Transpac Update/ A Memorable Day #4!

Did I already say we are in thick of it NOW? Because we still are! Spinnaker’s up, surfing and sailing along our desired tactical course to Hawaii. Every hour or so we go over the numbers, courses, wind predictions and plot. We then work, rework and play out the routing software hoping we will find ourselves in the right place at the right time. Sailboat racing has increasingly become a hybrid mix that melds the very analog physical act of sailing the boat with the goals of a digital video navigation game. But you know what? That only adds to the fun of it all!

So far today (Monday), we’ve touched speeds in excess of 19 knots (!) – with a 12 knot average, and we’ve clicked off in excess of 270 miles! We have now less than 1250 miles to go, but as we’ve described in past updates, we can’t always sail the course as the seagull flies, and so will inevitably have to gybe several times to get to where we’re going, which may extend our total distance by as much as another 100 miles. Minimizing this extra distance by sailing the rightest and tightest course is all part of a winning strategy of sailing less distance as fast as you can versus your competitors who are trying just as hard as you are to do the very same thing! Too much fun that as well!

Chris Pike and the HAEA logoChris Pike at the helm w/ the HAEA logo on the boom!

We had some big excitement today. As we were sailing along under the spinnaker and “negotiating” among ourselves on whether or not to change to a stronger spinnaker in the heavier winds, or to keep up the faster spinnaker and risk blowing it out … all of a sudden – BANG!! … our tack line parted! The tack line is the rope that holds one corner of the spinnaker to the tip of the bowsprit at the pointed bow of the boat. As soon as that line blew, that flapping spinnaker turned into the biggest damn flag in the world!

We all jumped into action … dropping our gourmet lunches and scrambling to pull the spinnaker, rig a temporary tack line – and hoist in its place the heavier, stronger spinnaker. It took only about 10 minutes I suppose, but soon enough, we were back up to speed and racing pretty quickly. We then spent some time putting a plan together to make a proper repair, which required someone going out to the very end of the bowsprit to make a quick attachment of a block and re-rig a new, stronger tack line … all the while Bo IV kept sailing along at 12 knots! With the help of a climbing harness attached to a halyard, one of our guys worked his way to the tip of the sprit, made the repair and returned successfully. We won’t worry anyone’s family or friends by saying just who that person was. … All is fine in the life of a sailor! Peace and calm the whole day long!

Solo Ship ...

Since that incident, we’ve been flying along all day today with no issues, although we did have to make frequent adjustments to the tack line and halyards, so as to spread the wear points out across more sections of the lines.

The other less exciting news, and a bit more worrisome as well, was the appearance today of marine debris. We saw notifications of debris locations from other competitors, and started plotting those locations. (In fact, we heard that the speedy trimaran Lending Club ran into a telephone pole … but come to think of it, it was the telephone pole that ran into Lending Club, wasn’t it?)

So it was today that suddenly and out of nowhere, we spotted debris ourselves. Today’s tally: three fishing buoys, one large piece of plastic in a “T” shape, one large log about 15 feet long and one smaller narrow log about 8 feet long and 8 inches in diameter. There is much talk about marine debris, and there isn’t much that can be done about it other than doing our best as humans to prevent trash from entering the oceans in the first place. Much of this debris we understand is from the tragic tsunami in Japan, but it is still a worrisome thing for us as we move along. The good news is that for the moment, we are for now out of the identified debris field.

Pacific Currents

At the same time, as you can see in the image above … (and which is explained in more depth in our Bodacious Dream Expedition “Knowledge” Explorer Guide,) we are now fully in the strong North Equatorial currents that will take us deeper into the “convergence zone,” where we will likely see more of the debris that circulates in these now-infamous Pacific “gyres.”

Race-wise, as far as our position in the “Div 6” standings goes, we are still maintaining a slight lead … but the swift Horizon is always right on our tail. According to the Transpac Race Tracker … here’s the current leaderboard.

Leaderboard _ 7.16.13

So, as I write this, night is falling on Bodacious IV out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean … oh, right about here …

Google Earth Marker - 7.16.13

… where we hope for clearer skies soon and some of those pretty twinkling stars to steer by!

- The Crew of Bodacious IV (Skipper Jeff Urbina, Capt. Tim Eades, John Hoskins, Matt Scharl, Jim McLaren, Chris Pike, Christer Still, John Ayres and Dave Rearick.)

Our Day #4 Deets:
Coordinates: +27.35445, -134.40693
Boat speed: fast, fast, fast … 12-14 knots with surges up to 16 & 17 knots
Course over the ground: 258 degrees
Dinner tonight: Ousso Buco (Man, we are well fed! AND we still have plenty of cookies!)

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