Saturday morning

We have been at sea for 6 days and we are still talking to each others! Last night, skipper Bernard was very tired and he did not wake-up for his watch despite 3 attempts from Marc, the navigator. So Marc very kindly did another 2-hour shift.

The forecast was for no wind again today and tomorrow but we are getting a bit of southerly wind. This is kind of unusual in this part of the ocean and for that time of the year but we will take anything! The weather is supposed to improve by Monday. We get some occasional rain showers which we don’t mind because they generally bring stronger wind.

Children hour: every day at 5:30 PM, there is an informal radio party on short wave. This is where the boats are exchanging trivia, jokes, fish stories, etc… This is the counterpart to the formal position report of the morning roll call. The sailing instructions state: “racers are cautioned that not all statements made during this period may be accurate”. So listeners beware!

Right now we are doing 5 to 6 knots with the asymmetric spinnaker up. We can’t complain too much. Temperature is in the 24 to 26 degrees centigrade range, definitely warmer than it was in San Francisco.

Remember that we cannot see your replies to the blog nor approve comments for readers that have not been vetted before the start of the race. If you want to communicate with us, you need to use the communication sheet that was published before the start. If you don’t have that sheet, please contact Christina. We welcome text or very short email messages!


If you want to know how it feels to be in the middle of the Pacific ocean on a sailboat and without any wind, just ask us! Right now are moving at about 1 knots to wards Hawaii. We may arrive for Christmas!

The good news is that so far (11 AM) nothing has required opening the toolbox. We will likely put the engine in gear for a few hours while we recharge the batteries.

Still a lot of debris sighting. Multiple boats reported seeing 55-gallon drums like we did a few days ago.

Every morning we have to log our position at 8:00 AM. Then we have the choice to either email it, text it or leave a voice mail for the race HQ. Then at 9:30 AM, there is a radio net on short wave radio (SSB). The boats that did not send their position are required to do so at that time otherwise the net controller reads the position that was sent (or the one from the Yellow Brick tracker).

Last minute update; we are getting some SW wind… Count on us for Thanksgiving!

We land a big fish

Today was a slow, very slow, day without much wind. We motored for 2 hours to recharge the batteries, make some water and cover a few miles.

The water making did not work very well because one of the pumps failed. We tried to fix it a few times, got water (ocean water!) everywhere. While the skipper was fighting with the watermaker, another battle was happening on the other side of the boat. Bob had just caught a big Mahi-Mahi (estimated 12 pounds). We managed to bring the fish to the swim step but the fish went away and all was left was blood everywhere… On the race net we reported as having voluntary let the fish go. I don’t think that anybody bought our story! In any case we have pictures!

The weather is supposed to stay (too) calm for the next 2 days. This is bad because we were doing quite well so far. We get some squalls in the evening with a little bit of wind. We are at exactly the latitude of San Diego but with a very different weather. Since we are about 16 degrees farther east than Southern California, we have gained one hour od day light in the evening.

We see a lot of trash in the water. We are not sure if this is related to the tsunami in Japan a couple years ago. So far the biggest item was a 55-gallon drum.

Moving along

The crew of Med Viking is well. We just sent our daily report to the race HQ. We covered 160 miles yesterday (from 8 AM to 8 AM). This is 6.6 knots average so it is not too bad. We are already seeing some squalls so we have to reduce our sail before they hit us. The one we got were gentle with just a bit of rain.

We are still finding sea life on the deck every morning. Today it was a big squid that Marc released in the water. We also have some big blue stains from sailing jellies.

We just put the spinnaker back up as we don’t keep it during the night. Winds are lighter today – as predicted. I am downloading the GRIB files (Google that !) to have an idea of what is coming in the next few days.

We have covered more than 500 miles – 25% of the distance.

Report #1

We are on our 3rd day at sea.

Our start was at 10:40 AM on Sunday. We were the first one to cross the starting line (except for one of our competitor who crossed the line 10 minutes too early and had to come back) but we were passed by a bigger boat (A Jeanneau 49) soon after. One causality of the start was the newly installed TV antenna which flew in the bay water minutes before the start. We will likely have to go up in the mast to remove the mount so it does not damage the sails.

The first night was rough with wind between 25 and 30 knots. This was difficult for the whole crew because we had to keep reducing our sail until we only had a very small jib and almost no main. We also found multiple leaks on the deck hatches which we had to address with silicon in the middle of the night.

On the second day we also had head (toilet) problem. We attempted to repair but failed so we are running with only one head…

We have been doing above 6 knots almost all the time so we are happy with the progress. We are not in the trade winds yet but the wind is lighter (15 knots), the temperature higher (21 C) but the seas are still big and confused partially due to a tropical depression that came from Mexico.

All the best to our readers from the middle of the Pacific. Remember that we won’t be able to approve or read your comments until we reach land.

Goodbye Richmond Yacht Club

We just left the dock at the RYC. The welcoming at the club was unbelievable. The Pacific Cup village was a great success and the Bon Voyage party was exceptional. Thanks to everybody.

Note: this is the first blog post by email. I should have tried this earlier. let’s see how it goes.

Last day!

It is the last day before the race. The skipper meeting was well managed and informative. We now have our Yellow Brick tracker so you should be able to see us by clicking on the link on the right.

Everybody is very happy. Well… almost everybody:

Not too happy...

Not too happy…

We are ready

It looks like we are finally ready. Last night Dianna cooked a few meals with the water from the harbor (yes really the water from the harbor) after it had gone through the water maker.

We went out for a test of the emergency rudder – everything was fine. Back at the dock, Sylvia, the race chief inspector, came on board to verify that we had addressed our inspection deficiencies. We are now cleared into the race!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Last night was the Alaska Airlines party. Guillaume, one of our crew, won a round trip ticket to anywhere Alaska flies! Very nice.

Sea food dinner

Sea food dinner

The Pacific Cup village is very nice. Everybody has been very welcoming.

Official car of the race

Official car of the race

Weather improving?

Take it from someone who does not understand weather nor forecasting: we are just about 7 days from the cruising division start and the weather for the Pacific Cup is improving!

Over the last few days I have looked at the charts for the Pacific Cup crossing and things look better than they did a few days ago. The site has a nice set of charts for the following 8 days. The only problem is that it is difficult to see a daily trend because the first few days have 8 charts per day and the last day of the model only 2.

So it took the whole set of charts, only kept the 0 UTC chart for each day (this also remove the day/night variations) and created the following animation:

Next 8 days

Next 8 days: click to animate

Clearly the wind pattern seems to be moving north, closer to the great circle route. Is that true or am I only seeing what I am hoping for?


At the Richmond Yacht Club

There was still a little bit of day light when we crossed under the Golden Gate bridge and we were able to snap a few of those very special sailing pictures:

Note to self: frame this picture

Note to self: frame this picture

Under the bridge

Under the bridge

We were excited to look at our speed with peaks at 11 knots just under the bridge (taking advantage of the flood current).

Finally around 10PM, 3 days and 7 hours after leaving Wilmington, we arrived at the Richmond Yacht Club. The club is located about 10 nautical miles past the Golden Gate bridge. John, the harbormaster happened to be outside and directed us to our temporary dock. He also gave us access to the showers which was a good thing after 3 days at sea!

In the morning, we got a very friendly welcoming from Steve Chamberlin, the Commodore of the Pacific Cup Yacht Club whom I met in the parking lot of the club.

The club is very nice and very well managed. All of us recognized names of boats we read about in Latitude 38.

A lot of sail boats!

A lot of sail boats!

RYC Clubhouse

RYC Clubhouse

For the time being, Med Viking is under the care of Guillaume and Jerome. The whole crew will be back early July…