Beautiful sailing in the trades with the wind holding up nicely. Now we’re entering the third part of the race: running to Honolulu in the trades. The race course is a mine field of squally clouds that build up in the late afternoon when the ocean is still warm and the air temperature cools down rapidly creating a condensation effect. These clouds can build up rapidly with considerable vertical development and ‘mature’ during the first part of the night, creating massive updrafts and sucking the air behind them. They tend to collapse around 4 am and can leave you trapped in zones of no wind for hours on end. And, of course, that tends to be the time of the night when we have the hardest time focusing. Richard has great eyes for those weather features. So I’m going to make sure that he gets plenty of rest early.
Here is where we are on the chart. We are very happy with our approach to Honolulu. Now we are in our slot: we are sailing a true wind angle of roughly 40 degrees, the wind is from the North East at 30 degrees and our course over the ground is about 256 degrees. Straight to Honolulu. In Honolulu, the trade winds are blowing at about 80 degrees. Therefore, we expect a persistent right shift of 50 degrees over the next few days. As the wind shifts, we will jibe to port inside the layline to Honolulu as we expect that persistent shift to occur. When and where to jibe will be a big decision for us. And, jibing this boat with only two of us in over 20 knots of wind is quite tricky.