Dienstag, 1. Juli 2008

Transpac Tahiti Race '08 - Tag 10 Äquatortaufe

Es geht an die Äquatortaufe:

July 1 , 2008 - For Pollywogs, a memorable day at the equator

LOS ANGELES—Magnitude 80, closing in on the record in the Transpacific Yacht Club’s 13th Tahiti Race, crossed the equator Monday afternoon---always a memorable experience, especially for Pollywogs.

A Pollywog is a sailor who has never sailed (airplanes don’t count) from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere, or the reverse. A Shellback is one who has, and there is a traditional ceremony emphasizing the distinction between the two.

Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80 crossed the line between 2 and 3 p.m. PDT Monday as Bob Lane’s Medicine Man was just breaking out of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and preparing for its own ritual in anticipated fair southeasterly breeze, as was Jim Morgan’s Fortaleza to the east.

“Two Shellbacks and seven Pollywogs await visit from King Neptune,” Medicine Man navigator Mike Priest reported.

What can Medicine Man’s Pollywogs expect? Magnitude’s chief correspondent, navigator Ernie Richau, offered this account early Tuesday:

“This morning I awoke to see our watch captains Keith Kilpatrick and Jeff Scott in the galley with a bucket, mixing up more gruel for our equator crossing. A quick look at the GPS showed us we were just a few minutes from Latitude 00. After they finished with the gruel they began making their clothes. Keith was King Neptune while Jeff played the part of his mistress, Queen Codfish. I went on deck with the other crew and waited for our crossing.
“At Latitude 00 Jeff and Keith appeared on deck. King Neptune wore a plastic trash bag with holes cut for his arms and head. His hair was gorilla tape with yards of red and white yarn stuck to it. Finally, he sported a triton---our spare jib batten with three forks taped to the end. Queen Codfish was a hysterical site. She wore a matching trash bag as a skirt. Under her skirt and taped to her leg was a full water bottle that also holstered a pair of scissors. She had no shirt but covered her chest with more gorilla tape tightly applied to make a sort of 'tube top.' Long flowing yarn made up her hair.

“They both made their way to the deck behind the wheels. King Neptune and Queen Codfish took two sail ties and attached them to the leeward rail. They then began initiating the 12 slimy Pollywogs in the equatorial crossing ceremony. King Neptune started handing down the sentences.

“ ‘Hogan [Beatie], come forward ... you will receive three scoops of gruel for your past generations ... and another two for your crimes.’ Hogan made the mistake of opening his mouth to speak. ’Silence! One more scoop!’

“One at a time each Pollywog was called aft, tied to the transom and treated to humiliation in front of all with the slimy bath of the gruel. Next they were required to offer a lock of hair. It was cut by Queen Codfish and her scissors, then thrown in the ocean in order to show respect to the sea god and his mistress. Finally, the Queen would shower the Pollywog with water.

“[Skipper] Doug [Baker] was the final Pollywog to be sentenced. King Neptune was at a loss. ‘How many scoops should a man who has committed as many crimes as thee be given?! Ten scoops!!!" Everyone had a great time.”

Back to the task, Richau added: “We now have under 1,000 miles to the finish. This is a fun point of sail. The wind is about 13 knots, we have a jib top and genoa staysail up and we are going a consistent 15 knots with bursts of boat speed to 18.”

Ay Tuesday’s 6 a.m. position reports, Mag 80’s ETA to the finish was 7:28 a.m. PDT Friday, the Fourth of July, which should be an occasion for fireworks even for French Polynesians, whose predecessors were allies in the 18th century battle against the Brits.

Meanwhile, the only apparent problems in the race were data outages between the race committee on the mainland and Medicine Man---no data, but voice---and no transponder pings coming through the complex system from Magnitude 80 due to unknown issues.

The racing fleet and RC have worked out a communications plan employing a unique jury-rigged "left-handed data-splice" that relies on the inventiveness and generosity of all parties involved, in order to get the missing information to and from RC and the fleet and thus carry on with the race.

Blogs from the boats

Fortaleza: Tough night … 20-25 kts on the nose, non-stop. Horrible 2-kt counter current. Short 3-foot seas with lots of pounding. Enough water over bow to set off my PFD as I napped on the weather rail. Hey, who snuck a Bermuda race in the doldrums?

Ragtime: Wind has come around to give us a blazing blast reach session for last 12 hrs. Reefed main and JT3 blast reacher up, going like a freight train on hard chine rails. Smacked in the chest by a flying fish while driving an hour ago, harness took the hit. Cruel fate as my harness now reeks.

Tahiti Race 2008 standings
(boat for boat at 6 a.m. PDT Tuesday)

1. Magnitude 80 (Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach, 308 miles daily run/926 nautical miles to go.
2. Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach 184/1,274.
3. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Chris Welsh, Newport Beach, 188/1,517.
4. Fortaleza (Santa Cruz 50), Jim Morgan, Long Beach, 124/1,726.

Mehr dazu beim Transpacific Yacht Club.