Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010 "What a ride last night was"

[After an epic night of serious wave riding, Spellbound reaches the halfway point....]

"What a ride last night was.

I started my shift at around 8 PM which was good as I could still seet he see state at that time. I was practicing looking for holes to drive down into, but would still occasionally end up trying to drive up the highest mountain of a wave.

Here are some of the components to trying to sail in these conditions:
1. Keep the boat under the spinnaker
2. Keep the wind between 150 and 120 degrees apparent
3. Keep the boat as high or as low as you can depending on where we want to go based on Hawaii and the barometric pressure.
4. Look for the back of a wave you can get close to and catch the one behind it to get your surf on. Once you get going and the speed is up, look for additional little holes to dip the bow into (actually look for the backs of waves to follow. I have found that little waves provide more sustainable surfing. The big ones are big and fast, but are usually too fast.
5. At the end of the surf, work to get the apparent wind back to 150, or you will be by the lee, and the following wave will round you up.
Thanks to Kame for the Pac Cup presentation on surfing.

So there I was doing well, surfing along as the night grew darker. We were trying to stay low to avoid a potential wind hole closer to Hawaii. As the darkness descended, I was working on the end of the cycle, keeping the apparent wind at 150, by the feel of the boat. If I didn't recognize the ending approaching, we would end up with a crash jibe, or the stern would get picked up and swung to the leward. This would put the apparent wind at 90, and a round up would occur, or at least an epic battle with the tiller pushed as high as I could hold it, hoping to be able to bring the bow down.

Sometimes it would all go good, and the boat would just drop down the wave and pick up speed. If the wind was up over 13 apparent, the surf would keep going. And if it was up over 15, there was no stopping. I was not able to see the apparent wind speed in the darkness, so it was hard to know how long the surfs would last.

Sometimes it would feel like a really big one as the bow of the boat dipped down more than usual. It is like being on a roller coaster going down into a dark tunnel. No idea how steep it is, or how long the ride will last. Once the speed builds to 15, water spray is coming off both sides of the boat. As the speed continues to increase the spray moves aft, and the roar of the stern wave gets louder and louder. As the speed increase even more, I wonder how do I get off this ride, and how will it end.

I had many sufs over 15 knots of boat speed, and the biggest, scariest one went all the way to 19.2.

Now I am still looking for 20 plus knots, BUT in the daylight.

By midnight, all the instruments where starting to look like they were on gimbals like the compasses are. I was not able to concentrate and kept rounding up. We got an hourglass wrap even with a spinnaker net up. Fortunately Nathan came on watch to help sort it all out and drive on into the night.

At 8 AM we are at N 31 41" W 142 11". 1035 to go (Yay half way there), and we covered 221 miles in the last 24 hours (still looking for a 240 mille day).

There was talk about what to do for our half way celebration, and the concensus was to take a shower and get spiffed up in clean clothes. Hopefully the sun will come out and we will all follow through on the shower thing."


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