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In some Asian countries, a common saying by locals to tourists in response to questions about the description, quality, or content of food or a destination is "yes, same, same but different." This saying also applies to the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race crew of Chasch Mer USA 8929.

The 10 of us are from different states, countries, backgrounds, professions. We have different sailing qualifications, ages, and reasons for racing across the mighty Pacific. We each made different sacrifices to spend 2 weeks at sea. We have different ideas about politics, sunsets, sail trim, the best time to drop into a Santa Cruz 50 wave set, and how much cabbage is too much cabbage.

But there is one thing that is that same for each one of us, this epic adventure that we have shared together. Throughout this voyage, we endured race prep mania, angry squalls, brilliant starry nights, sweltering days, gear failure, boat smells*, sharing space in small quarters, trying to sleep in the spider hole, tripping over our own safety gear, time shifting boat speeds, mind numbing light winds, mercurial sunrises, Rafaelian sunsets, sleep deprived laughter, sugar scoop showers at 15 knots, exhaustion, salt water drenched clothes and bunks, and cooking for 10 through the lumps and bumps at a 20 degree heel. As we return to our land-based lives, we will remain forever changed. The twinkle in our eyes will let you know that our shared memories will never be forgotten.

In part of our minds and our souls, WE are the same. And what makes US the same makes us different from everyone else.

My Chaschmerians, thank you for sharing this amazing voyage with me, we are not just friends, we are ocean brothers.

Aloha, namaste, and BANZAIII, Bags

*Be thankful that this blog does not have a smell-o-vision feature! --

22 July 2013

Day 12

I have been asked to write a funny Blog. Not easy to accomplish when you are 2 days behind the pack and out of rum. So lets talk about language for a wormmer-up-er. Single handily I am working to delete all the pottymouth aboard. But, there ain't much I can do about the guy from the southeast. At 19 knots from the wheel he squeals "DONEGOEAZANONMEEE" and we don't have a clue as to if he was daydreaming or asking the trimmer not to ease the spinsheet.

Caught a 12 lb Mahi yesterday and Dan fryed her up rightquick. Don made the fish lures from a little stick that was about to pass us yesterday. Tied some rightfine beercaps for eyes, one of Shana's fake eyelashes for a skirt & tossed er in the drink. Yup, worked rightgood, cause we caught 2 but one gotshookoff.

Mike, Dan & EEDon are very soft talkers so I can't pick on them. But, if I ever hear them you will know about it.

DammitDave, as it turns, out was named by his Mom, not me. But, for the same reason. Need I say more?

P3 is picking up all the sailor talk just like a parrot. Sorry P2.

DAvid avoids all conversation because he knows it will turn into WHERE IN Molasses ARE WEEE? To him a coarse is something he missed at Cal. State.

Now we come to our favorite cosmonaut. Vyacheslav Ivanov. God seems to have blessed us with the time it will take to learn how to accurately pronounce his given name. Before that happens however, something needs to be cleared. True, the vodka was warm. The portion, however, was premeasuerd for medicinal purposes. He prefers American wines to Russan vodka anyway.

The fish took more vodka to kill then we thought, which brought both of us to tears.

Aloha & hope to see you soon please tune in tomorrow to see what we have been drinking about,


20 July 2013

Day 10

I don't know who this Slava character is but there is no Russian on board. Our blog has been hacked! We are down to our final days with blue skys and light to medium winds. Big squall last night made for a very challenging spinnaker run. Dammit Dave at the helm supported by crew managed to keep things under control. No fish yet but saw dolphins, a 20 foot telephone pole, and a submerged boat. Looking forward to our Mai Tai's.



19 July 2013

Day 9

Live Slow, Sail Fast

That's what my favorite Caribbean T-shirt says.

Thank you my dear anonymous team mate for blogging on my behalf with a counterfeit Russian accent! This was really cool to read, reminded me of my English teachers back in Canada giving essay writing guidelines. It all comes very nicely together here aboard Chasch Mer us joking around and making a lot of fun in the middle of Pacific.

As you probably know from our previous blogs that the wind conditions are not ideal for fast sailing thus i will not be wasting our valuable internet time on describing things that you already know.

However, as the only Russian among nine Americans, I should say something about the crazy things that i have been made to do here. Like eating oatmeals and cereals for breakfast which i have hated since i remember myself. Eating snack on the go, watching for minimal daily water consumption. Strange people, that thought that they could make me climb the mast for a teaspoon of (warm!) vodka! At the same time we are under complete cigar prohibition which i kind of understand, even though it would have made our days a lot nicer without causing too much pollution.

Despite all those challenges and occasional sail accidents i like my new friends very much and should admit that i started liking American food too!

Privet (Aloha in Russian) from Pacific, Slava

18 July 2013

Day 8

I am Slava

I must make this quick. They do not know that I am doing this. My name is Slava. I am Russion from Moscow. I was in California and met a group of nice people that like to go sailboating. I woke up the next day on a sailboat and I can not see land. They said it is fun. They make me work. But they also feed me and talk to me. I went to the top of the mast and looked for land. I was going to jump off and swim to shore. What is a my-ty? I have taken several bucket baths on the back of the boat because it is hot during the day and the cool ocean water feels good. The water is much warmer than the water I swim in back home. I am making friends and cooked a traditional Russian meal for them tonight (cucumber/onion salad, spam\pesto\pasta with a vodka especial sauce and parmesian cheese). The sky is scattered clouds and the wind is blowing 10-15. I overheard one of them say that we are less than one thousand miles from oh why ee. What is oh why ee? Does it hurt? dD

17 July 2013

Day 7

We had quite a surprise today. During out halfway party, we started to hear strange boat noises and whirring sounds. Suddenly, we found ourselves dressed as 70's sailors - in striped tube socks, custom sweat bands, and bushy mustaches. Apparently, due to our blazing speed, S/V Chasch Mer turned into a time machine and transported us back to 1979, the year that she was built in a chicken coop in the Santa Cruz hills (which explains the feathers on board...). We feasted on delicious pu pus, tang Mai Tais, shared laughs and dreams, and grooved to the funky beats of the 70s under the sparkle of a (lightweight and still within my kit limit) disco ball. The celebrations were short as we had to dim the disco lights and return to the business of burping halyards, trimming for speed, hanging 20, and sailing Chasch Mer like we stole her.

I swear I can hear Chasch Mer yelling "woo hoo" as we groove under spinnaker toward Hawaii in the race for which she was built. And this tune plays in our heads: "Hey, hey, hey, ba de ya, say do you remember? Ba de ya, dancing on Chasch Mer, Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days..."

Aloha and Banzaiiiiii, Bags

July 16

We had an epic night of sailing last night. We finally had had mostly clear skies, and the star viewing was superb. A different sky for this Maui boy. The headstay reaching was fun and relaxing for all. Winds were 10 to 15 average and our speed average about 10 knots. Mark blasted off a surf to 19.6 knots which jolted us into the realm of tropic type weather. The morning brought out the light wind hysterics as we struggled to get Chasch Mer moving again. We got up our first Kite with a pole today. Another first today, was showers on the swim step. We have a terrific group here and are having great fun. Aloha, Mike

July 15

Day 5

Aloha. 6pm on 7/15/13 and I can now officially say it. Over 4 days under clouds and the sky finally broke. It's warm and sunny and beautiful out here. It's so nice that Gib's cold weather socks blew off his feet and flew off the back of the boat. Vessel wide a thermal peel simultaneously occurred. Slava found himself at the top of the mast today to replace a masthead lightbulb and run a halyard. Yes, the 9 Americans on board sent the sole Russian aboard to space in our attempt to start the warm war. The cold war is now behind us. New names are popping up all over. P3 is sometimes called 3P. Mark is now speedball because he hit 19.6 kts flying the code zero. Mike has always been Mikegyver because he can fix it. Everyone is working really well as a team and the vibe is good all around. Our current plan is to raise a kite tomorrow morning with a port pole and make a hard left to dive down and make our first big move. We plan to break away from the pack and get the wind below us and are actively planning our Diamond Head approach. Hopefully we can soon end our trek into the wind and waves and stop the flow of water on the deck that has affectionately been termed the Santa Cruz River as it washes down the deck and falls off the transom. DammitDave

July 14

Day 4

In The Hunt!

Chasch Mer is in the hunt. The last 24 hours saw us cover 219 miles with some very fun sailing and great times had by Captain Gib Black and the Crew. The day saw lots of marine mammals; we saw Risso's dolphin, common dolphin and a few sea lions that kept following the boat and barking. We all agreed that the sea lion was rather brave drawing attention to himself in an area known for white sharks.

The sailing was tremendous with winds staying steady in the 10-15 range all day which was a continued welcome from the slow winds of a few days earlier. We stayed on a starboard tack for the entire day and had boat speeds of up to 12 knots. As the day progressed I was voluntereed to make dinner with Dan. We found the task much more challanging than expected as we tried to prepare a three course meal with the oven swinging 120 degrees with every gust of wind. We eventually tied ourselves in and in true iron chef fashion served gravy with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It was delicious and the crew enjoyed it immensely. After dinner I was treated to a serenade of happy birthday led by Gib and backed up by the crew (some of who should not quit their day jobs). I got to enjoy my 30th birthday 100's of miles in the Pacific Ocean sailing under the moon and stars with some of the best people i have had the pleasure of sailing with. It was a birthday i will never forget. After the ceremonies and cupcakes we redirected our attention to the task at hand and had great sailing for the rest of the night with the red team beating the white team by 1 mile of ground covered during our respective shifts. The forcasts are looking good for tomorrow and with that being said, Chasch Mer is in the hunt.

July 13

Day 3

Good evening from Chasch Mer!

Today we enjoyed good winds and sailing and the sea is beginning to show signs of a deep deep blue hue. We pass the 300 mile point today and to mark this even the sun appeared and has stayed with us all day. P3 turned 30 today! What a great way to mark this event. The boat drivers were hitting good speeds and the navigator was happy with our steering exactly to his course heading. Crew spirits are high, due in large to the fantastic fresh produce we have enjoyed since beginning our voyage. Thank you so much for the provisions! Delicious. We have fresh fruits at hand, for all meals and snacks between. Our cooks serve fantastic hot meals, warming us up for the cool night watches. Last night we had low clouds, but the moon was just visible as it slipped below the horizon and out of sight. We hope to do the same to our competition tonight! The oranges and apples are swinging from the cabin hand rails as the sea swells hit our starboard beam. The setting sun is shining into the forward windows,making streaks of gold across the floor and bouncing around the interior. White watch is in their births, gettinga few hours of sleep, while Red watch sails us into the sunset.

Skipper and Crew of Chasch Mer

July 12

Day 2

Hello from Chasch Mer after 24 hrs at sea. After a far from robust start to the race, we have finally settled into a steady wind. As if still tied by tether to the California coast, we could still see the lights on shore from Pt.Fermin after 11 hours. But then as we ghosted past the West End of Catalina Island, whilst being serenaded by the local sea lion natives barking and echoing off the water, the wind filled in. We are now in steady winds and decent boat speed of about 8-9 knots. Cloudy and cool temps, but no rain or fog, and crew and skipper Gib happy with progress so far.

Until next blog. Chsash Mer.

July 11

Day 1