0330 PDT – The July 5th start of the Transpac Race was a good one. We had about 12 knots at the start and the wind held on a long starboard tack toward the West end of Catalina Island. We made a few short tacks to get around the West end about 2.5 hours after starting.
At 100 feet in length with a canting keel, Alfa Romeo pulled away from the fleet quickly. Samba Pa Ti, one of the four TP 52s led the way in our group and on Flash we were second to round the West end. The Santa Cruz 70’s were just ahead of us so we were all mixing it up on the shorts tacks up the coast of Catalina.
After Catalina, the fleet cracked sheets a bit and started heading about 210 degrees magnetic. We held onto Samba Pa Ti pretty well in this stability sailing. At one point in the night, Samba, Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus and us were all within about five boat lengths.
The first night was cold and a bit rough with wind speed in the low to mid 20’s and short steep waves. We were all pretty wet and uncomfortable. My daughter Allie’s boots were soaked and her feet were cold so I filled her boots up with warm water from the kettle and then drained them. This did not make them any dryer but they were warm and she really liked that little trick.
As Monday came around, the fleet started to spread out a bit, the wind moderated and clocked and life got a bit smoother. We shifted to the Jib Top reacher early in the morning and by midday Monday we had a flat reaching spinnaker up. It was pretty nice to have a spinnaker up within 24 hours of the start.
With the more eased sailing, Samba took off on us. They probably have some pretty nice reaching sails for those angles. Also, they are set up lighter than Flash in displacement so once the wind began to ease and clock, that was good for Samba.
Life onboard Flash is good. No major problems. We have been eating our freeze dried Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Terriyaki. The weather looks like the wind will get a bit lighter (10-12 knots) over the next 24 hours then start a slow build after that into the trades. The wind is clocking slowly over this period also.
We saw a few whales off the coast but not nearly as many as we did in the race from SF to LA a few weeks ago. That is mainly because we are sailing perpendicular to the coast and most of the whales swim along the coast.
The moon is fairly full and even thought we are still under the marine layer, we have good visibility on deck at night. This makes the long night watches a lot better.
That’s all for now.
You can follow the fleet by going to www.transpacrace.com and click on the Tracker.