Saturday, July 21, 2012
FLUKY BREEZE CHALLENGES AS PAC CUP FLEET SETTLES INTO GROOVE
At 0730 hours Saturday morning, the double-handers were leading the pack, as they have done since their departure on Monday. The J/120 Jamani has maintained a solid lead on the fleet and has logged 592 nm just under five days. 45 nm behind is Naos 30, with Relentless 28 nm behind Naos 30. The breeze was at 8+ knots from 032 degrees.
The rest of the fleet sits loosely clustered behind the three lead boats, except Juanita, the Phoenix 38 on her maiden Pac Cup, who is well at the back of the fleet having gotten stuck in a wind hole some distance north early on to only track south again and find her groove along with the more northerly situated of the gang, which could end up working out well for her.
This morning the crew on Double Trouble reported that they had really rough conditions last night with very little horizon and the boat bound up on a tight reach with puffs/lulls.
They were somewhat comforted by a 2am tracker report that showed Condor and Warrior dead upwind of them at 26 and 53 miles respectively. “Medusa is just aft of our beam at 46 miles. The rest of the fleet is spread between those two angles at various distances, except Icon, who is going higher and a little faster and about 54 miles closer to Hawaii than we are,” reported McCormack.
A hot contender to win this year’s Pac Cup, Double Trouble thought they had a pretty good plan going into their race start on Thursday.
Reported McCormack, “Everything seemed to be panning out for a slower exit out of the Gulf of the Farallons with a light building NW breeze that would keep us high on rhumb line towards Hawaii. The Pacific High was well west and would be consolidating on the coast while remaining well north.
As Trevor (Baylis) and Andy (Costello) were saying "Let's Go!" to get to the boat, the last high-def GRIB was downloaded from broadband and it showed an anomaly to the SE of the high, a little hernia of high pressure. A little nervous, we downloaded another GRIB as we were in the gulf of the Farallons and the anomaly had disappeared. Our original plan was still a go.
At 4am we woke up to a new GRIB with the anomaly back and the high doing a dive from 42N down to 37N, right into our path. Since the GRIBs had been going back and forth, the decision was made to hold off on any rash actions until the next file was available. The next file corroborated the southerly bubble of the high pressure and we changed our game plan.
For the next 24 hours we have been anxious about whether sailing the longer distance was better to stay in pressure. We have been sailing super wicked up, stalling out occasionally as we try and cross this band of breeze to get to the ridge in the right spot.”
Commenting on progress thus far, veteran Pac Cup'er Gordy Nash, who won division in the 2010 Pac Cup on a Wiley Cat 30, commented,
“The boats that went north to get into the new breeze coming from the north, they’re now right on Great Circle which is actually the shorter distance than rhumb line,” Nash said. “On Thursday I noticed that Lightspeed went 127 miles - physically sailed through the water 127 miles but credited getting to Hawaii 127 miles - so they’re going Great Circle straight down the dotted line. That’s what the boats that went north are going to have to do. They’re in a position now where they can aim right at the island.”
He noted that the boats that started Wednesday/Thursday were south of the first group and suggested that they would need to either stay in the slot and work back up to Great Circle later, or get back up to rhumb line.
Meanwhile, it’s been life as usual on board as crews get their race on and down to the business of making as quick tracks as possible to Hawaii.
From the committee boat Valis, Michael Moradzadeh reports his crew are getting over the fact that it’s been a week of wallowing in light breeze. He says spirits remain excellent, boasting gourmet meals, albacore and tuna caught, and spinnakers hoisted to catch the little wind available.
“As the first boats reach the edge of the light air, and begin to taste some nice 15+ breezes, the mood has turned ebullient. Mild taunts and cheerful anecdotes of encounters with commercial ships fill the 5pm ‘children’s hour’, while lengthy technical discussions of radios and toilets (depending on what is not working on the boat) fill the airwaves.
Yes, things are back to normal on the Pac Cup. As we gain speed, our spirits lift and Kaneohe looks ever closer.”
Don’t forget to log onto http://www.pacificcup.org/blogs, to catch up on day-to-day life aboard Pac 2012 boats.
PHOTOS: DIV C/D BOATS STARTING 2012 PAC CUP
COMPLIMENTS OF ERIK SIMONSON/PRESSURE-DROP.US
Posted by Michelle Slade at 8:27 AM