Monday, June 30, 2014

Honolulu: bumf; second verse

        I spent two hours and walked four miles this morning getting a worthless piece of paper.  The time was not all wasted.  I enjoyed the walk, my last for the next few weeks.
        Bumf is a British expression for useless paperwork.
        This particular specimen, an outward clearance, is in no way a result of U.S. bureaucracy, which does not require outward clearance of U.S. owned yachts.  An increasing number of other countries are requiring such clearance anyway.  This is foreign bumf.
        I also sent an email to a Samoan government agency advising them of my projected arrival about July 21.  Or I think I did.
        Sometimes I am asked what changes I have noticed in the forty years I have been sailing the world.
        The first is anecdotal, but I am with those who believe the climate is changing, that traditional weather patterns and pilot charts are less reliable, and that events that were viewed as aberrant have become much more common.
        The change that unquestionably can be quantified is that there are a lot more rules and regulations, all without any redeeming value.  I like to avoid hassles, so I do my best to comply with them.  But they are abhorrent.


        GANNET is for me a new song.  We are about to sing verse two.
        The rhumb line distance from Honolulu to Apia is 2261 nautical miles, not much more than from San Diego to Hilo.   However this passage, crossing the Equator and the doldrums, is more difficult to predict.
        My inclination is to keep east of the rhumb line until I reach the doldrums in order to have a better wind angle in the southeast trades; but the weather map last night showed east wind, both north and south of the Equator, and therefore no reason not to sail the direct course.
        I will still probably try to keep east, but will sail whatever angle drives GANNET best.
        My estimate is that the passage will take three weeks, but that could be significantly off, fast or slow.
        The Yellowbrick is again active.
        The tracking page is: I expect to be underway by 10 a.m. tomorrow, so you should see movement by 0000 UCT Wednesday.
        I wish you joy.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Honolulu: passage mode; between passages; thanks to Waikiki Yacht Club

        GANNET has been returned to passage mode.  It took about an hour and a half this afternoon, including filling and stowing three water jerry cans.  I have yet to touch the fourth which is aft beside the starboard quarter berth and still filled with San Diego water.  I will be sleeping on the starboard pipe berth tonight rather than on the v-berth forward.  
        There are other differences between passage and harbor modes.
        In harbor:
            I listen to music on the Bose speaker; at sea on the waterproof EcoXgear or FoxLv2.
            I usually have the hatches open.
            I shower and use toilet facilities ashore.
            I eat yoghurt.  (If I had a boat with refrigeration, my provisioning would be even simpler:  one yoghurt per day for lunch.)
            I often eat a meal ashore or buy a salad to take back to GANNET, and in late afternoon often have a cold drink from the yacht club bar rather than an air temperature one on GANNET.  (I am, in fact, doing so now.)
            I have been able to see some of the World Cup, but will probably sail before the U.S./Belgium match on Tuesday.
            I drink from crystal rather than plastic.


        The sail from San Diego to Honolulu via Hilo was the least expensive I can recall:  $52 to repair the asymmetrical.  I did spend almost a thousand dollars to have running backstays installed and water diverting vinyl curtains made; but those were additions not repairs.  The only damage was to the asymmetrical.
        I didn’t even have to do much maintenance before sailing on.
        GANNET has slab reefing and a loose footed mainsail, so the leech reefing lines are tied around the boom with bowlines.  During the passage these flopped around and twice came untied.  Not when a  reef was in and they were under tension.  So in Hilo I seized the bitter ends of the lines to the standing part so that can’t happen.
        I noticed that the starboard Harken 20.2 winch turns more stiffly than the port one, so in Hilo I disassembled and lubricated both winches.  The starboard one twice.  It still is stiffer than the port, but functions as it should.
        During my time in Honolulu I oiled GANNET’s wood, including the tiller, with Deks Olje and polished some stainless steel that isn’t quite stainless, particularly where shroud wires enter swaged end fittings.
        I’ve also made some changes in stowage.
        I installed the hardware for the vinyl curtains, though further adjustment may be required as I go along.
        Other than reprovisioning, that’s it.
        The little sloop has sailed 2500 miles with graceful ease.


        Waikiki Yacht Club has been an unexpected and serendipitous stop for me.
        Members and staff have treated me with great hospitality.
        The facilities are first-rate, as are the docks, which are the nicest I can recall.
        For me, provisioning one back pack at a time, the club is very convenient with a huge shopping center, including supermarket, just across the street.
        I thank everyone at the club, as well as a sailor on neighboring Kauai, Doug Tiffany, who was instrumental in making this happen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Honolulu: a productive day

        Above is Sam the rigger.  Not perhaps his best angle, but one I was very glad to see.  
  He was due to work tomorrow, but had time today; and GANNET now has running backstays.  Excellent.  More than excellent.  Excellent+.
        In this photo, from the left you have the adjustable backstay, the main halyard, and the two white lines are the running backstays, intended not to support the mast, though they could, but to be tensioned just enough to keep the mast from pumping.
On the forward side of the mast at the level of the runners, is the spinnaker halyard.  And then the headstay with furling jib and the upper shrouds.
        Here are the runners at deck level.  Only the windward one would be set, and then only when needed.  I will have to experiment with the best point for the blocks to avoid chaff against the lifelines.
I also had an email from the sailmaker that he has finished his work and will deliver to GANNET tomorrow morning.
And I had my laundry done.  
I’m not sure what a small Chinese lady put in the machines, but some of my passage clothes now smell wonderful.
        The result of all this is that my departure for Apia next Tuesday, July 1, which is the date for which I have been aiming, looks as certain as anything in life can be.

Honolulu: the voyage can now continue; me; present position; when

    When I reached Hilo I had only two moderate measures of Laphroaig left.  I drank one not to celebrate the end of the passage from San Diego, but to celebrate the passage itself; and the other when I arrived here.
    Not finding Laphroaig in any local shops, I went online and found a source a mile away.  I walked there this morning and bought their last two bottles.
    Ten year Laphroaig is expensive here, as are many things.  I paid $72 for a bottle that in Evanston costs $45.  The flatlands have their advantages.
    The voyage can now continue.


    On the advice of Steve Earley, a culinary expert who sides as a professional photographer and open boat sailor, I traded in my GoPro 2 for a GoPro3+Black  Edition. 
    I’ve had the 2 for a while and its clunky operation and menu system have been insuperable barriers.  Steve told me that the 3+ linked to and controlled by an iPhone/iPad app is a joy, and he is right.
    I set the 3+ on a rail mount on GANNET’s stern to take time lapse photos at 60 second intervals, went about my business and then walked to the yacht club bar to have a martini and watch the deciding game of the college world series.
    When I came back I found that it had taken more than 100 photos before the battery ran down.  This is one of them.

    The camera angle is extremely wide which induces distortions.  GANNET’s tiller is not that curved.  However, I’m going to try to do this at sea from time to time.  Some of you, including Steve, have requested more photos of me while sailing.  We’ll see what we get.


    I deactivated the Yellowbrick when I arrived at the Waikiki Yacht Club without realizing that I had done so before it had transmitted my final location.  The last position the tracking map showed was at 8 a.m. local time just as I was about to turn into the entrance channel. 
    This afternoon I activated the Yellowbrick and sent a manual update which is now on the tracking map if you want to see where GANNET presently is.
    I have again deactivated.


    Several have asked when I am moving on.
    Unfortunately that is not in my control.
    For the past few days I have been a beast of burden, carrying backpacks of supplies, mostly cans, bottles and cartons, back to GANNET.  A friend noted that I have only a small back pack.  When it is full, it is more than heavy enough as my back can testify.
    I’m through.  Except for a few minor items and those things I’ll buy fresh the last day, GANNET is reprovisioned.
    I’m waiting for the sailmaker and the rigger.  When they do their work, I’ll go.  And if they don’t do it soon, I may go anyway.
    A reader sent me a link to an online discussion of this voyage.
    One man wrote, “I’ll bet he bails in Hawaii."
    I’m not going to, but I must confess to having considered responding, “You lose.  Send me all your money.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Honolulu: free light; hardcore; more passage photos

    The above LuminAID has become one of my two primary cabin lights.  The other is a Navisafe Navilight 360°. 
    Because all electricity on GANNET comes from solar panels, all light could be considered free; but the Navisafe runs off three AAA batteries that require recharging.  The LuminAID has solar charging built-in.  Part of my morning routine is to fold it up and place it in the sun. 
In the late afternoon I bring it in.  And in the evening, endlessly renewable light.
    The LuminAID has two brightness levels.  I always use the higher, which is still soft, but adequate in GANNET’s Great Cabin for most purposes.   I hang it from the u-bolt in the sliding companionway hatch.  If I need brighter, I turn on the Navisafe.
    On GANNET two of the LuminAID’s greatest attributes are that it folds down to the size of a playing card and it is waterproof.
    I thank Steve Earley for bringing it to my attention.


    Yesterday I bussed to West Marine.
    At the cash register a very pretty young woman glanced down at the debit card receipt, looked up and gave me a big smile.
    “I know you from the magazines.  You’re the hardcore dude.”
    First “beast” and now “hardcore dude.”
    Hawaii has been kind to me.


    I’ve uploaded photos to a Dropbox folder to send them to CRUISING WORLD.  However, you are welcome to view them, too, if you wish.  
    The link is:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Honolulu: the great and the small; an open boat around Britain; not bad

        On the Tuesday morning I was in Hilo, I looked up from Central and saw a wall outside the companionway.  Considering that we were on a mooring well away from shore, this was disconcerting.  I pulled myself up and discovered a cruise ship, THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA, moving slowly toward the pier.
        That evening as I enjoyed a libation I watched her head back to sea.  And that I thought was that, until a few days ago I received an email from David—a lot of you people have the same name.  I don’t know how you tell yourselves apart—who is half owner of a Moore 24 named GRUNTLED, as well as second captain on THE SPIRIT OF AMERCA, and recognized a sister ship in GANNET, tracked me down, and offered a tour of the ship when she was in Honolulu last Saturday.  I have never been on a cruise ship and have never met a Moore sailor I didn’t like, so gladly accepted.
        From a GANNET eye view, THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA looked big.  From her upper decks, she looks even bigger.  This is like being on top of a 14 or 15 story building.  I’d rather have a parachute than a life jacket.  The water is a long, long way below.
        If I remember correctly, roughly 90% of the 900 crew are involved with passenger services.  Less than a hundred run the ship.
        The passenger amenities are luxurious.  Theaters, restaurants, swimming pools, state rooms, a wood paneled library that could be in an English country house.  But, naturally, it was the workings of the ship that most interested me.  Up in the bow, winches drawing dock lines the size of my arm bow tight and an anchor chain one length of which would be an anchor for GANNET.
        The bridge is huge.  The wheel unexpectedly small, smaller than that on your car.  But then no one is going to muscle this floating city around, so why not?  And, in fact, the ship is really steered by joy sticks.
        Now I’m not sure I got this right, but I think the two propellers are electric powered, with the electricity coming from diesel generators.  
        There is no reverse gear, but the entire underwater assemblies can pivot 180°, providing equal thrust forward and astern.
        There are also three 13,000 hp bow thrusters.
        Wind and current can complicate docking with the hundreds of stateroom balconies becoming sails catching wind.
        I was treated with great kindness by everyone I met, and very much enjoyed seeing this other way of the sea.
        Among the things some of the ship’s officers and I have in common is that we eat the same oatmeal breakfast each morning.  I do think that they cheat and heat the water, though.  And I’m reasonably confident that they don’t lean over and wash their bowls in the sea.
        Thank you David, Kjell, and everyone I met aboard THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA.


        Bill in England sent me some links about two men attempting to break the record for sailing an open boat around Britain.  I didn’t know there was one.  78 days seems slow to me.  Baring mishap, they should do so easily.
        However, I am going to criticize them.  Not for making the attempt; but for claiming they are doing so to raise money for a charity.  That the charity—a very worthwhile one—is so uptight it has disavowed them is irrelevant. 
Sail because you want to sail.  No pretense or pretext needed.
        Here is a link to their Yellowbrick tracking map.

        And to their website.


        Many of you have read my books more recently than I.
        I have been doing this for what is now a long lifetime and don’t remember every word.  Sometimes they come as pleasant surprises, as did the following which Lynn emailed me a few days ago, for which I thank him.
        Not bad, if I do say so myself.
        This from STORM PASASSAGE was probably the first time my most famous line ever appeared in print.

I write to several possible audiences. I write to myself. I write to those I love and to my personal friends. I write to an unknown boy who lives in a crowded city far from the sea. I write to those who love solitude and sailing and the sea. And I write perhaps most of all to a being who may exist only in my perhaps-too-vivid imagination.

One night more than a year ago, a few months after Egregious had been built, I sat looking up at the stars from her deck. In the southern sky was the constellation we know as Scorpio, with its brightest star, Antares. I had been wondering how many other planets have oceans and beings who love to sail upon them; and as I gazed toward Antares, I became convinced that at that moment someone on the third planet of Antares was preparing to sail across its seas, just as I was ours, and that he was thinking of me, as I of him, and that across space we both knew and understood. So I write this also to my friend on Antares.  A fanciful, childish thought? But I don't wish to grow any older.

I claim for myself that I am an artist and an original and an
anachronism at age thirty-three. A sailor is an artist whose
medium is the wind; a writer an artist whose medium is words. I am both of those. A voluptuary is an artist whose medium is flesh. I have been such. And I may in the course of this voyage become an ascetic; an artist whose medium is spirit.

I believe in greatness, the heroic, the epic, pride, honor, and my dreams. And I believe the hardest people in the world are not cynics, but those romantics who will not compromise; who insist that their dreams become reality. I am an adamantine romantic.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Honolulu: progress; one back pack at a time; the real FRANKENSTEIN

        Sam, the rigger, a very nice young man, came to GANNET this morning, went up the mast to take measurements, and will return a week from today to install the running backstays.
        Assuming that Marc, the sailmaker and also a nice young man, has finished his work by then, I will be very pleased.


        I have begun reprovisioning for the passage to Apia, one back pack at a time.
        This morning I essentially took care of breakfast:  three cartons of Quaker Oatmeal and a box of trail mix.  I already have one unopened carton of oatmeal on board and plenty of powered milk.  I will need a bit more trail mix and instant coffee.  But that is it for breakfast.  And, as you know, I have enough dinners aboard to sail to the moon.
        By the way, I have a new hobby:  picking bits of white chocolate from trail mix I bought in San Diego.   I do not want candy for breakfast and am well aware of the lamentable tendency to put it in trail mix.  I try to be careful, but missed the white chocolate.  So I pour some into my left hand, pick out and throw away the chocolate, add the winnowed trail mix to oatmeal.  Repeat.


        I don’t know how it is possible that I had never read Mary Shelley’s novel until the passage from Hilo, but I hadn’t.  Perhaps the story was too familiar through the movies, but the novel is completely different, unexpected and superior.
        If you have been as negligent as I, I think you will enjoy the real FRANKENSTEIN.


        The top photo is the sheer north side of Molokai.
        Here is GANNET in her present location at Waikiki Yacht Club. 

And here the view from the companionway at night.

       Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go over to Dior for a fitting.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Honolulu: next; passage clothes; speed error; runners; an exceptional three

        Above is a screen shot of iNavX on my iPad mini into which I just put a waypoint at the entrance to Apia, Samoa.  The straight line distance is 2260 nautical miles, only a little more than San Diego to Hilo.  However, crossing the doldrums and the Equator for what I think will be my fourteenth time, more difficult to predict.  
        I plan to sail well east of the rhumb line until I reach the doldrums, which may be wider and calmer than usual this year.  Also, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve never crossed the Equator this far west in the Pacific Ocean.

        Just across the street from the yacht club is a huge shopping center which includes a supermarket, where I can easily reprovision.  Fortunatetly, also among its hundreds of shops are Dior and Versace, so I will also be able to pick up some new passage clothes.


        A reader, David, figured out why the SOG of the first position of a passage is so inaccurate.  He surmised that the figure was the average speed during the six hours before the position, including time when GANNET was not underway.
        This caused me to email Yellowbrick, and, as usual, I received an almost instant response from Nick.

The speed is an average speed between the last point and the current one, not an instantaneous one. So the first (and probably last) position you transmit is likely to be different from your actual instant speed at that point.

Because of the way the Yellowbrick works, the GPS is not kept on long enough to get a good 'instant' speed reading, so we tend to use the average one.

        Thank you David and Nick.


        Hopefully a rigger is going to appear at GANNET at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  I doubt he will do more than assess the job, but it is a step in the right direction.
        In preparation I asked Buzz Ballenger his advice on where the running backstays should be attached to the mast, and, as usual, received an almost instant reply:

You will want the runners to oppose the headstay. The idea is to keep the headstay load on the runners to keep the load from pulling the mast forward when the load increases. You could install them 4 inches or so over the uppers.


        I have mentioned in this post two of the three best companies I have done business with since owning GANNET, or for that matter ever.
        Ballenger Spars; Yellowbrick; and the third is Rudder Craft.
        All are at the very top of their game, make excellent products, reply extremely quickly and usefully to queries and questions, and are a pleasure to do business with rather than an ordeal.      
        All three are run the way all business ought to be, but few are.
        If you need any product they make, do yourself a favor and buy it from them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Honolulu: Hilo to Honolulu log

June 15, Sunday
Hilo; Pacific Ocean

1100  Waited for the wind through a lovely, sunny breezeless morning.  Ripples slowly moved across the harbor and finally reached us.  Tides here are only 1’-2’, but we’ll have the tide carrying us out until 12:30, and better with than against.  Raised mainsail.  Dropped mooring.  Unfurled jib.  GANNET underway headed toward the shore.  Tacked.  Making 3 knots across smooth water toward the end of the breakwater more than a mile away.  The illusive mountain has shown itself this morning.  At least mostly.  I can see the summit.

1130  We cleared the end of the breakwater, hardened up to close hauled starboard.  Seas flatter and less chaotic than when we arrived.  Also better to have extremely light wind ahead where apparent wind is greater than behind.


19°45’N   155°05’W           first waypoint  75 miles  324°
SOG  4.0    COG  356°           Honolulu about 195 miles

1315  Off Pepeekeo Point.  Falling off to beam reach.  Wind up to six or seven knots, as is our SOG.

1700   Two hundred miles is an awkward distance.  With a dawn start and good wind, we could make it before the second sunset; but an early start was never likely from Hilo, so no matter what we do, it is two nights at sea and killing time the second night.

Rain formed to the east of us and the wind increased to perhaps fifteen knots.  A lovely white-capped sea.  Our speed went up to the 7s and 8s, which is fun but simply means killing more time.  In view of the channel ahead and preferring not to reef at night, I reefed the mainsail and partially furled the jib.  Now the wind has lightened and veered.  Main blanketing the jib, so I furled it completely.  This entire brief passage will be made with the brakes on.

However, I did see the first Yellowbrick position update at 1400 local time.  Again the position was correct, but the speed was not.  It showed 1.9 knots and we were then making 3 to 4.

I’ve changed stowage, most significantly by fitting the Avon RedStart at the aft end of the port pipe berth rather than in the bow.  This is possible because of some stuff I disposed of in Hilo.  And I have only two jerry cans of water, rather than four.  One is port of the main bulkhead; the other at the aft starboard end of the space between the pipe berths.  I also moved the second anchor, a fifteen pound Delta from between the pipe berths, to just aft of the end of the port berth.

I can’t say that I notice any difference in GANNET’s sailing qualities in these past few hours.  She sailed wonderfully before.  But the changes seem  good.

1820  Probably to no one’s surprise I did not eat a lot of freeze dried food in Hilo.  There were several nice small restaurants on the mile and a half walk I took around the Japanese gardens and peninsula and Uncle Billy’s General Store, which had some excellent prepared salads that I took back to GANNET for dinners.  
Tonight a return to freeze dry.  Alpine Aire  Dijon Chicken.  A superior product, particularly when laced with a spurt of boxed white wine.

A lovely late afternoon once the rain cleared.  Trade wind clouds.  The peak of Mauna Kea is visible.  I can at times clearly see the domes of four of the observatories up there.  How spectacular that must be.

GANNET continues comfortably on at five knots under reefed mainsail.  With full main and jib she would be making at least seven.  But I still wouldn’t be in Honolulu before Tuesday morning.

1900  We are even with the northern point of Hawaii and so entering the Alenuihaha Channel at sunset.  So far no dramatic change.

June 16, Monday
Pacific Ocean

0700  An uneventful night.  We had a smooth a crossing from Hilo to Maui with only light winds and moderate seas.  I was up several times, once when a red moon rose behind us and again at 0200 when I noticed a green light blinking on the Yellowbrick and realized that it was transmitting the 1200 UCT position.

We sailed under just the reefed main until a few minutes ago when I unfurled some of the jib.  I’m still keeping GANNET hobbled, but we were only making three knots and that is too hobbled.

We are presently six miles north of the east end of Maui and have about 120 miles to go.  Trade wind sky.   Pleasant morning.

1030  I set the jib for a while, but it began to be blanketed by the main, so furled it and unreefed main.  We continue on a sunny morning sailing about five miles off the north coast of Maui at five knots with a hundred miles to go.


21°05’N   156°17’W       Next waypoint  21 miles
SOG 5.2   COG  298°       Honolulu about 90 miles
day’s run  106    (this connects noon positions and runs across land; distance sailed greater.)

Beautiful trade wind day.  I can see the summits on Maui and distinguish Molokai ahead.

I keep adding waypoints to this route.  The next is off the east end of Molokai; then one off the west end; and several off Oahu leading to the harbor entrance.   

1545  Six miles off the east end of Molokai.  Wind and waves have increased.  May be twenty knots in the channel tonight.  Three islands in sight:  Molokai; Maui; and Lanai.

GANNET is sailing under partially furled jib alone.  The wind is well aft and I don’t want to risk accidentally gybing the main, and I can control our speed better by how much I furl the jib than I can with the main which has only four options:  all the way up; one reef, which is in fact a second reef due to the sailmaker’s mistake; a second reef which is in fact a third reef; and all the way down.

I recently emailed Buzz Ballenger, who made GANNET’s mast and boom, about sailing this rig under headsail alone.  He warned of the dangers in inverting the mast—having the masthead bent forward; and of the mast pumping, and suggested that if I want to do this I should consider having running backstays installed. 

Thus far I have seen no sign of the mast pumping; but I did have running backstays, as well as a fixed one, on both EGREGIOUS, which was cutter rigged, and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, whose mast did pump.  I’m going to try to find a rigger in Honolulu to install running backs.

We have about seventy miles to go.

June 17, Tuesday

0830  Docked at Waikiki Yacht Club

We sailed slowly and mostly comfortably under deeply furled jib through the night.  The Molokai Channel was not rough or blustery.

I got some sleep early at 2000, but then was up and down the rest of the night.  Just before the moon came up at 2230 we were three miles off the west end of Molokai which was completely invisible.  Only a handful of lights shown on that north coast which is a long cliff falling hundreds if not a thousand feet into the sea.

At first light we were just off Oahu and at dawn Diamond Head.  We’ve all seen Diamond Head hundreds of times in movies and television; but from the sea at dawn on your own boat is special.

I brought the parts of the Torqeedo into the cockpit and dock lines and two fenders.  

After we rounded Diamond Head, the seas flattened and I was able to mount the Torqeedo on the transom.  The only hard part is getting the shaft on the outboard bracket.  I do tie a line around it, but so far have been able to pick my time and not had problems.  Once the shaft is secured, the battery and tiller arm are easy.

I also got the dock lines and fenders in place.

We continued under jib, now no longer furled, until fifty yards from the outer buoys marking the marina channel.   A light wind was blowing directly out, so instead of short tacking up the channel, I furled the jib and Torqeedoed in.

As I slowly moved up channel, a man kayaking out identified himself as Dave—not the one in Hilo—with whom I’ve exchanged emails; and a bit farther in a man at the helm of a sailboat waved and shouted, “GANNET.  I’ve been following your voyage.”

A nice welcome.

The Waikiki Yacht Club has graciously found space for me.  Presently I’m in a slip, but will exchange places with a boat on an end tie when the other owner is available.  This was not at my request, but I like end ties.  A cooling breeze is blowing through the open hatches, a pleasure I do not often experience at sea.

I have rearranged stowage and GANNET is now in port mode and I will sleep tonight on the v-berth for the first time since leaving San Diego.

I think a sailmaker is coming to GANNET tomorrow; and a rigger sometime later in the week.  I liked sailing GANNET under jib alone last night and if I can get the work done will have running backstays installed here.

I also need to provision and write an article.

I had a hot shower and a cold drink.

GANNET did not ship a wave through the companionway between Hilo and Honolulu.

I did, briefly, feel motion after I stepped ashore, particularly when I closed my eyes in the shower.

After arrival I deactivated the Yellowbrick and brought it below.  It is still showing 87% charge.

I don’t think two days constitute a passage, but to be consistent:  passage over.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

HIlo: GANNET owes me; outflow; plethora; sailing for Honolulu

        For most of her life GANNET has been a lake boat.  
        As nearly as I can determine from documents that came with her, her first owner lived east of San Francisco, but then in only a few years she was sold and moved to a lake in northern Texas, and then sold and moved to Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior, from where I bought her and had her towed first to Lake Michigan and then San Diego.
        At the moment as you know she basks in warm Hawaiian water.
        Several days ago Larry, a sailing friend from the Chicago area, sent me a link to an article about ice still on Lake Superior, which was verified by the above  NASA Earth Observatory photo.  It was taken on May 23, three days after GANNET and I sailed from San Diego. 
        GANNET thanks me.


        From the time I bought GANNET three years ago last month, the flow of stuff has been into her, often replacing old with new, but in.  Now the tide has turned and, except for consumables and a few other items, the flow is out.
        Several things, small and large, have been disposed of here in Hilo.  Things I told myself I might use, but won’t.   Or am so unlikely to they can’t justify taking up space on remote chance.
        And I continue to refine stowage.  Replacing objects that are easily accessible, but don’t need to be, with some that need to be accessible and weren’t.  

        GANNET is a simple boat. 
        Well, not completely.
        If you have read the passage log, I expect you will be surprised to learn that there are eleven GPS chips on board.  When I first wrote that entry I counted only nine:  iPad.  iPad mini.  Three Garmin handhelds, one of which came with the boat and two from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, Garmin Quatix watch, Yellowbrick, Velocitek ProStart, and  the Nikon AW1 camera.  Yes, I can navigate by camera.
        Since then I have remembered that the Torqeedo has an imbedded chip to measure speed and range and a Dual XPS150 bluetooth receiver in case the iPads couldn’t get a signal at sea.
        Not all of these display positions.  The Yellowbrick, Velocitek and Torqeedo do not.
        The iPad mini with iNavX was a success as a chartplotter and provided positions all the way across the ocean.  I took the iPad from storage once just to check and it too got a fix in mid-ocean.
        I even used the mini in the cockpit the final morning inside an Aloksak bag through which the touch screen still functioned.  
        I almost forgot.  There is a sextant aboard too.


        The highest and most massive mountain in the world is a few miles from me, but I have seen only the gradual lower slopes trailing into the sea.  The rest has remained hidden in and above the clouds.  Everest is of course higher above sea level, but this mountain is higher as measured from its base on the ocean floor, and is said to be more massive than the entire Sierra Nevada range.
        I take all this on faith, as I do the existence of the mountain itself.  But it, rising almost 14,000’ above sea level and lesser, but still substantial mountains on Maui to the north compress and speed currents and trade winds that give the channel between them a fearsome reputation.  I hope to cross it at night and remain far offshore.
        Today, after a Skype call to Carol, I’ll row ashore for lunch and a last walk.  Then return to GANNET, scrub, dry, deflate and stow the dinghy; and otherwise return GANNET to sailing mode.
        The Yellowbrick is still activated.  The tracking page is:  You should see movement again by 1800 or 2400 UTC tomorrow, Sunday June 15.  Hawaii is -10 UTC.  I will sail with the wind for Honolulu on a course leaving Maui and Molokai to port.
        The distance is about two hundred miles, so I should reach Honolulu Tuesday, variables being when the wind comes up in Hilo, which as I know can be late, and not entering the harbor at Honolulu at night.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hilo: thanks; beast; a mile for a shower

        The boat above is Dave’s home built and yet unnamed 14’ Paradox.  He had sent me photos earlier, so I immediately recognized her as I entered Hilo. 
        Over the years many people in many places have been helpful and kind to me.  Dave has transformed my experience of Hilo in numerous ways, among them directing me to this mooring in Reeds Bay rather than remaining in Radio Bay where most transient boats stay.  
        In addition to captiaterraphobia, I also suffer from milder aqua-claustrophobia.   I like space and light and openness around my boat, and Radio Bay is tight and enclosed.
        Dave and I were talking about anchoring.  I prefer all chain rodes, but neither CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE nor GANNET can carry that weight, so on them I’ve had to rely on rodes of mostly line.  Dave asked how much chain I think he has aboard his Paradox.  I guessed five feet, somewhat missing the true number of 160’.  He planned for and uses it as ballast.  Also six golf cart batteries.
        Thank you Dave.


        I was in the Great Cabin on Sunday when I heard GANNET hailed.  I pulled myself up to stand in the hatch and found two men sailing a Cal 20 nearby.  
        GANNET does not have a home port painted on her.  I have no idea what that would be.  So one of them asked where I had sailed from.  I said, San Diego.  The immediate response, “You are a beast.”  I think it was intended as a compliment.  I took it as one.  Forgive an old man his vanity.  Few 72 year olds are called beasts.  Except perhaps by their wives.


        Yesterday was mostly rainy.  I did row ashore and take a walk around what I am told is the biggest Japanese garden outside of Japan.  It felt good to use my legs.
        Some of you will be old enough to remember a cigarette slogan, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.”
        Well, I’d row a mile for a shower.  Actually 1.3 miles round trip.
        I have used the solar shower here on the mooring.  In port GANNET’s boom is higher than under sail, and it worked well.  But having nothing else to do, I decided to row around to Radio Bay which has hot showers.  And did. 
        That felt good too.  Both shower and row.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hilo: San Diego to Hilo passage log

May 20, Tuesday
Pacific Ocean

Hilo 2167 miles   258 °T

0816 left dock. Low coastal clouds.  Light winds from the south.  Used Torqeedo all the way out channel. Didn't want to take an hour to tack out.  In ocean by 0840.  Raised mainsail in channel.  Jib outside. Headed north to remove Torqeedo and outboard bracket.  Tacked at  0940, heading 190° at 5 to 6 knots.  Sunny.  Being heeled makes everything difficult, but boat in full passage mode.

32° 31’ N   117°21’ W Hilo  2158miles  259°T
 SOG 5.5  COG  207°
day’s run:  16 miles

Rough this morning.  Heeled 20°-30°.  Wind has backed, but still forward of the beam.  Not far from Coronado Islands.  Lots of water over bow.  One wave doused me while standing in companionway.

I’m still close enough to get the Internet on my iPad mini and saw the first Yellowbrick position.  Location was correct, but had speed of only 1.7 knots, and we have steadily been making 6 and 7.

Looked over the side to see if kelp on rudder and was surprised to see black instead of white.  It is much easier to see white antifouling.

A distressing amount of water dripping through the closed companionway hatch.  My covers inside and out are doing no good.  Fortunately I’m sleeping to windward.  The port quarter berth is soaked.  Moving everything stowed on that berth from side to side to always sleep to windward would be a hassle.  Inside bivy?  Wrapped in tarp?  And these conditions are not all that rough.

1600  I changed ship’s time from daylight to standard.  -8 UTC.  I should have done so at the start.  

An hour ago I put three wraps in the jib.  We’re still going as fast, 6 and 7 knots, but heeled less.  Good sailing, but wet.  Except when sitting, I always have to hold on with one hand.

No land in sight.  Saw two ships outside of us heading north.

1830  Furled jib deeper just before sunset.  Still making 6+ knots.  A little while ago a ship passed well to the east of us.  Hopefully clear of shipping lane.

Cold wind at sunset.

May 22, Wednesday
Pacific Ocean

0745   A hard night.  I could find only one position to sleep that didn’t cause low back pain.  Slept dressed except for shoes using sleeping bag as blanket.  Got up at 0300, sat at Central, drank orange juice, then back to pipe berth for a little more sleep.  Up for good at 0500 first light.

These are not severe conditions.  Just difficult and wet on GANNET, where it is wedge myself in and do minimum because even the simplest task takes serious effort.  I changed course 20° further off the wind to heat water for coffee this morning and didn’t even try to heat water last night.  Dinner of nuts and brownies bought during my last supermarket run.

Sunny this morning. Wind 16 knots WNW but crucially forward of the beam.  Waves still coming aboard.

I used the new WEST Marine hand bilge pump for the first time this morning.  The hose came off, spraying water around the cabin, which was already wet enough.  I’ll use 5200 on it when I can, but in the meantime have to hold the hose in place.  I have a second pump somewhere that came with the boat, but it doesn’t even have a hose.

I have propped one of the plastic covers I had made for the companionway over the port pipe berth where it directs most of the drips to the bilge.

30° 11’ N   118°28’ W Hilo 2077 miles  261°
SOG 6.5  COG  195°
day’s run  151/145 miles (25 hour day because I changed time)

Sunny.  Wind 16-17 WNW.  Beam reaching under main and partially furled jib.  63 miles due north of Guadalupe Island.

We’ve sailed 167 miles from Mission Bay jetty, but only reduced the distance to Hilo by 90.  Have to go SSW to avoid Pacific High and reach NE trade winds.

1445  Tried to go out and sit on deck, but it is too wet.  Some 5’ waves explode against GANNET who is tearing through the sea, lee bow wave seething and hissing.  We’re mostly making 6 and 7 knots, but I’ve seen frequent 8s and occasional 9s.  Fine sailing, but rough. 

All courses in this log are true, unless otherwise noted, and boat speeds by GPS.  I variously use the Velocitek mounted on the mast, the iNavX app in my iPad mini, and my Garmin Quatix watch.  

1600  I managed to get on deck for a while, sitting well aft by the tiller pilot.  From bow to the forward end of the cockpit, the deck has been constantly wet since the start.

I studied the companionway.  I never have been able to envision an acceptable dodger and still can’t.  And I do like standing there.  Maybe a curtain inside to protect the pipe berths?

We will have sailed 200 miles from Mission Bay by sunset.

I gashed myself—not seriously—sometime yesterday.  Probably while removing the Torqeedo from the transom.  I only knew by blood stains appearing on my Levis.  That’s why there are passage clothes.

1800  Wine in the bilge.  Only boxed.  I’ll pump it tomorrow.  There is always a small amount of debris in the bilge I can’t reach; but I knew that at sea GANNET would have a self-cleaning bilge.

Dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce—a wave just boomed into us—a big hollow thud—and a second plastic of wine I didn’t spill.  Music now from the waterproof EcoXgear bluetooth speaker at my feet.  I am at Central.

I looked for Guadalupe Island which is 4,000’ high and only 35 miles distant, but didn’t see it.

1830  Wind just veered NW.  If it stays there life is going to be more pleasant.

1900.  Wonderful.  I’ve been standing dry in the companionway as GANNET dashes on.  I was concerned that I have overloaded her and already know of things I’ll discard, but with the speeds she’s been making, I haven’t.  More 8s and 9s than I would have seen under these conditions in any other boat I’ve owned.

A bird with scimitar wings darting about the waves.

Waves just forward of the beam, or just aft.  A difference of 20°, but huge.  Resisting or propelling.  Coming aboard or not.

May 22, Thursday
Pacific Ocean

0600  I’ve been up for an hour.  An easy night, making a smooth six knots, heeled only 5°-10°.  I slept well, though I got up several times.  I wedged the Sportaseat turned on its side to protect from the half companionway bulkhead.  Worked well.

The full jib has been set since 2200 yesterday.

This morning I found that the wind has backed and we are again on a beam reach, though with wind and waves just aft of the beam.  I re-trimmed the sails which resulted in an increase in speed from 6.3 to 6.7 and in angle of heel.

Angle of heel is going to be a limiting factor on GANNET.  On THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and RESURGAM I reduced sail when they heeled more than 15°, but otherwise the limit was when the self-steering vane could no longer control the boat.  On GANNET I’m going to have to accept 20°; but life on board is too difficult at 30°.

I’ve yet to experience conditions where the tiller pilot can’t handle GANNET.  That may come.

I found blood stains on the pillow case this morning.  There are a lot of exposed bolt ends and nuts in GANNET’s overhead.  I’ve cut them short and smoothed them, but occasional collision is inevitable.   I need a carbon fiber skull cap.

0730   Low cloud layer.  I shaved.  When GANNET is heeled, I can rinse measuring cup and spoon in the ocean just by leaning out while standing in the companionway.


28° 02’ N  119° 47’ W           Hilo 1991 miles   263°
SOG 5.8   COG  225°
day’s run   147

I found a handheld anemometer I brought from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and had forgotten.  On deck it shows wind speed of 9 knots, which I think is accurate.

With easier motion this morning, I wiped myself down with fresh water, changed into shorts, typed previous handwritten log entries into the MacBook Air, am charging the Torqeedo battery, and duct taped the hand bilge pump hose connection, which might work.

Just before noon I ate the last of the cheese and sourdough bread for lunch.  From now on lunch will be cans of chicken or fish or a protein bar.

Sun not quite burning through layer of low cloud.  Deck dry except for spray over the bow.  I should be able to sit on deck and listen to music this afternoon.

1330  Wind has increased to 14 knots and backed to slightly forward of the beam.  Still a smooth ride.  Occasional spray reaching companionway, but not dripping below.

1530  Wind lighter and veered more northwest.  Continued solid low clouds.  Leaden sea.

I had a Heineken on deck with music.  Pleasant to be up there and dry and watch GANNET slide across the waves.

May 23, Friday
Pacific Ocean

0700  Up since 0430.  My back still bothering me while sleeping. 

The wind was lighter and more uneven during the night.  Small waves sometimes rolled wind out of the sails; then would pick up and we’d do 7 knots for a while.  However, the average since yesterday noon is only 5.6.  Complete low cloud cover continues and barometer has fallen slightly, so I conclude we are not moving into high.

A small squid on deck just aft of the mast this morning.

I stood in the companionway after sunset.  On CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE I once counted twelve or thirteen shades of darkness.  There might have been that many last night, including an eerie milkiness to windward of the hull and abstract luminescent patches to leeward of the stern.

I don’t see that an aesthetically acceptable dodger is possible; and I enjoy standing there too much.  This is a problem not of solution, but mitigation.  Perhaps a low coaming around the companionway to divert some water and a curtain down below.  

I also like being able to lean over from the companionway and rinse things.  GANNET has an automatic dishwasher.  After my uncooked oatmeal this morning, I stood, leaned, and it was washed.  Same with spoon.  I had only to dry with a paper towel.

And I like at times to sit on the pipe berth, leaning back against the hull, and look down through the companionway at the passing waves.

All of which would not be possible with a dodger.

0900  Wind lighter.  5 knots.  That is what I estimated and what the Kestrel anemometer read.  I never used it much on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and don’t recall that I’ve ever changed the battery; but so far it seems accurate.

Discovered yesterday that I forgot to buy skin lotion.  Sun, salt and washing less during passages are hard on skin.  I do have aboard an ample supply of sunscreen which seems to help.

I did some restowing, moving the fully charged Torqeedo battery farther aft in the space between the pipe berths, which in addition to housing two anchors, anchor rode and the Torqeedo, is something of a catch-all.

26°21’ N  121°15’ W              Hilo 1903   265°
SOG 4.7  COG  224°
day’s run   128

I set the asymmetrical at 1030.  Hadn’t done so for a while and it took a while to sort out the lines.  The wind is still almost on the beam and at the forward limit of setting that sail.  Still it has stabilized the boat and given us an added half to a full knot, making 4.5 to 5 in about 6 knots of wind.

Low clouds have burned away to reveal a thin layer of higher cloud.  Warmer.  Temperature in cockpit 83; in cabin 80.

Only an inch of water in the bilge this morning.  The duct tape on the bilge pump hose held and the connection did not leak when I pumped.

1530  Sun has finally burned away most of the clouds and the sea is again blue and sparkling.

I lowered the asymmetrical an hour ago.  The wind had backed and it was collapsing.  Furled smoothly.  Now making 5.5 to 6 knots under main and jib.

Might even have dinner on deck.

1800   Dinner of Louisiana rice and beans in the Great Cabin; but I spent much of this lovely afternoon on deck.

We’ve only averaged 5 knots since noon, but are now making an easy 6 on a higher course of 235° with wind still on the beam  The wind has never been above 9 knots and usually 7 and less.

A continued pleasure to reach over from the companionway and rinse clean the measuring cup from which I ate dinner.

Back to the deck for sunset libation.  No birds about.  But infinite beauty.

May 24, Saturday
Pacific Ocean

0500  A slow night, but we generally kept moving until an hour ago when a slatting mainsail caused me to get up to rig a preventer; but as soon as I extruded myself from the pipe berth we started sailing.  Now making 6.2 knots.  The plan is to keep the wind on the beam until we are pointing at Hilo—we have about ten more degrees to go—and then ease sheets as the northeast trades settle in, raise the asymmetrical and let the little boat romp.  

Sky again covered with solid layer of low cloud at first light.

Dramatic post-sunset last evening.  Horizontal bands.  The lowest a black sea illuminated by constantly shifting gold and silver facets.  The highest dark gray cloud.  And between light shading upward from peach to ivory randomly dotted with silhouetted clouds.

Yesterday afternoon I was playing music from the iTouch which is still set to Evanston time and noted that it was 6:30 p.m. when Carol would normally be coming home from work.  We looked forward to that, particularly on Fridays.  I saw her coming home to an empty condo.   Sometimes I wish I could be in two places at once.  Too bad that tele-transportation is not possible.  She would have enjoyed dinner on deck.

The barometer is still high, but down two millebars.  A good sign that we are not sailing deeper into the high.

I think today will be a solar shower day.

0700  Wind weird for a few minutes.  Mainsail backed.  I went on deck and changed course 10° higher, swung the boom back, rigged a preventer with the block and tackle intended for the mainsail Cunningham; and the wind returned to where it was, though fluky.

I tired earlier to make the Bluetooth connection from iPad mini to Yellowbrick without success.  Perhaps too far apart.  Conditions not settled enough to try again.  While at the Yellowbrick I noted that the battery is at 96%.  It was at 98% when we left Mission Bay.  I assume it is transmitting positions every six hours.

I am surprised to realize that there are nine GPS chips on this tiny boat.  iPad.  iPad mini.  Three Garmin handhelds, one of which came with the boat and two from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, Garmin Quatix watch, Yellowbrick, Velocitek ProStart, and  the Nikon AW1 camera.  (Actually there are eleven.  I had forgotten that the Torqeedo has a GPS chip and that I have a Dual XPS150 in case the iPads can’t get a signal in mid-ocean.)

0800  Asymmetrical set.  Making 4.6 knots in 5 knots of wind.  Still complete overcast.  Maybe not a solar shower day.

1000  Sailing at wind speed:  5 knots in five knots on beam reach with asymmetrical and main.  

I think I have enough water for the luxury of a fresh water shower, so I unlashed the jerry can just forward of the port side of the main bulkhead and lifted it into the cockpit where I filled the solar shower bag without difficulty.  There is a tap that can be moved from jerry can to jerry can.  I have two, but can’t remember where I put the spare.  (I found it today in Hilo after passage end.)

Those cans, which are of course plastic, have a lower, squarer shape that is easier to stow and more stable than the usual taller ones.  I did not fill them to capacity and so have about four gallons of water in each, not five.  When the port can is empty, I’ll exchange it with the one from the forward starboard side of the v-berth. 


25°33’ N  123°15’ W                   Hilo 1792 miles   265°
SOG 4.0   COG  250°
day’s run:  118

Wind weakened and our speed dropped to 3.7 for a while.  The wind has increased slightly and ocean now looks a bit more lively.  Our SOG is presently 4.4 knots.  Sun shining.  Diffuse high cloud.

1415  The first solar shower on GANNET was not a success.  I’m used to tying solar shower bags to the boom.  GANNET’s is too low.  I managed, but am going to have to find a better solution.  

We are make 5.4 knots in about that amount of wind, which backed and so I’ve fallen off 15° to keep the asymmetrical filled.

Lovely sunny afternoon.  Sailing is pleasant, just slow.

1640  Sky again more than half covered by low cloud and barometer has dropped two millebars.  SOG 4.5 knots.  

May 25, Sunday
Pacific Ocean

0430  Still dark.  We are nearing the west edge of this time zone.

 Awoke a half hour ago.  Both because that’s about as long as I can remain on the pipe berth because of pain in my lower back and because we were heeled 30° with GANNET atypically of late rushing through the water.  Of the back, I think that the pipe berth does not permit parts of the body to sink into it as in a mattress and so is forcing something out of line.  I’m getting enough sleep and will just have to live with it.  Of the sailing, from the companionway, complete cloud cover, darkness only dimly broken by our masthead tricolor, asymmetrical taut, GANNET’s lee rail almost awash, 10 to 12 knots of wind, still on a beam reach.  We’ve kept moving all night, but in fits and starts, until this wind reached us about 0400.  I decided to let GANNET go until first light.

0730  GANNET’s bow is pointed toward Hilo and I had salty coffee.  We’re making 5.5 knots under jib and main, though have been making 6 and 7 in what was 9 knots of wind.  6 to 7 knots of wind now.

I furled the asymmetrical two hours ago, not without complications.  For the first time, the sail did not completely furl.  The bottom did, but the top third didn’t despite my winching the halyard tight until I turned us farther off the wind and the sail was blanketed by the main.  The wind wasn’t that strong and I am surprised that the sail couldn’t be furled on a beam reach.

That the main blanketed the asymmetrical with the wind on the quarter is both good and bad.  To use the asymmetrical on a broad reach, I’m going to have either to lower the main or put a reef in it.  I often sailed RESURGAM and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA under headsails alone, but am hesitant to do so on GANNET.

The (slightly) salty coffee came when I was standing in the companionway, cup in hand, waiting for enough light to take down the asymmetrical.  We haven’t had spray that far aft for a few days and it took me by surprise.

Standing is good.  Most of an ocean passage on most boats is spent sitting down.  Even more so on small ones.  On CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE and GANNET there is no where to walk.  On CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE I sometimes stood hanging on to the mizzen mast.  On GANNET the companionway is the only place possible, which is the definitive argument against a dodger.  Or certainly against one that can’t easily be lowered when not needed.


24°58’ N   125° 15’ W             Hilo 1681   265°
SOG  5.7    COG  260°
day’s run:  113

Wind has continued, but weaker now.  6-7 knots from the north.  Complete low overcast as for most of the passage so far.  Dark, starless nights.  We continue on a beam reach as for most of the passage.  I’m sailing a bit low of the rhumb line, but it may be that we have successfully turned the corner.  Barometer continues high and steady since yesterday.  Temperature 78°, but feels cooler.

1430  A few minutes of light rain an hour ago.

The world outside is gray, and surprisingly the wind has backed and we are on a close rather than a beam reach. making 5 knots in the right direction.

I bought four oranges, four apples, two lemons and a small sack of limes.  The lemons and limes are meant to be squeezed into water to make it a bit more inviting, though some of the limes will find their way to tequila.  Have to protect against scurvy.  An apple or orange a day for the next eight days.  I ate the first apple after lunch of a can of tuna and crackers.  Pleasant to taste something fresh and crunchy.

Where I am presently sitting in a SportASeat facing aft on the Great Cabin floorboards has been designated as Central.  But more precisely it is Horizontal Central.
Vertical Central is standing in the companionway from which I can reach jib sheets, mainsheet, traveler,  backstay adjusters, boom vang, halyards, everything except the tiller—and I can reach that with the tiller extension—and I have a handheld wireless remote with which I can control the tiller pilot.  Small boat for two Centrals.  To avoid confusion I will just use Central for the horizontal original.

1615  I started to go on deck an hour ago and found it misting rain.  

Sky darkened.  Rain to the north and to the south.  And the wind backed until we were close hauled.  I eased us off to a close reach.  GANNET tearing along but at a steady angle of heel.  Although I saw some bursts into the 7s, I’ve had the feeling all day that we are moving through the water a half knot faster than the GPS readings.  When this happens I postulate an adverse current, but I do not in fact know that is true.

May 26, Monday
Pacific Ocean

0745  I think we have reached the trade winds.  Low puffs of white cloud.  Wind slightly east of north.  Sheets eased.  GANNET on a broad rather than a beam reach, making an easy 5.5 to 6 knots under main and jib.  I may set the asymmetrical after a while, but GANNET has a long way to go.  And I mean beyond Hilo.

Last evening I sat on the pipe berth perpendicular to GANNET’s centerline, with her heeled far enough so that I was looking down at water rushing past five or six feet below.  If I raised my gaze to the horizon I could make out individual waves, but near the hull water was only a blur.

We leave this time zone today.  If before noon today will be a 25 hour day.  If not, then tomorrow will be.

Dinner last night was a protein bar.  Heeled too far in the wind near the rain clouds to cook.  These things are all right, but they are all flavored like candy.  Chocolate.  Vanilla.  Peanut butter.  Here’s how you make our fortune.  (Note the pronouns:  you do all the work and I get one-tenth of one percent of the profits.  Two-tenths if you call them Webbars or Old Sailor Power.)  Protein bars for adults:  martini flavor, gin and tonic, margarita, etc.  Laphroaig would be too much to ask.  I am not suggesting that alcohol actually be in the bars, just the flavor.  Much better than ‘chocolate brownie’ or ‘vanilla crunch’ which is what I had last night.

0930  We just crossed 127°30’ W and so entered the -9 hours UTC zone.  The Garmin Quatix reset itself when I activated GPS and it obtained a position.  I’m resetting the others myself.  

I sponged the bilge dry and am presently drying some clothes that got wet late yesterday when a couple of waves caught me standing in the companionway.

Sunny with scattered trade wind clouds.  Wind 8 knots  slightly east of north.  Marginal about any improvement by setting the asymmetrical.  I’ll at least wait until the clothes dry.

I finished reading THE BLACK COUNT, a biography of the father of Alexander Dumas, who was born in the Caribbean to a white plantation owner and a slave and rose to be a distinguished general in French Revolutionary armies until he failed to be sufficiently obsequious to Napoleon.

The  book left me with admiration for Alex Dumas, the father, and added to my lack of respect for Napoleon, who deserted his own armies twice, one in Egypt and another in Russia to serve his ambition and save his skin.

I have seen Napoleon’s first grave in St. Helena, unmarked because at the time of his death the French wanted “Emperor” on the gravestone which the British would not permit.  And I’ve seen his second grandiose tomb in Paris built after the British and French become allies and his remains were moved. Were I French I’d start a movement to have him returned to that first obscure hillside.  


24° 31’ N   127°45’ W                   Hilo   1544    265°
SOG  5.8    COG  261°
day’s run:     139/133 miles   (25 hour day)

Asymmetrical set at 1000.  Our speed readings and course vary considerably on GPS.  The above are rough averages.  Wind continues from just east of north at 7 or 8 knots.  Waves around 2’-3’, some swells a bit bigger.  We’re just aft of a beam reach.  I’ve got the right sails up and trimmed.  Nothing more to be done.

Found another small dead squid against the port toe rail near the stern, and a baby flying fish at the bow.  

1500  Sail changes just got easier:  there won’t be any.

I went on deck to listen to music and while sitting there noticed wrinkles in the luff of the asymmetrical which remained even after I winched the halyard tighter.  My eye moved up and I found that the head of the sail had pulled away from the plate connecting it to the furling gear swivel.  There are several ways to make a furling sail.  One is to sew a double high-tech low stretch line in the luff which is what had been done here.  The doubled line still ran to the swivel and was holding the sail in place.

I furled and lowered the sail.  It appears to have been sewn to the head plate—it is not big enough to call a head board—by only a few turns of sail thread.   I don’t see any way to reattach the plate without stretching out the sail full length.  So GANNET is now a two sail boat.

I expect that this happened either when I went to furl the sail a couple of days ago or before and was the reason the top of the sail did not furl.

This sailmaker has made mistakes, some minor but irritating details, some major, on my last two orders.  He’s about my age and has recently retired.  It was past time.  I would not have used him again, and only used him this time because two other sailmakers I considered took so long to provide me with quotes—more than a month—that I assumed they were not interested.

The wind has picked up a bit and we’re making 6s and 7s under main and jib anyway.

May 27, Tuesday
Pacific Ocean

0630  Wind veered decidedly to the NE after dark and strengthened.  A rough and wild ride last night.  I was up many times and got little sleep.  Once when I was asleep, a wave crashed into the hull just beside my head.  Startling.  Around midnight I put a couple of furls in the jib, which I removed at 0430 first light.

Complete low overcast again.  I’ve had to come up 8° in order to keep the jib from being blanketed by the main.  Making 6 and 7 knots west.

A wave caught me while standing in the companionway sipping coffee and evaluating GANNET’s sailing.  Temperature in the 70s, so wet clothes not a great hardship. 

24°09’ N   130°18’ W                     Hilo 1401 miles   264°
SOG  5.2     COG   265°
day’s run   144             week’s run:  940

Sloppy sailing.  A half hour ago the wind veered east.  Main gybed.  Jib backed.  I had to bring us up to 290° to get the boat back under control.  With wind and waves out of synch, GANNET stumbles rather than slicing along.  Wind now back where it was but light and we are again on course.

Our week’s run of 940 miles isn’t bad, but it only reduced the distance to Hilo by 766 miles.  The 940 is noon to noon Tuesday to Tuesday and excludes the first 16 miles until noon on the day we left.  In all we have sailed 956 since clearing the Mission Bay jetty.

Still overcast, but sun trying to burn through.  I’ve put the solar shower bag in the cockpit, trying to heat enough water for a rinse and then will change clothes.

Tired.  Fell asleep this morning while reading at Central.

1410  Most unpleasant day so far, but then I am tired, though that is due to the weather last night.  Unsteady wind.  Intermittent misty rain, including now.   Jib collapsing and filling.  GANNET lurching and rolling.  The odd errant wave coming aboard and below around the closed companionway hatch.  I’ve duct taped trash bags as a shield to the port pipe berth.  

I don’t think I’m going to get my rinse and clean clothes today.  Don’t even know that I’ll be able to spend any time on deck or standing in the companionway.

1600  Rain at several points around the horizon.  To the north, south and northwest of us.  We are sailing well now, making 6 and 7 knots on course under main and partially furled jib.

No time on deck today and only a few scattered minutes at the companionway, getting hit by spray quickly each time.

May 28, Wednesday
Pacific Ocean

0630  I’ve been up since 0500.  Complete low overcast again today with at present light rain.  We’ve not had great weather.  The nights have been almost totally dark.  I think I saw two or three stars last night or the night before.

We sailed fast last night.  Concerned about a possible accidental gybe, I got up around 0100 and brought us 5° closer to the wind and partially furled the jib.  Then I opened iNavX on the iPad mini.  It takes longer to get a position in mid-ocean.  When it did I saw some speeds of 10 and 11 knots as we slid down five foot waves.  Only momentary bursts, but we averaged more than 7 knots during the night.

While I wanted to shower before changing into clean—and dry—clothes there seems no likelihood of that happening today and I had enough of getting into the wet stuff I’ve been wearing, so I wiped myself down with a little fresh water and paper towels and put on fresh passage clothes.  I’m also wearing my light weight foul weather pants because everything I lean or sit against in the cockpit, including the companionway, is wet.  These are more than just pants.  They come up over the chest, back and shoulders, but have no sleeves.  I think called salopette.  

Anyway, for the moment, I’m dryer and a little 

0900  Already seems a long day.  5’ to 6’ waves.  GANNET usually slides across them, but every once in a while one catches us.

1005  Prescient.  A few minutes ago a wave poured aboard and down below, proving as we rocked from side to side that I’ll need a spray curtain for each side of the Great Cabin.

I mopped up, put on my foul weather parka and went on deck and tied a reef in the mainsail.  This is actually at the second reef level.  Another mistake by the sailmaker.  GANNET has two internal reef lines running through her boom, as did RESURGAM and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA.  So I’ve specified for decades that my mainsails have two reefs, one at what would normally be between a first and second reef and the other at third reef level.  The sailmaker put in three normal reefs; so I run the lines at two and three.

This was the first time I’ve put a reef in GANNET underway.  Fairly easy.  Can do most of it sitting down.

I’m not sure how much wind is out there.  Not more than 20-25 knots.  But we are still making 7 knots.

I’m writing this by hand in a notebook.  Will type it when possible.  Too chancy to take the MacBook Air from its—hopefully—waterproof Pelican case.

24°00’ N   133°10’ W                    Hilo 1245      262°
SOG  6.0    COG   277°
day’s run    156

Conditions the same except sky a little lighter.

1430  Ate an orange.  Can still smell it.  Nice.

I removed the trash bag taped over the port pipe berth yesterday as too unsightly.  May have to replace it.  But then the water is  only dripping onto a waterproof bag and into the bilge.

Barometer down slightly, but still high.

Every action difficult.  Always have to be braced with body or one hand.

Despite cloud cover, getting ample charging from solar panels.

Being able to control tiller pilot with handheld remote from inside cabin is a huge advantage over having to climb out and go to the stern in these conditions.

1630  Confined to cabin.  Only a few minutes on deck today.  To go up there is to get hammered.

These are not severe conditions.  Not even a gale, though the barometer is falling and it could become one.   I don’t expect that.  I think that the wind may be decreasing.

I’m sitting on the starboard pipe berth drinking tequila and lime and listening to Sibelius’s  7th Symphony.  A while ago GANNET caught three successive waves and achieved a new maximum speed of 12.2 knots.   She stays straight on waves with no tendency thus far to round up.  The tiller pilot has steered laudably.  I’m not sure how much power it is drawing.  GANNET is so easy to steer that I decreased the rudder gain from factory settings.  I wondered if the sound would bother me, but it has not.  Usually it is lost in the sound of GANNET’s wake.

Sibelius just ended.  And the sun seems to be casting shadows.  Or was.  Not anymore.

May 29, Thursday
Pacific Ocean

0810  Rain when I got up at 0500, but since then some clearing, low overcast gone, and sun presently shining through a hole in mid-level cloud.

The wind did decrease a few knots last evening, but I let us continue under reduced sail, wanting a quiet night, which I had.  This morning I completely unfurled the jib which proved to be too much.  So I furled it a few wraps, then a few wraps more, and we’re more or less as we were yesterday, though going a half knot slower.  Also sailing higher than the rhumb line because of the east wind.  I may have to gybe one of these days. 

23°56’ N   135°40’  W                 Hilo 1109     261°
SOG  5.2    COG 288°
day’s run    137

1245  Gybed before eating part of a protein bar for lunch and after untangling a snared traveler control line implausibly, almost impossibly, wrapped around and under the traveler itself.  We were being forced up to 300°, and are now headed SW again with sun shining which is pleasant.  Not sure how long we’ll remain headed this way.

This morning I switched the now empty water can at the main bulkhead with the one secured at the partial forward bulkhead.  

1715  Our port broad reach lasted an hour when an accidental gybe—not serious—marked a return of the wind to the ENE.  We’ve had two more light showers catch up with us.  The most recent a few minutes ago.  As each nears, the wind goes light and veers east.  As each passes, the wind backs again to the NNE.

Dinner tonight of Mountain House Chicken Salad which doesn’t even require the water to be heated.  Steeping in its pouch beside a plastic of boxed white wine.

May 30, Friday
Pacific Ocean

0830   About two hours ago we passed the 1000 miles to go mark.   We had sailed by then 1350 miles from San Diego and will have to sail more than another 1000 to reach Hilo, though perhaps not as many more as I expected.

Last night the jib kept collapsing behind the mainsail and I kept bringing us higher and higher and farther off the course to Hilo to try to keep it full.  With high aspect ratio mainsails and large foretriangles on RESURGAM and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA the mainsail was not the main sail.  Off the wind on passages I often dropped and put the sail cover on the mainsail and went under jib or asymmetrical alone.  However, on GANNET the mainsail is the main sail.  So this morning I decided to conduct an experiment and furled the jib completely and am sailing under main alone.  We are still averaging 6 knots and can sail much farther off the wind and waves.  I’ve put a preventer on the boom in case we swing too far off and gybe.  However, GANNET has so far driven straight on waves with no tendency to round up or roll off.

Of driving straight on waves, my least favorite task is using the head bucket.  Actually two buckets, one inside the other for added strength.  I usually wedge this in the aft leeward corner of the cockpit where I can brace myself with my hands on the deck and mainsheet traveler and hope for no breaking waves.  Today however we caught a wave.  It did not come aboard, but we topped out at more than 10 knots at a time I very much would have settled for a sedate 5.

Sailing GANNET is a constant isometric exercise.  Muscles are always being used to counteract gravity and thrust.  CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE was too long ago for me to recall specifically, but GANNET is the faster boat and I believe has the quicker motion.

I have surmised that as a species we did not evolve with more than two arms because the extra appendages would have slowed us down when running was a survival skill.  However, in many other ways an extra arm or two would be useful.  This morning I found myself bracing a coffee cup with one foot, the JetBoil stove with the other, while I used both hands to screw the top back on my day water bottle.


23°48’ N   138°18’ W                Hilo   965 miles      259°
SOG  6.0    COG  253°
day’s run:  145

No rain yet today.  Some sunshine.  Tiny flying fish on deck.  Sailing deeper down wind under mail alone, less water coming aboard.  

When I went to open a can of salmon for lunch my can opener broke.  It had not been exposed to salt water.  I don’t think I have another.  If I do it is buried in a bag on the v-berth.  Several of the cans aboard have tabs to open, and I have more than enough protein bars for lunch.  But I should have bought a spare.   

1715  I wouldn’t mind having a quiet night.  I freely admit that this passage has been harder than I expected.

Mid-afternoon saw a return of passing showers and shifting wind, some of which resulted in a backed main.  I sorted it out and got us going in the right direction again.  Doing so in the middle of the night will be less amusing.

No rain now.  Mid-level clouds.  Slightly less wind than we’ve had.  Debussy’s La Mer on EcoXgear waterproof speaker.  Fettuccine de Leonardo steeping in plastic measuring cup.   Boxed wine to be spouted into plastic ‘glass.’  What better have I to do?

This has been a dark passage, which is I think the title of a Humphrey Bogart movie.  The nights have unrelievedly dark.   Clouds blocking stars and I assume a new moon.  I have an app that provides numbers to work celestial sights, but does not show phases of the moon.  I’m sure such exist and will download one when next I can.

Dinner is served.

May 31, Saturday
Pacific Ocean

0630  I wanted an easy night and had one until 0300 when the collapsing and filling mainsail woke me.  I had left the slat out of the companionway and rain was coming in , which simply meant there was fresh water in the Great Cabin instead of salt.

Rain passed.  We began sailing again.  I went back to sleep.  Repeat.

I finally got up an hour ago and found enough wind to set the jib as well—there is no point in having two sails shake the boat when they collapse rather than one—and we are now making 5 and 6 knots more or less in the right direction.  Rain to the north and east.  Some blue sky south.  A pleasantly cool morning with GANNET moving smoothly.  I drank both cups of coffee standing in the companionway.

I saw the first pencil slim sliver of the new moon last evening just after sunset; but at 0300 the sky was again uniformly dark.


23°28’ N   140°34’ W                    Hilo  839     257°
SOG 4.4    COG  266°
day’s run   126

A drying day.  Mostly sunny, though showers passing close have kept the wind light and unsteady.  I even sailed for a while with the forward hatch open to air out the Great Cabin.  I hope to rinse off and change into dry clean clothes this afternoon.  Speed varying from 4 to 6 knots.  Only 4 now under main and full jib.  This is the first day since I discovered I can not use the asymmetrical that I would have.  It is the right sail for the conditions.

1730  After the last rain passed just after noon, it turned into a perfect trade winds day.  Scattered puffs of cloud.  Blue white-capped sea.  

I bathed.  Heating the water in the solar shower bag, then pouring it into the plastic container I use as a kitchen sink and then over me.  Quite satisfactory.

I spent much of the afternoon on deck, listening to music and enjoying watching GANNET make her way through the sea.  In an effort to make some southing, I gybed to port for a while, but we were out of sync with the waves and I gybed back.

I have no idea how many days I’ve spent on deck watching a boat slice though water.  Thousands.  It is still a pleasure, particularly with GANNET who accelerates faster than any boat I’ve known and is clearly special.

June 01, Sunday
Pacific Ocean

0730  A rolly night.  Sailing with the wind almost astern trying to stay near the rhumb line.  Darkness complete as usual.

Rain to the north of us this morning, but sky now getting brighter.

We passed into a new time zone, -10 UCT, which is Hawaii time.  Today’s run will be 25 hours noon to noon.


23°23’ N   143°34’ W                   Hilo   690        254°
SOG  6.3     COG   277°
day’s run       153/146     (25 hour day)

Morning rain and clouds cleared to a day like yesterday.  Blue white capped seas.  Blue sky with trade wind clouds.  Wind continues from the ENE.  We’re making good progress, but need to get south.

1530  Another beautiful afternoon.  I’ve just come below from drinking a Heineken while standing in the companionway, admiring GANNET catching waves.

 This passage will not be exceptionally fast.  About as I expected and about as fast as I made passages in EGREGIOUS, RESURGAM and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, which is, of course, rather remarkable.  They were 37’ and 36’ long and sailed well.  In EGREGIOUS I set what was then a world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation in a monohull—long since far eclipsed, but still—and in THE HAWKE OF TUONELA I beat that time by almost two weeks.  So 24’ is sailing as fast as 36’ and 37’.  Even more, I’ve never made a passage during which I’ve seen so many SOG readings in the 9s and above.  I lost count of how many times GANNET went above 9 in just this past half hour.  Only momentarily and never above 11; but then these are only 4’ and 5’ waves.

I gybed just after lunch.  We are headed more or less SW and so the starboard side is the low side for the first extended period since leaving San Diego.  

I transferred a new carton of oatmeal into the plastic container I use daily without spilling too much into the bilge.  I did this the day before I left.  Also powdered milk and trail mix.  One container of Quaker Oats lasts 13 days.  I also transferred trail mix.  The container of powdered milk is good for the passage.

1750  Old man stands in companionway of small sloop that comes to about his waist.  He balances with one very weathered hand holding lightly onto a halyard stopper.  The other a jib winch.  A big grin is on the old man’s face as he watches a small sloop rush though the water, little more than an arm’s length away.  And because he is precisely where he is.

Use yourself up, old man.  Use yourself up.

1900  I remained in the companionway, which is the very best place on GANNET, even better than Central, listening to music and sipping Laphroaig from plastic—sorry, but on GANNET underway crystal is unwise—until after sunset when I searched for the moon and found it as expected higher in the sky and fuller than  yesterday.  I’m glad to know the moon again.

June 02, Monday
Pacific Ocean

0800  Morning chores completed.  Breakfasted.  Daily water bottles filled.  Teeth brushed.  Measuring cup,  kitchen sink, and toothbrush power washed by ocean.  Shaved.  Bilge pumped, though it didn’t really need it.  Only a couple of strokes.  

Last night the wind decreased, but GANNET kept moving smoothly.  Sleeping for the first time during this passage on the lee side, I didn’t even secure the end of the lee cloth.  Quite pleasant.  When I got up a couple of times, I even saw stars.

We continue on a port broad reach.  After sailing for several days just above the Tropic of Cancer, we are now definitely in the tropics.  Down around 22°N with two more degrees of latitude to go before we’re even with Hilo.  The wind has veered a little and I was able to ease us off four more degrees.

21°55’ N   145°18’ W                   Hilo  563        258°   
SOG  6.3     COG    244°
day’s run   140

A lovely day.  GANNET making her way effortlessly west until twenty minutes ago a wave popped on deck and flooded through the open companionway onto my berth, depositing  two baby flying fish.  Fish now removed and berth paper toweled dry.  Prior to that the deck was dry.  The pipe berth is vinyl.  No harm, though I’m glad it didn’t happen while I was sleeping there.

June 03, Tuesday
Pacific Ocean

0700  A line of clouds coming up behind us that might have rain.  Sky clear ahead.  Wind and sea as they have been.  Wind ten to fourteen knots; waves 3’-4’.  GANNET averaging 6 knots on a very broad reach, surfing to 10 on the odd wave.

An odd wave came aboard last evening at last light and poured through the open companionway as did one several hours earlier.  I used to hate when that happened late in the day on CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE because it meant I’d spend the night wet.  On GANNET I wiped off the berth again with paper towels and was fine.  A luxury vessel.

I expect that we will have about 400 miles to go at sunset tonight.  6 knots will get that done by Friday; but we will have to sail more than 400 miles to reach Hilo, gybing at least once.  If I can’t make it in with an hour or two to spare Friday, I’ll slow down or heave to and wait until dawn Saturday.


20°47’ N    147°30’ W                   Hilo   430    263°
SOG  5.8    COG  240°
day’s run     145                 week    1002

The clouds advanced toward us this morning, but the sun burned them away before they caught up.  Sunny.  Hotter than it has been.  Wind and waves diminishing.  Less than 10 knots and 2’-3’ waves.

GANNET’s second week has been a thousand mile one, though six miles less than a six knot average.  If we had been able to fly the asymmetrical we would have surely have made those additional six miles and probably would have reached Hilo on Friday.  I’d have the sail set now if I could.

GANNET will in fact have sailed farther than 1002 miles the past seven days.  
My method of measuring daily runs is to create a waypoint in iNavX each noon and then activate “go to” in iNavX which provides distance and bearing to that waypoint.  Any deviations from the straight line distance are not included.

When I used celestial navigation, I did the same, counting only distance between noon positions—somewhat less accurate then—not the distance traveled over the bottom, which, particularly when beating, would be considerably greater.

Yesterday I finished reading Volume 3 of Shelby Foote’s  THE CIVIL WAR which covers 1864 and 5.  I was interested to read more about The Overland Champaign which was going on 150 years ago now.  It is a very long and good book.  I like long books on passages, and this was a more than thousand mile book.

After it I started an Elmore Leonard’s, TSHIMONGO BLUES, which I finished this morning.  Hardly a two hundred mile book.

1700  Easy miles.  No water on the deck even at the bow.  But our speed has dropped to 5 knots.  

I did a burial round this afternoon, tossing the corpses of a dozen or so flying fish from deck to sea.  I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to kill anything.   They were washed aboard.  The largest two inches.  Most only one inch. I have seen few flying fish of size.

Sounds:  GANNET moving through the water.  At these speeds a grumbling hissing.  And Bach’s ART OF THE FUGUE  performed on the piano by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, which is, although excellent, the one of the four I have I listen to the least.

1800  Distance to Hilo exactly 400 miles.  

Music now a Brazilian group, Criara, I first heard many years ago on Australian radio.  I don’t think they exist any more, but they had a good sound.

Life is hard.  Easy miles are to be enjoyed, however slow, not despised.

1900  This is so wonderful.  That I am out here in such perfect beauty.  The sea.  The sky.  The wind against my skin.  GANNET making her graceful way.  There is no ugliness except me, and I don’t much look in a mirror.  

June 04, Wednesday
Pacific Ocean

1050  On Hilo’s latitude, so I gybed back to starboard a few minutes ago.  Another fine day, but with a little more wind.  SOG back up to 6 and 7.


19°46’ N   149°33’ W                    Hilo 311  miles   270°
SOG  5.6    COG   270°
day’s run    131

Wind has again decreased and with it our chances of being in before Friday sunset.  I’m going on deck to see if I can do anything to increase our speed.

1715  At 1700 we had 282 miles to go.  Last light here is about 1900.  So in 48 hours I am either inside the Hilo breakwater or about to be, or I have slowed down waiting for Saturday dawn.

An hour ago several trade wind clouds united and dropped rain.  Enough so I closed the companionway for ten minutes.  They are presently a few miles downwind of us and still raining.  Behind them has been more wind.  I’ve just been standing in the companionway, listening to music, plastic of boxed chardonnay at hand, watching GANNET slice along at 6 and 7 knots and more.  This is more interesting than 5.  She accelerates like no other boat I’ve known.

1830  I just got soaked standing in the companionway as GANNET blasts her way west.  This was take-it-off-and-throw-it-overboard soaked, which is what I did to my t-shirt.  It’s cotton and will disintegrate.

A few minutes earlier I laughed aloud as I watched the Velocitek register 10.4 as we surfed down a wave.

June 05, Thursday
Pacific Ocean

0630  I woke an hour ago to light passing rain, rainbow, small waves rolling light wind out of sails, and GANNET making 3 and 4 knots.  Another shower now.  We have 203 miles to go.  Still possible tomorrow if the wind returns, but increasingly unlikely.

0915  A rough, wet, unpleasant morning with repeated passing showers bending the wind back and forth and GANNET on the ragged edge of control until I furled the jib and put a reef in the main. 
Now the sun is out and the reef could come out, but I’m going to let us jog along slowly for a while more.  Even at this pace we will be off Hilo tomorrow night.


19°49’N    151°57’W                  Hilo   177 miles    269°
SOG   5.0     C)G  280°
day’s run  134

I removed the reef at 1000 and we are sailing under mainsail alone, forced about 10° high of the desired course by the wind.  We’re going about as fast as if the jib were set.  I’m not racing to beat tomorrow’s dusk, but will heave to or otherwise slow down twenty-five or thirty miles offshore and start heading in at midnight or 0100.

With warm sun, I managed to dry my soaked clothes and bathed in sea water warm enough not to need heating.

1420   Reef back in the mainsail.

A solid line of rain from northeast to south formed behind us just after noon.  I knew it would bring strong wind ahead of it and leave a hole behind.  It did.  Even with just the reefed main, GANNET heeled far over and dashed off at 9 and 10 knots for several minutes. 

Now we’re wallowing in the hole.  Sail collapsing and filling.  I may just leave the reef in and the brakes on if GANNET begins moving comfortably when the wind fills in.  No point in speeding to a stop light tomorrow night.                

June 06, Friday
Pacific Ocean

0600  Sun has just risen on what looks to be a pleasant morning.  No rain around.  We continue under double reefed main, making 5 to 5.5 knots.  Hilo is 82 miles distant.  Last light here is just after 1900.  So as has been obvious for a while, we won’t make it in before dark.  I don’t know exactly what I will do tonight.  Start off by trying to heave to.

Yesterday continued contrary to the end.

At 2300 I was awakened by the off course alarm.  I struggled from the pipe berth and went on deck to find GANNET pointing north with the tiller pilot fully extended trying to make her go even farther into the wind.  After I became oriented with help from a quarter moon to the west, I got us sorted out and on our way.  Of course I got wet in the process.  I’m still uncertain what happened, except possibly the mainsail backed briefly forcing us off course and then swung back before I got on deck.   

I hope today is less weird.


20°10’ N   154°14’ W                    Hilo    54 miles    242°
SOG  4.4     COG 242°
day’s run     131

As I expected GANNET is a hard boat to slow down.  We averaged almost 5.5 knots sailing with only double reefed mainsail.

I gybed to port a half hour ago.  

I pulled out and checked anchor and rode this morning.  I’m using a new deployment bag for the rode and want to be certain it will run free. 

Sunny.  Wind steadier today about 12 or 14 knots.  Some high wispy clouds.  

1545  Hawaii is a big island, more than eighty nautical miles long and rising to over 13,000’.  We are now 37 miles offshore and I still don’t see it.  I even checked the position given by the iPad mini with the Quatix watch.  Reassuringly they are the same.

In another couple of hours I’ll try to heave to.  If that doesn’t work out, I’ll find a wind angle to sail back and forth during the night.   

1700  Hove to.  Thought I should try before dark.  GANNET satisfactorily headed back east at a couple of knots.  So I’ve resumed sailing and will continue in beyond 1800.  Still no sight of island.

1830  Finally.  With the setting sun a clear line of the northern slope of Hawaii is visible.  The rest is still lost in cloud although only twenty-six miles away.   I’ve looked back and seen Tahiti’s Mount Orohena, which is 7,000’ high, from fifty miles, and the sharp horizontal top of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, which I think is only 3,000’, from the same distance.  I’m pleased at this evidence that there is land in front of us.


June 07, Saturday
Hilo, Hawaii

1700  I hove to last night at 2000 twenty-five miles from my Hilo waypoint.  GANNET settled down well and we eased our way back north until at 0100, when we were thirty miles from Hilo, I turned us and headed in.  First light is about 0500 and I expected to be inside the long breakwater by 0730.  

At 0500 we were eight miles out.  We finally rounded the breakwater at 1200.  Rain showers were scattered along the coast.  The wind died.  Waves did not.  Full main and jib slatted and banged.  Slight wind returned, but from the land blowing right from where we wanted to go.  The Hilo waypoint remained five miles distant.  At 0900 I told myself that I would give it one more hour and if we were not sailing at 1000, I’d try to work our way back to sea and head for Honolulu.  At 1000 nothing.  So I turned GANNET’s bow north and in a few minutes wind, fluky but better than nothing reached us and I decided to try to get into Hilo one more time.  It took two hours, but I finally did.

I’d had so much time that morning that I managed to get the Torqeedo on the transom and the anchor and rode deployment bag in position at the bow.

Once inside the breakwater—and I did not use the Torqeedo earlier because GANNET is a sailing vessel at sea and I don’t think the Torqeedo could have powered her through that chaos anyway—I furled the jib, sailed part way to Radio Bay, the usual transient boat anchorage, and then lowered the main and powered the final half mile.

Dave, who lives here and has built several boats and with whom I have corresponded, was out sailing his 14’ Paradox whose unique appearance I recognized from photos.  He followed me to Radio Bay, which was crowded, and came alongside GANNET after I anchored in a not very satisfactory location and suggested I might prefer a mooring he knew of in nearby Reeds Bay.  Indeed I would and that is where GANNET and I finally are.  

Before leaving Radio Bay I did row ashore and enjoy a hot fresh water shower.  

GANNET’s cabin is a mess.  Neither sea mode nor port mode.  I’ll sleep tonight again on the pipe berth.  

It is a  great pleasure not to have to brace myself and fight gravity every instant.

Passage over.