Monday, June 30, 2008

38 13.2N , 143 44.4W 1025.1 nautical miles to Neah Bay

Reminder: Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 1st) is Brad's 44th birthday! If you have a minute please send him a birthday greeting at the ocens email address listed on the left hand side of the web page. All messages need to be written in plain text with no attachments. Let's make it a Happy Birthday for Brad!! Thanks ~PJ

Taken while typing this very entry

Wave has passed under and is going away from Capaz
From Brad:
Well, we canceled the half way party yesterday and had a work party instead. Oh and by the way, Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. What happened to our vacation? I thought the Pacific was supposed to be passive during the summer. What we are experiencing isn't all that passive. We are currently just cracked off of a beat, reaching along in 30 knots of wind and it is snotty outside. I still can't get over how connected we are with the outside world right now as we have spray hitting the window as I watch pretty big waves roll under us. Every once and a while a really big one comes through which is kind of fun to watch from the safety and comfort indoors. It's not as nice as it may seem down here. The don't know this but I just took a break. I decided to put the third reef in the main. It went just fine. Now it's a bit more civilized down here, well a bit anyway.
As I mentioned yesterday was spent fixing things. The autopilot now works, the outside steering works and we have bypassed the shore/genset switch. During that time, we mostly motored in about 8 knots of wind as the low passed directly over us. The backside of that low is now what is giving us these stiff northerly winds.
it's kind of hard to type in these conditions. bouncing this way and that. I'll do a YOTREPS update and send it off. So you all know, the boat is handling these conditions amazingly well. We are all in good spirits. Not feeling all that squishy. Life is good.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

11:05am 37 05.9N 146 56.2 W 1182.8 Nautical miles to Neah Bay

From Captain Brad:
I'm getting weather files right now and sending the YOTREPS report. Here is the brief report of the excitement. Just before starting the watch schedule, I contemplated reefing the sails down. It was blowing a solid 20 with higher gusts. But, decided to just go with it figuring we could do an "all hands on deck" and reef during the night. The wind was coming from behind at this point. Shortly after I turned in, we were hit by a large puff which Jorge (the autopilot) couldn't handle and we had a bit of a round up, then round down accidental jibe. First off, in a boat like Capaz, it's actually not all that much drama to these maneuvers. She's so stiff that you hardly notice from below, other than the noise. Here's where things went really wrong (no danger ever to anyone) because the autopilot uses the hydraulic steering system (we have two steering systems one that uses hydraulic that is below and one that uses good old fashioned steering cables that is above). To gain control of the steering above, the autopilot needs to be turned off and then a plunger with a T-handle needs to be depressed to disengage the hydraulic steering. Long story short, the hydraulic steering wasn't disengaged before Brian tried to steer from above. Steering hard something had to give and that was the chain that goes over a sprocket inside the steering pedestal. OK, so we no longer have the cable steering. We still have the hydraulic steering and the autopilot. So, we remove the pole and stop going wing on wing. Next we put the second reef in the main and reef the mizzen. Basically we didn't want to load things up and have the autopilot cut out. All is good right? We can work on the steering in the morning and get things back to normal....Wrong. So it's my watch. I'm sitting at the pilots chair watching the instruments when the autopilot flashes on "Fault" and then says "Error 15". At some point, it decided to use "Error 17". Now, none of the B&G network instruments are working. We are down to the hydraulic steering. We did consider heaving to so we could get things sorted out. But in the end, I decided it really wasn't so bad steering from below using a compass from down there. Finally the switch that allows you to change from shore power to genset power has failed and will need to be replaced. Which means we could not charge using the genset until I take the switch out and hard wire it which I will do after this email. Oh yeah, and the on board GPS started cutting out. OK, so we hand steer through the night motor sailing (so we can charge and also the wind died). This morning I got the autopilot working disconnecting the other electronics at the helm. Something up there stopped working and drug everything else down. Jorge is now back on and working. The wind is still light so we are motor sailing. People are catching up on sleep but later this morning we will tackle the on deck steering. The chain broke right at one of the cables, so we shouldn't have too much trouble getting it going again. The genset switch is an easy one and I should have that fixed soon. We have several spare GPS's, so no worries there that's up and running just fine.
All is good. we are heading directly to where we we want to go. We should be back to normal by noon.

7:57 35 44.6N, 147 49.5 W 1269.8 Nautical miles to Neah Bay (actually written Jun 28, 2008)

From Eric Rone
It is very nice sitting in the spacious pilot house of Capaz and watching the Simpsons while it is raining out. There are no worries with the radar and AIS on. Being at sea naturally gives me lots of ideas for my boat. Radar and AIS are on the short list. I didn't fish at all today because it was raining and we still have a fair amount of mahi mahi left. I don't want to overtax the north Pacific mahi mahi population too bad. We are getting into tuna territory, so Ill give it a go tomorrow. I got a nice email from my cousin Kate. She taught me a new world for "gnarly" that they say in Australia... "hat". It is blowing 20 with some bigger puffs and might get a little "hat" in the next 24 hours. If we have to reef the mainsail, it will be work because we don't have the first reef tied in. We could just double reef but we like going fast and Capaz is very stable wing on wing. We have the working jib poled out and the main and mizzen prevented. I also demolished "The Alchemist" yesterday and I'm going to pass it around. Hope y'all are well.
Snotty Day
From Captain Brad
What a difference a day makes! Up until today, we have had ideal weather: sun with just the right mix clouds so that things don't get to hot. Warm nights, life was good. I guess it's a byproduct of heading north. It's like doing a Hawaii race in reverse (that and you can motor). Today we have 100% overcast with showers that are heavy at times and almost a constant drizzle between the heavier rains. The sailing is good. The winds have been hovering around 20 knots and we have been sailing downwind for some time now. We are all very much appreciating the pilothouse and have spent much of the day below. This is all fine and dandy as long as the autopilot continues to work.
The weather: Well . . . . the low that will pretty much pass directly over us is moving too fast for us to stay out in front of. Our hard easting has come to an end for the moment. I do believe that coming this way definitely is paying off. We have been sailing in an excellent band of wind now for 2 days. We jibed earlier today and are now sailing wing on wing at a course that is only a few degrees to the left of the shortest route home. the wind will shift such that we will point her directly at the barn for at least a couple of days. Slowly the wind will come forward [more northerly on their heading] and we will eventually be beating into the wind [going upwind]. We may even tack. The wind will also likely build to as high as 30 knots, but according to my weather info this won't happen for another day or so. In preparation we'll go through the boat and make sure everything is secure. The first reef in not run in the main and we will likely run that later today.
When we sailed just north of Hawaii in the trade winds the winds reached the high 20's. The boat handled it beautifully. If they get that high again, it will be fine, it's just going to be colder. I was just pondering that on the next evening shift I'll probably have to don a full set of rain gear. I guess the Hawaiian vacation portion of the trip is over for the time being.
Sequestered below with the autopilot driving we decided to watch a few episodes of the Simpsons and Seinfeld which worked perfectly. Breakfast was pancakes courtesy of Mr. Kurt Hoehne (Abbey he really does cook). I served up my world famous tuna melts complimented with a bowl of hot chicken soup, crackers and finished with a freshly cut pineapple. I don't know what the plan is for dinner yet.
We are solidly in the middle of the trip now. In fact, tomorrow we will be closer to Neah Bay than we are to Hawaii. I'm sure we will have some sort of halfway celebration. Well, that's it for now from Brad. I know that I can speak for everyone on the boat, to all our loved ones out there we love and miss you.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Widow's Walk

A Widow's Walk
From PJ:
I had a suggestion from the ether that I might need a widow’s walk. For those of you that may find this term rather morbid, I will assure you that it doesn’t bother me at all. I grew up going down to the coast and a few houses along the beach have them and they are pretty cool. It’s more a feature of a building like a veranda or “gingerbread” in the peak than anything else to me. By the way, a widow’s walk is a small deck perched as high on a roof as possible like a crow’s nest. It got its name because sailor’s wives would go up and check to see if they could see their sailor’s inbound ships. Of course, the widows of sailors lost at sea would keep checking and so they were the one’s who were always gazing out to sea in hopes of seeing their lost loves.

This comment from my friend, Tiff, got me to thinking that this tracking thing is pretty much a modern day widow’s walk. I check it to see how close my sailor is to coming home. In my opinion, it has big advantages over the old-fashioned version in that, day by day we all can see the progress of Capaz’s voyage and just seeing a new check in coordinate can be re-assuring that things are going well out there in one of the last great unknowns (to most of us).
I was on the site this morning and I clicked on the little box on the right hand side that says “Looking for more detail?” It is a pretty cool little program. It is a very quick download and I found it pretty straightforward to use, if you read the directions in the middle of the download page. It shows the wind directions at each position report, so you can tell what point of sail Capaz was probably on, how the wind has changed over the course of the trip, etc. If you try it, my one helpful hint is that the buttons on the world chart are defined as you mouse over them in the lower left corner of the window. This is how I found the zoom in function. The red line is course direction and blue line is wind direction. The identifier is SVCapaz and the boat left on June 21st.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cruising along in peaceful solitude
The last watch in the night watch rotation is by far the best. You more or less get a full night's uninterrupted sleep plus you get the watch the sunrise in peaceful solitude. This was my second "Sunrise" watch of the trip....nice. The big story is our course change. We are now steering a course of 68 degrees magnetic. This points us more or less right at San Francisco, well to the right of the course that would take us directly home. Now Harold, if your reading this, no I haven't totally lost my marbles. The weather pattern in the NE Pacific has not yet settled down to the well known Pacific High yet. This may be good for us, but likely bad for the folks doing Vic Maui. The Weather "Grib" files (which PJ so kindly described to you earlier) have not had a whole lot of consistency from run to run. You could say they were FUBAR (for those of you who do not like vulgarity or for the young ones reading this please skip to the next paragraph. FUBAR means fucked up beyond all recognition.
OK, so the Gribs have been FUBAR but now a pattern has more or less settled in. If we were to continue the great circle route a developing low would pretty much pass right over us and then put us on the wrong side into pretty stiff headwinds for a day or so. The weather routing software I'm using, Deckman for Windows kept wanting us to sail just north of east for a day or two. According to the program that would keep us on the more favorable south and east side of the low, taking advantage of the pressure gradient between the low and the high, now pushed well SW of it's normal position. So, that's what we are doing. Hopefully it will work out. If the low pushes further west and south of last nights prediction we may still end up on the wrong side. Only time will tell.
For now, we are having a glorious sail after trying to use the symmetric spinnaker for a good part of the day yesterday, we switched back to the asymmetric spinnaker and headed up 30 degrees or so sometime around 3pm (6pm PDT). We reached through the night. I'm sure averaging over 8 knots. Right now, I suspect the average speed is more in the high 8's perhaps even 9 knots. Making good time! This is also a fairly comfortable point of sail. There is a little bouncing and juking around but overall very nice.
Sleeping on a boat makes for some strange dreams. I'm not even going to go into that. Sleep does come a bit more difficultly and you tend to wake up a lot more during the night then when sleeping on land. Wow, we just hit a 10.4 knot surge! Anyway, I think the reason the dreams are weird is that you remember more of them having rem sleep interrupted by a strange sound or the boat making a steeper than usual roll.
Last night we had fish taco's courtesy of fish slayer Eric. They were mighty tasty. Combine that with a Corona and a finished with a small glass of port wine and you have a perfect meal. After dinner, while I was pulling down weather files we all sat in the salon and swapped stories and generally had a nice moment. It's good bunch of guys.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

5:58 PDT 33 25.5 N 154 48.8 W. 1616 Nautical miles to Neah Bay

From Captain Brad:
Things are really settling in now. We have all done a rotation on the evening watch schedule, most the kinks have been worked out of operating the boat (for now anyway) and now we are sailing the boat as the time and miles pass by. Yesterday, just after I sent my update to the log. Eric (the fish slayer) landed another Mahi Mahi. He kept this one, quickly dispatching it and cutting it into nice looking fillets. With the exception of a stop for a swim and a brief sail last night, we had been motoring for over 48 hours straight. That came to and end today at 2:15pm PDT. The engine was turned off and the spinnaker went up. Though a bit sketchy, the wind has been hanging in there and we have been able to make about the same speed that we were making under motor. Life is good. The constant drone of the engine has stopped. The sun is out what more can I say.
As for weather......well it is interesting. There is very little continuity between weather maps and I am suppressing the urge to constantly gather weather data, since each file I get will cost money in satellite phone air time. Basically, the Pacific High is going to go hiding for a while and westerly flow will dominate. The most recent GRIB shows a small low crossing directly over us creating wind from many different directions and speeds. This won't be storm by any stretch and we are not expecting wind above 20 knots. Actually, the main worry is light air again. I am almost certain this forecast will change because it has changed with every weather file I download. We are trying right now to sail the shortest course to home and currently the wind is cooperating. If we were to average 150 mile days in the direction we want to go (which actually is quite doable with this boat) we would arrive at Neah bay early on the 7th of July. It is a bit early to make predictions, but there you go, I've just done it. If the wind blows strong enough from the right direction we could shave a day maybe a day and a half off that. If it's light or on the nose and heavy then add a day or day and a half.
One bit of technology which I'm glad I brought along is AIS. We've crossed paths with 2 freighter and actually have one just over the horizon right now as I type. Each time AIS has allowed us to "see" the vessel on the computer before it actually came over the horizon. Also, the computer lets us how close we are going to pass and when that CPA (closes point of contact) is going to occur. It works great for vessels transmitting an AIS signal. If we were to come across a vessel that doesn't transmit, we still have to rely on radar and our own sight to spot it, especially at night.
Since we have had kinks to work out and little projects here and there I have been putting off starting THE LIST. The list being the To-Do List. It will not be short. I'm going to have to figure out what is important and prioritize. One good thing about taking the boat on a crossing to Seattle right off the bat is that you discover most of the things that need you work fine. I do have to say that overall I am very pleased with Capaz. She really is a perfect and safe platform to take the family voyaging on.
Well, I really don't have much to report, the wind is building our speed is often above 7 knots, heading straight to where we want to go. Life is good.

From PJ:
While I would love to explain a GRIB file to you, I can't. I tried to check out the NOAA website and see if I could point you all to what Brad shows me and I am familiar with when he talks about "GRIBS", but there is some sort of decoding program in between that makes the GRIB data into this cool map with which Brad has made me familiar. The models that I can make sense of have little arrows on them that indicate wind direction and speed. When you look at the big picture you can really see the shapes and directions of the high and lows and other weather patterns like the jet stream. They are very cool.
What I can tell you is that the formation of a small low and not the Pacific High is good news. High pressure areas circulate clockwise which is why in the 2006 Vic-Maui, the Voodoo Child was going downwind all the way to Hawaii as we circled clockwise around the edge of a high. The low, that I have to assume is a little north of Capaz for this to work out right, goes the opposite direction and if they can catch the bottom of it and then head kind of up the eastern side, they should have a nice downwind run.
Downwind, upwind, who cares as long as there is wind. I was trying to think of how to explain this point between dropping the kids off at soccer camp and getting into that crazy place we call Swiftsure Yachts. So, when I boat goes upwind (not straight upwind, but a few degrees to one side or the other) it is using its main and genoa or jib like an airplane wing taking advantage of lift. (Bryce can explain all this to anyone who wants more info) Anyway, where I am going with this line of thought is that the wind experienced on the deck of the boat is the apparent wind. When going upwind, the apparent wind is the true wind that is blowing basically at the boat plus the wind created by the speed of the boat. So, the wind is more or less amplified. When, the boat is going downwind, it uses a spinnaker (also referred to as a kite or a chute). It works more like a kite that pulls along. In this case, the true wind is coming from behind, but the boat is moving in the same direction as the wind so what is felt on deck is the true wind less the wind created by the speed of the boat. One may be going close the same speeds up or downwind, but what the sailor experiences on the deck is very different - either a constantly windy day (going upwind) or still moving but feeling little or almost no wind (going downwind, when the true wind and boat's progress almost cancel each other out). So that's why the crew of Capaz (and most sailors in general) get all excited about going downwind. There are actually quite a few other factors: wave direction, boat's motion, heel, and more that also change and I would find more favorable on downwind legs, but I don't want to bore everyone to tears.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

7:39 PDT 31 42.7 N Lat 15638.4 W Long Distance to go to Neah Bay: 1754 miles

From Captain Brad:
HI all from the good ship Capaz. Kurt sums up the day thus far. So read on for his update. Life has truly settled in as we get more relaxed and in tune with the boat. We have been motoring for something like 30 hours and will likely be doing so for at least another 24. Even though there is no wind, there is swell and it is coming from multiple directions causing the sea to undulate rising occasionally a few feet up in miniature temporary peaks. My routine is to get up around 6am and get some coffee, check the boat out and then do the weather. This takes up to 2 hours. After that, I'll have some breakfast. If I'm short on sleep, I'll take a nap (which I did today). After the nap, it has typically been troubleshooting boat stuff, which Brian played a large part in today (details below). Then, I have typically washed the dishes and as a reward for doing so, have treated myself to another episode or two of 24, Season 3. I just finished watching episodes 4pm to 5pm and 5pm to 6pm. I should finish the series before we finish [he thinks he's racing]. It's a lazy day today with the motor on. It will be nice to go sailing again, but will have to wait another day. The good news right now is every mile traveled will be towards where we want to go.
PS The closest land is over 500 miles away, unless of course you count straight down.

From Kurt:
May the 26th of June 2008 be forever known as Brian Day and henceforth be celebrated annually.
With the Yanmar main engine and Northern Lights genset acting very much like they were starved for fuel, Brian decided to take things into his own hands. Actually, he said something to Brad to the effect of “can we stop motoring for three minutes so I can check something." It took a little longer than three minutes, but in the end the problem was found and solved. Air in the filters indicated there was a leak somewhere in the system, and close examination revealed that to be at the fuel lift pump. Soon we were under way again.
The genset proved a little more difficult. With wise foresight, Brad had procured an extra fuel filter for the genset. There were, however, two other filters ahead of the genset in the system, so the likelihood of that being the problem didn’t seem that much. But the closer Brian looked, the more likely it seemed. “Just” a fuel filter. Just a fuel filter that had probably been there since the genset was made in 1994 or 95. It didn’t budge with any combination of filter wrenches and hands. Proving that he can be brutal as well as methodical, Brian stuck a screwdriver through the filter body, and voile, the filter budged (as well as a bit of diesel into the lazerette). Off with the old and on with the new. Genset and engine are both now very happy in their work.
More bright news. Brad was nearly giddy after seeing this morning’s GRIBs (weather modeling files). If they’re correct, we may be able to lock into the “Great Circle Route” from here on in. That means no going out of our way for better winds, they’ll come to us exactly where we want to be. We’ll still have to motor for a couple days, but that was expected. Brad wasn’t fully convinced that this will pan out, but he was acting a bit like a kid who found out he was getting just what he wanted for Christmas.
We were accompanied by a small albatross for a while. He (she?) flew alongside and over with occasional wanderings ahead. He was nice company and even did a flyby for photos. The other wildlife of note are vellela vellela, little jellyfish that literally have sails and sail along the water surface. These ones are on starboard tack. Apparently there are others on port tack elsewhere in the world. Do the port tackers give way? If they do not, are there special jellyfish protests? Is there some kind of on-the-water judging by water snakes?
The Pacific is indeed passive today. It’s as glasslike here as it ever is on Puget Sound or Lake Michigan, and that’s really saying something. It’s beautiful out here and the vastness of the ocean is sobering. So is the presence of garbage. So far it has been bits and pieces, but there should be none.
Eric back-flipping into the Pacific
Brian, Eric and Kurt went swimming. Brad dutifully reminded us that Lemon Sharks and Makos are pretty fast swimmers. And to tell the truth, I’m pretty sure all three of us were aware just how vulnerable you feel IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. Remind me never to fall overboard. It was a great swim and a chance for crew to soap up and rinse off with fresh water on the swim step. Skipper had already cleaned up before and was quite happy to stay out of the water.
Capaz’ diesels continue to purr like kittens. Well, noisy kittens. Bravo Brian!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eric is on board!!!

From Eric:
The trip has been fun so far. A highlight was catching two mahi mahi at the same time less than 24 hours after leaving Hawaii. It was really hard to fillet them on the pitching quarterdeck but Brian and I got it done. The ocean it right where I left it. We have been playing "name that garbage" as well as "first one to see a flying fish". The penalty is 100 push ups for everyone else on deck. I can't wait to go cruising myself. I am getting lots of ideas for my boat and being out on the ocean again makes me want to get out this season. Kurt and Brian and Brad are all fun to sail with and Capaz is a very capable vessel.

10:02am PDT 28 36.23N 158 13.45W 1945 miles to go to Neah Bay

IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Shoreside Support:
We have gotten the tracking working. Just go to and you will find a map of where Capaz and her crew were at the time of the their last YOTREPS report. There is also a link on the side bar to the left side of this page under S/V Capaz Links. Crewmember Brian Trautman is doing his blogging on his website which also has a link.
From Captain Brad:
A quick synopsis of how the trip is going as far as making it home. The first two days our mileage was 160 miles on day one and 163 miles on day two. That's as the crow flies and is not all miles made towards home. Since we left Ko Olina at 12:53pm HST we do our 24 hour runs from 1pm to 1pm HST (4pm to 4pm PDT). The weather situation is fairly complex and changing. The "Pacific High" is setting up a bit to the north and well to the east of our location. Well north . . . . say a thousand miles there is a pretty good westerly to southwesterly push of wind. Directly north of us about 200 to 300 miles, is a zone of very light pressure gradient and thus very light wind. We are heading straight for that zone. "Why?" you may ask. Well, the weather maps show the high building and assuming kind of a oval shape extending from the SW to the NE. As it does this, we should be able to get on the NW side and ride west to SW pressure gradient on a course that points us more or less to where we want to go. This would be "turning the corner" early which can be a bit risky since it would take us through where the Pacific High normally sets up camp. For now, we will continue to go more or less north. I expect that in the next 24 hours (perhaps with in the next 6 hours), we may turn on the Iron Sail (the engine) and motor sail, blasting our way through the light zone.
The current conditions are as forecast. The wind has been continually decreasing and is now blowing about 8 knots. We are able to make 5 to 6 knots so I'm pretty darn happy with that.
Yesterday we changed from the new working jib to the older original genoa. This sail appears to be about a 130% genoa and it has certainly seen some miles. Remarkably, the sail shape is quite nice. The UV cover has seen better days though. To make the change, Kurt, Brian and I boldly went to the foredeck and muscled down the working jib and folded it up. Next we unrolled the genoa. Kurt and Brian hoisted her at the mast while I fed the sail into the groove. All the while, Eric stayed at the helm, beer in hand, driving the boat.
Capaz's "Back" Deck
Other highlights of the day: Eric and Brian set up camp on the "aft deck" lounging for hours aft deck soaking up rays and feeling no pain. The weather yesterday was as good as it gets. Bright sun, enough breeze to keep you cool and a wide expanse of that big blue thingy called the Pacific Ocean. God, it's beautiful out here! I decided to watch and episode one from Season #3 of "24". My plan is to watch an episode (perhaps two if it's really exciting) every day during the trip. We also watched most of Master and Commander last night before everyone conked out. The moon is rising later now which makes for good star gazing. I don't know if you city folk know this, but man, there are billions of stars out there and this milky white thing I'm told is called the milky way. There is ZERO light pollution out here.
I already sent a picture yesterday. But the biggest highlight of all was getting buzzed twice by a navy plane. We reached them on Channel 16. Turns out they were just out for a joy ride. They were all business. the conversation went something like this:

Brad: Navy plane at (insert Lat long position here), thanks for giving us a fly by
Navy Plane: sailboat at (insert lat long position here), we were trying to get your attention. State your heading, speed and intentions
Brad: Roger(then I gave them heading and speed but didn't hear the intentions part)
Navy Plane: Please tell us your intentions
Brad: I intend to sail to Seattle and have lots of fun doing it (OK so I didn't really say the have lots of fun part)
Navy Plane: Please be advised that in two days there will be a live missile exorcise near this vicinity and that for you own safety you should north and east would be a good direction to go.
Well, you get the idea. They asked for the name of the vessel to be spelled out and I actually remembered all the names for the letters of Capaz. (Charlie Alpha Papa Alpha Zulu)

That's it from the fine yacht, Capaz. I leave you with the current state of things. "Jorge" is doing the driving, Brian is snoozing in the cockpit, Eric is sleeping in the aft cabin and Kurt and I are typing away on the computer while the sun shines through the pilot house and the wind just now jumped up to 15 knots and the boat speed has now jumped to 7.5 knots. Life is good!
Q:Who is driving? A: Jorge!

From Kurt Hoehne:

The ocean, so far, is more empty than I thought it would be. No whales to greet.
But there were several momentous events that interrupted yesterday’s tranquility. There was the attack by the US Navy. Sure, they said they checking the area to make sure it was empty, but how do we KNOW that. Just because their guns jammed as they flew in a typical strafing approach. I figure they must have been after me, a known anti-Bushy.
In all seriousness, they were very polite and professional as they radioed us and other vessels. Brad posed an interesting questions, could they force us to leave? We were in international waters.
Eric revealed that he had had nightmares about killing fish. That may be one of the reasons he let the two small yellow fin tuna go.
Movie night on Capaz didn’t turn out quite the rousing success it might have. We had to watch it down below because we could hook it up to the stereo. I bailed early, having seen Master and Commander twice already. (I waited until they got around Cape Horn) The rest of the audience left before the end.
Wind just picked up (7 am on Tuesday) We might squeeze a few more miles out before we have to take to the engine.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Approaching 50 hours

Kurt gazing at the Island
From Crewmember Kurt Hoehne:
Capaz is headed to her new, temporary home. She’s got personality, this one, but more on that later.
All the players, from skipper to boat, seem pretty happy out here 300 miles north of Hawaii.
Skipper Brad’s “moment” with his new boat came this morning. Having set up Capaz for the close reach she enjoys so very much, and with the autopilot Jorge comfortably doing his job, Brad watched the perfect sunrise and patted his new family on the cockpit seat. It was a rare moment of bonding. Then Jorge and Capaz decided to play a little trick on him, the boat veering off course and the autopilot saying “Sorry Meester skipper, I doenoo wha happen.” Isn’t that the way of the best relationships, generally great with a surprise once in a while? Just don’t take them too seriously.
For Brad this trip seems a lot more than just a delivery home. After helping so many people acquire or equip their boats to handle their dreams, this is his. He’s getting to know Capaz gradually; the pat on the cockpit was perhaps the equivalent of holding a girlfriend’s hand for the first time. Their not married, but they like each other a lot.
The gleam in Brian’s eyes about becoming a voyager is becoming a floodlight. After being initiated with a slip and crash in the cockpit on the first day his footfalls have become more measured, never assuming traction where there might be none. The occasional mutter as Capaz throws him around the cabin is the sign of someone whose embraced life at 15 degrees of heel. It’s pretty clear that everything onboard is getting file away for future reference.
Instinctively Brian is a great shipmate. First to cook, first to clean, it seems impossible that the longest passage he’s done is from the San Juans to Seattle. Perhaps the most interesting thing, one the flies in the face of conventional wisdom about getting people into sailing, is that he got into the sport initially without guidance or instruction or encouragement. It attracted him, and he took to it.
Eric was made for being at sea. While always pretty mellow, there’s an easy and contentment that comes over him as soon as a boat clears harbor. This seems especially true for this passage. It was clear that for days the anticipation for hand trolling had been building. When there was no gaff to be found onboard and no opportunity to buy one materialized, he made one of a piece of wood and metal. And at the moment he saw the two mahi mahi strike the lines, there was not a happier person on earth. The transition from laid back cruiser to hunter was immediate and joyous. To his everlasting credit and the gratitude of his shipmates he not only cleaned the fish, he cooked them as well. It was a complete triumph.
Catch Eric in a quieter moment and he’ll reveal where his mind really is, his own cruise. His Cal 33 is getting hauled and equipped, and plans with no timetable are taking shape. And like his fishing exercise, there is little doubt there will be triumph.
And for me it’s one of many dreams come true in the past few years. The funny thing about this dream is that it’s been in my imagination since the first moment I had imagination, and the reality is pretty much the equivalent of the dream. I’m finding the sea legs that I’ve never had the opportunity to exercise this far from land. And they even work. I think often of introducing Abby and Ian to this thing I love so much.
A bit about Capaz. The name apparently is Portuguese for “capable.” That seems appropriate enough on a lot of levels. She’s certainly capable, and while not looking old, she’s not to be mistaken for young. And while not stout, she’s not to be mistaken for svelte. She is, in fact, seasoned. One could easily imagine her as a Portuguese fisherman’s wife, one who is steady and strong. And one who is comfortable in their sense of self and has seen it all. The kind of boat to go to sea in.

From Captain Brad:
Navy plane doing a fly by
The US Navy reached us on the VHF to ask our course speed and intentions. Evidently there is going to be a live missile exercise near the area we are in and they thought it might be better if we weren't here when it happened. The sailing is very pleasant now. The waves have reduced and we still have wind in the high teens. We made 163 miles today and about 160 yesterday.

9:27am PDT 25 52.7N 158 08.5W

Brian and Eric and the Mahi Mahi
Lots to talk about in this log. Yesterday was an eventful day. We are all still struggling to get into the routine, but all seems to be working well. We have been close reaching since we left the islands over a day and a half ago. The wind speed has ranged from 10 knots to 30 knots, but mostly in the high teens and low 20's.
Yesterday, about 24 hours after leaving, Eric caught not one but 2 fish simultaneously. Two medium size Mahi Mahi met their end by the hands of the mighty fish hunter Eric Rone. For lunch, Brian cooked up some hamburgers on the BBQ and also a test portion of fish as well. That really hit the spot.
Yesterday had it's trying times as well. The genset misbehaved and was starved for fuel, so when we put it under a heavy load it would sputter and sometimes stall out completely. This was a problem since the only way we have to use the fridge and freezer is the genset. When we charged with the engine, it too was cranky and would fluctuate RPM's. Kurt and I eventually did some trouble shooting. Kurt found the manual for the genset and we worked out a course of action. One thing I didn't mention is the genset also gave off an alarm indicating overheating or low oil pressure. Bottom line was it didn't have proper air circulation and the fuel filters needed changing. We also found that it helped to turn the engine key on (without starting the engine) which powers on the fuel lift pump. The downside to this is this adds hours to the engine meter even though the engine is not running. I'll have to fix this. We changed the fuel filters for all the Racors and that helped the generator and seemed to solve the engine problems as well. It's possible the fuel is dirty enough that we will have to do some more replacing later. Hopefully not. All is well for now. As a matter of fact the generator is purring along right now, charging batteries and cooling off the fridge and freezer.
We all have been a bit contemplative and not very talkative each living in their own world. I suspect this will change as we get our sea legs and in more of a routine. Last night we did the 2.5 hours on shifts again but rotated so that the person that did the last watch the night before did the first watch last night and everyone else moved back a slot. This put me on the last watch. The sunrise watch.
Brian at Sunset
I'm going to preface what I say next with this. For a long time now, since PJ and I met we have always planned to get a boat and sail away. This morning was very emotional for me. I'm generally not one "to wear my emotions on my shirt sleeve" as the saying goes. I came on watch got the boat settled in and picked some music to listen to on the IPOD. As I sat in the cockpit letting Jorje (Hor-hay) drive I stopped a moment and soaked in the beauty of my surroundings. I've spoken of this before in previous log entries for the Vic-Maui races I've been on. Basically there is nothing in the whole world like being out here. And I do forget exactly what it's like. there is a Jimmy Buffet song that has the lyrics "I just want to live happily ever after every now and then". This morning was one of those now and thens. This morning was different from my past experiences on Vic -Maui races. For one I'm not racing and don't have the all-consuming drive that racing takes. Secondly, this is the first time I've done something like this on my (our) boat. I while sitting in the cockpit, reclining against the cabin bulkhead I reached down and gave Capaz a pat. I was finally starting to feel like this was my boat. Ironically the autopilot (aka Jorje) picked that moment to cut out and slowly spin down into an accidental jibe. I guess Capaz was letting me know that: "Yes, I'm yours but you still have to take care of me".
The sunrise was mine too. As the sun came up, I was again filled with emotion and I believe it was the first time I have ever cried because I was happy. I suppose I was happy and sad and relieved just lots of different feelings all in one. It's hard to explain. I even get choked up as I think about it now. The sunrise was spectacular: a sunset in reverse. It was if the clouds and sun arranged themselves thus to produce this painting just for me. I did snap a few pictures before the sun rose, but the spectacular part, when the sun surfaced out of the blue sea, I kept just for myself. I guess I'm a little bit selfish. That and sunrise/sunset picture rarely do justice to the real thing.
Well, my watch is over but the rest the crew is still asleep. The wind is blowing 20 knots and we are charging along at about an average of 8 knots. This won't last. Probably in about 24 hours the wind will really start to slacken and we will have to motor through a light spot. If the weather continues to take shape on its current pattern, we will come out the other side of that spot in a day or two and will be sailing downwind for a long stretch. Only time will tell.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

10:58 Pacific Daylight Tme 23 24.7 N, 158 11.8 W

Will "the Costco Run" all fit in the SUV?
We are finally on our way. The goal was to set sail by noon on Saturday the 21st (the first day of summer) and we almost made it, casting off the lines at 12:53pm (Hawaiian std time).
I'll back up a bit. Friday was a busy day with final boat projects picking up Kurt at the airport and making a Costco run. The next morning, the four crew went for our last meal on land at the restaurant in the Ko Olina Resort. They served up a great breakfast buffet. We took the rest of the morning to finish little jobs do a safety breifing. I personally spent a bit of time attempting to wrap up Swiftsure Yachts details. So after finishing these projects we all rotated through the showers and prepped to leave.
Leaving Ko Olina harbor you have to ask for clearance to leave which we did for perhaps the boat's last time. Once out the channel we wasted no time raising the sails and setting off. It was a nice beam reach down the island. Eventually we set the spinnaker as the wind lightened from 25 knots or so into the mid to low teens. The winds eventually died in the lee of the Island and we motor sailed until reaching the strong trade winds on the windward side. Where it had been fairly flat water in the lee of the island, the waves really kicked up on the windy side. Hatches were dogged after taking some spray below and we pounded our way along on a close jib reach.
Time for life aboard to settle in. Most people feel good. I started to feel squishy and switched from Meclazine to the tried and true Gravol which eventually brought me back from the brink of puking. On a special note. Eric Rone has been looking forward to fishing and had the lines in the water less then 5 minutes from setting the sails. Last night we all stood individual 2.5 hour watches which worked out well. We are all completely rested. and ready to tackle the challenges of today.
What challenges? you might ask. Well, we have an issue with the genset. It seems starved for fuel and keeps shutting down. After breakfast we are going to dive in and see if we can't get it working. We need it to keep the fridge going. If we don't manage to get her going then the food in the fridge and freezer will go over fairly quickly. Not to worry, we do have plenty of non refer food to eat so we shouldn't starve.
That's it for now, sitting down here typing tends to . . . . . well lets just say enhance the effects of sea motion. Time to take a break outside.
One final note. I couldn't be happier with Capaz. This is an excellent boat extremely sea kindly and capable of a good turn of speed. This is going to be a great platform for PJ, me, and the kids to take on a South Pacific tour next year.


All four wave as Capaz leaves Ko'Olina
There may be a post from the boat later today. But just in case, I decided I would write a little something to fill in what we will call the "Squishiness Gap". I should start by defining "squishy". You may have heard the term "getting one's sea legs". This refers to one's body getting used to the constant motion when at sea. Squishy is what an old salt like Brad calls the feeling during this time of adjustment. It may or may not be full fledge seasickness. It is generally agreed by most people who have some experience on the water that a good part of seasickness is mental. I think this is why the term squishy has been developed. It acknowledges that one is not feeling exactly 100%, but is not being incapacitated by full fledge seasickness.

Now that you know what squishiness is, I can relate that Capaz and her crew left Ko'Olina Marina mid-afternoon HST yesterday. It took a couple of hours to actually get out into the ocean. Once out there and still in cell phone range, I got a call where I was promised a post followed by the comments that it was blowing about 30 knots in about 6 foot seas making 8 knots. Those conditions, while not considered too rough, coupled with it being our crew's first day of the voyage, caused me to not put too much hope in that promise. They have also decided that the cabin companionway needs to be closed to prevent water from getting down below, but that results in stuffiness which in turn does not help squishiness. Nor does typing on the computer, so we will all have to patient. If one takes care of oneself, drinking lots of water and concentrates on not putting oneself into situations that will exacerbate squishiness, it will pass more quickly.
The pictures of our boys leaving the marina and after they put up the sails where taken and sent to us by our friend Scott Fuller.
We are still working on getting the tracking set-up. Hopefully, later today it will be sorted out up and running for everyone to graphically follow Capaz back to Seattle.

Sails are up and off she goes

Friday, June 20, 2008

The last day of Spring 21 19.74 N, 158 07.13 W

The adventure has begun! This is the first in what will be Almost live updates on the good sailing ship Capaz’s delivery trip from Hawaii to Seattle. To bring everyone up to speed, PJ shuttled 3 of the 4 crew members to the Airport at O dark 30 in the morning on Wednesday the 18th. We arrived in Honolulu at about noon local time got the SUV and headed to Ko Olina Marina and resort which is about 30 minutes drive from the airport. Once there we dove straight in to prepping the boat for the trip. Over the last few days we have knocked off most the items on the “to do” list and are getting ready to do the provisioning Costco run this morning. If all goes well we should be ready to push off sometime tomorrow on the Summer Solstice. Brian and Eric have been great, working hard on getting things done.
Yesterday we went for test sails to test the sails, engine, autopilot etc. Everything went reasonably well. The plan was to sail to a location where we could drop anchor and take a look at the bottom. The windlass may have some issues so we decided instead to drift while giving a swim around and under the boat to check things out. There was pretty darn good growth of the worm like things on the bottom on the rudder, prop, skeg, keel and some parts of the hull. Given the amount of work I decided to not do bottom cleaning until back at the dock. Once back at the dock I braved the tepid waters. Scott has a dive compressor with a hose that allows you to dive for basically an unlimited amount of time. He was kind enough to loan it to us for this occasion. I went in and spent 1.5 hours scraping on the bottom. It was exhausting work but is done. I’m quite certain the performance of the max prop was severely hindered by the growth so it will be interesting to see how the boat performs when we finally set sail.
Ko Olina is a beautiful resort area with several lagoons for swimming a nice foot path that runs along the beach, a Marina, and golf course. Last night Scott treated the crew to dinner. It was idyllic with live music a setting sun Mai Tais and good company. I could get used to that!

Actually posted by Captain Brad

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

School's Out/Hawaii Bound

The Royal Family
We had a fantastic weekend at Port Madison aboard "Joie de Vivre". G-ma and G-pa seemed to enjoy themselves. The kids said it was the best Potlatch yet. Brad and I successfully presided over the games. We also got to spend some quality time with the Gifford family before they take off later this summer.
Today was the last day of school. Both boys have had great years. Austin is really learning how to read and his writing is progressing profusely. The spelling . . . . well, we will keep working on that. Bryce too has made great strides in his academics, as well as just plain maturing! They both never cease to surprise me!!! All signs point to both boys being back with the same fantastic teachers next year.
We spent this evening cleaning out our car so that we can fit everyone Brad, Eric, and Brian plus myself and the boys for the airport run tomorrow morning. Brad seems to believe that he is all packed. I don't know how he can leave it til the evening before he is to leave. It must be nice to only have to pack for one person. Anyway, he will be flying to Hawaii tomorrow. Brad, Brian, and Eric will start prepping the boat for departure and Kurt will join them on Friday. They hope to leave Ko'Olina on Saturday.
The word is that we will have the tracking set up, so I will put a link on the side bar - look for something called "Yotreps".

Friday, June 6, 2008


Brad is steadily getting everything together. His crew is pretty well set and he sent off a couple of boxes of "stuff" this week to Hawaii.
Otherwise, life is the usual crazy that it is at the end of the school year. The kids will have their last day of school on the 17th (the day before Brad flies out). In the meantime, next weekend we have our annual event at Port Madison called Potlatch. This year, there is a new twist which is Brad and I will be presiding over the festivities as the Chief and Queen. Needless to say, this was an obligations that existed long before the whole boat buying adventure came upon us. On top of that, it was 39 years ago that my parents presided over the same event the summer before I was born. They had to borrow other people's kids to be their papooses. Anyway, as is the tradition, this event is always held on Father's Day weekend. My mom's birthday is June 15th which sometimes falls on Father's Day and this is one of those years. It seemed like a natural choice, given all the convening pieces that my parents come with us. So, for the first time in quite a few years, Jack and Ellie will be hopping on sailboat and heading to Port Madison for a jam-packed, fun-filled weekend. It should be a hoot!