Monday morning shows much of the same as Sunday on the leaderboard, but there are some very major developments occurring on the race course which threaten to significantly impact the overall rankings in this fascinating 20th edition of the Pacific Cup. Most notably, the northerly boats in the first wave of starters have sailed into a large area of very light winds and hit the brakes. Furthermore, the Friday starters have proven to get off to a quicker start than predicted and are storming towards the top of the overall Pacific Cup leaderboard. Overall PHRF and Pac Cup leader Green Buffalo was sailing at less than four knots this morning.
Also up north and showing reduced boat speeds are the top cruising boat and still 2nd on line honors, Outremer, as well as the leading boat in the DH2/ Mount Gay Rum division, Douglas Pilhaja's J/105 Abstract. As these northerly boats all take their first major hitch south on a port gybe, they will begin to consolidate with the more southerly boats in the fleet, who are still on starboard and rumbling towards Hawaii, albeit still fairly slowly, though comparatively quicker than their northerly rivals. If the most southerly boats can reach the strongest breeze on the course and the northerly boats remain slow, this most recent development could again threaten to blow the race wide open.
With lead boat, the experimentally-rated A Fond le Girafon slowing to just 4 knots or so for the last day, their ETA into Kaneohe is getting pushed further and further back, while far behind them the Mills 68 Prospector - the fastest boat in the entire fleet - is cruising along at a steady 14+ knots as of this writing. Doing what modern mini-maxi's do, the big Mark Mills designed yacht owned by the Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners has already blazed a path past all of the Wednesday and Thursday starters and should soon begin overhauling the first wave of starters in wholesale fashion. With most of the first wave of starters in the southerly pack at around the halfway mark and Prospector just 400 miles astern, it now looks like a Friday starter may well be the first boat into Kaneohe. Prospector is currently correcting out to 2nd overall in the ORR divisions and 2nd in the BMW of San Rafael E Division. Top honors for ORR and E division currently belongs to pre-race favorite Pyewacket, the famous Alan Andrews designed sled owned by Roy Pat Disney and sailing with internationally acclaimed crewmembers such as navigator Tom Addis, VOR stud Stu Bannatyne and 5-time Olympic medalist Torben Grael.
Again proving why one-design racing is so thrilling to watch, much of the Express 27 fleet appears to be sailing within sight of one another with the top four boats seemingly playing musical chairs on the leaderboard; it's that close. We have a new leader in the DH1/ Pau Maui Vodka division in Alternate Reality, as Loose Cannon and Fired Up! also find themselves on the podium at the moment while pre-race favorite Motorcycle Irene is in a dog fight in this competitive fleet and currently sails in 4th place, though all positions are still up for grabs. Rebecca Hinden's Express 27 Bombora, which is sailing three-up in the Coral Reef Sailing Apparel A division still remains ahead of all of the doublehanded Express 27's on handicap, but with her slightly more northerly position, she should soon be passed by some of the more southerly boats who are sailing more than a knot faster to contest for overal Express 27 honors.
Benjamin Rummen's Farr 1220 The Fugitive remains in a steady first place in the Weems & Plath B division, though just a handful of hours on corrected time over her pursuers, which are tightly clustered together. The Swan 46 Free, Grand Soleil 50 Alessandra, Davidson 44 Imagine and Farr 44 Companera are all essentially tied on corrected time, with everything still to play for. Taking a conservative, middle of the road approach, this fleet should be slow and steady towards the finish. Squared back and running deep, this should be a low-and-slow drag race to the barn in Kaneohe with little chance for a major tactical home run to blow the division open. The other fleet of Wednesday starters, the Alaska Airlines C division is living up to the pre-race hype with Dean Treadway's Farr 36 Sweet Okole virtually tied on corrected time with Phil Wampold's J/92 Zaff, who is sailing neck and neck with the Hobie 33 Aloha and the Evelyn 32-2 Poke and Destroy. As the breeze continues to move aft and this becomes a true downwind race, Zaff will have her work cut out for her to run deep angles in the light-to-moderate trades that are forecast to the finish. The big questions will be whether Okole can leg out on her rivals, if Zaff can keep up, and if the smaller, lighter Hobie 33 and Evelyn 32 can make gains.
In the Pasha Hawaii D division, J World's Cazan's early flyer to the south looked brilliant in the short-term, while her more northerly rivals were becalmed, but once they picked up the breeze, they have accelerated into the lead as Cazan has faded. Gregory Mullins' Farr 52 Zamazaan and her crew, which includes several professional sailors, has jumped out to a big lead in division, while J World's Hula Girl is off their port quarter, though sailing slightly slower and on a faster rated boat. It is a commendable effort from a group of pay-to-play sailors who are sailing their hearts out against the wicked up pro crew on Zamazaan. The J/120 Hokulani is rounding out the podium at the moment, while Chris Kramer's 32-foot rocketship Six Brothers continues to move up the leaderboard after struggling in the early stages. As the breeze continues to move aft, watch for Six Brothers to displace Hokulani on the leaderboard; at the moment, the two are virtually tied.
Quotes from the competitors:
Charles Devanneaux - A Fond le Girafon -
BRAVO to our French Team for winning the World Cup! We caught it live on Iridium as we were battling non-existant winds and drizzle: windless bubble! We had no choice but to get through that bubble in order to head straight to Hawaii. We gybed last night and today was a really slow day, with winds at 4 to 10 knots, and we kept on adjusting our sails all day. Sloooow…
We dined al fresco on the patio with foie gras and a Beychevelle from our Captain’s wine cellar: good for the body, good for the mind. We put everything away, organized all the rooms in the house, cleaned-up and even did some laundry.
Last night we had squalls, rain, weird gusts of wind and there were some very dark grey clouds. We also broke a tack-line which means one of our spinnakers will e useless for the remainder of the race. But the sunrise was really pretty and topped by a rainbow.
We want to go full speed again, at night, under the stars with Moby or U2 in the background.
We expect to arrive in Kaneohe later than anticipated: sometime on Thursday but it all depends on when we get the turbo going again. At least, it looks like the last 2 days should be fast.
Wayne Zittel - J World's Hula Girl -
We are into day 4 of the 2018 Pacific Cup aboard J/World's Hula Girl, and it's pretty different out here than it was on our last report. Yes, we made it through the low pressure that blocked our path and slowed our progress towards the tropics. We punched out the other side, and finally, finally started moving. We were sailing pretty tight with the big #1 jib for the morning, then the breeze began veering and we got into the jib top for a bit, then (woo-hoo), a spinnaker. And life was good and we were scooting towards Hawaii at a steady 12 knots.
Did you catch the past tense? Alas, in the late afternoon our A3 spinnaker decide it had had enough, and poof. The head blew off the sail and she ripped along both tapes, so we dragged the pieces aboard. A quick change to the Code 0 with Genoa Staysail has kept us moving nicely, but the A3 was going to be an important sail for the next couple of days. We also lost our wind instruments... well, they are still up at the top of the mast, just not working and sending the info to our computer! We have a replacement and will get up there in a day or two, but for now it's kind of liberating to be sailing in dinghy mode! And we are hardly roughing it given all the other electronics we have aboard. We are a ways off from navigating to Hawaii as they did the early days of racing to Hawaii: head south until the butter melts, then sail West until you hear ukulele music coming over the AM radio, then you know you are close...
As of this morning, we have climbed into second place. Zamazaan did a great job negotiating the light conditions and came out of it about 15 miles ahead of us. We spent the day slowly pulling on them, but we owe them a good amount of time so it's going to be tough to come back from our deficit. Meanwhile, the other J/World boat Cazan apparently thinks they are a big boat.... they dove south with all the super sleds. That, or maybe Paul was feeling a bit too far from Mexico! Bold move, seeing how they were winning when they split from the pack. Will it pay? You'll have to stay tuned...
Life onboard is good. I was worried that some of the crew might be losing it earlier when were were just drifting in circles. Russ (who builds satellites or something like that) was asking for aluminum foil this morning... I was worried he was going to make a hat to keep 'them' from reading his mind, but alas he was just applying a fix to a stripped bolt. It's middle of the night out here right now (quiet time for me to get these reports together) and we are still moving nicely (but the wave pattern is a bit lumpy and we are lurching all around the place as we skip from wave to wave). It's still a bit cool out, but definitely warming.
Ok, that's it for this report. More soon.
Cal 40 Highlander - ”Today is going to be a long day!
Had a beautiful sail through the night - spinnaker up and making good progress in perfect sailing conditions, then the wind started to die down as we approached dawn. It was a gray day first and the weather routing software showed it was time to make a turn southwards as we were going to completely run out of wind if we stayed our course. So we executed a gybe and are trying to work our way southwards in about 3 knots of wind - makes for very difficult sailing. (Yes, it's harder to sail in light winds than in strong winds!) So all today we have been slowly progressing southwards, slowly being the operative word! However, it is warm and sunny and we have been taking advantage of the conditions to do housekeeping. The insides of the boat look habitable now, we have fresh air running through the boat cleaning out the mustiness of the week!
We should be half way there today, but now it looks like we will have our half-way party tomorrow. The forecast shows the wind starting to increase and we might hit the trade winds late tomorrow or early Tuesday - man, we hope so!
We are all dressed in fresh clean clothes and feeling much better for it. The spirit is good and we are well fed. Today's dinner is meatballs and spaghetti. last night was lamb chops and potatoes - we are eating well!
Today's report showed that we are still in second, but Green Buffalo is pulling away from us - but that is because he is in much stronger winds. He still has to cross the hole, so we are not out of the game!
The report also stated "looks like a long-ish race - use water wisely!" We are in very good shape regarding water, but are not wasting any! We use saltwater for washing dishes, cooking rice and pasta, heating prepared food and for cleaning. We don't waste fresh water.
Well that's today on Highlander - all's going well, just wish we had more wind - here's for tomorrow.
Columbia 57 Angelique - Andy Kurtz
As a result of the sails slating for days the main sail out-haul wire parted yesterday and we had to Mcgyver a repair yesterday afternoon.
Last night we finally found the wind we need to make my boat move.
That was just a few hours after we had our first school of Dolphins surround the boat. They came from the west and spent about 15 minutes playing on our bow wave to the delight of the Angelique crew.
(we have video)
We are now reaching at about 8-9 knots healed over around 15 - 20 degrees and my crew is finding all the fun things that living on a slope creates.. like not being able to stay on the toilet, (a good invention for cruising boats would be a toilet seat belt and keeper to hold the seat from sliding sideways) and like needing two people to open a cupboard, one to hold everything from flying out and the other to get the item you want.
the sun still hasn't broken through the overcast sky, although we have had a few short lived patched of blue sky... everyone looking forward to the overcast sky clearing and seeing the sun and stars
Hanse 505 Outremer - Emmanuel Sauquet -
We just popped a nice ruinard bottle to celebrate the world cup. Now that this is done, the medias in france will have space to speak about the other french teams winning, namely the three of us in the pac cup :)
What a way to follow the final.... iridium SMS, scripted from a french web site. thanks god to the unlimited plan .
wind is still not our friend here, but we are hopping eole will take pity of 6 french guys stranded in the middle of the pacific.
Evelyn 32-2 Poke and Destroy - Alex Simanis -
The northerly wind has filled in nicely for boats in Division C of the Pacific Cup, so gone are the days of wallowing along through sloppy, left-over waves.
As of 1700 hours on July 14, Poke and Destroy was in second place in their division, behind the J92 Zaff, from Canada.
Here is an update from skipper Alex Simanis, from onboard Poke and Destroy, via satellite phone on the morning of July 15:
Good morning! Big evening - I’m guessing we have a 20 to 25 knot northerly. The boat is scooting along at an easy 12 knots speed over ground. Everyone is stoked to have the big A2 spinnaker up and knocking off some miles.
We are experiencing a lack of sunshine, so as you can imagine, we are using a lack of instruments*. We used emergency battery powered running lights and only the Velocitek last night. It was super dark – no moon or stars.
We are really having a blast now. Hoping for some sunshine!