"The slow exit from the Gate was costly," remarked Lee Johnson of Morning Star, sailing in the 21st Singlehanded TransPac. "Saturday night and a good part of Sunday were spent wallowing in a wind hole and drifting north." When the Valiant 32 finally sailed into the breeze, he wrote, "The laptop seems a little grumpy. Typing is sluggish – frequently interrupted by the blue circle of wait – most likely due to the constant motion."
"Greetings from the void," wrote Greg Ashby of the Wilderness 30 Nightmare on Tuesday morning. "It’s been a rough few days getting acclimated to life at sea. At first I thought the scopolamine patch wasn’t working, so I took some Dramamine. That helped. Later I found the patch stuck to my coat. Got some liquids back in me and finally some food this evening. Titia made beans and rice and put it in seal-a-meal bags that I heated in the Jetboil and are like astronaut food. Yum!"
Later on Tuesday, Mike Cunningham of the Freedom 30 Jacqueline reported from the windy reach: "Man, the last 36 hours have been like riding the freight train to Omaha. Good solid 20 knots plus quartering wave train does wonders for progress, not so great for comfort. I have spent a lot more time in the cabin so far. I monitor the world from a perch at the top of the companionway steps. Thank God for APs." When the wind dropped into the high teens, Mike shook out Jacqueline’s third reef. "I always debate this decision because it’s a PIA to put the reef back in if you misjudged conditions up ahead. But I couldn’t stand seeing SOG drop below 6 knots."
On Thursday, the fleet moved out of the windy reach and into their ‘slot cars’ phase, where the wind backs and softens along the edge of the Eastern Pacific High pressure zone. Mike Cunningham reported sunny, warm conditions with 1-15 knots of breeze.
First-timer Philippe Jarmotte reached the front of the fleet with his Olson 30 Double Espresso, is stretching out a lead, and has reached the halfway point. "My plan was to wait for the wind to veer to jibe," he wrote yesterday, "but I realized the barometric pressure kept rising and was just 1-2 mbar to the center. I decided to jibe early, around midnight. Everything went south and for about 2 hours I worked to fix the mess, a lot of bow work primarily but constantly running aft and forward, port to starboard, all the while clipped on. I’m a little tired. We’re moving slowly; it looks like everyone is. I’m eating, drinking, working the boat, communicating and not finding much sleep, not for lack of trying. One little squid landed on the stern and sprayed ink all over. I saw a flying fish and checked the keel and rudder again. All clear, and I wouldn’t mind a bath. It’s good I’m alone here!"
Read much more from the racers and the race committee at www.sfbaysss.org/shtp2018.
The fleet has the Pacific High to the north of them, and the elongated high-pressure system is dipping toward the southeast. The more northerly racers have taken a sharp turn to port to flee from it. Meanwhile, a tropical storm, Emilia, has formed far, far away, well south of Baja, and is predicted to track to the northwest, but should not impact our intrepid singlehanders.