Tactics that worked and strange weather

Date 07/04/01
Lat 28 06 North
Lon 130 49 West
Course over ground: 216 Degrees
Speed over ground: 11.5 knots
Wind speed: 14 knots
Wind direction: 008 degrees

Spartan galley, three camping burners, no microwave or fridge, all frozen and dried food

Spartan galley, three camping burners, no microwave or fridge, all frozen and dried food

For most of the night the wind was oscillating between 345 and 015 degrees magnetic, with header puffs gusting to 20 knots and lulls down to 10 knots in the lifts. This was strange weather with a cold drizzle that made the night cold.

The challenge for us was to average a heading of 220 degrees. That number was important because yesterday night Chance was still in sight on our right, but Pyewacket was building leverage to the South. And Pyewacket was our greatest worry because we don’t think that there is much leverage to the North (lets hope that we are right!) Therefore at 22:00 PST we decided to set a spinnaker, sail low, and attempt to take away most of Pyewacket’s leverage. We picked our “juicer” our unique super high-tech carbon fiber asymmetrical spinnaker. Team Pegasus sailed hard through the night. After daybreak when we heard the position reports the whole boat cheered. We had essentially doubled our lead on both competitors but most importantly we had removed most of Pyewacket’s leverage.

On-board Pegasus, when we sail fast, even in a pitch dark night we sail mostly by feel, and use instruments mostly as a reference. We have 6 digital displays on our mast for the helmsman and the trimmer’s reference. They are from top to bottom: Boat speed, Apparent wind angle, True wind angle, True wind speed, True wind direction and Magnetic heading.



Mast Digital Displays and spinnaker pole artwork

Celebrations onboard Pegasus are frugal. Our galley is minimalist and we don’t carry any of the modern amenities such as microwave oven, refrigeration or any standard stove with a built-in oven. We leave those to cruisers, it’s just too heavy. We have three camping burners to heat water, a pressure cooker and pack 7 days of frozen food with two extra days of freeze dried food. For silverware, we only carry 8 sets as watches alternate and don’t get fed at the same time. The team picked 8 solid dog bowls (they are almost impossible to break and come with non-skid bottoms) and 8 toddler forks (Power Puff Girls and Scooby Doo because they are very light and durable without too many sharp edges). In order to celebrate our good tactical move, this morning Morgan hand-squeezed a large glass of orange juice for each one of us. Delicious! (Alcohol, cigarettes or any form of drugs are not allowed on-board Pegasus) Shark gulped his big cup of OJ, asked for another one and said: “I need the strength for all this grinding that you guys make me do!” Shark is 200% back!

At about that moment, looking off the leeward side we saw a whole school of flying fish. They were fleeing Pegasus as if it was a giant predator. Some of them even changed direction in flight, something that I hadn’t notice before. Are they “evolving”? And then eight hundred nautical miles from the closest point of land, in the middle of nowhere a Dodo bird appeared, circled for about 10 minutes and then disappeared. Strange weather today. I think that Zan called it “fluky”.

Only frugal celebrations are in order for Team Pegasus because although we are very well positioned, we are only one third down the race track with many challenges ahead of us and now we need to figure out what tactics our worthy competitors are going to be using. More chess playing on the great Pacific Ocean!