A lesson in patience and composure

Date 07/05/01
Lat 26 27 North
Lon 135 49 West
Course over ground: 256 Degrees
Speed over ground: 12 knots
Wind speed: 15.5 knots
Wind direction: 040 degrees

Rudi expertly navigating

Rudi expertly navigating

A lesson in patience and composure: It’s hard to win every position report!

At this morning’s position reports Chance and Pyewacket were ahead on distance to Hawaii! During the night they were able to cover more distance directly to Honolulu than Pegasus. This showed in the standings. However there is much more to it. Read-on.

For centuries navigators have known about the Pacific Ocean trade winds. The seas become livelier, the sky cover is made of a patchwork of puffy clouds and the wave patterns are well formed and predictable. At about day break today it became clear that we were getting over the South East ridge of this dissipating high pressure zone and entering the real of the trade winds. Things just started to feel different. What this meant on the race course is that as we approached the zone of “fluky” weather characterized by lighter winds that make up the ridge, the boats to the North of us, Chance and Pyewacket continued to get more wind than we did and in the morning’s position reports they’re ahead of us. (That is what we speculate on Pegasus). In “pure distance to Hawaii” both Chance and Pyewacket are now ahead of us by a few Miles. However, strategically we are where we wanted to be: Pegasus is in the South position. Our strategic bet: The winds should now start to fill consistently for us before them and with the expected 20+ degree right wind shift that we expect we end-up in a controlling position. If we are right about “the future”, then this should be reflected in the position reports in the next 48 hours. In other words, given what we on Pegasus know about the weather patterns ahead of us, we would not exchange our position on the Ocean with any of our competitor’s. We like where we are. This is now a patience game, our dice are cast. What we just did is for sailing what a gambit is to chess: Apparently sacrificing the short term for the long term. However if it is not apparent in 24 hours that this is a winning strategy, we’ll cut our losses and get back in touch with our two worthy competitors.

We are now entering the second phase of our Transpac. The first phase of the race was the departure from Los Angeles and our picking a good spot to cross the ridge. Now we get to start sailing downwind. Then the next strategic move will be to decide when to jibe and head for Honolulu. However that decision is another day or two off.

Shark stood a full watch last night. He came on watch at 3 am and got off watch at 8am to get some sleep. We crossed a whale and missed each other by a few feet. That was an exciting encounter.