In The Home Stretch

What a difference a day makes! We are sailing in light seas and glorious winds, heading towards Kaneohe Bay. VALIS is now in the home stretch, having crossed the “100 mile” line. As we sailed within 100 miles of the finish, we noted the time, and our postiion, and then radioed these along with our ETA to the Kaneohe Bay race HQ station. We will radio them again when we cross the “25 mile” point, and again at the “5 mile” point, then finally as we cross the finish line. This advance notice lets the Kaneohe Yacht Club send out the “Follow Me” boat, which will meet us at the finish line and escort us to our space in the harbor. We expect to cross the finish line at about 9:00 PM Hawaii Time (give or take, depending on the winds between here and there).
Last night we had been sailing slowly, directly downwnd towards the finish line. One of the boats in the fleet, a nominally smaller and slower boat had come into view astern the day before, and was now fading from sight in ahead of us. This goaded us into playing with the spinnaker and wind angles, trying to find the optimum balance between our ‘directly to the destination but slow” strategy, and the “sail off course but faster” strategy. During the night we sailed significantly of-course,and made several “all hands on deck” sail changes, but the extra speed more than made up for it. Come morning, the wind held steady, and it continues even now, giving us a good run to the finish.
This morning as we were reporting in, we saw two other boats on the horizon behind us. These were two sailboats in the “doublehanded” division. We can only try to imagine how they must be feeling by now! We have now pulled ahead of them to where they are no longer visible over the horizon (they are smaller boats, and they will certainly beat us on corrected time). Still, it feels good to sail faster than *someone*.
We have eaten sandwiches for lunch, and are catnapping in turns to get ready for the big finish. Once we cross the line, we will have to sail or motor several miles to the marina where we will tie up, celebrate, find a shower, celebrate, and rest (in that order). Did I mention celebrate?
The attached Google Earth file shous our recent progress, including last night’s speed-optimizing course changes.
The crew of VALIS


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