Monday, August 15, 2016

We Made It!

Oahu to San Francisco Bay.

15 Days, 3 Hours, and 23 Minutes.

Thanks for following our journey and all the support!

- The Bullet Crew

Whales, but no wind

We had a wet, windy and cold last 36 hours, which made for some painful night watches but some great boat speed. In the 24 hour period leading up to this morning we had our best run of the trip (172.5 nm), and in the previous 12 hours maintained a respectable average speed (7.7 knots). The windy conditions and mixed seas last night made for some white-knuckled driving -- which included a high speed of 13 knots when surfing down the larger waves.

Today brings finally in sight of land. We caught of first glimpse of California when we spotted the Farallon Islands (pictured, part of the City and County of San Francisco). Our first view of the mainland was Point Reyes. Unfortunately today found us without wind, so now we are motoring along as fast as we can go -- which is not as fast as we could with the wind blowing. Our new ETA at the Golden Gate Bridge is 10 pm tonight.

We had a last cooked meal aboard -- Mike made us Quesadilla Pizza, and we found four relatively chilled beers at the bottom of fridge. Not a bad last lunch at sea.

Entering Northern California waters brought us some new wildlife. We were surrounded by a pod of whales and gang (?) of sea lions, so must have been some good eats down below. Some of the whales got quiet close, as pictured.

Looking forward to seeing our friends and family on land!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Singin' to Ourselves

During our time out here, we often sings sounds to ourselves or eachother. Usually its just a little rendition of a ol' classic (The wind will clock north, Tomorrow, Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there will be northern wind...) but we thought we would share a Bullet Crew original ditty -- inspired by the conditions during these past few watches.

Give me a full keel,
Without a lot of heel.
A nice center cockpit
with a big ol' wheel.

Give me a winch that holds,
A head that flows,
A nice dry locker
Where we can stow our cloths.

Give me a diesel heater,
Nav desk with gimbaled seater,
A nice dinner table
Where we can rest our keister.

Give me a aft cabin
Where we can do our gabbin'
A nice big bed
With an awful lot of paddin'


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pizza Night!!

Saturday night pizza night! Well sort of...

We've been sort of exaggerating the hype on pizza night for the last couple days since we came across the bag of pepperoni slices in our food bin. Well into the trip past the fresh cold food we kind of realized that in the rush of provisioning, we didn't leave too much creativity around our dinner meals (plus the need to eat non-perishables) which led to every dinner base of either pasta, brown rice and lentils, or brown rice and more brown rice. Added to that has been tomato sauce or canned veggies or canned mushrooms - in that rotation...

Needless to say we're carb'ed out and looking forward food on land!

Speaking of land, we're making good progress today and seem to have the wind out of the north we've been looking for. This is helping us move along quickly around 8 knots at the moment.

Looking forward to only a couple more days before we enter SF Bay. Hopefully we can share some shots of the Farallon Islands - even if from a distance :)

Talk soon and thanks for following!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Need For Speed!

As we tick down these last hundreds of miles over the next few days, boat speed is a key focus of ours. Mainly because, the faster we sail, the sooner we arrive in San Francisco. The weather forecasts have promised that the wind will shift from the north east to the north. This will allow us to reach (i.e. sail off the wind, and faster) for our final approach to SF. We are waiting patiently to see the wind shift north ... and we still wait. The winds have been variable (5 - 15 knots) over the last few days. In the light stuff, we have had good luck motoring to about 7 knots (speed over ground, our boat speed is higher, but we have some adverse current on our nose). When the wind builds, we are able to shut off the motor and get about the same speed with our sails.

However, 7 knots does not get us into SF on Monday morning (our current target). We will need to average closer to 8 knots, but we will not get that boat speed until the wind shifts to the north. So, we continue to wait ...

As for arrival time, if we do not get a bump in boat speed it is looking like a late Monday/early Tuesday arrival. If we do get the speed increase, then we are hoping on a Monday arrival during daylight hours (latest estimate is afternoon). We will keep you all posted as we get closer, and hopefully you will see some speeds around 8 knots on the tracker (the YB tracker measures our speed over ground). Conditions off shore look pretty breezy for our arrival, but at least we will be sailing with the wind. It may get wet, but should be more comfortable than when we left Hawaii (and better than when Bullet departed SF for the race last month).

The weather has been largely overcast the last couple of days, which unfortunately meant we were not able to view last nights meteor shower.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Remote, yet busy

As you probably noticed on the tracker, we are now pointed towards SF and heading home! As we get more favorable winds, our speed should pick up and the miles remaining will decrease more rapidly.

Our friend Dave from Mudshark noted that a couple days ago we were in one of the most remote spots on earth, as we were briefly > 1000 nm from any land. (Mudshark is another Express 37 where the Bullet return crew originally met. Dave was kind enough to lend us his Dacron mainsail for this passage, which has been a huge help thus far. Thanks again Dave and Beki!)

Though we are about as far from land as one can get, it also turns out to be a fairly well trafficked area for commercial shipping (when compared to the first part of our journey). We see one to two ships on Bullet's AIS display each day. Most of the time they are 15-20 nm away, and we can not see them. On Sunday evening, we saw the Hanjin Rome on AIS bearing towards us (commercial ships are required to carry a AIS transponder, which provides its position, speed, direction and other information to vessels with AIS receivers within about 25 nm). Once in visual range, we hailed them via our VHF and they agreed to pass us to our stern. Doesn't hurt to make sure the big boats can see us little guys, especially in this big ocean!

Though we will of course keep watch in this "busy neighborhood", being around shipping traffic has potential benefit. In the unlikely event in loss of an emergency, commercial shipping will likely be first on scene to provide rescue.

Pictured is Hanjin Rome about one mile off our stern.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Half Way Party!

Today we celebrate our half way milestone!

Were on day 10 and on a passage like this, sometimes it's best to keep your mind off the individual miles covered and the seconds as they pass on. Dwelling on what can feel like a snail's pace crawl across the big chart can suck the enjoyment right out of the adventure. Instead we've been able to adjust to a different pace of things, enjoy the simple beauty of the world around us, tell stories, be considerate, work though challenges, laugh, and continue an unforgettable experience. It may have been tough to say all of that after just the first several days but we knew the trip could throw anything at us and its the tough days that make the good days so good.

We took showers today and are feeling oh so fresh! The jams playing on the stereo while JT serves up a cheese plate to the cockpit and cooks up some delicious dinner. We treated ourself to a small taste of spiced rum and offered a taste to Bullet and our It's a beautiful night.

You'll see on the tracker we're well in our turn to the east and in the next day or so we should be on our heading directly into San Francisco Bay. The jib is down as we punch through the last bit of light winds on the nose and as soon as the wind starts to clock left to our port beam we should be able to change head sails to our reaching sail and cut the engine for a smooth sail home.

You'll also see on the tracker other boats making their passage home from Hawaii. We call in every night over SSB to report our position and conditions to each other and share any information that might be helpful. It may look like we're all very close on the map but we haven't been within eye sight of the others.

No new wildlife to speak of. Only some interesting jellyfish (we're guessing) that extend a small fin out of the water that look like a they have their own main sail. They let the winds take them where it may I suppose.

Thanks for following and talk to you all soon!