Half the fleet finished and all enjoy high-speed sailing at Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Mostly favorable weather conditions for this race and the staggered start paradigm has created for the 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race what was intended: a flood of both fast and slow entries converging together on the finish in Hawaii. Some 70% of the 82 entries that will finish in this year’s edition have or will have finished between Saturday Noon and Monday Noon, a remarkable high density flood of racers arriving happy, tired, thirsty and wholly satisfied with this year’s race.

The 67-foot 1937 S&S yawl Chubasco also going fast – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

TPYC race officials say 75% of the entries in this year’s anniversary edition are newcomers to the race, but there are a lot of familiar faces on the arrival docks and Aloha parties being held at Waikiki and Hawaii Yacht Clubs. All of them, even among the Division 1 and Division 2 teams deprived of course records and corrected time victories due to their first night of light air, have said this year’s race for them was the best in memory.

“From the reports and dock chatter, everyone has been really happy with this race,” said TPYC Commodore Tom Hogan. “We had our fast multihulls even suggesting they start even another day or two later to be more a part of this celebratory Aloha scene.”

Echoing Hogan’s assessment, Gordon Kay, a veteran of two Whitbread Round the World Races and numerous other classic offshore races around the globe, was racing as a helmsman on Quentin Stewart’s Infinity 46r Maverick. This innovative design from Hugh Welbourn has a lateral appendage protruding from the hull just below the waterline on the leeward side that produces lift to contribute to stability of the boat when at high speeds. Called DSS (Dynamic Stability System) this produces outstanding performance benefits in offwind sailing with wind over 17 knots…below this speed in downwind sailing the foil is retracted in the hull to reduce drag.

These effects were seen in the final approach to Diamond Head today when Maverick was locked in battle boat-for-boat with a much larger race boat with a conventional fin and bulb keel, Max Klink’s Botin 65 Caro. The two were neck and neck doing speeds of 17-20 knots en route from the north shore of Molokai all the way to the finish in the brisk wind and waves of the famous Molokai Channel.

“The DSS was amazing, it allowed us to be so fast and so stable, we carried the big A2 spinnaker much further out of its normal range,” said Kay. “We did not want to change to the A3 because we really wanted to beat Caro boat-for-boat, and we did.”

Kay, who is from England, reflected on his experience on this, his first Transpac.

Curved foils give the Figaro 3 added stability in windy conditions – photo Ronnie Simpson/Ultimate Sailing

“Everyone should do this race, its like no other, today and last night were absolutely perfect,” he said. “All the elements are here for a truly fun and challenging oceanic experience. I’m 46 years old and have been racing for decades and only now can I finally reflect on how special this is and the amazing opportunities we have as sailors to have experiences like this. For this I’m truly grateful.” Kay then left the Waikiki Yacht Club for the airport to fly to Finland to help commission a new Infinity 53.

Hmmm…Finland? or Hawaii? It’s too bad he’s not staying because the rest of the Maverick team will on Friday night be awarded a trophy for Fastest Elapsed Time for yachts under 50 feet.

Another design with novel appendages that finished today and paced with boats much larger was Charles Devanneaux’s Beneteau Figaro 3 A Fond le Girafon (“the baby giraffe”), named for the ungainly-looking but effective foils that protrude from the hull above the water, but curved to be immersed at high heel angles and thereby also provide lift and stability. Devanneaux double-handed this race with Fred Courouble, a French ex-pat naval architect living in Long Beach, who explained their function.

Side foils seen clearly in this photo – Walter Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

“The design is very clever. When the boat heels 20-30 degrees, the outer section of the foil is rotated so that its curved section is now at an angle to provide lift. The position of the foil on the boat, the full round bow section, and the leeward rudder which is now vertical all make the boat very stable and hold its tracking, even in high-speed reaching. There boat in these windy downwind conditions is easy to steer and completely under control. In fact, at no time in this race were we concerned about control of this boat, its is very fast and safe,” he said. Devanneaux has already sailed this boat to Hawaii in the Pacific Cup and says he has thousands of miles double handing her in races and offshore passages, without problems.

Besides its immense popularity in France and northern Europe, this boat is also one of many under consideration by World Sailing for approval and inclusion in the next 2024 cycle of the Olympics for the new mixed gender double handed offshore medal.

Hamachi team celebrates on arrival last night – photo Rachel Rosales/ManaMeans

And while the French team on the Figaro 3 had a fast race, their Wednesday start put them into a weather pattern that prompted sailing south, thereby adding many miles to their trip. In contrast, few would dispute that for this year’s race the best weather was reserved for the Friday starters, and sure enough the top three teams in the corrected time standings are from Division 3. Led by Shawn Dougherty’s and Jason Anderson’s Hamachi, followed by Zach Anderson and Chris Kramer’s Velvet Hammer. These two are both J/125’s, but had measurable differences great enough to give Hammer a 2 hour 45 minute corrected time margin with their rival sistership.

Yet the Pacific Northwest-based Hamachi team rode a wave of strong tradewinds in their final approach to the finish, crossing the line at 2:21:29 local time, a 44-minute corrected time margin to be clear of Hammer, and almost 2 hours clear of Bob Pethwick’s Rogers 46 Bretwalda 3, yesterday’s first Division 3 finisher.

So, unless a Cal 40 sprouts wings and flies to the finish, the King Kalakaua trophy looks pretty safe for Hamachi.

“We would be so excited and proud to have our hard work over the past few months get rewarded with this amazing trophy,” said Dougherty. “The team was phenomenal, everyone worked hard but had fun too, and to be given this prestigious award would be quite an honor.”

A vibrant Aloha party on board Taxi Dancer – photo Emma Deardorf/Ultimate Sailing

There is one more casualty on the course among the several others who have retired with various problems in this race and returned to the coast: David Chase’s and Carlos Brea’s Fast 42 Uhambo reported about 1700 Hawaii time today they broke their mast, but all aboard were okay. TPYC race managers have been standing by, and the YB tracker indicates their speed at 6.0 knots with 100 miles to go.

Meanwhile the finishers will keep rolling in, with the “Tail end Charlie” award appearing ready for either Jason Siebert’s Schock 40 Gamble or the Hawaii-based Trader, Doug Pasnik’s Andrews 70, both about 500 miles out from the finish.

A continuing steady stream of finishers is expected in the next 24 hours, with the greeting committee on the top deck of the Hawaii Yacht Club bellowing out an enormous “Aaaahhh-looooo-haaaah” for all who enter the Ala Wai Harbor in search of their mooring place, their loved ones, beautiful and fragrant leis, and the coconut mai-tais given every yacht in the race, regardless of their results. This is a taste of the true Polynesian cultural spirit of Aloha that embrace all who visit, especially those who came from the sea.

To follow the position tracks of the approaching finishers, visit the YB tracker system at http://yb.tl/transpac2019#.

For colorful tales and photos of life aboard an entry in Transpac 50, visit the dedicated pages to blog posts at https://2019.transpacyc.com/news/boat-blogs.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Cover Photo: Quentin Stewart’s Infinity 46r Maverick on high speed finish at Diamond Head. They were pacing Max Klink’s Botin 65 Caro – 19 feet longer – boat for boat on final approach – photo Ronnie Simpson/Ultimate Sailing

2019 Governor’s Cup

Egnot-Johnson (NZL) survives a late charge by Takahashi (NZL) to win the finals 3-2.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (Saturday, July 20, 2019) – After five days, 22 round-robins, semi-final matches and final matches, which all took the full five races to determine the first team to win three, the 53rd Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted the Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California, has a new champion, Nick Egnot-Johnson of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. READ MORE…………………………………..

EVENT WEBSITE

FINAL RESULTS

Finishers start pouring in at Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – With the conditions on the race course remaining perfect, the first of a large wave of finishers has started to cross the finish line at Diamond Head in the 50th edition of the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race. Since Merlin Trophy-winner Rio100 finished last night, four more boats have finished: Phil Turner and Duncan Hines’s R/P 66 Alive from Australia, Bob Pethwick’s Rogers 46 Bretwalda 3, Daniel Gribble’s Tripp 56 Brigadoon, and the local Hawaii-based team on Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe. Tom Holthus’s Pac 52 BadPak is fast approaching to be next to finish at sunset.

Ho’okolohe attracted a dock-crushing Aloha crowd –
photo Janet Scheffer/ManaMeans

The crowd at Waikiki YC was so full of friends and family to greet Ho’okolohe, the berthing dock threatened to collapse. Buoyed by their spectacular finish at Diamond Head and finishing in their own home waters, the crew described their trip in glowing terms like “champagne sailing”, “best trip yet”, and “this boat has never gone so fast.”

Brigadoon beat Ho’okolohe to the finish line by an hour and 40 minutes, but trailed in corrected time scoring by about 14 minutes. However, currently Brigadoon is the sole finisher in the Corinthian division, where a trophy will be awarded to the team composed of all-amateur sailors who finishes with the best corrected time.

In corrected time, which is determined by the boat’s Transpac rating multiplied by their elapsed time, the contest is incredibly close. At stake is who wins the overall King Kalakaua Trophy, one of the most prestigious in this race, which rewards the team who has sailed the course most efficiently relative to their rating. During the race the YB tracker system estimated the projected corrected time based on the rate of progress made every hour between scheds and the distance left to the finish.

The high-speed conditions that require strong sails: Bretwalda at speed- photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Using this model, the Division 3 teams were on top most of this race based on their fast start on Friday, July 12th and the fast weather conditions on the course. Bretwalda 3 was an early leader in corrected time, but they rate the fastest among their closest rivals, two J/125’s: Zach Anderson’s and Chris Kramer’s Velvet Hammer and Shawn Dougherty and Jason Andrews’s Hamachi. So when the wind went aft, these two converged and appeared to even pass Bretwalda in corrected time.

With Bretwalda’s finish time now known, and her corrected time established, its now possible to calculate the elapsed time window needed by the two J-boats to defeat Bretwalda and determine who will win the overall trophy: if Hamachi finishes before dawn at 05:40:50 Hawaiian time she defeats Bretwalda. But if Velvet Hammer finishes within 2 hours 45 minutes of Hamachi, she wins the overall award.

Brigadoon passing Koko Head in final high-speed reach to Diamond Head – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Asked to comment about this on arriving at Waikiki, Pethwick said “We’ve been watching this, and its exciting to even think about the possibility. We’ll see how it pans out, they were 120 miles back, but its also windy out there. We had such a great race, it was so different than our last race in 2015, we had a fantastic time.”

Bretwalda watch captain and sailmaker Wally Cross commented on the stories of broken sails on numerous other boats in the race: “We knew this race and the loads it puts on the sails, so we developed stronger A2’s, and they held well. But the halyards didn’t!” The team broke two spinnaker halyards and had to finally rig an external halyard to fly the masthead sails. “Its a good thing we finished when we did.”

A new wave of finishers is expected in the next 24 hours, with more and more appearing on the live 200-mile radius tracker system that updates every hour instead of the longer-range tracker that updates hourly with a 4-hour delay.

To follow the position tracks of the approaching finishers, visit the YB tracker system at http://yb.tl/transpac2019#.

For colorful tales and photos of life aboard an entry in Transpac 50, visit the dedicated pages to blog posts at https://2019.transpacyc.com/news/boat-blogs.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Cover Photo: Local-based Ho’okolohe finishing at speed today – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

RIO100 wins Merlin Trophy in Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – With a finish time of 19:34:25 HST today, Manouch Moshayedi’s Bakewell-White 100 RIO100 has become the fastest monohull without powered performance systems to finish the 50th edition of the biennial 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race. In so doing she has won the Merlin Trophy, which this year was re-defined from its original criteria of being awarded to the fastest monohull of any configuration in the race.

RIO100 is the first boat in the history of Transpac to have won both the Merlin and Barn Door Trophies. Asked how he felt about this, Manouch said “It feels fantastic, I’m going to go down the list of trophies, one by one!”

Two years ago in their Barn Door Trophy win, RIO100 was not at full speed for the latter portion of the race having hit debris that broke one of their two rudders. Quick work by the crew capped the hole in the hull at the rudder bearing and the team sailed on for their elapsed time win. This time the only debris hit was a long hawse line from a fishing boat that they believe slowed them “for about one and a half – two hours” while they removed it from the keel. But all in all Manouch felt this was a “cleaner” race, and their elapsed time of 6 days 9 hours 8 minutes 26 seconds is the fastest yet for a non-canting Monohull.

Paradox on final approach to Diamond Head – photo Ronnie Simmons/Ultimate Sailing

Earlier at 12:07:48 HST Jeff Mearing and Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63 trimaran Paradox also finished at Diamond Head, the last of the Multihull Class 0 boats to finish with the three MOD 70’s crossing the line last night.

The next in the approaching queue of boats coming from the east is another Monohull Division 1 entry, Phil Turner and Duncan Hines’s Reichel/Pugh 65 Alive from Australia, the reigning overall champion of the last Sydney-Hobart Race. Their projected time to finish is about 0200 HST on Saturday morning, July 20th, marking the start of a succession of finishers coming to Diamond Head from Division 6 who started last Wednesday, July 10th.

Further out on the course the reports describe a mix of joy and sorrow, with most of the 82 boats projected to finish in this fleet describing beautiful 15-20 knot downwind sailing conditions during the day followed by some tough rainy and windy squalls at night. Spinnakers are getting a workout, with some breaking under the strain of an unintended broach or knockdown, prompting on-board repairs so they can be hoisted and used again.

Navigator Sean Motta has been providing numerous reports throughout the race from Roger Gatewood’s J/145 Katara, with the latest describing their travails with broken spinnakers and their impact on performance:

After a fairly rocky start this morning we’re back to a full head of steam. Repair efforts were made to the A4, and it now lays in reserve if the need were to arise. We down shifted to our much smaller reaching kite, the A3, for several hours. We were making acceptable way, but we weren’t able to get the angles or speed we wanted. Cautious of blowing out our only other runner kite, our lite air A2, we held off. After a few hours the breeze subsided somewhat and the call was made to hoist the A2. That helped significantly with the angle and speed and we’re back up to a full head of steam.

We are tentatively planning to downshift back to the A3 overnight in order to protect the A2 for use in the final approach or in lighter air if it appears again tomorrow.

We’ve got a full boat worth of projects going on with cleaning, splicing, minor tweaks or repairs, and just generally cleaning up a week of hard use. Most everyone is on a second or third pair of clothes and we had a dry enough day to get the boat opened up and aired out a bit.

Overall a pleasant day as we run towards the right edge where we will gybe over to port tack for our final (though over 500nm) approach in to Molokai for the final push in to Hawaii. Hard to tell for sure at this point but sometime very very late overnight on Sunday in to Monday morning Hawaiian time is looking somewhat most likely at this point.

Jerzy Poprawski also reported from his 43-foot catamaran “Kastor Pollux at 0810 lost [our] second and last spinnaker, sailing [now] wing-on-wing. We are working to fix one.” They are the faster of the two remaining multihulls on the course in Division OA, the other being Lior Elazary’s Lagoon 400S2 Celestra, although sailing without a spinnaker for their remaining 650 miles may change that order.

Just south of Celestra on Robert DeLong’s TP 52 Conviction, Larry Robertson reported the following personnel issue that has been plaguing them all week:

On Monday, we had a crew member injured due to a fall across the cockpit, and stopping at the edge with his ribs. We believe there is at least one broken rib. We have been in touch with family members and others in the medical community. There is little treatment that can be administered other than standard pain medications and keeping immobilized as much as possible. The injury is not life threatening, but the discomfort is pronounced. A knockdown is not fun for anyone, but very painful for someone with broken ribs. As a result, our foot has been off the ‘gas pedal’.

Despite the above, our spirits are high as we sail to Hawaii.

Except for the damage suffered by Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati that finished in the wee hours of yesterday morning, the reports of serious debris have been relatively light compared to recent post-2011 Tsunami years on this course. However, Larry on Conviction reminds us there are man-made objects out there to avoid:

We passed a buoy a couple of days [out] about 800 miles offshore. I am pretty sure it was not anchored. We were going 13 or so and it passed one boat length (50 feet) to windward and we did not see it until we were within a couple of boat lengths. We are glad that we did not ring that bell.

A race from Los Angeles would not be complete without screenplays, so this tale from Robert Zellmar’s Santa Cruz 50 Flyingfiche II is worthy of mention:

We’ve made our jibe and are heading directly toward Hawaii. Given that the distance yet to cover – about 600 nm – is longer than most boat trips, it seems premature to call this the home stretch. Everything is relative, I guess.

Nighttime conditions continue to be challenging. It was blowing a steady 25 when we executed our jibe. It was also 2 a.m. and the seas were rolling. Come to think of it, they weren’t good conditions to accomplish anything, other than coming back to the cockpit soaked. I nailed that!

It has really warmed up. The off-shift crew is doing their best to stay cool, and welcoming suggestions.

Recent observations have inspired me to write a screenplay:

The Trimmer

SCENE: Cockpit of a boat sailing in the Transpac race. GRINDER sits in front of a winch, handle at the ready. TRIMMER sits across the cockpit in a beanbag chair, holding the spinnaker sheet that is wound around the winch.

As action begins, the leading edge of the spinnaker curls over.

TRIMMER: Grind, grind, grind!

GRINDER does nothing. Before the TRIMMER speaks again, the curls flips back.

TRIMMER: OK!

END SCENE

FIN

We’re now performing this play dozens of times a day around the clock with a rotating cast. No two shows are quite the same!

For more colorful tales and photos of life aboard an entry in Transpac 50, visit the dedicated pages to blog posts at https://2019.transpacyc.com/news/boat-blogs.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

2019 BEACH TO BAY EQUALS YOUTH COMPETITION AND CAMARADERIE

Long Beach, Calif., July 18, 2019 — It was family fun day at the 32nd annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race Thursday, July 18! The event for seven to 17-year old’s saw 122 boats race along a five-mile course that took 12 classes of dinghies, helmed by 144 young sailors, from the corner of Alamitos Beach near Island Grissom, off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to the finish line by the long dock of the race’s host, Long Beach Yacht Club.

Drone photos courtesy of LBYC Sailing Director Cameron MacLaren

Principal Race Officer Alexis Hall, a former coach for racers in this event, had the first class of boats underway at 10:30 a.m. following a 30-minute delay until the wind picked up. It was the largest race the 20-year-old PRO Rookie of the Year had organized. For some of the boats, it’s the only race of the year they leave the protection of Alamitos Bay and venture into the waters of the harbor.

Although last to start, the 29-boat CFJ fleet quickly weaved through the other competitors. Tate Christopher, of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and crew Stewart McCaleb, crossed the finish at about 12:30 p.m. to claim the overall winner title. The pair were just eight boat lengths ahead of LBYC’s Alex Lech with his crew; brother Nicky Lech, who were followed closely by twins Scott Pearl and Chloe Pearl of ABYC.

“It was a great day on the water,” said Race Director and event Chairman Jess Gerry. “With clearing blue skies, winds that started at 5 to 7 knots and building to 7 to 9 created simply perfect conditions for these young sailors.”

The event was very much family-friendly and spectator-friendly, with coaches and parents cheering on the youngsters from shore, the pier or in dinghies, he said. In addition to the Lech’s and the Pearls who sailed together, Christopher’s brother Gage (who placed first in the O’pen Bic fleet) and 18 other sets of siblings participated.

With the majority of racers representing local yacht and sailing clubs, the race also had a strong neighborhood, community, and social vibe.

After the race, the kids quickly put away their boats and gear and hit the poolside deck for the burger bash. It was a scene from Caddyshack by the pool, Gerry said of the fun and camaraderie shared by the competitors.

“Beach to Bay is a regatta that both the coaches and sailors look forward to all summer long,” said Hall. “There is something special about watching 120 kids race with big smiles on their face and then enjoy a fun pool party.”

The burger bash was topped only by the awards ceremony where the Jessica Uniack Perpetual Trophy was awarded to ABYC’s Cole Barth for being the winning sailor in the largest fleet – the Sabot C3s.
The event is named for Jessica Uniack, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of junior sailing who died in 1994. Her husband, Staff Commodore Bill Uniack, attended Thursday’s race. Her son Billy Uniack helped the kids launch their boats, assisted with the recording finish times and presenting trophies.

At the ceremony, LBYC’s Preston Woodward picked up yet another trophy!

Last month, Woodward and Lech crewed for Trent Turigliatto at the Junior Match Racing Invitational and placed third. Yesterday, the 14-year-old borrowed a Laser Radial from LBYC coach Sawyer Gibbs; raced it for the first time and won the class.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Prizes were awarded to the top three finishers in each fleet:

Sabot C3
1st ABYC Cole Barth
2nd Leeway Asher Douglas
3rd Leeway Jacob Balster

Lasers Full Fleet
1st Leeway Kai Jorda
2nd HHYC Ben Hagadorn
3rd SLBYC Isaac Sweeney

Laser Radial
1st LBYC Preston Woodworth
2nd ABYC Tanner Jolly
3rd SLBYC Matthew Sas

Bic
1st ABYC Gage Christopher
2nd HHYC Ryan Misterly
3rd HHYC Miles Burnett

RS Tera
1st WLYC Emily Rychlik
2nd SMWYC Miles Gordon
3rd DPYC Christopher Daher

Sabot C1
1st LBYC Hannah Crompton
2nd LBYC Madison Mansour
3rd Leeway Claire Williams

Sabot C2
1st LBYC Taylor Carty
2nd LBYC Sophia Corzine
3rd LBYC Victoria Messano

Optimist
1st ABYC Jorge Alessandro Lettera
2nd ABYC Megan Farmer
3rd ABYC Fiona Barbeito

CFJ
1st ABYC Tate Christopher Stewart McCaleb
2nd LBYC Alex Lech Nicky Lech
3rd ABYC Scott Pearl Chloe Pearl

MOD 70 multihulls AND Comanche are iN – Transpac 50 Update

HONOLULU, HAWAII – After Jason Carroll’s Argo crossed the finish line at Diamond Head last night 20:52:32 local time, only 29 minutes later Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay crossed the line, followed 6.5 hours later by Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati, ending the rivalry between all three MOD 70 trimarans in the 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race. For over four days these teams battled with each other, one (Maserati) limping for a while due to impact damage after the first day of the race, but never giving up.

Argo crossing the finish last night – photo Lauren Easely/leialohacreative.com

“Crossing the finish line was a great moment for us,” Carroll told local TV news teams. “It was 4 1/2 days of anticipation to find out if we were going to beat out the competition and it came down to a pretty close race in the end, so this was a great celebration.”

Argo team celebrates their line honors victory – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Asked about conditions leaving the coast, Carroll said “The conditions were very different there then they are here in Hawaii where it blows 26 knots every day; it was very light and variable and our navigator [Anderson Reggio] did a great job getting us out of [that hole] which gave us a leg up on everybody.”

This is Carroll’s first Transpac, to which he said “Every offshore yacht racers dream is to sail [this race], and this is my first time ever in Hawaii. So it’s great to come and do this. The full moon was with us pretty much every night guiding us safely here.”

When asked what it was like being 4 days with his team, Carroll said “Ya know I spend a lot of time with these guys, we get to see each other everyday!”

(An Erratum from last night’s release: an additional member of the Argo team omitted from mention was Westy Barlow – sorry Westy!)

Argo team member Brian Thompson is a highly-experienced veteran of offshore multihull projects, and even he was impressed with this race.

The PowerPlay team pushed Argo, finishing only 29 minutes behind after 4 days of racing – photo David Linvingston


“It is amazing to be back here. I think this is my sixth time in Honolulu racing from California. So I’ve got the course record with Phaedo and after the fourth attempt, being the first multihull to finish, the first boat to finish this race here on Argo tonight – which is incredible. It turned out the racing was really close. The start was incredible. There was an eddy off the coast of California which made it super light. Much lighter than normal and at night it shut down and we were the boat that got out the best. And just got out before the wind shut down, so we got out into the wind and extended through the night to have about an 80-mile lead. So four and half days is not a bad time at all to 2,200 miles. We are all chuffed to be here.”

Aloft view of Merlin’s famous spinnaker, now known as the “Rainbow Warrior”- photo Merlin

The remainder of the fleet is enjoying beautiful tradewinds sailing, with many reports of fantastic sunsets and sunrises, moon rainbows, challenging squalls, and the like. This account from Chip Merlin’s team on his custom Lee-designed 68 Merlin:

Day 5 turned into an intense night after a few spinnakers went up and down and dodging little black clouds and intermittent showers. Today Day 6 the sun is out, nice trade winds are blowing, the crew is in good spirits and moments of offshore humor are more frequent. Last night we were treated to a special phenomena – when under the full moon a moonbow appeared which is a white halo like ring similar to a rainbow but without the colors.

And from John Miller’s Beneteau 46 Tropic Thunder on their 8th day, a similar account:

So, as sailing goes it is wash, rinse, repeat. The other watch seems to get all the sail change fun. My watch gets all the cool sights.

Overnight we had a brief light rain that felt wonderful. The moon was once again bright and beautiful. We were treated to a full moonbow; rainbow made from moonlight. I have no idea what the actual term for it is and Google is not exactly available out here so you are stuck with moonbow.

We are starting to see schools of flying fish which is really cool and increasing amounts of trash which is not so cool. There was a small squid that tried to make itself into calamari on the jacklines but he wasn’t quite successful, poor little thing.

We are having a good time out here. Life is good. Except there were some hurting puppies this morning from the 1/2 way celebration. When will they learn. Now starting to ration ibuprophen.

Another story from the race course on board Scott Deardorff and Bill Guilfoyle’s SC 52 Prevail is less jolly. A crewman had got his finger caught in a winch and sustained a compound fracture to his arm. The team received medical advice via sat phone from Hoag, the Transpac official medical assistance provider, wherein antibiotics were prescribed, but of a type not in the Prevail medical kit.

With help from Transpac Race HQ, an alert notice went to the fleet to ask who had the specific type of drugs needed. Luckily only 5 miles away was Vela, another SC 52 owned by Steve Davis, Tim Dornberg and Clark Davis, who made the rendezvous with Prevail. The patient is reported to be in stable condition.

Another problem on the course has arose on The Eddy Family’s Cal 40 Callisto, where their YB tracker is now officially dead. The device had been behaving erratically throughout the race, so now Race HQ has directed navigator Kerry Deaver to report positions every 4 hours.

A remarkable photo provided by the Hamachi team taken from their drone while at high speed at the half-way point in the race, which they celebrated by “passing the flask and having a dance party”

One tracker that seems to be working well is that on Jason Andrews’s J/125 Hamachi, because based on their recent rates of progress they are positioned at the top of the leaderboard in corrected time. It’s still a little early to make predictions, but they are now very much in contention to win the overall King Kalakaua Trophy, a historic perpetual award named after the royal Hawaiian founder of this race, first sailed in 1906.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Comanche first monohull to finish, wins Barn Door Trophy in Transpac 50

Comanche under new Australian ownership is the fastest monohull in Transpac 50 and thus wins the coveted Barn Door Trophy – photo Lauren Easely/leialohacreative.com

HONOLULU, HAWAII – After the same slow start that plagued all Saturday starters this year in the 50th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac, Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s VPLP 100 Comanche still managed to sneak out of the light air, get into the offshore breeze, and sail on to be first to finish in Honolulu at 21:14:05 Hawaii time. For being the first monohull to cross the finish line at Diamond Head, the Comanche team will win the coveted First to Finish carved slab of Hawaiian Koa wood known as the Barn Door Trophy. From 2009-2017 this award was given only to yachts with no powered systems, but was re-dedicated this year for monohull yachts of all sizes and types.

“This is a fantastic feeling to be here in Hawaii on this great yacht,” said Cooney on finishing his first Transpac. “Four months ago we committed to this race when the rig came out of the boat in Australia to ship to California, and we’ve been working hard to make this happen ever since.”

The 17-strong team on board Comanche – photo Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

Navigator Stan Honey has been on many Barn Door-winning boats, and says the award is appropriate to represent the boat that is not only fast but also uses the latest in technology to achieve performance.

“The winners of the Barn Door Trophy represent the progress of technology in the history of offshore sailing,” said Honey. “Like Dorade, Storm Vogel, Windward Passage and Merlin, Comanche very much deserves to be part of this history.”

While not matching her record time set in 2017 of 5 days 01:55:26, her time of 5 days 11:14:05 this year was still good for an impressive VMG of nearly 17 knots on the course.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Argo First to Finish in Transpac 50

With the glow of Waikiki in the backdrop, Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 Argo is first-to-finish in Transpac 50 – photo Janet Scheffer/ManaMeans

HONOLULU, HAWAII – After a slow initial start on Saturday, Jason Carroll and his team of Chad Corning, Thierry Fouchier, Anderson Reggio, Alister Richardson and Brian Thompson were able to push their MOD 70 trimaran Argo into the lead among two other rival MOD 70’s in this year’s 50th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac.

After several hours into the race and having to fight to get out of a wind hole on the first night, the team found the strong offshore breeze first to take a lead never seriously challenged during the entire race, playing a brilliant tactical game to also deftly stay ahead of their competition on the final approach to the finish.

Which was needed: Peter Cunningham’s team on PowerPlay, a sistership MOD 70, finished just 29 minutes astern after 2225 miles of racing.

Argo’s official finish time was 20:50:32 HST on Wednesday, July 17th, for an elapsed time of 4 days 11 hours 20 min 32 sec …a remarkable time considering their first day’s slow start and only 5 hours behind the record pace set in 2017 by the ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe of 4 days 6 hours 32 minutes 30 sec.

This translates to an average speed down the course of 20.7 knots.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Rescuers and the rescued arrive safe and others press on to tradewind sailing in Transpac 50

LOS ANGELES, CA – July 16, 2019

At about 2 AM PDT, a small crowd gathered at the docks of Windward Yacht Center to await the arrival of a 68-foot sailboat with 19 people aboard. This was 10 more than the 9 they left with from Long Beach back on Saturday at the third start of the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac race. Roy Disney’s Andrews 68 Pyewacket left Long Beach hungry for victory in their attempt to earn corrected time honors but circumstances intervened on Sunday night.

“I was just waking up when the radio had messages that you could hear sounded urgent, we heard it was OEX, so Benny [Mitchell] and I looked at each other and leaned in to figure out what’s going on,” said Disney. “The next part was figuring out where we were relative to them. We assumed others were closer until our navigator said they were right in front of us. It was easy to turn a little left and we were right on top of them relatively quickly. We were all powered up going 14-15 knots, so slowing down was not that easy.”

Disney went on to say “Then we came across the eerie sight of a mainsail up on a boat that was going under the waves…its a pretty tragic thing to see, and these two lifeboats tied together with flashing lights on them.”

The sight was John Sangmeister’s Santa Cruz 70 OEX foundering from water rushing into the boat through a hole in the stern where the rudder post used to be. Despite valiant attempts by his team to stop the flow and keep up with the ingress with pumps and buckets, the boat was filling fast with water. Liferafts were deployed.

“When I saw Pyewacket’s running lights nearby and we were 4-5 feet of water inside the boat and I was sitting on deck I had waist-deep water in the cockpit, I said ‘Alright boats, its time to go.’ We have a watertight bulkhead on the bow and I feared the boat might go down by the stern and the mast would land on top of the raft.

“I felt really confident that Roy and his remarkable crew would look after us once we got into the boats.”

“Which we did, we had ribs and wine!” said Disney. “And dinner and fellowship, all 19 of us,” retorted Sangmeister. “They were more than gracious hosts.”

“I am fortunate to have a group of guys that are really good at what they do, I really appreciate that, and John also has a group of guys that are really good at what they do too,” said Disney. “There was no panic, no distress, other than just guys getting into a lifeboat in the dark in the middle of the night in the middle of the Pacific! But everyone handled it perfectly. This is a tribute to sailors in general and our groups that it worked out the way it did.”

According to TPYC Staff Commodore Bo Wheeler, speaking at a news interview in Waikiki, this has been the only boat sunk in the history of the Transpac, a race that dates back to 1906. And while a record number of boats have returned this race, 7 with rudder issues and one with a broken mast, this is also the largest turnout of entries, with 90 boats who crossed the start line in three waves starting last Wednesday.
Of the other boats that have retired, Macando is within site of land, and only Tim Jones’s Olson 40 Live Wire still has a difficult journey ahead, 200 miles out with a jury rig proceeding at about 4 knots.

For the 82 boats still racing, the conditions are perfect downwind tradewinds sailing, with reports like “Absolutely a beautiful day of sailing yesterday. Looking forward to more of the same today,” coming from the Eddy Family’s Cal 40 CalistoFelix Basadre on board Michael and Samantha Gebbs’sPacer 42R Zimmer declared “Best hour of sailing ever just after sunset last night. Beautiful sunset and sunrise. Seeing Orion’s Belt was amazing, we could reach out and touch it.”

The race leader in elapsed time – Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 trimaran Argo – has less than halfway to go to the finish, and has been lifted on starboard tack to cross the rhumbline to Hawaii. They shared a comical glimpse of life aboard this high-speed leader:

The crew of the mighty Argo got over their onboard international social challenges yesterday by finding common ground in their hatred for Mountain House Breakfast Skillet freeze dried food. Honestly, freeze dried eggs just shouldn’t be a thing. Just like the sport of cricket.

Argo has a team of seven from the USA, France and England and at 1100 PDT they were on a heading of 290° at 26 knots of speed, with 881 miles to go to the finish line at Diamond Head.

Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati’s damage reported yesterday is not slowing her down too much: she has many miles to catch up but at 1100 had an average speed of 23 knots and covered 513 miles in the past 24 hours with 1017 miles to go. At these speeds that’s only about 4 hours astern of Argo, so the expected fight between these two and Peter Cuningham’s MOD 70 Powerplay may well be heating up in the next two days.

And the fastest monohulls – Comanche and Rio100 – are working through the middle of the second wave fleet at speeds of 19 and 18 knots, respectively. John Miller’s Beneteau 46 Tropic Thunder sent a note and screen graphic from their routing software to show Comanche 8.8 miles away “in their neighborhood” proceeding at a relatively good clip: 20.8 knots compared to their 6.8 knots.

Current leaders in corrected time in each division are as follows: Div 0: Argo, Div 0A: Kastor Pollux, Div 1: Rio100, Div 2: TaxiDancer, Div 3: Bretwalda 3, Div 4: Prevail, Div 6: Kialoa II, Div 6: Ohana, Div 7: Chubasco, Div 8: Sweet Okole, Div 9: Nadelos, Div 10: Viva.

Reports like these, YB tracker tools, race standings and more are available on the race website, and progress for boats on the course can be followed on the 4-hour delay YB tracking found from this link https://yb.tl/transpac2019# on the race website. Daily position analysis videos from offshore racing commentator Dobbs Davis will also be posted on the site most days during the race.

For more information on Transpac 50 and its history, events and sponsors, visit the main website at https://2019.transpacyc.com.

Aloha!

Local Sailing News From SoCal and Beyond