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Mighty Merloe Racing Blog

Mighty Merloe Approaching the Finish

July 10, 2017, 1245

I can't stop thinking about how lucky we are to be out here doing what we're doing. The ocean and sky are beautiful. Last night the sun set on our bow and the moon rose on our stern. The colors at dusk out here are unlike any other place I've been. We're still dealing with marine debris. Today I had to crawl out onto the sterns of both the starboard and port amas and dangle off the very back to clear chunks of polypropylene fishing net from in between the top of the rudders and the hull. We had to keep going at full speed to keep the hull out of the water. If we had touched down the force of the water would have dragged me off. I was tied to the boat three different ways, but it was still a nice moment of clarity. Another highlight of the day was being able to strip out of my drysuit for a brief period. All onboard are doing well. It is a truly fine crew that Enloe has assembled this time. Fast, calm, and all with the good humor requisite to live stacked like sardines inside a carbon fiber tube. On that note, it is a good thing this boat is so fast, because the interior is getting a bit fetid. The racing out here is fierce. Keep an eye on the Yellowbrick tracker. The finish will be a nail biter.

Will Suto, Mighty Merloe

Mighty Merloe's Day 2

July 8, 2017, 2030

It’s a magical feeling to be out here in the middle of the Pacific ripping along on this mighty machine. The water has changed to a beautiful blue grey color. The puffy white clouds and rain squalls moving in the distance give a sense of perspective, making the ocean around us seem more expansive, like the big skies of the great plains. We are shedding layers out from underneath our survival suits and foul weather gear, still wet, but less cold.

Sadly, there is quite a bit of plastic trash and fishing debris out here. We can look down through the nets and watch it passing under the boat. An unwanted facet of modern offshore sailing is that we have to dodge and deal with this type of debris. We had a bit of a scare this morning. I was off watch sleeping, when suddenly I awoke from the feeling of the boat rounding down. We have all been sleeping fully clothed so that we can get on deck quickly in case of a problem. I scrambled out of the beanbag and looked out the escape hatch. On deck I heard the words, “foil,” “rope,” and “broken.” My heart and stomach switched places as I climbed on deck. Luckily I found the guys already winding the sheets back on. We had run into a long piece of polypropylene fishing line, which had wrapped around the foil but broken off pretty quickly.

Life onboard has settled into a nice rhythm. Each crew member has their own individual food bag to accommodate different preferences. As the favored freeze dried meals are becoming apparent, prison-style bartering has begun. Thai curry and Patagonia salmon are valuable commodities onboard.

We are pretty happy with our position on the course, but we can feel the fiery breath of Phaedo on the back of our necks and hear Maserati snarling to the south. Looking forward to seeing what the coming days bring.

Will Suto, Mighty Merloe

The Sounds of Sailing

July 7, 2017 0800

The sounds of sailing are sounds of flows of wind and water, not like winds of treetop forests or mountain streams, but big sounds of energy and power as volumes of water are displaced with the hulls having their way with all in their way. When the wind is less, the boat likewise is less atop the water so she pushes and furrows her way, making a rolling sound with some bubbling like a little boy blowing bubbles through a soda straw. The wind, she cannot escape the path of the sails without telling of the speed used to drive this beast. A whistle and hum, higher but not louder, faster she says. Suddenly, all his quiet, no water rushing past our sides, no sound of the center board humming its tune, the sound of sailing is silence, we are once again airborne. Will the landing be a mighty slap as we crash into the back of the wave to our front or gently shall she settle back on her bottom to assume her role of making the sounds of sailing?

HL Enloe

Mighty Merloe Day 1

July 7, 2017, 1900

Hello world. We are enjoying the first full day of Transpac at sea aboard Mighty Merloe. Great start, beating Phaedo and Maserati off the line and passing the maxi monohulls Rioo 100 and Comanche before Catalina. A bit of light air past the island and then we were off. Last night was wet and wild, as expected. We were beam reaching for much of the night in around twenty knots of breeze with seas on the beam, which means full waterboarding on deck. We were all the way down to second reef and staysail and still hitting 35 knots at time. The boat is handling beautifully and morale is high. Everyone got a bit of sleep during the night, or at least was able to lay down below and think about sleeping while getting shaken about. Steve “Too Tall” Calder is a good sport about having to fold himself in half to fit in a bunk, being a 7 foot tall American in a boat designed for a 5 foot tall Frenchman. Jacques, Franck, and Loick are driving hard. I was surprised to learn that this is Loick Peyron’s first Transpac. “I guess I’m the rookie on board,” he said. Owner HL Enloe is happy with the performance so far, but was angered when a box of baby back ribs went missing. Not to point fingers, but boat captain Jay Davis has been maniacally trying to lighten the boat and some suspect foul play. Navigator Artie Means reports that we did 613 miles in the first twenty four hours. Not a bad start considering a few hours of that were light air and tacking. Now that we’ve punched into the trade winds we’re looking forward to several days of downwind sailing into the tropics.

Will Suto from Mighty Merloe