joined the US Union on August 21, 1959 as the 50th state and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central
Chapter 26 - RASH MOVE 140 N, 1800 Hawaii, Pacific Ocean
looked back and down at the wash from the centre hull, then up to confirm
‘Starlight’ was falling further behind. He knew Sarah was watching him
and guessed she was desperately trying to get more speed out of her boat,
much as he was doing his best to keep SN efficiently in the lead.
far Dan?” John correctly guessed Dan would be tracking the rival boats.
about 900 metres, and 1400 metres. She’s doing about 11 knots according
to the GPS.” Both men looked pleased.
don’t you give her a shout skip?”
would, but we’re doing so well, it might look bad. If we keep this up
it’s a done deal.”
the next three hours the Navigator increased her lead over Starlight by 12
miles. Sarah’s boat was now just a vague spot on the horizon. Two more
hours and 20 miles in the lead and John had lost sight of the other
competitors. It simply was not fair on the other entrants, the Navigator
was that much more technologically advanced and so very much faster.
can you see Starlight?”
was standing on the upper deck on tiptoe using a pair of binoculars.
But that is what our instruments are for. We can’t see the other boats
with these optical antiques, but we can see them on the radar.”
but I had to have a second visual, or rather non-visual confirmation.”
press had been summarizing the performance of the pack for their viewers.
The reports confirmed the early lead and predictions as to the ETA and the
order of running were making headlines across the globe, especially with
Sky Sports and the National Geographic channels. Dan tuned into a news
report just as they heard a helicopter flying up behind them and then
swooping ahead to catch sight of the crew. A cameraman was leaning out of
the open doorway waving exaggeratedly. This suddenly noisy invasion of the
silent ocean corresponded with the dialogue on the radio.
this rate our boffins tell us that the SolarNavigator will be gaining
roughly 96 miles every day over the next fastest boat, Starlight.
Starlight is doing much the same over the slowest of the pack, Khufu
Kraft, which was finally overtaken by Seashine, Sunriser and Photon Planet
in the last two hours. You can see the SolarNavigator now on Sky Sports,
where she is some ninety miles out from Hawaii, setting a blistering pace
that many fast sailing yachts would find hard to match.”
broadcast was interrupted by a newsflash.
interrupt this program to bring you a breaking news item. In the last few
minutes we have heard that a Japanese fishing vessel has sunk roughly 900
miles out from Nagasaki harbour. Apparently, all of the crew are safe.
It’s not clear exactly what the cause of the sinking is, but reliable
sources say that a collision with a whale may have been the reason.”
looked at Dan. Both men were speechless for a minute, and then Dan opened.
could not resist. “Don’t tell me it’s a giant white sperm whale with
the skeleton of a one legged sea captain roped to it.”
broadcast resumed. “We’ll keep you posted with all the latest on these
breaking stories as the news comes in.” Both men laughed.
sailed on checking the trim of the Navigator, or rather checking that the
computer tracker was tracking. A soft wind was coming up behind them from
the east. Before John or Dan could say anything the turbine boom behind
them sounded as though it might be getting ready to lift. The ships
computer confirmed a state or readiness from sleep mode. The soft breeze
turned into a gust and then twenty minutes later a respectable current of
air, at which point the boom deployed automatically, raising itself to
about 75% of full operational height. The wind turbines kicked into life
with a whoooosh, settling to a harmonious hhhmmmm.
the sun still shining and the turbines generating electricity at the same
time, there was surplus energy to burn. The batteries were already brim
full of charge. With the turbines providing energy for navigation, all of
the charge from the solar wings would either go to the engines or cause a
shut down of the harvesting system. Of course the energy went to the
propulsion motors, raising the speed from 15 to near 18 knots. They were
flying and it felt good.
radio crackled into life again. “More on the tragic sinking of the
Japanese fishing boat. Sources confirm that at the same time the fishing
boat sank, a mature female cetacean known to SPLASH as ‘Kulo’ stopped
sending signals as to her location. We also know that a whale matching her
description was seen swimming away from the area of the sinking heading
south-south east, trailing blood in the water. SPLASH executives are
concerned for the safety of the whale who was traveling with another
smaller whale, that has also stopped sending signals from a tag
said John, sitting down quickly by the radio equipment. He needed to make
a ship to shore call. He picked up the satellite telephone handset and dialed
is the Solar Navigator calling from the Pacific Ocean 100 miles west of
Hawaii, captain John Storm. Could I please speak to Bill Perrin – it is
very urgent, tell him it's about an injured whale.”
you for calling the NOAA South West Fisheries Service, I’ll try to put
you through sir if you'll hold the line.”
got up and paced the deck.
what are you up to?”
whale is in trouble and we’re close by.”
But we’re in the middle of a race.”
And we’re going to win hands down. Everyone knows that.”
Let us win then.”
also the fastest boat out here with the best equipment. We owe a duty to
could see the logic in that, but he’d joined up with John for the
technical challenge, not as a marine nursemaid. The Satphone clicked into
caller, I’m putting you through.”
John, Bill here, is it about Kulo?”
guessed it. What have you got in place?”
John, all our ships are miles away and we’re strapped for fuel. Budget
cuts. If you are thinking what I think you’re thinking, we will keep you
posted with anything that may help you find her. You'd have our full
“Okay.” Said John. “We’re going after her.”
- * -
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- YANGTZE - YAMUNA - YELLOW
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