The latest from on board the J/125 West Coast Warrior as they try to get through the lighter air of Transpac…
Update: Of course all things happen at the furthest place from land. We have had a little vibration for a day or so that turned pretty violent last night. The boat would not break free and plane and the driving became pretty rough. We tried another back down but no luck. We then checked out everything we could around the boat but found nothing. We figured it might be a net and planned on diving the boat in the morning.
I took my GoPro at first light and video tapped under the boat. This requires about 30 minutes of making the boat go 3kts to get the right shots. After checking out the keel, sail drive and rudder we found nothing. Got some cool video though. Then I did the same with the other side of the keel and found a chunk out of the top of the keel. Not sure what happened but as soon as we hit 9kts the wheel starts to vibrate and we get a shudder. We still cannot believe that this chunk is doing it but that is the only thing we have found.
Sucks because we rallied back to second in class and had a good chance. Spirits are high and we are laughing all the time.. even when we were stopped and video taping. Great crew and we are all good but a little disappointed that getting on the step is next to impossible. Now I figure we have to really reduce sail in the big breeze to make the boat more drivable. Game on though because we are not giving up!
It is time for business. Another day at the office out here and last night was the beginning of the end. I got some good advice from a friend in an email.. He basically told me to buckle down, be a leader and crack the whip a little. He also told me not to be afraid to downsize when the gnarly stuff comes. Thanks man for the advice because I put the first part to good use. He second part, well I will talk about that later. Crew meeting last night and I broke it down. We have worked hard and have a chance so let’s race hard, push the boat be smart and hopefully get a little lucky. Must of worked because at 8am we got the leader board and were second in class!
Now for the second part of the advice…
We got into some good breeze in the evening and were rocking along with what we call the 4A. Big shout out to Bruce Hollis from Ullman Australia for designing some amazing kites for this boat. I have a couple on Timeshaver but not the 4A. I decided to keep it up into the night because we were handling it really nicely in 20+kts of breeze. Well that was all good until the squalls came though. Not really expecting them yet but whatever bring it on we need it.
So I see a few coming our way and one that is lining up. I am driving so I cannot really tell how black it is (which is a good way to tell how strong it is) until it is on me. Then it is game on. Greg the owner is trimming and it starts to blow good and we start to plane along at 16 no problem.. fun stuff. Then it starts going to 28 and 30.. hang on. We are flat out hauling ass with a full main and a big round kite way out there. 22kts and I am barley moving the wheel just staying between 150-160TWA depending on the wind strength. 15 minutes into it I can tell Greg is a little nervous when he asks me how long it will last.. Not sure I tell him but don’t talk to me I am working! 30 minutes later we are soaking wet and still going balls out. Totally in control (as much as I can) but I am getting tired as I have barley slept. Zac pops his head out because he thinks it’s over and starts telling me something and he gets the same treatment.. not now mofo! So in the end we were safe but I knew that was a bit much. So the game plan for night has changed a bit.. Most fun driving I have had in a while!
So this morning was a little bit of a shit show. I wake up to Dustin telling me we have caught something on the boat and are slow. We eventually back down but are not sure we got it.. even now I am not sure as there is a humming noise I am still trying to figure out. Used the Gopro to check out the keel and sail drive but do not see anything.
Hot as hell now and we are catching a boat in front of us on the horizon. Not 125 weather now as it has been 10-13kts all day… more like Horizon stuff. Got in a little dispute with Dustin but we hugged it out. Super fun times and we are still laughing and enjoying but being way more in tune with the final ½…Still looking to get past the Hippie..got past Dustin’s Dad on relentless so check that off!
July 17th, 2013