The following is an except of a memoir written by Charles Howard Duffy while sailing on the “LADY JO” in the Honolulu Classic, a yacht race between San Pedro and Honolulu, Jan 5,1939.
The Honolulu Classic – Jan 5, 1939
We are bouncing around so much I can hardly write. We are boiling along on a southerly course at a rate of about 7 or 8 knots. The wind is right out of the west. Ed is on watch.
The wind is slacking off a trifle. We had been sailing since 5 AM this morning on a close reach with the big heavy balloon jib set. The boat is perfectly balanced and sailed with no one at the wheel from 5 AM until 2 PM. Then the wind freshened so much we had to run off slightly. Sam is at the wheel. This is the driest, best sailing little ship I have ever been on. It only lacks a bath tub. I’m so salty I feel like a piece of salt fish. I’ll be glad when we hit trades and some warm rain.
It seems like I just mad a misstatement about this boat being dry. I took the wheel for about three minutes while same was getting a time tick, and at that inopportune moment we took over the biggest wave yet on the trip. It originated at the bow of the boat, 30 feet away, traveled in an arc clear up over the spreaders, and landed right on me. Everyone else thought it was a big joke.
I am on watch now but am spending it below. The boat is sailing itself with working job, staysail and main. The wind is howling in the rigging and we are still making about five knots.
The boat is still sailing itself, but now only under job and staysail. I was interrupted in making the last entry to get down the mainsail. We had been booming along about nine knots at times ( 22 miles in three hours ) using the big balloon jib when my watch came up. I never dreaded anything so much as getting out there on the wheel tonight. Then, Sam decided to get in the ballooner. It nearly got away from us, but we finally got it in and put up the working jib. We went below, got off out wet clothes, and had a round of rock and rye. I had no sooner start to make the last entry than I was called to get down the main. I think the wind has probably reached a velocity on fifty miles per hour. We had stew for dinner. My feet slipped on the wet cabin floor and I went zooming under the table with my pan of stew. Rose complains of bumps and bruises from banging around the galley, we she does a wonderful job.