This may be my last update, as I’m camping over the weekend and participating in Whidbey Island race week next week.
The two lead boats, Longboard and New Haven, are less than a day from finishing. There is typically a wide range of emotions for the crew. The obvious emotion for these two boats is the stress of a close race. That aside, I can guarantee you the crew is craving food that hasn’t been available on the boat. Someone always seems to talk about getting a burger, a steak or something with fresh vegetables like a salad. Of course there is always talk about getting back together with a loved one or at the prospect of meeting someone in a new tropical location. For the crew that hasn’t done the race before there is the anticipation and excitement of accomplishing such a long grueling race. For a few they just want it all to be over. But, if they are like me, they are a little bit sad that the voyage is coming to an end.
It’s been three days since I last put my spin on how Vic-Maui is going. During those three days one thing has become apparent. Longboard is one freaking fast boat and obviously well sailed! I know New Haven is well sailed as well, but it’s become clear that they don’t have the legs to keep up with Longboard, at least not enough to save their time. Yesterday, as Longboard gybed to cover New Haven, their lead shrank from 63 miles down to just under 50. Since then they have expanded their lead easily averaging over a knot faster. And just as important they have positioned themselves directly in front of New Haven in a good cover position. New Haven is going to need some good old fashion luck in order to pull out a win in Class A on this one.
For the B & C classes, I had predicted that the five boats that had sailed west were in a better position and would come out on top. Initially the boats to the east had made gains. Kahuna has shown an impressive turn of speed initially gaining 50 miles on the corrected class B leader String Theory. If Kahuna continued to gain 25 miles a day, that would tack on perhaps another 75 miles at best. To save the 17 hours they need on String Theory, Kahuna would still fall about 20 miles short. I believe this is all academic anyway. As of yesterday, the fleet of five westward boats have benefited from a lifting and building breeze. Their speeds have come up as they enjoy the luxury of sailing on a hot angle to Hawaii. Kahuna’s lead has substantially decreased, as they are now only 14 miles ahead of String Theory. The class C leader, Turnagain, is also looking good. The biggest threat for them are two other class C boats, Turricum and Passerpartout, who also sailed the more westerly route. I haven’t taken a good look at all the ratings and compared position and distances, but I have think that String Theory is well positioned to take the overall corrected prize. The race is well worth watching as the fleet converges and the boats sail in tradewind conditions. Lead changes are very possible, especially among the group sailing in from the west.
Hopefully you read the blog from Turnagain on the Vic-Maui website. It talked about the rise of a Harvest full moon. I had similar experience in 2004 sailing aboard the J-130 Voodoo Child. Words don’t do justice to the beauty and awe you can experience doing an offshore race like this. I heartily recommend anyone considering doing it to get off their duff and make it happen!
Thanks again to Brad for providing these updates. Good luck at Race Week! –KH