Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Cocktail Hour as we pass the Farallon's

Still a bit foggy, but a nice view of the Farallons. Always interesting, especially for those that have not been here before.
25 miles to go.
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Pacific Cup '08 - 4pm Update

45 Miles to go
Boatspeed = 8 knots
You do the math....
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Pacific Cup '08 - A Bridge too Far???

80 miles from GGB
Deja Vu. I think I may have used that title before???
Anyway...good morning from Morpheus. Hopefully, the last good morning of this trip.
Over the past three days, I have held out hope of a mid afternoon arrival under the Golden Gate. That would be followed by a quick right hand turn into the StFYC where we could adjourn to the Grill Room for many arrival cocktails with friends and family and perhaps a short trip into the Marina District for dinner at one of my favorite local Italian restaurants.
Nice plan.
The only problem is that last night the wind shut off. Not like in the high where it shut off and left us with 5-6 knots. No this time we are talking less than 2.5 knots of wind. Plenty of hazy fog, and water like a mirror. The engine has been on, but our speed is not what we'd hoped for and now unfortunately we are looking at (what is becoming typical) an arrival time close to 11pm or more likely midnight.
So, have a drink for us this afternoon, and we'll see how things develop. Forecasts do not include any winds that will change things for us.
Patrick - You may need to find some pizza and beer for us. I'm sure you can figure out how....

PS. Mike says he spotted a 2ft long shark a while ago, and we just saw an otter more than 80 miles from shore?
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Pacific Cup '08 - Cocktail Hour...

On a delivery, you always need something each day to look forward to. Each day, the good crew of Morpheus has had that thing that holds us through the day, that inspires us to continue to slog through the ocean, to keep our eyes open for ships, nets in the water, and floating glass balls. That thing is... COCKTAIL HOUR!!!!!!!

Each day about 5:00, Deb starts her chant, "Jim, is it cocktail Hour? Jim is it cocktail hour? Jim, is it cocktail hour?" We wake Scott up, purely for the social aspect of cocktail hour since he doesn't drink, and we retire to various locations (How many locations are there on a 50 foot boat?) on the deck for an hour of totally random and spontaneous conversation... Today, it was mostly Star Trek and spin offs, specifically about the various female characters on the shows, and their (lack of) costumes. Oh, and of course, fish. We always talk about fish, fishing, lures, lack of heavy fishing line, hooking vrs catching, how close to the boat you need to get a fish before it constitutes a catch... OMG! In the high's where we are motoring and no bow waves, we usually have cocktail hour on the foredeck, so we can watch for nets and garbage that we need to avoid. When the weather is worse, we all crowd under the dodger. Not that it offers any protection, since Scott got a wave right down the neck, and Deb got a lap full of a really cold wave, right after taking a shower and getting into her last pair of clean, really nice warm fuzzy sweats. *&YUYH&* But I digress...
Since Morpheus has historically been a dry boat on passages, cocktail hour caught the provisioning officer off guard. But, we did scrounge enough beer so that we could each have one Coors Light each day for most of the passage. Mike and Deb relished these beers, savoring the delicious "hiss" upon opening their daily beer. But the beer ran out. Horror. But, the provisioning officer came up with the goods and broke out the left over hard stuff from Hawaii. Since mixers were scarce, we had to improvise and come up with our own boat drinks. Jim's clever way of making ice in a zip lock was critical to the success of the boat drink experiment. Mike's "Morpheus Martini" of gin and Ginger Root was pretty much a flop, especially compared to the Rum and Pepsi Jim and Deb were enjoying. Rum, Pepsi and all sodas being gone today, Deb came up with "Pink Vodkas"! Vodka, ice and pink lemonade! Actually, very good. Since we are now out of Vodka, tomorrow we will try "Pink Gins"
Spirits are good upon the good ship Morpheus. See you all late Sunday!
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - How to cross an ocean on Morpheus

As this trip winds down, I will try to provide a summary of what the standard daily routine looks like onboard.
This may seem overly simplistic, however, please understand that we have spent considerable time discussing this and we believe it to be an accurate representation.
Here we go....
1) Standard Routine
- Sleep
- Stand your watch
- Eat
- Read
2) Repeat step 1 three times
3) Throw a fishing lure overboard with a disgusted look
4) Cocktail Hour - discuss some random topic in excruciating detail
5) Repeat all above until you arrive at your destination
- JG
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Pacific Cup '08 - Happy Birthday Christopher!!

Winds dropping, seas becoming more normal, still plenty of "mini-squalls" crossing our path. Interesting.

Happy Birthday Chris! 20 years old, wow!! Your Mother and I are sorry that we didn't make it home in time to celebrate with you. More than that, we are sorry that you couldn't join us for this trip. Hopefully, things will all work out better the next time around??
Hope you have a great day. We are pretty sure you'll manage just fine!!
See you tomorrow??
- Mom & Dad
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Pacific Cup '08 - - Miscellany

MW - Fishing and Gaming Correspondent - Morpheus Bureau - About 380 miles west of San Francisco

As pointed out in prior post,s there has been little happening on board Morpheus the last few days. Consequently we have had no time to blog about what we have not been doing. I will attempt to remedy that oversight with this post.


No fish. Hooked something big and heavy at dusk a couple days ago on the light line. Never saw it. It went deep. After playing it about 15 minutes we got it close to the surface, it swam under Morpheus dragged the line across the rudder and broke it. Another lost lure.

We had three lines in the water yesterday, one today. Nada. Nada. But on a positive note, we have lost no additional lures.


Thursday I won the Morpheus Liars Dice Tournament. It was not close. I never lose at that game.

Wednesday we established a pool for arrival under the gate. Entries:

Scott 1:00 PM Sunday
Jim 3:00 PM Sunday
Deb 5:00 PM Sunday
Mike 7:00 PM Sunday

Closest time wins. Loser buys the first round on land. Winner picks the drink. All four passengers must still be on board as we cross under the gate for results to be certified official.

As cocktail hour convened today, Debby - fresh from the shower - claimed the only guaranteed dry spot directly under the dodger - She explained she was wearing her last clean dry clothes. Being gentlemen, the rest of the Morpheus crew, of course, acquiesced.

Do I even have to say what happened? Freak wave smacked the dodger at an odd angle, sending a river of water surging under the dodger and along the sliding door guide, pouring a bucket of water directly into Debby's lap.

The Morpheus is not a happy boat right now.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Not such a great day

Grey Sky
Windy aprox 20 knots
Confused Seas, swells from a variety of directions
Some onboard not feeling so good
Uncomfortable, but safe and sound!!
Tomorrow better.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Reporting from Morpheus 081308

Just wanted to report nothing happened today. A B S O L U T E L Y nothing.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Drug Transfer at Sea - A done deal

Like clockwork (an hour later than predicted) Morpheus and Recidivist sighted each other traveling in opposite directions 972 miles from San Francisco.

Recidivist tacked and took up a course towards San Francisco. Morpheus fell in behind and slightly to leeward. Seas were moderate and the wind was blowing 15 knots. Pretty perfect conditions for getting the required med's transferred between boats.
It was easy. As we pulled along side the tossed over a throw rope (those things really work!). At the end of the rope was a dry bag attached to a second rope that Recidivist controlled. Scott and Mike stuffed the drugs in the bag (well Scott did, Mike was busy taking pictures), and once closed the bag was pulled back across to Recidivist. That's it. Easy as could be and we were off again!!

Hope they work!

Nice day out here. Another one. Easy downwind VMG sailing under main and jib. Home sometime late next weekend.
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Pacific Cup '08 - Fish Story - Lessons #9 and #10

MW - Fishing Correspondent - Morpheus Bureau - Somewhere in the Pacific High
During the 2003 Tahiti to Hawaii crossing, Christopher, Patrick and I spent many hours in the cockpit under the stars discussing modern physics, particularly relativity, quantum mechanics, and the theory of parallel universes. No - really - we actually did. Sitting in a small boat between the deep blue sea below and the limitless stars above, it just seemed like the thing to do at the time. In particular I am reflecting on the discussions we had about the theories positing the existence of infinite parallel universes - many only slightly different from each other - existing only a short dimensional shift from each other. For example, in one universe you catch a fish, in the universe next door you don't - otherwise they are the same.
Somewhere in a nearby universe, there is a photograph taken on Sunday afternoon, with Jim and I standing on the stern of the Morpheus, each holding a four foot dorado/mahi-mahi that we just landed within 20 minutes of each other, one on the hand line, one on the reel. I believe that some terrible mistake has been made, and I am supposed to be living in that universe. But I don't live there, instead I am here in this universe with you, where that photo does not exist. This is what happened in this universe:
Jim called out "Look at that fish jump!" I looked in the direction of his outstretched hand and saw a big dorado crash back to the surface. Then behind it - another - and another - and another. "It's a school!" I said. The dorado/mahi-mahi is a beautiful fish. long. lean, metallic gold green, almost like the paint job on a two tone California hot rod. It was a spectacular sight as they leapt through the calm water, sparkling in the intense mid-day sun.
"I think they are heading for our lures." Jim said. They were. We were motoring through the Pacific high. As usual we had two lines in the water, a hand line with the cedar plug, and the reel with the underweight replacement line trailing a ridiculous rube-goldberg abomination I had fashioned out of pieces from the tackle box that morning. The school was moving in the opposite direction as Morpheus, quartering in toward our wake.
"Look." I said "That one is heading for your lure." Snap. He was on the hand line. I grabbed the line while Jim slowed the engine and put on gloves. I handed the line to Jim. The call of "Fish on!" brought Scott from below and Deb with my camera. It was a big fish. Four feet long. Well, to be precise, I'd put it closer to 3 ft. 11 inches.
Jim slowly and methodically brought the fish closer to the boat. I stationed my self on the swimmers platform in the stern of the boat to gaff or net the fish. Unfortunately, there is neither gaff nor net on board Morpheus. I was not sure exactly what I was going to do. I know what I should do - grab the fish under the gills. But Jim had the gloves and there were flashing teeth and a big hook, and I was not sure what I was going to do.
It is important to note at this point an obvious fact - the fisherman handling the line loses control of the fish once someone else nets or gaffs or grabs the fish or the line. Back to our story in progress.
The fish was at the boat. I grabbed a stanchion with my left hand to anchor myself to the boat, reached down with my right hand, grabbed the leader in front of the fish and heaved the gold green brute out of the water. Every bit of 3 feet 11 inches. He was over the transom now, but still flopping on the hook under my straining arm. I could not grab him with my other had without releasing my hold on the boat. What to do? I tried to lift him higher and throw him over the lifeline onto the Morpheus deck. He flopped, lost the hook, bounced off the transom, and was gone.
There was a long uncomfortable silence while we all looked at each other. I'd rather not describe the look that Jim was giving me. But before anything could be said, the drag on the reel started screaming. We had another fish on the line. I could not get out from under that gaze fast enough and scrambled behind the brass reel in the holder on the port side. Conscious of the light test line spooling out of the reel, I babied the drag, tightening ever so slowly - the fish jumped. Another dorado. Another four footer. Well, to be precise, I'd put it closer to 4 ft. 1 inch.
Long story Long story not so long... I fought the fish for about 20 minutes, treating the line like a thread. The fish jumped at least six times bringing it in. Finally it rolled on its side and I could draw it slowly up on the stern. It was every bit of 4 ft. 1 in. Jim was already on the step in the transom wearing the gloves. Somewhere behind me I vaguely heard a small voice saying "Hey guys - I know how to do this. I snag fish in the delta all the time." I think it was Scott. Must have been. But I was focused on Jim. "Jim, the only way to bring it on board is grab it under the gills."
Jim said "I can get the wire leader."
I said "Jim, the only way to bring it on board is grab it under the gills."
Jim grabbed the leader and pulled the head of the fish over the transom. Then his hand slipped up the leader to the line. The fish flopped. The line broke. The fish was gone.
I dunno.
Both fish were caught. Both fish were brought on the boat. Both fish were "released" depending on how one interprets the "state of mind" of the fishermen and gaffers. Regardless of psychological interpretation, it was one of the most extraordinary fishing experience of my life.
Deb made a very nice Hamburger Helper plate for dinner.
RULE # 9
If your name is Jim and you have a fish on the line, have Scott and not Mike bring it on board.
RULE #10
If your name is Mike and you have a fish on the line, have Scott and not Jim bring it on board.
This is still not a bad universe to be in, but they were eating better on the Morpheus in that neighboring universe.
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Pacific Cup '08 - Happy Birthday Mom!!

Have a great day! Sorry to be away...
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Pacific Cup '08 - Rendezvous at Sea

7am PDT
Good Morning. Celebrated passing the half way point yesterday with a few afternoon Morpheus Mai Tai's. 5:30pm cocktail hour has become a standard daily event. I think it's a nice addition to our passage routine.
During last nights roll call, Recidivist announced that it had a crew onboard with Cellulitous (spelling?). I guess this is something that has been developing over several days and has become a big issue. Normally this is treated with Penicillin, but the crew member is allergic to that. alternative drug is needed. Lucky for everyone, we have the drug they need and we were the second closest boat to them.
At 1AM this morning we agreed to a rendezvous point aprox. half way between us, and should be meeting each other at about noon today. Lucky for us, they are right on the way home. Unlucky for them, they had to turn and motor upwind in 15+ knots of wind directly away from home.
Details of the exchange to follow. Who has ideas regarding the best way to pass drugs between two boats offshore in waves and 15+ knots of wind?? Send your suggestions by 11am!!
PS. Amazing to hear Steve Chamberlain of Surprise on the SSB last night during our Pacific Cup Roll Call. Steve is anchored in Tonga!!!
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - We catch a fish

MW post.
Catching the fish is a bit of old news, as Debby and Jim have already related the news in prior posts, but I thought our one and only fish catch was worthy of a bit more color before we move on to even more lessons on how to not catch fish from the Morpheus. Yes, we have two more lessons to divulge, but I just cannot talk about that right now.
I am admittedly a bit slow in adding details of that single catch because I was, quite frankly, intimidated by another bit of news. Via private correspondence on the boat we learned that some of these posts are being used in Mrs. Humphrey's 5th grade class as illustrations of creative writing. This certainly gives one pause. I mean, rambling on a blog about fishing, and sailing, and demon birds from hell is one thing. But helping shape the malleable young minds of the next generation is another thing all together. Shouldn't I be doing more? Shouldn't I be trying to pass along the collected wisdom of my 55 years? Or something?
When we last left off, Rule #3 of "How to not catch fish" documented a jumping Dorado/Mahi-Mahi behind the boat just after the line was reeled in. Rule *8 documented Jim actually hooking a dorado with the hand line a few minutes later, but losing it with a very sportsmanlike long distance catch and release. By the way - for the benefit of Mrs. Humphrey's 5th Grade class - I did not actually write Rule #8. It was appended by Jim while I was on watch and shortly before he posted it to the blog. Hence, I am not responsible for the double negative of starting a rule supposedly about NOT catching fish with another negation - "Don't hook a fish right at sunset". Yes, the whole thing confused me too.
The important thing, is the next morning after Deb relieved me from the sunrise watch, I put the cedar plug on the now seriously downgraded line of Chris' reel, and within 5 minutes had a two foot Dorado on the line. The call of "Fish on!" roused Jim from a sound sleep and he dragged himself up the companionway saying "This better not be a joke." With Jim and Deb's help we landed the fish. Finally. Then we sent Jim back below decks so he could preserve his illusion that filleting a fish on the transom can be accomplished without spilling a drop of blood, guts, or slime on the Morpheus. Within two hours the Morpheus delivery crew was enjoying a small appetizer plate of mahi-mahi sashimi. Within four hours we had mahi-mahi sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic, served on a bed of rice, and drizzled with the garlic infused olive oil. There is not a lot of meat on a two foot dorado. but we were able to stretch what we had, and were left looking forward to the next fresh caught fish meal.
Alas this brings us to the unfortunate events of Sunday afternoon. But that will have to wait for a future post.
It is still too close.
It is still too painful.
Instead, we conclude with a new series - Life Lessons for Mrs. Humphrey's 5th grade class from the crew of the Morpheus:
Remember kids - Starving writers really starve, whereas starving software salesmen eat pretty darn good.

x-posted to Morpheus Sailing Blog and MW Mobile blog.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Dear Pat

We've picked up two glass fishing balls this trip!!
- Dad
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Pacific Cup '08 - Another Day in the Pacific High

Day #6 of our journey finds us 963 miles from Hawaii, and 1266 miles from San Francisco.
As usual we spend most of our day learning new ways NOT to catch a fish. I will let Mike describe the events of the day, but should mention to Chris that we've already lost 600+ feet of his high test line, and his lure collection will need some "enhancement" upon our return. Fear not, his birthday is 8/16!!
We've also become very good at clearing sections of net from our propeller. Nice that Mike feels so comfortable swimming around taking pictures of the boat and birds in the area. I do not really have any desire to add myself to the oceans food chain.
Still dealing with very light winds. Had hoped to catch the tail of a low sliding over the top of us today. Perhaps we will miss it?? Rage was reporting 35 knots only 100 miles to our North last night. Where is our wind?? Initial 160 gallons of fuel now down to about 120....
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Pacific Cup '08 - Hi from the High

Hi you guys!
Well, we are in the high and motoring straight to SF. We should be motoring for another day, then the wind should pick up.
Yesterday was an adventure! I was on watch at dawn. Beautiful sunrise. Then Mike caught a Dorado/Mahi Mahi! Catching, cleaning, and deciding how to prepare it took a good chunk of time. O, then we had to retrieve the bucket that fell into the H2O while Mike was cleaning the fish. Then we found and retrieved a glass fishing ball. I made the ultimate catch using my straw hat! At this point, a HUGE brown albatross type bird joined us, trying to figure out what we were doing. (Wing span about 7 feet. Looked like a big goose size.) The bird obviously thought we might be a source of food. Off we go, closely monitored by the big brown bird,(BBB) and then his BBB buddy.
Then we ran over a piece of fish net that fouled the propeller. You have never seen Jim levitate so fast from down below to the back of the boat to kill the engine. We start floating around again, so we are joined by BBB # 3. BBB 1 decides to swim into our fishing line, so we have to cut the line and let it slip backwards through it's feathers, or he would have impaled himself with the hook! Mike was not pleased to lose his lure. We attached an under H2O camera to the boat hook, and took a video of the propeller. Yep...propeller fouled with net.
Jim briefly puts boat in reverse and a 2 x 2 piece of net floats to the surface. Just to make sure, Mike jumps into the H2O with mask and snorkel to make sure the propeller is clear. Did I mention we are in the MIDDLE of the Pacific Ocean, a thousand miles from land, and the water is 3 miles deep. You can easily see down 100 feet.
BBB # 4 comes to investigate. Mike start splashing birds to keep them at least a foot away... Um.. Mike? These are sea birds. They don't care if they get wet.... BBB 1 - 4 decide to give Mike 2 feet of space. Mike checks propeller. All is clear. Mike gets classic self portrait shot of himself, bird, Morpheus, Jim and me from the middle of the Pacific High. Mike climbs back in the boat, and we are off again.
Rest of the night went well.
Trying to get home by Chris' Bday, but we may miss by a day or 2. Will have a big party when we get home. OK?
Love to all. Keep me posted on the Olympics! Denise, say hello!
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - United States more to the right

Checked Morpheus progress at FIS Tracking. Please note that the US
is more to the right. -Bob
Thanks for that helpful hint!! As Mike suggested in his response to you, I WAS holding my charts sideways. Have worked that issue out now, and I think you'll see some improvement the next time you check the tracking info.
Thanks again,
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Pacific Cup '08 - MIke caught a fish!!

A small Dorado, but still a fish!
It was about 18 inches long.
He is happy.
My boat is covered in fish guts...
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Friday, August 08, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Things we have learned about how to not catch fish from Morpheus

MW Post from Morpheus - Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean - Apparently heading for the Bering Sea
As noted in prior posts, we have had two lines in the water almost continuously since leaving Hawaii. Over the course of journey so far, we have gleaned some valuable lessons on how to not catch fish from the Morpheus. For the benefit of future sailors on the Morpheus who intend to invest time, money and effort fishing from the Morpheus in an ocean that is filled with fish, but would like to avoid the messy business of actually catching anything, we offer these helpful tips.
On day two Jim decided to put a Rapala lure on the hand line. It looked like a brand new lure, but has spent some time in the tackle box as the hooks were a bit rusty and corroded. After a day in the water, the Rapalla emerged with bite marks all over the body of the lure, and points broken off the corroded treble hook.
On day one I fished with a lure I purchased at Hi's Tackle Box in San Francisco. It is a cedar plug painted like a Rainbow Trout. The local aquatic denizens were greatly amused.
This just happened. I interrupted writing this post to go on deck and reel in the rig we have had in the water all day. As I was unhooking the retrieved squid lure to put back in the box, I looked up to see a three foot dorado jump right behind the boat where the lure was moments ago.
It is friggin' useless.
Well we don't actually know big the fish was, as we did not get a good look at it. It may only have been as big as Morpheus is wide. We only saw a hint of the fish and the tsunami it triggered when crashing back into the water about 100 yards behind the boat. It may have been more than 100 yards back even at the time of the jump. If Chris is reading this blog, I would be curious to know the test strength and length of line he had on the big brass reel. I am guessing it had several hundred yards of 75 lb test. Note the use of past tense. But I am getting ahead of myself.
This happened yesterday. I used an overpriced big black brute of lure that I also purchased at Hi's Tackle Box. You can see a picture of it if you look back on my blog to the posts shortly before leaving for Hawaii. The staff at Hi's told me it was a Wahoo lure. It was affixed to Chris' rig by a fifteen foot titanium leader, also purchased at Hi's, which they assured me I needed if I intended to catch a fish with teeth. It is shocking what has happened to the price of commodities like titanium during the Bush administration. But I digress.
I spent the morning at my usual post reclining in the cockpit with my back slouching against the bulkhead, hat pulled down to eye level so I can focus with intense concentration on the action of the rod in the holder and the line in the water. By the way - I have independent confirmation that I was at my post fishing, as Debbie took a picture of me there, apparently under the mistaken impression that I was sleeping. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was concentrating. I will update this post with said picture later as evidence.
Of course, no one can maintain that level of intense concentration indefinitely. After several hours I decided to take the action that all fishermen know is guaranteed to bring fish. I went below and made myself systematically unprepared for a fish to be on the line. I removed my safety harness and put it away. I booted my laptop and rendered my camera inoperable by beginning to download photo's. I stuffed a sandwich in my mouth. At that exact moment - I heard the scream of the drag on the reel and Jim called out "Fish on!" My plan was working perfectly.
By the time I got the safety harness back on and made my way to the rig, we had seen the end of the jump, and 3/4 of the reel had already spooled out. (Comment JDG: This was the biggest fish ever!! Seriously, ESPN Big Game Fishing Stuff! HUGE!) I slid the drag to the maximum level "strike", but to my chagrin, the reel continued to spool out. There was very little line left on the reel. Scott handed me the gloves, and I was able to add enough drag with my hands to stop the line from spooling out. That is the way it stayed for a while, fish on line, I am holding the line, pole bending, little line left on reel. There was no hope of reeling line in. Then the line popped and the fish was gone and all the line with it.
Then I noticed a secret button on the reel that would have permitted me to increase the drag more than I had it set.
I don't think it would have made a difference in the end result, but it probably would have lasted a little longer.
Chris has another rig on board. A much lighter open face reel. I have transferred that line to the big brass reel. It looks like the 10 lb test line that my Dad uses to catch bass and pike in Big Shag Lake.
Yeah. That should work.
Jim hooked a 2ft Dorado on the handline this evening right at Sunset. A bit late to be dealing with fish cleaning etc. Not to worry, in his rush to land this one before it also found a way to escape, he pulled the hook right out of its mouth while it was planing across the waves behind Morpheus at 7 knots.

x-posted on Morpheus Sailing and MW Mobile Blog
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Pacific Cup '08 - Update from Morpheus

JG Post
Long periods of boredom, interrupted by a few moments of excitement. That really does describe this route home from Hawaii. You have to enjoy the journey, otherwise this would drive you crazy. To date, I think we are all enjoying the journey.
Current Conditions
- 1571nm from San Francisco
- 640nm from Hawaii
- 10 knots of wind
- Heading NORTH
- Boatspeed 7.5 knots

Events of Note over past 48 hours...
You don't know what you have until it's gone!! It's really pretty scary when you think about all the things onboard this boat that help us get home and require electricity. Ranked in my priority order...
- Autopilot
- Water
- Navigation Instruments
- Compass Lights
- Starting the engine
- Refrigeration
- Nav. Lights
- Lights
The list goes on and on. Anyway, I'd been getting the sense that we were not getting the normal charging output from our alternator during the last charges of the race, and the first few days of the return. Nothing terrible, but things didn't seem up to spec. Two nights ago though, we started the engine with the batteries quite low and I looked at the alternator output only to see a big ZERO charging amps!!! (of course it was just about midnight)
What followed was two hours of pouring over alternator and regulator manuals. Following suggested trouble shooting processes, and ultimately tracking down a broken wire that should have been connected to the alternator. Cheers of joy were probably heard for miles as we all knew that if we could not solve this, we'd be pulling a U-turn.
The solution seemed simple but was a bit more complex as it turned out. To reconnect the wire we needed to re-crimp a new end fitting on and reconnect to the alternator. To do that it was best to disconnect the alternator circuits from the batteries. To do that meant throwing the battery breaker, and that left us in the dark. autopilot and no compass lights in 18 knots of wind. That could be and was interesting. We ended up with me steering and Deb holding a flashlight on the compass dome for 20 minutes while Mike and Scott took care of the repair work below.
It took two tries, but we got it right with no additional troubles. When the engine was started we ended up with about twice the charging amps as before. Perhaps we were dealing with a loose connection for some time??

Here again is an area that has thrown us a few surprises. We've been fishing with both Chris' big ocean rod and reel, and my handline setup. To fish. In fact, we've become so frustrated that Mike will soon be writing a blog post entitled..."How not to catch a fish!". We believe that we are becoming experts at this.
So far, we've lost two lures, and entire reel of fishing line, and a hook without landing a single fish.

Just to give you some idea of what you will hear from Mike, you can expect to hear all about how he used his $26 lure to hook the biggest fish ever seen by anyone on Morpheus. I'm here to tell you, he is definitely not exaggerating. This fish was huge. Absolute ESPN Big Game Fishing Channel stuff!! The thing jumped in the air shortly after being hooked and while none of us saw the fish, we did see the biggest spray of water ever as a result of a fish. There was water thrown at least 6-8 feet in air, and perhaps 10 feet across. This fish was gigantic!!!
Mike's sad story to follow.

- Olympic updates/results
- News
- Stock Market, bank failures, etc.
- Sailing results (Aldo)
- Stories of the Paccup Crew's re-entry into the real world.

That's it for now. Expect we'll have the engine on and be making somewhat of a right turn sometime in the next 24 hours.
x-posted to MW Mobile Blog
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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Quoth the Booby

It is Scott's watch. Late afternoon. Scott is sitting in the companionway watching for squalls. Otto the autopilot is at the helm. The captain and first mate are sleeping below. I am in the cockpit, back resting on the bulkhead, facing aft, listening to Amy Winehouse "Back to Black" on the iPod, and watching a big sea bird circle the boat. The bird corrects course in mid-air, matches the speed of the boat, and lands above the transom sitting on the rescue kit mounted to the lifeline.
So there he is, less than 10 feet away. I am looking at him. He is looking at me. We are looking at each other. The bird decides I am no threat and starts preening and grooming himself. Blue beak with orange at the base of the beak. White body with some gray. Feet are webbed, yellow orange, like a duck. [I took pictures of course, and will update this post with same when we get back to the land of the big intertubes. In the meantime feel free to ID the bird - Deb guesses from the description it is a Blue Beaked Booby.]
The bird and I stared at each other for almost 30 minutes as Morpheus pounded through the swells. Then it got weird. The bird talked. You know - like a parrot. Now I don't expect anyone to believe this, I almost didn't believe it myself. But I was there, and the bird was clear as a bell.
As I look at the bird, I recall the story told by the race crew of something that took place only a week or so ago, at just about this distance from Hawaii. My understanding is that Pete was at helm, and he was attacked by a large seabird. The bird dive bombed Pete several times, each sweep coming closer until the bird's wing feathers were brushing against Pete on each pass. This was no ordinary bird, as Pete swears he saw the glowing red light of malevolent evil shining out of its eye sockets. It was a demon bird, sent from the gates of Hell itself, or maybe from Hula Girl (everyone knows that Cayard sold his soul to the devil - aka Larry Ellison). Fearing for his own everlasting soul, Pete cut short his watch, and scrambled below. There he waited until he was sure that the bird had left before coming back topside.
At least, that is how Pete tells the story. It sounds a bit different when related by other members of the crew. Ask them.
But I wondered, could this be the same bird?
Finally the bird tired of my company and left, but the spoken words emanating from his beak were still ringing in my ears. I was so shaken that I could not sleep, and was moved to describe the episode in verse:
Quoth The Booby
(with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)
Upon the Morpheus, after main sail tending,
I sat and pondered the night watch pending.
While I lounged in the 'pit - too well fed -
I heard a flapping, just above my head.
There I saw a seabird soar
flap again and land on the transom floor.
The sun and salt spray burned my eyes,
But with no worrisome impending gybes,
we stared at each other - me and the bird so bold -
A blue beaked booby with eyes so cold.
"Speak!" I said, "What do you seek?"
Quoth the Booby - "Where is Pete?"

x-posted at MW Mobile Blog and Morpheus Sailing Blog.
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Morpheus Blog Entry via Sail Mail

MW blog entry -06-August-08

We have been at sea for 48 hours 2 minutes 36 seconds as I hit the period on this sentence. We know because Scott has a stopwatch feature on his watch, and started the clock the minute we left the harbor. I have taken to asking Scott how long we have been sailing every few hours. By end of the trip I will be asking every 15 minutes. It is a nice watch. I look forward to adding it to my collection. At some point I expect him to just give me his watch.

Jim will have to update you on the specifics of course selection,speed, wind conditions, and general progress but it has been a pretty easy run so far. I'll just supplement Jim's log with some random shipboard observations.

We are eating well. Generally granola or grapenuts for breakfast with yogurt, fresh bananas and dates. Our first night out Deb prepared baked chicken with a vegetable rice medley, which became a delicious chicken salad for lunch yesterday. Last night it was a Mexican style Lasagna. Which brings me to the next topic:

Nothing to report, no one got sick. Deb, Scott, and I all used a patch. I didn't think I would need it, but stuck one on anyway - just for the dream entertainment value.

Two lines are out. One hand line and one on the pole. No nibbles yet, but that may be because Morpheus is clipping right along at 7-8 knots, and the fish can't catch up. Yesterday we had a rubbery squid on the hand line and a cedar plug painted like a rainbow trout on the pole. Shortly before taking the lines out of the water I had an Epiphany. No fish out here has ever seen a rainbow trout. Huh. Today we have the unpainted cedar plug on the pole, and a rappala on the handline.

As in - Jim and I are not. We are preparing our face warmers to fend off frostbite during the cold approach into San Francisco. Scott decided to shave and offers a cautionary tale. Bouncing around inside an enclosed space with sharp instruments in hand while attempting a a delicate and precise operation like shaving - well - lets just say that I am questioning Scott's judgment. No matter - No harm, No foul. And I must admit the end result is quite striking. Kind of a picasso-esque avant garde pattern of shaved and unshaved squares across his face. Its a good look.

Debbie reminds me to conserve sailmail bits, so I'll end this here. More later.

Postscript: Deb wants Rob to know that he is in trouble. Something about leakage around the mast onto Deb's bed. Jim promptly threw Rob under the bus, saying it was Robs job to repair that leak. Understandable. Rob's not here. Jim is.


x-posted at Morpheus Sailing Blog and MW Mobile Blog

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Pacific Cup '08 - News of the World

You are all very quiet. Could use some entertainment out here....
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - 1946 Miles to Go

6:30pm PDT
13 knots of wind
TWA = 60
Heading = 10
Just short of 24 hours and 150 miles out of Hawaii. Not bad for spending the first 12 with a single reefed main.
Woke up early this morning and rigged the hand line while Mike was still asleep. Had hoped to catch a fish before he even woke up, but my normal success rate remains constant. Have now been dragging two lures for 8 hours with no luck.
All onboard are slowly getting used to life at sea. Last nights 18 knot winds have changed to today's 12 knot winds and that's making the process pretty easy. No seasick crew to date. Just several very sleepy ones!!
Making great progress. More reports later.
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Pacific Cup '08 - 2015 Miles to Go!

7:30am PDT
19 knots of wind
TWA 60 degrees
First 12 hours of the trip are in the books. All have gone through their first watches and all goes well. No sign of any seasickness, although I may have sensed a bit of something in Mike's case. If he's feeling "off" he's doing a good job of dealing with it.
Had a good afternoon of kiteboarding on the sandbar. Had been shut out my previous two trips and was bound and determined to make it this trip. Good thing the winds just barely cooperated today, or we'd be there until they did!!
We've left aprox. 24 hours behind the bulk of the group heading home. Will be fun to see how many we can catch over the next two weeks.
Right now its reefed main and no jib so only about 7 knots. Just keeping it comfortable and letting everyone get their sea legs.
Hope our transponder is working. Is it giving you 4 hour updates or 6??
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Pacific Cup '08 - Dueling Morpheus Blogs

Mike Wallach has been and will continue to blog about our trip at

Check it out!


Pacific Cup 2008 - Shore Leave - almost over!

Time to get back on the boat and start thinking about heading home.

What a fantastic week ashore here in Hawaii. KYC did another great job of hosting the Pacific Cup finishers, and we've all been running pretty fast.

I think everyone had a great time most of the crew was able to stick around for the majority of the week. Was great to have the time ashore after 10 days on the boat.

It will be nice to get back on the boat and take a break from the non stop parties and celebrations.

Not much time now, so I'll just post some pictures and video to provide a sense of what we have been up to since finishing.