Dark Star Daily Update – July 15 (100 Miles from finish)

1)100 Mile Position is:  21 deg 45.6 min N, 156 deg 16.5 min W

2)ETA Diamond Head Finish: Approx 0500 HST/0800 PDT July 16 2017

3)COMMENTS: Great tradewinds sailing today.  Crossed paths with Cubaneren this morning and sailed alongside Fast Exit this afternoon.  Looking forward to cold drinks at the finish and anything that isn’t freeze-dried.  Aloha!

Dark Star Daily Update – July 15

1) 0800 PDT Position is:  23 deg 01 min N, 155 deg 11 min W

– Sea: SWELL 4-6′, 3′ WIND WAVES
– Sky: partly cloudy with many squalls
– Wind 038@21kts
– Pressure 103.6kPa/1036mB

3) COMMENTS: We finally found where they’ve been keeping all the squalls.  Currently in the midst of our 9th of the evening.  Winds to 30kts and rain.  Not much sleep but they’ve been propelling us up the course nicely. Talk about earning your finish.  Our objective is to issue tomorrow’s 0800 position report from a beach in Waikiki with Mai Tais in hand.  Aloha!

Dark Star Daily Update – July 14

1) 0800 PDT Position is:  23 deg 21.8 min N, 152 deg 13.5 min W

– Sea: SWELL 1-2′, 1′ WIND WAVES
– Wind 053@10KTS
– Pressure 103.8kPa/1038mB

3) COMMENTS: Wow. The last 12 hours have been pure Transpac gold for Dark Star.  It started with a beautiful breeze late afternoon, rolled on in to a spectacular sunset that was just warming us up for the all-night star show that followed.  Moonrise was late so we got half a night of horizon to horizon universe.  When the moon crested the horizon, it did so through a cluster of distant clouds that gave it an otherworldly aspect. Sailing under the arc of the milky way with a fiery red moon low in our wake is one of those experiences that you only “get” if you’ve been here. Made the race for us.

Dark Star Daily Update – July 13

Oh man, this one is going to be a nail biter.  We got rolled by the biggest suck squall in history last night and wallowed around for 8 hours with no wind whatsoever.  Due to the very localized nature of these storms, our competition didn’t get hit with the same cloud and has made up a ton of ground.  We are currently leading by the narrowest of margins. Hold fast indeed!  It’s nail biting time.  Very little sleep between now and the finish…

Normally you go looking for squalls because there’s a ton of wind in front of them that can propel you up the course.  The danger is that there’s typically very little wind behind them so you don’t want to get stuck there.  This year however, we have been through 6 squalls and none of them have had any wind whatsoever – in front, behind, beside, above or below.

Current ETA on routing software is about 8am on the 16th.  Eat beans and think windy thoughts, everyone!

Dark Star Daily Update – July 12

1) 0800 PDT Position is:  24 deg 00 min N, 146 deg 01 min W

– Sea: SWELL 4-6′, 2′ WIND WAVES
– Wind 15 KT @ 060M
– Pressure 103.7kPa/1037mB

3) COMMENTS: Yesterday we finally broke clear of the murk and experienced our first real day of tradewinds sailing!  Sunny, warm, 20 kt NE winds, puffy clouds, the whole deal.  It’s the primary attraction on the Transpac.  Having to go literally one whole week 24/7 without enough light to cast a shadow or recharge batteries with our solar panel has been the most trying aspect of this race so far.  It has required a lot of Macgyvering to keep our critical systems supplied with the power they need.  We’d actually planned for such contingencies, and ultimately needed to press every single backup plan into service plus come up with a few new workarounds on the fly.  Think Apollo 13. Yesterday’s sunshine was like an oasis for us. Everything got hung out to dry, sunblock was applied for the first time and the batteries just drank up those electrons!

On the sailing front, the boat is holding together well so far. If the clouds disappointed then the winds have largely exceeded expectations.  We’ve had 20-25 kts right on our polars for most of the race and the boat has been flying.  The Hobie 33 is proving to be every bit the downwind machine we’d hoped.  I think we’re all growing a little bit weary of living in a hobbit hole with four guys, their dirty laundry and a bucket.  Can’t wait to see land!

Current ETA in Hawaii is sometime this weekend.