Thursday, January 14, 2010

Almost!

Key West in the background, cappaccino-maker in the foreground. Maybe
there by 9am?

NOW We're Racing

Just before 11pm while averaging 9-10 knots a darting light came up
from astern, and there was only one boat it could be. Crosswinds, the
F-27 who'd been 30 minutes behind us had found the sweet spot in
apparent wind and climbed up in our six like a fighter plane. True to
the movie, he jinked low, shot high, we asked "'Where'd he go?'
Hollywood said 'Where'd WHO go?!'" as he flew by to weather easily
four knots faster. Still under our symmetrical with the wind building
to 20 true and angle close to 90, we moved to take it down. In doing
so we broke the dousing sleeve line and [gasp!] had to pull it down by
hand. The reacher unfurled and proved to be as fast for a while, but
we just now finished changing tithe asymmetrical as the breeze rotated
aft a bit and boatspeed had dropped. A lot of work for a 2500 sq ft
sail but we managed with three of us. We picked up another knot of
two with what's clearly the right sail and now seem happy around 11
kts. Checking the tracker, we saw Crosswinds now parked well outside
and behind us, indicating a problem. Nothing on the radio so we
assume and hope it's a simple gear problem and they'll be back in the
race soon -- comfortably behind us! No way it was the jib, Victor!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Leg One Done!

Past the Miami Sea Buoy before 5pm.

Champions crossing

The 2009 Charleston Race winner Jasmine crossing the 2008 Key West
Race winner Munequita.

Crossing

Crossing tacks with Semper Amantes.

Choices

We has three choices to make and so far it seems we made the right
ones. First. We went with the symmetrical instead of the a-sail
because we knew we'd be gybing a lot in the north breeze. Second, we
didn't go hard in or outside and seem to have a nice wind alley.
Third, sea salt and vinegar instead of barbecue chips. Good call.

Diaster Narrowly Averted

The entire cre aboard Double Trouble breathed a sigh of relief just
now after recovering from a near catastrophe. It turns out, the
shoppers only brought 2% milk for the cappacino machine, NOT the half-
and-half clearly indicated on the stores list. Fortunately we were
able to hail for emergency assistance and a support vessel was able to
run it out to us without too much delay. I'll tell you, even with
great preparation, tragedy can strike at any moment.

Thanks, guys!

It's always nice to start the race on a good note. As I showed up to
the boat, crew were already rigging a pump to the forward bow bilge
after having discovered many, many gallons of water underneath the
inspection port. Great get, guys! That saved us a few hundred
pounds. On a roll, we decided to take a look at the chutes that got
yanked out in a panic when the water was discovered. Light winds let
us hoist at the dock to discover two small tears quickly patched with
stickyback. It will beuch nicer looking at a repair for the next 160
miles then a rip about to blow up!

Chilly Race Morning

It's a beautiful 49 degrees the morning of the 35th annual Lauderdale
to Key West race, with a diverse and competitive group of boats
getting ready to fly south for the winter. Key West temperatures
later in the week are supposed to be much more Florida-friendly, and
the weather down looks accomodating, if a bit light out of the north.
Follow the race with LIVE ONLINE TRACKING at www.keywestrace.org.
More from along the way!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Key West Bound

Super's Bob Meagher is off to Key West aboard Don Balthaser's Double Trouble, a Catana 58 with a -- just discovered! -- reverse-cycle A/C that can blow heat! Updates coming from the racecourse (connection permitting).