Daily Race Report from Polar Bear

Wednesday August 9, 2023

Well, things got a little crazy so I am writing this final update from the 2023 Trans Superior from our slip at the finish. Night 2 was pretty uneventful, pleasant sailing with decent boat speeds most of the night. After our little stop at Isle Royale we made steady progress straight towards Duluth. Yesterday was a little trickier. The first watch of the day started to see the winds shift and build from the Southwest, from there it was a lot of sailing on the favored tack as the waves built this got harder and harder. We got a couple good lifts that really helped us make time on some of the others nearby.

Late afternoon a strip of storms on the north shore of the lake started to roll through. We were hoping we'd be far enough west to avoid them but this was not the case. Just off of two harbors we got caught by the edge of it. The winds in the cell really weren't all too crazy, we say at most 32kt. After the wind spiked it settled in the 17-24 range, sailing down wind also had us pointing pretty much straight at the finish, so we popped the kite up and took off! While exhilarating it only lasted 30-40 minutes before we excited the storm and got plopped into a really confused sea state with not quite enough wind to power through it. We went from hero to zero pretty quick. While it was frustrating we managed to power through and eventually the waves began to settle as the new breeze took hold. We still had the kite up and started making steady quick progress home.

Most of the rest of the evening went by without anything too drastic, as we got closer to Duluth the winds got to be shiftier and shiftier. We managed well through the pockets of light air thanks to our ULDB design and in the breeze the spinnaker had us cruising. Down to the finish is when it got really interesting. We'd been cruising 6-7kt leading up to 3 miles out from the finish, at that 3 miles the wind just died, really died. Kaitlin was at the helm and killed it, making steady progress in sub optimal conditions. Within the last half mile she started mentioning something not feeling right. As we looked closer there was a lot of current causing the boat to sideslip considerably, we were making 4.5 kt through the water but only 3.5 kt speed over ground. After the buzzer of us crossing the line there was quite the cheer from friends and family as well as the Duluth Yacht Club contingency recording the finish. It felt good to be done.

We were greeted at our slip with a flurry of folks and made quick work getting the boat put away for the night, then headed home for a good night of sleep. Today comes the deep comes the deep clean of the vessel to prepare for tonight's Wednesday night race! See you on the water!

Polar Bear Crew

Monday, August 7 at 9:48pm

Today was a really good day. We've had steady breeze since morning and have made good progress constantly. Up until early this morning we've mostly been under spinnaker, but we have finally transitioned to headsails. At one point we even had to reduce sail area, put a reef and changed from the #1 to the #3 (only for a little bit). We're still jockeying pretty close to the next faster grouping of boats which has our spirits really high. We opened our halfway present from Justin, some spam and rum, always welcome, both have been put to use already! We waved at some moose as we passed Isle Royale, thought about stopping for dinner but decided to continue on our way. With the trip north we made a pretty big gamble, we'll see tonight if it pays off or not.

Polar Bear Crew

Sunday, August 6 at 9:29 pm

Spirits are high, we celebrated crossing the rum line with rum (thanks tweety folks). After hearing Ocelot had a warbler land on their boat last night we almost had a great blue heron land on our motor. Eric chatted with a passing freighter. Despite periods of very low boat speed there was lots of good laughs. The night has cooled with wind from the NE, Eric has broken out his blue fleece pants of lore (35th year of use) and we are just shy of rounding the tip of the Keweenaw. Tomorrow's forecast looks to be a little trying. Til next time.

Polar Bear Crew

Saturday August 5 @ 9:34pm

We got the day started early with the 8am lock. The Race coordinated early ordering with a local shop for some killer breakfast sandwiches. We had a pleasant motor up the river from the locks and put the sails up a few miles out from the start.

We tootled around the start area for a while. Lots of chatting and good luck wishes were called out to many a boat. We had a great start and fantastic first leg to Whitefish Point. The winds have since lightened which favors our light little boat so we are still in contact with many of the bigger boats.

Spirits are good, the snacks are holding out, for now. Temperatures so far have been excellent! Its great to be out on the clear waters of the lake.

Friday, August 4:  Hello Everyone!

Welcome to the update list for the 2023 Trans Superior. We will do our best to send out a daily email of our adventures.

We arrived in the Soo Wednesday evening. Boat was launched first thing Thursday, us and Tweety got launched and rigs up in less than an hour and a half! We've been plugging away on small projects since we got launched. Everything is in good shape and crew is in good spirits.

Yesterday's adventure took us to the Whitefish Point shipwreck museum. Nothing like going to a museum dedicated to disasters on Lake Superior before starting a race across that very same body of water. The race starts at noon central, 1pm local time tomorrow. We'll be leaving through the locks at 8am.

Polar Bear Crew