After two days of safety briefings, man overboard drills and Ted darting his eyes at Bruce with looks of “Oh man what did you get me into”, we have finally cast off! The energy and excitement on board is high as everyone is ready for a grand adventure on the big blue. 11 strangers with matching t-shirts become quick friends as we count on each other to work as a team to cook, clean, check the bilges, battle sea-sickness, trim the sails, remind each other to stay hydrated, and most importantly keep the boat on course and upright (well sorta).
Since we are headed south, we were sheltered by the wind shadow from the Hawaiian Islands for the first day and a half which ended up being about 156nm of our journey. Everybody was surprised that we were affected by the islands so far offshore; a big part of it is because the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island that tower over 12,000ft tall. At times we were moving painfully slow under sail power so we sheeted in the main and used the engine to assist our progression while we waited for the wind to come. We enjoyed the calm seas by reading and napping on deck as the island of Oahu slowly faded into the horizon. We were able to enjoy spicy buffalo cauliflower burritos for dinner and a beautiful first sunset all together up on deck. While none of us are vegetarian in our daily land-lives, everybody has been pleasantly surprised with the creative veggie delights that we have been crafting. On the first night we were also lucky enough to have a full moon! The moon illuminated the glimmering sea around us which made for a truly special night of sailing under the stars. This night we only saw one other vessel. As we got closer, we pulled up the fishing vessel on AIS and discovered it was also named “Sea Dragon”; however, they didn’t want to chat with us on the radio.
After patiently waiting, the wind finally came and we are flying! We are surfing waves downwind on a great pacific thrill ride. We have Tradewinds blowing consistently ranging from 18-33kts true. We are set up with a double reefed main and have the jib and staysail deployed and have been cruising along averaging 8-10 kts with the occasional, and quite exciting 12-13 kts. The second night was filled with sporty maneuvers with high wind and seas and intermittent squalls. Now that we are on day three at sea, everyone seems to be settling into the routine of watch schedules very well. We are running a “dog watch” schedule to ensure the shifts continue to rotate everyday and everyone can be well rested. Our current position is 14º 46.13’ N, 159º 23.61’ W which means we are about 550 nm away from Palmyra, which is roughly a little less than halfway. As of right now, we are expecting to arrive sometime on the 22nd.