July 21 Update

Time: 3:40PM PDT Position: 33deg 34min N, 131deg 52min W Speed/Course: 7kts @ 230 deg true
Good afternoon from VALIS! We’ve been making good speed towards Hawaii and the crew are in good spirits.
We kept the spinnaker flying most of the night, but by 1:30AM in order to keep the big sail happy we were heading further south than would have liked. So we dropped the kite and unfurled the genoa and staysail. The wind was strong enough that we lost very little speed, and were again sailing in the proper direction.
Around 4:00AM we saw the tri-color of “Lightspeed”, a Wylie 39 from Division B (Div B started Tuesday). She slowly crossed our bow at a distance of several miles, and by sunrise she was gone.
Around 9:00AM this morning the wind was again appropriate so the spinnaker went back up. This sail gives us a lot of drive, and sometimes it tries to take VALIS on a wild ride, the boat heeling and spray flying. It takes quick work at the helm to bring the boat back on her feet, but so far we’ve had no calamities.
Morning roll-call went well (VALIS is communications boat), and when it was over we were able to talk with Lightspeed and Temerity via short-range VHF radio.
One recent development in marine technology is “AIS”. This shows the position, course, speed, and other information from almost all large ships, and from some smaller vessels. VALIS and some other racers carry an AIS transponder, which means that we broadcast our position, etc. Most other boats carry at least an AIS receiver. We are really enjoying having AIS on board, and use it to help make our encounters with shipping less stressful. We still keep a visual lookout, but with AIS we can see these ships (and some racers) as they approach from many miles off — usually far beyond our 12-mile visual horizon.
Below is a screenshot (I hope!) of our AIS display. We are in a region of the Pacific where shipping is common, and at first it might look like we are attempting to cross a busy freeway (we are the little green triangle at the center of the screen, our path over the previous 24 hours shown behind us).
When you look more carefully, you will see that these ships are at least sixty miles away, and we will never be close enough for us to even see them by eye. Nothing to worry about, but good to know.
Dinner tonight will be Chicken Biryani, an Indian rice dish that has become a favorite of the VALIS crew over the previous Pac Cup races. Rich has it heating in the oven while he prepares a green salad.
Until later, Paul / VALIS

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