Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tacos and T-birds

August 30, 2010

When we arrived at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club for a couple of days, we were lucky enough to be able to connect with a couple of friends that we made during our years of racing in the Thunderbird class fleet on the mighty “REV” otherwise known as #447!  Seattle and Victoria have traditionally been the strongest fleets in the class and so when the REV crew needed challenging racing, our friends up here in Victoria were only too happy to provide it for us – with us traveling up here for races or them voyaging to Seattle, even meeting halfway in Port Townsend on occasion.  Over tacos, we caught up with the reigning World Champion fresh from the regatta earlier this month in Toronto.  We had a great visit with Mark and Rhonda on CAPAZ.  Then with a fabulous dessert, we were joined by more T-birders, Vidas and Hillary who live in the neighborhood and were able to drop by the boat.  We all reminisced about ancient and not so ancient racing fun and found out what is happening in everyone’s lives away from Thunderbird regattas. 

What Mark does when not racing Thunderbirds

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Both Mark and Rhonda are Guides for Prince of Whales, one of Victoria’s original whale watching outfits!

Butchart Gardens

August 28, 2010

Our Butchart Gardens voyage actually started last night.  After finding a place to anchor in Tod Inlet and finishing up the last of delivery tuna, we sought a spot in the dinghy from which to watch the Saturday night fireworks that the Gardens put on.  We enjoyed the aerial displays and even though we couldn’t see the ground displays they lit up the tree that were between us and them in a most pleasing way.

b 117 b 045 b 069 b 100  b 079 b 060 This morning, all six of us, Nana and Poppy had joined us in Victoria, piled into to the dinghy and made our way to the Gardens before too many tourists descended.  I worked on my familiarizing myself with my new camera taking tons of “foliage” shots.   We had packed a nice lunch and found a nice bench in the sun to eat it at which time the people watching was almost as enjoyable as the colorful views that vast array of plants and flowers provided us. Nana and Poppy took the bus back to Victoria so that they could catch their ferry back to Port Angeles. 

We returned to Capaz and ended up moving the boat to a better spot that also proved to have better beach access. After dinner, Brad and I returned to the lit gardens for some live jazz that went well with ice cream and some hot drinks that we had brought along in a thermos from the boat.  You gotta love rum: the all-latitude drink!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Victoria, BC, Canada

August 27, 2010

A 001

The boat and Brad arrived at 1:00 am and the mom and kids got through Canadian Customs by 11:00 am.  We are all very happy to see each other.  The boat was right in front of the Empress Hotel.  One quick laundry so that everyone has clean sheets and the search for warm clothes and bedding stowed into the depths of the boat (it’s really not that cold, but we have really thin blood) and we are ready to continue on. 

Long time family friends who live in Victoria, Ruth and Steve, shuttled me to Costco for a re-provisioning run  (which except for the perishables) is still waiting for stowage.  The boys did a really good job of eating all the fresh fruits and veggies.  There is still quite a bit of frozen meat, since there seemed to be an virtually endless supply of mahi-mahi and tuna.  We are looking forward to taking part in the record breaking salmon run that is currently in progress.

Brad and the boys put on their tourist hats and visited Miniature World in the basement of the Empress Hotel (always a favorite).   We rounded out the day with a visit to Victoria’s version of the Spaghetti Factory.  Right as we finished, we got to meet Third Mate Dave’s son, Reef.  He was drawn to Capaz’s steering wheel – gaptta start early with these little guys.

The McWhirter Family

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We have grandparents arriving for the weekend so I will have to keep it short as that stuff on the boat will not stow itself!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 16: Arrival

Augus 26, 2010
17:34 HST, which is 8:34pm Pacific Daylight time (03:34 UTC August 27)
Lat: 48 19.7 North
Lon: 123 52.6 West
Distance to go: 22.5 nautical miles

We entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca earlier today and truly are almost there!  Before getting to Cape Flattery, we realized that something was wrong, either the engine was having issues or more likely the prop was having issues. I noticed that we weren't even coming close to the speed we should be doing given the RPM's when I turned on the engine. So, I ran the throttle at medium to see what RPM's we were making. The engine wouldn't even turn at 2000 RPM's much less the 3200 it should have at max throttle. Suspecting a problem with the prop, I taped our underwater camera to the boat hook, turned on the movie function and took a video of the prop. Hopefully we can add this video to the blog at some point. Anyway it showed clearly that a net had snared itself to the prop. We limped into Neah Bay where courageous Dave got in the water and removed the net from the prop. I took a video of this as well. Ever since then, we have been motor sailing making good time. The tide is now ebbing and will likely be in our face pretty much the rest of the way. This means when we reach Race Rocks (just outside of Victoria Harbor) there will be significant current against us which will make for slow going. We should arrive in Victoria before the end of the day though! We are all excited to be here. It has been a relatively easy trip so far, lets keep it that way (touch wood).


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 15: Happy Crew, Happy Boat

August 25, 2010
15:51 HST (01:51 UTC August 26)
Lat: 47 29.6 North

Lon 127 44.5 West
Distance to go: 190 nautical miles, (132 miles to Cape Flattery)

We are all getting pretty excited about making landfall tomorrow and arriving in Victoria later in the day! For the first time in well . . . . 15 days we heard chatter on the VHF. Yes, we left the VHF radio on all the time. We heard a Canadian naval plane contacting vessels inbound to the strait of Juan de Fuca. That reminds me of a joke: Do you know how Canadians spell Canada? (for the answer go to the bottom of the email).

In any case, there have been other signs that we are nearing land. Clumps of kelp have started appearing in the water. I haven't seen that for a while. The water color has changed. It has more of a green tinge to it. I saw what looked like a seagull earlier this morning. We are getting close!

After motoring for what seemed like forever, we finally got the wind shift that I had been predicting. You see, a front was supposed to overtake us bringing a shift in the wind from the SW to the NW. It also was supposed to bring an increase in wind. Well, it didn't happen yesterday, and we started the watch schedule with the engine running. I had the last watch from 3:30am to 6am HST. Since we are still on Hawaiian Time and it really was 6:30am Pacific Daylight Time, the sky was already light. I poked my head out the hatch and it was misty and cold. The front was upon us. About 1/2 hour into my watch the wind abruptly shifted and started to build. Game on. I unrolled the headsail and waited for one of the crew to wake up about 1.5 hours later. Randy surfaced and we hoisted the main and turned off the engine. One thing I neglected to mention was that the boat speed was about 1 knot off of what we should have been doing with the engine RPM's we were running. Really there were only two likely causes. The first one that came to mind was that we had picked something up on the rudder or keel, like a net or a shark, something like that. The other option was that something was wrong with the prop itself. Anyway, we backed down the boat which took care of the problem. Thank goodess it wasn't the prop (touch wood).

Right now, it's blowing about 20 knots on the beam and we are making about 8 knots of boat speed. Making good time! By this time tomorrow we will be in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and in cell phone range. I guess it's back to civilization. Since April 1st of this year I have sailed about 8000 nautical miles at sea. I think that's enough for a while. Strangely I'm not really burnt out on the whole thing, it just isn't holding that magic for me that it used too. I never thought I'd say that, but there you have it.

Well it's getting to be that time where we all gather in the salon and watch a bit of TV and Randy cooks dinner, then I get on the SSB and talk to my friend on Mulan, we watch more TV, then hit the sack. Tonight we will reef the main and mizzen before it gets dark, so we don't have to do it in the dark of the night were it to get stinky. We are almost there!


C, eh, N, eh, D, eh
(joke courtesy of Dave)

That reminds me, Dave told me a little lymeric. Here's how it goes:

There once was a man from Nantucket, who's Di.........ok, maybe that one isn't appropriate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 14

August 24, 2010
16:40 HST (02:40 UTC August 25)
Lat: 46 22.1 North
Lon: 131 01.5 West
Distance to go: 340 miles to go

The last 24 hours have been spent motoring in less then 10 knots of wind from the stern. When conditions are like this, we all sleep really well. The boat glides along in a calm, but undulating sea, rocking us to sleep. The engine noise drowns out any other noises that might keep us awake. I can't remember be so well rested on a long passage like this. Nothing much has happened since the last blog.

I know that we are all looking forward to getting there. I personally haven't been out of the company of my family for more then a few hours for almost a year. It's hard to be that close for so long and then to not have them there. So it will be a big relief when once we are re-united.

As I type, I saw something out of the corner though the pilothouse window. It was an albatross, flying, skimming, just above the waves. We haven't gone a day out here with out seeing a bird. It amazing to me that we were about as far away as you can get from land and still there are birds out here. I know that several species of bird inhabit the skies above the oceans, not touching land for years. When they do come to land it is only to mate and raise young.  Then they return to their solitary life out on the big blue.

It's massive out here, water for days and days on end. Sailing like this really brings home how much of our planet is covered with water. Earth is not a land world. It is a waterworld, the "Blue Planet". Being out here, seeing this seemingly ending expanse of water, it's hard to believe that we, mankind could fuck it up. But we are. Doing some motoring through the high gives you a glimpse. For days, in the middle of this leg, we couldn't go more then a minute or two before coming across some sort of garbage floating by. Plastic. I don't mean to go all environmentalist on you all, but we as a species need to come around, wake up and figure out how to live more harmoniously with the planet. Otherwise, our kids or our kid’s kids are going to pay the price.

Yes, I'm rambling, but as I said not much has happened over the last day. Plastic aside, it's beautiful out here. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you come out here sometime and see for yourself.

Well, about 2 days to go!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 13: Almost There

August 23, 2010
15:11 HST (01:11 UTC August 24)
Lat: 45 04.4 North
Lon 134 22.2 West
Distance to go: 500 nautical Miles

Well, I'm back. Now that you have heard from the rest of the crew, I'm back on the job as the Capaz Blogger for the Hawaii to Victoria BC leg. It has been a pretty typical 24 hours. Yesterday, was beautiful as we motor sailed in light winds. We had Fish for dinner, again. Randy whipped up another one of his fabulous meals. And, again, we watched a few more episodes of "The Big Bang Theory". The joke is that we have to check in on how Penny is doing. Jorge (the autopilot) has no problem steering in motoring conditions, so our watches were very routine. I'm not sure how the rest of the guys spend their watch, but with the cooler weather I stayed below for the most part and monitored the radar and AIS all the while watching 2 episodes of Stargate SG1. It's a tough existence out here, the intrepid sailors braving the harsh seas, but someone has to do it.

This morning, we unrolled the headsail and put up the main to do a bit of motorsailing. The wind picked up out of the south, enough so that we hoisted the spinnaker. We have been flying that sail for the last 5 hours, but the wind is starting to dwindle and the crew is dousing even as I type. So, the chute comes down (live play by play). I will go check the engine room look at the oil level and then start the engine for some motoring. So hang on a moment, while I go do that. Be right back...............I'm back. I checked the oil and asked the guys to do a line check to make sure we didn't have a spinnaker sheet or other line in the water. Wouldn't want to wrap a line around the prop:  that would be bad.

I cooked up some eggs and bacon and put them in a wrap with some cheese for breakfast. We all fended for ourselves for lunch. With the spinnaker up it was nice to play the stereo and hang out in the cockpit. After lunch we watched a movie, "Michael Clayton", which we all enjoyed. Tonight I'm sure we will watch some more Big Bang Theory and the process will start all over again.

The day before yesterday our friend Andrew set sail an Mulan from Hawaii also bound for the Pacific Northwest. Andrew had planned to leave about the same time as we did, but got stuck waiting for an engine part. It was good to touch base with him on the SSB last night to get a report. It sounded as though all was well aboard Mulan as they sailed north from Hawaii.

I really don't have any more news for today. It looks like we should be in Victoria late Thursday evening or early Friday morning, but time will tell.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 12 motoring in the calm after the storm

August 22, 2010
16:09 HST (02:09 UTC August 23)
Lat: 43 56.5 North
Lon: 137 8.2 West
Distance to go: 636 nautical miles

Today's crew blogger is Harold

This is “Hunt and Peck Harold” with a veery brief outline of the last few hours. Last night, we saw another episode of our TV family "Big Bang Theory".  We get worried about what Penny has been up to. We have become one in our nerdness. Twenty-five knots of wind and big seas made even brushing our teeth a challenge and flossing was optional for last night only. We were greeted this morning with a spectacular sunrise calm seas and 10 to 15 knots of wind off our beam. Sweet! The water temp has dropped from 80 to a refreshing 65 and we felt that the tuna should be ready for our BBQ.  We deployed the tuna jig and shortly after hauled in our dinner. Albacore tuna on the BBQ tonight. Taking a 360 degree view makes me realize how BIG the Pacific is: how vast and powerful and beautiful.  Helps me realize how small and insignificant we all are. This is a gas!
Peace and Love Harold

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 11: Big Wind Last Night, Making Good Time

August 21, 2010
17:37 HST (03:37 UTC August 22)
Lat: 42 48.8 North
Lon 139 52.9 West
Distance to go: 774 nautical miles

Today's crew blogger is Randy

The wind and waves built gradually last night, and by sometime past midnight, Jorge the autopilot had gone on strike. Brad and Harold broke-out the foul-weather gear and had steered for a few hours, giving our friend a much-needed siesta. By morning, we had a North Pacific version of mixed chop, where small waves play with these school bus-sized things in a fairly random order. You can admire the top of your rudder off the stern while a small breaker lightly cleans the windows on the coach house. The boat slaloms across the mix in a surprisingly graceful way, and we spent the morning watching the parade of peaks and troughs like some kind of maritime parade. It's a busy existence. All speculation now is on when the motoring will start later this evening, as the weather patterns change yet again on our route.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 10: A Report from Dave

August 20, 2010
15:42 HSST (01:42 UTC August 21)
Lat: 41 16.4 North

Lon: 143 16.9 West
Distance to go: 951 nautical miles (under 1000!)

As I'm sure you are all growing bored with my perspective on this trip, so I thought it would be nice to have blog entries from other on the crew. The first to step up to the plate is Dave. Here is his report:

An update of life on the high seas with your hardy, intrepid travelers. The bouncy, head-on seas of last night have been replaced by easy, rolling swell from the NNW, quartering in on Capaz's port bow. Easy sailing today, with sunshine all day up until about 20 minutes ago. Sunbathing, reading and fishing from the Lido Deck have been the highlight of the day. Everyone is hoping for an albacore strike after too much success with mahi-mahi. (Yes, there is such a thing as too much luck fishing: "Fish AGAIN?" But that's how it goes when you roll with Captain Brad "Fish Killer" Baker.) The race is about neck and neck and neck and neck for the lead in our summer reading derby, as books get devoured and passed around and devoured. Every once in a while the reading is interrupted for a little sail trimming or repair work. We nightly watch an episode or two of The Big Bang Theory (sitcom), and wish that Penny would just fall for Sheldon already. Following dinner is usually a movie. Yes, for these hard men of Capaz, who fear no fish (until the 4th night in a row) nor stormy sea, homesickness is the only true hardship, as we miss our loved ones at home. Your correspondent speaks at least for himself that it won't be a moment to soon to reacquaint with his wife, Meline, and 5 month old boy, Reef, when at last we find port, in approximately one week's time. The water and air temperatures continue their decline, making showering on the swim step a somewhat chilly affair, and chasing the fleece layers from the depths of stowage. Brad insists that turning around and going back to Hawai'i is, in fact, not an option. Randy, who will be starring this fall in the reality series, "Boat Chef on Stormy Seas" just re-entered the galley for his nightly role as Director of Cruise Cuisine. He volunteered early for this role, likely after sizing up the competition, and figuring out that he would rather cook dinner for four every night of the trip than eat anything that I might decide to "create" for a meal. So he is a smart man, as well as a good and diligent chef. To his credit, Brad has stepped in on several occasions and Harold and I are nothing if not mighty in the meal cleanup arena. While my thoughts certainly turn to home, this is a great journey and an amazing opportunity to cross this vast ocean that I have previously only flown over. It could hardly be more different than life at home, and only confirms and inspires my desire to undertake similar journeys on my own boat in the future.

Aloha, Third Mate Dave

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 9: Dolphin Day and Fixing Stuff

August 19, 2010
17:09 HST (03:09 UTC August 20)
Lat: 40 26.8 North
Lon 145 45.3 West
Distance to go: 1072 nautical miles

Sorry for the late blog entry today. The afternoon was spent with Harold and I doing a repair to the mainsail:  one of the slides had broken off. The big repair though was to the gooseneck on the boom (where the boom attaches to the mast). One of the tabs that holds the gooseneck to the mast had broken off. We attached two L-brackets using some metal epoxy. This should work for the remainder of the trip, but I'll have to get the boom repaired and welded once back to Seattle.

The other highlight was a large pod of Common Dolphins decided to come play with us. It was a big group that seemed to enjoy leaping out of the water and playing off our bow. They hung with us for about an hour. Very cool!

We are still motor sailing, but should be just sailing tomorrow. The wind should increase as we move into the day after tomorrow(Saturday).  A low should pass in front of us moving from NE to SW. The GRIB weather files show winds up to 20 knots for us, so I suspect we will see winds into 30 knots at times. It will be downwind which is a good thing, but we wanted to make sure the main and the gooseneck were in good shape for the coming breeze. It will be nice to get some sailing in after all of this motoring. After the low passes us,  it looks like we will end up with another light patch before a NW breeze fills into to bring us home.

The very preliminary and I stress preliminary ETA is sometime late on the 26th or more likely during the day on the 27. Lets see if it comes to pass.

Capt. Brad signing off.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 8: Halfway Baby!

August 18, 2010
16:35 HST (02:35 UTC August 19)
Lat: 38 43.7 North
Lon: 147 57.3 West

In a couple of hours, we will be equidistant between the start of this trip and the finish. We continue to motor in very light to no wind. It has been a mellow day with a lot book reading and I-pod watching. This morning, I put the hand lines back out. Harold and I were the only two on deck enjoying the surprisingly nice sunny morning. We discussed politics and current events. I realized I'm not really prepared to enter real life again. Being out cruising, I have been truly disconnected from what has been going on back home. I will be returning in a couple of months but it will be with a whole new perspective on things. This is a good thing. Anyway, while we were having our discussion, a rather large mahi mahi started jumping through the air making B-line toward our lures. I kid you not! I have done . . .  I don't know how many . . . .  crossings like this and have never seen anything like it. The fish, from a few hundred yards off, maybe jumping a half dozen times until it reached the lures and immediately took the port side squid. He didn't stay on the hook long and Harold and I thought he was done, but nooooo.  He was still in the game. We watched again as he came up behind the starboard side squid and took that lure. He eventually managed to shake that one loose as well, but it was very entertaining to watch. Right after he threw the second lure, a small albacore size tuna type fish took the same squid, just like yesterday. This fish managed to escape as well. The making of future fish stories has been the highlight of today. Big Halfway Day party tonight!

We might even drink a glass of wine with our movie!

Capt. Brad signing off.

Day 7: Motoring, Mahi, Movies and Pizza

August 17, 2010
21:52 HST (07:52 UTC August 18)
Lat:37 24.1 North
Lon: 149 28.8 West

After an evening of quiet sailing, we motored most of the day today, sometimes getting help from the sails when there was a little wind and sometimes not (like now). Sorry that I didn't blog earlier, but you know the days are just packed with reading, sleeping, resting.....you know. Actually, I did do a few chores like get the inner forestay tightened up, fixed the charger for the Sat phone, weather routed, checked on our fuel consumption, stuff like that.

Last night, we watched the second of the Shackleton series. Those guys were tough. It's amazing what they went through and he didn't loose a single person. Amazing! Dinner was Pork Loin served with a cabbage dish. Again excellent. Randy has pretty much become the dinner cook on board, of which I know Dave, Harold and I are very appreciative.

After a couple of days off from fishing, I decided to put the lines back in the water this morning in hopes of catching something other than mahi mahi. I didn't even get the second line all the way out before a rather large mahi mahi took the lure. We took a video of Dave and I pulling the fish in and then releasing it. Unfortunately, we didn't have the camera started when I spotted a school of mahi mahi leaping out of the water heading out away from the boat. They would jump like a dolphin would, flying through the air in an arc. They were a bright blue in color and there must have been 20 of them. I had never seen that before and had no idea that they did that. We also hooked a small tuna but it didn't make it to the boat before throwing the hook. Later in the day we hooked another mahi mahi which we also released and decided to pull the lines in hoping for better luck catching an albacore tuna tomorrow.

We watched a couple of movies today. First was a movie called "Wanted" which none of us had seen and new nothing about. It was a story about a secret fraternity of assassins, lots of good gore and gun fights. The second movie was the Abyss, special addition. I hadn't seen this movie for quite a while and forgot how good it was. While watching the movie Randy made up some pizzas, so it was Movie and Pizza Night.

The sea conditions have really laid down and the drizzle stopped today. It's still warm enough to wear t-shirts outside when it's not windy. We all took advantage of the mellow conditions to take showers on the swim step.  We are all smelling clean again, at least for now.

It looks as though we will motor until the 21st, then sail for a few days. After that the models show it getting light again. We are motoring slow so as to save fuel for future light air.

I am on watch right now and will be until 11pm. Dave comes on after me. Ah, the moon just poked out from behind some clouds. I think I'll go on deck and enjoy the evening before I had things off to Dave.

Capt. Brad signing off.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 7: Post is coming

As is well on Capaz and they will post from the boat later tonight!   ~PJ

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 6: The Wild Night

August 16, 2010
15:12 HST (01:15 UTC August 17)
Lat: 34 57.6 North
Lon: 151 32.8 West

Last night, the wind picked up to 30 knots plus. We were caught with our pants down around our ankles. The Navigator (me) had said that the wind shouldn't blow all that hard. Well . . . . . it blew pretty darn hard and the corresponding seas matched. We were using the genoa, not the smaller jib that we use most of the time. The problem is the genoa is lighter and doesn't reef (get smaller – less sail area) very well. We also couldn't roll it up all the way because in the heavy air the roll was so tight that we ran out of line to roll it up. This morning at 4:30am during an attempt to reduce sail, the lazy jib sheet got hung up on the inner stay. While trying to clear it, we bore away to keep the jib from flogging. While I was on the foredeck, Jorge(the autopilot) decided he couldn't handle the downwind conditions and turned himself off. The boat accidentally jibed. Luckily, no damage other than a broken traveler line. Consequently, we had an “all hands on deck” call to get a second reef in the main and to get the boat back on the proper course. Things were a bit exciting last night.

During the morning hours the wind died and we took the opportunity to change sails back to the smaller jib. It's a good thing we did, because the wind picked up again from the South and we are now sailing downwind in 20 knots of wind and very confused seas. Not all that comfortable. The weather has definitely changed as well. We now have a constant drizzle with a marine layer overcast skies.

Jorge has been acting up. After working flawlessly for 4 days, he has now started faulting fairly regularly. I took out the drive motor and took it apart to see if there was anything obviously wrong. I didn't really find anything. The motor was quite hot when I took it out so I decided to slow down the rudder response so the drive motor wouldn't work so hard. It does seem to be better, but does cut out every so often. Bummer!!!  Hopefully, it will last for this trip and our cruising in Canada.

Last evening, we watched the movie “Tropic Thunder” which was a lot of fun. We had chicken tacos for dinner as well. Today, we mostly are trying to catch up on sleep and stay dry, so we are all below. Well .. .. .. it's bouncy and I'm tired of looking at a screen, so I think I'll sign off for now. All is well aboard Capaz and we are making good time!



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 5: Change in the Weather........

August 15, 2010
16:08 HST (02:08 August 16 UTC)
Lat: 34 00.2 North

Lon: 154 11.4 West

The good news is that we are still sailing. The bad news is that the situation is likely to change pretty soon. Over the last 33 hours, we have had excellent sailing conditions. Yesterday, we sailed all day under spinnaker. We took it down before dark, jibed from port tack to starboard tack and stuck the genoa out on the pole.  We ran wing on wing. Our course for a good part of the night and today has been directly toward the barn, meaning every mile made has been made toward Cape Flattery. At day five, we are about a hundred miles less than one third of the way there. Good progress so far.

Last night, we had fish again. We decided that fish three days in a row was a enough and kept the fishing lines stowed today so we could enjoy a change of pace. I see that Randy has pulled out a box of chicken broth. I suspect he has something in mind for dinner tonight.

We have really settled in to the routine. At least once a day, we all gather in the salon and cockpit and talk about varying subjects as we get to know each other better. It's a fun group and we are getting along famously. The the wind has been blowing up to 20 knots from generally aft.  The seas quite mellow for that wind speed. This makes for a relatively comfortable ride conducive to hanging out, reading and doing whatever.

For the '”What Has Broken Report”: The thermostat for the fridge stopped working.  I just connected the wires so that it runs whenever we have the genset running. This works fine for now but we will have get a new thermostat as soon as we are plugged into the dock regularly. I spliced a new genoa sheet and now have two custom tapered genoa sheets. When we hoisted the genoa, we noticed a 3' long rip in the foot. We had to lower it again and do a repair using sail tape, a strip of dacron and 5200 adhesive. And other then the Autopilot misbehaving early on in the trip we really haven't had much going wrong with the boat. Now I must touch wood again so as not to jinx things.

Change in the weather.....Ok so it's transition time. We been riding a SSW wind for the last 33 hours or so. This wind has been compliments of a warm front associated with a low that passed well to the North of us. That low and this front are in the process of dissipating. The weather model shows an interesting transition phase where we are likely to have very shifty winds for the next couple of days. At least it looks as though we will have wind to sail in at least some of the time. After that the models shape up for us to do a lot of motoring as we attempt to get to the east side of a building high pressure and NW winds. The good news is this motoring will be mostly toward where we want to go. That is........if the weather behaves as I forecast that it will. Time will tell.

Capt. Brad signing off

PS PJ Bryce and Austin, I love you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4 Sailing Again

August 14, 2010
11:24 HST (21:24 UTC)
Lat: 31 48.2 North
Lon: 156 56.3 West

After motoring for 22 hours, we started sailing again this morning. At 6am (boat time which happens to be Hawaiian Standard Time which also happens to be I believe 9am PDST) we turned into the wind and hoisted the main. Next, we poled out the genoa on the port side. The wind was blowing about 12 knots from the SSW. About 2 hours later, the spinnaker went up and life has been good sailing at around 8 knots with winds in the high teens.

Yesterday was pretty mellow. I believe Dave is averaging a book a day reading-trying to beat Lydia’s record. For dinner, we had grilled fish with a mango salsa, a green salad and pasta with red sauce. People would have paid good money for a dish like this in a classy restaurant. Thanks again, Randy! (and grillmaster Brad)! After dinner, we watched another movie. this time it was volume one in a three volume series about Shakleton and his last expedition to the Antarctic. I suspect we will watch volume two tonight. I cooked up some bacon this morning and gave the crew the choice of having their eggs just the way they wanted as long as what they wanted was scrambled. They could choose to have them scrambled. We hooked two Mahi Mahi simultaneously this morning.  So, we let one go and cut up the other for yet another fish meal maybe it will be for lunch this time.

The weather outlook hasn't changed much. Hopefully, we will be able to milk a couple days of sailing before what looks like a rather prolonged motoring stint. The weather models can and do change, but if the current trend holds we will have to motor through a long light patch.  However, right now we are coasting along at 8 knots with the spinnaker up, mostly sunny skies, the stereo playing and all the crew with their nose in a book. Jorge (the autopilot) is doing a fine job of driving.

Capt. Brad signing off

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 3.......Motoring already!

August 13, 2010 (Friday the 13th)
12:56 HST (22:56 UTC)
Lat 29 25.3  North
Lon 157 10.7  West

Yup, we are motoring. Since the last blog entry, the wind has slowly tapered off, until it reached a low of about 5 knots this morning. After looking at the weather models(I talk more about this in a bit), we decided to crank up the Iron Genoa and do some motoring.

For dinner yesterday, Randy fried the Mahi Mahi with a light breading on the outside. This was served with a green salad and diced up potatoes. Yum! After dinner we watched a movie, "Children of Men". Very intense! Brad popped some popcorn. The watch schedule started right after the movie finished, with Randy  and Dave on first, I hit the sack. My watch was to be the 4:30am to 7am stretch so I had a full 7.5 hours of sleep. Nice!

By far the highlight of the last 24 hours was standing the night watch. I believe all aboard would agree with that statement. Last night was the peak of the Percied Meteor Shower.  Well, let’s put it this way: If you want to watch the stars with absolutely no light pollution, the middle of the Pacific on a clear night is a pretty darn good place to do it. I had only about a half an hour to watch the show before things got too light with the coming sunrise. I lost count at 30 meteors after only 10 minutes of watching. It was spectacular.

With the lighter wind and seas, things have definitely become more civilized. Everyone aboard the boat has had a shower except yours truly. I believe there will be a mutiny aboard if I don't follow suit,  seeing as we are all sleeping in each other’s bunks.

The weather........well, the short story is it doesn't look good for a short trip. The Pacific High is in the process of being split in two by a front and a low coming from the west. This weather system is forecast to dissipate.  As it does, the high will re-establish itself. This all will happen right in the path of where we want to go! Bottom line is a lot of light air and possible head winds. We have decided to motor NNE to try and hook into some of the wind generated by the front and low. I fear that we will not be able to get north fast enough to take advantage of this, but we are going to give it a try. We need to be able to sail another two or three days if we hope to pull off my master plan. What is the master plan you may ask?  Well, I want to motor right through the center of the Pacific High and hopefully have a enough fuel to come out the other side and catch NW winds for the sail to the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We have enough fuel to motor for about 7.5 days, maybe a bit more if we keep the RPMs down. That means we need to do some more sailing before doing the long motor or I don't believe we'll have the fuel to pull it off. The models are having a hard time figuring out what is going to happen in our neck of the woods weather wise, so I'm hoping there will be periods of good wind for sailing. I know it's Friday the 13th, so please knock on wood for us or do any other ritual you think may send us luck.

Capt. Brad signing off.

PS We caught another Mahi Mahi today so fish is still on the menu.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Days 1 and 2: Trucking Along

August 12, 2010
10:44 HST (20:44 UTC)
Lat: 26 51.6 North
Lon:158 00.4 West


Fish on! Mahi Mahi just came on the menu for dinner tonight! I literally had just sat down to type in this blog entry and the shout came from above, "Fish On". It's actually now 11:10 am, as I had to take a break to bring in the smallish Mahi Mahi and do one instructional fillet on one side. Dave is taking a shot at cutti   ng the other half.

Backing up, we arrived in Honolulu in the afternoon of August 2nd, which I believe PJ has already blogged about. After a hectic week of prepping the boat for the next leg and PJ’s seemingly non-stop car trips to and from the airport, Costco and everywhere else, we finally cast off the lines from the Hawaii Yacht Club and set sail.

IMG_0055 IMG_0058 IMG_0056

The crew consists of Dave McWhirter, a long time college buddy of PJ and sailboat owner; Harold Beard, a dentist and friend from our Voodoo Child sailing days who has done numerous open water deliveries including a sail all the way to NZ from Washington. And last but not least Randy Holbrook boat owner, friend and fellow SYC member. I really couldn't ask for a better crew.

We threw off the lines at 11:19 HST (21:19 UTC) on August 10th. Once clearing the channel, we immediately set sail with a the wind aft, blowing about 20 knots we were on our way. As we rounded the SW corner of Oahu, we looked for a calm spot to stop the boat and give the bottom an inspection and quick scrub of the waterline. I didn't do this in Ala Wai Harbor, mostly because of the rather large shark doing the rounds in the marina. Once in the water, I discovered that our Max Prop zinc was no longer present, so I put a new one on while Dave scrubbed on the bottom. This took a little more then an hour to complete and we were off again.

Once we cleared the island of Oahu, the trade winds filled to full force and we sailed the first 36 hours in 20-25 knots with seas reaching as much as 3 meters at times. The wind was forward of the beam so we took a fair amount of water over the bow and sometime over the entire pilot house and bimini. PJ, I am happy to report that the forward cabin remains dry. Needless to say things were bouncy. Randy was the only one impervious to the wave action. I and Dave felt squishy at times and Harol . . . .  well, he got physically sick. I sent him over the edge the first night when I had him do a log entry and he had to focus on the screens and number etc. I'm happy to report that we are all now feeling great with the squishies hopefully a thing of the past.

Randy was a trooper the first night literally spending a couple of hours in the galley putting together a chicken and rice dish. It was at the height of the waves and wind and his accomplishment was no small feat.

Yesterday was spent settling in and getting used to life at sea. Dave spent more then an hour on the aft deck basking in the sun and looking at the waves. We all did a lot of napping, reading etc. The autopilot was misbehaving basically faulting and shutting itself off every few minutes. I had changed the brushes in Honolulu and the new ones had not seated themselves yet. I am happy to report the Jorge (that’s the name of our trusty autopilot) is now behaving wonderfully and we haven't had a autopilot fault for over 12 hours (I am now touching wood so as not to jinx things).

Current conditions are quite nice with blue sunny skies, winds in the high teens with an apparent wind angle of about 70 degrees, small seas and making good time! We are heading due North. The weather models don't look great for a fast trip. Right now it looks like it may take us 3 weeks based on what I'm seeing in the weather models. I will write more about this perhaps tonight with a synopsis on the weather and thinking for our routing.

All is well aboard Capaz!

Cpt. Brad

PS PJ is very glad that the forward cabin staying dry and that she and the boys are already enjoying visiting friends and family in Seattle while CAPAZ bashes toward the mainland.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Enjoying Oahu

Waimea Valley, Oahu, Hawaii, USA

August 6, 2010

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We took almost an entire day off of boat errands to drive to a reserve on the North Shore of Oahu called Waimea Valley.  We found it very similar to the Valley out of Wailuku on Maui.  It is basically a botanical garden with a few hands on cultural activities along a paved path that leads to a waterfall where you can swim about a mile up the valley.  On the way, we made a quick stop at the Dole Plantation where we completed the pineapple maze.

DSCF6659DSCF6661  DSCF6660 We had packed a lunch, so we ate under the shade of the banyan trees.

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We learned about taro and invasive prawns.  Brad and Austin figured out how to play an ancient game that was a key part of the Polynesian oral history tradition.  We had a great conversation with some of the docents who had been to Tahiti (for surfing) and the Tuamotus.  We swam in the pool below the waterfall where the lifeguard assured us that there were no freshwater eels (like in Daniels Bay).  We also saw the almost extinct moor hen which is duck that does not have webbed feet.  It actually a cross between a goose and a chicken.


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We drove back along the north shore, but there was no legendary surf (wrong time of year and a very calm day at that).  A quick stop at Zippy’s for plate dinners and burgers and we headed back to the boat.  A local family who is contemplating cruising met us at the dock and checked out what it would be like to live on a 48’.  They won’t have any problem as they have already spent  some time living in a motorhome while touring around the states (on the mainland, of course).

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Thing at a Time

August 6, 2010

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


View of Waikiki from the 33rd Floor 

There is a philosophy in the cruiser community that the day is successful if you can accomplish ONE thing.  It’s a strategy for us to meet our goal of slowing life down a little so that it can be enjoyed.  Out among like minds, it is much easier to to be successful at taking it easy, but when we come into a port it is always a challenge to strike a balance between getting things done that need to get done and keeping a reasonable pace of life so we can enjoy whatever said port has to offer.  I am working very hard at this balance, but it is difficult.

When we arrived on Monday, the priority was simple: get checked in.  So, we checked into the country and secured our moorage.  Luckily, Lydia was going to try to catch a flight back to the mainland late that evening and so taking her out to dinner was another easy choice.

Tuesday, I had to finish getting us checked and work on getting a condo and car.  I took the bike out to the container dock where Customs is located and checked that one off my list.  Since I had the bike, I multi-tasked a little with a quick recon to the little grocery store that is in the mall right across from the marina and a quick stop at the Seattle Embassy (aka Starbucks).  Sometimes, Google makes things easier – but when the tasks become easier, I always try to squeeze more of them in than I probably should.  Anyway, I spent a few hours searching on-line for places and directions to them where we could take care of some of things that have to get done before the boat leaves for the mainland next week.  I was also completely overwhelmed by trying to find a condo and car.  After the years spent working at a brokerage, I should know better:  there are people for that.  Brad had the great idea to call our trusted travel agent and within an hour, she had our reservations made for the next day for less than anything I could find!  Mulan arrived in the evening and we had to do some catching up with them.

Wednesday, the boys and I took the local bus out to the airport to pick up our car.  Through no fault of our own (we were a little lost at the time), we found Costco.  A quick phone call to see if the condo was ready and we decided to do a Costco recon and advance directly to checking in.   We got checked in and got our Costco purchases into the fridge.  Now that there was a car available, Brad was anxious to get some of his errands rolling.  Home Depot and West Marine were back out towards Costco, so while the kids veged in front of “Shark Week”.  We made another run out towards the airport and knocked a few more things off the list, including another trip to Costco now that I was sure that we indeed had a full sized fridge in our room.   We ate dinner together back at the condo and then returned Brad to the boat where we picked up lots of laundry.  There is a washer/dryer on the floor here, so that’s an on-going project.

It was now Thursday and we had not done anything to ENJOY Oahu.  Drastic measures needed to be taken, so we called a team meeting.  We got out that thing with the squares on it . . . . . oh yeah, I think it is called a calendar and we did a little strategic planning.  I know this is going to require time management and even some multi-tasking.   But if we hadn’t done it, we were in danger of only “getting things done” here on Oahu and not seeing anything the island has to offer.  We ran a few more errands and then, spent some time by the pool before heading out to a nice pasta dinner at the Spaghetti Factory.  Two more tasks were completed: post the “Capaz Chronicle” and get the pictures from the crossing onto the blog.

Today we will try to bring back some balance by doing a little sightseeing. 

Surfers waiting for the break this morning off Waikiki


Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 14: Sunrise over Haleakala

    20* 30.2' North
157* 11.5' West
August 2, 2010

cros 094


We spent most of yesterday trying to see the Big Island of Hawaii through the clouds that shrouded it. We were able to make out a wind farm near the southern tip of the island, but otherwise it was pretty much the suggestion of land. Once we were in the leeward side of the island, the swell became much gentler and we enjoyed the respite even though we had to turn on the engine. Once we entered the Channel between Hawaii and Maui, the swell and wind increased.
A little after 6:00 am, I was treated to an absolutely fantabulous sunrise over the dormant volcano, Haleakala on Maui. Off our starboard bow is the island of Lanai.

Allied ship during combat exercises off Oahucros 117

We are pretty excited about coming into Honolulu this afternoon. Once we hit the dock, there are lists of things to do before the new crew flies in to help bring CAPAZ back to the mainland and the boys and I fly to Seattle for a couple of weeks.

The CAPAZ Crew enjoys dinner on land at the Chart House

cros 122

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 13: Are we there yet?

18* 22.8' North
155* 11.4' West
August 1, 2010

On this morning's watch, I have been continually scanning the horizon to the northwest of our position for a glimpse of the Big Island. We within 60 miles of it and with Mauna Kea at over 13,000 feet, we should have no problem seeing it. However, one needs it to be clear all the way to the horizon to be able to see such things and the current weather conditions are prohibiting me from calling, "Land ho!" at this point.
Luckily, the VHF radio is picking up transmissions from the US Coast Guard Honolulu. It just hit me that we are essentially once again within the easy reach of the US Guard for the first time in months. After following a ca;; pm the radio and hearing how the French Polynesian Coat Guard or Navy handled a distress call, I am very glad to be back in this jurisdiction. The USCG's competence is reassuring.

There is land in this picture – I promise!cros 080 
Ah! There it is! As the squall line in front of me has passed to the south, I can see it: the top of Mauna Loa! Hawaii here we come!