July 13, 2017, 1300
Well, we don't need to tell you again how hot and humid things are. So… on to other topics.
The adjusted watch system seems to be helping with sleep, or at least rest.
We passed a slower sailboat last night at a lateral distance of about three to four miles, fairly quickly, but don't know with certainty which boat it was.
The sun rose this morning almost directly behind the boat, projecting a motion picture silhouette image of the boat, including steering wheels, crew, lifelines, pulpit, and other features onto the white spinnaker which was flying near the front of the boat. Very cool phenomena. Easier observed than described.
Maneuvers include peeling between spinnakers that are best suited for various wind conditions and gybing to keep the boat going where we want to go. Sailing rarely involves going in a straight line directly to where one wants to go.
Speaking about wind, we do have some, although we'd enjoy a reasonable measure more. The wind is forecast to soften behind the lead boats, which may make it a challenge to keep our full speed on all the way to the finish. That said, we have been able to find some better wind lanes than forecast and are working at keeping this going.
A nod from the team to our good friends Rob Mulder, Andrew McCorquodale, Gina Borza, and Brad Marchant, Adam Thomson and the rest of the team at First Yacht Services. Their assistance with boat preparation is much appreciated.
Kinetic V out.
July, 12, 2017, 1700
We had the rest of our already belated halfway celebration today; the first course was re-hydrated pasta primavera, followed by sesame crackers with un-refrigerated, long shelf life Brie and Camembert cheeses, and finished with a sailor-suitable libation and a round of toasts among our scurvy crew. A portion of each was given to Neptune, to ease the rest of our voyage. Much silliness ensued.
We have adjusted our watch system so that we now have three four hour watches during the day, followed by four three hour watches at night.
Recent nature observations include pods of dolphins feeding voraciously, a shark finning along on a pelagic patrol, shearwaters, impossibly long-white-tailed tropic birds, prehistoric looking frigate birds, and near-naked, sweltering bodies, one per bunk, attempting to sleep in the heat. Last night, smeared with the Milky Way, a skyfull starscape of an intensity that can only be experienced in the remaining wild, open spaces of the world, followed by the fully-featured moon rising through and above bands of clouds.
Crew nicknames summarized: LeBro', Chewy, Ray-Ray, Bin, Wordy, The Dulcet One, (I'm Too) Hot/Cold, Grumposaurus, Splice, and Rhianna. You can do your own speculative mixing and matching with the actual crew names: Andrew, Ben, David, Dominique, Drew, Eric, M-P, Reigh, Ryan, and Zach. No, we are not going to officially authenticate any proposed matches.
A nod from the whole race crew to the singularly best shore crew ever, and a darn salty sailor in her own right, Gaylean. Thank you.
July, 11, 2017
NE tradewinds, 12-18 knots, low swell and waves. Sunny, some clouds, very warm and no shade on deck. It may actually be hotter and humider than Hades inside the 'house'. Dripping sweat on keyboard to type this report.
Crew and boat are doing well. No significant breakage or injuries, except possible long term impairment to our olfactory senses due to toxic sock syndrome. Sailing fast and safe with spinnaker, staysail and mainsail. Did our first gybe in over 1,000nm today. Keenly aware of our competitive situation. Saw and quickly passed one of the slower, first start boats, earlier today.
Many more flying fish now, and various types of seabirds trying to feed on them.
Crew nicknames expanded to include Bin, The Dulcet One, (I'm Too) Hot/Cold, and Splice.
This is our sixth day sailing Transpac, making our elapsed time five days so far. We are well past our halfway point, measured by distance, and today we celebrated with a 'special' rehydrated cold pasta salad. First instruction on the package for cold pasta salad: boil water. Who knew? Very tasty. A more libatious form of celebration is contemplated for tomorrow. Or possibly Honolulu.
The choice of topics for trivial pursuit seems to correlate closely with generation; the young and ambitious suggest Harry Potter while the old and treacherous propose Lord of the Rings. Stalemate. Fortunately the younger generation seems to have a reasonable ear for good music, so the beat goes on.
A nod to skippers I've sailed with, including Rae and Mike Sutcliffe, Ron Mackenzie, Andy Lygo, and the late Al Ludbrook - thank you for your patience and trust, and please be assured that you are off the hook for my shortcomings.
Kinetic V out.
July 10, 2017, 1530
Today, we are “hauling the mail”. Some of those really fast boats are impressively far ahead of us. Wind speeds here are ranging from XX to YY knots (actual figures are a state secret, of course). Our boat speed is usually quite close to the true wind speed, and in this type of boat, we are often sailing faster than the wind. For a technical explanation of why this is not unadulterated BS, please consult some weighty authoritative tome onshore, or some know-it-all anonymous teenager on an Internet sailing web forum.
Yesterday, we saw our first flying fish of the trip. It narrowly escaped our relentlessly barging bowsprit.
Crew nicknames include LeBro', Chewy, the Dominator, Ray-Ray, and perhaps more to follow.
Someone smuggled a waterproof, solar chargeable, bluetooth speaker past the boat weight police. So we are enjoying tunes while on deck.
We are about 1,000 miles from the nearest land. Alternately, you can count the sea floor, in which case we are about 3 miles above it. We are about 1,200nm to the finish line, if we could sail there in a straight line, which we cannot as we are not crows flying. And, dare we ask, who ever proved that crows fly in a straight line?
Passing time pursuits include trivia which is usually provided by onboard sources whose authority and objectivity is not entirely beyond dispute. There are jokes, bad jokes, really bad jokes, and in some cases trivia disguised as some form of joke. Or, is it the other way around?
Trivia answer to a shore based question: “Between the devil and the deep blue sea” is a reference to a critically important caulked seam in the vessel hull that keeps the deep blue water beneath from entering and sinking the vessel.
More popular food choices include Chili con Carne and macaroni, tuna wraps, chicken wraps, and oatmeal. Technically, the latter may not be considered a true choice, as there are no alternative breakfasts available.
It is now officially “smoking hot” here. While there is wind and spray on deck, there is virtually no ventilation below decks where we pretend to rest or sleep between our duty watches.
A nod to our supporters onshore - thank you for getting us to the start line, and thank you for sending us all off on this grand adventure.
Kinetic V out.
July 9, 2017, 1830
Different day, same weather. Moon, sun, wind, clouds. Sailing within visual sight of Mr. Bill, a seventy footer. A7 max speed now over 22 knots. Changed from A7 to A2 spinnaker. Sailed deeper with the A2 for many hours. Then changed back to the A7 and a hotter angle. Wind angles continue to be reachier than would be ideal for us. At these angles, we are probably getting waterlined by the longer boats.
Everyone is over their seasickness. It is speculated that a suppository medication suggestion was sufficient to sally forth the last sicky.
It's wet and warm on deck, while below deck it is humid and warm with a hint of sub-tropical pungency. Smells of stewed socks, shorts, shirts and rehydrating dinner are all mixed into a unique atmosphere.
We are sailing fast, with the hammer down!
Kinetic V out.
July 8, 2017, 2200
Another brilliantly moonlit night. Mostly clear. Some stars and planets visible, but most obscured by the moon. Bashing and crashing continued. The wind has started to veer, but not enough to switch from the blast reacher to a spinnaker.
Morning light brings fresh energy and an anticipated wind shift. Our navigator Eric calls for sail and course changes. Just after eight am, we shake a reef out of the mainsail. Just after nine am, we douse the blast reacher (max boat speed so far 21 knots) and hoist the A7 spinnaker (max boat speed so far 19.7 knots). The A7 is a brand new fractional hoist spinnaker designed for reaching angles. Ben and Zach breakdown the sail stack and rebuild it further aft. The sea state is moderating and our wind angle is wider, easing the motion on the boat and causing broad grins to break out on the Port watch - M-P, Zach, Dom, Ben, and David.
It's still a bouncy ride, but much much improved as we are now steering on a broader reach. The Starboard watch, Ryan, Drew, Andrew and Reigh, emerges from their bunks with anticipation, ready to sail the boat hard. The water spraying over the deck is already surprisingly warm, as long as you see it coming.
Seasickness is subsiding. Food is quite good, albeit freeze-dried; so far we've had lasagna, chicken teriyaki, and mac & cheese. Spirits are high. Energy is high too, evidenced by the pedestal and primary winch screaming and groaning under the loads of constant grinding and trimming by the on-watch crew; by some odd turn of fate, this high decibel machinery is right above the skipper's bunk. Further aft, the watermaker pumps bang and clang away rhythmically as potable fresh water is squeezed under high pressure from high salinity ocean water.
Kinetic V out.
July 7, 2017
A big moon brightens the night sky, broken cloud scuds. Navigation lights from some of the other race boats are still visible. Boisterous conditions continue. This is definitely a challenging start to the adventure. No easing in gently ...
Waves pummel the boat, creating a violent motion onboard. Wind and boat speeds continue to produce a wild ride with waves sending sheets of salt spray over the deck and on-watch crew. Three crew seasick.
A blood-red sun rises through horizon haze to announce the official arrival of day. A few plump seabirds flap comically along the rough sea surface and scatter as our bow cuts a swath. The slowest-rated boat in the fastest-rated monohull division, we are at the back of our division, chasing the faster boats, now unseen in the distance, somewhere ahead of us.
We have stacked our not-in-use sails, as allowed by the rules of this race, along our weather deck, improving stability and creating a partial shelter for the crew from the waves and spray. Onward we press.
You can follow us, from the comfort of a dry and unmoving home, on the Transpac race tracker.
Kinetic V out.
July 6, 2017
Great start. Dolphins in the bow wave shortly after. Cleared Catalina Island. Beautiful sunset. Now blast reaching in 18-22 knots. Waves building and already very lumpy. Boat banging through the unseen waves in the dark like a dump truck speeding over speed bumps and through jumbo pot holes. Wild ride, 11-12 knots boat speed. Two crew seasick.
Leslie is with us on this latest ocean adventure.
July 6, 2017
Kinetic V will start the Transpac Race today at 1 pm, just outside Los Angeles harbor.
We are the slowest rated boat in the fastest rated monohull division, and will be starting with the 100 footers Comanche and Rio, and the sparkling new Pac52s Invisible Hand and Bad Pak, among others.
You can follow the race with the YB tracker at: https://yb.tl/transpac2017.
Kinetic V is sailing in Division 1, representing the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the West Vancouver Yacht Club.