July 14, 2017, 0400
Well it's almost over! What a great experience! Second time across. We beat our last run by almost 2 full days. We also have earned the Gunboat Transpac record (made up by us of course), which was previously held by Extreme H2O.
Bittersweet for sure. Can't wait to be on land, can't wait to talk to my kids, can't wait to see my wife (I beat her here, so I'll have to wait a couple of days to meet her). But I can tell you that I will truly miss the watches, the day and nights on the ocean, and the camaraderie shared with a great group of people! We proved that pre Cheers and post Cheers can live peacefully in the world together!
Final MVM/MVP: John Gallagher! Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us all. I know how much this crew appreciates you and all that you have done to make this possible for all of us. For me, it's definitely a dream come true, and I think that I'm not the only one on the boat that feels that way. Sincere gratitude! Special shout out to Carol!
Out for now!
July 13, 2017, 2300
Incredible day of sailing as we approach the islands! Last night was the clearest so far. Beautiful dark starry night, followed by the moon rising and lighting up our night! We've slowed down a bit from the first half of the race, as the wind speed has slowly dropped. We were also hoping for a predicted shift today, that did not come to fruition, so we have had to put in a couple of extra gybes to work our way down to Molokai.
First Land Ho was about 2 hours ago. We spotted Haleakela on Maui. Now, as the sun sets through the clouds to the west, and Molokai peeking through the low clouds covering the islands, we are about to plan our gybes to enter Kaiwi Channel and head to Kokohead on Oahu, then our gybes to Diamondhead! We hope to finish by last call. So wherever you are order a MaiTai, lift a glass and toast Chim Chim, the great Canoe that has delivered us safely to the island.
Now for some of the antics. Nils and Sumner went one for one on the cheese bunnies (off brand goldfish). Nils of course prevailed, he's a professional. Quote of the trip was last night when AJ asked Nils, “Should I turn off the AC in our cabin?” To which Nils responded, “Is that a rhetorical question? Why don't you pour out all the beers while you're at it?”
MVM/MVP… Our watch captains, Owen, Nils and Sumner have been fantastic to sail with. The boat has preformed well, much due to their efforts and leadership. They are great sailors, but more importantly wonderful people. Owen has done a great job the whole way! Highlight was when he fixed the Port Diesel. It had filled with water completely and would not even turn over. He pretty much disassembled the entire motor in the companionway, reassembled and it fired right up! Nils as always is the Gunboat Master! Sumner, what a great person. He's always on his game! Thank you to all of our watch captains for all of their efforts and hard work!
Mixed feelings now for sure. Had to take a quick break from this message to do a sail change from our A2 (that has lasted longed under Scott's repair), that what the sail loft provided.
I can almost taste the Mai Tais!
July 12, 2017, 1245
It's an absolutely picture perfect tropical morning and we are headed directly for our final destination. It's the first day that the sun is out and shining over us 80 degree water temperature and air temp to match! We are focused on getting to the finish in time to stay in front [corrected time] of Maserati. We're also anticipating to be one of the first 10 boats to cross the finish line. It's been a wonderful race so far! Another goal before we left was to beat our last attempt in 2015 (9 days 12 hours) and we are in a good position to take significant time off that number.
We're all working hard to keep the boat in tip top performance shape. We are treating our A2 with utmost respect love and care, we put it back up at first light this morning, and Scott's repair is holding solid. We switched to the A3 last night, winds remained steady through most the night, we put in a couple of gybes to negotiate some squalls. The moon still lights the night although the cloud cover remained at over 100%. It's really nice to see some blue skies and sunshine today.
Today's MVP/MVM (Most Valuable Monkeys) are our sail trimmers Andrew, AJ and Scott! They've been killing it! Keeping the boat fast (and keeping us up at night)! The speeds that these guys have allowed us to maintain have been very respectible. They've allowed us to really stay in front of our Polar boat speed targets! Well done guys!
The trimming sounds are violent in the bunks, sometimes sounding like gunshots! Releasing the loads of the sail to keep us moving makes for endless groans, creeks, grumbles, snaps, cracks and BANGs! While it is heard throughout the boat the worse is on the side where the sail flies. Since we made our big gybe to Hawaii, John has been trying to convince us that it's customary to switch bunks to opposite hulls at that point. He's all but packed his bags preparing for his move.
Looking forward to see family and friends in just a couple of more days as we make what could be our final run for Hawaii!
July 11, 1400
Another exciting night! We started the night on the secondary A2, on the second watch, the decision was made to bring it down and switch to the A3. nfortunately, it did not go exactly as planned, and we lost that sail when the luff blew out just prior to the take down. It was just shortly after I had come off watch, and I uselessly slept through the entire process. I woke up to a different sail and it was on the other side of the boat. I can only imagine the brilliance of the team work in getting everything back in order. Great work by a great team! Sumner, Nils and Owen work fantastic together and are such strong sailors.
So with that said we spent the night on our A3. We gybed back onto Starboard, and run as we have. This morning we sighted Aszhou 6 miles off our stern. They are able to sail deeper and faster than us in the current conditions, but have remained in sight all day. They currently sit directly abeam of us at about 5 miles away. Andrew made us some fantastic breakfast tacos and I just finished Bri's pork enciladas for lunch! It's Mexican day on Chim Chim! How about a Margarita! Through the morning we tried some different configurations to gather data with and without the staysail.
MVP of the day! Absolutely, awesome job, yesterday by Scott. He spent hours (probably 5-7 off watch hours) practicing the skills that he says he learned from his mother as a seamstress, I think it was probably the high school home economics classes he took. Bottom line, he's a sewing mad man! With a couple of straps that we “borrowed” from a friends boat before we left the dock in Long Beach, Scott was able the sew the tack of our Primary A2! We have deployed “The Monkey” and she's looking great! The repair is holding up brilliantly! Great job and thank you Scott!
July 10, 2017, 1140
It's our fourth day out and we are running the course ahead of schedule. It's been such a great ride so far. Conditions have been better than predicted as we are almost always seeing 18-20 knots of breeze. The direction of the wind has also been helpful in a delay in the right shift.
Last night was the most exciting yet. We lost our primary A2 as is broke at the tack. We had a 3am all hands and worked busily to get the sail down safely and with minimal damage (it will need some repairs that we can't do out here, but it's still in good shape overall). After getting that sail down, we were able to deploy our A3 successfully, and continue down the track with minimal disruptions. The crew work was fantastic! We got everything sorted out in less than 40 minutes, and in that time we were able to continue down the course in the perfect direction for about 9 miles. There was almost no loss of time or distance in getting everything back together. We sailed on the A3 until about 10am PST and have now got back onto our secondary A2 and getting some more great sailing in.
The temperature is really nice, although we have not seen the sun, moon, nor stars for the past 3 days as we remain in 100% overcast conditions.
Getting the position report this morning was really a highlight of our trip so far. We were excited on the first report being in front of LoeReal, and then to be in 3rd yesterday, passing Maserati on corrected time, and then this morning we were shown in 2nd place, only behind Mighty Merloe! Not sure that will stick, so take your screen shots now to share with us when we arrive! We will work hard to protect that position, and once the Mods finish (later today), we'll have a better understanding of when we need to finish to hold onto that position.
We're continually reminded of the lap of luxury that we are sailing in in comparison to many others. Smelling the bacon and eggs cooking this morning was one of those moments. Food has been fantastic! And we are all in good spirits and having a great time!
July 9, 2017, 1500
We've had a great day sailing in the conditions that we all do the Transpac for! Deep long down wind runs picking up waves as we go and outrunning the wind! Very awesome times! There is nothing like surfing a 62' Gunboat down the face of a wave, looking at the back of the wave in front as you accelerate downhill towards it! The boat speed winds up and you're driving purely by feel because things are happening so fast that the instruments can't keep up. Truly exhilarating! We're rockin' for sure! We hit a high speed for the race of 24.8 knots today.
It's been 100% cloud cover for most the whole trip, but it's definitely warming up. Water temp is 75 and rising, and the air temp is about the same. Very comfortable for sure (plus we're on a Gunboat, making it even more comfortable).
We've see 2 boats today (the first two that we have seen since Catalina). Resolute (we passed them within 1/2 mile) and Triumph. It's always good when you see a boat that's leading their class, as it tells us we are in the right place on the course! It definitely brought some excitement to the day, just to see others embarked on similar journeys.
That's all for now.
July 9, 2017, 0500
Finishing up our 3-6am watch. Saling for the past 24 hours has been very consistent. It has been relatively calm and smooth racing. We've had a good downwind run pointing directly to the islands clicking the miles off as we go. 1374 miles to the finish. We should make the half way point by the end of today (1112 miles to finish), however from here on out, we will find it tough to head in the right direction, making for a lot of ground covered for less results on distance to finish.
Chim Chim has been taking great care of us all in providing our safe passage to the islands! Can't wait to feel the aloha of arrival, but we're still a number of days away.
Our watch captains our on it! Owen, Nils and Sumner are rock stars and are great people to sail with. MVP goes to Bri who carries on a full watch schedule, AND makes us incredible meals, double duty. Carrol is right in saying that she's been carrying us! At the very least, she's been feeding us well! The Beef stew last night was awesome!
See you in Waikiki.
July 8, 2017, 1015
Day Two has continued to provide a lot of exciting sailing. We have gone into downwind mode, set our A2 and staysail. Winds have lighted and the seas have also dropped and are more to our stern. Should be a good day to dry things out and make our way to Diamond Head. The wind will continue to clock to the right, causing a significant lift to the North over the next few days. Hoping for some building winds, but looks to remain in the mid teens.
I've been living on a diet of saltines and water for the last 2 days, finally able to hold down a cup of noodles last night. Fortunately I was not the first one to get sick, as the bet was not bound to be a pretty one. I don't think I'd look good in Bri's TransPac dress. You'll have to be in Hawaii to see who has to wear it! Looking forward to a good meal today, as I'm feeling good.
Spirits on the boat are solid and it's a fantastic group of people to sail with. Looking forward to this mornings position reports, to see how we're doing!
July 7, 2017, 1350
Greetings from N 30°13 W 122°30. We just completed our first 24 hour run and by our calculations we are about 1943nm from the finish and had a 326nm day. The latter number is suspect because we have some calibration issues with our speedometer. We are South of the rhumb line and expecting the wind to continue to clock and bring us back North.
Since leaving the tip of Catalina to port we have been power reaching under solent and main in breeze from the high teens to the low twenties. We took in a reef just before dark last night when we were a little over powered at 22kts and above. Everytime we thought about shaking it during the night the breeze piped up again. We shook it during the second morning watch and are continuing to blast reach. The wind has clocked to TWD 326. We anticipate changing over to the fraction reacher before dark.
Last night saw scattered clouds and a good moon which helped with steering. In unusual fashion for a Gunboat we sailed with the forward cockpit door open to facilitate communication between the helmsman and trimmers. Morning came with bright sunshine, blue water and a salty salon floor. We created an anonymous complaint cup for the crew. First day winner: “Shut the damn door!”
Chim Chim is treating us well. More soon.