Thursday, July 8, 2010

We Have to Stop Meeting Like This.

It is Wednesday morning around 0500 and we are at 37-35, 126-07. Wind about zero, boat speed about zero, wandering around. Early in the evening I decided that there was not anything to do on watch except lookout, so we could change to one person on watch at a time. Like we did on the delivery. (Where there was a lot to do but not enough people.)

That worked for awhile, but I just looked (in the middle of the night) and all three of the male crew members are in the cockpit, each one adjusting something different to make the boat go faster even though there is no wind. Many heated discussions. I pointed out that if all discussions take place while facing aft it might help.

The boat approaching us that I mentioned in my previous blog was "Scaramouche V" from Canada. We spoke with them on the VHF radio. As they were passing us a half mile away we found ourselves in a big pod of whales. They were all over the place. Then we got a call from Scaramouche that they were also seeing a lot of whales. Busy place out here. After the other boat passed they seemed to slow down. We could see their lights all night. Another smaller boat also went by but they seemed to be heading in a strange direction. Not sure what they were up to.

There is so little to report that I am going to have to start making up stuff. Actually, we did see some aliens from outer space, but I'll tell you more about that next time.


P.S. Just an aside about the unexpected pleasures of trips like these. As many of you know the water is often phosphorescent and lights up brightly as the boat pushes its way through. Sometimes there are bright single flashes from individual little jelly fish. You haven't lived until you are flushing the toilet in the dark, as I did recently, and the flush water lights up the whole room. Pretty cool.

by Ulli:
This is beginning as a really slow race, much like it was in 2000. I guess the only reason why we can't see land any more is because it is so foggy and cloudy. No sun, no moon, no stars, just a grey dark mass of something. Celestial navigation? Forget it. We sure appreciate to have a compass. Not to mention the GPS. Unfortunately, there is nothing to navigate to, as we are basically standing still. Bill just did an experiment, throwing a paper towel in the water and watching it disappear. And whattayuknow, after 5 min it was 20 feet behind us! Well, I always wanted to celebrate Christmas in Hawaii, maybe I get a chance now!

As indicated by Bill, we had yesterday evening a threesome of racers, Cirrus, Scaramouche, and Sea Reine from the first double-handers division. A really rare event, as most of the time you don't even see a single boat around you. The latter two were really close together, they could probably speak directly with each other. When I called Sea Reine on the radio, they didn't answer, but Scaramouche told me their name on the radio. Sea Reine's course however, was due north, which could only mean that they were quitting the race. We'll find out today. Scaramouche is the fastest boat in our division, now that Pneuma hasn't started (don't know why), owing us almost 23 hours at the finish line. The fact that they are still within sight gives a little comfort; at least we aren't on last place in our division. We expect the slow conditions to last for another day, and then improving significantly.

Yesterday we had big, long swells, overlaid with small waves. The swells look like mountains of water, moving towards you, but when they reach you, they only lift Cirrus up very gently, and setting her down equally gently. You barely notice them on the boat. The small waves, however, mostly less than 1 meter, sometimes collaborate to form a nasty ditch and let Cirrus dive her nose into the water, scooping up a bathtub full of water, which upon rising, is gushed towards the cockpit. The sea right now is very calm and flat, an appearance of molten lead.

It is surprisingly warm this year, just the regular double-polar underwear and your foulies (foul weather clothing)on top, plus a hat and ski gloves, and you are fine!

Just this moment we were passed by a school of dolphins. They weren't interested in us and went along. Which reminds me that in addition to the whales we also saw porpoises yesterday. Yeah, more like visiting a zoo than racing.
Aloha, Ulli

time: 7:16am PDT, lat/lon: 37N36.8/ 126W08.3, course: none, speed: none, heading: all over the place

P.S. Does the Iridium tracker work, can we be seen on the PCup tracking website?

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  1. Yes, the tracker is working great. The site is quite slow, but if you are patient, you can see everything. Every boat, every position, every course, and every speed. All of the Cirrus suppoirters need to keep doing that wind dance!

  2. Keep up the tinkering and strip the watches down to the bare minimum. It is axiomatic that he less prepared you are for it the more likely the wind fills in!

    Silas and Edie in Los Alamos

  3. Couple of passing thoughts on reading the blog:
    --Bill's s--- might not stink but it do glow?
    --Is it better to play with the whales and dolphins than to smell the Farallons for days on end?
    Very happy to hear how positive you all sound. Keep on keeping on...we are waiting for you.

  4. Glowing littel elly fish, that's a great way to save energy! Maybe you can catch some and deliver them to Germany? Might not be that comfortable for either the jelly fish nor the owner of the suitcase, now that I think of the 12 hour-cross atlantic flight back... ~Melanie