hair on fire

Ryan Breymaier, the only US sailor on the turbo Volvo 70 Maserati on her NY-SF record attempt checks in from a seriously fast start to the trip.  For more about Ryan check out his site and follow the Maserati effort in the thread and at the record site.

24 hours: 20.95 knot average, 502 miles
3 days: 19.72 knot average, 1420 miles.

I think the above numbers best sum up a wet and slightly out of control beginning to our trip to San Fran for the Maserati.  We spent 3 days with our hair on fire with the fractional code 0 and 2 reefs in the main going downwind in big waves with the ballast in the back and every sail aboard stacked on the transom.

Since the route record is at just a 10 knot average we are going pretty well, at least for this beginning portion.

Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a high pressure ridge between the low we have been riding and the trades which will get us to the equator. Or perhaps fortunately, as we (or rather the water) have already broken plenty of things on board.  Stanchions, wheel guards, tack lines, solar panels and our patience with being waterlogged, perhaps the biggest casualty.

It is incredible to try to live 4 hours on, 4 hours off, while wading through a whitewater river that flows at 20-30 knots.  Everyone has pretty much had the superman moment at the wheel, where the only thing attaching you to the boat is your hands on the wheel and a tether.  Luckily, the Maserati is happy to go straight.  Downshifting into a really wet corner would probably be a chaotic yardsale.

On a less uncomfortable note, everyone onboard is completely happy with our Chameau boots, and the Guy Cotten gear has been bone dry, even with waist high water on deck; a dry sailor is a happy sailor.

Our crew consists of an American, a Frenchman, Spaniard, a German, a Chinese and 4 Italians.  The language onboard is officially English, but is unofficially a pidgin dialect of French, Italian and English with a little Spanish for flair.  It makes for some hilarious attempts at conversation, but as with all good crews, when things go wrong, not much needs to be said aloud.

We are currently sweating and going about 3 knots, which is allowing us to get everything repaired and dried out for some champagne tradewinds reaching in the days to come.  The latest routing has us hitting the Equator at 7am EST in 5 days.

My bet in the onboard pool is 47 days, so in SF on the 15th of February.