Hula Girl- Friday

We are finally headed to Hawaii. After months of work on the boat, we get to go sailing!!

With 2 reefs in the main and the #4 up the tender SC 50 got a good start in front of my home club of 32 years and we tacked and crossed the fleet heading for the ebb tide and the Golden Gate.

Morpheus ( a Schumacher 50) had a bit more stability and took over the lead for a while but as soon as we cracked sheets a bit the Hula Girl was off.

The night was breezy, 25-30 most of the night and our top speed was 21.3. I could not believe a boat from 1980 could go that fast with at #4, genoa staysail and two reefs. About 0200 with a bit of moon shining through the fog, to help, we set the blast reacher and then at 0600 we set the Jib top. The scene of the night was very cool, rugged and rough, but cool. The moon made a silver shin to the water and the waves were big and cresting so it was very impressive to those who have not been to seas in a sailboat. The wind has moderated to 20 and lifted to 340 so we are not hitting the big speeds any more. Looks like we did ok with our group during the first night.

I am downloading today’s grib now to see if there are any changes but from yesterdays grib, it looks to me like we are all having a tough time getting far enough south. Some people look like they want to cut the corner a bit. Or maybe they don’t want to but they don’t have certain sails. That is what is tough to figure out in ocean racing and even tougher when you have all different sizes and designs racing each other. I spent exactly two minutes figuring out range and bearing to three of our competitors. that’s enough at this point.

Life onboard is good but it has been rough. Water got everywhere as you can imagine in 30 true. My sailing instructions and communications plan got soaked so I am going to have to try to resurrect them when we get the warmer weather and start running.

Allie cooked us dinner (beef stew with peas and potatoes) and has been grinding the main. That’s right, grinding the main for the guys. She is a trouper. No seas sickness onboard! Ralfie and I took the first headsail change on the bow just so the young guys can’t say we made them do all the bad jobs. But that may have been our last, too.

So now is the time for me to do my navigator thing for a couple of hours then try to get a nap. Not a lot of sleep last night.

In closing I want to say that I am thinking about my good friend and shipmate, Mark Rudiger, together we won the 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race as skipper and navigator, and with whom I have spent countless hours in the nav station looking at gribs, tweaking gribs, etc. Rudi tough me everything I know about Ocean Racing from a strategy standpoint. Right know Rudi is fighting another battle with cancer. I know how he fights…looks nice, acts nice, but is very intense and very competitive. I know Rudi will succeed in this race too! Good on you Rudi!

Paul Cayard