July 22 Update – Good Sailing!

8:00 PM PDT, July 22, 2012 Latitude 32 deg 29min N, Longitude 135 deg 39 min W Speed 8kts @ 240 deg magnetic 1348 miles to Kaneohe Bay.
I am told that our tracker may not be updating our position. Please don’t worry — we’re doing great. We may be able to get the tracker going again, but if not we will remain in contact with the other boats and our shoreside friends via radio and satellite phone.
We’ve had a great day aboard VALIS. The heavy overcast is breaking up and we’ve had hours of sailing the over sparkling blue sea. It’s warmer, too, and we have shed our various layers of thermal insulation and are sporting more tropical-looking gear. It’s still cool at night, but a the foul weather gear takes care of that.
At daybreak we were sailing under plain sails: main, genoa, and staysail. During the morning radio roll-call the wind became appropriate to hoist a spinnaker, so up went the colorful 3/4 oz chute. Once up, Michael noticed a small tear in an upper panel, and not wanting it to turn into a big rip we brought it down and in it’s place put up the blue/white 1-1/2 oz spinnaker. The wind was probably a bit strong for the light-air sail anyway. The rip has been repaired and we have this sail in reserve should we need it later.
We’ve been making great time with the heavier kite, regularly breaking ten knots of boatspeed. Our average has been around eight kts, which is very good for VALIS. If the wind picks up too much we will run up the “shy kite”, which is a smaller spinnaker designed for heavier air.
We’ve remained in VHF radio range of several boats and spoke with Temerity and Lightspeed. We’ve had no sails or ships within visual range today.
Lunch today was chili and cornbread, and for dinner we had salad, and a stew over polenta. Fine dining aboard VALIS! For the last few evenings we’ve opened up the cockpit table, laid out a non-skid tablecloth, and had our meals in a most civilized fashion. Unfortunately, the candles keep blowing out.
We are now running the engine (out of gear) to charge the batteries. As we get more sun we will need to charge less. It’s pretty noisy down below with the engine on, so I am hoping for more sun!
Best wishes to all, Paul / VALIS

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