the end of the world as they know it

The latest from onboard Rio 100 on their way to¬†Hawaii…

This is my 15th Transpac, and I have never seen conditions like this not only at the beginning of this race, but really in all of my years of sailing in SoCal. If anyone had ever told me that we would running north of San Nicholas Island with A 2A doing 17 knots, I would have sent them to the looney bin; but in fact that is exactly what happened.Here is ho w it all played out:

It was from the beginning, a very unorthodox start, seeing that it was very difficult to lay the line on starboard, so very quickly the entire fleet was on port tack close reaching towards the west end of Catalina. The wind quickly dropped and went aft, so all of the big boats quickly changed from jibs to big straight luff reaching sails, all the while being bombarded with rain, thunder and lightning. The Ragamuffin and Wild Oats quickly sailed away, and we were duking it out with Bad Pack and Wizard. Of our group, the Bad Pack sailed the most consistent, and they were the first boat to the west end, beating Oats and Rags as they were caught in massive shift from a squall which took them way north. The wind setteled down after that, but still very abnomal as we we sailing our way northwest in a 12 -18 knot south easterly.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with a typical Transpac start, normally, it is a beat aroung the west end, and then a tight fetch to an imaginary waypoint choosen by each yachts afterguard based upon the location of the Pacific high. This is usually a chilly, wet and windy night, with the wind speed increasing as you move farther offshore. This race, we found ourselves VMG running, gybing to avoid both Santa Barbra and San Nicholas.

The rest of the first night was spent sailing amid rain and numerous bolts of lightning.

Sorry for the interuption, but as I was writing to you on Sunday evening, the wind went to shit, and I was quicked out of the nav station. Sunday night was very tricky to say the least. The wind dropped below 2 knots for an hour or so, so you can imagine the pucker factor knowing that your competition is still doing the same 15 knots we were just doing. The Nav station is a very busy place given the complexity of the first third of this race. Models being run, grib files be overanalized(not a typo)and multiple “what if scenarios” being considered.

Today looks like a pretty typical day in what has been the least typical transpac I’ve ever sailed. We still have to wiggle our way through a few land mines before we reach the trades, but so far we are happy with our positioning and performance.

I’ll try to get another couple of reports, hopefully with something less bizarre to report!

That’s it for now.


Rio 100