Dancing Bear Transpac Report No. 6: Finally . . .
It took us the better part of nine days to get here, but Dancing Bear is finally relishing in the solid northeast trade winds we came out here searching for in the first place.
Finally. Finally. Finally.
The first inkling came last night around sunset, when the fitful breeze
we'd been struggling with all day long started to build and rise into
the mid-teens. Just after dusk, we changed spinnakers from the light,
half-ounce kite we'd been employing for the better part of the last two
days to the 1.5-ounce chute, which was faster and held its shape better
in the stronger breeze and sloppy seas.
Then, a miraculous
thing happened. The glorious orb of a nearly full moon made its first
real appearance of the voyage. It cast a glow on the waters like a
giant spotlight, and the seas suddenly began to sparkle.
brief squall left us literally spinning in a couple of circles, but
even this was welcome, for localized squalls are yet another feature of
the trades. And once it was past, the skies began to open more fully,
and oh, yes--there still are stars up there. Dave Logan spotted the
tracers of a pair of long, brilliant falling ones.
By 0400, skipper Mark Schrader was steering Dancing Bear
straight down a wet, silver avenue cast by the reflection of that
glorious moon making its way around to the east. The Highway to Hawaii.
His watch ended, but he wouldn't hand over the tiller, not on this
night. He just wanted to steer and steer and steer.
broke, and with it came the first sunrise of the trip. Then things got
murky again. But only for a little while. By early afternoon, the sky
above was a deep blue; so, too, the azure sea, which was flecked by
whitecaps. In the receding distance, the dreaded "marine layer" lurked
ominously in the rear-view mirror. But that was the past, not the
future. See ya! Overhead there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and Mark took
the opportunity to take a sextant sun shot, a requirement of all the
It was the very first chance he'd had all trip.
Overnight, we moved up a place in the standings to 10th, and this
afternoon we were creaming along at 8 knots. For complete position
reports and updates, visit the event's website (www.transpacificyc.org).
By tomorrow we'll be under a thousand miles to the finish, and whether
we've dug ourselves into too deep a hole to make a significant move up
the rankings remains to be seen. But for the time being, anyway, Dancing Bear is a light and fast and happy ship, doing exactly what she came out here to do.
Dancing Bear clear. . . .
To read previous Dancing Bear Transpac Reports, click here.