Archive for July, 2010


Wakey wakey

July 31, 2010   

It is 2:40am I am in a deep sleep but my body clock says it is time to do something. I am warm and dry, where am I, what am I meant to be doing…. Oh yeah I am on a boat – which one – Rhum Boogie… obviously on the water – where – in the middle of the pacific. Do I really need to get up? – yes – oh yeah I am the skipper and I am on watch at 3am. OK start swimming to the surface out of the deep sleep – don’t go back to sleep. Sit upright – thats a good start – wow this is going to take more than that to get out of the depths of my sleep. Sugar. Go into my personal stash next to my bunk – skittles – a handful of those in the mouth. Instant sugar rush – that will wake me up. It is nice and calm the boat is heeled slightly and it is not hard to get out of the bunk. Walk to the hatch before the kid calls down to wake me and disturbs the other off watch.

So ‘what you got? ‘ I don’t know.. (what do you mean you don’t know – patience ashley) the instruments say 30 knots of wind and 35 knots of boat speed (hmmmm – bugger – well at least they didn’t wake me up to tell me the instruments had gone down). Deep breath – ‘well what you think you have? ‘ (surely you haven’t lost your sight and feel as well it is a bright moonlit night – steady ashley – stop being a grumpy b****). ‘Seems like the wind direction and speed have been steady during my watch.’ – good answer junior. Over to the circuit panel maybe the voltage has dropped – no of course not I always look at that when I wake up there is plenty of power. Turn off the instruments and the autopilot and reboot – from deck ‘I don’t have heading’ – (steady ashley be patient…) ‘Use the binnacle compass on the deck in front of you’.

Go into the head use the head – we are on starboard – damn have to fill a bucket of water to flush as the inlet is out of the water. Go on deck fill bucket flush head. Reboot instruments. No difference. Oh well I don’t really care. Get on kit wow this is nice it is dry and I am in shorts and t-shirt with no shoes. Not a hardship it is going to be a good watch. Get on deck stopping at companionway to clip into safety tether – must remember this so that the new crew see me doing it and do likewise – need to set a good example.

Sit in the plastic garden furniture that serves as our helmsman chair tiller in hand mainsheet in another relieve on deck crew. Just about awake now… Ipod in ear – thanks Scott, Adam and Guillemette. Beautiful night moon has created a yellow brick road. Wack – damn it – another flying fish why do they insist on hitting me all the time. Nice peaceful music on shuffle. Wow – what the hell is that – Myles and his sense of humor – good thing it is a really nice watch otherwise I would lose my sense of humor with that hard core dance music blaring out of my earphones – quick change track.

Only an hour left of watch – don’t think about him – there is no need to put yourself through it all over again every time you wake up.He isn’t worth it. Think about things you want to do when you get back to land. Baseball game, diving, national parks, dinner with friends, Friday night sail… good thoughts. Time to hand over to the next watch!

This part of the trip isn’t so bad…. my kit is dry, my bunk is dry, I have no monkey butt, it is sunny out, the wind is relatively steady, the contents of the head aren’t threatening to end up in my shorts, the boat has an easy motion, we are getting north and east quickly…. all is well.

Fishmongers Wife

July 29, 2010   

4:30am the full moon is surrounded by a halo. The sea is calm and sky is clear except for the normal ominous looking squall clouds. Winds fluctuating around the squalls from 11-20 knots shifting as much as 50 degrees. One ear bud in from my Ipod so I can hear what is going on around me and listening to an odd mix of country and western, folk music and some of my brother Myles’s music left over from Round Britain.

Tiller extension resting on my knee using the sheet and traveler to steer the boat allowing her to take the lifts and bound along at sometimes 8 knots towards the east. It is like flying the twin otter using the trim tabs to keep your height. Trav up and sheet off in the lulls, trav down and sheet on in the gusts putting a bubble in the front of the main decreasing our power. The main on this boat has a huge roach and it really drives the boat. We have been running with the jib top and main for a few days now. Only difference is whether we put a reef in or not. No need for the autopilot although junior on the boat seems most distressed about the idea of not having one but I am quite relaxed about it. If we have to motor we will just run with a few sail ties keeping the helm in the center. Saying that tomorrow I might have another go at fault 115 microprocessor not talking to drive unit however, I have a feeling it is beyond repair offshore as funnily enough we don’t carry spare microprocessors onboard!

Dinner was beef tri tip au jus with potato I have a sneaky second helping when I get off watch. As usual I haven’t been into eating with it being so hot. Getting bored of the smash base but as long as the fresh meat lasts we will eat potato then move onto more flavorful bases like rice a roni when we are using canned meats or fish. Shame with the temperature being so hot in Hawaii it is not possible to keep vegetables. Two more pineapples left before we are out of fresh fruit besides apples and oranges which keep a lot longer.

Just back from the deck had to throw in a reef and get rid of the head sail. It always happens on Charlie’s watch that the squalls come through.

Oh almost forgot the reason for the title.. I smell like one! Just as I came on watch a large flying fish thinking RB was a predator lept out of the sea hitting me squarely on the leg leaving me slimed with fish scales. It flopped around in the cockpit for a while before finding it’s way out the stern.

position 29 13N 154 03W

Outwardly Serene?

July 28, 2010   

3:30am so bright the moon illuminates the keyboard on the computer. Poor mans auto of sail ties as the auto has a microprocessor fault. Blast reacher 6 -7 knots on course flat calm seas no spray 13 knots of wind. Bare feet, lightweight fleece, trousers, warm, dry, no leaks, no monkey butt. 1.5 hours on and 4.5 hours off! Enya on the ipod a few clouds giving us some breeze a few stars to sail by.

Yesterday did our first transect for the NOAA ocean debris project starting to see lots of plastic garbage in the ocean.

Deleted mountains of mourne off the ipod, read some David Adams Liquid Mountains, thinking of Dad having his operation today, looking forward to getting home and going camping in a national park!

Heading back…

July 27, 2010   

It is 8pm on the 26th and the wind is starting to calm down and stay below 20. We left on the morning of the 25th and have been beating into it since then with a high of 30 knots. The boat is well laden with fuel 84 g, water and food. It should get calmer all night here so I plan on shaking out the reef at some point. We have been sailing along with a single reef in the main and the number 4. A large wave earlier today swept some of the jerries over but they were tethered on so I went forward to pull them back aboard and re-lash them on the high side. Otherwise nothing really exciting going on.

The delivery crew of Luke, Charles and Ed are starting to settle in with the seasickness starting to abate and they are now getting into eating properly instead of just grabbing snacks. Last night was beef tri tip pot roast on mash and tonight turkey pot roast on mash.

We have made it north pretty fast and are about 4 hours ahead of where I thought we would be about now. Last night Deception stormed past us and at 5pm roll call they were 26 miles ahead of us. There are some 8 boats around us.

Tomorrow we will start the NOAA garbage survey which involves looking to leeward for an hour and marking down any garbage we see.

The high is drifting down south towards us and with this odd weather pattern we will start heading east earlier than normal and then head north again after the weekend.

It is very hot during the day and the solar panel is putting a lot of juice in the batteries so I don’t think we will have to charge until tomorrow morning if at all.

Our position is 25 16 340N 157 08 603W that is at 8:45pm HST on 26th July.

Hawaiian flag

July 23, 2010   

I noticed (not that it is not totally obvious) that there is a UK flag as part of the Hawaiian state flag. So of course I had to google it and find out why. Click here it is an interesting story.


July 21, 2010   

Lectronic Latitude about RBI with Myles on Santana

Surfing chick!


Today I did something I have never done before – went surfing. On top of something I rarely do which was take a whole day off 🙂 For a start I looked like a complete tourist with beach towels etc. I bought some surf shorts at the local charity store for $3 so I am all impressed with myself. It was fun as we spent an hour and half trying to catch waves and I got up on the board twice. Also caught a wave to the beach but just on my front. First time I had my weight to far forward and pitchpoled! It is something that will take some practice for sure and I think one that I will do in warmer climes than SF bay!


Antarctic Film Festival


The winters at Rothera created a great movie for the 48 hour film festival. Check it out here.


July 19, 2010   

Olivier and David singing Sinartra’s ‘My Way’ on the stage at Kanehoe YC
The lais have been put around our necks and the guys are drinking mai tais.

We got in a few hours ago and Wayne was met by 14 of his family who are all here on holiday to meet him. Time to get off the boat have some food and get a good nights sleep before starting work on the boat in the morning.

Thanks for following!

A cool story just in – my friend JP doublehanded with his girlfriend on Express 27 Great White coming 2nd and at the half way he asked her to marry him so they are now engaged! Way to go.

Things that go bang in the night


On Saturday night after a particularly bad set of broaches on the ‘French’ watch there was a large bang followed by us all jumping out of our bunks like fireman to douse the spinnaker. We are getting pretty practiced at the douses and resets at this point! Anyways high powered flashlight in hand we scoured the boat for the offending noise to find that it was the preventer that had released when the boom had been dragging in the water.

We have now got into the habit of having time outs around 2am for a few hours after pushing the limits through a squall and the rigging/sail repair shop has to go into business. Last night was no exception with a repair to frankinkites tack and we had to build some spinnaker sheets from a spare halyard and a change sheet. Also we changed out the spinnaker halyard with the one I had rebuilt the day before. At first light this morning we were off again with the kite up.

The first 5 boats in our fleet have finished and there are two behind us. We are around 200 miles to go and heading pretty much at the mark.

Todays sunrise was the most beautiful of the trip so far with the clouds tinged with pink and purple followed by a double rainbow. The guys have gotten really good at helming and are building confidence each day they have also taken up fishing.

The Dove saying of the day is ‘take every change to give’….

The flying fish are even more proliferate and they can fly a surprising distance looking as Wayne said like sparrows swooping around the waves. A gannet also joined us gracefully gliding around the boat and a squid met it’s end on the deck along with numerous flying fish.

While doing some training on night driving last night I was asked what I use to helm at night and after quite a lot of thought we figured out it is actually 13 different inputs to use to sail as low and fast as possible. David says his CPU unit needs upgrading as he just can’t handle that many different inputs! So we have wind on the face, wave pattern, heel of the boat, feel of the helm, windex light, binnacle compass (for rate of turn), electronic compass, TWA, TWS, boat speed, TWD, curl of the spinnaker and sound of the  boat.

This English skin can’t deal with the heat of the sun despite factor 70 and I have put David on task of forcing me to drink more water so time for me to hide away for a few hours until the cool of the evening is upon us.

Next blog entry I will probably be on land getting ready for delivering the boat back to SF leaving around the 25th.