Tactical changes

Date 07/06/01
Lat 28 53 North
Lon 141 35 West
Course over ground: 264 Degrees
Speed over ground: 16 knots
Wind speed: 22 knots
Wind direction: 051 degrees

Sailing in the trades from the top of the mast

Sailing in the trades from the top of the mast

This morning when we all reported our positions Team Pegasus was silently waiting for the news: Was our gambit paying off?

The news was mixed: In some ways we gained ground, but not enough to allow Pyewacket and Chance to build so much leverage to the right of the race course. It was obvious that they got good pressure, more pressure than any of the weather forecasts showed. And we know that one thing is certain as we sail to Honolulu: the wind always shifts right. Geometrically, all other things being equal, whichever boat has control of the right of the race course has a significant advantage.

One of the cool things about having Shark on-board is that he keeps on asking: “When are we going to be ahead? What can we do to pass Pyewacket?” All excellent questions!

Now was the time to make our move. With the new, twice a day mandatory position reports we have a pretty good idea as to where our competitors are and how to get to them.

After a few hours of intense sailing, Morgan from the top of the mast sighted Pyewacket. On-board Pegasus, the intensity redoubled. We pumped every wave and rotated helmsmen every 45 minutes or as appropriate. Shark got us water and food and soon all got psyched because Pyewacket “was getting bigger”.

1000 miles from shore, Pyewacket so close to us!

1000 miles from shore, Pyewacket so close to us!

At 3 PM, we had Pyewacket on our beam. Amazing, right in the middle of the Pacific after 5 days of racing both boats could have a water balloon fight! Clearly side by side we push each other hard and we are both in the hunt for Chance. They are leading the race halfway down the race course. Boat racing doesn’t get better than this. What we clearly have here is evenly matched boats with great crews on a very challenging race course battling each other for 8 to 9 days, around the clock.

At 5 PM we caught up with Chance. Now Pegasus, Chance and Pyewacket are within ½ mile from each other.

Squalls in the North Eastern Pacific form as a result of evaporation of the warmer Ocean water. They look like black threatening clouds that overtake you with lots of wind ahead of them, rain and wind underneath them, dead calm behind them.

That is how we all lost track of Chance. Pegasus and Pyewacket both jibed to avoid the squall’s updrafts and Chance kept on going. Only the morning position reports will tell us their position.

An epic night of sailing.

With Pegasus and Pyewacket in sight of each other and squalls building all around as the full moon was rising, a jibing duel started with a first cross within 5 boat lengths of each other, Pegasus on port, clear ahead. We exchanged five jibes within the next 2 hours to find ourselves going down the track at over 15 knots in 22 knots of wind. Nothing that any weather forecast anywhere ever showed.

Absolutely epic trade wind sailing under a full moon!

Carbon and Satellite communications don’t mix!