Just over three hundred miles to go before entering the Juan de Fuca Strait. The last few days have seen a lot of action. We had some beautiful sailing with fair winds, stars at night and sunshine by day.
On day 10 we found ourselves in the same spot of the Pacific Ocean as Kinetic V, this year's Vic-Maui winner. Quite amazing after so much time at sea to find ourselves in the same spot. They came buy to say hello at night before the disappeared again over the horizon.
We had almost three days of incredible spinnaker sailing. The winds were perfect and the waves small. Each day at 5:30 we get together for happy hour on deck. We have a drink, listen to some tunes and chat with the other crew. We run two watches and other than during the watch change we have little interaction with each other. Happy hour is a great time to exchange stories, share a laugh and unwind after a long day at sea.
One watch would then go down for a few hours of sleep while the other watch stays up and sails the boat. At night we work four hours on four hours off, while during day time we do six hour shifts. While we've now run out of fresh veggies we still have apples. Every other day we make fresh bread and bagels and a couple times we've baked brownies! We are quite blessed to have a few chefs on board churning out fantastic meal after meal.
Approaching the coast in a couple days, we are now shrouded in dense fog, so thick we can't see more than a boat length ahead. Our eyes are on the radar and we hope to get the sun back before too long. We estimate to be in Vancouver on August 17th, late in the afternoon.
As we are nearing the center of the great Pacific High, winds dropped and the engine ran for a few hours. Just as we got ready for a swim, the wind picked up unexpectedly. Sails go up and once again we are propelled by the wind alone! The sailing conditions have been perfect for almost 24 hours now: So close to the centre of the high, that is amazing! Frank was put on leave as everybody wanted to drive the boat.
Last night String Theory glided effortlessly under a star light sky, following the Milky Way north. Saturn and Mercury on our port side and Jupiter on the starboard we are slicing through the water leaving a sparkling wake behind.
Passing through 1,000 NM north of Maui and Eric's birthday was reason to celebrate and the crew was given double rations of rum during Captain's hour! For dinner we had salmon filet, roasted potatoes in a olive oil and balsamic sauce, sweet corn and Cesar salad! In lieu of a birthday cake we baked chocolate chip brownies.
On day 8 we still have fresh vegetables: Romaine salad kept really well in our fruit hammock. Tomatoes and Peppers are still going strong (no need for refrigeration). The bread did not get moldy and we will be using the last bit of it today. After that it will be wraps and fresh baked bread for the second half of the voyage.
A bit of sail training today with crew over board practice and heavy weather sailing skills in rougher seas as a squall went through. Great fun, and the off watch must love us now for all the racket this caused below deck. Good times, half way point expected in the next 24 hrs. Team ST out.
After 5 days of beating into strong winds and boisterous seas, conditions eased off a bit. At 15 kts breeze, the boat is still doing a good 8 kts on course to Vancouver. Yesterday we rigged the monitor wind vane. This is a self steering device that keeps the boat on a set angle to the wind. It is an ingenious mechanical device the solely relies on wind power to steer the boat. It works so beautifully that we decided to give it a name: So now Frank is doing all the hard work while the crew is lounging on deck, enjoying a cold drink during happy hour or shooting the breeze.
The last few days saw some confusion around what's up for dinner: On the menu was Thai chicken, chicken ties and chicken pie. It all sounds much the same, especially when pronounced by a Swiss. Many laughs were had over whether we will prepare a "pot pie chicken Thai" or was it a "chicken Thai pie". Beer & GnT for happy hour. The fishing line was out yesterday but no luck yet.
To date this has been a much windier and wetter return from Maui to Vancouver than in previous years. Or is it just that I tend to forget that the first few days are always a hard slog into the wind, with spray flying over the deck, keeping the crew in the cockpit wet most of the time.
Luckily it was warm and getting into soggy, saltwater drenched cloths at the start of each to watch (shift) was not as bad as it sounds. Bear in mind, this boat was slimmed down to a "race machine" so no dodger or anything else that was not needed for the race team.
Crew is happy though and all systems are running in the green. A couple boats had to return to Hawaii either due to technical medical issues. One boat is still sorting out rig issues in Honolulu. We are now 800 NM north of Maui, about a third of the distance to Vancouver. Aloha!
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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