July 21, 14:00 PST, Lat 31°33’N, Lon 131°13’W

Auto-portrait while Richard is sleeping. The big kite is up!

Kite is up and wind is down!
We’re both catching up on sleep. After roll call this morning (the mandatory HF Radio check-in with the race committee), Richard told me that I fell asleep with the mike in my hand, only to wake up 2 hours later. That felt great. We’ve accumulated total sleep deficit between steering all the time, constant sail changes, and fixing messed up things.

We’re still licking our wounds. The total is a bruised ankle, a bruised knee, three cuts, a bloody nose and a big bump on the forehead. That’s the legacy of a wild 18 hours. Now it’s all gone, we feel great and the big kite is up.

Richard is now napping so I took the picture myself. Double handed we don’t see much of each other: One goes to sleep when the other wakes up. We meet by the munchies bag. That is until the conditions are such that we both need to be there and then nobody gets to sleep. The water is still cold, but the sun popping out from behind the cloud cover helps us feel drier. So we need to also constantly watch out for each other.

From the race perspective we are doing well. How well is a surprise to us given that the two of us are competing against fully crewed racing machines. We got in-front in the storm (our survival skills were apparently fast) and extended our lead in the last 24 hours by picking our way well (and making constant sail changes). This is a navigation race at this point. It’s all about finding the balance between sailing minimal distance and extending South to find more breeze. I’ve been in this exact place nine times before. A quarter of the way to Honolulu where the Pacific high ridges. Every time it’s a little different. Everest climbers tell it to you in the same words: It’s the same mountain, but every time it’s different. I’ve been here with Rudi four times and I find myself constantly thinking of him and wondering where would Rudi go? Rudi, this one is for you!