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Sin Duda Racing Blog

Sin Duda Update

July 13, 2017 17:30

Today we continue to jibe, jibe and Jibe again. The breeze has lightened and we are working hard to work the angles for the fastest route to Hawaii. As I type this we are 416 miles from the finish. So close… yet so far. Speeds are slower, but we continue to push hard.

Tonight is Lasagna with meat sauce night (freeze dried – mountain House). The excitement is building. The supply of tasty snack food is nearly exhausted so we must be close to Hawaii. In the words of Ty, “It is disturbing how many 'magic Beans' Jelly bellys” we have gone through. Editor’s note: as of 5:00pm yesterday there were no more Magic Beans. PB and J tortillas are now being consumed at an alarming rate.

We continue to be attacked by flying fish. Last night one shot across the cockpit missing 2 of us by inches. I think they want our “magic beans”.

Rick Graef – Bowman S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda - Distance to Finish 810.7

July 11, 2017, 1700

Hello family, friends and followers,

It is starting to feel a little like Ground Hog's Day aboard Sin Duda. I guess that is typical of long offshore passages. The watch schedule never varies, the routine of driving then trimming then grinding keeps rolling. Eat, sleep, sail, eat sleep, sail then repeat. Each day has gotten little warmer and the sunsets and sunrises are spectacular. The night watches are particularly beautiful; the first hours in a pre-moon blackness with stars blazing brighter than you can imagine, then the moon rises and is bright enough it illuminates the deck as if it were under a spotlight. All the while surfing down waves at 14 to 16 knots. Until you sail across it, it is hard to appreciate the immense size of the Pacific. Since separating from our fleet on last Wednesday we have seen only 2 other boats in 1,500 miles of sailing, one competitor from another division and a commercial fishing boat. We continue to encounter shipping debris (crates, buckets, floats, a toilet seat, and numerous fishing nets).

We have been sailing under our A2 Kite with a staysail for over 48 hours now. The A2 is the workhorse of downwind races like Transpac. Last night around sunset we noticed a very small tear near the leech of the sail. As it was not in a high load area we chose to keep an eye on it and not peel to different kite and repair it. After sailing along in wind speeds up to 21 knots last night we decided to do a quick drop repair and rehoist this afternoon. This maneuver went off smoothly and we spent less than a minute on the repair.

Chatter on deck is often centered on what food we are craving the most or what cocktail we will have first on arrival in Hawaii. Our Sriracha supply is dwindling, the gummy bears are gone, and we eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly tortillas. I hear dinner tonight is Pasta Primavera (freeze dried of course). Flying fish have begun to regularly try to avoid our keel by flying right onto our decks. While trimming the kite this morning I said “trim” and looked over to see Kyle jumping away from the pedestal and also the flying fish (that was not doing such a good job at grinding). Kyle managed to return him to his salty home.

Things heard on deck:
“Dang,  there are birds all over the place. We must be near land”
“Land, I love Land”
(we are still over 800 miles from land)

Rick Graef
Bowman – S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda Day 5

July 10, 2017, 1730

We are currently 1039 miles from finish. Just a little over half way. This morning we reached our halfway point and had an all hands on deck half-way party. We broke out colorful plastic leis (that had a very odd smell from their last week sealed in a ziplock bag) and a celebratory shot of Mt. Gay Rum which had been hidden aboard. Very quickly we were back to the task at hand of pushing Sin Duda as hard as we can on our way to Hawaii. Our division (the Fast 50 section) has lived up to its reputation of being very competitive and well sailed.

We also had a special treat when we sang happy birthday to Pat Considine at midnight. Happy Birthday Pat! What a great way to spend your birthday.

The last 24 hours have consisted of spinnaker peels, furling and unfurling the staysail over and over, and fighting chafe. Chafe in the halyards that is. We had to re-splice our starboard halyard last evening as it had chafed through the nomex cover and into the core. After another trip to the mast head by yours truly (Yes I did wear a go-pro, pics to come) to remedy the chafe point, all seems OK.

The crew is in good spirits and the conversation on deck can be very amusing. Things I heard from my bunk last night:

“That's got some funk to it”
“My shirt”
“Is to really only day 5?”

Anyway - all is good aboard Sin Duda and we are pushing hard towards Hawaii.

Rick Graef
Bowman - S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda Update

July 9, 2017, 1720

Hi Sin Duda Followers,

Our distance to finish is about 1289 nautical miles, not quite halfway. We have peeled from our A3 to our A2 Kite. Speed are still over 10 knots and we continue to jockey for position within our division. We are currently sitting in second in Division, but at this point positioning is more important and time will tell if we made the right call. The long-range weather forecasts are bringing some interesting questions for the naviguessers aboard all the boats. While the named storm Eugene won’t have a direct impact on us, it seems to be altering the normal weather patterns. Time will tell and we are watching things closely.

Due to our lower point of sail, the boat is sailing much flatter now and that makes life below much happier for the off-watch crew. I think we have been through “Captain Ron” twice already. The boat is performing fantastically. Kyle has done a great job prepping the boat for the race and we are seeing the results. As for wildlife, other than flying fish we haven’t seen much yet. Unfortunately, ocean debris seems to be common place, luckily all small stuff… Buckets, egg crates, nothing very exciting.

As I type, our on-watch crew is working the boat hard as we are battling within our division. Pat is driving, Tim is flying the Kite (from a super comfy UK spinnaker bag chair), Tyler is grinding, and Bobby is tending the Main. The rest of us are below decks resting and saving energy for the important night time watch.

Time for some much needed rest for me also.

Rick Graef
Bowman – S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda's Day 4

Saturday, July 8, 2017 17:18 PST

Sin Duda has sailed approximately 700 nautical miles so far. The conditions have been fantastic… just like the Transpac Brochure. We are currently seeing a wind direction about 020 and wind speeds in the 16 to 20 knot range. Boat speeds range from 11 to 14 knots with surf speeds near 18 knots. John Stanley currently holds the driving Sin Duda speed record with a 20 knot burst. We all expect that number to increase as the race continues.

With our watch schedule we generally sail the boat with 4 crew on deck and 4 off watch below. Stretch, our Naviguesser has no watch schedule and spends most of his time in “Stretch's Think Tank”. When we do sail changes or other maneuvers a call is made below and bleary eyed crew pile out from below deck. Last night in the wee hours in 20 knots of wind sailing a tight angle with the A5 kite, it exploded. We had put a small rip in it during an earlier take down and it finally blew out. Just as if we had planned it, several crew popped on deck and with 3 or 4 minutes the ripped kite (in almost 2 pieces) was below deck, the halyard was rescued (my biggest concern) and the A4 was up in its place. I am glad to be part of such a great crew (don't tell them I said this as it will just make their heads bigger).

We spent most of today under A4 and a few hours ago peeled to the A3. Tyler and Bobby hauled my butt up the rig to do a rig check (all is good) and to jump the green halyard over the kite. Despite being told they would drop me if I took a camera and took selfies, I did. Pics to follow upon my return to real wifi.

As for position in division, we have moved up in the standings and moved down in the standings. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But seriously, we are positioned where we feel we will have the best option over the long haul. Time will tell if the south leverage that we have worked hard to gain will pay off.

On a lighter note, we still have tortillas and Sriracha. During the last off watch I came below to see Tyler, Lindsey and Bobby enjoying the movie “Captain Ron”. I was glad to see Stretch not taking navigation notes from the film. The famous Pacific flying fish have begun to make their appearance. I drew the short straw and had to remove the first such visitor from the cockpit before he ended up in the wheel well. My hands still smell like fish. Yuck.

Rick Graef
Bowman, S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda's Day 3

Friday, July 7, 2017 1715 PST

Sin Duda has had a fantastic day of sailing. Yesterday around 5 P.M. we peeled to a 5A kite. This is the kite that we can sail the closest to the wind. It only stayed up briefly as it was driving us farther south than Stretch (our fearless navigator) was comfortable with. The call was made to peel back to the Jib Top. This took us through the night and this morning at first light we went back to the 5A and have been reaching consistent 11 to 13 knot speeds all day. The wave action has gotten better for surfing and all our drivers have had a blast hitting speeds into the 16s.

All though positioning does not mean much this early in the race, it did feel good to see that we have moved up within our section. We feel confident in our position relative to our fleet. We are also keeping a close eye on the positions of some of the Thursday starters and are glad to see them choosing tracks of a similar routes.

Life on board is good. The major topics of discussion are which mountain house freeze dried meal we should have for dinner, do we have enough tortillas, and who didn't clean the head after they used it. Life isn't all stinky sailors however, this morning Bobby surprised me with a spritz to the face of his organic rose water mist. His wife Erika packed it for him. Erika, next Transpac we need enough for the whole crew. Our only other concern is that in just 3 days we have almost gone through one whole bottle of Sriracha (we brought 3). We definitely need to ration the second bottle.

Rick Graef
Bowman - S/V Sin Duda

Sin Duda Day 2 Report

July 6, 2017, 17:20 PST

Aloha Sin Duda friends, family and followers,

We are are currently 28 hours, 21 minutes 21 seconds into the race. Stan Honey refers to this section of the race course as “the windy reach” and this year's Transpac has lived up to this moniker. A couple of hours ago we peeled from the Heavy #1 headsail to the Jib top and are currently ripping along at 10 to 13 knots of boat speed.

Life below decks has smoothed out as we aren't nearly as far heeled over with this sail configuration and we have stacked our sail inventory on deck. This leaves the cabin in a much more livable condition.

The boat is in great condition except for minor damage to the computer…. well minor damage until you try and type a race update. At some point while the boat was on its ear last night something hit the computer and removed three letters. R,F and V are now missing. Somehow through process of elimination I have been able to figure it out.

The crew is falling into our 4 hour on, 4 hour off schedule and the boat is in great condition. We are anticipating getting our first kite out of the bag later today or tonight. Then let the surfing begin.

Every 8 A.M. PST all the boats email a position report (sched) to race headquarters. A few hours later we all get an email back (reports can be found here). This information is eagerly anticipated as it tells us where our competition is. After this mornings sched we learned that we are the southernmost boat in our section.  While this didn't help our position at the moment, we are hoping it will set us up for slightly better positioning in the days to come. Time will tell.

Well , I am being called on deck to Peel to the A5 Kite.

More later,

Rick Graef
Bowman S/V Sin Duda

Day 1 Racing Blog

Thursday, July 6

The time is 1:10 A.M Thursday July 6th, or in race time, 12 hours and 10 minutes into our race to Hawaii.  We have chosen to use a four hour rotating watch schedule. I just began my four hours off and have a chance to send a brief update.

After a fairly long motor delivery from Newport Beach to L.A., we arrived with about 30 minutes to our start. The call was made for our light-medium #1 headsail and up it went. Lindsey nailed a fantastic clear air start near the pin, and Sin Duda was off to Hawaii. The first three hours held several sail changes for us as the wind quickly built. After my last Transpac, I know how important a quick exit from the coast can be, and we al feel lucky to have Catalina behind very early in the race.

As we are a boat full of sailors that call the Midwest home, we are not used to having to dodge the kelp fields.  So far we have won the kelp-war and avoided needing to either floss the keel, use the kelp stick, or worse yet..back down under sail. Hopefully this continues.

We are currently Jib reaching along in 15 knots of breeze doing about 10 knots of boat speed.  With this breeze, life on board happens with a 10-20  degree heel.  I blame all of my typos on this heel.  The crew is in great spirits, albeit a little tired as we haven't fully adjusted to the 4 hours on-4 hours off watch schedule.

While we aren't going to give up any of our tactical plans, Stretch has been diligently staring into his computer screen doing navigator things and keeping us all on the same page. The rest of the crew has been trading off Trimming and driving and Tyler and I have moved sails and completely soaked ourselves numerous times during trips to the bow.  Speaking of Tyler,  we feel much safer because on the day before our departure Tyler made the major step to become an ordained Minister of the Church of the interweb. It's good to have a man of the cloth on the bow.

Time for a little shut eye.