Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oops, He Did It Again! Tom Sails To Hawaii

A gray dawn at the Pacific Cup Village, Richmond Yacht Club

Tuesday, July 8 08:00, Pacific Cup Village, Richmond Yacht Club - One of the reasons we returned to the SF Bay Area was so that I could plunge into my duties as the Pacific Cup Yacht Club’s Rear Commodore and Chief Inspector.  I am part of a team of 17 inspectors here on the mainland that has been actively assisting/advising (and sometimes annoying) nearly 60 boats that have been working feverishly to satisfy the numerous gear and safety requirements for this 2,000 mile race. It is a long distance and boats must be able to take care of themselves not only with normal day-to-day functions (like sailing and eating), but they also must be prepared to independently cope with all manner of problems, be it a cut finger to catastrophic rudder failure or worse.

Moore 24 Absinthe showing off her emergency rudder. 

The culmination of all this preparation is…wait for it…The Inspection. The inspector shows up at the boat with clipboard, checklist (long), measuring tape and calipers and proceeds to go through the boat from stem to stern making sure each boat has her storm sails, liferaft, first aid kit, spares, personal safety gear, etc.,  and so on. And on. And ON! 

Absinthe's anchor and personal safety gear displayed on the dock. These guys passed in less than an hour with a perfect inspection!!
Inspections typically take 1-2 hours, depending upon how well a boat has laid out their gear for the inspector.  Inspections are fun because we get to see some really cool boats that have been prepared in some very clever ways. I started inspecting my assigned boats as soon as I got home, and Tom joined me so he could view and take pictures. I should have known then that “the bug” would bite him.

Well Hello There Sailor - During one of the many social events preceding the race, one of the other inspectors mentioned that one of his boats, a nicely-outfitted Jeanneau (Sun Odyssey) 49’ named Venture, was looking to add a crew member because one of their key crew had become seriously ill and could not do the race. I threw Tom’s name into the hat, half-joking. Or not. 

This boat was in the Cruising Division (not eligible for racing tophies), and Tom is a racer, so I doubted he would be interested.  Shortly thereafter,  the skipper of the Jeanneau, Michael,  came by to introduce himself. He seemed like a great guy, he and Tom hit it off, and one bottle of Dry Creek Fume Blanc and several beers later Tom decided to check out the boat the next day. This was Thursday night and the Jeanneau was scheduled to set sail Sunday morning. IN THREE DAYS! 

From the Pac Cup Website - Venture's boat profile picture. Nice!!

On Friday Tom checked out the boat and met some of the other crew. On Saturday he spent the entire day putting together his sailing kit using some of what he had (most of his good stuff is on Cinnabar in Mexico), plus borrowing and buying to fill out the rest. 

Tom missed the pig roast on Saturday. I ate a pig foot for him.

On Saturday night we sorted through all the gear to consolidate what would go into his sea bag, and we finally hit the sack a little after midnight. 

Early the next morning we drove to Sausalito where I met the rest of the crew and their families, the crew did their final preparations, and the boat cast off the dock at 09:00, right on schedule.

Team Venture at attention and ready to cast off.

And They’re Off! - I drove to the St. Francis YC, took my place on the race deck, and was pleased to see Venture sailing toward us from Sausalito. The warning gun was at 10:30 and of the five boats in this Cruising division, Venture and two others jockeyed for position on the starting line just like real racers. The starting gun was fired and Venture was the second boat over the line by just a few seconds. She quickly passed the boat that had crossed the line first and was the first boat to exit SF Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Thursday, July 10, Hey, Aren’t You Cruisers? - Four days later Venture is still in the lead, although I expect the “real racers” to catch up to her in within a day or so. We (the Race Committee) have been starting boats every day, with the slower boats starting first and the fastest boats starting last, (last start with the racing sleds is tomorrow), with the idea being the most of the boats will end up arriving in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, around the same time. It’s become a bit of a laugh on the race deck, that most of the boats in the “Cruising”, aka “Holo Holo” Division (Hawaiian slang for “just walking around and having fun”), are not going low and slow as expected, but are obviously sailing as fast as they can!

Venture is in the lead (even though, technically, they aren't racing) and over a quarter of the way to Oahu!!

I haven’t heard anything from Tom, nor do I expect to until they arrive in Kaneohe, but the boat has a transponder aboard and I can follow Venture’s progress HERE.

So now the big questions is…will Tom and Venture arrive in Hawaii before I arrive there on July 17th? Traditionally, the Kaneohe Yacht Club has Mai Tais waiting for all the new arrivals. If Tom arrives before I do then he’ll have to have a Mai Tai waiting for me instead of the other way around!

The Press Release describing the Holo Holo (Cruising) start is HERE.

Pictures of the Holo Holo start are HERE. Venture is sail# 28641.

Skipper Michael’s 17 yr. old son is Venture’s official blogger and his blog is HERE.

Thank you!!
1) Huge thanks to my friends Synthia, Mary and Lou who let Tom and me use Eyrie for a week and a half as our "salty motel" at the Richmond YC Harbor during the Pac Cup festivities.

Synthia's race 'do. She's racing on the Hobie 33 Aero which left on Tuesday. Good luck Girlfriend!!

2) Huge thanks and a big "Whew!" to Sonja and Erik for helping me deliver Eyrie back to South Beach. It was a challenging sail in high winds and nasty swells and wind chop but we got Eyrie home safe and sound. 

Next Stop - Kaneohe Yacht Club!!