Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th at Sea - Passepartout Status Report

For those of you that have been following Passepartout - here is a report just in from Pete approximately 690 miles from Maui --

It is the 4th of July, one of my favorite holidays and the 13th day of the race. We have no fireworks aboard and limited our celebration to an extra bottle of wine - a 2005 Almansa from Compass wines. I have not had this before. Doug assured me I would like it. He was right. It is a very heavy Spanish wine. The rest of the crew seems to agree.

Things have improved a little today. I got the bilge pump fixed. It was the easiest and the most important thing to fix so I tackled that first. The duck bill valves were worn out. A simple replacement did the job. This afternoon I tackled the boiler. Access is extremely difficult. It is located just forward of the transmom and aft of the aft cabin - just above the steering quadrant. It is difficult to get close to the unit with my body and it is difficult to see anyhting becaue then my eyes are so close to the screws I am trying to turn. I got Kris to help. He is younger and stronger. Now the unit fires and cycles as it is suppopsed to. We arejust short circuited a number of control sensors to get it to start the first time. Now it seems to run with no short circuiting required. Maybe fuel built up in the boiler because of heel or speed. When we go fast we build up quite a substantial stern wave which covers the boiler exhaust. Maybe that prevented it form firing and the sensors were sensing the extra fuel and preventing it from firing. We will see how that goes in the future. After all, we all want to look presentable for the dock party in Lahaina so we all need our hot showers.

Our competative situation has changed dramatically for the worse in the last two days. Strum found 20 kts of wind and expected to finish by now. They owe us 4 days and 9 hours so we must finish in 4 days and 9 hours or they will take first overall. We have 687 miles to the finish. Is it doable? It is possible but it will not be easy. We need to be on our speed every minute and we need lucky wind.

Turicum is a worse problem. They are in our class. They owe us 17 -1/2 hrs. As of the roll call this morning they were 120 miles closer to Lahaina than we were. That puts them about 18 hours ahead of us. If we can't beat Strum and we can't close that gap we miss first overall and first in our class. In other words we get feathers for dinner instead of chicken.

This morning we put up the symetrical spinnaker and changed to a course of 230M. We have been able to maintain about 5 kts all day. That is a big improvement from yesterday. Our optimum course to Maui is 219M so we are westing. Turicum is west of us and has been reporting much better wind (and eating our lunch in distance made good). The weather charts do not show the difference but the pattern of highs makes the difference believable. As of 2300 PDT (0600 UTC 5 July) We changed the light wind spinnaker sheets for the heavy wind sheets (3/18"Samson Vectran for 7/16" Samson Warp Speed). We now have 13 kts behind us and we are making 6.2 SOG.

Today was a much better day than yesterday but we have far to go and a very uncertain outcome.

Thank you for all the encouraging emails. We needed them after yesterday.

Pete & Crew

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