Yahoo!  We are on day 13, and to be totally honest, this is the point in the trip that I thought would be the most mentally challenging, and yet, I'm still totally stoked to be out here.  Conditions continue to be sporty, with a pretty big swell coming in from the north, but it is manageable, and all is well on board.  I got a pretty fun email from my mom during my evening watch last night, which stated some of my former teachers from middle school and high school (go Las Flores and Tesoro!) might be following along with the trip (if you are, please reach out!  Would love to catch up!).  Apparently, my neighbors from where I grew up, Christina and Grant Mueller, have the same history teacher that I had (hey Mr. O!), and somehow the trip was mentioned and the dots connected.  Such a small world -- and so, so cool!  But seriously - I have no idea who actually reads these blog posts.  It kind of feels like I'm out in the middle of an ocean or something... If it wasn't for all my awesome teachers growing up, I don't think I would have been presented with the opportunities that have led me to this point in my life.  So thank you, thank you!  Let me know if there's anything we can do out here for you!  Science experiments, demonstrations, etc.?  I don't have too many ideas, but I'm happy to do anything I can.  Stuart's aunt is an elementary school teacher, and we're hoping to field some of her classroom's questions, which will be fun!
In other news, Chase and Stuart will probably not mention this in their blogs, but I am spanking them at Rummy 500.  I feel inclined to post this so the world can know the truth.  It has become a highlight to our evenings.  Or at least, my evenings.  Chase has continued to kill it in the galley, and Stuart has been wonderful in helping with anything that needs to be done, whether its navigating, cleaning, or doing a few extra hours on watch.  Our list of broken items is slowly increasing as well.  During the intensity of the rolliness two nights ago, *someone not to be named* ripped the hinge off the toilet seat in the head.  It was probably either that or be thrown into the main cabin.  I wonder if I can epoxy it or fab a new hinge out of some material I have on board.  I think it will have to wait until landfall.  The VHF antenna that snapped on the masthead blew away completely a few nights ago, so now at least it looks a lot cleaner without it dangling off.
Something that has NOT broken (thank god) is Wayne the Vane, AKA our Hydrovane, AKA our self-steering windvane, which continues to perform faithfully and without complaint (*knocks on wood*).  I was a bit worried we'd have a super squirrelly downwind ride, but so far, the motion has been manageable, and Wayne has held a consistent heading in a variety of sea states and wind directions.  For those unaware, the Hydrovane is a type of wind-powered autopilot, or windvane.  Essentially, the unit is a large paddle (vane) sitting atop a servo-pendulum that is connected to a rudder below the waterline.  The whole unit is mounted on the transom of the boat.  To operate Wayne, we position the vane directly into the wind relative to our heading.  In other words, if we wanted to go 90 degrees off the wind, we would aim the boat at our destination, and position the vane so it is pointed at a right angle relative to the boat.  Then, if we begin to turn to port or starboard, the vane will come off the eye of the wind, and, as it is no longer in the eye of the wind, it will deflect to one side or the other, depending on which way we turn off our heading.  When the vane is deflected, it actuates the servo-pendulum, causing the rudder to turn below the waterline.  This rudder movement serves to correct the original deviation off our heading.  If that doesn't make sense, I'm sure there's some awesome YouTube videos that explain it.  Super nifty unit!  It does make an intense low frequency vibration when we're moving quickly.  That vibration runs through the transom straight under the quarterberth where I sleep.  It's a bit terrifying, because you know there's a ton of force on that rudder to produce a vibration like that, but I will put faith in my installation and consider the vibration a sign that it is still working faithfully!
We are continuing our heading toward 12 15N 126 30W, with a planned jibe at that waypoint toward 8N 127W.  I'm glad that we decided to continue west.  On the evening radio nets last night, one of the boats who opted to shoot south a few days prior reported that they were surrounded by electrical storms in the middle of the ITCZ.  That isn't us (yet), so hopefully westing further will have us avoid some of that nastiness.  Tomorrow may bring us close to our halfway point.  We spit out 120 nm over the last 24 hours, so at this rate, we'll be there in no time, kinda!
Also, a lot of people have asked what the ultimate plan is (i.e. "Where are you going?").  I really don't like answering that because I know whatever I write down now won't be true in a few months from now, and it also defeats a bit of the ideology of going on a trip like this.  The answer for now is, we'll see.  Every day brings something new, and I'm happy for each new day I get to be doing this.  Cheers!


Hola amigos, welcome to day 13! I guess if we were doing this like floors of a hotel then we’d skip straight from day 12 to day 14, but that wouldn’t be fooling anybody, especially not us. We’re continuing to fly west over rolly seas at a pretty impressive speed, we covered another 120+ miles in the last 24 hours and will start to cut south tomorrow afternoon.

I’m still a little shocked that I’m out here at all, this is about 13 days longer than I ever would have imagined myself living on a boat out at sea. But sometimes opportunities come along that probably won’t come along again, and it would be stupid not to take them. I’m still feeling lucky that Connor let me come along to be a part of his adventure; it’s always cool when doing something so far out of your comfort zone ends up being a whole hell of a lot of fun too, especially since I’ve never been a huge fan of the beach (though to be fair, the nearest beach is about 1,000 miles away).

Boat life continues to move along with a relaxed but relatively structured routine. There has been no shortage of reading for pleasure and cooking (for survival), and the biggest excitement of each day is picking out which flavor of Tang we’ll drink while Connor kicks our butts at rummy. So far we’ve sampled jamaica (hibiscus?), horchata, grape, orange, melon, and strawberry, and tonight will be lime (but don’t tell Stuart or Connor yet, it’s a big surprise). Mexico makes a mean powdered drink mix, though how they’re all able to be sugar-free remains a mystery to us.

Hello to everybody following along back home, it rules that you’re reading these silly little updates. Drop us a line and tell us what you want to hear about; trust me, there are zero secrets here. We’re doing our best to take lots of photos of what we see (looks like water!), and we’ll be back with more updates tomorrow. Until then!

Chase Jackson