Tag Archives: Cal 40

All in at Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – With Jason Seibert’s Schock 40 Gamble making it across the finish line this morning after a long passage of almost 11 days, the Transpacific Yacht Club can declare all boats have finished this year’s 50th edition to the LA-Honolulu Race. The final tally of boats completing the course successfully is 81, with 678 sailors aboard. Nine yachts retired from this year’s race: seven returned to the mainland, one continued to Hawaii, and one sank at sea.

Gamble revels at Diamond Head – photo Emma Deardorf/Ultimate Sailing

Nearly without exception, all were glad they came, with plenty of tales of adventure and challenge running the gamut of topics common to ocean racing: high speeds and low speeds, gourmet cooking to freeze dried mush, perfect moonlit nights to scary squalls, freezing cold to baking in the sun with no relief. For some the trip was without incident, while others ran into one problem after another and the trip was spent troubleshooting these to get them to Hawaii in one piece.

The skipper of the last finisher had a lot of this onboard, but admitted often the boat was less an issue than the team being able to adapt to this high-speed, low-freeboard canting-keeled rocket ship. Seibert, from Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, also had other challenges ahead of the race: he had his boat measured in accordance to race requirements, but due to the boat’s canting keel needed more assurance presented to the event’s technical committee that the boat could comply with other safety and stability rules. So he knew modifications were needed.

It turns out that just understanding these requirements to know what to modify is a challenge, being buried in the arcane language of the ISO standards. For Seibert Transpac has been a dream of his to do, but being in Texas he was running short of time in April to have everything done to make the race.

Waikiki YC junior program members and their supporters go out for a sail on the legendary Merlin – photo Emma Deardorf/Ultimate Sailing

“We finally got the calculations done and approved, we were fortunate to find a sponsor, and I drove the boat to San Diego,” said Seibert. “The keel normally cants to 55° the calculations showed we needed to limit this to 37.5° to meet the requirements. So we removed the bulb, re-set the stops on the keel system, re-attached the bulb, checked the stops, then re-measured the list angle after launching. Everything checked out.”

It was on the high-speed reaching legs in the beginning of the race where Seibert feels they were most compromised in performance by missing the normal stability needed for their sail plan, so the team had to shift gears to find correct solutions. And when the breeze went aft the boat was “a handful” to drive due to its light weight and the confused sea states: driving took full attention, and Gamble did not have many experienced drivers aboard.

“The boat took everything we threw at it,” said Seibert. “We just needed to understand better how to handle the conditions. I’m still happy – we set out to get here, and we’re here.”

Drying out on Cal 40 row at Hawaii YC – photo Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

For the next several days, Ala Wai Harbor will be abuzz with activity as the Aloha welcome parties shift to seeing newly showered and shaved race crews rinse, dry, and fold sails and gear for storage or shipping, while the delivery crews start coming in to make their lists, fix the systems that broke, and make ready for the deliveries back to the mainland. The Australians are preparing for a longer trip headed west and south for the South Seas en route back to Oz. Others are readying their boats for delivery back to California on one of the Pasha Hawaii roll-on roll-off ships on their regular service to and from Hawaii.

Many will stay with friends or family for a short holiday here either on Oahu or another island, some will attend the evening sponsor parties, and some will attend the Navigator’s debrief meeting on Friday morning. Some have flown home and will come back just for the Awards Ceremony on Friday where an impressive celebration awaits with Hawaiian entertainment, slide and video shows of the race, and dozens of stunning trophies will be awarded to celebrate another successful edition of this great race.

And some don’t have many plans at all, other than lay by the pool, sip on a Mai Tai, and revel on how good it feels to be back on terra firma.

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: Finishing at dawn at Diamond Head: Lior Elazary’s Lagoon 400S2 Celestra completes Transpac 50 – photo Emma Deardorf/Ultimate Sailing

Last wave of finishers happy to finish after rough seas and big breezes on final approach in Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – By sunset on Monday, only a handful of yachts were still at sea heading towards the finish in the 50th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race, organized by the Transpacific YC. This day was overcast and almost dreary compared to the bright tropical sunshine of all the other finish days, and with the final stretch after many days at sea many teams were more than ready to cross the finish at Diamond Head.

A source of fatigue and frustration for many was the unusual sea state produced by cross-swells, making the smaller and slower boats in particular difficult to sail efficiently. One team sent a message saying “On land, I will miss thrashing about the boat, getting vibrant bruises that connect to form geographic regions all over my body.” Kidding aside, for some this was also the source of damage that had serious effects on their race.

For example, Steve Ashley’s Beneteau First 40.7 Onde Amo reported last night the rudder on the boat had “been lost” so they were retiring from the race and proceeding to Honolulu using the emergency rudder. No reports of injuries or damage, they have about 130 miles to go and are proceeding at a pace of about 5-6 knots. No word yet on the cause, but the reports from the course and stories from arrivals have indicated the challenging conditions from choppy and confused seas has been hard on helmsman, trimmers, sails and gear.

One puff too tough: Uhambo finishes under jury rig – photo Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

A rolling sea can make it hard to keep the spinnaker filled, and repeated collapsing and filling will not only be slow, but can wear down and even break sails…Russ Johnson’s Jeaneau 52.2 Blue Moon has reported they blew up their last spinnaker and are proceeding under headsail.

Another example is Carlos Brea’s and David Chase’s Fast 42 Uhambo, who as reported last night suffered breakage to the top of their carbon spar. Yet the ultimate cause may have started with a serious spinnaker wrap a few days earlier that was so severe they were unable to untangle the sail from the spar and headstay, and were forced to sail with the mainsail only for nearly three days.

“The sea state was really confused on this race,” said Chase. “Except for one on our team, we have a crew that is new to Transpac.” Chase went on to explain getting the driving in this sea state in sync with the trim was a challenge, and this helped cause the wrap. Eventually they got it unraveled, they reset the spinnaker, and resumed racing at full speed.

Carlos Brea (left ) and David Chase (right) tell their tale to the press – video by Chris Love Productions

But then sea state and wind strength conspired once again to cause a broach, and in the confusion the afterguy was released, the sail loaded and pulled the spar over, breaking at the third spreader set below the hounds. The team then set about fashioning a jury rig with a headstay attached to the top of the spin pole track, and a storm trysail to fly in the new foretriangle.

“For a while we tried two headsails to go downwind, keeping the main centered, and we could go 5-6 knots,” said Brea. But this rig reverted back to the trysail when on the final reach from Koko Head to Diamond Head.

The team arrived looking exhausted, but got a rousing welcome on arrival in the Ala Wai Harbor and high praise for their valiant efforts and determination. After a few mai tais and some puu puu’s at their Aloha Party their spirits revived.

Chubasco has a lot of sail area to control in a rolling choppy sea – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Another tale of sea state challenge came from Dustin Durant who raced with the large and mostly pro team on Chubasco. He said the cross seas made it tough to drive, trim and maneuver on this 67-foot renovated S&S classic yawl. Being an accomplished match racing skipper from Long Beach, Durant is accustomed to precision boat placement on the race course, but as a helmsman on Chubasco he met his match.

“Going downwind I’ve never driven a boat so hard to steer,” he said. Gybing was incredibly difficult in those seas with the enormous spin pole and having to also gybe the huge main and mizzen as well. It took all of our team’s skills to make this happen, this boat is simply not set up for trimming and boat handling like a race boat. We had to think through everything to not damage the boat or hurt anyone on it.”

Off watch was no better, with the boat rolling side to side in the sea state in what were cramped cabins for a lot of the crew. The galley is forward on Chubasco, and Durant claimed the motion was such that while cooking “the eggs flipped themselves.”

The first to finish Cal 40 from Division 10 was The Eddy Family’s Callisto, who crossed the finish line at Diamond Head buoy at 5:11 PM local time, while the next boat in the class finishing an hour later was Don Jesberg’s Viva, followed by Rodney Pimentel’s Azure coming in just about an hour after that at sunset. The Cal 40’s are an emotional favorite at the Transpac, being for some the pivotal design that bridged the old and new era’s of yacht design, and one that in their heydey dominated the top results in this race.

All smiles on Callisto on arrival to Transpac Row – photo David Livingstone

“This last day the wind was higher than forecast, a good 20-30 knots,” said Callisto navigator Kerry Deaver. “No one got any sleep, but you never on the final push in this race.” Callisto sailed with only four on board: Deaver, Jim Eddy, Park Eddy and Fred Berg. “We were kept pretty busy,” she said. “When you were not sailing you were sleeping, and so we did not have the luxury of plotting tactical moves coming into the finish – we just sailed with what we had and it worked out.”

More on the tactics of the division winners will come in a final analysis report from the Navigator’s meeting held after every Transpac.

In the meantime finishers will continue to fill “Transpac Row” in the Ala Wai harbor, with the rate slowing down considerably from this time yesterday. The “Tail end Charlie” award appears to be reserved for Jason Siebert’s Schock 40 Gamble who is now about 300 miles out.

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: The Eddy Family’s Callisto was first Cal 40 to finish at Transpac 50 – photo Emma Deardorf/Ultimate Sailing

2018 LAYC George Griffith Series

March 24, 2018

Race 1 Results

 

SoCal Sailing History – The Cal 40

From Yachtworld.com:

Rock-star sailors, such as Dennis Conner and Stan Honey, could probably have bought most any boat they wanted over the years. And at one time or another, they both owned a vintage Bill Lapworth-designed Cal 40. Launched in 1963 by California-based Jensen Marine, this intrepid design is 50-plus years old. And you’ll still find dozens of them on racing circuits and in the slips of posh yacht clubs around the country. So what’s the story behind this enduring and winning design?

The first hull, Persephone, was an instant success, although the design was considered somewhat radical for offshore and long-distance racing. Her flat, dinghy-like bottom, fin keel, and high-aspect spade rudder, along with her lightness (15,000 pounds which was light in 1963), surprisingly earned her lots of criticism at the time. While the Cal 40 was known as a “downwind surfing machine,” owners say that the design actually is a good all-around performer, proven by Cal 40 wins in upwind, long-distance races—not just in downwind runs.

There are several notable things to say about sailing a Cal 40 versus sailing a newer, lighter boat. On first glance, one is struck by her rounded, blunt bow. It’s a far cry from the sharp, fine entries of modern sleds, and is closer in appearance to a heavily built cruiser. Under sail, she proves just the opposite and is surprisingly nimble. Going upwind in moderate 10- to 15-knot breezes, she accelerates nicely, and can easily hit seven knots in speed. Downwind, the Cal 40 surfs well on following seas, but she does tend to load up at the bottom of the wave when the ride is over.

Read more: http://www.yachtworld.com/boat-content/2014/12/cal-40/#ixzz4m49lfEgc

JOEL BUFFA BECOMES HIS FAMILY’S 5TH GENERATION TRANSPAC SAILOR

Joel Buffa, crew member aboard Rapid Transit in the 2017 Transpac Race will become the first ever 5th-generation sailor to compete in the history of the Transpac Race. Joel shares his family’s Transpac racing history and looks forward to joining the Comyns/Buffa family tradition.

“It has been my life long dream to compete in this race and it has special historical meaning to my family. I am very fortunate that I will now be crossing the same ocean as my great-great grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother have all crossed before me.”

Family History:

1st Generation: Great-great Grandfather (Louis Sylvester Comyns) and Great-Grandfather (William Louis Comyns) raced the Transpacific Yacht Race in 1928 onboard the Schooner Aafje.

2nd Generation: Grandfather (Lou Comyns) was 3rd Generation and raced the following 10 Transpacific Yacht Races:

  • 1957 Squall
  • 1959 Sumiki II
  • 1961 Nomad
  • 1963 Jo Too
  • 1965 Misty
  • 1967 Ahsante
  • 1968 Ahsante
  • 1973 Ahsante
  • 1977 Flying Cloud
  • 1983 Murphy’s Law

3rd Generation: Lou Comyns was a long time Board Member and Director Emeritus of the Transpacific Yacht Race.

4th Generation: Cindy Comyns Buffa (Mother) became 4th Generation in 1973 onboard the Cal 40 Ahsante.

5th Generation: Joel Buffa (Son) will become the first 5th Generation in the history of the Transpacific Yacht Race when he starts the race on Thursday, July 6, 2017.

 

Joel Buffa (5th Generation) will be sailing on Rapid Transit in 2017 Transpac

  • Boat Name: Rapid Transit
  • Boat Type: Antrim 49
  • Boat Owner: James Partridge
  • Year Built: 2009
  • Boat was built by the owner, his brother (Cree Partridge), and two sons
  • Crew: 7 People
  • Crew includes 5 California Maritime Academy graduates including Joel Buffa, Bill Schopp, Ian Bower, Greg Clark, Dave Shoemaker

Aloha, and I look forward to becoming a TPYC member after I cross the finish line!

LESS THAN ONE WEEK TO START OF 2017 TRANSPAC

Numerous pre-race events celebrate the 49th edition of this biennial classic ocean race

LOS ANGELES, CA – The first wave of three starts to the 49th edition of the 2017 biennial Transpac Race starts next Monday, July 3rd, when 17 yachts in three monohull divisions will cross the start line at Point Fermin in Los Angeles to race to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu 2225 miles away. In addition, one yacht in the multihull division – Jerzy Poprawski’s catamaran Kastor Pollux – will make the start this day as well.

Photo: Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

The starting gun will fire at 1:00 PM Pacific time, with the first (and only) mark of the course being to leave the West End of Catalina Island to port, 26 miles away. From there its over the horizon for a journey that could take some as long as 2 weeks, others as short as a few days depending on weather and size and speed of their boats.

Those that start on Monday will be the slowest boats in the fleet of 55 entries, with faster boats starting in another wave on Wednesday, July 5th and the fastest starting on Thursday July 6th, all at 1:00 PM except for the Multihulls on Thursday starting at 1:30.

Photo: Doug Gifford/Ultimate Sailing

Prior to the first start, organizers at the Transpacific Yacht Club have several pre-race events planned:


– On Thursday evening July 29th a VIP mixer open to race participants and invited guests will be hosted by Farmers & Merchants Bank, featuring a presentation made by noted designers Morelli & Melvin Design and Engineering on the latest in multihull technology…a fitting discussion given yesterday’s exciting conclusion of the America’s Cup.


– All Transpac Skippers, Crew and Guests are invited to the First Start Kick Off Party at Shoreline Yacht Club in Long Beach on Friday, June 30th from 5:00 – 11:00 PM. Burgers and More will be available from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, No-Host Bar from 3:00 – 11:00 PM, and Live Music will be provided by Uncle Monkey.


– On Saturday July 1st teams will pick up their registration materials and attend the Skippers Meeting for final instructions for the race.
Gladstone’s venue – photo Doug Gifford/Ultimate Sailing

– After the Skipper’s Meeting, Gladstone’s of Long Beach will once again be hosting the TransPac Aloha Party. The activities will commence at 1800 at the Bandshell next to the restaurant. Teams will be introduced and will receive the traditional Hawaiian blessing for safe travels and ‘fair winds and following seas.’ Tickets are available for order at https://2017.transpacyc.com/forms/send-off-party.


Photo courtesy Circle Porsche


– From 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Sunday, July 2ndCircle Porsche is hosting Porsche Palooza, a fun day featuring test drives, new models from Porsche, and an impressive collection of 50 vintage models as well. Food, music, and many of the boats participating in Transpac will also be on display. The event is open to the public and is being held at Gladstone’s and the Pine Street Pier in Long Beach.

Photo: Doug Gifford/Ultimate Sailing

– Unless called to duty, the Long Beach Fire Department will give a water show display for boats heading out to the start area in celebration of the fleet. Each boat will also be given a cannon salute as they leave Rainbow Harbor and be escorted out of the harbor by Hawaiian outrigger canoes.


“We’re very excited about this year’s fleet doing the race,” said TPYC Commodore Bo Wheeler. “We have a great mix of traditional and modern boats, those who are doing this for the first time and those who are seasoned veterans, and those doing the race for fun and those who are seriously in search of course records and putting their names in the history books alongside other prominent ocean sailors from around the world. This diversity is what makes this a great race.”


For those interested in viewing the race firsthand on a spectator boat, contact Karen Edwards at Kledwards1010@gmail.com. Media interested in attendance must first register with the event at the Press registration page found at  https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4073.


From on land the start may be seen from a cliff-top view at the historic lighthouse at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.

 

For more information, visit http://2017.transpacyc.com.

Bill Ficker – RIP and Godspeed

William P. (Bill) Ficker                                                                         December 12, 1927 – March 13, 2017

From the National Sailing Hall of Fame:

One afternoon in 1970, Bill Ficker, the Star World Champion (1958) and Congressional Cup winner (1974) who would steer Intrepid to an America’s Cup win that year, encountered Ted Turner after winning a trial race in Newport, Rhode Island. “He walked up to me,” Ficker recalls, “and said, `Ficka is quicka.’ The next day he arrived with a box full of buttons bearing that slogan. I cringed a little bit.”

Putting aside superior tactics and his allocation of responsibility that produced a happy boat, Ficker credits Cal Tech with Intrepid’s quickness. “They interpreted all our speed data,” he says. “We sailed precisely to the numbers they gave us. The crew was very disciplined. Tactician Steve van Dyck and navigator Peter Wilson did a good job keeping me on the numbers.”

Wilson says Ficker had a unique way of motivating the crew. “He wanted all of us to decide how best to do our jobs. If I said we were over our numbers, guys trimming would have freedom to make changes so we’d point higher, and vice versa. Once Bus Mosbacher came to practice with us in case something were to happen to Bill. The jib trimmer made an adjustment. Bus said, `I didn’t call that.’ Bill’s way was very different. He built teamwork, with never a harsh word.”

Bill Ficker has had a cat bird seat for watching both his beloved Star class and the America’s Cup go through significant changes. The Star class was one of the few games in town 75 years ago, and at one time, the only class with a world championship regatta. He applauds its ability to police itself and to adapt to new materials and technology. Ficker helped direct that adaptation as a member of the class’s technical committee.

As for the Cup, Ficker has said the big catamarans were “flat out dangerous.” Those who sailed them would agree. But lately, he has become more philosophical. “I’ve always thought of the Cup as yachting,” he says, “not sailing, with something about the social end that bound people together. When I sailed, people in the syndicates truly loved the sport. It wasn’t commercial at all. The possibility of making money from something substantially changes the attitude. But it also permits a lot of people to enter into the sport when previously they could not.”

– Roger Vaughan