LOCATION: 10 miles E of Ogasawara Islands, Japan.
BOATSPEED: 16 KTS
WINDSPEED: 14 KTS
SAILS: Masthead-zero (“MH0”), full main, small staysail
WEATHER: Overcast, cold, damp
Life has gotten a little giddy! I made reference yesterday to improved morale and a brighter mood, but I assumed it was merely a byproduct of our returned presence to the front of the fleet. Today it has grown out of hand. More laughs than I can remember in a very long time, and it has come at the cost of sleep, and possibly even performance. We are spending far too much time clowning around near the companionway – mostly at each other’s expense. Why, I asked? Why is everyone so funny in such dreadful living conditions? Then, I saw it.
At 5:30 this morning, just after sun-up, we passed to windward of one final Japanese island. And its name? HAHA Jima. Of course. Obviously the sirens of humor on Haha drew us in with a heavy dose of glee. But how far? Could our “Sushi Tour” through Japan have been their doing? Sadly, we will never know. The boys on deck refused to stop – something about winning a yacht race – and we are well on our way towards New Zealand.
Laughs aside, eight days into this leg we are finally going south. The [very] gradual turn down has begun and PUMA’s Mar Mostro is averaging south-of-east every watch, even if only by a few degrees. That trend will continue and in time, intensify. And if the weather models agree, we’ll all face a continuous header, pinwheeling the fleet around the inside boats further to the south, like Olympic runners arching through their first turn. Being on the outside means we’ll sail a longer track, but we’re positioned where the winds are supposed to be strongest, hopefully slingshotting us towards Auckland near the leader(s), maybe HaHa’ing all the way?
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“I hope you guys [Tom and Ken] take us somewhere sunny soon because all of my foul weather gear is thoroughly rinsed.” – Tony Mutter