Dark Star Daily Update – July 7

1) 0800 PDT Position is: 28 deg 27 min N, 128 deg 37 min W

– Sea: SWELL 6-8′, 3-4′ WIND WAVES
– Sky: OVERCAST but clearing
– Wind Oscillating 020M 16KTS
– Pressure 103.3kPa/1033mB

3) RANDOM COMMENTS: Finally! Getting a taste of what this boat can do. We put together a 200 mile day yesterday and today we are hoping for more. Sorry for the late post but our batteries ran low because the clouds were too thick yesterday for our solar panel to do much.

Just got the latest results and it’s really hard to derive meaning from the overall standings because there are so many different strategies at play here. But so far we like what we see. Hauled down the Beneteau First 40.7 “Ande Amo” overnight and now have the division leading J 105 in our sights 12 miles ahead. He owes us time but not much. If we can see him on the horizon we can probably beat him. We just need to carry an extra half knot of boatspeed today to haul him down. Really looking forward to tomorrow’s standings.

Swapped out the A1 reacher for our brand new A2 – the “Whomper” – the biggest sail in our inventory and the one we’re rated on so we’d best get a lot of use out of it!

We are coming to realize what an incredible downwind machine this boat is. In 16-18 knots of true wind on broad reach we are stringing together extended periods of 11 kts +, with top speed of 14 so far. The big difference between this boat and the heavier ones I have raced in the past is that the low end speed is so much higher because the boat is light. On a heavier boat, when you come off a surf you may slow right down to 6 knots as you bottom out. On this boat, the slow end is 9 kts in today’s conditions, and you can spend extended lengths of time on a surf at accelerated speeds.

All we need to do is to ensure that we keep her well supplied with wind!

Dark Star Daily Update – July 6

1) 0800 PDT Position is:  29 deg 25 min N, 125 deg 20 min W

– Sea: SWELL 4-6′, 1-2′ WIND WAVES
– Wind Oscillating 000M 12KTS
– Pressure 103.2kPa/1032mB

3) RANDOM COMMENTS: Lots of shipping traffic, including something that looked like a ship carrying 8 or 10 cranes for the Long Beach container port.  Improbable that it remains upright!

Saving a lot of sunblock for later as we have been socked in for days now.  Last night was pitch black and we really appreciated the new phosphorescent stripes on our sails. Water temperature has finally recovered to the level it was at the dock in San Pedro.  Any time it wants to get warm, we’re ready…

Noticeably less garbage in the ocean along this route vs Pac Cup or Vic Maui.

Just received a small craft advisory on VHF from USCG Long Beach – 400nm distant at this point.  That is one bad-ass broadcast tower.

Dark Star Daily Update – July 5

1) 0800 PDT Position is: 30 deg 29 min N, 122 deg 23 min W

– Sky: OVERCAST but breaking up
– Wind Oscillating 340M-010M 8 KTS GUST 12
– Pressure 102.9kPa/1029mB

3) COMMENTS: Lots of action in past 24 hrs. Surrounded by a pod of dolphins and at same time a blue whale surfaced 200m astern. Easily 3x the length of our boat.

Our foredeck philosophers got to wondering how many vertical feet we’d sail up and down swells on this crossing. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. According to the accelerometer on the iPhone, in 10 minutes we sailed 267 feet vertically (half up, half down). Applying some arithmetic we came up with some surprising numbers:

1602 vertical feet per hour
38,448 vertical feet per day
538,272 vertical feet on a 14 day passage.

Folks, that’s 48 miles of climbing – 10 Everest Summits – and 48 vertical miles of surfing.

Needless to say, we’re itching to pop that big kite and let Dark Star off the leash!