Mid Pacific Musings From the Deck of Prospector 17 July 2018

Things are definitely looking up.  About 8pm last we put up our big A2 Spinnaker and began sailing downwind after two and a half days of reaching.  Wind speeds remains light of the forecast but have picked up to 12-15 knots from 7-10 knots.  We are just past the half way mark of the race with less than 1000 nautical miles to go to Kanoehe.  At the downwind angles we are now sailing the boat is a lot flatter making life aboard much less acrobatic.  It has warmed up significantly and, yes, we have finally broken out our new Prospector board shorts.

It has been a busy day aboard our big silver sled.  Oatmeal for breakfast followed by some preparatory work for the squalls we might encounter down the road.  Matt Landry did a little aerial work to rig a letterbox take down line, so we can get the big white thing out front down in a hurry if we need to.  He followed that up with a salt water shower out on the prod to rig a quick release for the tack.  Happily, he reported, the water has warmed up considerably as we get closer to Hawaii.

Once Matt rinsed off and dried up he broke out his drone.  We all watched anxiously as it was launched and circled around us, taking some video, wondering if Matt would be able to retrieve it.  It hovered around, mostly down wind and abeam of us, for a few minutes as we powered along at 13 knots.  After a couple of approaches Matt maneuvered the drone close enough to the stern and brought it back onboard to a round of cheers.

Lunch of mac n cheese with spam, yes that spam, was enjoyed by all up on deck in warm conditions.  With the kite up, we have moved our sail stack back and now have a very comfortable faux Barcalounger on the lido deck that has become a highly coveted seating location.  With the temperature up, layers are coming off.  Wearing fewer layers and lighter gear is also lifting morale.  The only blot on this otherwise pretty picture is that it is becoming quite hot and pungent below decks.

Prospector takes off down wind.  We are sailing at 13-16 knot boat speeds in 12-13 knots of wind.  Over the last little bit, we have averaged 15 knots of boat speed.  Our hourly position reports, which are delayed 6 hours just like the one some of you are watching at home, have been uniformly good.  We have passed all of the Wednesday and Thursday starters and over the next 36 hours will pass most of the Monday starters too.  We are extending distance and bearing on the other boats in our class though Pyewacket continues to correct out ahead of us.  We also are keeping a close eye on Blue which has been gaining a bit after moving into reaching/running mode.

We are in the slot car phase of the race.  Going as fast as we can in our lane to a jibe point a few hundred miles north east of Hawaii.  This year’s race has been a little unusual.  The thermal low at the start threatened light winds and forced us south from the start.  Once we got there we saw better wind speeds to the south and headed that way to try to take advantage of it.  Now we are working around an unusual Pacific High that is really three highs in the shape of a sausage.  The flat isobars across the course mean we will be a lot further south and closer to Hawaii when we make the jibe for home.

We have a nice race going.  This section of the race, where we can post speeds in the high teens, as opposed to the first third of the race where we were going 9-10 knots, plays to our strengths.  With half the race to go and the advantage swinging our way we are pressing hard to move up the leaderboard and try to win the day.

A few shout outs from the team:

Huge thanks to:

Tery, Quinn and Lu for the care they take of Prospector and having her perfectly prepped and ready to go.  The boys improve her constantly and every time we get onboard she is a better boat than the one that finished our last event.

Colette, the Minister of the Interior, water maker, and freeze-dried maestro.  She is a saint for putting up with us.

Dave Scott.  Yoda.  ‘nuff said.

Artie Means.  An all around great shipmate, electro wizard, teacher and mentor.

Keep an eye out for our drone footage and some photos to follow.