Aloha once more

July 23, 2.00 PST

It is a beautiful day with plenty of breeze here in the Pacific Ocean. We are headed for the finish line averaging 8+ knots of boat speed in 14 to 20 knots of wind. We still have our primary #1 spinnaker up, now being commonly referred to as "Elvis". Whenever the chute collapses Skipper John shouts out "Elvis has left the building". The winds were often up around 20 knots during the night and the swells are from behind, but still moderate.

This has resulted in a little surfing but means the helmsman needs to be totally aware at all times. There is not a lot of room for error. I got my personal best boat speed of 12.6 knots during the night.

We were pleased with the position reports this morning, covering over 170 nm in the last 24 hours, more than many of the other boats we are tracking.
We lost a little of our lead to Willow Wind on the course (we are racing them to the finish line) but gained significant ground on Wind Dancer by increasing our corrected time lead to 2.5 hours from 1 hour yesterday. We are currently 431 miles from the finish line and project we will be there early Tuesday morning. Although it seems the race is almost over, the remaining distance is still a long way and is over half the distance from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. We estimate that there will be a lot of boats finishing with us, different from last time when we received the Tail-End Charlie trophy.

Our shift schedule now includes the "double dog shift" every other night as the early morning shift from 5.00 to 8.00 am is now almost entirely in the dark as we stay on Pacific Standard Time until the last hundred miles of the race but Hawaii time is 3 hours behind. Local area noon occurs at 2.50 pm and we do the dusk star sightings around 10.00 pm. I have now completed 3 of the 4 required celestial plots, much to everyone's pleasure, and the calculations have proved to be extremely accurate. I have no doubt we could find the islands with the use of the sextool if required.

We were passed earlier today by a large sailboat we think may have been Windquest, one of the five maxi-yachts in the race. It was impressive even from 3 miles away as it crossed our bow and left us behind very quickly. The lead boat, Morning Glory, is projected to finish early tomorrow morning, beating the previous best elapsed time significantly. It is funny some of the silly things we have started joking about between shifts. Scottie regularly comes into the cockpit for his shift and curls up and goes to sleep on the rear seat. No-one else seems to be able to do this as the rudder post is digging you in the ribs and your neck is bent double.
The tethers we wear all the time are always getting in the way and referred to as the torture tethers. John repeatedly digs at the provisioning which resulted in enough sugar being on-board to last for the next ten years.

John is also already beginning to make plans for the return trip which will start only 5 days after our arrival. Matt will be joining him, along with a couple of "blokes" from England. The list of repairs to do when we arrive is minimal, primarily being the replacement of the batteries which are clearly at the end of their useful lives.

Pipe Dream out for now