The ocean greyhound that is Prospector has found her pace and we are clipping along under our A3 spinnaker after two days plus of upwind and close jib reaching. Last night was a bit of challenge as tight spinnaker reaching on a dark night with no horizon caused a few spin outs even with our best drivers but thankfully no full on yard sales.
So far the tourist brochure has been a little optimistic as we continue towards Hawaii under leaden skies more typical of the North Atlantic. It's still long underwear and foul weather gear on deck. Maybe the board shorts come out tomorrow. We have all begun to adapt to life at 20 degree heel with 18 souls packed in a narrow carbon fiber tube all perched on the high side like very unskilled mountain climbers. The water is warming though which means so is the interior. Couple a hot humid micro climate with 18 unwashed bodies and you have the perfect re-creation of a barnyard. I don't know how Colette does it but she manages with a smile and continues to feed us three squares a day.
The ocean we left in San Francisco was filled with wildlife but after 24 hours we have found ourselves utterly alone without any wildlife companionship. Sort of odd as we saw wildlife all the way across the Atlantic. We have seen a few flying fish so maybe our luck will turn. And speaking of alone, for our fans at home following on the tracker, it looks like there are boats everywhere but looks are deceiving. Out here we have seen no one save a ship yesterday. One terrific thing is we haven't seen any garbage which is a bit of a relief.
Signing off for now at 16 knots heading for sunshine. Oh and one final thing: a shout out from mid Pacific to our uber fan Chuck Tiernan.
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.
Prospector Racing to Hawaii
This Friday July 13, at 1445 PDT, Prospector will hit the starting line in front of the St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco bay in the 20th Pacific Cup.
The Pacific Cup, aka the Fun Race to Hawaii, is a 2,070 nautical mile race from San Francisco to Kanoehe Bay on Oahu, Hawaii. The race typically consists of a short beat out of the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, racers reach across the top of a windless high pressure system and in to the tradewinds. After that, the game is to time the gybe for several days of downwind surfing to Hawaii. Once clear of the coast, it will be largely tradewind sailing, hopefully in tee shirts and board shorts!
Prospector is the scratch boat in the race and will be competing for line honors in a challenging class including Rage, a Wylie 70 that once set the course record, and Roy Disney’s Pyewacket - who is always tough to beat.
Currently, the forecast calls for a 6 or 7 day transit, which puts Prospector in Hawaii on July 19 or 20. The course record of 5 days, 2 hours, 41 minutes and 13 second held by Rio 100 looks safe for another 2 years.
Prospector will be sailing with a crew of 18, skippered by Dr David Siwicki, Paul McDowell and Larry Landry.
Join the Prospector team on its latest adventure on our website prospectorsailing.com.
You can find the race tracker on your Yellow Bric app or on the link on our website or at https://pacificcup.org/tracking.html.
Additional news and information will be available on the regatta website https://pacificcup.org.
The boys have been hard at work getting Prospector ready for the second half of the season. Check out that beautiful new paint job!
Race along with the team on their blast down the coast.