On Board

From onboard the SC 50 Hula Girl on their way to Hawaii. Track ’em here.

Well all right now.  It’s straight up midnight, and it looks it.  Pitch black at the moment, even though we know there is a nearly full moon up there, somewhere.  Just a couple hours ago, we passed the halfway mark in the 2014 Pacific Cup.  At this point, we are farther from dry land than you can get anywhere else on the place of the planet.  California is over 1000 miles away on one side, and Hawaii more than 1000 miles on the other.  North and south of us there is a whole lot of nothing for a long ways.  But calling this ‘nothing’ out here would be a true error.  True, we are but a spec in the ocean, but the ocean is a great thing and (for the moment) our playground.

The breeze came up again around sunset, as it did last night.  We were a little better prepared for it this time, and shifted down to the heavier 4A spinnaker (last night we had the big/lighter 2A up the whole time, which caused yours truly undue stress).  Shifting down was definitely the right call.  We are seeing sustained 20-25 knots, and the lovely Hula Girl is in her element, scooting along at steady 12-14 knots.  The driving right now is difficult, to be sure.  But our team has been getting great practice in the past couple of days and I’m really pleased with how everyone is doing!

Our fall from 2nd to 6th in the standings two days ago was a bit disappointing, and after a great run yesterday we were sorry to see we hadn’t picked up anyone by roll call this morning, but by our calculations we have narrowed the margin a good ways and we think that we are in a great lane to make some good moves.  We don;t think the boats way south of us will get good angles into the islands (plus, it could get a bit lighter down there).  We think the boat north of us have gotten more lift earlier on our way out towards the layline to Hawaii.  So we are pretty happy where we are.  The light planing boats are, as expected, untouchable in this stuff, so we are targeting a respectable finish amongst the displacement members of our fleet.  Now we just have to sail like rockstars!

Everyone has been behaving wonderfully.  Now, with the boat flatter, we did a bit of house-cleaning today.  Most of the crew have enjoyed showers in the cockpit, and things are remarkably civilized!  It’s pretty warm now too…  hot in the sun during the days, and welcomely cool at night.

The crew also wants to thank Sue for the phenomenal batch of cookies…  I’m not sure what we did to deserve being recipients of her baked specialties (not only for the Pac Cup, but earlier in the year we received cookies and milk just before the SD to PV Race!), but boy we are are highly appreciative!   Especially me, as I have taken to using the treats as rewards to keep instructors inline.  Especially that Jasper character…   he has taken to making things up, just for attention, I think,  I mean dolphins sleeping with one eye closed and half a brain??  Really Jasper, where do you get this stuff?!?    I think he was in the sun too long today.  But seriously Sue, thank you from all of us.  Please let us know your shirt size so we can send you a Hula Girl team shirt!

That’s it from me for now.  I’m going to go on deck to get some cool fresh air and take Hula Girl for a spin.  Enjoy your feather beds tonight, friends,  It’s a bit more ‘sporty’ out here tonight, and that’s working well for me at the moment!  Title inspiration thanks to Ice T.

Wayne Zittel and the J World Team