July 28 – Day 4 of Return Passage

Good afternoon from VALIS!
We are at latitude 23deg 09min N, longitude 157deg 16min W, sailing at about 6.5 kts on a course of 15 degrees magnetic (mostly north, a bit to the east).
Last night we reefed down twice as some moderate squalls moved over us. We had heavy rain and winds up to 30 knots, and we were watching the squall clouds on radar (and visually) as they approached. We remain well reefed, with winds around 20 knots. Seas are moderate — about 6 feet. In between squalls, we saw quite a few meteors. The moon is setting early, so much of the night is dark, letting us see the starry sky in full gloiry.
Phil tried to catch another fish yesterday, but there were no bites so we baked the frozen chicken and ate it with a salad and rice.
This has been a rough return trip for some of the Pacific Cup fleet. On last night’s radio net we learned that “Basic Instinct” has had some sort of rigging failure in heavy weather and is returning to Hawaii. They had left two days before us, and we suspect that they ran into a squall, since there is no major weather activity in the area. We hope to learn more. Another boat, “Locomotion” has also turned back to Hawaii, due to an autopilot failure. You may remember that “Contessa” also had to turn back two days ago because of generator and watermaker problems.
So far we are holding up well. We are trying to keep the boat moving, but without putting undue strain on anything. We are still planning to sail north to about 40deg latitude, cut through the high (or over it, or under it, but close to the center where the winds are light), then turn east towards San Francisco.
Here are our daily runs so far, from midnight to midnight:
July 25-26: 34 nautical miles (a short day, and not counting the distance from the marina to the finish line)
July 26-27: 144 NM
July 27-28: 138 NM
As of 2:30PM today we have run 94 miles since midnight, so we have been making good speed.
The Google Earth trackfile for the previous 24 hours is attached.
Best Wishes to all of you,


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