Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cabo san Lucas to Hilo, Hawaii

Sure it will be a wonderful cruise............
Job one was to provision for the 21 (or more?) day trip to Hilo. It took two trips to the supermarket plus sides trips to stock up on water. Coleridge's rime was pasted on the water book as a grim reminder of what running out looked like. Amazingly we found places to store it all with the aft cabin doubling as a "bodega" for the fruit and veg in baskets. We departed heavily laden for a mini shakedown cruise to Cabo san Lucas - and of course the final night out on land for a long time. We had an excellent meal at a Brazilian restaurant along with enough wine to sooth any lingering doubts about the voyage at hand.

Los Arcos at Cabo
We departed Cabo at noon and soon were sailing past the busy tourist traffic at iconic Los Arcos headland. The wind picked up as we cleared the tip of Cabo and it was reef #1 time already. We were happy to be sailing fast but we were way south of the course we wanted. It certainly was rough with the washing machine effect of wind waves at ninety degrees to the swell. Little did we know that this rolling would persist most of the way to Hawaii. We did not have much of an appetite but managed to down the prepared meals John had cooked ahead of time. We settled into our 3 on and 6 off watch routine which worked very well for us.

Helga takes charge
The wind stayed fairly steady out of the North West, driving us further south but only requiring two hours of engine run most nights to keep the batteries up. Six days out we deployed our Hydrovane (Helga) which worked well as long as the apparent wind was nine knots or more. This also saved a lot of power compared to running the auto pilot (Otto).

Four strands left!
The morning of day 7 John called me to come quickly to the mast. His first light rig inspection revealed the mast baby stay had failed and was just hanging on by 4 strands. The Genoa was furled and we jury rigged a strop around the first spreader with an old halyard to the bow and then back to the lazy genoa winch. This restored the mast bend and re-tensioned the the aft lower stays. We got an email out to Blackline to organize a replacement and to confirm the stability our our jury rig.
Jury rigged stay installed

We got fairly regular connections with our SSB and kept our grib files and Pacific surface forecast up to date.  Connie and Peter sent us updates as well on our Delorme inReach. This device was invaluable for instant SMS text messages to friends and family dependably anytime day or night. We also used it for the spot forecast service from Ocens which is a very worthwhile addition - similar to the bouy weather format.

Wing on wing stormsail
The wind finally veered to the east and allowed us to make some decent VMG for Hilo. Next we were all downwind, wing on wing with the main and genoa, substituting the spinnaker in daylight when the wind eased. By
day 16 we deployed the storm jib alongside the poled out genoa and made hull speed, easily handled by Helga all day and night for the next week.

Nice jicima salad Al!
The food was excellent for the trip with Al and John outdoing each other with creative meals on the dwindling fresh food supplies. Al caught a beautiful ma-hi ma-hi and made a delicious ceviche followed by grilled fillets for dinner. Captains hour was eagerly awaited each day with some great appies to go with the nightly beer  or G and T. Strict water management eased mid trip when we realized we were well under the 10 litre daily allowance.

Champagne all around at Hilo
Stern tied in Radio Bay, Hilo

We arrived at Hilo at noon on Saurday, 21 days for the trip. Many thanks to CBP officers Valdez and Foss for clearing us in and sparing us a week-end waiting on the boat.
We enjoyed a few days together checking out the big island including a helicopter volcano tour and going snorkeling at Captain Cook. All in all a great trip with two of the best crew - Al and John - that you could hope to get.
The final track - 2,500 NM

"And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came. "
— President John F. Kennedy