Good News, Bad News

By Kimball Livingston Posted July 7, 2014

For decades, sailors crossing between the West Coast and Hawaii have observed a steady increase in “stuff” that doesn’t belong in the ocean. Of the three east-west races currently under way, the fleet farthest along is the Singlehanded Transpac that left San Francisco Bay on June 28. Those 20 boats are now grouped around the halfway mark, en route to Hanalei Bay. They got pounded for a bit, and becalmed for a bit, and now we have Brian Cline reporting from his Dana 24, Maris, “And just like that, the spinnaker goes up, there’s steady stream of garbage floating by, and it’s too warm for clothes.”

Good news, bad news.

On the morning race tracker (racetracker with a three hour delay), Al Germain was looking to be closest to Hanalei in his Wyliecat 30, Bandicoot. He was one of a notable handful of skippers in the southern group who took a right turn overnight to work back closer to the rhumb line.

With the “cruising” division of the Pacific Cup one day at sea, marine weather pro Lee Chesneau delivered the second of his briefings on Monday morning—electronically, via phone and internet—and delivered a generally thumbs-up prospect for further starts continuing this week from a line on the San Francisco cityfront.

weathermap

There is a developing gale in play, close to the coast and driven by conditions inland, but forecasts top out at 30 knots, with the biggest winds to the north of the Gate and the fleet, of course, digging south and west. Small craft advisories remain in effect through Jult 8. Zipping past a lot of detail that navigators will have to consider as they position their boats, depending upon speed, speed potential, and starting dates, there is a pretty nice High forming up, a little to the west of its ideal position at 140° west but slipping east as time gets along. At this point, nothing south of 30° north has any forecast below 15 knots, but it could be a “choppy ride” for a while, Chesneau said, with a southerly swell dominating northwest waves.

Down Mexico way, “The remnants of Douglas do not have a future,” so once again, Pacific crossings seem to be dodging the threat of the statistically-inevitable tropical storm.

Today’s starters had the first “race” division (eight boats, including three Cal 40s) and the first of two doublehanded groups eight boats, including four Santa Cruz 27s) departing the St. Francis Yacht Club line at 1030 and 1045, respectively. “Today,” Chesneau said, “the farther out you get, the better the breeze. You have to get to the synoptic wind ten miles out and beyond.”

The good news regarding fog: You could see the bridge, just not very well, and not all of it.

The scene was so grayed out, I’m not sure which of the Cal 40s I have here, though I’m told it’s our husband/wife duo aboard the Green Buffalo . . .

PacCup1 001

On the ocean, more fog. The motto, we know, is onward, but lack of visibility adds challenges for all, especially doublehanders in small boats.

Starting from considerably farther up the coast fifteen entries in the Vic-Maui out of Victoria, British Columbia have had a slow start, but I believe they’ll see some breeze and plenty of it.

RVYC_logo_web_LYC_burgee_webHere you can find the Vic-Maui race tracker showing all the boats south of rhumb, but still, with some different opinions as to how far south to commit. The C&C41 Turicum at 1912 miles to go is closest to Lahaina, but until the boats get into the trades and pick a lane, numbers like that mean very little compared to the news that Turnagain and Passepartout have been dining on freshly-caught tuna, the ultimate in sushi.

Suns New Jerseys