Pacific Cup – The Fun Race to the Dry Dock?

The last several days have been difficult for the Pacific Cup fleet. The good news is that all are safe and sailing.
Here’s the bad news: Friday, July 9 – Tiki Blue retiring due to electrical system failure. Now safely back in San Francisco. July 10 – Plus Sixteen and Sea Reign retire, schedule issues. Both home now. July 11 – Bequia has steering failure, returning home with emergency tiller (eventually fixed steering, now back home). July 11 – Rapid Transit has a broken rudder, is retiring and returning (currently approaching Santa Barbara, rudder repaired.) July 12 – Recidivist breaks headstay, have let spare halyards forward to secure mast and are continuing to Hawaii under reduced sail. July 13 – Deception taking on water, approx 20 gallons per minute (they have since found and plugged a leak at the rudder bearing, are continuing the race). July 13 – Rhum Boogie has backstay problem, are rigging extra padeyes to help secure backstay (this is now under control, are continuing under reduced sail). July 13 – Trial Run has a crack in the boom near the gooseneck. Continuing. July 13 – California Condor breaks rudder (she has twin rudders). Later, the second rudder breaks. She is continuing to Hawaii using drogue steering.
That’s a lot of carnage in a few days! All boats are either heading to a mainland port, or to Hawaii, and some of these are still actively racing. No outside assistance has been needed, or requested.
It’s hard to characterise the problems that have occured. Some of these boats are brand new, and some are veterans of many thousands of miles of ocean racing. One common theme is that the sailors on board have been able to work with the tools and supplies on hand to come up with solutions and patches.
Aboard VALIS we have had a few minor bits of breakage and wear, but nothing that we haven’t been able to easily work around. There is a growing list of things to fix or replace when we reach Hawaii. We are deliberately not pushing the boat or the crew as hard as we could, under the theory that breaking stuff doesn’t make us fast. It’s a long race, and we intend to finish it.
But the sun is burning through the low clouds, and we’re having a glorious day sailing. There’s a fishing line trolling astern, and we are being escorted by flocks of flying fish. Below the surface they swim in a school, but they fly through the air in a flock. At least that’s our theory.
Paul / VALIS

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