to stop for another “sail repair clinic” on the main. I McGyvered some kind of aerial anemometer on the stern and fixed the rod at the helm, basically Mickey Mouse style for that one. At least we get real info as far as the wind direction and speed. Then it was time to put some order below after what had happened the previous night. At night, with the debris in the water and the fussy winds, it’s like Russian roulette as we speed at 14-15 knots and we don’t really know what we will encounter. Loud noises happen, they are quite frightening, and often remind us that we have a digestive tract.
That’s my news for now. Fred said he would share a few thoughts: I worry when he starts talking about his “dreams”. If you followed us during our TransPac in 2011, just know that he still hasn’t found the keys to the Renault Kangoo that he lost with Jacques and Thomas in Vatican City. Don’t even ask…
Shortly thereafter, resident poet and hula girl, Fred, sent us an email and some pictures (finally). We hope you enjoy his metaphors intertwined with technical jargon that even the most well-versed in French sailing jargon on the GBC can’t fully decipher…Fair warning: we did the best we could. It’s just that Fred is that… talented.
Ah the joys of ocean racing!
Half way through yesterday! Looking back:
For 2 days, we knew we should jibe on a direct route to Hawaii sometime today… but when exactly? As I was resting yesterday I heard Wolfpack talking to another competitor on the VHF. They are our main competitor. I could hear them very well. They had just jibed, which is extremely important info for us, and we decided to jibe too 5 hours later in order to get between them and the finish line. As a rule, everyone knows not to divulge their strategy on the VHF. We jibed around noon which was an excellent decision. Now, it’s very clear: just race on a direct route to Hawaii. It will be tough: we are racing against an all carbon prototype that weighs 1.5 tons less than Thirsty and the fight is not exactly fair in the sense that we must arrive less than 5 hours behind them as opposed to 12 hours 2 years ago over a period of roughly 10 days… it really feels like PRHF are rating their friends somehow differently than crews who are not from the San Francisco area (If any of you guys are Formula 1 fans, it’s kinda like when Ferrari breaks a rule and ends up being punished with the most minute penalty). Our only hope is that we might be able to get lower on the wind path thanks to our symmetric spinnaker and they will surf higher.
Yesterday, we got our share of crap. We had to lower our main for the 2nd time and patch a number of areas: our 1st attempt didn’t last. This time, It has to work: we just ran out of Kevlar, and my underwear isn’t strong enough to patch a mainsail…a spinnaker maybe…but not the main. Then we got a line in the rudders, lost the weathervane on top of the mast, the electronic weathervane stopped working as well… everything stopped working and we had to shut it all off. All we had left at that point was the GPS. But it’s simple right now: we go fast on a direct route and that’s it. Kinda like heading to Catalina from Marina Del Rey, except it takes another 5 days.
Right now, we are going with the main, a heavy spinnaker and a staysail: it’s overkill but we take turns at the helm. No more auto-pilot at this point and we lost our legendary small spinnaker (RIP Patator)… between all the repairs and cleaning-up, we lost about 1 hour. Otherwise, everything is working well. Charles’s cooking skills are flabbergasting… homemade patés, confit de canard, Lynch Bages 2005. This is our legendary Captain’s dinner as we celebrate being half-way there, a classic… and our way to honor and remember Gilles, our great friend who was also our cook on our 2011 TransPac.
We are 1.000 NM from the finishing buoy and despite all of our mechanical and electronic difficulties, we are going fast. The sun is starting to show up, the temperatures are starting to creep up, and the wind is strong. Night watches will be tough until we get there, but we plan on sleeping more during the day in order to stay sharp at night.
That’s it for now, folks.|
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