Monday, 30 July 2012

Dockside in Paradise

As you will know by now Warrior finished the 2012 version of the Pacific Cup Race just before 1400 HST marking the end of another successful adventure.

I received a telephone call to announce that everything was great there and could tell that the arrival party - by then hours old - was still a force to be reckoned with!

I am expecting a follow up report after they have recovered (from the party not the race) and maybe had some sleep.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Another Sunny Daytime Finish?

Coming up!

A couple of hours ago according to the tracker Warrior was 40 miles away from the finish line.  They continue to click off about ten of those miles every hour and so the shoreside Warrior girls greeting party review are probably running at high dander by now.

(nb) Your Blogmeister is a shoe in for winner of the arrival time pool!

You will note that the Tracker is running in real HST time now and so what you see is what you get except that we are two hours ahead in the Pacific Daylight time zone.  Hawaii doesn't have Daylight Savings time.

The Website also list boats arrival reports almost as they happen so there is usually a good place to check.  Boats are requested to report when they estimate they are 100 miles from the finish, 25 miles from the finish and 5 miles out.  I notice that Warrior is not listed on these reports and I would expect they would be since they are inside 100 miles and probably now inside 25 miles now too.  They have experienced an unusual number of breakdowns this trip and I speculate that their Iridium and maybe even their iPhone may have given in to the fire hose conditions on board!  I'll keep checking back.

After all the planning and work to get the new boat to the starting line it must feel a little unreal to our crew onboard as they wind down another race across the Pacific to paradise.  For a little while after you get back you don't feel like a land animal.  It is good planning on the part of the Pacific Cup organisers to have back to back arrival parties and the Awards banquet to help them work through their PRS.

And then the stories will start and I can hardly wait to hear them.  When I do I will report them here for you too!

Cap't Billy


Friday, 27 July 2012

One More Sleep

All going well!

I spoke with Chuggy today by Iridium phone and all systems are go - well except for the GPS or instruments and the previously mentioned Sat Phone - but they are pressing on regardless navigating via Google Earth on an iPhone!

They have been a little hard on sails this last half too but they think, at their current bleed rate that they should have just enough spinnakers left to get them home.

Chuggy reports beautiful sailing conditions out on the peaceful Pacific this afternoon.  The sun is out - and it hasn't been that sunny, they have about 15 knots of wind and are on a track directly to the finish line.

Chuggy reports making one more short foray north (doesn't appear on the tracker) that it turns out was not the best idea and cost them some distance over the last 24 hours.

With the pressure off they are enjoying the sail but still plan to keep there foot down for their last night at sea.

So it is fitting that we feature Warrior Crewman and Owner Chuggy as we come down to the wire:

Here is a picture of the man who makes it all happen (maybe I should have a picture of Helen up here too!).  You go like Hell Chuggy!

Not quite in line with the estimate on the Pacific Cup Website I have our team arriving in Kaneohe a couple of hours earlier, just after lunch tomorrow - around 1330 HST.

I spoke with Liisa (Mrs. Fox) and if hers is any indication I would say there will be a happy arrival party shared by all.  And speaking of that Hammer reminds the crew to wash the Raccoon!  

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Narrowing in on the finish

Doug called on the Iridium Phone to let me know that Chuggy and Helen burned out the Sat Phone during their last "conversation" (refer to previous Blog post).  The Iridium Phone makes the user sound blurred, like he is about 4 Mai Tais into a 2 Mai Tai Happy Hour - but I am assured that was not the case.

The conversation was comical and went something like this:

DCB:  "I'm standing in the companionway hatch facing aft and it is just a firehose going on behind my back all the time."

Chuggy (overheard):  "Come on out into the cockpit  you get better reception"

The Dessert Fox (overheard):  Get back down below we are down to our last phone!"

While the crew onboard will be able to call in their daily positions uunfortunately the loss of the sat Phone means that we will not have anymore e-mail messages from the boat.  So now, with whatever I can glean from the web, I will just make stuff up!

Doug reports that they have learned a ton about sailing the new boat since they departed San Francisco a short week ago.  We should be reminded that all going according to predictions this crossing will be three days faster than any others we have made by our team.

Our people do have to acknowledge the crew of the other J125 Double Trouble.  Nevermind the schooling they have handed us they are out there making things darn uncomfortable for Icon - who is rated to finish 43 hours, or something like 500 miles ahead!  The last few days Double Trouble has actually taken distance back from Icon and narrowed the lead down to only 40 miles at one point.  Were it not for, what appears on the tracker, as an ill advised jibe into a lift and then back they looked to have had a real shot at line honours!

Today's featured Crew is Roscoe:

"That Rascal" is the Elder Statesman on board.  He has the most sea miles and a lot of enthusiasm for sailing on the ocean.  Roscoe is also the driving force for getting projects completed on the boat.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Is there a Righty in the Nighty?

To your correspondent the conditions look great out there!

While they are preparing for night 5 at sea we are featuring crewmember Evil:

There is a great long story about just the naming but you will have to buy my coffee table book to learn it.  What I can say is that when it comes to sailing Evil is a great waterskiier!  This is Evil's second Hawaii race.

Not to mention its usefulness in familial relations (nothing new to report on that front) the Sat Phone also sends us pictures from the edge and here is a fresh one:

It sounds like they are getting dialed in now and "having a great time".  The crew report that the new boat likes a lot of attention to keep it pointing down the track but it is within the scope of their ability.

To your correspondent current weather information seems to suggest a rightening (that is my own word) of the wind ahead which could present a tactical opportunity if prosecuted correctly.  If it happens lets hope our home team gets on the correct side of it.

They are running their A2 and Spinnaker Staysail presently in 15 to 22 knots TWS.  16 to 18 knots of boatspeed is considered routine but speeds in excess of 20 knots captures everyones attention a little more fully.  No one on deck wants to bear the brunt of an angry off watch crew who without warning got flipped out of his rack by a lttle round up!

Chuggy has taken to flavouring the water made onboard with a synthetic plastic taste.  Everyone loves it!  Why do they love Happy Hours so much?  Maybe now that riddle is solved!

I remember how it feels out there and especially this next part: the crew are all sending warm wishes back to their loved ones at home.

It's hard to keep up!

Here I am at still two messages behind.

The last Message from onboard would seem to indicate a bit of a calmer day at sea - and good news since the crew were all a bit worn out after Saturday.

This message was received her this morning and reports sailing with the Code Zero and Genoa Staysail "which is proving fast and forgiving"

Doug Backhouse aka Barkmulch, MacArthur, Snoop Doggie Barkmulch or just DCB - featured Crewman - sounding for all the world like a SoCal sailor complains it has not really been warm enough to all sit around and enjoy happy hour.  I guess our local Southern Straits Race has lost DCB for ever!

It looks good for Warrior to enter the second half of their race sometime overnight and preparations are are ready in play for the half way celebration.

Doug says it seems to be going fast and sounds nostalgic for those extra 4 days he and Chuggy enjoyed just getting clear of the Channel Islands in last years Transpac!

Helen, Chuggy wants to arrange for some Sat Phone Sex with you after he gets off watch - a new twist on an old game and just another of the marvels of new technology.

I wonder was I supposed to report that bit?  Well anyway it should be intimate with 4 other sweaty sailors there onboard within earshot and offering advice!

Why does everything happen when I'm looking the other way?

This is Cap't Billy returned from deep in the Gulf Islands Archipelago.  So deep in fact there was no Internet coverage of any kind.

So this is my first report since Saturday morning and a lot has happened over the last couple of days.

Firstly, and importantly, it has been brought to my attention that Grahuuum, the Dessert Fox, Wilder has not been as prominently mentioned in this Blog or on the Pac Cup Website as he should be based on his stature among the crew and sailors generally.  The Pac Cup Webmaster might have a more sophisticated response but here at Warrior World Headquarters the only excuse I can offer is embarrassment!

But I do think it is a good idea to feature members of the crew daily so here goes.  This is the Fox:

Ain't he cute?

I have in hand two as yet unpublished e-mails from the boat.

It seems that on Saturday night our crew got a crash course, crash being the operative word here, on high speed sailing from the inside of a cow, (as dark as /DWG).

Barkmulch's story begins describings their first real, all hands on deck, happy hour while sliding along easily at between 16 and 18 knots.  It was sometime around then that someone noticed the wind speed had increased to 20 knots with even higher gusts.

Driving Chuggy's new car.   .   .

.   .   . and sailing share a sense of commonality at this point.

When we walk along the sidewalk our vision is focused only so far as where next our foot will land.  Understandably when driving the Chugmobile the way Chuggy does (you go like hell Chuggy) you need to focus a little further into the future.  Sailing an overpowered light weight boat in high winds at high speed is a lot the same.  There is only a narrow slot where you can survive - too high and your reward is a Wide World of Sports spin out with sails flogging and happy hour spilling - too low and the potential for an even hairer round down wipeout where the boat may come to a sudden  stop but the rig and the sail plan might keep going - not to mention still spilling happy hour!

And for a part of Saturday night that is where our crew on warrior lived - all in the dark for added drama.

Following on from DCB's story .   .   .

"We switched up to a three man rotation on deck overnight and everyone worked really hard to make sure things worked out" <by worked out he means avoiding boat stopping and rig/sails carrying on CB>.

This morning (Sunday now) we are charging and recharging all systems.  We are low on battery, low on water, low on sleep and low on energy.  The engine is running and the CEV Lithium Ion Battery, quite literally our lifeline, is soaking up amps at a terrific rate.  In an hour or two we will make some breakfast and then we all need to get a little sleep.

The trip has not been without unanticipated incidents as we find that our Harken primary winches are chewing through our spinnaker sheets at an alarming rate.  We are through the cover on one and have shortened the other to provide a different point of chafe.  I hope we have enough rope left to get us to Hawaii!"