Transpac 2005: The Wind Has Filled In

With wind in their sails and good spirits on board, the crew of Enchilado are trying to improve upon their standing within the fleet.

Lat. 30 - 49.0 N Long. 124 - 45.7 W We are three days into the race, but we really only want to count two, since the first day was spent wallowing halfway between Catalina Island and the starting line off Point Fermin. Tuesday night between 10 p.m. and midnight the wind came in at 15 to 20 knots from the west; which meant a tight reach along our southwesterly rhumbline. Third day morning roll call from the 65 ft. S&S design Alaska Eagle, which is accompanying the fleet, woke us up to the following report: Division V: (1) Brown Sugar, (2) B'Quest Challenged, (3) Diablo. Cal 40 Division: (1) Illusion, (2) Ralphie, (3) Callisto. Aloha A Division: (1) Odyssey, (2) Plan B, (3) Between the Sheets. Aloha B Division: (1) So Far, (2) Pipe Dream, (3) Wind Dancer. For the last day, we have been reaching along just to the south and parallel to our southwestly rhumbline at 8.5 knots in a northwesterly breeze of 15 to 20 knots. The sky is overcast and seas 4 to 6 feet with the occasional 10-footer rolling in. We are a little disappointed with our 5th-place position, but have overcome that obstacle and all have now assumed a let's go get'um posture. We've been putting in reefs, taking out reefs, unfurling the Solent, with and without genoa, all the various sail plans trying to keep the boat flat and fast, but apparently, from our position, it's clear we are still learning to tweak Enchilado, which was just commissioned in late May. This is her maiden voyage. What a superb vessel, she seems to be elated to finally run free after in open water. We're listening to a wide range of music on watches, ranging from the Rolling Stones to big band. But the sound sounds a long way off as the wind screams through the rigging and at night one is concentrating on the instruments. We'll see the full moon next week. The overcast sky hasn't allowed us to see any stars yet, but once we hit the trades, we're wagering that it will clear up. The Pacific High seems to have moved south and according to the grib files is at 1030 millibars, but our barometer reading is pretty much how it was when we started three days ago (1012 millibars). It's all relative, and I'm certain that there must be something really special about surfing downwind on a MaxZ86 at 30 knots. But we have found our small moments of ecstasy reaching at 9.5 knots at night with only your instruments in front of you, making a slight adjustment on a sail, and getting up to 9.7 knots. After several hours of concentrating on the numbers you get into a Zen state that's really special. At day, it's a little different and easier since at least you can see what's about to board you and you find yourself compensating the wheel for the instantaneous future roller on its way to Panama. This is an exhilarating race; with superb hospitality, organization, communication and we're expecting with the sailing as well. It rates a 10. Enchilado - out