Sunday, July 31, 2016

Underway!

We departed Kanahoe Bay yesterday afternoon about 2pm HST, on a beautiful afternoon with excellent scenes of the Oahu coastline. As of this writing, we have put about 100 nm behind us. We have had breezy and bumpy conditions thus far, 15-25 kts in 6-8 foot waves with about a 6 second period. Knowing those were the forecasted conditions, we left with a reef in the mainsail (just as Dave and Beki suggested in a comment to our last post) and put up our smallest head sail. The sail plan has worked for these conditions, though I think we all wish it was a bit more comfortable ride. As you track us (a link is available on the Pacific Cup website, http://pacificcup.org), we will continue on this NE course for about 6-7 days, then make a right turn towards California.

Aloha and Mahalo to Oahu!

-TBC

Friday, July 29, 2016

Nearly Ready

Hey everyone! Scott here checking in from Bullet. We've completed nearly everything on our "to-do" list and are getting the final pieces ready in order to be prepared for our planned departure tomorrow.

In the last few days we've replaced the anemometer (measures wind speed and direction) on top of the mast and, paired with some clever thinking, re-ran the wiring from the top, through the mast, and to the instruments that will allow us to use it during the sail.

Yesterday and today we filled all sixteen 5-gallon jerry cans and our internal fuel tank with diesel. We're planning for a period when sailing near the North Pacific High where the available wind will be minimal and we'll have to rely on the diesel engine to make it through.


We've also been putting together provisioning for the trip. Feeding four hungry people for almost three weeks with minimal space and refrigeration is a challenge. We're planning meals in a way to provide enough nutrition for everyone, but also so that meals are easy to make quickly while underway. Lastly, we want them to taste good(!) so we're using some creative recipes to keep things interesting. We purchased most of our provisioning materials at Costco on Wednesday and will be completing the rest of the preparation today.



Today we were able to get the boat out and across Kaneohe Bay to pump out the holding tank across the way. It was nice to be out on the blue waters and feel the breeze that will be taking us home in the next few weeks. We raised and flew the cruising main sail (thanks Dave Fullerton!!!) and practiced several reefing maneuvers to make sure everything works as it should. All good there!





Tonight we'll be finishing the list and taking it easy. It's our last night's sleep on land for a while and I expect the crew will want to make the best of it. I'll try and get a blog post out tomorrow when we leave so check back! See y'all soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Aaaand we're back! An update from the Return Crew

The completion of the race for one group signals the beginning for the return crew. Anthony, John, Mike, and Scott have been working since Monday to prep Bullet for its return trip back to San Francisco. We will be departing Kaneohe Bay on Saturday after a weather and skipper's meeting and hoping to land in South Beach Marina in San Francisco between 18 and 21 days later. Our trip will take us Northeast to the North Pacific High, and due east to the gate of the Golden State.

We've been fairly busy in the last few days checking items off the "to-do" list and with general prepping for the trip. We plan to update the blog regularly once we're underway with more specific challenges and situations we're facing to give you all a way to be with us while we're away.

Until then we'll be working to get the boat as close to perfect as possible to ensure our safe and speedy return! Thank you all for following us and keeping us all in your thoughts.

~John, Mike, Anthony, and Scott







Drying Out

After the completion of Bullet's Pacific Cup run, there's been a lot of taking stock, cleaning up, and drying out. Kaneohe Bay's upper 80's and sunny weather has helped with the drying while the cool breeze and overall tropical setting has helped with the rest! 






Saturday, July 23, 2016

Finished!

Bullet crossed the finish line at KYC 12:08 am Hawaiian time this morning!

Today we are cleaning up the boat and getting onto a normal land-based life cycle. Some family was on the dock last night to greet us, which was extra special.

The blog will be signing off for now, but we will try to update prior to and during the return trip to SF starting next week. Thank for all the support during PacCup 2016!

Aloha and Mahalo!

-TBC

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dinner & Sunset

Nick S cooked our final dinner at sea tonight (pasta with pesto), as we continued on to the finish -- now just 35 nm away. We also had a clear night (not typical of the passage), which provided with some great sunset views.

We had a question from Tom Konecki regarding whether Tropical Storm Darby will cause any trouble for us. For Bullet, it will not. We plan to proceed and arrive at K-Bay tonight, well ahead of Darby's forecasted Oahu landfall Saturday night. Darby will likely cause some delay for boats behind us, who may have to wait offshore for Darby to pass before proceeding to the finish line. Please follow the official PacCup site to follow the other boats.

Getting closer!

TBC

100 miles to go!

We just completed our 100 nm check-in with Kanahoe Yacht Club, the first in a series of communications to make for a smooth arrival (attached shows Navigator Nick G making the call).

For those of you tracking Tropical Storm Darby, our arrival late tonight will put us well ahead of its arrival (and safe!).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's Hot!

Well there is no doubt we are in the tropics now! The sun has been shining through the clouds more these last couple of days (allowing our solar panels to charge our batteries), which has made it hot both on deck and in the cabin. Two pics are included from today. The first shows Nick S and Kurt baking in the sun, and the second shows Nick G and Larry baking in the sun (though about to be hit by some rain from a squall).

Two questions to answer from the previous post!

--

Avi Baskin: Have you guys caught any fish yet?

Bullet: No, we have not, as we have not tried. The return crew (which will bring Bullet back to SF from Hawaii), will definitely try to catch some fish. So, look for their progress later this month.

--

Sarah: 1) What's the reason for going southwest and now making a "sharp" turn? 2) Also, wonder what are first desires when your toes reach ground???

Bullet: 1) Well, there are some tactics involved for that turn, and we don't want to show our cards just yet (the race is still on ...). But, in short that sharp turn you saw was a gybe we made yesterday. You will see we made another gybe back this morning. It is not very fast to sail direct downwind, so we always like to be sailing at an angle to the wind. So, if we are trying to go downwind to get to our destination, it is probably faster to gybe back and forth than for follow the direct path to the finish.

2) I think all of us are first looking forward to see our friend and family! Second to that, a nice bed that does not constantly move and is not inside what sounds like a noisy wind tunnel. The Mai Tais promised at dockside upon arrival on Oahu sound pretty delish at this point as well.

--

Thanks to Sarah and Avi for the questions!

There should be little or no delay with the YB tracking page now, so you should be able to track us live across the finish. About 275 nm to go, and we hope to be there late Friday/early Saturday Hawaiian time.

-TBC

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thanks for the Comments!

Everyone

Thank you so much for all the comments to our posts and general encouragement. Due to our limited bandwidth, we are unable to comment directly to them, but we do receive via email all the comments made to the site. If you have any questions you want answered, feel free to post a comment. We should be able transmit an answer through a post.

We refer to spinnakers a lot with our race. For those not familiar, a spinnaker is a large sail that flies off the bow (front) of the boat. It is essentially a large kite that pulls the boat forward, and is key to fast downwind sailing (our max speed this race thus far was > 18 knots, set by Nick S surfing the boat down a large wave). Because we have the spinnaker up 24 hours a day, chaffing is a constant concern. The pic shows Nick S at the bow of the boat checking one of the spinner lines (the after guy in the case) for damage. He found one, so we replaced it. Our in-house Navigator/Rigger/Bowman Nick G is hard at work fixing the line so we can deploy it later (pic also attached).

Thanks again for the support!

Less than 500 miles to go! It is starting to get pretty hot indoors and out!

The Bullet Crew

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sunset

It has been a busy last 24 hours, as we have been focusing on sailing through an area with a lot of squall activity. These are small weather systems that bring rain and wind, so we have to be ready for them so the extra wind does not over-power our sail plan. So far we have navigated through with no major issues, and got the bonus of a free fresh-water rinse. We continue to make gains on our competition, and are busily planning our approach to Oahu. We are closely tracking the tropical weather systems approaching the islands, to make sure for a safe arrival. Attached is a photo of our sunset this evening, which we have rarely seen due to the consistent over cast skies.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Halfway!

Hey Folks

So early this morning we officially passed the halfway point from California to Hawaii! At this writing we now have less than 900 nm to go. The last half should be much faster than the first half, and we hope to arrive early this weekend.

Along the way we have had to say our good byes to a bit of gear, lost either to damage or to the sea. Some examples: one spinnaker sail (blown out), two head lamps (lost to sea), two expensive shackles (for our spinnakers, broken as shown in the photo), one jib sheet (lost to sea), one Panasonic "Toughbook" (broken, got a little wet), two watches (broken, got wet), one seat cushion (lost to sea), and one spinnaker guy (broken by chafing).

We repair anything we can while underway, weather the the boats systems (i.e. engine), sails or rigging -- remember, we always keep moving no matter what. Some stuff we can fix, others we can not. Pictured is Nick G fixing one of spinnaker sails on the floor of the cabin with the help of JT.

Tonight we start to dodge squalls as we begin our approach to the Oahu from the north. Should mean for some fun and fast sailing.

The Bullet Crew

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Life at sea

It is Day 6! We had another good run yesterday. This morning we made a big left turn (i.e. gybe) and we are now headed more or less towards Hawaii. The timing and location of the turn is a big part of the strategy for the Pac Cup, so we will see how our decision turns out. Until then, we will just continue to sail as fast as we can. Tomorrow we will officially be halfway, so still a ton more sailing to come.

Here are a few photos of life aboard Bullet (unsure in which order they will post on the web site, but they should be self explanatory).

One shows Nick S on deck manning the spinnaker sheet. In the background you can see the weather we have experienced since leaving Northern California waters -- mostly overcast day and night in the Pacific. Today as we started heading more southerly, the weather cleared up and we had a great sunrise (shown in the pic with JT driving while Kurt tastes the morning breeze).

Another photo shows Kurt going over the latest weather data at Bullet's Navigation Station. The bright spot in the center is the companion way to the deck. To the left and right of the rear of the boat are bunks and stowage. To the left is more stowage, foul weather gear, and the galley.

Our food has been great, especially the last few days. Dinners the last few nights have included Chicken & Rice [from JT], Lasagna [from Nick S], and Chicken Pot Pie [from Nick G]. Most dinners were prepared prior to departing, then frozen and kept in a cooler until ready the assigned evening. Then we heat in the oven and serve. Tonight Larry made salmon (not caught fresh, unfortunately), and it looked and tasted great (before and after pics attached)!

The Bullet Crew

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trending Better

Good News!

It looks as if we have improved our performance (mostly through adjusting our sail plan), and traveled 211 nm yesterday (at an average of 8.6 kts). It was our best day yet, and our daily mileage ranked up with the mileages recorded by the Division C leaders. We will find out tomorrow morning if our performance today continued this upward trend. Hopefully our hard work will pay off and we will move up the standings -- but there is a lot more to come. We should hit the halfway point in a day or so.

Included is a shot of the sun setting tonight as we continue to sail west.

The Bullet Crew

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Visitors

Hi all

It has been a beautiful day of sailing today, and we are now officially < 1500 nautical miles from Hawaii. We are still focused on improving our boat speed, and making adjustments to our sail plan accordingly (i.e. putting up bigger or smaller sails based on the wind speed and direction).

Not much to see out in the Pacific except a lot of water. We have seen some sea life! Yesterday an albatross made a casual fly-by Bullet and we passed a lone small turtle on the surface today (who looked as quizzically at us as we did at him). Late last night we had all hands on decks to solve an issue with one of our spinnakers (a "wrap", for you sailing geeks). A couple of us on the foredeck (i.e. front or bow) struggled to solve the problem. When they did, they sat back for a moment to catch their breath -- and realized that a pod of dolphins had been swimming along us the entire time.

Unfortunately it was too dark (and we were too busy) to take any photos of the dolphins, but here is a shot of Navigator Nick and Skipper Larry driving the boat today.

Best,

The Bullet Crew

Thursday, July 14, 2016

At Sea!

Friends and Family-

Well, as predicted it was a wet, rough and wild first couple of days at sea! We are a little bit over 400nm into our trip, with about 1600nm to go. The great news is everybody is safe and has found their sea legs. Now we can focus on racing and closing the ground between us and our competition.

Thanks to everyone that sent us off from South Beach Marina and cheered us on from St Francis Yacht Club and the shores of SF on Wednesday. We could hear you and it meant a ton to all of us!

In the rough and tumble first days unfortunately our primary comms laptop (which was advertised to be "Tough") failed on us, but we have gotten our backup computer running. Good thing we built in redundancies to our communications plan! We are also able to monitor our Gmail account again.

Attached is a picture of us flying the spinnaker!

The Bullet Crew

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Last Prep

"A sense of marvel drifts to me —
Of morning on a purple sea,
And fragrant islands far away."


— George Sterling.


And with the above and other thoughts, we depart SF for the fragrant isles of Hawaii in a few hours. On Monday we finished all the prep to get ready for our Tuesday morning PacCup start. The provisions are all loaded, the water tanks filled, the lines ready, the spare parts stowed, the sails staged, the families informed, the batteries charged, and (of course) the blog updated. Below are a few shots from the day.

Aloha!

The crew, happy to be done with all the prep!

Here is a tour of our cabin, with most everything packed.

video
And, here is a tour of how Bullet looks from the outside, just about 12 hours from departure.

video.

Friday, July 8, 2016

PacCup 2016 (and Return!)

Friends and Family -

Welcome! As you probably know, the crew of Bullet will depart July 12, 2016 to take part in the 2016 Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco, CA to Kaneohe, HI. There are no stops between SF and Hawaii and we will use just the wind to propel us along the 2,000+ nm route.

Bullet is an Express 37 "masthead fractional rigged" sloop designed by Carl Schumacher, a legendary Californian naval architect, and built in 1985 by Alsberg Brothers Boatworks in Santa Cruz, CA.  Sixty-five Express 37s were built from 1984 to 1988. These boats were purpose-built for offshore racing, and in 1985 Express 37s won the top three positions in the Los Angeles to Hawaii Transpac Race.

This year, three other Express 37s will be joining us for the Pacific Cup: Elan, Limitless, and One Eyed Jack. Of course, these boats are our primary competition (Elan finished 4th overall in 2012, with an elapsed time of 11 days, 6 hours, 56 minutes). But the PacCup is an handicapped race, meaning all 70 boats (from 24 feet to 100 feet) are competing against each other based off of a formula that rates how fast (theoretically) each boat should finish the race. We will also be be racing against the Alaska Airlines Division C, and will compete for the Carl Schumacher Trophy and Best First Passage.

During the 2016 Pacific Cup, Bullet will be Skippered by Larry, Navigated by Nick G, and Crewed by Nick S, Kurt and JT. We are a rookie crew, but very much look forward to sailing fast to Hawaii. We hope to keep you all informed during the journey through this blog.

Also, Bullet will be making return trip from Hawaii to San Francisco following the Pacific Cup, departing soon after July 30, 2016.  The return delivery crew includes JT, Mike, Anthony and Scott. We also hope to keep you all informed (through this blog) of our return trip.

We depart for Hawaii 11:25 am (Pacific time) on July 12, 2016.  We hope you all can follow us and cheer us on.  

Mahalo!

The Bullet Crew