Repairs While Racing

Stuff happens. That, or a saltier version, is a watchword among all who take their boats long distances, and the Pacific Cup (the FUN Race to Hawaii) certainly gets its share of "stuff."

The usually blustery first few days of the race, plus the long run to the finish can take its toll on even the best-prepared boats. Over the years, this race has seen many situations arise, from lost steering, to electrical failures (and a few fires) to mast and rigging failures. The mandatory Safety courses emphasize how to respond to these, and unforseen, situations, and our preparation seminars include a focus on these issues as well. Boats are required to carry an array of tools and spares deemed useful in repair situations.

The 2018 Pacific Cup has seen a reasonable share of "stuff" on the boats.  We're pleased that our participants have been able to respond appropriately to their issues without requiring someone to come to their rescue.  A few of which we are aware:

  • Green Buffalo had a steering cable failure. Switched to autopilot while they repaired it and carried on racing, taking first in their division and leading the Pac Cup for many days. Later, their vang pulled off the mast. Also repaired.
  • Highlander, another Cal 40, suffered a broken boom. While this effectively ended their contention for race honors, they were able to continue to race and make good progress under headsails alone (just three miles from finish at this writing)
  • Angelique: Another broken boom. Again, continuing under headsails and making 7 knots at this writing.
  • Hokulani: Damage to bowsprit, pulpit and lifelines.  We're interested in what the heck happened...
  • Abstract: While in the middle of posting a very saucy 25-mile check-in, a diagonal shroud on Abstract's rig parted, potentially weakening the mast support. A chastened team reduced sail and proceeded to a nice fourth place finish, not affected by the minor mishap.
  • Rage: This Wylie 70 out of Portland began to exhibit some rig issues only a few days into the race. Ultimately, they lost a spreader, compelling them to significantly reduce sail.  They arrived in Kaneohe in great spirits, however
  • Name Withheld: Sometimes the issues can be a little laughable. The toilet seat came off the head.  Not the end of the world, but when a portable light took a tumble and dropped its batteries into the head, the entire mechanism had to be disassembled to retrieve them and avoid a clog!
  • Knot Behaving: Steering problems ("a loud bang") led them to deploy their nicely-made emergency rudder. Its tiller failed and so they are steering with a tried-and-true technique of pulling the rudder to port or starboard with lines.
  • Retired: Sometimes turning back is the best move. CompaƱera with a leaky rudder seal, and Limitless and Cetacea, each with steering issues, made the prudent decision to turn back early in the race.

While "steering issues" dominate the list of issues arising (which is typical for a race with a windy leg), a boat's challenges can arise from any of its systems. We're pleased and impressed that our participants have risen to the challenges presented to them and have responded in a sailorly manner.

We're sure many smaller issues have been left off this list.  It's a list to which nobody aspires, but there IS a certain satisfaction to dealing with what comes up and carrying on.