Hula Girl Update

At 0830 this morning we had 50 miles to go and we had just got finished dealing with the morning squalls. They were pretty mild this morning. We were hoping for a bit more really, to give us a chance to pass the Raindrop for first to finish. Raindrop is the only boat ahead of us. They are just 36 feet long, racing in the double handed division which started about 5 days ahead of us. They have been out here for a while! Maybe they deserve to the honor of finishing first.

We had a good night including some white knuckle driving by yours truly in 28 knots of wind with the A4 up. Boat speed was a pretty steady 18 knots with peaks at 20. Again, I am impressed with how well this boat performs!

Amazingly, we had no major damage onboard during the race. Not a torn sail, not a broken batten, never got kelp on the keel or rudder. We did have some normal wear and tear and we did break one masthead spinnaker halyard that required Robbie Kane going up to the top of the mast to drop a new one in 20 knots of wind. He is a “pro” with a great future!

Molokai is in sight off to our left as we are aiming at Coco head on Oahu. The wind is just 14 knots as usual at this time of the morning. It will build a bit as the morning goes on.

With the finish to our voyage hours away, I am thinking about how this was just a dream a year ago. I have to admit, it was a lot more work and time consuming that I thought it would be. That was mostly my fault as I wanted to modify and improve the boat which created a huge amount of work for my friends. But the boat is a nice boat to sail.

My goals with this project were: to share a sailing adventure with my children, that none of us will ever forget. Also, the goal was to expose them to the great world of offshore sailing, the beauty of nature at sea, and the teamwork and camaraderie that is crucial to a winning team. Along with mine, I took four other outstanding young adults, all of whom thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have gained a lot out of it for sure. Mission accomplished.

I want to thank my whole crew; Allie Cayard who was a trouper, never missed a watch and lived with seven guys on a small boat for eight days. She ground the winches, trimmed the main and steered the boat at times. Allie will start her freshman year at the University of Colorado at Boulder this September. Danny Cayard, is the skipper of Hula Girl and learned tons on this trip. I think he and his friends could take the boat themselves next time. Danny is starting his sophomore year at Cal Poly San Luis. Mark Towill, Morning Light Alum, Hawaii native and Brown University sophomore; Robbie Kane, Morning Light Alum, already a top level bow man on the pro circuit at 23 years of age and University of Rhode Island Senior. We were very fortunate to have these two very well prepared and experienced young people on the Hula Girl. Thanks Morning Light-Roy and Robbie. Morgan Gutenkunst, Marin Catholic High School alum with Danny, Cameron and Allie, did a great job onboard with maintaining the running rigging, and is currently a Junior at Chico State; Cameron McCloskey also a senior at Chico State and 18 foot skiff sailing partner with Danny. For Danny, Allie and Cameron, this was their first offshore experience as well as first big boat sailing experience. Finally, my long time friend, Ralfie Steitz was the perfect partner for me as watch captain. Ralfie is the sailing coach at the US Merchant Marine Academy and is very used to working with young people. He is great at it!

I want to thank all those who worked on Hula Girl in the past few months, as well as the industry people who gave me great advice and products to optimize Hula Gil.

So this afternoon, we will finally taste that Mai Tai, the one we worked so hard for. It will probably taste pretty good. Might have to have a second one just to make sure of how good it is.

I am happy with myself for making this happen. For sure it cost some money, and for sure it took a lot of time, but as they say in the commercial: Priceless!

Paul Cayard

Hula Girl Update

26°N 149°W

Ralfie and I just came off watch from the best night of sailing we have experienced yet. The clouds have finally cleared and the stars couldn’t be brighter. With a blazing half moon all of our headlights have remained down below. The breeze has been very shifty which has kept us on our toes. I believe we gybed eight times in the last four hours. It’s now warm enough for us to sail in our board shorts and jackets, very comfortable conditions. Everyone is well rested and upbeat. Things couldn’t be better aboard the Hula Girl.

I must say for a boat well beyond its day, this thing flies! With such a long and narrow hull the boat likes to sail low and fast. At the moment we have 19 knots of wind and are surfing down waves at a comfortable 14.5 knots. It’s just incredible how responsive the boat is, especially as the breeze increases. Not bad for a boat that’s almost 10 years older than me.

This afternoon we were greeted by a few birds, our first sign of land. The breeze has been steadily increasing and shifting east, sure indications that we are quickly approaching Hawaii. This is very much a race, and we are pushing the boat hard to arrive at the finish as quickly as possible. But at the same time I am enjoying living in the moment and am not excited for it to end. I think often it’s so easy to be focused on the goal that we forget to take a deep breath and enjoy the journey itself. In what little time remains I know that we will all make the most of our time spent out here on the Pacific.

Aloha,
Mark Towill

Hula Girl Update

26° 33′ 149° 36′

540 miles to go
Sail changes, squall dodging, gybing

Continued 26° 20′ 150° 18′ 1130 HST

Things could not being going better really. The crew are all very enthusiastically enjoying the ride. The owner is too! In fact, that is the mission.

We are now solidly in the trades, 18 knots of wind from 060. We are currently making our last drive into the right corner. I have to be careful to leave room for a shift or increase of wind that may not be on the router. So I won’t be going to the corner, corner. Would be embarrassing to approach Oahu with a jib up! There is a right shift all the way down the course so it is advantageous to go West first, then head South.

The Hula Girl herself is in good shape. No major problems just typical wear and tear of chaffed sheets and worn hardware that occurs after a couple of thousand miles. The sails are all in good shape, knock on wood, not a tear to be reported. In fact, we have had the same spinnaker up for over three days now.

The kids are into the freeze dried. Some are talking of getting the blueberriess and granola for their dorms at college. Wait until they see what it costs. Other usual life activities are taking place, like the daily shower, teeth brushing, sun tan lotion, etc. No shaving yet so we will be an older looking young crew when we hit Kaneohe on Saturday afternoon.

As far as the race goes, looks to me like we are doing pretty well. But I have yet to try to calculate the handicaps. Greg Stewart gave me a paper on that but honestly I haven’t had time to look at it. My days are pretty busy trying to get the weather, run the router, update the polars, make a sail chart as we learn the boat, and still stand my watch. Ralfie has helped me out a lot there by covering for me one hour of most of my watches. That is the beautiful thing about getting a bit older; you just don’t need all that sleep.

My turn on deck now. I just woke up the only girl on the Hula Girl and we are headed up for our four hours. It is a beautiful afternoon, sunny, deep blue waves that the Hula Girl is sliding down at 12 knots. It has been such a pleasant surprise to see how well ‘The Girl’ performs. That first night in 28 knots of wind with the #4, GS and double reefed main, we hit 21 knots at 90 true wind angle. Would have never thought that possible in a boat like this. And now that we are downwind, the pedestal winch we installed is more than paying for its weight. People actually ask to grind and the trimming that gets done must be infinitely better than top handling.

My hat is off to Bill Lee, the designer of the Santa Cruz 50. She is a great performer in the ocean, comfortable inside (it is the Four Seasons compared to what I am used to) and she is 28 years old to
boot. Way ahead of her time!

PC

Hula Girl Update

28°N, 144°W

Life on board Hula Girl is at an all time high today. The crew awoke, some sailing, amid partly cloudy but beautiful blue skies this morning with the sun on the horizon. This was a great way to launch us into the second half of our journey.

As the morning progressed we sailed in variable winds of 9 to 14 knots with a very pleasant sea state. After a few gybes, we settled in for a long sail on starboard. For the first time since the start of the race we saw racing boats other than our own. The first was very far off in the distance and only hung in our sights for about an hour. Following the first sighting we saw another boat sailing at us on port. We crossed well in front of them and watched them gybe right behind us.

From the roll call this morning we figured out that this boat was a Sabre 42, so not in our class. We slowly extended away from them and watched them disappear over the horizon. With the warm tradewinds developing off our stern and the sun blazing, the crew was able to freshen up. Showers on the stern scoop for all brought new life and a fresher smell to the boat. With the wind forecasted to increase tonight, 16 to 18 knots, we spent the afternoon resting and preparing for some serious sailing. The boat is now quite clean and with our work completed a few crew tackled the music problem. After about an hour of tinkering with the stereo, the speakers finally started to put out some music and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

We spent the late afternoon and early evening leading up to dinner sailing right into the sunset with the easy listening of Bob Marley and Jack Johnson lightening the mood. To top off the day we sailed up behind another competitor and were within shouting distance. A Benateau 41.1 with their spinnaker up heading for the same destination, this gave us a chance to snap some pictures and have a nice chat on the radio. It was great to hear how their race was going and ended with a friendly request to save them some Mai Tais when we get there.

With good weather, good tunes and some even better company, we will sail through the night in hopes of another great day tomorrow.

Cheers,
Morgan Gutenkunst

HAT TRICK FOR CAYARD?

Almost a week into the 15th Pacific Cup, some of the earliest starters are preparing to hold their traditional halfway parties as they pass the 1035-miles-to-Hawaii mark. Following Sunday’s standings, Paul Cayard’s family performance on Hula Girl (San Francisco), moved them into first place overall. The crew sailed almost 300 miles in a single day, putting them on track to win several awards, such as the overall Pacific Cup trophy, the Division E trophy, and the Blue Water Sailing Family Trophy for “Fastest Family Afloat.”

Competition has grown for the Storm Trysail Club’s Team Trophy, awarded to the yacht club team of three boats performing best in their divisions and overall. Currently, a team from the Richmond Yacht Club (Richmond, Calif.) leads the scoring, consisting of Mark A. Moore’s Moore Havoc, Joshua Grass;’ Summer Moon and Dean Treadway’s Sweet Okole, all of which are doing very well in their divisions.

Official standings at http://www.PacificCup.org, which also has links to time-delayed satellite reports.

Hula Girl Update

28° 16’N 150° 26’W

It is going fast. The boat, the race, the dream. We are half way to Hawaii. The first two nights were cold, wet and high speed. Everyone was wet to the bone. Everything on the boat got soaked. We had a few minor fire drills. Mainsail down and Robbie up the mast to lead a new spinnaker halyard.

We went South, then we converted it to West. It has been foggy, then more overcast. Today, for the first time we had some glimpses of trade wind sailing. A bit of sun, deep blue water, flying fish and squid jumping out of the water. The breeze was up, the breeze was down. Now it is up again. We have had 30 knots and we have had 6 knots and all the sails to go with those conditions. No slating or drifting.

The Pacific Cup is a well thought out race; you have the worst conditions first and then it just gets better from there.

I have had my hands full standing a watch and trying to pay attention to the weather. Hopefully, we have played most of the important cards now and it is more about sailing the boat down the track we have chosen. With the luck of some 060 wind, I made a bit of a step to the South today from our position at roll call as I was a bit concerned about getting into the right corner (too close to the high pressure center), too hard and the wind getting to light. We are back on starboard in 050 wind direction and 5 knots. More winds and cruising into the night.

We have missed the full moon each night so far due to the overcast out here. Hopefully, tonight with the breaks in the clouds, the “stadium lights” will shine through and light up the field. That is one of the cool experiences about ocean racing and sailing at night in general.

We can’t help but to start to think about Hawaii and how exciting it will be to arrive there and what a feeling of accomplishment it will be..more so for the less experienced.

Time for a little chicken with rice and then on deck with my watch partner, Allie. We are swapping with Mark and Ralfie.

PC

12 Meter World Championship-Day 5-Final

Cannes

No wind today on the Bay of Cannes. We have been out here on the water since 0930 hoping for some wind, but nothing ever materialized just some rain.

So the 12 Meter World Championship is a non-event as you need to complete five races to have a series. The owners will get together tonight to see if there is a consensus to make the St. Tropez series next week count as the Worlds.

I am sorry we did not get to race more. It was very nice of Bill Koch to invite me here onboard Kiwi Magic. The fleet is very competitive and the racing extremely close. Unfortunately, I can not continue onto St. Tropez next week.

Paul

Correction – Bob’s Fisher’s recent book on the America’s Cup is called ‘An Absorbing Interest: The America’s Cup. A History 1851-2003’ and was published by Fernhurst Books
http://
wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-302847.html

RECORD SWAN FLEET ALL SET TO GO

With the Maxi fleet on its way home after their week-long regatta, the Piazza Azzurra and the Marina of Porto Cervo are now jam-packed with crews from the record breaking fleet of 116 Swans all completing registration and inspection procedures. Representing 17 nations and ranging in length from 36 to 112 feet the Costa Smeralda is set to witness another incredible display of sailing power. Amongst the crews are some of the most famous names in sailing from the America’s Cup and Olympics – including Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard.

The 14th edition of the biennial Rolex Swan Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the collaboration of Nautor’s Swan and Rolex as title sponsor, officially commences with tonight’s Skippers’ Briefing and Welcome Cocktail.

This year, the Rolex Swan Cup takes place from the 11th to the 17th of September. The programme includes five days of racing and throughout the week, the YCCS Race Committee will select a variety of race courses around the north-eastern coast of Sardinia and through the Archipelago de La Maddalena just to the north of Porto Cervo. Narrow straits, rocky outcrops, shifting winds and tight competition set against some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable, will test the crews’ nerve, skill and speed to the utmost.

The fleet participating at the Rolex Swan Cup will be split into four classes: Grand Prix, Classic, Swan 45 and Swan 601. The Grand Prix and Classic yachts will race under a special handicap system designed specifically for the Swan fleet, called NSR (Nautor Swan Rating). One of the peculiarities of the NSR is its ability to give a rating allowance to yachts whose crews genuinely live and sleep on board their yacht for the duration of the regatta. This allowance is aimed at encouraging “family entries” that carry extra weight and personal belongings while racing. The Swan 45 and Swan 601 are One-Design classes and will race without handicap, first home being the winner.

Thirty yachts are entered in the Swan 45 One-Design Class – a record gathering for the class that will guarantee some close-fought competition. Reigning Swan 45 World Champion Massimo Ferragamo from the USA, hopes to sail his Bellicosa to another victory, relying on an all-American crew with the exception of himself. He is well aware, though, that this will be a very demanding assignment: “It will be a fantastic regatta, with 30 boats on the starting line. It will be great fun, none of us has ever sailed with so many Swan 45s before. In the last Rolex Swan Cup, we competed against 20 boats and that already provided lots of excitement. So I have a feeling that with 10 extra boats we will have some rather thrilling starts and mark roundings. The fleet includes many veterans of this class and some new entries, producing an interesting and unpredictable mix.” Regarding his expectations, Ferragamo hopes to do well and is adamant that his crew will do its best, however he believes that “This regatta will be more challenging than Key West, as I believe that American boats do better in the US and European boats perform well in Europe – in any sport, competing on your home grounds is a key factor to success.” Bellicosa’s crew is the same one that competed at the Swan 45 Worlds held in Key West last January with the exception of two sailors. Although Ferragamo doesn’t have a favourite condition, he would not mind moderate to strong winds: “In Key West our team did really well with strong winds and, provided I don’t mess up by broaching the boat, we should do well in such conditions.”

Another entry to watch closely among the Swan 45 fleet, will be Stefano Polti’s Mintaka from Italy, winner, as part of Team Sardegna, of the Sardinia Rolex Cup/ISAF Offshore Team World Championship Trophy held in Porto Cervo last June.

The competition among the Swan 601 One-Design fleet is also expected to be fierce. Pre-race favourite Moneypenny, owned and helmed by American Jim Swartz, boasts a very talented and experienced crew which includes Round the World Race and America’s Cup veterans Kimo Worthington and Dee Smith and accomplished offshore and grand prix sailor Mark Rudiger. The team has already spent a few days training and Dee Smith feels he’s ready for the first gun to fire: “We arrived in Porto Cervo a few days ago and have been preparing for the regatta, spending several hours on the water each day. It is such a beautiful location, the team spirit is great and we are ready to race. The 601 Class will be competitive as there are some brilliant sailors onboard all of the yachts taking part – it could really be anybody’s race.”

Indeed, Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuordileone will prove a tough competitor, with sailing legend Paul Cayard calling the tactics. Sir Peter Ogden’s Spirit of Jethou will also be on the starting line of the Swan 601 fleet, along with Torben Tornquist’s Artemis, which lists Russell Coutts amongst its crew.

Four new Swan 100s will be making their debut at the Swan Rolex Cup, including Fantasticaaa from Italy, which just competed in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and will therefore vie for the Combined Maxi-Swan Prize for the best performing Swan competing in both the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. Other Swans eligible for this trophy include Flying Dragon (ITA).

Full Article at www.regattanews.com