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!