Mike Jefferson's Log: 1900 PDT. The
big news today continues to be TIGER BEETLE's loss of rudder
control. Rob has mounted his emergency rudder and it appears to be functioning
well. He is proceeding cautiously under triple reef at 3-4 knots. He is
cheerful, and has resigned himself to simply arriving in Hanalei. It looks
like he may make it Monday or Tuesday. Work is already in progress to supply
a replacement rudder so that Rob may sail the boat home. The fleet is maintaining
a sked every 2 hours,on the odd hours on 4009 kHz. Many alternative rudder
schemes have been discussed and it appears that Rob has at least 2 very
viable alternatives to his emergency rudder. The first is the use of the
Monitor vane; The second involves the use of twin headsails and a drogue.
Since Rob is directly upwind of Hanalei, it seems certain that he will
make it. To relax Rob, the fleet has insisted that he have a Guinness.
To show solidarity, Ken on HARRIER is having martinis, Terry
on SENSEI is having champagne, Ed on ORANGE BLOSSOM
is having a zinfandel, and Mike on FOXXFYRE will resume his
search for the elusive cans of beer he was SURE he had stowed, if only
he could remember where... Although at the moment this is high drama, in
later years the carnage and accompanying anxiety that the fleet has experienced
will come to be seen as part and parcel of why we really do it: it's BIG
Regards from AdventureLand, Mike Jefferson
"We have the technology, we can rebuild him..." ,'The 6 Million Dollar Man' (They were really talking about boats...)
Mike Jefferson's Log: 0700 PDT. "Tahiti Nui Fever" has gripped the fleet. The end is now in sight for many boats, and predicted arival times are being calculated and bandied about as if there were not several hundred nautical miles yet to go. Families and loved ones are arriving in Hanalei, and the fleet smells BEER! COLD BEER! Rob on TIGER BEETLE is still doing fine. His emergency rudder is still holding up well, and he continues to keep the speed at 4 knots. Last night he trailed some 1/2" lines in bights to adjust the boat speed and to maintain control. The swells are getting bigger, and a bit lumpier.The boats are really carving some big "S" turns on the larger waves. There is a stunning sight in the early morning sky these days. A rising crescent moon is closely accompanied by two planets, Venus and Mars, we believe. Seeing the trail of moonlight streaking towards the boat from the horizon, while small clouds are backlighted and the planets blaze though wisps left from a passing squall is something to behold. Although this is a ton of fun, a hot shower and a good night's sleep will be very welcome. Regards, Mike Jefferson
Mike Jefferson's Log: 1900 PDT. More carnage! BERSERKER reports that his rudder is becoming unreliable. All his diagnostics indicate that it is the rudder shaft/blade integrity that is failing. The Alpha autopilot has failed completely, and Mark is steering with the Monitor Wind Vane. He hopes that he will make the last 158 miles to the finish without having to resort to his emergency rudder. As usual, the net was full of suggestions and discussion about this new catastrophe. Mark seemed in pretty good spirits and is pressing on under reduced sail. BIG MON and SLIPSTREAM are in VHF contact with the race committee and are about to finish. NAI'A will also finish later this evening, and ORANGE BLOSSOM looks good to finish tomorrow afternoon. We would like to thank Svendson's Chandlery and boatyard for their strong support for the boats who have had rigging failures of various types. They have been extremely fast acting and flexible and many parts needed to make repairs are already in transit. We are getting short now!!! I can't wait to finish! Regards, Mike Jefferson
Mike Jefferson's Log: 0700 PDT. Well the final push is on! ORANGE BLOSSOM will finish this morning, with BERSERKER likely to finish later this evening. Rob on TIGER BEETLE has increased speed cautiously, by poling out his storm jib to better balance the boat and take pressure off the rudder. Who will get the "Last Boat to Arrive" trophy? In 1992 FOXXFYRE received it, and although I would have preferred a more noble position, the trophy, designed by Kay Rudiger, is simply beautiful; I really hated to give it up for the 1994 race. So will it be BIG DOT? or TIGER BEETLE? FOXXFYRE is in a close race with BRAVO, who owes me 9.4 hrs (56.4 nm at 6 knots) and BERSERKER, who owes me 19.2 hrs (115.2 nm at 6 knots). I am flying my big 3/4 ounce spinnaker and trying to make up a few miles. But DON'T TELL THEM!! I have them lulled into a false sense of security. At the check-in I wax enthusiastic about how the reef in the mainsail and poled out jibs allows me to read and cook comfortably.
I go on and on about the peace and tranquillity of the sea, and how just being here is all I am after. Hah, Hah, Hah, Little do they know of my secret plan for dominance!!! Now if I can just keep the dirty side down maybe I can make it work. Running deep with a spinnaker up in 20+ knots true wind and moderate, lumpy seas will definitely keep you from falling asleep!
So stay tuned for the dramatic conclusion to the race! Who will win (actually all of us)??? Who will lose ??? Who gets the cold beer? (The REAL question!). Regards from the last lap! Mike Jefferson
Mike Jefferson's Log: 1900
PDT. BERSERKER saw land during evening check-in and the net
went wild!! It is extremely exciting to make a landfall at sea. After days
and days of tedious sailing, each day very different, and yet somehow the
same, suddenly the end of the voyage is in sight! We are all hot to finish.
We have been talking with competitors who have finished, and the loved
ones and significant others on the SSB. Only COASTER is presently
unaccounted for, and we expect him to finish tonight or tomorrow morning.
Apparently there is a party on the beach. We all wish we were there! And
soon we will be. FOXXFYRE expects to finish around 1900 PDT
on Sunday. I hope to be able to file a final wrap up to summarize the race
in the next couple of days. For now, I have to go deal with an unexpected
surplus of wind (30 knots).
Regards from a short timer! Mike Jefferson
Mike Jefferson's Log: 0700 PDT. Almost over now! FOXXFYRE should finish before the next check-in. Will we beat BERSERKER and BRAVO. Maybe... The numbers are close, but not unpromising. Ken on HARRIER was 11 miles from the finish at 0700, and was flogging it as hard as he could. He really knows how to drive a boat. BERSERKER finished in the middle of the night. We still have not heard from COASTER. BIG DOT and SENSEI are still pounding away. Both have HUGE handicaps and will probably toast all the rest of us.
FLASH!!! COASTER is finishing as I write this (1122 PDT). I am 43 miles out and suddenly heard the race committee as clear as a bell on VHF. We have not heard from BRAVO in about 16 hours. Fred should finish soon though.
I have been in squalls all night, and the coming of the day has not dissipated them. It is raining heavily, but there is enough wind to sail well. I watch the squalls on the radar. They show up nicely as large fuzzy patches. You can estimate their size and severity by looking at the density of the return on the screen. Really bad squalls are usually very bright returns (lots of water) and are usually pretty big. They seem to be generating themselves one after another along my track. Every one for miles is gunning for me.
One thing I missed this TransPac was any good hallucinations. I didn't have any and no one else reported any either. Perhaps it's because we got enough sleep. Oh well, maybe next time.
Well, I am going to haul out the detail chart of KAUI and start making marks on it. The miles are really flying by!
This is probably my last report from at sea. I hope to add a final note in a day or so. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. If this sort of adventure appeals to you, then don't just dream about it. The SingleHanded TransPac is accessible to anyone with the will and tenacity to do it. It requires A LOT of work, planning, and a certain amount of financial misery. But you don't need to be a millionaire. The people who have done it come from all walks of life, and span all income brackets. All of them would probably agree that the achievement and satisfaction cannot be bought, and no matter how much you spent, the reward will be just as great.
Regards from one of the REALLY GREAT ADVENTURES! Mike Jefferson
which started in San Francisco Bay on June 29. The latest to cross the finish line on July 14 off Kauai's Hanalei Bay were (in order) Ken Roper on Harrier, Barry Bristol aboard Coaster and Fred Hess on Bravo. While Roper and Bristol were looking at potential third and fourth placings in Division II, all three boats achieved "firsts" by finishing during daylight hours. With the exception of the first-to-finish 60-footer Wild Thing, all other competitors so far have finished at night.
In most competitions, as the saying goes, "it's not over til the fat lady sings." While this race is far from over, the arrival of Roper somehow makes this year's race seem "official." A veteran of five Singlehanded TransPacs dating back to 1984, the 66-year-old retired Army general is one of the most popular racers ever to compete in this event. Within an hour of his 6 a.m. arrival, The General was in a "staff meeting" with other racers at the Tahiti Nui restaurant, the traditional hangout for those who have completed the 2,120-mile marathon sail from San Francisco. During the course of breakfast, Roper noted that he was one of few racers who didn't suffer any significant gear problems on the way over. He is also the only compeitor thus far to finish the race under spinnaker.
Barry Bristol on the Crealock 37 Coaster had few problems on deck, but reported that his aqualift (part of the engine exhaust system) split open early on. So every time he started his engine to charge the batteries, the boat would fill up with exhaust smoke. It took a couple of bouts with sandpaper and epoxy, but Barry eventually fixed the problem. Bristol lamented a lack of breeze in the middle of the race, which put his heavy-displacement boat at a disadvantage. On the positive side, it did allow Roper's Harrier and Hess's Bravo to more or less sail together with Coaster the last few days. At times, the boats were within 10 miles of each other.
The July 14 trio was preceded by another "clump" of four boats, the first three of which arrived within a little more than an hour of one another the night of July 12-13. They were Eric Jungemann's Olson 30 Big Mon at 11:13 p.m. (local time), followed 54 minutes later by Greg Morris on the Farr 33 Slipstream and -- 8 minutes later -- Michael Reppy on the Shuttleworth 35 trimaran Nai'a. Ed English aboard his Beneteau 35s7 rounded out this group with his 6:52 a.m. finish the morning of the 13th.
Big Mon and Slipstream were the dynamic duo of this group. Rig damage to both boats early in the race -- a failed lower shroud on Big Mon and the loss of a mainsail and almost all halyards on Slipstream -- effectively equalized the two boats. Neither could fly a spinnaker (which would have allowed the ultralight Olson to plane), which allowed Eric and Greg to get to know each other pretty well on the way over. There were times when the two boats were no farther apart than a couple of miles.
When it came to dynamic, however, Nai'a deserves special mention. Within days of the June 29 start, Micheal Reppy reported damage and leaking around his centerboard trunk, and returned to San Francisco for repairs. He started again on July 2 -- three days late -- yet still "lapped" half the fleet. Had the damage not occurred, Nai'a might have threatened the multihull record of 8 days, 20 hours. As it is, Reppy was "first" in the perseverance department, and certainly showed the potential of this fast ocean racing multihull.
Perhaps the oddest encounter of the race to date was that of Mark Deppe on Berserker, which finished late on July 11. The second day out, Mark was below making some engine repairs when the boat shuddered to a stop and briefly lifted into the air. Mark ran outside to see the huge pectoral fin of a whale go past his transom as the animal surfaced. "He didn't go anywhere. He just stayed right on the surface for awhile," says Mark. "I think I must have really stunned him." Mark theorized that problems with his rudder later in the race might have been due to the encounter.
Only one more boat was expected on July 14. Mike Jefferson's Foxx Fyre was due in at about 2 p.m. This is another eagerly anticipated arrival, as Mike (another returning SSS TransPac veteran) has been the "voice of the fleet" this year. In addition to the daily role call, Mike has done short writeups on each day's events that offer a fascinating you-were-there glimpse into the lives of these intrepid sailors.
EMail From Race Committee in Hanalei: Peter Hogg <email@example.com>, Date: Sun, 14 Jul 1996 22:14:59 Foxx Fyre finished at 18:59:52 pdt on 7/14. Sensei and Tiger Beetle expected tomorrow.
4 p.m. Monday, July 15
Terry McKelvey, the only woman among 16 entrants in the '96 Singlehanded TransPac, finished off Hanalei Bay, Kauai Monday morning. Her 10:20 a.m. finish put her in unofficial fourth place in Division II, behind Orange Blossom Special (Ed English) and Coaster (Barry Bristol). Doug Graham aboard Big Dot, at 24 feet the race's smallest boat, is expected to take first in Division II if he keeps up his current pace. Big Dot is expected to finish at dawn on Tuesday.
Terry drew one of the largest welcoming committees of any arriving racer. Within half an hour of anchoring, many of her fellow racers were either aboard her Cal 2-27, Sensei, or had rowed by to offer their congratulations. Asked about her first impression of Hawaii (she's never been here before), she looked back at a brilliant rainbow framing the dramatic Na Pali coast and said, "I haven't been here that long, but it sure looks like a nice place."
Sensei weathered the race well compared to several other competitors. Early on, she found a broken strand of wire on her headstay, which was easily repaired with tape. As insurance, she rigged a spare halyard forward to help take the strain off the headstay. The only other gear problems were some sail slides that popped off the lower part of her main. Several hours of sewing took care of those. Otherwise, it was business as usual and the boat performed well up to her expectations.
Only two boats remain at sea at this writing, Graham's Big Dot and Rob Macfarlane's Tiger Beetle. The latter, laboring along under emergency rudder, is expected to finish shortly after dark tonight. Via SSB, the whole fleet has been monitoring Rob's progress avidly since his rudder failed several days ago. Apparently, the failure is in the rudder to post attachment, so while the rudder remains securely attached to the boat, it "freewheels" on the post. Rob has been unable to secure the blade. Although he has one of the best engineered emergency rudders in the fleet, the original rudder constantly interferes with his efforts to stay on course. It will no doubt be a major relief for Rob to finally get safely anchored in Hanalei Bay.
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