First from Ronnie, via email.
 
Hoping this works and I can send my first blog of the race. Had no sun and therefore no electricity for days, so i'm just getting recharged and going. My ssb worked last night very well for the check in and I could hear well this morning, so my comm situation is on the up and up.
 
Very rough race for first 5 days. Primary autopilot's rudder reference sensor stopped working after 2 days and that left me using my back up tiller pilot. With no solar power and fully depleting my batteries in the first two days (primary autopilot is hydraulic and very power hungry...) I was left to hand steer with no other real alternative if i wanted to keep racing. I hand steered 60 out of 72 hours for a 20 hour/ day average over 3 days. I hit my mental and physical breaking point a few times, dropping both sails and collapsing in the cockpit. Very very difficult psychological and physical struggle.
 
I did manage to wire my b&g autopilot brain to my raymarine tiller pilot brain and am sharing wind data. So at least the tiller pilot steers to apparent wind now. Happy about that.
 
Doing much better now. Morale is up. Sun is out. Blowing pretty light in trades, about 12 knots. Some squall action now. 17 knots. Gotta go handsteer and maybe gybe.
 
Didn't gybe. Rode 15-18 knots of pressure for a few miles, with a favorable wind shift headed straight to Hanalei. Squall rained itself out and now breeze is going lighter.
 
talk later.
 
-Ronald A Simpson

 

Finally the sun is out!  The batteries are charging! Very light breeze, pleasant sailing with the spinnaker up.  Ronnie said he is rested and feeling much better.  
 
He also got "macgyver" on his auto pilot.  I'm not really sure what he meant, because he left me a voicemail.  That either means he turned it into something else that would be useful or fixed it.  I will ask him the next time he calls.  
 
I found out today after calling at&t that it does cost money when I call Ronnie.  Let's just say free mobile to mobile does not include international mobile satellite phones.  Eating ramen tonight to make up for the call.
 
He also text that this is the first beautiful evening in the trades.  Breeze is still light, around 12 knots.  The auto pilot is steering to apparent wind now and 1269 miles to Hawaii!
 
-Rj
Aloha, here is update number four. The phone call started with Ronnie wanting to know the best way to tie a noose. He said its still cloudy and the batteries are dead. He is hand steering down wind in very light air, less than 5 knots. He is also without any weather information and it's against the rules for me to provide it, if you are wondering why he doesn't just get it from me. I'll keep you guys posted when he calls again. -Rj

Aloha! Another update from the middle of the Pacific. First off what a long day of sailing by hand with no auto pilot. Ronnie says the wind is blowing good and it's surfing conditions. He hit 14.7 knots early in the day, with these speeds he might go back in time. When I was talking to him he hit 11.9. His spirits are high and he is having a blast. 

The conditions are still overcast. The solar panel ballast is doing a great job keeping the stern firmly in the water, and that's about it. He says his batteries are getting really low and he is conserving as much as possible. Ron's sail mail is still down, sooo. Thanks guys take care. 

-Rj

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