Think about the great variety of things you’ve done since last Halloween. Now picture 69-year-old sailor Jeff Hartjoy: He’s spent the 164 days since that festive holiday offshore aboard his Washington state-based Baba 40 Sailors Run, singularly focused on singlehanding around the world nonstop and unassisted via the Five Great Capes.
Having begun his ambitious cruise from Bahia Caraquez, Ecuador, he’s now less than 4,000 miles from crossing his track — coming down the home stretch, relative to the overall distance he’s traveled already. Fortunately for Jeff, he possesses an upbeat, self-reliant disposition that leads him to jump in and confront every challenge with a ‘get ‘er done’ attitude, rather than wasting time fretting belowdecks.
In addition to having to repair his genoa ‘Patches’ close to 50 times, and overcoming many other challenges, during the weekend he passed through a massive low with conditions that would scare the hell out of any typical fair-weather sailor.
"I’m waiting for the once-fast-moving low moving at 30 knots that is coming down from the NW, and it appears to be slowing down to 15 knots, and passing just above me, or on top of me," he wrote via HF radio email.
"Sailors Run has been my ‘war horse’ so many times on this voyage, and I feel my stomach muscles tense as she vaults off a huge wave and comes crashing down into the face of the next one; the mast shudders and the entire hull vibrates, and I wonder just how many times can she withstand this brutal punishment.
"I question myself: ‘Is there not something I can do to ease Sailors Run‘s struggle? After two hours we are sailing due north and sometimes making 20-degrees of easting actually gaining some ground, but at what seems like a huge risk of catastrophic failure in the deteriorating circumstances. I run through the abandon ship drill in my mind: mayday call, get out quick bag, put on my Gumby suit [full immersion suit], deploy the life raft."
Yeah, not the sort of sailing that most of us would enjoy. Read more about Jeff’s trip in the upcoming issue of Latitude 38. Jeff promises that he will eventually release a book on his trip.
Patsy Verhoeven of La Paz and her crew report that they made it to Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 18 days and two hours aboard her Gulfstar 50 Talion, and had "a great trip."
That’s a swift passage for a boat that, depending on where you are in the country, has a PHRF rating between 126 and 147. And despite rumors that Patsy — aka La Reina del Mar — wasn’t bringing any food for the trip, Talion was pretty loaded down.
One of La Reina’s secret weapons? A big ‘Free Corky’ spinnaker that the Wanderer got from David and Kathy Kane of the Bay Area’s Atlantic 42 Lightspeed. It wasn’t a good fit on Profligate, so we passed it along to La Reina. She chopped it down a couple of times until it fit perfectly.
Well done La Reina — and crew!
Taylor Canfield, the 27-year-old match-racing wunderkind from the US Virgin Islands, has pulled off an unprecedented feat, vanquishing all comers for his third consecutive win at the Congressional Cup, raced on April 6-9.
Ted Turner, Ed Baird, Dean Barker, Ken Read and Dennis Conner are among previous winners of the prestigious match-racing regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. The venue is a popular one for race fans, who can view the action from the BelmontVeterans Memorial Pier. Twelve skippers are invited and come from as places as far apart on the globe as Sweden and New Zealand. The Congo Cup was the second ‘Stage’ on the 2016 World Match Racing Tour.
Day 1, April 6, kicked off the competition with classic Long Beach conditions — 6 to 8 knots of southwesterly breeze. Then, after four four flights of qualifiers, a sudden wind shift put racers practically on the beach. After a lengthy postponement, the wind shifted again and built to 20+ knots. Nicolai Sehested of Denmark, racing in his first Congressional Cup, ended the day undefeated at 5-0. Day 2 was a whole other ballgame, as rain and shifty wisps of breeze forced lengthy postponements and kept the racing to two flights. Kiwi Phil Robertson climbed to the top of the standings. By the end of Day 3, 66 matches had been completed. The unsettled spring weather continued, and in the Quarter Finals on Day 4, Robertson and crew tumbled down the stack and LBYC member Scott Dickson, competing in his 17th Congo Cup, climbed to the top.
Then, on Saturday, Canfield beat Dickson in the Semi Finals, and his USOne Sailing Team triumphed over Sehested in the Finals, making Taylor the first skipper to win three back-to-back crimson blazers in the 52-year history of the regatta.
Peter Holmberg won the Congo Cup four times around the turn of the millennium. “We’re closing in on Peter’s record," Canfield said with a smile. “We’ve got a couple more in us; we’ll be back.”
“Every year we come back because of you, great Long Beach people,” said Phil Robertson. “We had a ripper.” For much more, see www.thecongressionalcup.com.