The last couple hundred miles to go and we are bow on Oahu and pressed hard in a broad reach. This race is scored using a handicap system where boats with faster designs have time added to their elapsed time based on a mathematical formula. This makes the racing crew vs crew as opposed to just who can afford the fastest boat. Where this gets a bit wonky and tough for those on shore to understand is how that translates to what they might be seeing on the race tracker. Right now we are trying to catch a boat that is 7 hours ahead of us, and stay ahead of a boat that is two hours behind us.
These time differences are already calculated on the tracker and are real time. BUT, because these are corrected times and not just elapsed times, the real position and the corrected positions are two very different things. This is very evident in the case of the two boats we are most concerned about. For example, the boat that is 7 hours ahead of us, we owe 9 hours to. So in the real physical world that boat is two hours off our stern! The other boat, that is correcting to be two hours behind us is in reality about 100 miles ahead of us and will finish about half a day before we do. Confused yet? Imagine how hard all this is to work out here on the boat with sailors who aren’t just a bit confused what shift or time of day it is, but who have legitimate discussions in the dark about what day it might be!
Life on board is good. We are in steady wind and sailing fast. At night we experience frequent squalls. These are cloud bursts common in the tropics that approach from behind with heavy rain and very heavy winds. During the day the heat soars to around 32C inside the boat making it really hard to sleep. We had so few hours on The Fugitive before we started, we really need to give ourselves credit for how quickly we have learned her systems and how she sails. Our crew work has been really good and we never hesitate to execute sail changes, gybes and peels in heavy air. The amount of helm time each of us gets is probably more than the average racing skipper in Vancouver in a whole year.
Alie and Kevin have improved as drivers a hundred fold. The change has been impressive. I remember only about a week ago I handed the helm to Kevin around 2am and he said “this might take some coaching, I’ve never driven with a spinnaker in the dark before”. Two nights ago Kevin was pulling surfs at 13+ knots in the pitch black and complaining he hadn’t quite got it right!
Crew updates. Ian still has enough dress shirts in his arsenal to be the best dressed member, however he has most of the buttons undone in the heat so he does have a little of that Cuban street guitarist look going.
Ben always seems to have an ear to what is going on. I think sleep will be in his future once we are docked. He pulled a chest muscle last night while driving but it seems to have less pain today and hasn’t kept him away from sailing. Speaking of injuries, Dave’s back seems to have recovered enough that he’s a fully functional crew member again. We did contact our medical support about the injury when it happened. Aparentnly they were excellent and responded right away. Ben said the only thing that took a long time was downloading the email signature in the guys communications. It takes 6 minutes for an emoji to load. I guess it’s about the same for a signature?!
Tegan continues to “burn his tan on” much to his mother’s chagrin. He hums when he drives which is fun because I figured out I can place an ear worm early on in the shift and most times I’ll hear that tune hummed a couple hours later once he’s on the helm. Hope he likes Wheels on the Bus!
Alie is doing an amazing job. She was so green (rookie, not seasick) when she signed onto this adventure and she has rocked every aspect of it. She still eats a lot. That hasn’t changed. She’s eating right now in fact, but that’s normal, it’s because she’s awake. She rarely eats in her sleep.
Back to Dave for a sec. Mark, you’ll be happy to know we have convinced Dave to fly big jets so you can retire with appropriate comfort. You’re welcome!
Also, Dave was so tired last night he hallucinated he saw a cat on the cabin top. Every so often Ben meows softly when Dave is near him just to keep him guessing. Also....considering the decision to fly jets....I wonder if cat hallucinations are something he should mention...And lastly, Sparkles the cat. She’s doing great! What a trooper, 1800 miles of sailing and she hasn’t yet shredded a spinnaker or Ian’s beard!
Oh wait, before Sparkles the cat, we still have Kevin. Kevin is great to have on my shift with Tegan. To pass the time Tegan will ask questions to which he may or may not know the answer. Which in a google-free world can be interesting. But he best part is that Kevin usually knows the answer! So when Tegan asks something out of boredom like “John, what is the difference between a Ray and a vector” Kevin will say something like “a ray is a line emitting from a point without a distance or direction while a vector has a finishing poi without a distance or direction while a vector has a finishing point giving the line length and direction in a two dimensional plane”. This is so great because normally my response would have been “Tegan, pass the M&M's"
Tomorrow as we head for the finish I’ll talk about navigation and how Ian found Hawaii. Unless we miss Hawaii in which case I’ll talk about the music we listen to or something like that. Also, it’s my intention to go Facebook live as we finish if there is cell coverage out there :)
Sigh that john guy sure can go on eh?