We just crossed the international Dateline and have around 2’500 nautical miles to go to Seattle. Currently we live the daily Another Day at the Office – we got used to the condensation drips from the ceilng and the fact, that our clothes dry best while we wear them. We are a bit further north than 40 degrees and it’s cold, the sea state is rough. The question, what the hell we’re doing here is omnipresent. Crossing the North Pacific is a real challenge, mainly not very pleasant, but there are the fun moments. Surfing with more than 20 knots down some big waves or just the good moments within the team. And once done I’m happy to tick this sea off my bucket list. Please don’t ask why it’s even there.
Meeting with a Whale
In an early morning shift last week, we had an almost collision with a whale. He and of course we had enormous luck, a collision with him could have seriously damaged our rudder. The whale of unknown type could just dive away on our port side, the tail fin was first not visible as he was that close. We estimate the animal was between 6 and 8 meters. We were quite happy hot having hit him, and he must have been, too. At least the big brown bubble in the water behind him let me assume so.
Collision with a tree and technical problems
A few hours later in the same watch we then hit a ca. 5-meter-long tree. The consequent detailed steering check revealed another damage to the rudder, which was undetected before. The actual collision did not harm the rudder any further. Still we had to fix the damage and as the next shipyard is hundreds of miles away, we could only stabilize the damage. With more frequent steering checks we make sure, that we will not lose steerage. I don’t want to think about the consequences such a loss could lead to.
The days before it took us a full day to fix and helicoil 8 screws on our mast. The track of the mainsail came lose and needed fixing, in heavy heel and spray. The work was successful and the main is flying again.
All the above problems we could solve easy, because our team harmonizes well. Luckily, we did not have major damages to our sails, let’s hope that stays like that. Although we realize, that the cold and long race demands a lot. Unfortunately, we added another massive challenge, we are terribly short on food. For days we are not getting the calories we need to compensate the intense work. So far it works well, but it’s just a matter of time until the energy levels lead to some friction in the team. Not much we can do about, another thrilling experience about team dynamics to come.