That Ten Pounds

You know that last 10 pounds you can’t seem to lose? Well, I think I did. That’s right, I’ve lost my man-boobs.

Engine jammed again at midnight. Couldn’t clear the prop via reverse, so started sailing at 4 knots. I figured I’d go swimming in the morning. An hour later we were at 6 knots. At dawn we were doing 6.5, now we are over 7 with the wind blowing almost 15 knots. Still concerned about the propeller, I hove-to this morning in lumpy, breezier-than-I’d-like conditions and jumped in. Yes, knife in hand. Prop was all clear. I guess I needed my morning swim anyway.

Peter Heidelberg, Captain of Scaramouche at the Awards Party: “Doing the SHTP is like teenage sex. It feels good while you’re doing it, but you have performance anxiety.”

1200 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.

Enjoying the High

Went swimming again this morning. More fishing rope snarled in the prop. Likely related to the steel net incident from the other night. The swimming is lovely and I lingered for a while, inspecting Slacker’s belly. Will make it a daily ritual for the few days I’ve left here.

I’m really enjoying my time out here. Reading, napping, greasing winches. Last night was beautiful with the moon nearly full, lighting up the gentle swells. The only thing I miss is a cold beverage. I did away with the cooler for the return, mostly due to an inability to get block ice in Hanalei. Warm instant milk with my morning cereal is kinda gross.

Engine is still running great. Ran at 2000 RPM for 24 hours and burned 5 gallons of fuel. Today we bumped it up to 2200 RPM, so we’ll see what happens with consumption.

Slacking On. 1330 miles to W. Santa Barbara Channel.

Motor, Motor

Motoring along at 4 to 4.5 knots. Occasionally I get a little help from the wind gods, but mainly it’s light headwinds. Early indications are that fuel economy is very good, and I’ll have more data on that by tomorrow. Still reading about the Roman Empire and played Zombie Highway. Had a nice angel hair bolagnese with parmesian cheese along with a meritage and Oreos for dinner.

At midnight I awoke with the engine suddenly stopping cold. Alarming as it sounded like something big had snagged the propeller again. In the moonlight astern I could see a large shape trailing Slacker, looking very much like a sea monster.”What the hell is that?” I said aloud. More lighting showed it to be another fishing net, this one much bigger, trailing maybe 30 feet behind. I really didn’t want to go night diving! OK, So we needed a Plan:
Plan A was to pull it forward & up to see if I could clear the prop from topside.
Plan B was to pull most of it up on deck and sail along until daybreak when I would go diving
Plan C was leave everything as is & limp along until daybreak when I would go diving
So, to Plan A – I managed to bring part of it up to the deck with the boat hook ( heavy!) and was astonished to see that it was made of stainless steel!I pulled it forward but it was very jammed. On to Plan B. I pulled some of it aboard but sure enough the resident crabs made me forget about that idea, and back in the water it went. That left Plan C, but not wanting to lose so much time, maybe something else?

I restarted the engine and put it into reverse, then neutral. Looking astern, the net appeared to be gone! I put the engine in forward, first slowly, then full rpm. Everything OK. Still motoring along 12 hours later. I still don’t know what really cleared that net. So far the junk I’m running into is from fishing boats, not earthquakes.

Still Slacking On. 1460 NM to West Santa barbara Channel

Motor, Motor

Motoring along at 4 to 4.5 knots. Occasionally I get a little help from the wind gods, but mainly it’s light headwinds. Early indications are that fuel economy is very good, and I’ll have more data on that by tomorrow. Still reading about the Roman Empire and played Zombie Highway. Had a nice angel hair bolagnese with parmesian cheese along with a meritage and Oreos for dinner.

I’ve been out for a week now, haven’t seen a single boat or ship since Galaxsea last Sunday.

At midnight I awoke with the engine suddenly stopping cold. Alarming as it sounded like something big had snagged the propeller again. In the moonlight astern I could see a large shape trailing Slacker, looking very much like a sea monster.”What the hell is that?” I said aloud. More lighting showed it to be another fishing net, this one much bigger, trailing maybe 30 feet behind. I really didn’t want to go night diving! OK, So we needed a Plan:
Plan A was to pull it forward & up to see if I could clear the prop from topside.
Plan B was to pull most of it up on deck and sail along until daybreak when I would go diving
Plan C was leave everything as is & limp along until daybreak when I would go diving
So, to Plan A – I managed to bring part of it up to the deck with the boat hook ( heavy!) and was astonished to see that it was made of stainless steel!I pulled it forward but it was very jammed. On to Plan B. I pulled some of it aboard but sure enough the resident crabs made me forget about that idea, and back in the water it went. That left Plan C, but not wanting to lose so much time, maybe something else?

I restarted the engine and put it into reverse, then neutral. Looking astern, the net appeared to be gone! I put the engine in forward, first slowly, then full rpm. Everything OK. Still motoring along 12 hours later. I still don’t know what really cleared that net. So far the junk I’m running into is from fishing boats, not earthquakes.

Still Slacking On. 1460 NM to West Santa barbara Channel

High Hygiene

Yesterday I went hunting for squalls to take a shower in. One came along that looked threatening enough, so I went for it. When the rain came, it turned out to be light. I got sprinkled on my goosebumps, but started getting wet so on went the soap and shampoo. Then the rain started getting lighter when I noticed some larger drops coming off the mainsail, so I sat under the main trying to rinse the soap off me for 15 minutes. I can’t say I’m clean, but at least I smelled better! For a little while at least…

Wind went light in the early evening, so we started motoring. Then we had a little breeze, so sailed for a while in the night for more pleasant sleeping. Morning brought 2-3 knots of boat speed 30-40 degrees off course, so the motor went on again. Just after coffee, the prop snagged on something. Forward, reverse. Forward, reverse. Didn’t clear, so in the water I went, knife in hand. It turned out to be fishing rope. The water was marvelous and refreshing, but the timing of the swim unwelcome as I had only just bathed the afternoon before. I now have that itchy feeling all over again. Funny that I’ve seen very little debris, and to have snagged something so quickly. I hope we are luckier in coming days as we motor under the high.

Currently motoring at 4.3 knots directly towards West Santa Barbara Channel, 1,560 miles ahead. I think the wine will get opened tonight.

Slacking On.

Drying Day

Wind moderated last night, so both reefs were out by 11pm. Comfortable motion for good sleeping. By dawn the wind was down to 8 knots, and seas are lumpy but better. Sun is out, hatchboards are out, foreward hatch is open. Slacker was starting to smell pretty fishy, but now much better. Her skipper is another matter, still having not bathed since – ahem – last Saturday. Good thing there is no one around for 1,000 miles.

Wind has also veered a bit to the East, and this along with hardening up has allowed us to start moving more easterly, where we need to go. With light air and a lumpy sea, looks like some slower days ahead, but at least we are drying out. Thinking much of Deone and the kids, and of the gang at Murtex. Funny how one can miss work, or at least the people you work with.

I’ve started to see a little trash: a bucket, a ball. This reminds me of one episode heading North to SF with Brian Hobin I can’t forget:

USCG Monterrey: “Securite, securite, securite. All stations break. There has been a report of a 22″ metal red ball in the vicinity of blah blah blah, blah blah blah in Monterrey Bay. All mariners be on the lookout in the reported area.”

Brian: “How do they know it’s 22 inches?”

Slacking on to Del Rey. No ETA yet.

30 North!

Slacker has been trying to be “cruising comfortable” by bearing off while pounding north into 8 foot, lumpy seas and 20-25 knots of breeze, up over 30 in the squalls.

It didn’t work.

The problem is that as soon as significant seas come over the deck – typically anything over 20 knots – the hatchboards need to go in to keep things a little dry in the cabin. Once the hatchboards go in, headroom goes from 6′-3″ to 5′. I’m 6′-3″. My back can’t take it. Ventilation (and light) get reduced (OK, basically eliminated), and everything gets that moist, sea water scum on it with dampness everywhere.

Did I mention the pounding? With a narrow hull & fine entry, Slacker isn’t known for pounding. The crashing was really loud and unnerving. You knew it was going to happen before she landed. You get that slight weightlessness feel after launching off a wave. Then CRASH!!! You are certain bulkheads are coming loose or even worse. A brief inspection this morning shows all is well.

So there you are for 3 days in a dark, pounding steam room trying to not get sick, listening to the autopilot alarms and figuring out what you can do to keep your mind off the misery. Yes, this is how The Stupids spend their vacation.

But now we appear to be working out of it. The wind (for now) is down to 16 knots, the seas are still lumpy but better, and less water is coming aboard, so I’ll likely be removing 2 of the 3 hatchboards. As we go North things will get better and better.

Day 2 TransBak

07/24/2012 1334 PDT
25.53N
156.09W
SOG 5.0
COG 050

Yesterday very uneventful. Wind stayed E 15-20, and Slacker continued with double reef and #3 jib. Rough but OK. No ships, no boats, no lights, no trash. Few birds.

Overnight the wind and squalls increased to make things ugly. Winds now 20-35, depending on how close we are to a squall. Problem is they are everywhere. I counted 7 around me this morning, more than I’ve ever seen. Now running with #3 jib alone, normally I don’t do this until 35 knots. With this much wind, water starts coming over the deck very frequently and finds its way below. 2/3rds of the cabin is now wet, and motion is such that it is uncomfortable and difficult to do anything. Pretty much hating life, and it looks like I have to deal with this until Friday.

I’m thinking Poseidon didn’t like the shoes.

Day 1 TransBac

07/23/2012 11:45 PDT
29.59N
157.48W
SOG 6.0
COG 038M

Yesterday was a lovely sail out of the Bay and out to the NE in 10-15 knots of breeze with full main and #3 up. A squall on the island threatened but didn’t hit as I made a clean escape. Galaxsea left a few minutes after I did and it was nice of her to keep me company until dusk. An aircraft carrier passed astern doing some helicopter operations with another ship, so there was a little entertainment.

Had a lovely lasagna freeze-dried dinner with the bumpy going. The wind was slowly increasing, so I put a reef in just before dark. After midnight Slacker was hit by a hard squall. It rained hard, like I didn’t get on the way here. The autopilot couldn’t handle the load and she rounded up, then backwinded the jib. I jumped out of the bunk to grab the helm and did a donut to get her back on track. And there, in the dark rain I noticed Poseidon had claimed my shoes! True, I left them in a dumb place so they were easy for him to snatch, but they are my only shoes! Oh well, they smelled like dead animals anyway. I hope they fit him.

It’s quite bumpy now. The wind is in the upper teens and seas are getting larger. With daybreak today I put the second reef in so I could have a more civilized cup of coffee. I don’t have much of an appetite, but I’m sure this will take care of itself during the trip. The wind is expected to get stronger, so the hatchboards will have to go in soon to make sure things stay dry down here while more water comes across the deck. I’ve settled into a book about the Roman Empire, so plenty of good Kindle reading to do.

Leaving Hanalei

Heading out this morning. Feels good to be heading home. Much love in the room at the awards dinner with everyone very gracious. Everyone really is a winner who does this race.

I’ll be leaving Hanalei in a few minutes after breakfast and stowing things more properly. I have Jerome’s new stolen-recovered outboard with onboard, So I need to find a good place for it. Conditions looks pleasant for the first 24 hours, then tougher as the breeze builds for a few days.

I’m really looking forward to getting back to see Deone and the kids. It’s been a long time already.