Doublehanding across the Pacific on a Cal 40, Robb Walker gives us the latest…
We are about 150 miles from the finish. Good sailing conditions in about 16-20 knots wind, headed straight at the finish mark.
Moonshine finished early this morning and will win our class by many hours. She is a 26 foot light displacment boat and sailed a fantastic race. Basically it appears that she won the race in the first couple of days by heading straight down the rhumb line while the rest of us headed north trying to find wind! I can’t wait to talk with them at the parties and see how they did it.
We had beautiful sailing last night in steady winds, but the night before was a doublehanded sailor’s nightmare of constant squalls…spinnaker snuffed in anticipation of "killer" squall, then no wind increase, OR, wait twenty minutes for wind to arrive instead of 5, OR decide to wait it out for the wind to decrease back to normal velocity after the squall passes so that we can re-hoist the chute, only to have the stronger wind last for a couple of hours (so we should have re-set the poled-out jib!) I’m pretty sure that we basically never had the right combination up and were exhausted by morning (actually, the squall activity continued until about noon the next day). We finally decided to just go back to the poled-out jib even though the wind was a bit light, and luckily the wind came up again to 20+ so we have been sailing like that for 24 hours or so.
Finally, after surviving the night and sailing under spinnaker for several hours in a perfect 18 knot breeze, out of a clear sky the wind suddenly came up to 25. We spent an hour getting the chute down (spinnaker socks work very well, but it is no easy task snuffing a spinnaker in 25 knots TWS)and the reacher winged out on the pole, only to have the wind drop back to 16! At this point we just decided to screw it and spent the rest of the afternoon (under wung out jib) having a great bathing party in the cockpit and enjoying a nice lunch and cold beer (yes, we still have some) while we "air dried" ourselves. Back to the mine later.
Expect to finish around mid-day tomorrow (14 July). We are really looking forward to the festivities and hopeful that our last night at sea will be straight forward without any drama.
Robb & Rowena