“We protect the NORTH! Dare to come past the 33 latitude, we will find you and lee bow you!” - Groggy pit man
Glorious wind! We savored the feeling of it whipping around our ears and pushing us across the Pacific. Our northern route around Hurricane Dolores' dead zone was longer and colder, but after two days without breeze we felt like 11-yr-olds earning back Xbox privileges after a long period of confiscation. Hokahey was back.
The crew took turns at the helm, competing with each other for fastest driving time. We maneuvered the boat to surf northern swells. Spray flew across deck. Elizabeth and G4 were tied in first place for most of today, with a high speed of 13.2 knots. At dusk, JT pushed Hokahey to 13.3 knots. Just when we were about to award him Top Gun title, 19-year-old Connor surprised everyone with a speed of 14.3 knots. Not too shabby for a young scallywag, eh?
At 1900 hours, all nine of us settled into the cockpit for a dinner that revealed one of the things that makes Hokahey different: Hokahey has Jeff. A former cheff at Jackson Hole's Amangani, Jeff puts the master in quartermaster. Weeks ago, he cooked up, bagged, and feeze dried dozens of gourmet meals. Come time for grub, we boil a bag in a pot of seawater and then distrubute its impeccably seasoned contents into our plastic white “dog bowls.” We're talking fare like garlic chive mashed potatoes and pasta salad with capers—superior to anything most of us eat on shore. You can imagine just how singular this luxury makes our time at sea, where, as any sailor will tell you, the customary food highpoint is Costco frozen lasagna.
So, foul weather gear soaking, but spirits flying fast as our boat, we tucked into spicy salmon stir fry and discussed our strategy. Offshore racing is a funny little game. Our competitors are spread out across hundreds of miles. We can't see any of them. Yet, we know they're out there, and we're locked in a vicious battle with them. Each crew is working to find the optimal course to Hawaii based on wind speed, wind direction, the boat's unique characteristics, and sea state. Every day at 8 am, we find out where they are (daily email we pick up via satellite phone). Last we heard, two more boats dropped out due to steering problems and taking on too much water.
We've already made our next move, but we can't tell you what it is. In the meantime, learn more about our cause at jhsailing.org. The problem solving we worked through to make the boat fast as possible is one life skill our program develops in young sailors!