Voyage of Traveler / Blog

August 1, 2011

Traveler Position Report for July 31

Filed under: Pacific Ocean, Year: 2011, Transpac 2011 — mrlawlerjr @ 10:19 am

Traveler Position Report
for July 31 at noon Hawaii Time
22-05 N, 159-57 W
Course 245, Speed 7 kts
Midway between Kauai and Niihau

We are on the next leg of our passage back home to Newport Beach after the Transpac Race, between Hanalei Bay, Kauai, and the “Forbidden Island” of Niihau, located about 15 miles west of Kauai.

Just to review the past week, we departed Honolulu on July 26 and motor sailed in light wind to Nawiliwili, Kauai. We planned to stay only one night, but stayed three nights. The reason for the longer stay was (1) we had Jeannine Patane, a new last minute crew member, join us here for the passage back to California, and (2) we had mechanical problems. We were getting full RPMs out of our Yanmar engine, but only getting about 3 knots of speed. I dove the bottom and found nothing fouling the prop or keel. So after much debate amongst the local “experts” we narrowed the problem down to the feathering Autostream propeller. It must have changed pitch somehow. I did not hit anything or damage it to cause it to change pitch, so I’m not sure how it happened. Fortunately, I have been carrying the original propeller with me as a spare since I bought the boat, four and a half years ago, just in case. I hired a diver to change out the prop while at the slip. At the sea trial we got 8.5 knots at wide open throttle, which is very good speed for Traveler.

Our plan is to motor back much of the way, about 900 miles out of 2,600 miles, into about 10 knots of headwinds and across the bottom of the Pacific High, so a good working engine and prop are essential for the ride home. We have 117 gallon main fuel tank and 10 5-gallon jerry jugs of diesel on the deck, so our range is about 900 to 1,000 miles under motor, depending on sea conditions.

After getting the prop changed, we motor sailed the next morning to Hanalei Bay on the north central coast of Kauai. What a beautiful place. We arrived just after a rain, so we had rainbows and full waterfalls all along the steep cliffs around the bay. The small town of Hanalei has a surfer-ranchy feel to it, much like Haleiwa on the north shore of Oahu. Because of the rains, the water was a bit muddy so the snorkeling was out. We enjoyed a dinghy ride up the river, about two and a half miles. And we also attended the annual fund raiser luau at the Hanalei Canoe Club, so we all got to eat pig and other native Hawaiian foods, take a canoe ride as the sun was setting, and see a Polynesian dance show, including a spectacular fire dance.

At 0730 this morning we said goodbye to our guest crew, Brandon and Ashley, who flew in from Toronto and joined us in Honolulu. It was fun having them, especially to have Brandon on board Traveler again. (He sailed with us from Singapore to Aden, Yemen from January to March, 2008.)

We then weighed anchor and sailed west along the gorgeous Na Pali coast. This has got to be one of the most dramatic shorelines in the world. There were lots of sightseeing boats and helicopters tours. This is a must do if you visit Kauai.

We are now approaching Niihau to go scuba diving. More about that in my next blog.

Today marks the sixth anniversary for Barbara and me of our first date, following the Transpac in 2005. She is back in So Cal visiting friends (hi Cathy and Joe) and getting ready for her teaching to start again soon.

We still have the “Yellowbrick” transponder so you can follow our progress home on the Transpac website (once on the home page, click on “Tracking”), same as the race over.

with Brian, Natalie, Erik and Jeannine

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