Date: July 11, 2000 - 1621 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 1
Oh well, oh well, oh well.
We were promised 30kn of wind and we got 3. At most. So, we are hanging out approximately 40 miles offshore, bopping on the waves with almost no speed. We had a nice start with some 15kn of wind and went out the Gate in style: Well heeled over, people sitting on the rail, the boat being washed thoroughly with the waves bouncing over the bow. That fun ended a few hours later. Since then we are trying to keep the boat aligned towards Hawaii, but it works only to a limit. Sad part of the story is (at least for us) that one boat made it through the hole and is now enjoying good wind. They are so far ahead by now, it seems almost impossible to ever catch up with them.
The night was calm, too. Completely black, no moon, no stars, since it was fully overcast. And it was warm. Just the regular triple underwear, plus shirt, sweater, jacket and foulies, and you started to almost feel warm. With nothing to do on board, it was a long night. The comfort was topped off by drizzle setting in. Today it is still completely overcast. Almost no wind waves, but long swells of 6-8 feet. No sun to be seen. It is gonna be another boring night.
The only excitement came up last night, when a freighter came uncomfortably close by. When you can't move, you prefer to see those things only from the distance. But we talked to them on the radio and were pleased to find out that they could see us visually and on the radar. You never know; they might be on auto-pilot.
Current position : N 37deg 31.4min, W123deg 14.1 min, Course: 190deg magnetic, Speed: 3kn (Yeehaa, we are almost flying!)
We are ok so far - what else can we do ? - and are waiting for the good things to come. Current prediction: we will be in Hawaii in 47 days!!!!
from the crew of the Cirrus.
Date: July 12, 2000 - 1820 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 2
This is gonna be a looooooong ride! There is still almost no wind. We are doodeling along at 1-2 knots. There is no way, we can be in Hawaii at the expected time. If things turn better right now, we will be two days late. Otherwise, the latest estimate says the trip will take 55 days!
We are jealously watching the boat La Diana, which has pulled ahead by an increadible 200 miles, and are still enjoying good wind. Not that we are doing badly: As of this morning we are #1 in our division, both for the last day and for the period from start. That helps us a bit to keep the mood up. If you looked at the web site (www.pacificcup.org) you may have seen that we are by far the most southern boat in our division. We are betting on being rewarded lateron by some good wind. The High this year is somewhat srewed up. Either we are right, or we will need to prepare for the xmas holidays.
Current position at 16:35h PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) is 36deg 52.3 N, 123deg56.5 W, course 206deg magnetic, speed (ha, ha, ha) 2.3kn. We are now going wing-on-wing, i.e. the foresail is held out on a pole. This does not help much for speed, but it stabilises the boat and, most importantly, allows us to go in the correct direction. If there only were more wind....
This morning, some of us saw a school of whales go by. We settled for Blue whales, as they had a little hump and a small fin near the end (?).
Finally the sun came through. It is now the type of wheather, which we expected to find near Hawaii. Except that we have no wind. Swells also have subsided for the most part. Maybe 3-4 feet now. Very calm overall.
Everything and everyone in good shape. Food is excellent. If only we had wind.
from the crew of Cirrus.
Date: July 13, 2000 - 1920 PDT
Subject: Cirrus update for July 13
We are getting a little frustrated with the lack of wind. Every where you look is glassy water. We found out today that we are still close enough to receive A.M. and a little F.M. radio (pretty depressing). The one thing that is keeping us going is all the great food. However, maybe next time cabbage should not be included, these guys are killing me.
We saw another whale today. Everyone else says it was a Blue Whale, but I think it was a Humpback. Maybe we'll have to look it up when we get back to settle the argument.
One good thing about the lack of wind is that we all are getting plenty of sleep and there is plenty of time to catch on our reading.
Yesterday we were in first place, judging by Ulli's program, but today we fell back to last. I guess that's what you get for only going 24 miles in a day.
Since I first started writing this letter, the wind has shifted. We were able to put up the spinaker and blooper. Our speed at this time is 6.9 knots and we are actually surfing a little. Things are looking up.
We hope that all is going well. We are all thinking about you constantly.
The Cirrus Crew (Nate)
36deg 13min N 124deg 27W, course 187deg magn, speed: 7.0kn !!!!!!
Date: July 14, 2000 - 0727 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 4
What a difference a day makes!
Yesterday morning we were still sitting on the water like a lead duck in a street puddle. Beginning in the afternoon wind came up, we raised the light spinnacker, plus the blooper (a companion to the spinnacker)and zipped away. Lateron, wind got stronger and we raised the heavier kite. Blooper had to come down, because it got a hole. Will repair asap. Nevertheless, even without blooper we reached stretches of 8+ knots! What a feeling to hear the roar of our stern wave, and to see the trail of sparkling bioluminescence, we leave in the water. Finally we are doing what we went out for. Adrenalin was flowing again.
Unfortunately, this good wind may leave us less time to enjoy the excellent dinners, which Valerie had packed. And it sure is plenty. We freeze some surplus for the extra days, which we are facing.
The night was warm, quite unusual for our current positiion, and we still got full cloud cover, but the moon and even some stars peeked through.
The wind has picked up even more, and we are now doing 7.2kn with the white sails alone.
Current position at 6.38am, July 14th: 34deg 54min N, 125deg 23min W. course 216deg magnetic, speed 7.4kn, wind 15kn, sea waves 2-3feet
We have not seen any boat or ship during the last 24h.
We haven't heard today's standing report yet. Wonder what the other boats did, and what our standing is. Did our southern strategy pay off?
Stay tuned on this channel,
for the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 15, 2000 - 2020 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 5, July 15th, 2000
Life can be so good!
This is probably why this is called a fun race to Hawaii. We sailed under a blue sky, filled with puffy white cloud, but still letting the sun peek through it often enough that we reached for the heavy sun tan lotion. It was a warm day; first time that we were up in shorts and T- shirts. Some good waves at 3 - 6 feet, with unfortunately only moderate wind of 5kn, at best 10 kn. We are sailing along like on a Sunday afternoon family ride, but are still making decent progress.
The day was marked by a few highlights: We took our first on-deck- saltwater shower (honestly, we desperately needed it. I don't want to go into details in this family oriented e-mail ....) It proofed my point that a saltwater shower taken in the middle of the ocean is as refreshing as a freshwater shower, and does not leave any of this itchy feeling which you get after going swimming at the beach. We felt so much better after it. We then discovered that one strand of the shrouds had come loose, and was peeking into the air, waiting to rip some sails. So Nate had to go into the bosun chair and was pulled halfway up the mast, while we were sailing along at 7kn (We had Joel at the helm for this job). We took plenty of pictures to document this event. He did very well and is now our hero for all jobs in the space above deck and below waterline (he did some good job a few weeks ago in diving to fix some problem at the propeller). And in the evening we got out the great Lasagne and our red wine Chateau du Card Board, and had a great dinner in the mellow evening conditions discussing boat essentials like polars and such.
Worst thing to happen today was the breakage of our coffeemaker. We'll have some fuzzy coffee in the future.
We caught up with some of our competitors, but are still not doing too well. The weathermap is showing some funny conditions, and we are afraid that going south in this year was not the best choice. But nothing we can do about right now.
Current position: 32deg 13min N, 129deg 32min W, course 220deg magn, speed 7.4kn. Wind 5kn, sea: 3-6 feet, warm
I am not sure that we really want to reach Hawaii. What if we simply kept going?
from the crew of the Cirrus,
Date: July 16, 2000 - 2020 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 6, July 16, 2000
Life can be so cruel. After this glorious day yesterday, we ran again into the doldrums. No wind! Once again puddling along at a knot or two, we went through the night and the whole day. The sky was again fully overcast until about dinner time at 6pm today, when we got some nice sunshine. The lightweight spinnacker was up all night and day, but we could barely keep it up. It was flapping all the time. Wind direction is strange also. Unexpectedly, we had to do our first jibe of the race. Next jibe is probably tomorrow. Planning jibes in daily intervals might seem extremely funny for someone used to buoy races, where you may be doing jibes only minutes apart.
We noticed that the fast boats are going even farther south than we did. They have an unfair advantage, knowing about the troubles, we are in. Good news is that our competitors further north all had a very bad day, and we actually did the best day's run of our division. Maybe our strategy does pay off after all? However, we still have to catch up some 100 miles to go at least to third place. With today's weather, this is not likely to happen any time soon.
One boat, Goliard, the communication boat, opted out of the race and started motoring. They will be counted as DNF (did not finish). We may have to consider this also. If we don't arrive in Hawaii until the 27th, we will be counted as DNF anyway.
For those of us on watch at about 4am this morning was shown a copy of the movie "Lunar eclipse". unfortunately, the sky was fully overcast, and we only got a glimpse of this lunar spectacle when the clouds became thinner and offered a brief view of the moon.
After almost two days without sight of any boat or ship, we once again almost collided with a tanker. We called them on the radio to make sure that they were aware of us. They were, and corrected course very slightly, but enough to pass us safely in about 0.2 miles. We had a friendly chat on the radio, and we both blew the horn to say hello the old fashioned way.
We also saw a plane, probably heading towards Hawaii. This is the first, which anyone in the crew has sighted. So much for the story that you could navigate to hawaii by following the vapor trails of these planes.
The sea is increadibly flat. You cannot see any waves up to the horizon; I think I have never seen such as sight before. Compared to this, the bay is roaring even on a very calm day there.
Current position: 31deg 37min N, 131deg 01min W, Course 228deg magnetic, speed 2.2knots. Wind: 3 kn (?), waves: 0.5 ft, some swells of 5ft.
for the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 17, 2000 - 0020 PDT
Subject: Cirus on Day 7, July 17th, 2000
Quite an eventless day. Wind was low as usual. What was unusual was that it came from the south. God only knows - this may be really true - why this is so. At this time of the year, with the Pacific High being where it is, the wind is supposed to come from North East. That way, our competitors would be closer to the high and suffer from lower wind than those further away. But wind from the south takes away our advantage.
Well, almost. We had a good run, being 2nd in division for last day's performance. And overall in division, we have moved up two notches. Too bad that the boats, which we have passed, have given up. So we are ending in position 9, but once again last in division. But we are confident that we can creep up a bit more. Hope that we are not erasing everybody we pass.
Still, chances to reach the finish line in time are slim. Any boat not finishing before the 27th of July, 12noon hawaiian time, counts as DNF. To get there in time requires an average speed of about 6.5knots. We are currently doing only 6.3kn! It will be tight. Keep fingers crossed, please. R E A L H A R D ! ! !
Having time on hand made Nate start something new. No, don't try, you would not guess. He started cleaning the boat! Assisted by Waldo (which is Bill Wall. He himself suggested this name to allow us to distinguish more easily between him and Bill Myers, which might be a real advantage under certain circumstqances. I still can't get used to the name)he scrubbed the deck and the cabin floor like a madman. It is now spic- spankin' clean, we have to wear sunglasses even down below to protect from the glare. A little misfortune happened, though. In the process we lost a bucket in the deep sea.
Something cool may came up: Joel took a deep look into our fishing gear assembly. Stay tuned for reports on really fresh Sushi!
Current position at 17. July 2000, 11:09PDT: 31 deg 06min N, 132deg 16min W, course 237 deg magn, speed 6.2 knots. Wind: 8-10kn, sea 2-3ft. Air temp: warm, water temp: almost pleasant.
The sun is out, blue sky, white clouds.
for the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 18, 2000 - 2120 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 8, July 18, 2000
Hey, we got fish !!!! Read more at the end.
Great news about the race: We finished another day as the boat with the best performance for the day, making a 131 miles run. Next best boat, current number one Red Sky, did 116 miles. This is still below expectation, but promising. Overall, we have moved up to 4th place, passing 5 boats, one of which gave up. We do not understand why these other 4 boats don't give up. We thought, we had frightened them enough, or not? Cirrugator, my cute little Excel program, which I wrote for the trip, suggests that we are ready for the kill on the #3 boat, Alcyone. Ay, we smelled the blood.
Hail to Joel, our navigator. After our poor performance on the third day, where we were kicked back from first to last, he got a few strange looks from us. But his decision to go south was right after all. We are now doing exactly, what he wants. One of the reasons is that we don't want to let him out of his responsibility. If we are not doing well, he will be the one standing in the dark corner of the Kaneohe Yacht club bar, facing the wall, with a glass of stale water in his hand, while we stand at the bar, drinking Mai-Tais, and make up stories about how good we would have fared, had we not had this navigator....
Of greater concern than the performance of our competitors is now to make it to the finish line in time. I got a question about that from our fan club (By the way: Thanks for your encouraging messages. It does help! Especially the prayer seem to be working) : Indeed it might happen that nobody of the race finishes before the preset deadline. Then nobody has won the race. This is not likely to happen for the whole fleet, but it is a very real possibility for our division. With our and our divisions competitors current performance, none of us (!) will make it to the finish line in time! Current estimate for Cirrus's arrival is July 28, 19:00h, one and a quarter day too late. We calculated that we need to make an average of 6.15 knots to not DNF. We did some 4kn this morning and are now doing 7kn. The wind is likely to freshen up, the closer we get to Hawaii, and so there is a chance, although slim, we have to admit, to make it. However, as it stands right now, the only boat to have a chance seems to be ... CIRRRUS ! Even La Diana, who is still some 300 miles ahead, may have problems to arrive in time.
We talked to a cruise ship yesterday night, which was on collision course with us (why are they always picking on us? the sea is so wide). They came from honolulu, heading to LA. The captain said that they came through rough winds and rain yesterday. But "yesterday" for them means a 2 day run for us, and who knows what the waether is then.
The sea is plain flat. There are more waves on the Lafayette Reservoir, than around us. Maybe this was the condition when someone named it the "Pacific" ocean. It is almost embarassing for us rowdy, hardy men with some real hair on our chest (OK, I did say "some", did I?). The night was clear, with only few clouds. But since we also had the almost full moon shining on us, the night was so bright that we could only see the brightest stars, plus Jupiter and Saturn. It was a cozy run, something like a Sunday School Picnic. We are sure that all our wives would like to be with us under such conditions. Given the moonshine and else, even romantic thoughts come up (especially after a week at sea). It is calm. The bay is a lot rougher on any day.
When we looked at yeseterday's weather faxes, the most common heard comment was "Oh sh_ _". What a peculiar situation. Such a strange weather pattern has not been seen in 20 years of Pacific Cups. A Low pressure system has formed south east of the dominant High, which at least explains the southerly winds, which we experience. Fortunately, it still did not help our competitors, which is strange again. Then the High is elongating like a banana, rather than staying reasonably round. When you follow the big sleds' route on the web site, you will find that they go far more south than we do. They have to go extra distance, but they are fast and do benfit overall. Our hopes for a good finish depend on the final outcome for this screwed up weather. If it continuous to fool us as it had, we will have a hard time.
Yeah, we got fish! Tonight is fresh fish dinner time, with boiled potatoes and salad. To our dismay, we have no white wine on board. Sad but true. Joel put out the hook. It is simply a strong line with a gigantic hook, hung out from the stern of the boat. No rod or anything. Shortly after that, I noticed some extension of the rubber band, holding the line under some tension, and tried to pull the fish in. But it came free. Nobody believed me that there was a fish in the first place. Now we have three fish on board, 2 Tuna and 1 Bonito. The smallest had some 5 pounds, the biggest 15 pounds (We have photos to prove. If you still down't believe, you may check the negatives, but it'll cost you!) Joel and Waldo had prepared the fish. Of course, we caught them in the middle of the night, so we had to put them in the freezer. I have made a rattle from some empty fruit cans to alert us for a bite. So we now have a dinner bell. We told you, we were trying to go in style.
Your mental strength is needed! Do support us; send your "Go, CIRRUS, go" (and please not much else, we are hogging the airwaves already. Please, DO NOT - repeat: NOT - use the Reply button!) Everything helps.
Current positioon on July 18, 2000, 3pm PDT, Lat 29deg 33min N, Lon 134deg 44min W, course 204deg magn, speed 7.0kn, wind 12kn, air temp : warm, water temp: improving.
For the crew of Cirrus,
PS: lifted fish #4. stopped fishing.
Date: July 19, 2000 - 2124 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 9 , July 19, 2000
It is hot out here. No, I am not referring to the race, it is about the temperature. The sun was burning down on us, making us wish to have a Bimini, a kind of roof over the cockpit, to give us a hiding place on the boat. Blue sky, a few clouds, and - you guessed right - no wind.
We had our second best run during this race, and were second best performer for the day, and overall we seem to be on third place - maybe 4th after correction - in our division, but it was not quite good enough. We made 139miles for the day, which falls short of our goal by 10 miles, or about 1 1/2 hours. We now need to achieve an average of 6.2 knots, which is quite possible unless, like today, we have almost no wind and are going along at 2-4 knots. Now, after dinner time, the wind is freshening up. We make 6-7kn now, but it is not likely to compensate for the day.
Weatherforcast looks bleek too. Weather just isn't what it is supposed to be. We continue to close up on our competitors but what good is it if none of us crosses the finish line before closure? This unfortunately is the current status of our forecast. Expected arrival time of Cirrus is July 28th, 1 am. However, the race isn't over yet. We are in a preferred position compared to the others, if we believe in the weatherfaxes. Needless to say, we are presently more inclined to put those on the same level as statistics, when it comes to credibility. But it "isn't over until the fat lady sings". Everything is possible. If we get wind.
Last night was interesting. Almost full cloud cover and therefore very dark for most of the night. Many squalls were coming through, reducing visibility to zero. Squalls are localized rainshowers of up to a mile in diameter. In front of them there is very good wind, within them it rains, behind them the wind is low to absent, a real hole somtimes. They move quite fast at 15-20kn. Fast boats, such as Pegasus, can take advantage of them by sailing fast enough to stay in front of them where the good wind is. We can't. So when a squall crosses our path, we get good wind, are then dumped with rain - What a funny question, of course, we still consider this fun! - have then low wind, then "normal" conditions, and with the next squall the cycle starts all over again. So it was pretty wet. A lot more of this will come the closer we get to Hawaii. Fortunately, the sea was - and still is - so eeriely flat, 1 foot waves at best, and almost no swell, that we made decent speed despite low wind.
Byproduct of the rain were some awesome moon rainbows, which nobody of us has ever seen on land.
During the day the wind went down, and it became hot. Those of us not on watch could spend the time taking a sunbath on the foredeck, well tethered to the boat via the harness, or taking a shower, also being well tethered. If we slow down any further, we might just jump overboard and swim.
Amidst all the tuna, which Joel has not yet caught. Joel is hooked for the hook. Is there some hunter background in his genes? The freezer is full. Tuna anyone?
Not that we regret it. Our first meal was delicious, done by Joel. Tuna filets, lightly braised with oil, were baked in the oven, served with boiled potatoes and cabbage. Should have been salad, but after the dry ice was gone, the skipper has set the fridge on high and put all our food in it, which previously was in a cooler. The salad was frozen solid. Skipper still wants to eat it. I knew it all along: You 've gotta be tough to be a skipper. We took out our good wine glasses to serve the dry Riesling, which we have chosen for dinner. I must admit the glasses looked an awful lot like the cups we are using for coffee, chocolade, soup, cereals and other. Good thing they are not transparent, so that we could cover the fact that we don't have any Riesling on board, and had to use the red "Chateau du Card Board Box". But as the skipper said so wisely, "with the quality of this wine we would not have been able to tell the difference anyway". Nevertheless, the meal was good. Joel as Navigator, fisherman, chef: we have even started to consider the possibility to slip him a Mai-tai once in a while, when he is standing in the corner of the bar of the Kaneohe yacht club.
Current position: 19. July 2000, 8:55pm PDT Lat 27deg 59min N, Lon 137deg 41min, course 232deg magn, speed 5 kn Temperature: air: hot, water : pleasant Expected arrival time: July 28, 1am hawaiian time
for the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 20, 2000 - 2310 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 10, July 20, 2000
So much to tell, and so little time.
And so little E-mail capacity. We learned that we have gone beyond our limit of e-mail traffic per day, but we were given some extra time by Jim Corenman. Thanks to him.
We just finished our Half-Way Party! Yes, 1035 nautical miles behind us today on day 10, and 1035 miles still to go. One of the slowest Pacific Cup crossings ever. But things may be starting to improve.
We celebrated in style. First we started with a Sushimi from Mahi-mahi, freshly caught by our hooker Joel, using the Mother-of-all-hooks. It was a 3 feet fish (photos to prove, don't even think of doubting!), beautifully colored with dark blue fins, a yellowish, sparkling body with light green and grey dots. It was the first time for me to get involved in the preparation of fish from the moment it was caught. Still need practise on it. We only took the filets. I finally prepared the sushimi. Since we lacked soy sauce, I invented a cream from 2 Tblspoon of mayonnaise, 1 Tblspoon of Dijon Mustard, well peppered and mixed. The Mahi-mahi melted in the mouth, its lucious taste tickling our tastebuds. You can't imagine how good this is. It was accompanied by a bottle of 1998 Anjou Villages, brought from France by Greg (this one was for real), served in our famous crystalware. Just the right stuff for the skippers toast to the occasion. Second course was a opulent turkey dinner, sponsored by Valerie, with stuffing and green beans, prepared by chef Greg, and served with our already known "Chateau du Cardboard Box". We topped our dinner with a rich chocolade cake and coffee. Skipper held back the champaign for a later occasion. Upcoming mutiny could barely be kept under control.
Oh yeah, the race. We had a good night's run with squalls and wind, but could not compensate for the poor conditions during daytime. Overall, we did not quite make our goal, and arrival time slipped for another few hours. We ended 4th both for last day's performance and overall. Now we need to make 150 miles a day or 6.3 knots average. Not impossible but it is getting more and more difficult. Still no boat expected to finish in time.
Did a jibe yesterday; are now on a starboard tack as we are supposed to be.
Today was actually an almost good day, windwise. The wind has turned to East-North east, more appropriate for trade winds, and is blowing more steadily, albeit at not quite the right strength. Let's see what the night brings. The sea has become a touch more oceanlike. Wind waves are still very small, but we have a bit more swells, which sway the boat a good deal. Maintaining course needs a bit more concentration by the driver.
It was a hot day. Every cloud covering the sun was welcomed. Despite the heat, I was dressed in a long sleeved shirt and long pants, to protect from sunburn. Greg can tell a story, how much sunburn burns. Once in a while, I simply dumped a few buckets of sea water over me to cool down. Wet cotton is great for coolant.
Skipper repaired the bilge pump. A hose had popped off and water was circled but not pumped out. Nice job, prevented us from sinking. But what he really needs to do remains still undone: Repairing the handpump at the kitchen sink! Valerie, getting him to do this is a job for you. He seems to hate even thinking of this job.
Have started the water maker. Works fine. Water supply secured.
The sails took a great part of our effort today. Our "Flying Waldinis" (Waldo and Nate), our father and son team, proved their skills in changing sails multiple times through the day. New records were set for time and efficiency by the crew and especially by them. We took the spinnacker down and raised the other one to repair chafing at the bottom edge. Repaired and changed again. Then the Waldinis worked on our Blooper (a companion sail for the spinnacker), which we ripped early on with a 20 feet (!) rip. They managed to sow it together, and it is flying again. Great job! We think this gives us an extra 0.1-0.3 knots.
Oh boy, the two will have a problem when they come home: cleaning, sowing, doing dishes, making meals, .... To put a little damper on the potential excitement of their loved ones, I may add that most of the sowing was actually done by patching with sticky tape. On the other hand, Macy seems to sell a lot of weird stuff. Why not taped clothing? Have I opened a market niche?
Current conditions on July 20, 9:31 pm PDT: Lat: 27deg 04min N, Lon: 140deg, 12min W. course 242deg magn, speed 6.2knot. Wind 10knots, sea waves :3-5 ft swells temperatur: air: too hot, water: good Expeted arrival time: July 28, 5 am Hawaiian time
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 21, 2000 - 1125 PDT
Subject: Contribution to web site, e-mail from the sea
The crew of Cirrus would like to contribute the poem/prayer below, sent to us on the sea from our fan club ashore, for publication on the web site. If we have a poem corner, that would be the place to put it. If we don't, why not open one?
Ben, thanks for the contribution (and a few other loans, which I took from your e-mail).
For the crew of Cirrus,
Offering to the Wind Gods
from the Pacific Cup 2000 sailors
by Ben Schwartz,
renown poet and sailor, honorary member of the CFC (Cirrus Fan Club)
Oh Wind, Wind, Child of the Sun's furious energy;
Oh Thee who rattles the pine trees, Who bows the oak, Who scatters the trailer parks in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas, we humbly beg Thee:
show mercy on those who sail her and get thee to the Cirrus.
Fill full and fair her main; furl wide and stiffen her spinnaker; fix taut and tight her jib.
In short, damnit, blow like the trade wind you are. Speed her over the Pacific, we beg Thee, that these doldrums through which she has labored may be put behind her forever and the fair haven of Hawaii rise to meet her soon.
Date: July 22, 2000 - 0809 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 11, July 21, 2000
We had a good run yesterday during daytime, and a rather poor one - no wind - during night time. On average, we missed again the target. We came out third after Alicante and Red Sky, both in the day's performance and in the overall standings. It looks as if there is a good gap to 4th place, which means that the race will be fought among Alicante, Red Sky, Cirrus - and the clock. It looks as if all these boats will arrive on the 27th, but whether within finish line closure or outside may literally be a matter of minutes.
We now need an average of 6.4kn. This is doable - Cirrus did an overall speed of 7.2kn in the last race - but you need good wind. As is looks and confirmed by the weaterfaxes, wind will remain moderate, like today.
Today's run up to now, after dinner, was reasonably fast. During a few moments we even hit the 8.0kn mark. However, the wind was blowing from a poor angle - yeah, not only want we ind, but also blowing in the right direction - and so we could not quite go where we wanted to go. It will be tight again, even with a good night's run.
Finally the ocean looks a bit less pondlike. Windwaves of 3-5 feet, plus swells of 3-5 feet occasionally add together for 10 ft waves. It is a great feeling, when you can get the boat to surf down the waves with loud fury in the wake behind you. Thank goodness, the sun was mostly covered behind clouds. Otherwise it would have been almost unbearable.
For the first time since SF we have seen flying fish. A good sign that we are getting closer. And a squid just flew onto our deck, trying to escape from a big fish.
We have taken Joel his toy away. We want to finish the already caught fish first, before we let on the hook again. Now he is cooking for us the fish and heaping great portions on our plate. Why am I suspicious that this is not simply caring for our nutritional well being but overlaid with some other motivations? Tuna is great.
Nate cannot certify to this. He is sticking strictly to his vegetarian diet. It is not a trivial task, to find non-meat, non-fish proteins on board of a boat in sufficient supply.
Finished the bottle of champaign today. Pressure on the skipper became too big. Chains were removed from our feet and ankles and we went back to work.
I forgot to mention yesterday: The half way party marks a unique spot on earth. There is no other place on earth, where land is further away than in this spot, some 1000 naitical miles. Imagine, you live in Kansas and have to go to San Francisco or New York to see a doctor or go shopping. There is nothing in between. For our German readers: Imagine to live in Berlin and have to go to Portugal or Moscow! However, you have absolutely no appreciation of this fact. All you can see on deck is the little disk of about 3 miles of water in diameter, on which you live and that disk moves with you all the time. And it looks darn similar all the time.
Current position on july 21, 9:15pm PDT: Lat:26deg 21min N, Lon: 142deg 59min W, course: 221deg magn, speed 7.0kn, wind 12kn, sea: 3-5ft windwaves, 3-5ft swells, Temperatur: air:hot, water : wonderful Expected arrival time: late evening of the 27th
Date: July 22, 2000 - 2225 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 12, July 22, 2000
All your bean-cooking, wind-prayers, guardian-angel-wing-flapping, and what-have-you has finally come to fruition. The Sunday School Picnic has ended. The Pacific Ocean is behaving like an adult ocean and no longer does its name justice. We 're talkin' wind and sailin' !
We had a good last day, ending 1st for the day's performance and substantiating our 3rd place overall. Looks like all three top boats - Alicante, Red Sky and Cirrus - will make it before closure, but none other. We even have a remote chance to come in as the first boat, but due to the correction system, which supposedly accounts for the different boat designs, we would be thrown back even if we arrived at the same time. Apart from wind and crew performance, any mechanical failures may also have a profound impact on the outcome of the race.
We already made our experience with that, all happening in the past single day. Of course during night time. Our outgrapper, a fixture at the boom to keep the spinnacker flying better, broke twice. One block is gone for good. The highlight of the day was sure the beheading of our lightweight spinnacker. Simply ripped through at the top end. It is probably unrepairable on the boat. We have now the heavier spinnacker up. From now on, please include spinnacker, mainsail, lines, blocks, rudder, wheel, mast, boom, rigging, compass, etc in your prayers and wishes.
The sea is impressive now. Whiteheads everywhere, indicating good winds. Waves typically a couple of feet, but can raise up to 10ft. When sitting in the boat, you have to look up to see the top of these big waves. But the deck is still dry, none of the waves are crashing onto the boat (yet). On our current course, the big waves are coming from behind. You feel them especially well when you are at the helm. First, the stern of the boat gets suddenly lifted from the arriving wave, the boat faces "downhill", and off you go like driving a schoolbus down the skislopes. If we could stay in this position, the wave would carry us forward with its own speed, which is much higher than our sailing speed. Unfortunately, Cirrus is too heavy for this and after a few seconds of Adrenalin spreading through your system, the ride ends with the boat sinking in the valley behind the wave with loud furor, creating a turbulent bath of white foam around her. Talking requires shouting. The boat and the driver end somewhat confused, because this end of the ride breaks the speed considerably and makes the boat vulnerable to another wave or a gust of wind, smacking the boat from an unexpected angle. The driver has to work hard. A downwind run lets the boat roll left and right much stronger than on any other course. At this wind, the driver no longer can sit but must stand, balancing the movement of the boat by flexing in his knees. Again not unlikely to downhill skiing. Any wrong corrections at the wheel and you ampolify the rolling. After doing this for 40min straight in one session at the helm you are ready for relief. Are we having fun or what?
Dinner tonight was "Cirrus Stew a la Skipper": all leftovers combined and served with freshly baked rolls and fruit cocktail as desert. Joel is shivering with delight; he was promised he could go back to fishing tomorrow.
Current position, July 22, 2000 8:31pm PDT: Lat: 24deg 35min N, 145deg 33min W. course 222deg magn, speed 7.2kn. Waves: 5-10ft, Temperatur air: too hot, water: good
Expected arrival time:July 27, 0:30h am
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 23, 2000 - 2218 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 13, July 23, 2000
You may stop the prayers for wind now. Really. We have got enough. What we need now is some protection for the equipment and the crew. It goes at a fast pace.
We had our best day of the race with 177 miles, and ended again best of the division for the day's performance. We gained a little bit on Alicante and Red Sky, but not enough for a real challenge. Gipsy Warrior is coming up, and with their bonus of 11hours against us, they might become a problem for us. The race remains interesting.
Lunch was again Cirrus Special. Now all leftovers are gone. Too bad, that stuff got better every time we warmed it up. Dinner is tuna by chef Joel, and freshly baked bread with a thick layer of orange marmalade. Luke warm water served as drinks. No fresh fish, though, the day was far too busy and wild for fishing.
And wild it is. First a cup of good hot chocolade was spilled and made the floor real slippery. This required some good mopping of the floor. Then our thermos topedoed through the main salon. shortly after, at an upcoming squall, a gust of wind combined with a good wave resulted in a big-time rolling of the boat followed by a roundup, which dipped the pole in the water, shook down the crew in the cockpit, ripped a hole in the spinnacker, and tore the mast-rail of the starboard pole off the mast. The starboard pole itself is ok but can no longer be used during the race. The port rail is ok.
Nate took a pretty good bang during this event at his shoulder, forearm, & wrist. Nothing broken, no blood, but it hurts like hell. Joel has wrapped him up nicely in bandages and icebags and sent to rest. One down, five to go.
(Probable dislocated shoulder, good distal pulse, no broken bones found by palpation, no bruises, good range of motion at fingers, wrist, & elbow, did not try to move across the shoulder. Immobilized shoulder, applied contiuous ice, admin tylenol w/ codein #4. After 4 hrs. he was up and crawling around the cabin & cockpit. Will continue codein overnight, and restrict his movements to his bunk, the head, and computer. Will reevaluate shoulder in a day or two. At this point, it seems prudent for him to make a stop at the urgent care clinic before returning to mainland. We will keep you and Kaneohe Yacht Club advised as we approach HI. We elected to hoist the spinnaker back up after seeing how quickly he became active and comfortable..... Joel)
We sailed a while with white sails, reorganized, repaired the spinnacker, and rose it again. Skipper set new record with a speed of 9.3kn at winds of some 20kn! Now the wind is down to 13-14kn. Going stable at a good pace.
Current position: July 23rd, 2000 7:40pm PDT Lat: 24deg 13min N, Lon: 148deg 38min W. Course 221deg magn, speed 7.2 kn, wind 13-14kn, waves: 5 - 10ft. temperature: slightly cooler than yesterday.
Expected arrival: Evening of July 26.
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 25, 2000 - 0417 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 14, July 24, 2000
Well, where shall I start: More equipment failure, the Hooker strikes again, Nate ok.
Yesterday was a tight race. The boats went 169, 168, 166, 164 (that's us), and 163 miles for the day. We were 4th and pleasantly surprised that we fared so well given our srewup on that day. Overall, there was only little movement. Looks almost impossible to change anything in the ranking at this point in time. Expected arrival time unchanged.
This morning we have been trying to trim the jib under the boat. But boat speed was unsatisfactory, and we brought the jib back on board, reset everything, and hoisted jib on spare jib halyard. The shakle, from decent 1/4 inch steel, on the original jib halyard broke and let the jib fly into the water. The jib is undamaged but it now has some decorative art painted on it from the boat's bottom paint. Actually, with only a little bit of imagination, you could see it as Cirrus clouds. We take this as a good omen.
No further major events as of now, and this despite another early morning chocolade spill.
Nate is doing ok. Still out of commission, though, and we have to share his duties, which, of course, puts some extra stress on us. It is amazing to see how you come to rely on each person on the boat. Nate develops other skills. He succeeded to find our missing dorades (vents for the interior) simply by meditating about it. We were looking for days for these dorades and couldn't find them. It is awfully hot down here, and any little bit of ventilation helps. He was able to pinpoint their location without even looking for them at a place nobody before had thought about. Anything going on we weren't told about?
(Nate still on tylenol/codien #4, cold packs, still likes to crawl around cabin & cockpit. Did some light range of motion/pressure tests. He could easily tolerate abduction & adduction. Somewhat tolerate medial rotation, but absolutely not tolerate lateral rotation. In general, he is comfortable, but becoming board. Sometime before flying home he should be evauated. Valerie or Leigh please confirm to me that you have received this info. I will tell Kaneohe Yacht Club by SSB to inform you of our arrival time. If you need contact telephone numbers for each other or KYC, please do not hesitate to let me know.... Joel)
Joel did it again, using the Mother-of-all-hooks. A 43" (1.10m), 30 pound Mahi-mahi (mind you, we have the negatives!), who fought furiously before being pulled aboard. The fish was even able to affect the steering of the boat. Sashimi for lunch, baked fish for dinner.
Plenty of flying fish around. Sometimes it is as if you were going through a wild flower meadow, and all the grasshoppers flew up.
We are getting pretty low in provisioning. All fresh stuff is gone - last potatoes went today - , all precooked meals are gone, as are cereals, bread, real coffee, only one water container left(plus emergency, but water maker can provide drinking water) cookies, and various other stuff. We still have one rice meal, somne canned dinners, milk, some oat meal, soups, canned fruit. Some suffering from lack of stuff - especially from the lack of coffee - but doing ok thanks to fish. Skipper says we are his most hungry crew ever.
We sailed most of today and yesterday night with white sails wing-on- wing, going almost dead-down-wind. This is not a very stable condition in low wind on flat water, but combine this with good sized waves and you get a heck of a rollercoaster ride. Despite the rather small sail sizes, we are making 7+ knots, topping out at 8.5kn. More and more often we are getting to an almost-surfing condition. The wave hight seems to have increaded also.
Last night was dark. The moon, now a half moon, is rising no earlier than several hours after sunset, and was then covered by clouds for most of the night. Stars are visible, but although there is no city light, the sky is not really clear, but seems hazy. I have seen this now on two Pacific Cups, it is less impressive than anticipated.
Current position: July 24th, 2000 10;00pm PDT Lat: 22deg 58min N, lon 151deg 29 min W, course 218 magn, speed 7.2kn wind 15kn, waves 5-10ft, temperature: too hot Expec4ted aarrival time: July 26, 11pm Hawaiian time
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 26, 2000 - 0521 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 15, July 25, 2000
Welcome aboard, virtual crew members!
Last day was not a highlight in performance. We did only 7th in our division, with almost 30 miles less than top boat Red Sky. Skipper is chosing a more cautionary approach after all these failures. Unfortunate side effect is that current 5th ranking boat, Gipsy Warrior, may kick us back to 4th place at the finisch line. Due to their rating, we owe them 11 hours! They might not make it to the finish line in time. In our estimate, it is a matter of 15 min. There will be an exciting finish,no matter what.
Cautionary approach might be well advised. In addition to the starboard shroud problem we had earlier, we also have the port side shroud, middle section starting to unravel. We rigged a running shroud, but were unable to do any repair. The sea is too wild now for any work up high, and Airmaster Nate is out of commission. An accidental jibe in the middle of the night ripped the wind instrument at the helm out of its holder. Thank goodness, we have another one at the dashboard. This is one of our most important instruments, may be more relevant than even the compass for the driving.
Triple hail to the inventor of our boombreaker! Don't go on a boat without it. You cannot always prevent accidental jibes, especially in conditions as we have now and we think that this boombreaker has saved us more than once from disaster. You can even jibe by yourself without fear of breaking the boom and/or mast. A definite must for a boat, in our opinion.
We also lost the cover of the toilet seat. This actually is a benefit. This seat cover was, in the most true meaning of the word, a pain in the b... . Why have we not thought about it before?
I am writing this e-mail in the noon hours, since there may not be time tonight. The sea is wild, making the boat pivot in all her three axis. She can, of course, turn left or right, can go down or up on a wave, and can roll. The latter is by far the most nasty movement, especially when you are down-below. The left side may rise 3 feet, while the right side sinks by the same amount, and then alternate. Try standing upright. Impossible. Both the waves and the wind contribute to the motion. The boat is rolling, turning and rising doing either everything at the same time or in any other inconvient sequence, while you are trying to steer a straight course at the highest speed possible. Now add deep dark grey over the picture and you have last night's situation. Today is similar, without the darkness. Greg just hit the 9.5 knot mark, with white sails wing-on-wing!
Driving in these conditions is, let's say, interesting. The helmsperson needs to counterbalance all the boat's motion. So he is standing, with the knees bend, moving his weight back and forth. Must be a feast to watch from behind. It feels like a giant downhill ski simulator with the double-black-diamond-mogul-slalom course chosen for a 40 min run.
The nights are really dark. The moon does not rise until about 4am PDT, the sky is mostly cloud covered. The water is pitch black, you can only see it when whitecaps of foam form on the water. The horizon is only a blurry transistion from black to dark grey. The race had been scheduled such that a full moon should have aided the way to the finish line. Now it will be more or less complete darkness, since the moon might not rise until about sunrise.
No fishing tonight. We have other things on our mind. dinner might be marginal as well. My watch is coming up
Current position: July 25, 2000, 1:30 PDT Lat: 22deg 33min N, Lon 153deg 18min W, course 258deg magn, speed 5.4kn, wind 10kn, sea 5-10ft, Temperature: too hot Estimated arrival time: very early morning hours of the 27th
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 31, 2000 - 1514 PDT
Subject: Cirrus on Day 16, July 26, 2000 - LAST DAY
We lost a guy at sea!
Not what you think - hope I have stunned you - a guy is one of the many lines needed to control a spinnacker. But let's go in sequence.
For last day's performance we ranked third. Alicante and Red Sky had a terrific performance, no way we can even get close. In our analysis, Gipsy Warrior still had a chance to beat us and kick us to 4th place. So we put up the chute and ran. Wow, was this a day.
The sea was wild, the wind strong. We ploughed through the waves, over them and around them at speeds in the mid 8 knot region, but long stretches of 9s were not uncommon. I shattered the skipper's record of 9.3kn by a wide margin, reaching 9.9kn in a monster wave. Didn't last long, shortly after, Joel broke even. That's when the trouble started. The wind freshened up in a squall and heeled us over big time. I was tending the spinnacker sheets at this time, sitting on the low side, and my feet and lower legs were thoroughly drenched in the rushing water, splashing into the boat. No way to rescue other than blowing the guy line (i.e. making it loose quickly and fully). Spinnacker was pulling the guy, guy shackle broke, and guy line went into orbit. Another 1000 bucks gone. Spinnacker ok, everything else also. Nobody got hurt.
We gave up and went to white sails. Wind freshened even more, giving us some rough jibes. One of the them took the radar display, which was mounted at the helm. Damage not yet assessed.
We expect to arrive at the finsih in about 6 hours, i.e. between midnight and 1 am hawaiian time. Will be docking either 30min later, if we can take the short path (depends on ebb/flood situation) or a good 2h later. Don't drink all out Mai-Tais!
Current position: July 26, 8:30pm PDT lat:21 deg 55min N, Lon: 157deg 08min W. course212 deg magn, speed 6.9 kn. Wind: 12kn (down from 20), waves: 5-13ft Expected arrival time: 2:45am PDT
For the crew of Cirrus,
Date: July 31, 2000 - 0513 PDT
Subject: It's all over! - A message from Bill and Valerie
Cheers to all of you who have been following the race.
We arrived at 23:46:42 local time on 26 July, 2000. We were about 12 hours ahead of the 4th place boat, who we owe 11 hours handicap time. So, 3rd place again. This time with an hour to spare. First and second place boats were way ahead.
Just now we are in a nearby marina, "Makani Kai" and we are battening down the hatches in anticipation of the arrival if tropical storm "Daniel". Maybe tomorrow we can really relax.
The best way to email us now is to Valerie's address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We might still use sailmail for some outgoing stuff.
It was a long slow haul, but easily the best trip across I've ever had. Good crew, good weather, sailed hard, caught (and ate fresh) fish. Just a general good time.
We are heading back to SF on the 17th and willbe around for a couple weeks before we're off on the next adventure.
Bill and Valerie (at home on "Cirrus")
Date: August 11, 2000 - 1916 PDT
Subject: Cirrus in the Pacific Cup 2000 - Conclusion
The e-mails from Cirrus have stopped so suddenly that I got a concerned question from a member of our Cirrus-Fan-Club: "Have you fallen over the edge of the world?". No, we have not. Everybody is alive and well (well, almost, when you ask Nate). But we are now back to humanity, properly shaven and with an internet-connection.
I do not know all the recipients of the e-mails, so if you do find that some of the folks to whom you had forwarded before, are not on the addressee list, please, forward one more time. Actually, two times: you will find a second e-mail in your inbox, which contains some of our hot photos. I put them in a separate mail in case it overwhelms your system. So at least you will get this mail, and if you cannot get the fotos, but would like to, please send me a note and I will find a way to transfer them.
This race can't finish without some proper thank-yous, but let me first do a little bit of wrap-up.
Sorry for the e-mail black-hole. We were actually cut off from sailmail because of "abuse of the system". We sent and received too much e-mail! No, my boat-mail wasn't the main culprit, but that is a different story. So we couldn't send from the boat, then my laptop didn't work in the hotel, then I had to dive into the piled-up work back at my job. Now the sailmail seems to be working again, you eventually got the last mails from the boat.
You have heard it already, but let me say it again: The last day was truly awesome! Terrific waves, terrific wind, and with the spinnacker up, we have touched the limits of what this crew was able to handle. This whole race was definitely the highlight in my sailing career, but this last day was the icing on the cake. Why didn't we just keep going? But while we sailed like madmen, so was Gipsy Warrior, the boat behind us. They knew they had to be in before the clock strikes 12 noon, and they beat the clock by 19 min! So they got their 11h time bonus, and after correction they were 58min14sec behind us. Do the math yourself: our 7 hours or so of spinnacker driving gained us about an extra knot of speed, i.e. we made an extra 7 miles. For a boat like Gipsy Warrior, this is the distance to go in 1 hour. Had we not done this thunderous thrill ride on the last day, we may have lost 3rd place literally in the last minutes of the race. But we did, and we had won the fight. We got third place, fair and square! It was exciting beyond belief.
Too bad it's over.
Cirrus is still in Hawaii, and as I understand it, she will stay there until some time next year, when she will go for an equator crossing with Bill and Valerie on board. In the future, dear reader, take an occasional look at the sky. Whenever you see some cirrus-clouds, send your wishes over to Cirrus, together with a handful - not more, please - of wind. (If you don't know what cirrus clouds look like, check the 2nd e-mail. There is a picture of cirrus clouds.)
That trip would not have been so great without a great boat and a great skipper. We sure had both. Thanks to you, Bill, for making this endeavour, into which you had put so much careful and generous planning, thoughts and energy, a truly enjoyable, pleasing and exciting one. Without good food, the trip might have been miserable, and we were cared for very well with great food from Valerie. As laborious as the food planning, puchase and preparation might have been, we sense that it probably was the lesser part of what you, Valerie, had contributed to the race. Thanks also for all these activities that happened unbeknownst to us!
My fellow crewmembers, Joel, Greg and The Waldinis, Waldo and Nate, it was a pleasure sailing with you. Putting 6 guys, for 16 days, under stress, physical exhaustion, some sleep deprivation, and limited sanitary conditions into such confined spaces is a test for everyone. We not only did well, we marvelled at the ocasion! Thanks to all for making it such a great trip.
And not to forget our virtual crewmembers, all the readers of our mails, who followed the race and occasionally send some (many thanks for having it kept short) e-mails to the boat. It was great to know that we were watched from ashore and to read these mood-boosters.
Finally, I hope we managed to communicate somehow, why this was the
P A C I F I C C U P 2 0 0 0
The 11th biennial Fun Race to Hawaii
For the crew of Cirrus, the most fun boat to Hawaii
Mahalo and Aloha