Well, I thought I'd write a 'blanket newsletter' to bring things up to date - it seemed a good idea an hour ago since the seas had calmed down a bit - but we're back into crashing & slamming about. It's not too easy using the laptop on a lurching boat - so I hope you'll forgive me for the non-personal approach!!
I went to let a reef out a short while ago & a wave laughed at me as it crashed over the boat and came shooting over the cockpit awning, drenching me from head to toe!! My hair has so much salt in it from frequent wettings like that that it's getting curly!! We're rushing along at 6.5-7.5 knots with 2 reefs under mainly grey skies in quite big seas - being in the NE Trades means the seas are able to build up to easily 8-10 ft or more. Nereida gets picked up & dropped off a wave, slamming her side into the water with a great bang! A good test of a sturdily-built boat!! We're presently headed due N insofaras that's possible, with Hermann (Windpilot) in control - so as the wind shifts, so does our course, but generally we keep our northerly heading. At least the water is still fairly warm at 26C.
I decided to head north sooner rather than later, since the summer was moving on, but waited for the annual outrigger canoe races held in the bay - the finish line ended at 'Nereida'! I visited the old lighthouse Reserve nearby - beautiful tropicbirds (both red- & white-tailed), boobies, frigatebirds and shearwaters, and breeding albatross, were flying around this lovely bit of coastline. As I was leaving, I sailed along the Na Pali coast for a time to see its dramatic scenery (Jurassic Park etc, etc were filmed there).
Most of the rest of the Fleet were ahead, having left in 2s and 3s over the days before. I left with Canadian 'Haulback' and another boat 'Seafire' (US) is close behind - both are headed to the Strait of Juan de Fuca whereas I'm headed to B.C. further north, if I don't manage SE Alaska (possibly Sitka) - my final destination is very weather-dependent!
The weather has been typically strong Trades - but quite different sailing from the Race because it has, so far, been upwind & so much 'bumpier' - very, very wet sailing & far more difficult to move around the boat without getting thrown around & bruised!! But there have been many sunny spells when I could lounge in the cockpit & relax, despite frequent seawater dousings! And lots of heavy rainsqualls also.... keeps me on my toes with reefing etc!
The Pacific High is, yet again, not behaving as it normally does, but the hope is that by the time we get to above 40N we can 'turn right' in W/SW winds over a newly-formed High towards B.C/Alaska, so long as we can maintain our northerly track to avoid being headed earlier.
In the meantime, the ex-race fleet keeps in touch with each other with daily rollcalls - so we know where everyone is - see www.sfbaysss.org/transpac/transpac2006 for 'the return' details (and for my daily race logs if you missed those). My position is reported daily by me, as usual, on www.winlink.org - Position Reporter - KC2IOV if you want to keep track of me.
Best wishes from the bumpy Pacific (what a misnomer!!),