VALIS – July 30

Seas, squalls, and not much sun — that has been the situation the last few days, and yesterday was no exception. Nothing major, but enough to have us reefed down and not sailing as fast as we could if the swells were smaller. Our course continues to be west of due north (see attached Google Earth trackfile), but the weather forecasts indicate that the shifting wind will soon let us sail more north, and even towards the east. Our strategy (and we’re sticking to it) is to sail up to 40deg north latitude before turnig right. We may be able to “cut the corner” a bit on this turn, but if we get too aggressive we risk facing headwinds from the lower edge of the high (this is the same high that went so far south during the race). “California Girl”, who left a day before us, continues to fight her way east, and has apparently tacked, since she is a bit farther south and much further east than she was yesterday. We don’t want to do this, since even though we would get to to the California coast sooner we would still have to slog north to San Francisco, facing some fairly high winds. It will be interesting to compare notes when we all get home.
Last night the seas were up, perhaps 8 feet maximum, and we were pretty battened down as the spray flew across VALIS’ decks. Nobody felt very much like cooking, so we had “cup of noodles” (with real chicken flavor!) for dinner. A few times the cockpit got a good dollop of seawater, which sloshed back and forth before draining through the scuppers. We had several strong rain showers which, along with the sea spray, are keeping the topsides nice and clean.
The radio net for returning Pacific Cup vessels was uneventful, anthough we did again have to relay messages from several boats to Kaneohe Base. We learned that Rainbow (the catamaran that was an unofficial Pac Cup entry) departed Kaneohe for Seattle yesterday. Also, Contessa, who had to turn back,has re-started her trip to California. The crew of “XL” (sunk by a whale) is safe on shore in Honolulu, having been picked up by freighter Maersk Darwin and then transferred to Cammi I, a fishing boat headed for Honolulu. They were being interviewed on Honolulu TV.
During John’s watch (schedule: Davey, John, Paul, Phil) he saw some strong lights glowing on the horizon, directly ahead of us. This was a fishing boat (probably a long-liner, according to Davey), which proceeded to pass us on our starboard side as it steamed south. It remained a bright blur on the horizon, except for a few occasionas when both it and VALIS were on the top of a swell and John could make out individual lights.
This morning the seas were calmer, so Phil and John made scrambled eggs, with onion, bacon, and cheese mixed in. Very tasty! Even though the seas were down, there’s always someone who didn’t get the memo, so we still have the occasional drenching and bouncing around.
Our current position (July 30, 1:00 PM PDT) is latitude 32deg 05min north, longitude 158deg 07min west. We are sailing in 20 knots of wind, heading 320 degrees true, at 6 knots.


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