With the safe return of Salient and her crew to Vancouver the final chapter in the 2018 Vic Maui campaign has been written. What remains is a look back and a heartfelt thank you to all that helped to realize a successful Vic-Maui campaign.
It all started when we acquired Salient late in 2016 for advanced sail training and adventure tours for Simply Sailing with an eye on the 2018 Vic Maui. In the summer of 2017 we put a core team of Vic Maui veterans together and hoped to have a full team by the fall and start training.
Salient was very well prepared for the 2016 campaign yet the rig, engine and some electrical systems needed attention. With some issues on the rig that had to be addressed much of the fall training did not happen. By year-end 2017 we also had one open crew spot.
By the end of the winter the race team was complete and training started in earnest including Southern Straits, a training weekend, the Oregon Offshore race and our performance workshops with Roger Friesen. It was not until we arrived in Maui that I realized how short the campaign really was. Would you believe, that the first time the entire crew sailed together through the night was day 1 of the Vic Maui race?
From the time we started boat prep with the removal of the mast in October 2017 until race start, less than nine months passed. This would not have been possible without a tremendous team effort and I would like to thank all of you who made the success of the Salient Racing Team possible. This is an attempt to express my sincere thank you to all involved:
First and foremost I want to thank my family Andrea & Leonardo who fully supported my dream and did not see much of me this year. My parents who supported me from afar in Switzerland. The race team put much effort into prepping the boat, sailing hard and most of all supported each and every member when the going got tough be it in the boat yard or a thousand miles from shore in a challenging race: Gunnar Jonsson (Navigator & Watch Captain), Dan Tresa a.k.a. Chef Pierre (Bosun & Crew Director), Suze Cummings (Trim), Renee Duprat (Pit & on board doctor), Tim Mastel-Marr (Foredeck), Bryan Ekman (Main) and Matt Dahabie (Trim and deck inspector). Vital to the race team’s success was Roger Friesen our performance coach. His thoughts and words were with as all the way to Maui, notably: “We trained for hard, not easy”. And hard it was.
The return team for a save and fun passage back to Vancouver: Jonathan Hitchings (watch captain), Peter Stange, Neil Greckol, Ian Kerr, Jeff Goszulak, Lior Drory and Andrea Damascelli.
Both teams were supported by their partners, family and friends who all deserve a special thanks to let their loved ones pursue their dreams and for all the supportive notes, emails & cheers.
Incredible shore support by Susan Tresa (provisions & administration of race entry), Vanessa Rienau (social media), Riaan Windt (on shore doctor), Jim Prentice (medical kit) & Andrea Sepulveda (shore communications).
Salient was well prepared and a solid offshore racing platform. That would not have been possible without much support from the following people:
Brad Marchant and his Team at First Yachts Services namely Adam Thompson, Alex Smyth, Pat Thompson, Steve & Sarah Tomlinson and Rod Embley (Prop Speed!!). Thank you also to Steve White who assured the rig was up to the task. Despite the incredible loads we put on the rig, I never had the slightest doubt it would not withstand the punishment it went through. Dennis LeFeaux of North Sails was always there to discuss sail plans, fix sails we damaged during training on the shortest possible notice and coached us during a sail trim session. And no, we don’t hold a grudge for “talking us out” of A-sails before the race. Drew Mitchell, North Sails, for “Black Magic”.
Thank you also to: Philip Hagerty and Phil Baron who helped us navigate the ORC measurement and rating. Sandy of Metal by Design who helped us with all the steel fabrication
David Sutcliffe and John Mortimer for sharing their past experience and technical expertise with boat prep. Marie Mortimer for the “Halfway Cafe”.
A big shout out to all the Vic-Maui volunteers both in Canada and Maui for putting on such a great event. Namely I want to say thank you to Gaylean Sutcliffe who did an amazing job behind the scene administering the race registration, David Sutcliffe as the Event Chair and Rich Ballantyne as the Principal Race Officer. Great work you all!
Thank you also to all my staff in the office for keeping Simply Sailing going: Colin Denton who managed the school, Juliane Kunz, Marnie Bragg & Kara Keam who looked after the administration, clients and finances and all our instructors.
Last but not least: All the friends and supporters not mentioned by name above, for their support, messages, both during the race and the return. We enjoyed your comments & cheers on social media. You too helped us to keep pushing when the going was tough.
See you all in 2020. There is no better time to start the 2020 Vic Maui campaign than right now!
Aloha & Mahalo.
45d 08.4 N 135d 51.1 W
Time for an update from aboard Salient. It has been a while. We have been very busy here and our social media coordinator has been racing during the long weekend.
The program has changed: We are no longer in the ‘leisure program’ and are now into the adventure part of our sailing adventure. The days of swimming in the ocean and shorts on deck are definitively over. Welcome the Pacific Northwest!
Three nights ago, we sailed in near gale conditions through a black night. Winds picked up to 30 kts, gusting to 35. The sky and ocean blended into one dark canvass with no visual reference points. All we could see were the white caps on top of cresting waves, illuminated by our navigation lights. The seemed like galloping white horses in a hurry to go somewhere.
For our sailor friends: We had the #2 sail up, partially furled on a spinnaker pole, no main, sailing at true wind angles of 160 – 170 degrees. This is a very conservative & forgiving yet effective sail plan to go downwind. It was set up, so we could furl or even gybe the jib without having do anything with the pole.
Before sunrise we reached our gybe point but decided to belay that maneuver until sunrise avoiding having to reset the pole and foredeck work in these conditions. Imagine being on a 20 square foot platform, that rolls 30 degrees back and forth and pitches at the same time randomly. The bowman only a step away from falling into the dark water swooshing by the bow it was safer to stay in the cockpit. After all, we did not have to win a race coming home.
The average wave height was three to four meters with the occasional one being bigger. Waves can be double in height from the predicted average wave height. One nasty wave slammed us broad side and leaped into the cockpit and I was standing ankle deep in water at the helm and everybody else got a cold shower.
Suddenly, we could hear birds twittering. They flew on our port side, their tiny bodies lite up by the lights on top of the mast. They showed up as we were supposed to gybe. It was almost as if they wanted to tell us “gybe now, gybe now”. We carried on our gybe though, and they stayed with us all night giving us some comfort during this dark and stormy night. We were all tired and happy to see the day break with the winds down in the mid twenties.
In the afternoon the sun came up. Back to the leisure program with champagne sailing. Sadly, in the middle of the day, one of the pins holding the stove on the gimble gave way and the stove fell partly into the pans & pots cabinet below. It did not look very practical to cook that way. After close inspection we could tell that those pins were not meant to every be replaced but after the 1,000,000,000th gimble back & forth the constant seesaw the pin was neatly cut in half. Not having the gimble or no stove at all was not an option. The first phase was to secure it and we tied it to the guard rail in front of the stove and shimmied it with plywood. For phase two: Out come the tools: Drill, punch, hacksaw, the whole nine yards and a few hours later we had a fully gimbled stove again and better designed than before.Much fun doing this while we sail on, in 20 kts of breeze, big swell left over after the heavy winds.
The project was done in time for dinner and we had our meal & captains hour on schedule. Happy crew!
Day 9 – Half way!
39 d 43.8 N 147 43,2
For the weather gurus among you: Have a look at the two pictures: One from the weather fax showing a low pressure system (1001 hPa) right near our position. The grib files (2nd picture) does not show that low. We experienced the winds filled in much earlier from the NW than earlier gribs suggested. This worked well. Squalls frequently build and for the better part they pass us on our favorable side giving us a boost where the prevailing winds are light. Squalls typically last for 15 – 30 minutes, with light to heavy rain and winds 5 to 10 kts above the prevailing winds.
Mostly though the weather presented itself friendly and we sailed in shorts during the day. At night however the foulies have come out. Jono won the competition of the last crew sailing in shorts. He took some pride in the fact that the sole Kiwi aboard won over the tough Canadians.
The big event today however was that we reached our Halfway Point!
At 4 pm Vancouver time we were equidistance between Maui and Victoria about 1150 NM from each point. We cranked our new "Half way song": Bon Jovi "Living on a Prayer":
"Ohhh we're half way there, living on a prayer" - LOL.
We expect to be in Vancouver at happy hour on Friday August 10th. We still have a lot of Ocean to cross and a lot can happen between now and then. Nevertheless, the crew is proud to have sailed over 2,000 km since July 24th when we left Honolua Bay on Maui.
We have seen strong winds in formidable swell early on and champagne sailing later in the voyage. Mostly the weather was fantastic with sunny days and spectacular sunsets broken up by the occasional squall. Fishing, swimming and food lived up to expectations and we all enjoy this special time on the ocean away from land.
August 1st is also the Swiss National Day. The Swiss flag went up again and we celebrated with fresh baked bread. A nice treat for all.
Day 8th – The Day in Numbers & a Swim
37 d 42.4 N 149 13.0 W
Last night we passed a first milestone: 1,000 NM north of Maui. We have now sailed almost 2,000 km since leaving Lahaina on July 23rd. 1,300 NM to go until we get back into Canada. Our position is at the same latitude as San Francisco, about 1,300 NM to the east, equidistance to Cape Flattery where we will enter the Juan de Fuca Strait. Soon we will be at our point furthest from land around 1,100 NM from anywhere. That is about the same distance as from Vancouver to Baja California.
We can barely feel the wind on our skin and Salient is ghosting along at a slow pace. The Pacific Ocean lives up to its name. Salient is ghosting along at a slow pace as a gentle swell heave her up and down. The ocean is breathing, gently. Peace.
The water temperature is shy of 22 degrees C. The air temperature is perfect for shorts & t-shirts. Unfortunately, this speed is too slow to fish. I think we can make out the bar on the horizon with Mahi Mahi tacos, cold Bikini Blonde and Cuba Libre.
On the topic of food: Feeling a bit hungry mid morning, I could not help frying up a few slices of Spam. My watch loved it. With a bit of HP Sauce on top, a delicacy! My race team did not approve, and I could not bring a single can of Spam on the way to Maui, but this team loves it 😊. We will have to add another check box on the application form for next time!
Later in the day, we were becalmed took the sails down and finally went for a swim. A thousand miles from anywhere, with the closest land 5,000 m strait down. We all jumped into the deep blue ocean. The water is unbelievably clear and of the most intense blue colour. It is a strange feeling to swim that far from land. A swim around the boat and a dive to inspect rudder & prop. Still no mermaids to be found.
After a shower on the transom, we found our bar and had beer & burgers. Mahi Mahi tacos for tomorrow. We inspected our mainsail & Jono our sail maker patched up a few chaffed spots and on we went. With the wind speed under 3 kts, we started the iron spinnaker and plan to motor for the next 24 hrs.
We now switched from Honolulu Standard Time to Vancouver Time. The sun is gently lowering over the horizon and another day in paradise comes to an end.