After the Transpac race we got visited by researchers. For the eight year sailors are logging visual marine debris between Hawaii and California. This area has got a not too lucky nickname; Great Pacific garbage patch. When sailing over here in the race we had garbage, of course mainly plastic, around the boat all the time. We hit some things in the night time but never too big to make a problem for us. A couple of the other boats had to stop several times to clean keel and rudders and the Rio 100 crashed one of their rudders. It has been a lot less on this trip so far but on day 2 we had to take down the headsail and stop the boat to get rid of something that braked the boat speed by 2 knots.
How it works is that we are logging visible garbage to one of the sides each day for a half hour. Everything out to 60 feet (20 m) on one side of the boat which does not sound too much but in the speed of 7 knots it is 260000 m2, approximately the same as 45 soccer fields. We are doing as best as we can but the waves are high and our boat is low. Yesterday it was no wind and we see that we are probably under reporting on the normal days out here since we saw a lot more garbage in no wind. Especially the very small plastic fragments which really are the worst as the small fish eat them and after a while there is no more room for normal fish food in the stomach.. I have heard some place that if we are keeping up the same speed as today with dumping plastic it will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.
In the afternoon yesterday the wind disappeared and the engine did the job through the night. In the morning we came out on the other side and have had a quick spinnaker ride today. 15,1 knots boat speed is until now maximum and that was even with the watt&Sea hydrogenator in the water. Very good sailing conditions but the weather is now grey and we have had some squalls. Max wind speed in a squall was 33 knots and then we dropped the spinnaker for 15 minutes.
Lunch and dinner today is chicken in some kind of Indian sauce – pretty nice!
1620 miles left to go to San Fransisco.