Delivery 2006 Archive

17 May 2006

Cirrus Screwed Dress Rehearsal - How much better can it get?

posted by Cirrus @ 5/17/2006 04:02:00 AM

you know there is a saying among the theater folks : when the dress rehearsal, the final practise run before the premiere, goes really bad, then you are set for bold success at premiere. By that measure, Cirrrus will just fly through the race!

What happened? As you know, Cirrus' home port is on Oahu, one of the Hawaiian islands, while the race starts in San Francisco, going back to the village Kaneohe on Oahu. Obviously, Cirrus needs to be delivered to San Francisco before the race. Cirrus left Kaneohe for San Francisco on the morning of Saturday May 13th, virtually exactly as planned - 10:00AM PST. Many friends on dock to cheer them on, air horns from other boats, lei (the Hawaiian flower necklaces) from friends for crew and boat, and a Hawaiian blessing complete with Okolehau (an old time brandy made from sugar cane.) The weather was perfect with a steady wind, clear skies and a calm sea. Sails were raised almost as soon as the boat cleared the marina and they disappeared from sight very quickly. The crew, Bill Myers as skipper, Marie-Pierre as mermaid, Nancy Piper as therapist, and Chris Doutre as radio operator - if you think this sounds wild, you don't know Cirrus yet ! - looked relaxed and very happy. Boat looked neat and ship shape. They should have a wonderful time.

So we thought.

Next thing we hear was that they had a reef in the main, going close hauled, heeling at 40 degrees, in 6 feet bumpy waves, still going at 7-8 knots. Or in layman's words: plain misery in too much wind and waves, and all coming from the wrong direction. The head (i.e. the toilet) was leaking, water dripped into the bunks from a leak, the traveller had a defect, and a few more things to make life on board even more miserable. Conditions worsened, and forced them on a course due south, or basically back to where they had left from three days ago. Everyone was still ok, but bruised and wet. A NOAA weather forecaster, whom they had contacted, confirmed that a "November-type" storm was out there, and that he didn't see any way for a sailboat to make it to San Francisco for at least another week. With that magnitude of delay the crew would no longer be available, and a new crew was not in sight. Bill decided to cancel delivery.

Which meant he cancelled the race.

When he called me with the bad news yesterday late evening - of my time, Hawaii and Germany are 12h apart - I was just doing my workouts, trying to get myself into "shipshape" conditions. I didn't continue. My highlight for this year just collapsed. Apparently, others felt similar. What then began reminds me a bit of the "Gilligan's Gooseneck" story from the 2004 race (see day 6 under Cirrus' Daily Email Messages), only it was not about hardware. Magically a solution comes in sight when the situation is almost hopeless. It so happened that Donna Austin, who will be crew on Cirrus for the race, has a daughter, Lindsey, who is an experienced sailor, and who has offered to do the delivery, as she happened to be available during this time. One thing came to another and at the end we now have a full delivery crew consisting of the old crew - yes, despite all odds all of them found a way to make it! - plus Donna and Lindsey. And another problem apparently got solved in passing: Caroline, who had been crew in 2004 was also scheduled as crew for this year, but unfortunately had to withdraw. She will be replaced with Greg Yankelovich, who had been crew in 2000, whom we could finally convince to join again. We now have a full crew, in both directions.

Cirrus Screwed Dress Rehearsal - How much better can it get?

Back to my workout,

23 May 2006

Cirrus delivery to San Francisco May 22

posted by Cirrus @ 5/23/2006 01:31:00 PM
Cirrus again pulled away from her slip at Makani Kai this morning (22 May) at 10:20AM HST. There were not as many on the dock but more on the boat! Delivery crew is now consisting of the original 4 (in alphabetical order) - Chris Doutre, MP Maingon, Bill Myers and Nancy Piper - and now augmented by Donna Austin and her daughter Lindsey (an experienced delivery skipper)
I was very lucky to be able to get a ride with Kim and Lou Ickler aboard their boat "Ghost" and we "led" Cirrus out the channel to the open sea where upon Cirrus passed us like we were standing still and we could see all the grins on all the crew. We watched until the top of the mast disappeared over the horizon - at just about 11:20 AM.
The weather is wonderful today - winds of about 13-15 kn., calm seas with a North swell that wasn't too bad. They were able to set a heading of about 025 magnetic. This means that they are able to sail more in the direction of San Francisco Bay than boats are usually able to take on their way out of here. We speculate that they were taking it a little easy as they left, given the "trauma" of their first start. They had a single reef in the main and kept the jib partially furled.
They left behind dark rain clouds and sailed off into a beautiful blue sea with sky to match. We hope this is all a good omen - it certainly looks like they are in for a wonderful sail.
You can track their progress by clicking on the "Position Tracking" links under the Pacific Cup 2006 entires on the left. See the blog entry "Pacific Seafarer's Radio Network" below to understand how they are generated.
We wish them all fair seas and following winds -- or as close to these as they can manage.

Cirrus delivery May 23

posted by Cirrus @ 5/23/2006 01:32:00 PM
Good morning all
Position report 7:30AM (all times in these reports will be Hawaiian unless otherwise specified)  Latitude 23 deg. 20 min. N,  Longitude 156 deg. 39 min. W,  Course 025 at 5 knots, Clear day (10% cloud cover) - Barometric pressure 1016. Seas from the East and Distance to go:  1955 miles.
They had been sailing along with the reef in the main and the jib still partially furlled under 15-18 knots of wind.  Last night, during Bill's watch the furling line broke and the jib went out hard.  Bill and Lindsey went forward to get the sail down.  The bow was often under water but they managed to get it down.  However, while they were trying to tie it to the rail a huge wave came and washed it it is gone.   Brand new sail....sigh.   They have put up the #4 heavy weather jib and it "looks pretty good."
Due to the heavy seas, they were motoring into the wind when the high temperature alarm came on. They shut it and all power down and put the Monitor wind vane to work.  This morning they were able to ascertain that the main belt in the engine had broken and they have 3 (now 2) spares on board.  All is working well again.
As we spoke, Donna is on watch and Bill says she looks like a diva - reclining comfortably behind the wheel and letting the Monitor take the helm.
This transit has lots of excitement, that is for certain!  But they all sound happy, all are well.  Hope you enjoyed yesterday's pictures. 

24 May 2006

Delivery trip - May 24

posted by Cirrus @ 5/24/2006 10:46:00 AM
Things are finally settling down for the delivery team.  The past 24 hours were "completely uneventful" - this is a good thing!  The crew is getting into a good rhythm and are enjoying regular meals.  Since they are going "to weather" it is unavoidably bumpy and they are heeled over a fair bit but all are doing well and there are no complaints.
As of 7:15 Hawaiian time this morning they were at Lat. 24 deg. 47 min. N, Lon. 154 deg. 40 min. W and making about 6.5 knots.   They are heading, for all intents and purposes, directly towards San Francisco and, according to the GPS, they have 1804 miles to go and should be able to make it in 12 days.  Of course the GPS has no way of knowing if they will get stuck in the Pacific High but we can dream!  It is cooling off (65 deg. F) and it is cloudy today.
Check back tomorrow - hope we'll still be reporting good news!

25 May 2006

Delivery progress - May 25

posted by Cirrus @ 5/25/2006 12:04:00 PM
Great news - another uneventful day! 
They have altered their course a little bit because they had to put in a second reef and wanted lighter winds for awhile.  They still have good winds at 12 knots and, with the 2nd reef, are making 7.3 knots.  Impressive.  Steering a balance between the high pressure system and the low pressure system seems to be working well.
Position at 7AM HST today was 26 degrees 29 minutes N, 152 degrees 20 minutes W.  According to the GPS they have gone 426 miles total with 1643 to go.  Moving right along!
We are working on finding them a new jib to replace the one that had such an independent spirit but it doesn't look too good since there are lots of boats trying to get sails right now and the sail lofts are overwhelmed.  But we won't give up easily.
Until tomorrow - Aloha, Valerie 

Email from Cirrus

posted by Cirrus @ 5/25/2006 12:21:00 PM
The following email was sent from Cirrus (using a very very very slow link) this morning at 8:47 AM
"Good morning. It's Wednesday morning, it's a beautiful day, the engine has a new water pump belt, the wind has softened, we have been blasting along under control of the wind vane for 24 hours, the wind direction has veered allowing us to turn east, and all is well. - Chris"
Thought you would enjoy hearing from someone else for a change!

26 May 2006

May 26 Delivery Update

posted by Cirrus @ 5/26/2006 04:20:00 PM
Another uneventful day at sea - and another 123 miles closer to their goal.  They still have 2 reefs in the main sail and have now had to partially furl the heavy weather jibso that they are under 60% of the jib.  The partial furling is not, unfortunately, due to weather but due to the fact that this is an old sail which was beginning to disintegrate along the bottom edge.  It seemed prudent to furl it far enough to tuck the ragged edge inside and prevent additional damage.   Nevertheless, they are still able to make 6.1 knots at 7 this morning and have 1520 miles to go.  Position at 7:  Latitude 28 deg. 17 min, Longitude 150 deg. 50 min.
Today is 100% cloudy but last night the conditions were perfect to see the "green flash"  (good examples can be found here) or so they thought.  Unfortunately, the haze from the water prevented viewing.  A few nights ago they saw 3.5 green flashes!  They managed this because the boat was riding swells at just the right frequency that they could see it start, then disappear, then reappear as they went back up the next swell etc.  Fun.  They have also been visited, periodically, by an albatross.  It hasn't been around enough to be named yet but it probably will be.
I have learned that a picture of Lindsey Austin, their fabulous delivery skipper, was on the cover of Honolulu Magazine in 2003.  A copy of that picture of her will be posted soon [posted now, see link under crew list]. If they had Lindsey and an all male crew, they might lose their incentive to get to San Francisco.  You'll see what I mean.

27 May 2006

May 27

posted by Valerie @ 5/27/2006 09:29:37 PM
We have a happy crew.  Still barreling along at between 6 and 7 knots with apparent wind of 13 and true wind of 10 they put another 136 miles behind them leaving 1384 to go.  According to the GPS they should be able to make it in 8 days!  We'll see how accurate that turns out to be.
The heavy weather jib is holding and the main is back out to only one reef.  They are virtually full time steering via the Monitor wind vane so they are pretty relaxed as well.  Let's see - 6 compatible people, plenty of food, no doldrums, working equipment...sounds pretty good to me!  It continues to cool off and now the air is 60 deg. F.
Position, again taken at 7AM HST, was 29 deg. 22 min. North and 148 deg. 34 min. West.  Course was 067 true.  Don't forget that you can check the track by clicking on the links on the left.
We are hoping all this good news continues to flow in.  I'll let you know tomorrow.

28 May 2006

May 28 from Chris Doutre

posted by Valerie @ 5/28/2006 11:09:00 AM
Because we often refer to Lindsey Austin as "Skipper", the question,  "Who is the skipper?"  came up. The following response came back from Chris Doutre:
"The answer is that Bill is the only skipper. We were just having fun with the fact that Lindsey is so young and yet she is a USCG-licensed captain too, just like Bill. And she could probably take him in a fair fight!
FYI: We've had an exciting day. While MP was driving, she noticed, and mentioned, that the steering seemed to be "getting stiff". Bill dived into the machine space, oil can in hand, to see what the trouble was. He immediately observed that one of the two vertical "turning sheaves" was frozen, and the steering cable was just sliding around it (not good!!), but lubricating the sheave didn't help at all. After some head-scratching, Bill speculated that the sheave might be rubbing on a bolt that seemed to be too long and was sticking into the top of the sheave. After attempting unsuccessfully to remove the bolt, Bill asked for the hacksaw and cut the darn bolt right off. Problem solved -  steering fully restored. However, to get the real flavor of the repair task, you have to imagine "Mission Impossible" Bill lying on his back in the quarter berth, upside down with his head in the stern space, reaching over into the tiny cavity over the engine, and operating a crescent wrench, and a hacksaw, with one hand, with his arm fully extended. All I did was hold the flashlight and I almost got a hernia. Fortunately, the bolt was aluminum, not stainless steel, and yielded to the blade.
Also, during our regular 8:00 pm radio chat with Lou Ickler last night, Donna's husband Richard was on hand at Lou's for the occasion. As a result, Donna and Richard were able to talk directly to each other for a few minutes."

Transit update - May 28th

posted by Valerie @ 5/28/2006 11:32:00 AM
The intrepid crew of Cirrus is doing well in so many ways.  They are all well, happy and enjoying the experience. Bill says that today is particularly difficult - no Sunday paper.  Sounds like a real problem, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, they are finally too far into the traditional high pressure system that settles in over the Pacific every summer and they decided to start motoring at about 2 this morning.  They have enough breeze to keep the boat heeled over a bit and so they are not uncomfortable but anyone who has ever sailed knows how much nicer it is with the engine off!  It gets hot, as well as noisy, below.
Another 136 miles have passed under the hull and they now have 1248 miles to go.  It will be exciting when, probably some time tomorrow, that number gets below 1000!
Here is the 7 AM Report: Latitude:  30 deg. 27 min. N  Longitude: 146 deg. 17 min. W.  Course:  064 True - speed (under power) 6.7 kn.  Relative wind:  083 @ 5 kn.   True wind:  200 @ 8 kn.   Cloud cover:  80%   Barometer:  1025 - rising  Sea swell from SE at 2 feet   Air and Water temp. 60 deg. F
Until tomorrow - Aloha

Choosing Course - an update by Chris sent May 26

posted by Valerie @ 5/28/2006 02:21:00 PM
If we are trying to get east, we sail as close as about 40 degrees on a starboard tack. We can sail 30, but the speed drops dramatically; we are trying to avoid hardening up too much. On the other hand, if the true wind strengthens, we fall off to reduce the loads on the boat, sailing as low as a beam reach, but always alert for lighter winds and the chance to head up. 
BTW, the Monitor wind vane is brilliant. We do almost no hand steering, which I really appreciate on the 0000-0400 watch. I find hand steering at night extremely challenging. -- Chris

Update on the furling line

posted by Cirrus @ 5/28/2006 10:52:00 PM
Today, with extremely light winds, and very calm seas, in the middle of the Pacific High, Bill decided it was time to address our furling line situation. As you may remember, it chafed through on our first day out, after several hours of heavy duty as a "reefing" line. Since then, Bill has re-attached the broken ends to each other, but in the original incident, when the furling drum spun free, many turns were lost from the drum, so there was now no way to furl the replacement storm sail fully, not a good situation, especially when our course will be taking us into an oncoming low pressure area with stronger winds. So Bill furled the sail as much as he could, added more turns to the drum, and furled it to the max again. So now, this (smaller) sail can furl and unfurl completely. The bad news is that, with that knot in the line, there is no way to furl and unfurl our full genoa. The other bad news is that our full genoa went overboard during the original struggle. All is being logged and will be addressed in due process. Meanwhile, due to the efforts of Bill, with the able assistance of Donna and Lindsey, our furling system works perfectly with the storm sail. As Bill says, "At the moment, our limited furling capability is fully adequate for our limited requirements."

Hi to everyone ashore. We are currently motoring across the high, making seven knots, and charging all our batteries and every iPod, camera, and PalmPilot in sight. We said Aloha to the pineapple crown this morning so I guess that means fresh fruit with lunch. -- Chris

29 May 2006

Four AM and all is well

posted by Cirrus @ 5/29/2006 10:11:00 AM
I just finished my 0000 to 0400 watch. We have now been motoring for 26 hours at about 6 knots (2200 rpm), occasionally 6.5 during the day (2500 rpm). We are at 31 north latitude, 144 west longitude, in the middle of the (mostly stationary) pacific high. The seas are almost completely flat calm , and the winds are following at about 3 knots. The sky is beautiful and clear and I saw a spectacular meteorite tonight; extremely brief, but very bright and fast-moving. I saw no ships, but MP saw a freighter from 12 miles out on her 2000-0000 watch. Since we are keeping Hawaiian Standard Time, the sun comes up around 0400. Very nice. We expect to pass our half-way point (1034 miles to go) sometime this afternoon. I suspect there will be something special to eat tonight. Not that it hasn't been pretty special every night. We had Valerie's famous crab Parmesan quiche and spinach quiche, with white rice, last night. Nancy did her usual magic in the galley. And lunch was one of my favorites: tuna salad, along with chicken salad; this time Donna did the galley magic.
I talked to Lou on the radio last night; he gave us some weather info from his contact at the NWS at UH. It appears that we will hit some strong favorable winds in the next few days, sweeping us to SF at a brisk pace. Thank you Lou!
I should mention today's steering scare; it was nothing, just my imagination. I woke up this morning with a start because I kept hearing this loud squeaking that seemed to be in sync with the rudder movements. So I rushed on deck, where all were assembled, just in time to see Lindsey shoot some oil into the Monitor wind-vane mechanism. It was not steering the boat at the time, just idling, but it sure was noisy. Problem solved, back to sleep for me. - Chris

Progress report - May 29

posted by Valerie @ 5/29/2006 12:16:17 PM
Bill said they "got a late start"  today so all data is an hour later than usual (8AM as opposed to 7AM) but the news is all good.  Half-way is calculated to be at mile 1035 and they have approximately 1080 miles to go.  Thus, they anticipate crossing the half-way point at about 6PM today.  The wind is almost directly behind them and, while they were still motoring when we spoke, there is talk of putting up the spinnaker!  That should replace the smiles with broad grins!
Details as of 8AM PST:     Latitude 31 deg. 37 min N, Longitude 143 deg. 25 min. W.   Course 067 true at 6.4 knots.    Relative wind - 114 at 5 kn., True wind - 219 at 10 kn.     Cloud cover - 5%     Barometer 1024   Air temp 60 deg. F, Water temp. 56 deg. F  Sea swells from the South at 2'      25 hour distance covered = 162 miles
That's it for today (but they better not get a late start tomorrow, my nerves can't stand it!)
Aloha, Valerie

30 May 2006

May 30 - milestone day!

posted by Valerie @ 5/30/2006 10:30:17 AM
Many milestones have been marked since last I posted here. 
At about 3PM HST yesterday, Cirrus passed her halfway mark. Celebrations all around.  Then, during the night the distance to go went from 4 digits to 3.  They now have 957 miles to go.  Distance made good over the past 23 hours:  123 miles.
They sailed under spinnaker much of yesterday but today it is a little too bumpy so they are back steering using the Monitor wind vane.  Why work harder than you absolutely have to, right?  When we spoke, they had the jib furled and are still making 6.3 knots just using the main sail alone.  It is early still and they will probably put some of the jib out later today.
OK - today's details:    Position - 32 deg. 39 min. N, 140 deg. 57 min W.    Course 070 True - speed 6.3 kn.  Relative wind - 130 at 8 knots.  True wind - 222 at 13 knots.   100% cloud cover.  Barometer 1021 and falling.  Swells out of SW at 3-4'     Air temp. 60 deg. F, sea temp. 54 deg. F
That's all for now.  Happy day and Aloha all -- Valerie

Some may have wondered...

posted by Cirrus @ 5/30/2006 08:17:00 PM
A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the planet Earth. If you were to cut the Earth in half at the equator, you could pick up one of the halves and look at the equator as a circle. You could divide that circle into 360 degrees. You could then divide a degree into 60 minutes. A minute of arc on the planet Earth is 1 nautical mile. This unit of measurement is used by all nations for air and sea travel. A knot is a unit of measure for speed. If you are traveling at a speed of 1 nautical mile per hour, you are said to be traveling at a speed of 1 knot.
A kilometer is also defined using the planet Earth as a standard of distance. If you were to take the Earth and cut it in half along a line passing from the North Pole through Paris, and then measure the distance of the curve running from the North Pole to the equator on that circle, and then divide that distance by 10,000, you would have the traditional unit for the kilometer as defined in 1791 by the French Academy of Sciences.
A nautical mile is 1,852 meters, or 1.852 kilometers. In the English measurement system, a nautical mile is 1.1508 miles, or 6,076 feet.
To travel around the Earth at the equator, you would have to travel (360 * 60) 21,600 nautical miles, 24,857 miles or 40,003 kilometers.

31 May 2006

May 31 - Check out these party animals

posted by Valerie @ 5/31/2006 06:49:00 PM
Evidently this is the party boat to be on - and the party crew to sail with. They had a celebration when they crossed their half-way latitude, then they celebrated again when they crossed their half-way distance, and they celebrated yet again when they crossed their half-way longitude. When they broke 900 miles Bill called out "party" ... which was greeted with general roars of approval followed by a small voice asking "what for this time?"
They are just shooting along. Conditions still bumpy but they are going pretty fast. After a check in with Lou last night (he has been amazing - such a huge help) they decided to take the advise of the National Weather Service and head East for awhile and maybe even a little South. The winds on the course that they were heading were reaching 35 which is really more than they need! On their adjusted course they are still getting plenty of wind.
So - details as of 6AM PST (note, this again gives us a 23-hour report) Latitude: 32 deg. 48 min N, Longitude 138 deg. 03 min. W Course 094 True at 7.2 knots Relative wind 109 at 11 True wind 230 at 15 100% cloud cover and the barometer is at 1015 and falling. Sea swells are SW at 5 feet Air temp 57 deg. F, Sea temp. 55 deg. F And, for those of us waiting and watching, the most important statistic --- Miles to go: 820 (These are Nautical miles.)
They are sailing with one reef in the main and the jib furled about 1/3. Due to having the wind behind and the bumpy conditions, they switched to steering using the auto helm last night. May switch back to monitor during the daytime but still on "Otto" at the moment. -- Aloha, Valerie

Delirious Ramblings Part I

posted by Cirrus @ 5/31/2006 06:49:00 PM
Good morning. It's Wednesday morning, and I was too tired to send this yesterday.
It's 10:00 am HST on Tuesday May 30th and the crew of Cirrus has accomplished a lot since yesterday. Yesterday was our half-way day. At about 3:00 pm, we reached the point where we were equally distant from The Golden Gate Bridge and the sampan channel entrance at Kaneohe Bay, 1034 nautical miles. In recognition of that fact, we had a special dinner celebration. We drank a little champagne, ate some scallop shu-mai appetizers with wasabe and soy, and feasted on an artichoke & scallop casserole, with roasted mashed squash. The topic of the day was "messages in a bottle". Lindsey composed a message and launched it over the side in her Martinelli half-bottle. We decided that everyone should see all the related movies, "Message in a Bottle", "The Notebook", etc. - Chris

01 June 2006

Disjointed Ramblings Part II

posted by Cirrus @ 6/01/2006 10:17:08 AM
(What follows was written by Chris on May 31)
Yesterday was also our first spinnaker day.  The winds were very light, but just enough to fly the kite and get us up to about seven knots, sometimes touching eight.  Unfortunately, the winds died late in the afternoon and the sail went back into its bag for the night.  This morning, it's still extremely lightand it's pouring rain.  Lindsey is on watch, hand-steering through the fluky stuff.
Yesterday was also Memorial Day.  In my email,Ihad a little gift from Agnes: a synopsis of the Indy 500.  And the Pacific Seafarers' Net opened with a minute of silence.
Back to today, I just got off watch where we flew a reefed main and still did 7.5 knots all night, thanks to the fact that we have footed off to a course of 095.  Lou advised that course in order to avoid the strom coming in from the north.  - Chris

June 1 - Taking the bad with the good.

posted by Valerie @ 6/01/2006 11:57:00 AM
No, no - don't worry. The bad is just that it is COLD. Bill says he is being reminded about why we live in Hawaii. The pouring rain is intermittent but when it stops it is still hazy. The visibility is down to about 1 nautical mile and the air temperature is 59 degrees F. Bill says that when the rain stops it still feels like, "more than 100% humidity." That may not seem cold to some of you, but when it gets down to 70 degrees in Honolulu, Bill starts putting on sweat pants, a sweat shirt and fleece slippers.
The good is that they are barreling along at 7.2 knots this morning and have ranged between 7 and 8 knots for that past 24 hours. As a result, they have put 182 more miles behind them and have only 658 nautical miles to go. At that rate, they could be in San Francisco at 7 AM HST - 10 AM PDT - on Monday. (I'll believe it when I see it - Bill has never arrived during daylight as long as I can remember.)
They are running the auto helm and the radar and the refrigerator as needed. They decided they have enough fuel to run the engine to charge batteries whenever the need arises. The sea swells are up to about 8 feet and the wind is still behind.
Here are the 6AM HST details: Latitude 33 deg. 35 min. N, Longitude 134 deg. 56 min. W. Course is 078 true at 7.2 knots. Relative wind is 125 at 11 and true wind is 224 at 16. Barometer is 1014 and steady. Air temp. is 59 deg. F, sea temp. is 54 deg. F.
All are well, happy and not really anxious for this trip to end. It has been suggested that some of you may miss this vicarious excitement and that they should stay out and sail around for a couple of extra weeks. Somehow I don't that this is likely to happen. Just wait! You get to do this all over again starting July 3 when the race back to Hawaii starts. - Valerie

02 June 2006

June 2 - Counting Down

posted by Valerie @ 6/02/2006 11:49:00 AM

Cirrus experienced an "episode of blue sky" at dawn this morning. This was followed fairly quickly by the typical coastal "whomp" of fog settling down all around and in a half hour they were "socked in solid." They had become optomistic about their arrival given two days of 7-8 knot speeds but the winds have dropped off and they are only making 6 kn. now. This seems almost intolerably slow to them which I suspect is caused by anticipation of the end of the journey and the almost total lack of visibility. They now anticipate arriving closer to Tuesday than Monday. Given Bill's history, they will probably arrive right in between the two.

As of 6 AM HST their position was Lat. 34 deg. 40 min. N, Lon. 132 deg. 30 min. W. Course is 062 True at 6 knots. They have, you will note, turned NE again. If there is going to be rough weather it will come down the coast from the north and Bill would like to be above the entrance to the Bay as they approach rather than beat their way in. A look at the weather prediction would suggest that this won't be a problem but that is my opinion from many miles away!Relative wind is 160 at 5 kn, true wind is 233 at ll kn. Barometer is at 1019, rising steadily. Seas at 220, 2'. Air temp. is 59 deg. F, water is 54 deg. F.

They had a 138 mile day, with 520 nautical miles to go. We are hearing from friends and it begins to look like they will have a fine welcoming committee. If any of you in the Bay Area want to be there - they are planning to go into Richmond Yacht Club - Slip C21. I hope to talk with them tonight from Lou Ickler's and will update the blog if there is anything new. Aloha - Valerie

03 June 2006

I stand corrected

posted by Valerie @ 6/03/2006 03:37:00 PM
Evidently, I have been maligning Bill and Cirrus. I received an e-mail from Frank Plasil who was a member of the delivery crew in 2004 in which he stated that, "...I must take issue with one of your statements..." regarding Cirrus "never" arriving during the day time. He pointed out that, "Actually, we did arrive during I remember very vividly. It is written up beautifully in Marie-Pierre's 'Carnet de Voyage'." Frank went on to translate a passage from the "Carnet" which he describes as "very beautiful and fills me with nostalgia."

"San Francisco appeared very early this morning through the ususal coastal fog. The red disc of the rising sun pierces the fog above the Golden Gate...Cirrus continues on its course while the red sun changes slowly to gold and dissipates the fog to allow us to pass. We pass under the bridge which marks our arrival. We have reached our goal. One hour later, Cirrus docks in the little port of Richmond in the north of the bay of San Francisco. Valerie, and some friends, waited on the dock with champagne and croissants. The breakfast of Gods!"

Yes, they have arrived during daylight hours. May they do so again!

By the way, if anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of Marie-Pierre's book (it is in French but even if you don't read French the illustrations are fabulous), click on her name on the crew list to the left...ordering information is all there.

June 3 - Cirrus needs more wind

posted by Valerie @ 6/03/2006 03:49:00 PM
Since some time yesterday afternoon they have been experiencing "dead calm" with the exception of "occasional gusts" of 1 or 2 knots. Hard to imagine anything more discouraging on a sail boat. Obviously this meant motoring and, as of this morning, they had enough fuel to motor for another 26 hours. This is the time for all the FOC (friends of Cirrus) to chant, dance, pray, light whatever works to invite more wind to fill the sails and gentle her in to SF Bay. When Bill called this morning at 7 AM the wind was just beginning to pick up a little.

In addition to the lack of wind, they still have fog all around. They are able to look straight up overhead and see the sky. Moon and stars at night. Clear and lovely. But the view out to each horizon is no more than 200. Radar works but it is an additional strain.

The 6 AM HST statistics placed Cirrus at 35 deg. 39 min. North and 130 deg. 07 min. West. Their course was 046 True at 4.9 knots (under sail.) The relative wind was 105 at 4 kn. and true wind 200 at 7kn. Sea direction was 210 at about 2 feet. Barometer 1021 and, while it had been slowly rising over the 24 hour period, was now steady. Air - 59 deg. F, water - 54 deg. F.

130 nautical miles made good in 24 hours with 390 nautical miles to go. GO, CIRRUS, GO!

04 June 2006

Your "dancing" worked. Thank you!

posted by Valerie @ 6/04/2006 10:43:00 AM
Yesterday Cirrus made her first tack of the entire trip - from starboard to port. The conditions are reported to be "perfect" and the tensions have drained from their voices. They are happily moving at 6-7 kn. on a beam reach. All reefs are gone and the heavy weather jib has been stowed and replaced by an old 120 that seems to be doing the job.

At 6 AM HST they were sailing a course of 070 true at 6.7 kn. Latitude 36 deg. 37 min. N, Longitude 127 deg. 13 min W. Relative wind 240 at 7 and true wind 280 at 12. Barometer 1018.4 and rising very slowly. Sea direction 280 with swells of about 3'. Air temp. 57 deg. F, water temp. 54 deg. F.

They put another 152 nautical miles behind them and have only 238 to go. Bill estimates a midnight Monday arrival. Maybe, with a little more wind (which is often the case closer to the coast) they could come in earlier but who knows. Sailing is, after all, never done on an exact timetable!

05 June 2006

Day 14 - down to double digits!

posted by Valerie @ 6/05/2006 11:02:00 AM
As of 7 AM HST Cirrus only had another 68 miles to go. I'm sure they are greeting this news with mixed emotions. Soon it will be time for a hot shower, an uninterrupted sleep, clean clothes...but the end of a wonderful adventure approaches and that is like saying "good-bye". Bitter-sweet. Bitter-sweet for me too as this will be first time I won't be on the dock to greet them.

They partially furled the jib during the night to make for a little more comfortable driving but all sails are fully deployed now and they are, as Bill put it, "on a sled ride to the gate." They are sailing on a beam reach in about 12-13 knots of wind and making boat speeds in the 7-8 knot range. ETA is still about 6PM HST/9PM PDT. Anyone want to start a pool?

Details as of 6AM HST: Lat. 37 deg. 25 min. N, Lon. 124 deg. 10 min. W. Course 075 True at 7 kn. Relative wind 256 @ 9kn, True wind 300 @ 13. Sea dir. 320 at 4' Barometer 1015 and steady. Cloud cover 100% Air 53 deg. F, Water 52 deg. F

3:15 PM HST - 6:15 PM PDT

posted by Valerie @ 6/05/2006 06:28:00 PM
They are at the San Francisco Buoy - sailing at 8.5 knots. I heard cheering in the background. They can see San Francisco and, although they are still in fog, it is shining brightly in the sun.

In the Bay!

posted by Valerie @ 6/05/2006 08:07:00 PM
Cirrus crossed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay at 5 PM HST or 8 PM PDT. The sun is just setting. There is no fog - it is "absolutely gorgeous."

One passage down....

posted by Valerie @ 6/05/2006 09:43:00 PM
Cirrus happily arrived at the dock at Richmond Yacht Club at 9:00 PM, PDT. Several friends were on the dock to greet them with the most excited and anxious, probably, being Chris' wife Agnes. There was a party in full swing when Bill called and, clearly, he was anxious to get back to it.


06 June 2006

Happy sailors and friends - Richmond Yacht Club - June 5

posted by Valerie @ 6/06/2006 10:03:00 AM
Photos courtesy of Dave Littlejohn