Friday July 12
We all have decided to adapt to time in Hawaii so we are now operating 4 hours later than Mountain Standard Time. It seems to fit with the sunset and the sunrise and that works for us.
Weather continues to become milder by the day and the nautical mile. We are traveling with the currents and with the trade winds which are blowing gently behind us at about 8 knots. We have tried to sail but when the velocity falls to about 3 knots, Brian gets ancy and encourages us to consider turning on the engine. When the engine is running we get about one hour of running time per half gallon of diesel and the speed over ground is about 7.2 knots. Not bad as that turns out to be about 17-18 miles/gallon.
Today we calculated the fuel consumption and tried to make some decisions about the timing of our arrival in Hilo. We figure that we can motor the rest of the way and still have about a ¼ of a tank of diesel, if not a bit more. We have all discussed the urgency of our arrival and hope to be in to port as early as Thursday afternoon, day 18 of the journey. That will be amazing if that works out as we had calculated the 21st as the date of arrival.
As I got up to take my shift this morning at 630, I found the salon occupied again. Garrett was at the table with his headlight reading conference talks, which he alternates with chapters of Treasure Island. By the way, he finished Treasure Island today and was delighted to have read it at sea. There are lots of sailing lore and jargon in that classic.
Also in the salon was Brooke. She is a constant source of energy and bubbly personality during the day, but has been troubled by her bunk in the forward cabin. Her mattress continually flies off the bunk when the boat whisks to starboard and of course we have been on a starboard jibe for the entire trip. She finally found a solution. Brooke rigged out the hammock in the salon and is now sleeping like a baby through the night. She is rocking back and forth with the rowing of the boat and in reality she is not really moving at all, but is staying in one place as the boat moves around her.
We cruised all night to the drone of the engine and that of course seems to soften some of the rocking and rolling as well as creates a background noise. It seems to cover up a multitude of sounds of the sea.
Our typical day starts with hot cereal that Garrett makes about 10. It is a combination of Red River cereal and a bit of rice. There is usually a big dollop of brown sugar and a few slices of peaches on top. It is just what is needed to start the day, and I must say it qualifies as comfort food on the Fury.
Fishing has been on and off today and not a single nibble. Waters are calmer and winds are warmer. Maybe the fish sampling has changed. Garrett and Tim are still contemplating what bait to use today. As we went out to inspect the deck there were 4 small squid on the deck that had somehow gotten some lift in the water and managed to arrive on board.
Today was laundry day and clothes were washed dutifully and hung with care in the cockpit. After the laundry was done Brian started to clean the freezer or ice box. The Fury has a freezer that the last owner installed, the electrical requirements were so much that it freezed the battery so we decided to use it as an ice box. Before leaving Genoa Bay we placed a half a dozen blocks of ice into the unit and lined it with newspaper, and then filled it with frozen meat (burgers and chicken). We have also used it to keep the fish and it has done very well. Today after 13 days, blocks are still 70% intact but the boxes of chicken have fallen apart and we’ve discovered that chicken was not individually wrapped in plastic, so this required a major clean.
Tim was the courier of the ice and newspaper that he was tossing into the sea. Finally all the ice was gone and to our disappointment we then watched as Tim accidentally tossed the last of the frozen chicken over the edge to become “chicken of the sea”.
We have all learned that once something is tossed or dropped over the edge, it is indeed over. No use thinking about it or finding something negative to say. It is simply gone. Each time this happens I think of Wilson in Cast Away. I felt the pain with my ironman finisher cap when it blew off my head in stiff winds and I saw it sitting on the surface of the foam as we sailed on. I thought of it when the tool bag went over and I just thought of it again when the chicken took a dip. Get over it. It is so final.
Well, today was the designated day for the first attempt at sailing downwind with a spinnaker sail. We waited until just the right wind was in plac, 7-8 knots and directly from the stern. Weather was warm at about 85 or so and the weather was calm with 2-3 ft swells.
Before I go on I should confirm that the former owner of the boat never really instructed me on using his spinnaker sail, in fact I found the drifter in my storage shed along with a pole that I assumed was his spinnaker pole. Before loading the boat for Hawaii I had taken the sail off the boat also and had laid it out on the ground to make sure it was in good shape and would be useful. Garrett, Brian and I had checked it out including the unusual way that it slides into a sock it is about 70 ft long. The sail was beautiful, red and gold in color and was triangular in shape.
I was nervous enough to watch a YouTube video on how to deploy a spinnaker sail and even then I felt rather unsure of myself and somewhat aware of the dangers of this type of sail.
Today we had all hands on deck and set ourselves up for a hope for success. We rigged up the spinnaker pole to the main sail so that it was attached to the mast, about 7 ft off the deck. It was on a pivot so it could swing out to port off the deck. We secured it to the deck at 2 points by ropes and cleats in ready position.
On the starboard side of the boat we rigged up the sheet to connect to the corner designated tack on the big sail and ran it back through the traveler and the block and then into the winch at the stern. This would be manned by a competent crewman to help trim the sail.
Up front we connected the top of the sail to the aft stay and attached the foresail halyard and connected the cleats Side of the triangular sail to the spinnaker pole.
I hoped we got the configuration now. I watched this only once on a YouTube video.
Rick was at the halyard, Garrett was on the pole, Brian was at the stern and Brooke and Tim were on the gunnels, port side to help as needed. It was on a swift, and as Rick hoisted the sail, I raised the sock on the sail. It’s a rather unique event to see this happen. As the sock raise up the sail, it lead out a massive drifter, 60 ft tall and 40 feet wide at the bottom.
It was like a horse at the track. Quickly it filled with wind and flew out majestically in front of the forestay. I looked to Garrett and saw him struggling to control the pole, it was flipping up and down at the winds. Garrett was airborne trying to keep it under control. I darted to the port and grabbed the pole to add some more weight but it easily tossed us around like we were fly weight.
Yelling to Rick, we tried to lower the sail and bring things into better control. With the sail down 6 ft we were able to wrestle the pole, the side rail and to tie it off to a cleat on the deck, thus controlling some of the movement of the pole. Once again we went up and watched again as the wind filled the sail and pull us through the water. We went from 3 knots to 6 in an instant. We all watched as the sail continued to luff and pull against the lower end of the forestay. We tried to adjust all points of the sail but after 20 min we were all exhausted and grateful that the sail hadn’t torn. Furthermore there were no injuries, no man overboard and no broken or lost hardware.
This was indeed a success as we made the decision to drop the sail and bag it today. As we finished the job we were quite pleased at the event and Rick was heard to say “Now that we got it up without damage and injuries, we might ought to read the manual and find out how we’re supposed to do it”! We enjoyed leftovers tonight and watched a beautiful sunset on the deck…