More than a week into Transpac, the Santa Cruz 50 and 52 division is spread out by mere miles with most of the fleet having taken their first long hitches onto a port pole and beginning to consolidate on the initial approach to Hawaii. Here on the good ship Prevail we’re consistently sailing in the top two or three positions in this ten-boat fleet, gybing on the shifts, covering our rivals and eking out every hundredth of a knot of boat speed that we can.
Since the start in Long Beach last Wednesday, it’s been a glamour run with a quick exit from the California coast and reliable, moderate tradewinds that have kept us moving well at almost all times. This late in the race with the fleet entering the home stretch – the last 500 miles – gear failure and stress on the boat is beginning to rear it’s ugly head. For us, it was unfortunate issues with two spinnakers, which forced us to spend most of one night running under slightly reduced sail. We still managed a good night and re-hoisted the preferred kite at 1 am before completing repairs of a luff-to-leech tear on the other one and getting it back in the arsenal less than a day later.
In between repairing and managing the small type of systems issues that happen when ocean racing, we’re fighting the good fight and having a hell of a time out here on the vast blue Pacific. Our skipper Bill Guilfoyle named his gorgeous blue SC 52 “Prevail”, based on his life ethos that no matter what obstacle stands in his way, he’ll figure out a way to prevail. We’ve taken that motto to heart and are ultra stoked to be out here doing what we can to achieve a good result.
Just today we have sailed into sunny blue skies; a welcome change from the overcast, cloudy conditions that created “fun-house dark” driving conditions and concealed the glow of this full moon. While visibility will surely increase a bit this evening, so too will the likelihood and intensity of squalls, which we just began to encounter last night. The food’s been good, the sailing’s been great and the group of blokes i’m surrounded by has been even better.
When I wrote SA’s Transpac form guide in Long Beach, I predicted that this big fleet of very similar boats would be ultra close, and thus far we’re all getting our money’s worth. A couple days away from some frosty mai tai’s and it’s all coming down to the wire; this is what this all-corinthian crew lives for.