One of the benefits of sleeping on the boat is that you get to sleep in an extra hour or so more than the crew who commute back and forth. However, staying on the boat also lends itself to staying up maybe a little later the night before than you would have otherwise. I awoke in the quarter berth with the sun shining in and the boat starting to get warm inside, so I got up, checked the forecast and enjoyed breakfast and coffee at the Kaneohe Yacht Club.
The forecasts I saw estimated approximately 1-2 knts, gusting to 3 knts, or light and variable, coming from all directions. I was preparing mentally for a long day, imagining getting into Ko’Olina well after dark and sun-baked. The forecasts turned out to not be that accurate.
By the time the rest of the crew arrived and we shoved off the water had slight ripples on it due to a breath of wind. We hoisted the main and surprisingly, there was actually a nice breeze filling in as we tacked and gybed around the bay. The jib was hoisted and lead cars checked. Hope began to fill the boat that we may actually be able to sail out of Kaneohe with this wind and not be helplessly bobbing around. Having to hike off the leeward side to make the boat heel to try and gain speed is never that much fun.
The start came, but unfortunately we ended up behind our main competition, Heartbeat. This meant the very real possibility of being blanketed by them all the way out of the narrow Kaneohe Bay. Sensing an opportunity, we quickly but discretely readied the Code Zero and hoisted it. We rocketed past Heartbeat, leaving them to starboard. I was surprised they didn’t cover us and let us get around. Off to the races we went!
Coming upon the narrow channel exiting the bay, we doused the Code Zero and hoisted the jib. It took ten tacks to get out of the channel. Each starboard tack looked like Heartbeat was gaining on us, and each port tack looked like we were holding them. This was because we were on opposite long and short tacks. Once we rounded the R2 buoy, we again hoisted the Code Zero and settled in.
Rounding the island near Turtle Bay, we began to get outside of the Code Zero range, so we replaced it with the A2 spinnaker (poled out), which we flew for the rest of the day, gybing several times as needed. The wind was quite nice, averaging I’d say 10-12 knts. I overheard veterans on the boat saying the day’s sail was perfect.
As the day went on, all the boats behind us disappeared until we could only see Heartbeat far off, floating on the horizon line.
The finish was about 24 miles from Ko’Olina, near Kaena Point (the Northwest tip of the island). We crossed the finish, first overall again. Time to crack open some beers. We left the A2 up and continued to sail around the point. Everyone was assuming we’d have to motor all the way back, as the wind is usually non-existent in this lee part of the island. But, as soon as we gybed around the point, the boat heeled to starboard, and we took off on a downwind run in 19 knts of wind and boat speeds over 12 knts. This was an epic way to end a successful day on the water. We were able to sail most of the way back to Ko’Olina before the wind died and the diesel was fired up. We got the boat put away, drank some victory beers, and blasted tunes out of the cockpit speakers. The boat was docked at Ko’Olina and put away before it got dark and before any other boat arrived.
For the day, we had traveled 70.2 NM over 9:30 hours. Boat speed over ground was 12.7 knts max and 7.3 knts ave.
Afterwards, several of us had dinner at the nearby Monkey Pod, and then four of us headed back to the boat for the night with a bottle of Jameson. I slept on the bow, under the stars.
Could we keep up this winning streak? We had calculated that basically all we had to do was finish the next day in order to beat the remaining competitor in our class, Heartbeat. But to win overall (including all the smaller boats), we had to do better than that…