The last shifts, the end is near, we’ll be crossing the finish line later this afternoon, but.... where the heck is Maui...?!!!
It’s odd to know the island is there but you can’t see it and don’t know when you will. Every 10 miles someone brings out the binoculars to see if they can be the first to spot land.
The spinnaker went up at sunrise, as planned, the boat sped up another 1.5 to 2 knots, back to our 8 to 12+ knots of boat speed, we adjusted our course to be more efficient and concentrated on the driving.
The boat was banging back and forth as we fought it’s natural tendency to round up with short, efficient movements of the helm. The boat was screaming along, rushing to get home like a hungry horse heading for its barn, this stallion was going full out.
It wasn’t long before we were in trouble again, the strop bridle finally failed (gotta talk with Dave about that 36 hour “guarantee!”). The spinnaker was saved by the ingenious safety that Steve rigged up but we could no longer fly the spinnaker without building and installing a new bridle (no time). We were only 30 or so miles away and knew we would make good speed under white sails, although the angle wouldn’t be as efficient we’d still make good time.
The call was made, white sails it is. Douse the spinnaker and bag it, we won’t be needing it anymore. As we raced to the finish line the winds were picking up 25, 30, 35+... We knew this would happen as we entered Pailolo Channel and the islands of Maui and Molokai squeezed the wind.
One more jibe then the finish line.
The winds rose, high 30’s at times peaking at 40. The jibe went well, like a well oiled machine, the islands came into view... soon the Ka’anapali resort area was visible and the finish line would be crossed. The finish line is a little odd in that one point of the line is on a balcony in a vacation tower on the shoreline of Ka’anapali and the other is a GPS point out in the strait. It’s a “virtual” line so the crew, always searching for some indication of crossing, constantly was asking if one thing or another was one point of the line. We finally spotted a balcony with a large orange, diamond shaped nautical looking display that could only be the one end of the line. This was confirmed by Gunnar and, with John at the helm, he soon told us we had crossed, the race was done!
We had done it! A great cheer went out, hugs and handshakes all round.
We were quickly greeted by a local pilot with a large cooler bag full of beer and drinks. But no celebrating yet as we needed to drop and secure the sails. Down came the jib, on came the motor. The winds were in the mid 30’s so the turn head to wind under full sail heeling the boat way over, even wetting the toe-rail in the water as the boat came head to wind. Down came the main, all sails secured and soon we were under way by diesel power.
Beers were opened and we toasted to a good, successful, safe trip. 12 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes and 8 seconds... across the finish line, achieving our goal of 13 days or less!
Our handicapped, corrected time was: 8 days, 19 hours 45 minutes with the winning boat achieving: 8 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes.
We soon learned we had secured 1st place in our Division. That’s two Vic-Maui’s, two 1st place finishes, pretty darn good. We also soon learned that our crew mate, Gunnar, won the Navigator’s award as the best navigator of the race. Congratulations Gunnar, an award well deserved.
A bit about 13 – THIRTEEN The word play we do on the boat, it’s an exercise we do as a way to pass the time, keep our minds busy and for camaraderie. The number 13 was chosen as it has a special meaning to all of us this year.
Some people might think it’s an unlucky number but to us it’s a very lucky number.
It was John’s goal to arrive in 13 days or less. He knew it was doable as two years ago the race duration was 14 days and 15 hours, with a good 24 hours in very calm winds and no headway. He wanted to challenge the team to achieve or better a 13 day crossing.
It was also the number of the boat Havoc, owned by Gunnar Jonsson and his wife Ede. Gunnar lost Ede earlier this year to cancer and he also had bypass surgery shortly after. Almost all of us on String Theory, over the years, have sailed on Havoc, sailed with Ede and have been the recipient of the experience and wisdom so generously dispensed by Gunnar.
For us 13 is a lucky number.
We are lucky to have achieved our goal of sailing to Maui in 13 days or less, to have sailed on boat #13, Havoc, to have sailed with Ede and Gunnar and to still be sailing with Gunnar.
13 is a lucky number for us and we are so grateful.
Team String Theory was:
John Mortimer (Skipper/Owner)
Gunnar Jonsson (Navigator/Driver)
Don McFarlane (Driver)
Steve Dillon (Driver/Pit/Mast, Soft-Shackle Maker)
Mike Copps (Driver/Pit/Mast)
Keturah Witter (Driver/Pit/Sailor)
Dan Tresa (Driver/Pit)
Dave Maskell (Driver/Foredeck/Mast Monkey)
Bryan Ekman (Driver/Pit/Mast/Foredeck – whatever needed to be done!)
Tim Mastel-Marr (Driver/Foredeck)
Miles sailed by A team: 1189.9
Miles sailed by B team: 1188.1