Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2008

Transpac '08 Tahiti Race - Tag 11

Neues von Rich:

July 2 , 2008
All about Shellbacks, Pollywogs and other odd birds

LOS ANGELES—One more day, seven more members inducted into ocean sailing’s Shellback club.

Two of Medicine Man’s crew of nine were already christened as crossers of the equator, and the other seven, including owner/skipper
Bob Lane and designer Alan Andrews of Long Beach, shed their Pollywog ignominy Tuesday, a day after Magnitude 80 flew through on its way to a record in the Transpacific Yacht Club’s 13th Tahiti Race.

A brief report from Medicine Man: “Nine happy shellbacks on board. Too bad there WERE cameras ... no one can run for public office now!”

The photos were expected to be available upon the big blue boat’s arrival in Papeete this weekend. Or maybe not.

Watch captain Keith Ives later wrote: “Crossed the equator a couple hours ago. Good times, had a rum drink and Szabo tunes jammin’. The Doldrums were a bit wacky [with] 180 [-degree] wind shifts and rain that came down harder than you could imagine. Currently tight-reaching in 14 knots wind with boat speed around 13 knots. Things are good on board; the boat seems to be holding together. ETA in Tahiti is looking like Saturday.”

Farther back, Jim Morgan’s Santa Cruz 50, Fortaleza, found strange company in a Kahoola Kahoola bird (see blog below).

The tricky part near the finish is negotiating a new mark of the 3,571-nautical mile course. To avoid an area of strong adverse current that has affected previous races, the boats must leave Mataiva Atoll in the Tuamotus Archipelago north of Tahiti to port, then finish a half-mile offshore from the Pointe Venus lighthouse to avoid an inshore reef.

At its current 14-plus-knot rate of speed, Doug Baker’s Mag 80 was projected to finish at about 2:52 a.m. PDT Friday---midnight Thursday in Tahiti---with Medicine Man about 48 hours behind, also on pace to break the record of 14 days 21 hours 15 minutes 26 seconds set by Fred Kirschner’s Kathmandu in the last Tahiti Race in 1994.

Mag 80 logged 352 miles in the latest 24-hour cycle to 6 a.m. Wednesday and had 575 miles to go, a pace that put it more than two days under the record. Medicine Man also could eclipse the record by a matter of hours.

Blogs from the boats

Ragtime: One of the best nights of sailing we have all had … stars and Southern Cross in view for the first time in days, perfect temp, beam-reaching down, boat a delight to drive. Islands coming into view on the charts, equator in 60 miles.
We're all Pollywogs, including the boat---last time [in 1971] she crossed by freighter. Strange moment … on course, little tactics left most likely except make the boat go fast, and yet we have over a thousand miles of racing left. Never done that before.

Fortaleza: Heaven was only 25 degrees away. Amazingly fun night of blasting away, now cracked off ... not really shown by progress is we are still dogged by current. While we were entering the ITCZ at the beginning of our second week, we were making pretty good time in light winds. The day was sunny and we watched birds swoop around the boat as they pick off flying fish who are trying to escape predators below. One decided it wanted a rest and landed (after about 14 attempts) on the bow pulpit. It then proceeded to "balance" on the pulpit, as the waves took it up and down. Turns out, wet web feet don't make a very good grip on a polished stainless rail. And one point, it hung on by its neck. This entertainment went on for a good ten minutes. As most of us had never seen such a thing, our resident graduate of the California School of Nautical Knowledge informed us that it was a specimen of the rare Kahoola Kahoola bird: Born in the equatorial zone
destined to fly in an easterly direction around the world
with each rotation, climbing one degree of latitude
until it finally reaches the north pole and flies up its own bunghole. Having met our young and tired friend at Latitude 10, we're thinking he might not make it.

Magnitude 80 (Ernie Richau): We have under 700 miles to the finish now. We have the same sail combination up as we did when I sent my last note. The jib top, genoa staysail and main. The wind is averaging about 14 knots and our average boat speed is well above 14. Today we really have turned our focus back to racing after yesterday’s equatorial crossing ceremony. All the crew is back to hiking on the weather rail, the sail stack has been cleaned up and we are putting a good effort into sailing the boat as fast as possible.

Tahiti Race 2008 standings

(boat for boat at 6 a.m. PDT Wednesday)

1. Magnitude 80 (Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach, 352 miles daily run/575 nautical miles to go.

2. Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach, 254/1,020.

3. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Chris Welsh, Newport Beach, 237/1,281.

4. Fortaleza (Santa Cruz 50), Jim Morgan, Long Beach, 170,1,565.

Mehr dazu beim Transpacific Yacht Club.