Cubaneren & The Books in Deep Ocean Mode

Get daily updates from Cubaneren crossing the big oceans!

Solid ground in San Francisco

We were «surfing» in at 10 kts of speed under Golden gate at max flowing tide around noon today. Pretty well-planned departure time from Honolulu to get that right!

On the way in the last 100 miles we had some nice spinnaker sailing, Code 0 sailing and in the end enough fuel to get in in no wind. Outside Farallone Islands it was whale bonanza. They were huge, probably the Blue whale, but we have to confirm that after having looked in a book that shows how they do look. One whale thought he was a spinner dolphin and took a spin in the air, creating a big splash in the landing. Two other ones did a blowout and rolled 50 m in front of Cubaneren. Yeah it was spectacular. This happened on Karl Otto`s watch, Maren got to see some frightened ducks.

We have had a fantastic reception here at San Francisco Yacht Club by Torill and Bob who also have followed us on our trip. Torill is from Stavanger but have lived in America for 38 years, Robert is form here but speaks fluid Norwegian. We have got clothes washed, been served lunch and dinner and feels like being kings!

Mvh / Best Regards
S/Y Cubaneren NOR 8620
Maren Magda and Karl Otto Book


Spinnaker – whales – 100 miles

Two days ago, we thought we were going to have landfall today but instead we have probably set a new slow record with just not manage to sail 100 nm in 24 hours (direct line). We have had very nice, light spinnaker-sailing all the time. The wind direction has been from 270 (west) and our heading has been ideally 90 (east). The strength of the wind has been 5-9 kts giving us gybing angles here on the swelly ocean around 100 degrees. We have managed to keep the boat going all the time and this is good exercise!

The swell here is amazing now. It is at least 250 m between the tops and the height is impossible to say accurate but a guess on 4 m would not be way off. We don’t really notice it on board but it is fascinating to see. Tomorrow the wind from NW along the coast is going to be back and we guess the big swell is pushed in front of the wind.

We have seen whales today – big ones, but they have been busy with their own so we were not closer than 150 m. It was another sound on the blowout than from the dolphins. The dolphins are by the way around us all the time.

The breeze should begin to pick up now and we are expecting nice speed on the last stretch in towards Golden gate. We should pass under the bridge in the morning (15 hours from now). Still weekend in San Francisco though!

Good luck to our sailing league team – Åsgårdstrand in this season`s last match against the other 14 best clubs in Norway. Goal number one is to keep the second place in the total, but wouldn`t it be nice to win this weekend’s match?

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Last sprint to the finish..

.. But no wind to really sprint in!

Slow progress with no wind and current against us was what we had to deal with through the night and up until 1600 (local time). For the last 4 hours we have sailed with our biggest spinnaker (S2), and now that is our only alternative as we are out of fuel. The gauge for the main tank did not move for the last 3 hours before we shut the engine off but we still have probably 20 l (5 gallons) on the small extra tank so we have enough to get in to the slip.

We have got a question from Berit, Sindre and Håkon about how much garbage we have counted on our trip. This garbage patch out here is circulating around the pacific high-pressure system as that is the driving force for the ocean current. On this trip, back to the mainland we have been north of this, at least for the last half. The first 2 days after we left Hawaii was not too bad either. Day 3-8 was like doing a slalom run between the plastic. After that it has not been too bad. With bad we mean we have counted 5-10 pieces in the half hour we have had lookout, the other days we have seen 2-5 pieces. The last two days we have not seen anything. Off course it was a lot of plastic, fishing nets, buoys, bottles, Styrofoam etc when we did not have the official look out too. As mentioned earlier, during the race to Hawaii, we sailed in the middle of the garbage patch and that was bad. We haven`t seen anything like that before. We believe the North Atlantic is not as bad as this since all the countries surrounding do have garbage handling systems which probably is the problem here.

Yesterday we thought that this report was going to be the last one but it will probably be at least 30 more hours until we are docked. 190 NM to Golden gate now and light but at least sailable conditions as we have made it to the south side of the remnants of the low-pressure system that has blocked the normal wind pattern. Normal wind will be back on Friday. Thanks for all the bottle posts again, you have made us speak and discuss again! Also thanks to Jack Bauer which as entertained us during the engine hours!

Second last report from the Transback

Right now, we have 275 nm left to go on this ocean crossing. It`s the 15th day at sea for us which means we will do the crossing probably in less than 17 days. The distance in direct line is 2250 but by the time we get to San Francisco we will have sailed close to 2650 due to the detour north around the pacific high. We have been north of the high, but there has not been an easy trip the last bit with 2 high-pressure ridges going from south to way north of us (up to 45-50 degrees north) and now the remnants of a low pressure that we also have to power through. Hopefully we will get some wind in the morning, otherwise we will spend some more time out here as we will run out of fuel in 12-16 hours. It looks like we will approach land on a west/south west wind which is unusual for this coast.

Thanks for the bottle posts with updates! Bob and Torill in SF have arranged a slip for us for a couple of days in San Francisco yacht club, which will be great! Alexandra; congrats with the bronze medal, and yes, maybe we should join that «Duck kid?», which is a boat, (andunge) championship one year. It ended up in a discussion over maybe we should try a year with doing as many Norwegian championships as possible in one season. Kristine; Sounds like busy days! When it comes to the election we may have been smart to vote before the last rush from the politicians. Lucky for us maybe, we haven`t got any news from the campaigns so we have voted based on the programs, not really on the people.

The first welcoming committee, dolphins, have been around today. Otherwise it has been an indoor day with «new» 24 episodes. Pasta with peperoni and pesto for lunch.

Out of topics!

Humm. It is more and more a silent ship here as all topics are finished. OK; we have had perfect sailing conditions during the day, flying both our A5 and Code 0 (although not at the same time). We got visited in the morning by an Albatross, the sunset was spectacular and the moonset was epic. The moon is big now, probably just 2 more nights until it`s full. Anyway – no news to report, same old!

It is on the other hand good therapy to do some lonely long crossings occasionally. No internet makes the mind work a bit better and dig up knowledge from the old days as there are no alternative. However – 14 days is the point where our minds don`t manage to dig up more.

If you have some good gossip about yourself, someone we know, someone we don`t know, a good story or whatever..! Drop us a bottle post so that our throats won`t dry up.

435 NM to Golden gate – we will have the weekend in San Francisco!

Pacific bakery!

After tricky sailing in the first part of the night with big wind shifts and variable strength the wind dropped and we have been running the engine since. We are expecting to do that through this night too but after that we will have wind to sail on in to the coast. It`s not going to be the easiest sailing as we must pass a low-pressure system on the way. We still haven`t decided if we are going to go north or south. If we are going north we will have a period of wind from the east (yeah – the exact bearing to San Francisco), and if we are going to pass to south of the system we will have a bit longer way to go and get a sharper angle to sail on the wind for the last 250 NM. The decision will be taken during the next 12 hours, again in cooperation with our weather guru back home, Mads.

Karl Otto woke up to the smell of fantastic bakery this morning; bread, cinnamon rolls and raisin buns. maybe – but haven’t got any translation program for that last bakery. (rosinbolle – hakke google translate!). In other words – a great food day!

WHAT! Someone was just making noise on the VHF – that must mean we are not totally alone out here! 575 miles left to go, and yes, we have seen two other ships today too.

Hopefully we will have OK, or at least relatively quick sailing conditions for the rest of the trip and it looks like we will arrive in San Francisco some time on Thursday.

If you are sending us bottle post you would like to have replied, please write your e-mail address as we cannot see where they come from!

Follow the arrow in the mast top!

After running the engine for 12 hours through the night we have been sailing as high as we can on port tack the whole day. We have more or less been able to stay on the rhumb line sailing in 5,5-6,2 knots. In wind between 8 and 12. Going upwind is not the funniest but it has not been too bad either, not too heavy wind, not too light.

Yesterday evening we had movie session, seeing three episodes of 24. Last night we also saw two ships, the first ones in more than ten days. One of them passed only 2 miles in front of us, and after not having seen anyone in 2 weeks that almost felt as we should have changed course to have more distance between the boats.

Apart from that, not much to report today. We have had some good dialogues around selling Cubaneren, and buying another boat, and what if we do not find a buyer for Cubaneren. We have concluded that both options are good as we do have a fantastic boat. On the other hand, we are very motivated for trying to do this boat change to try something new.

697 miles to Golden Gate. Expecting the wind to veer from NE to E and then S during the night and drop. Hopefully we can glide at proper speed with our Code 0 most of the time but we are expecting to run the engine occasionally too.

Albatross visit

We had to go by engine a bit longer than we hoped for last night, the wind did not pick up before the light got back. We got 27 hours by engine and together with our first run we have now totally 46 hours. We still have more than half of the fuel left, meaning we should be able to go 2 ½ more days, 300-350 more miles (if needed). Right now, we have fantastic sailing, A5 (asymmetric) and full main, 12-16 knots of breeze and pointing straight at San Francisco (following the great circle – shortest route will be more accurate). Distance to Golden Gate is now 1175 miles.

Yesterday we had an impressive visitor, an Albatross. Our host for the Transpac race in Long Beach have a lot of knowledge about this animal through her engagement at the aquarium there. We hope it is OK to share that information and looks forward to seeing you at Shoreline when we are passing there in a couple of months again Jane!

The adult plumage of most of the albatrosses is usually some variation of dark upper-wing and back with white undersides.The wingspans of the largest great albatrosses are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm although the other species’ wingspans are considerably smaller at no more than 1.75 m. The wings are stiff and cambered, with thickened streamlined leading edges. Albatrosses travel huge distances with two techniques used by many long-winged seabirds: dynamic soaring and slope soaring. Dynamic soaring involves repeatedly rising into wind and descending downwind, thus gaining energy from the vertical wind gradient. The only effort expended is in the turns at the top and bottom of every such loop. This maneuver allows the bird to cover almost a thousand kilometres a day without flapping its wings. Slope soaring uses the rising air on the windward side of large waves. Albatross have high glide ratios, around 22:1 to 23:1, meaning that for every metre they drop, they can travel forward 22 metres. They are aided in soaring by a shoulder-lock, a sheet of tendon that locks the wing when fully extended, allowing the wing to be kept outstretched without any muscle expenditure, a morphological adaptation they share with the giant petrels. Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean and regularly circle the globe.Their adaptation to gliding flight makes them dependent on wind and waves, however, as their long wings are ill-suited to powered flight and most species lack the muscles and energy to undertake sustained flapping flight. Albatrosses in calm seas are forced to rest on the ocean’s surface until the wind picks up again. The North Pacific albatrosses can use a flight style known as flap-gliding, where the bird progresses by bursts of flapping followed by gliding. When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide lift.

Life is good on board and at daytime it is still shorts temperature. We have been digging out the thin wool clothing for the first time since some time in the Atlantic for the night sailing. Taco Lunch and freeze dried something for dinner today.

Birthday in the blue

Today has been sailing wise pretty boring as there has been no wind, but on the other hand we have had time to celebrate Marens 37th birthday!

In Norway there is a song about «maybe the king will arrive to the party» and so on.. Maren was singing that song yesterday and although our own king unfortunately could not show, another majesty did. You were all invited by the way but last time we saw other people (or at least a ship) was on our second night after leaving Oahu. This is a pretty isolated place to have a birthday, about 1300 NM to San Francisco, 1100 NM to Honolulu and the same to the closest of the Aleutian Islands to the north west, so we do understand that it was hard to get here. So, who showed up here was the king of the sky – an Albatross. We have never seen this fantastic bird (airplane) other than on television before and he did a fly-by three times with about a half hour in between. We are saving that photo + some more facts about the bird for tomorrow.

Karl Otto made some fantastic Cinnamon rolls and they were served on the birthday present – freediving fins.

It was taco lunch today but after the cake we are not sure if it is room for dinner.

Maren says thanks for all birthday wishes and will probably not celebrate this isolated.. again!

Propaganda sailing!

The last 30 hours and probably quite some time to come too we have been flying spinnaker and asymmetric in fantastic conditions. 14-22 knots of breeze and boat speed between 7,5 and 15. OK, through the night we took down the spinnaker and went wing on wing with the jib to windward and heavy weather jib + main to leeward which is a very easy setting to sail with and in the afternoon, we had a couple of squalls so the sail setting was chosen to get some good sleep.

Our progress has been good so far and we are leading the race against our 4 competitors in our routing program. Every second day we are downloading weather forecast and routing. Predictwind which we are using have 4 weather models which again give 4 different routes to sail between the waypoints we are setting. We are trying to guess (together with our weather guru back home Mads) where we can be during the next 5 days and then we ask the routing program which is the quickest route. On downwind as we are sailing now, we have used the polar diagram (theoretical speed on all wind angles and strengths) from an IMX 40 but we have tuned up the speed a little bit. We are sailing a little bit quicker than this right now and the explanation is probably that it is always a little bit more wind in reality than the forecasts. Another thing is when sailing downwind on the ocean the boat is doing more downhill than uphill.

Tomorrow it`s party day! Maren is having birthday and we are going to have cake. You are all invited we have enough. At the end of the day tomorrow we may also celebrate half the distance sailed.

The bottle post link on the blog has had some issues but is working now. We cannot see what`s going on at face before we get to normal internet connection again, this also explain our lack of interest about what is going on there.

Garbage observation

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.

Cubaneren with Bed & Breakfast

Yesterday evening just before it got dark we got a visitor. He struggled a bit with finding the way to the reception but managed after flying around Cubaneren several times. We are talking about a bird that we don`t know too much about but he was very keen on a free ride in the headwind. He had been flying around the boat most of the afternoon, feeding on flying fish. A fantastic flyer, gliding almost all the time, yet very powerful in the maneuvers.

When the sun had set he tried a couple of places before settling down. First he was going for the mast top but realized that would probably be an extremely bumpy night as we were sailing upwind in 2,5m of waves. The next place was to try to get on to the radar dome that is always horizontal. Between Panama and Costa Rica we had a guest there over the night but that was a small one. This big bird simply could not fit in the long wings between backstays and various antennas. This ended in a lot of wing flapping and what looked as an attempt on rape on our AIS antenna. Where he ended was on the bow at the pulpit. We thought that a bird living out here in the blue should have Donald Duck – swimming feet but this one had claws. After a couple of dives with the boat were the bird lifted off and came back again the wind eased off and even though it can`t have been the most comfortable ride it was definitely the only available and he stayed with us until sunrise when the fish was beginning to fly again and he could fly in to the breakfast buffet.

Life on board is now very easy as the wind has disappeared and we are motoring NE. Hopefully we will have the wind back tomorrow morning (in 10-12 hours from now) and that will be wind from behind that will hopefully give us pleasant spinnaker sailing for the next week.

Hamburgers for lunch today and cinnamon rolls for dinner. Shower, shaving and tanning the rest of the day. Could be worse!

Upwind. life

We have sailed 600 miles now from Honolulu in a bit less than 4 days. Average at approximately 155 per day is ok taking in to consideration that we are not sailing downwind. As mentioned, we have sailed 600 miles and are now 200 miles closer to San Fransisco than when we started, so we are on a slightly detour. We have reached the point where normally we should ease on the sheets and slowly turn more and more east. What has happened during the last 24 hours is that the wind has shifted slowly towards north so now we are pointing as high on the wind as we can and struggles to point straight to north. Ready for tack?

It is just incredible how salt everything gets. Our wire lifelines are now all white, the sails have got plenty of the white stuff, mainsail up to the sail numbers. After 3 hours on the helm it is necessary to rinse face and hands with fresh water before sleeping otherwise you can`t open the eyes after 3 hours sleep.

Today we have also had some time together in the cockpit, discussing the future, plans, sailing and people. A good thing with being out here in the blue is that you get to be creative with your mind and reality check will not be before a couple of weeks anyway.

Lunch today ended up with being freeze dried Mexican something, very good so hope we have more left of that one. It will be freeze dried for dinner too, hope it won`t be the stroganoff which is not stroganoff but mushroom soup!

Still thousands of flying fish and some birds out here. Cubaneren is chasing up the flying fish so we tend to be followed by the birds for often up to a half hour as we are a good place for hunting.

The grumpy third day

Getting in to the rhythm on the ocean always take some time. The first 48 hours are often easy as we start by having enough sleep and all other primary needs. That means you don`t sleep the best quality sleep those two days which in turn makes the third day a bit rougher. We are also running three hours watches so that is also something to get used to. Today we have slept 9 hours each so tomorrow we are in to the system.

Kristine has asked about what we are discussing while sailing. Today it hasn`t been too much as we have been together only in watch shift, but during lunch today we were talking a bit about the election which is coming up back home, were we have already voted, and what if the ones we have voted for are making fools of themselves just before the election day and if we have voted wrong for that reason.

We have got a couple of bottle posts (and welcome on board in San Fransisco Berit!), but we have also got an e-mail that the bottle post link does not work. Obviously, it works sometimes? We`ll send a question to our webmaster and he will look in to it. News from the mainland are very welcome!

Lunch and dinner today; rice with chicken in red curry. Pieces of pineapple will be mixed in to the dinner serving to make the portions to proper size without too much effort.

Flying fish and flying birds today as well. We have also seen a couple of jumping squids

Long distance upwind sailing

We have sailed 325 nm since we started at Honolulu 48 hours ago. More or less straight north since pointing straight towards San Fransisco would mean 2200 miles hard on the wind. The normal scenario is that when sailing from Hawaii to the mainland you should do as we are doing, cross the tradewind and after having sailed north for 700-1000 miles you should be able to ease off the sheets and after a while set the spinnaker and point straight on to the destination. Some 500 miles from land there will be a gybe and as the wind picks up closer to the coast you will reduce the sail area a bit the last two days on a quick reach. Normal scenario is when the pacific high is stable and you basically just sail around it, downwind all the time. Pass to west and north going to the mainland and east and south going to Hawaii.

This trip may be a bit different. Where is the Pacific high? Where it normally would be situated it is a weakening hurricane «Kenneth» messing it all a bit up. Having said that it does not look too bad as a big low pressure system is taking a trip south from Alaska during the next days. We will hang on to the outer edge of that and it should give us nice sailing wind. How the weather and temperature will be is another part of it..

The drive unit for our main autopilot shut down today. We have a backup, a small tiller pilot that steers well with the wind from the side as we have now or when using engine so no big problems. We have also picked the unit apart and together again and it`s working now. Autopilot is of course an important device when sailing doublehanded but on the other hand, we still like to hand steer and in these big waves the autopilot is steering too much to try to keep the course instead of joining the waves a bit, making the boat find the best way to go.

Animals to report today: Flying fish and birds. No turtles or whales.

Mahalo Hawaii!

To go out for a long ocean crossing is always a bit emotional. Especially when leaving a place that we have learned to love. The Aloha spirit is strong on all the islands. For those who have not been in Hawaii – you are always greeted with an «Aloha» here, and by the aloha spirit it means that I want to do to you what you want to do to me. The friendliness we have experienced and all you including Hawaiians have been great. We`ll be back!

We are close to have been sailing straight north for 24 hours. The wind is as predicted, and will be tomorrow too so more about that then. Even though the water is splashing over the boat rather often we are not complaining about the temperature. The sun lotion is in use on places that has not seen the sun too much before. (no pictures)

Dinner yesterday, lunch and dinner today was a pasta bolognaise prepared before we left but now it`s finished. Will be exciting to see what (if) we can cook anything tomorrow – or it will be back to the freeze dried already on day 2!