June 29 - Near Cuba
We don't see many fronts as distinct as this on the West Coast of the United States. This one nailed the Wanderer and his crew one afternoon off the north coast of Cuba, bringing with it winds gusting to 49 knots and such torrential rain that the helmsperson had to wear a swim mask to see. Two hours later it was nearly calm.
June 29 - Pacific Ocean
The last time we can remember the wind being so light in the Eastern Pacific for so long during an organized race was the '81 TransPac. One of the biggest TransPac fleets ever slatted its brains out. Members of this year's Singlehanded TransPac fleet have complained of not being able to sleep while slatting in two knots of wind, and not being able to carry chutes when it got up to 12 knots because the wind was too far forward. Conditions look better for the Vic-Maui racing fleet, with 15 to 25 knots predicted in the Northwest.
Click here to see enlarged graphic.
University of Hawaii Meteorology Graphic
For buoy readings along the coast, check out http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/stuff/southwest/swstmap.shtml. This is a great site: Real time wind speed, wind direction, wave heights and other information are updated hourly.
The tropical zones are quiet today.
June 29 - Caribbean
Most folks wanting to cruise from the West Coast of the U.S. to the East Coast, sail to Panama and then work up the Western Caribbean. Given the recent violence against cruisers in this area - see the June, July and August 'Changes in Latitudes' - we suggest that cruisers consider sailing from Panama to the Eastern Caribbean, then working their way up to Florida. Sure, it's can be a real bear getting from Cartagena to the ABC islands, but it's not that bad in June or November. Furthermore, once you get there, you get to sail off the wind through some of the greatest cruising grounds in the world all the way to Florida. That's almost 2,000 miles of sweet sailing. It's worth thinking about.
Photo courtesy Cruising Guide Publications
Victoria to Maui Race
June 29 - Victoria, BC
Twenty-one boats departed Victoria on June 27 for the finish line 2,308 miles away at the Lahaina YC on Maui. First-to-finish honors in this 17th running of the event should go to the Santa Cruz 70 'Grand Illusion' - unless the crew on the Andrews 70 'Renegade' makes some smart moves. For the latest, visit www.vicmaui.org.
Here's a snippet from Mike Jefferson's latest reports: "This
morning, as fate would have it, 'Tainted Love', with Bill Stettiner,
the master Haiku wordsmith aboard, came into radar range of 'Foxx
Fyre'. Bill had had all the screws fall out of the torque tube
on his Harken roller furler the other day, and had no spares.
He had made a rather tenuous jury rig with some smaller screws
and tape, but it was clear that this would not last through any
really bad weather. So this morning at roll call, 'Foxx Fyre'
asked permission of the fleet to provide Bill with the #10-32
allen head screws he needed to fix the furler properly. The universal
consensus of the fleet on both VHF and SSB was "Screw HIM!!",
which I took as permission to pass the screws to him. We rendezvoused
and after a bit of dancing in the rather light airs and lumpy
sea, I was able to get a heaving line onto his boat. The screws
were attached in a plastic bag, and he pulled them over, and then
returned the heaving line. After a few manly poses were struck
and photos taken, we reset sails and are now on slightly diverging
courses. Bill reports that the screws worked like a champ, and
he has locktited them in, and then backed up the system with a
wrap of tape around the torque tube to contain the screws should
they loosen in the future."
Check out www.sfbaysss.org for more wild adventures on the Pacific.
The first question we asked Bill was what the heck a 'cartoon
physicist' was. "Cartoon physics? That's explaining why the
Road Runner can stand on thin air and Daffy Duck's face flattens
when you hit it with a frying pan," says Bill. "I basically
work for a guy who invents things and I tell him if they'll work
in the real world or not."
Bill acquired the little Olson last fall and has been busy sailing and outfitting it for the race ever since. One work party in particular makes the boat really stand out from the crowd - the weekend he and friends coated the hull with several gallons of 'see-me-from-16-miles-away' yellow paint. Less conspicuous improvements include new rigging, new furler, new electrical system, lots of new deck hardware and several new Hood sails.
Strategy-wise, Bill plans "to harpoon one of the veteran boats and kick back all the way to Hawaii." His three GPS units - two of which occasionally agree - will provide his primary navigation. Bill plans to steer "until I go loony." Respite during his sleep time will be provided by autopilots. Power for the autopilots and other electronics will come from "a huge solar panel, a small generator. . . and several gerbils." Bill also mentioned the gerbils when asked about the food he plans to take, but, well, let's not go there. His favorite offshore meal? Ham, turkey, cheese and Tabasco sauce on a French roll - what else?
Bill was among the last TransPac 2000 participants to complete his 400-mile offshore qualifier. The mid-May slugfest featured 30 to 40 knots of wind, broken gear, speeds in the teens for a boat never designed to do them, getting pooped by a following sea and breaking several pieces of gear including the gooseneck. Compared to that, the Hawaii sail should be, well, cartoon physics.
Navigation: Three GPSs. Steering: primary: self; secondary: Autohelm 4000 autopilot. Food: See above. Special thanks to: "Greg Morris and my support team: Bob Gardiner, Ken Farmer, Roger Anderson, Jeff Johnson, Dan DeGruchy, Jack Robichou, Doug and Kathleen Engleke - and my Mom."
Boat: Tainted Love - Olson 25 (1984)
PHRF rating: 165
Yacht Club: Presidio YC, SSS
Occupation: Cartoon Physicist
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