Pacific Cup Update
We were promised board shorts and T shirts. So far it has been brisk, tight angle jib reaching since more or less the west side of the Golden Gate. Over the past 24 hours, the air temperature as crept slowly upward as the sun poked through a rather consistent clout layer, offering tantalizing previews of the conditions which garnered the tag line “The Fun Race to Hawaii.”
Prospector could not have asked for a better start with 20-22 knots of breeze at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Sporty conditions all around as we jockeyed for starting position with Pyewacket within spitting distance of St. Francis Yacht Club. With boat speeds near 12 knots, and a fairly short line, the real challenge at the start was to find a place to slow down, hold a spot and prepare for a speed run seconds before the gun. Luckily, we were able to defend a window on the boat end of the line, allowing a clear lane out of the harbor.
Once through the Golden Gate and its wind tunnel effect, the breeze sat down dramatically. By about 5 miles offshore, we changed from our J2 into the J1 for better light air performance. It’s now midnight on Saturday, and we’ve been in that setup since Friday afternoon
Currently, the goal is to get around the southern edge of a windless zone that has swallowed up the Wednesday and Thursday starters. We’ve been on starboard tack the entire time; a drag race to get to the southerly trades. In this environment, nothing stays still. Sails are stacked and re-stacked. Jib sheets, mainsheets and runners are in constant motion, squealing protests against their winches as the on-deck crew squeezes every knot of boatspeed. For the off-watch crew, life below is like trying to sleep inside a guitar. Every burp of the jib or drop on the runners sends shockwaves echoing through the hull, magnified to the point that might just shake some fillings loose.
For now though, we press on in cracked sheet upwind mode. Routing suggests we should be into the traditional Fun Race to Hawaii weather in another 24 hours or so. We’re already starting to see some of the lift we need to move into our off the wind inventory, and hopefully beginning putting up big numbers to Hawaii.