Dancing Bear Transpac Report No. 3: Groundhog Day


Most everyone has seen that great Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day in which the protagonist, a Pennsylvania weatherman, is doomed to live the same day over and over and over again.

Here on Dancing Bear, we're also into reruns.

The sky is gray. The sea is gray. Skipper Mark Schrader's hair is--well, it's not getting any darker. And Dancing Bear remains just slightly cracked off on starboard tack in a relatively steady, 10- to 16-knot northerly breeze, ticking off the miles at right around 8 knots and shouldering her way through a persistent sloppy sea. Clearly, the boat is enjoying the weather a bit more than the crew.

There's good news and not-so-good news aboard our little 40-foot, self-contained world. First the good. We're continuing our climb up the standings, now currently tied for fifth on the distance-to-go column with the San Francisco-based Cal 40 Far Far. At the 0800 position report, both boats had about 1,731 miles to Honolulu. Even better, we've cut into class leader Illusion's lead, now under 30 miles.

The not-so-good news is that these conditions are now expected to last through at least the next third of the race. We've seen patches of blue sky exactly twice, and the moments were brief. Likewise with the moon, which has also made two extremely quick cameo appearances. Otherwise: gray, gray, gray.

Groundhog Day.

But morale is good. Appetites are returning. Skipper Schrader doubles as cook, and he just whipped up a great breakfast of steak-and-egg sandwiches (with the last of our once-frozen beef) with loads of hot sauce. Absolutely delicious.

However, in a race that allegedly is mostly a downwind lark under spinnaker with sparkling seas and blue, blue skies, our passage remains gray, lumpy, cold, and funky. And personally, I can't shake a recurring dream about all the lovely, warm foul-weather gear still hanging in my closet back home. Of shorts and T-shirts, I have a bagful. The light, clammy gear I've been wearing for days is getting, well, very old.

Then again, it might just be the perfect wardrobe--if you're another bit player in Groundhog Day.

Dancing Bear clear. . . .