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Member Since 01 Jan 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 09:10 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Miami to Havana Race Wx

Today, 08:41 PM

Breeze ON or OFF?

In Topic: Puerta Vallarta Race Wx

Yesterday, 09:03 PM

Notes from Condor, an Andrews 68,  2014 PV Race:


Sunday, March 16th,  12pm, CDT - Somewhere in Mexican waters.

Hello from Condor. The first 24 hrs have been exciting. A fast start under genoa out of San Diego Bay, then setting a 1A kite doing 10-12 kts.  Speeds were fast all day Saturday & Saturday night.  This morning we slammed on the brakes.  Brutally slow speeds for the last 8 hours.  Many peels & gybes.   Sun has been out 100% of the daylight hours, full moon at night. Great sailing conditions, we need to drink a lot of water.  Us Chicagoan's haven't gotten this much sun in months.  Lindy is in fine spirits.  His best quote so far: "Whenever a dog or cat yawns, I yawn, too!"
Things are great out here, thanks for all the well wishes from everyone.  If you do one thing for us, pray for wind!

Monday, March 17 8:00 am PDT

"I was born in the sign of water, and it's there that I feel my best; the albatross and the whales they are my brothers." - The Little  River Band, Cool Change.

The whales and these stinky guys they ARE my brothers.  Saw some whales yesterday.  Listening to some rock music today.  Changing sails all the time.  Slow is the theme out here.  We're trying to keep on rolling Southward, ever Southward.  We've hit some holes & gone pretty damn slow.  We're trying.  If you look at the tracker and zoom in really far, you may see Rick or Rod working on the bow; you might even hear some snoring. The weather is incredible.  There hasn't been one single cloud in the sky since we started.  Night time is still a little chilly with wet decks, but the days are perfect, just too slow.  Lindy just keeps the hits coming.  I may write a book. We sighted the hills of Mexico at sunrise this morning & we are gybing along the shore.  We peeled kites this morning and the old kite came in to the cabin soaking wet from the dew.  Is the dew salty or fresh?  Can't tell unless you lick the sail....

Tuesday, March 18.  12:00 PDT

Aloha from Condor, wait, wrong race.

Tuesday & all is well.  Still haven't seen a cloud on this race.  High pressure rules. We've had some great speeds in the last 24 hours.  16 something is the record.  Fast average last night.  We had the 2.5A up in 16-22 knots of breeze, full sky of stars and a bright moon to light the way South.  Really, again, the most perfect sailing conditions you could conjure up.  Everyone was in a good mood as we clicked off the miles.  The future weather models do not look like too much fun, though.  We have some light-air work left to do.  I think we are around 400 miles out.  I'm guessing, though, because I'm focused on the immediate future, which is a 4-hour shift in the bright sunshine, deep, dark, blue ocean, marine life and kelp, which we are in constant battle with.  Kelp = speed killer.  It must die a painfull death at the hands of our kelp cutter or our kelp stick, lethal weapons, both.  Thanks, again, to Lindy Thomas for having me along on these incredible journeys.  It's really fun
sailing with him.  He constantly keeps the boat laughing, as well as moving smartly down the racecourse.  He is a legend and I'm glad to know him, although he should stop eating so much cheese.

Take care everyone & hi to my wife for being so supportive!
(Anne, please post this on my personal Facebook status and direct people to the Condor page, maybe we'll get a few more followers)

Jim Calto - deckhand on sailing vessel Condor.

Wednesday, March 19.  8:45 AM PDT

Wednesday morn & we are sitting about 1 Chicago to Mackinac Race away from Puerto Vallarta. The calm has just set in as I am waking up from a pretty good 2 hr sleep.  It is amazing that 2 hours at a time makes for "good" sleep, but it is hard to come by out here.  We are settling in to our offshore sleep patterns.  Last night's 3-6am watch had a hell of a time staying awake.  We were all yawning, including the cats and dogs.  This is a 1000 mile race, and yes, we race 24 hrs a day.
 This 1.5A kite has seen some work lately.  It's a real money maker.  The wind seeker made an appearance last night, too.  I'm afraid it may be seen again soon.  Actually, I think I hear it being put up right now above me.  Dammit.  It only gets unfurled in 3 knots of wind or lower.  Bad sign.  Well I hope everyone is well on land.  I think peoples families start arriving in PV today & tomorrow.  We hold out hope that we can finish tomorrow, but with this breeze, it doesn't look likely.  As I type this the boat is starting to heel & move, so there is always hope!  I also hope we don't run out of food.  I'm off the coffee until further notice due to my bad sleep recently.  The weather is still beautiful & sunny today, although we saw some clouds yesterday.  What a travesty.  This is a great & challenging race.  Everyone should get out to the West coast to do some sailing.  It's a great experience.   TTFN.

Wednesday, March 19, 4:00PDT
Bonus update!

Sweet Baby Jesus it just got real out here. Real slow to be exact.  Approx. 8 hours of serious slowness & relentless sunshine.  (I know I shouldn't complain about the latter)  We've hit triple zeros a few times.  We are adrift in the huge Pacific Ocean between Cabo & PV.  We knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any better.  In other news, we passed a sea turtle & a sea lion hanging out together, just lounging in the water about 2 boat lengths away.  Very strange pairing. We are now crawling along under our wind seeker.  I hope it does it's job. I can see the wind speed display outside my bunk and it's not a pretty sight.  We can see our friends on Maverick a few miles away.  We think we are gaining on them, but it's hard to tell when we are going so slow.

That's it for now, thanks for following along.  It's great to be alive.

Thursday March 20 - 10:00am PDT

Hello everyone in Facebook land.  Condor is approx. 90 miles out, as I type on this slimy keyboard.  I have a travel bottle of Fabeeze, and I am spraying everything in sight.  If you or your clothing are offensive, watch it.  Attitudes have changed in the last 12 hours.  Gone are the doldrums.  Here are the winds that we desperately need.  We are averaging about 9 knots toward PV.  We are a little low of course, but are banking on a lift.  The last 2 night watches for our group of 6 were spectacular.  Moderate winds, dry deck, warm temps, dolphins, stars, shooting stars, phosphorescent water, everything as advertised.  The other watch of 6 have seen similar speeds and conditions.  Good times all around.  The miles are clicking off.  The food supply is dwindling, but is sufficient to get us through, but you never know in the high stakes sport of yacht racing.  We could be eating the lowest member of the crew within 24 hours.
Condor is holding up well, as expected.  Our little blue 1.5A is hauling the mail.  We are trying to baby her & avoid the catastrophic destruction of our engine room, but we are A-OK for now.  Drivers, trimmers & grinders are rotating out every 1/2 hour to keep everyone fresh.
Hoping to finish in 12-ish hours, maybe, possibly, hopefully, mercifully.
We are slathering on sunscreen, donning wide brim hats & drinking plenty of water.  See you all shore-side when we animals will be unleashed from our 68 foot cage.  Please excuse any and all typo's & spelling errors, this stupid computer doesn't have spell check.

Jim Calto - S/V Condor.    Yo!

Friday, March 21


We finished at approx 2:00am PDT Friday
Condor had a very rough last 8 hours of the race. Spirits were high going into Thursday, as we were moving well. All of a sudden the wheels fell off and the wind crapped out about 30 miles from the finish. Apparently Rod forgot to put quarters in the wind machine. We were under windseeker for many hours. Our caffeine fueled watch caught & passed Maverick in the light airs. They may have beat us on corrected, but we beat them over the line, which is cool. As I type this on my phone on the way to our dock, we think we are third boat in our class over the line, and we can only hope for a 4th place finish. As I've said before about racing in the sled class out here, it's all about good racing and camaraderie. Most boats in our class have paid sailors on board, Condor is a 100% Corinthian program, meaning we are all out here for the love of the game, not the money. That and we will win the fucking party. More later, thanks again, jc.

In Topic: Chicago Area III

Yesterday, 08:49 PM

That was a fun video, thanks.  

In Topic: Puerta Vallarta Race Wx

03 February 2016 - 08:54 PM

Yes.  I've done 2 Cabo's, TP & PV with Lindy, Who is an ex-Chicagoan.  

In Topic: Puerta Vallarta Race Wx

02 February 2016 - 11:31 PM

I have a horrible record of traveling to the west Coast for distance races that are drifters.  I hope this changes in 2016.