Forty-eight hours ago, we were picking our way past Catalina and through the Channel Islands, sniffing out each patch of wind and alternating between sailing in light and fluky winds and drifting helplessly on a flat, oily sea.
All that changed when a solid west-northwesterly breeze finally filled in at a steady 12 to 20 knots, and Dancing Bear--and the 13 other Transpac Cal 40s--finally became a going concern.
It's been bouncy, quick sailing on starboard tack ever since. Like every other boat on the course, we're sprinting for the ridge of high pressure where the wind will finally clock aft, we'll hoist a spinnaker, and the fun will finally begin. But that long-anticipated moment is still a good day away, at least.
We've been changing sails regularly to deal with the changes in wind pressure, and we're currently making way with a reef in the main and the jib-top reaching genoa, making between 7.5 and 8.5 knots. Comfortable it is not.
The once-tidy saloon of Dancing Bear looks like a train wreck, with clothes, sails, boots, harnesses, and the other detritus of sailboat racing in wild disarray. Throw in the occasional prone sailor and the picture is complete.
In a heroic effort, Mark whipped up what was an allegedly tasty beans-and-rice dish last night, though I'm a gingersnap man of late myself. The South Beach diet has nothing on the Southern Transpac diet.
Race-wise, we're currently right in midfleet, 7th out of 14. Ralphie and Illusion are launched, already a good 35 miles ahead. But we've got plenty of company, with about five boats all within nine miles on the distance-to-finish scale. We made good 183 hard-earned nautical miles in the last 24 hours. Time to better that in the next 24.
Like everyone else, we have a date with the trade winds. The sooner the better.