Tag Archives: Honolulu Race

2019 TransPac 50 Hightlight Video

Grab your Mai Tai🍹, sit back, and enjoy the culmination of all the hard work by the sailors, sponsors, volunteers, staff, and the local support that made 50th edition of the LA – Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race such a success.

🎥 by Chris Love Productions

Aloha Spirit at the Final Awards of Transpac 50

HONOLULU, HAWAII – “Aaaalloooh-haaah!” This greeting repeated in unison by the crowd of over 600 attendees is how Transpacific Yacht Club Commodore Tom Hogan commenced the Awards Ceremony to the 50th edition of the LA – Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race on Friday night. For the next two hours this audience was entertained by local Hawaiian dancers, photo and video images of the race, a few stories to provide context, and an awards ceremony emceed by Chuck Hawley where dozens of beautiful and historic trophies were presented to winners in numerous categories of multihull and monohull divisions in the race.

Hula dancers started the celebration – photo David Livingston

With 10 divisions of monohulls and 2 divisions of multihulls, and awards given to the winners, runners-up and in the larger classes third-place finishers as well, there were lots of leis and trophies distributed in this ceremony. Here is a summary of each:

The crew of the Eddy family’s Cal 40 Callisto accepting their awards in Division 10 – Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

The Cal 40’s are an important part of Transpac history, and this year had an impressive turnout of 6 boats. Unfortunately one had to turn back, so they missed the fight into the finish between the top three. The Eddy family’s Callisto emerged from that fight on top, while Rodney Pimentel’s Azure and Don Jesberg’s Viva margin for second and third, respectively, was only 2 1/2 minutes in corrected time after 12 days of racing.

Division 9 was one of the smallest with four boats, but had a great diversity of boat types. Ian Ferguson’s Wasa 55 Nadelos finished only 3 minutes ahead of Christian Doegl’s Swan 461 Free, but in corrected time managed to win the class by over 13 hours.

Division 8 was another small and diverse class of boats, made smaller by two retirements early in the race due to rudder issues. Nonetheless Dean Treadway’s Farr 36 Sweet Okole came out on top but not by much: by just under 8 minutes in corrected time.

Chubasco in celebration – photo Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

Like Divisions 8 and 9, Division 7 was also a very diverse class of entries that was also reduced by two retirements due to rudder problems. Chubasco campaigned by Tom Akin, John Carpenter, Doug Baker and Will Durant has a long history in Transpac, having been built in 1937, and went through an extensive refit of 2 1/2 years to be the winning team this year. A moment of silence was observed in the awards ceremony for crew member Jim Lincoln who passed after the conclusion of the race.

Division 6 had 11 boats an only one retirement, with another (David Chase and Carlos Brea’s Fast 42 Uhambro) that broke their mast but finished the race under jury rig. This was the fastest of the five classes starting in the first wave of the race, and aside from having to dive south for a little while, the wind never stopped for them. Winner of this division was Scott Grealish’s J/121 BlueFlash from Oregon with not only an all-amateur team to qualify for the Corinthian Division, but also two father/son pairs on their team of six.

The crew of overall winners on Hamachi posing with the new King Kalakaua Trophy with trophy artist Ka’ili Chun (right) – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Division 5 was the smallest class in the race with only three boats because of the second wave of starters they were not a good fit with the other racier boats in the other classes. Tom Barker’s Swan 60 Good Call finished an entire day ahead of his class rivals, and corrected time compressed that margin to just a couple hours.

Division 4 was a group of 11 boats often called the Fabulous Fifties being composed of all Santa Cruz-designed and built 50’s and 52’s. With many of these having years and years of experience, this is often a highly-competitive class, and this year was no exception: Michael Moradzadeh’s Santa Cruz 50 Oaxaca won by a margin of less than 12 minutes.

With no roadblocks on the race course and the opportunity for little deviations due to the position of the High, many predicted the overall winner of the race would come from Division 3’s 13 boats, and it did. Congratulations to Shawn Dougherty, Jason Andrews and their team on their J/125 Hamachi for their outstanding performance.

Crew of Taxi Dancer, winners of Division 2 – photo David Livingston

For many years Division 2 was the class that had all the first-to-finish boats in Transpac. With a strong turnout of 9 entries this class was also going to be closely watched due to all the collective years of Transpac experience and having some of the best teams on the course. Regrettably two of the class members dropped out, but the competition remained keen among those who went on the Hawaii, with Jim Yabsley and Mary Compton’s team on their R/P 70 Taxi Dancer winning by a close margin of less than 3 minutes in corrected time.

Division 1 was the largest class on the race course with 15 boats of the fastest types of monohulls, and ranged widely from 40 to 100 feet in length. From this class is where the Barn Door and Merlin Trophies reside for fastest elapsed time performance, but in corrected time this year’s winner is Tom Holthus’s Pac 52 Bad Pak.

James Cooney receiving the Don Vaughn Award for most valuable crew member on the Barn Door-winning yacht – photo David Livingston

Had it not been for the hiccup the first night the Saturday starters tried to get off the coast, Multihull Division 0 could have had a real high-speed chess game all the way to Hawaii. But it was Jason Carroll’s MOD 70 Argo that just got their nose into the pressure first and sped away from all others to win this class.

Blog followers enjoyed getting the daily stories of what food was being served on Lior Elazary’s Lagoon 400S2 Celestra, so even though they were the entry with the longest elapsed time of 13 days 20 hours, TPYC congratulates them for winning Multihull Class 0A and also one of our sponsors, The Moorings, for the business they will receive now that everyone knows how comfortable it is sailing these boats offshore.

In addition to these performance prizes, numerous special awards were given for deeded perpetual trophies not only in categories such as First Monohull to Finish (the Barn Door Trophy, won this year by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s VPLP 100 Comanche), or the Rudi Choi Award for the First to Finish Multihull (won by Argo), but also special Navigator Awards to the navigators on each division-winning entry, the Don Clothier Award for the fastest cruiser under 50 feet (Michael Lawler’s North Wind 47 Traveler) and the Tail End Charlie award to the last finisher on the course (won by Jason Seibert’s Schock 40 Gamble).

Paul Kamen winning the Rudi Award – photo David Livingston

Some of these special awards are in remembrance to individuals who have helped make Transpac the legendary race it has become and are therefore recognised as an important part of the heritage of this event. One is the Mark S. Rudiger Award (aka the Rudi Trophy) dedicated to world-class navigator Mark Rudiger who not won this race many times but other prominent ocean races around the world. The perpetual trophy is a special brass sextant built in 1905 donated by another famous navigator, Stan Honey. The criteria for winning this award is for demonstrated skills in celestial and traditional navigation, and this year it was presented by another well-accomplished navigator, John Jourdane, to Paul Kamen, better known by his nom de plume Max Ebb in the Bay Area’s popular sailing monthly Latitude 38.

Dallas Kilponen from Kialoa II receiving the Burla Trophy with Michele Burla Parker and Pam Burla – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Another was the new Ronald L. Burla Trophy for Media Excellence in memory of a Transpac sailor from the 1930’s who went on to be a founding member of the Waikiki YC and tireless promoter of the race as Publicity Director of the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau in the 1950’s and ’60’s. Burla’s daughters Michele Burla Parker and Pam Burla presented this new trophy to Dallas Kilponen sailing on Patrick Broughton’s 1964-built S&S 73 ketch Kialoa II, for his outstanding video shot, edited and submitted during the race. The jury noted Kilponen’s outstanding ability to capture the history, joy and aloha spirit inherent to racing in the Transpac.

This video is uploaded to YouTube at this link:

The Nash Family Corinthian Award was given to Thomas Garnier’s crew on this J/125 Reinrag2 for the best performance in the fleet for an all-amateur team…they finished 5th in Division 3 and 5th overall.

Yet another new trophy was established by the Storm Trysail Club this year to be awarded to the 3-boat team which compiles the best score, as determined by using the total of each team member’s percentage placement in its respective class. Eleven teams entered this competition, which was won by Naughty Blue Tequila team comprised of Nadelos (“naughty”), Azure (“blue”) and Oaxaca (“tequila”). So with a first in class by Oaxaca and Nadelos, and a 3rd in class by Azure, this team secured the trophy for 2019.

Roy Disney (left) and his crew from Pyewacket receiving the Arthur B. Hanson Award – photo Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Finally, a prize not planned in the program but appropriately presented at the ceremony was US Sailing’s Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal awarded to Roy Disney and the crew of his Andrews 68 Pyewacket for their outstanding efforts in the rescue of John Sangmeister and his crew of the Santa Cruz 70 OEX. The rudder damage, fast sinking and subsequent safe and timely rescue of the OEX team made headlines around the world for the Pyewacket team’s exemplary seamanship and sportsmanship to come quickly to the aid of a competitor in trouble at sea.

Having an auditorium full of peers who profoundly understand and appreciate the risk of offshore sailing, this dramatic story retold in detail by Sangmeister elicited tremendous emotion throughout the audience, and when Disney took the stage the entire room rose in ovation to salute him and his crew, who were subsequently joined by the crew of OEX as well.

The honor conveyed both in the Hanson award and that bestowed by the salute of the auditorium filled with the sailors, families, friends, organizers and sponsors of Transpac 50 will be remembered as one of the great moments in Transpac history. Disney has already been nominated for Seahorse Sailor of the Month…vote for him here at this link: https://seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month/vote-for-sailor-of-the-month.

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

Aloha!

Cover Photo: Crew of Comanche with the First Monohull to Finish Barn Door trophy – Photo Walt Cooper/Ultimate Sailing

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

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

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!

All boats away in Transpac 50

Unusual port tack start for the final wave of the fastest boats in the fleet

With the breeze shifted far left in overcast skies due to a strong Catalina Eddy, the final wave of 24 monohulls and 4 multihulls in a record fleet of 90 yachts are now headed off the coast in the 50th edition of Transpacific Yacht Race, a biennial race to Honolulu organized by the Transpacific YC. These are the largest and fastest boats in the fleet, and their starts were an impressive display of big-boat sail handling, seamanship and tactics as they charged the line on port tack with a variety of headsail types suitable to the close reaching angle sailed to clear the West End of Catalina, the only mark of the course in this 2225-mile race.

This worked out fine for most boats, as the line was called all clear at the starting gun by Principal Race Officer Tom Trujillo, except John Sangmeister’s modified SC 70 OEX set up a little too far to windward at the pin end and was boxed out by Robert DeLong’s TP 52 Conviction. OEX bailed out with a bear-off, gybe and tack to get back on track to start the race.

Soon thereafter Sangmeister took this in stride, making a Facebook post that said:

“Our start – and I use “Our” like the royal “We” to spread blame from my mistake – was not perfect. However, we are clawing back nicely with good straight-line speed. My wife, Sarah was again our team’s MVP helping us to get ready for the voyage. Thanks for all the love and aloha. Many miles before I sleep…”

Sangmeister and boat captain Ryan Breymaier have done extensive upgrades and renovations to OEX to make her fast and optimize her rating for this race. A taller rig, larger mainsail, and other changes have given this boat more punch on the Transpac course, and the fastest rating in Division 2, but the team reckons the changes will be worth it.

The promising initial conditions caved in a few hours later as the breeze finally shifting west, but died out and leaving the fleet becalmed in the channel before even getting to the West End. This prompting many to tack to head up the coast on the hunt for the shortest path to reliable breeze. Observers close by described the scene of windless boats sitting on a glassy sea as looking “like a graveyard.”

Stan Honey navigating Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s Verdier/VPLP 100 Comanche, the current monohull race record holder, this morning expressed concern about these conditions in the forecast. “This eddy is big, I’m worried about it not just at the start but up until midnight tonight.”

This could invite speculation about the effect this may have on record run attempts this year, but its still too early to tell for sure.

So as the third wave struggles to get off the coast, the second wave has reached the breeze and some fallen to its strength. Tom Camp’s appropriately named SC 50 Trouble has reported problems with their rudder bearings and is returning to port, all safe aboard.

And from the first wave the fleet trajectories are starting to flatten out from the dives made to the south as boats get lifted on their tracks to start heading more towards Hawaii. Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star from Calgary reported:

“Seas 2-3’. Overcast. Wind 017@13kt. Baro 1018mb. Blast reaching is behind us. Boat is flat again and we’re starting to clean up and dry out. Our thoughts are with the crews aboard the Hobie 33s Aloha and Mayhem. Very disappointing news and we wish them safe passages home.”

3rd start

However, there are two more casualties reported to be returning to port. The first was Mike Sudo’s Beneteau First 47.7 Macondo, retiring with a rudder failure. Here’s what Sudo said and the impact of their decision:

“Macondo now heels hard to starboard and our worlds feel a bit upside down. The potential for catastrophic rudder failure crept from the shadows last night forcing our crew to make the heavy-hearted decision to turn back, to head home, to abandon 2+ years of daydreams and planning. You never truly learn what you or your crew are made of in fair winds and seas, you learn about your crew in the dark of night, when sh%*#t hits the fan and the stakes are high—that’s when the masks are removed and you know the makings of a man. Words cannot express the admiration I have for this team and their fortitude. Not for a moment did they shrink to the multitude of challenges—they rose.”

The second was Tim Jones’s Olson 40 Live Wire, who was leading Division 6 but has bent or broken the top section of their spar above the second spreader, forcing them to also take the decision to turn back under jury rig. On both vessels all are uninjured and safe.

Based on current positions, Division leaders in the first wave are as follows: Don Jesberg’s Cal 40 Viva, Ian Ferguson’s Wasa 55 Nadelos in Division 9, David Gorney’s J/105 No Compromise in Division 8, Michael Yokell’s Oyster 56 Quester in Division 7, Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe in Division 6, and Ian Elazary’s Lagoon 400S2 Celestra in Multihull 0A.

3rd start

In the second wave that started yesterday, current leaders are as follows: Tom Barker’s Swan 60 Good Call in Division 3, Scott Deardorf and Bill Guilfoyle’s SC 52 Prevail in Division 4, and Bob Pethick’s Rogers 46 Bretwalda 3 in Division 3.

Follow the fleet’s progress on the YB Tracker, available at https://yb.tl/transpac2019.

More photos, videos, blogs and daily position report analyses are available on the race website at www.transpacyc.com.

SECOND WAVE HEADS WEST IN TRANSPAC 50

Life at sea starts for another 27 entries in the fleet, making it 62 teams at sea, with three turning back for home

Los Angeles, CA – July 12, 2019

In gray but clearing skies and a light building seabreeze, the second wave of monohull entries has left the start line set by race managers from the Transpacific YC here at Point Fermin to head towards a finish line awaiting them at Diamond Head in Honolulu 2225 miles away in this year’s 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race.

Today 13 yachts in Division 3, 11 in Division 4 and 3 in Division 5 set off for their first mark of the course, the West End of Catalina Island, before heading southwest on tracks determined by their navigators to be the right balance between greater wind speed to the south versus shorter distance to the north. Weather forecasts and model predictions for the coming days suggest tracks that should sag south, but not quite as far south as the first wave was advised when they left on Wednesday afternoon. Wind angles and pressures look good for the next few days for this group.

Among the Wednesday starters there have been three teams who have encountered problems serious enough to turn back for the coast. The first was Mark Ashmore’s Cal 40 Nalu V, who reported yesterday “Difficulties keeping bilge dry, pumps keeping ahead but reason for water ingress unknown, returning to port.” Next was Kyle Vanderspek’s Hobie 33 Aloha, reporting rudder problems, and this morning another Hobie 33, Steve Eder’s Mayhem, also with damage to their rudder. Both are returning to port at 4-5 knots of speed, and all aboard these retiring yachts are safe and unhurt.

Over the next 8-14 days the second wave fleet that left today and the first wave that left on Wednesday will face all the pros and cons inherent to ocean racing: these range from being miserably cold, wet, uncomfortable, tired and bored for hours on end to seeing the glory of brilliant sunrises & sunsets leading to and from star-filled nights, seeing sea life in, on and over the water, having the weather get warmer and the wind go aft a little more every day, and looking forward every morning to the daily position reports to see their progress towards Hawaii but also how they’re positioned relative to their competitors on the course.

So far the division leaders are David Gorney’s J/105 No Compromise in Division 8, no doubt because she is furthest north and thus sailing a track closest to the rhumb line and thus the shortest distance relative to the others. At 1700 PDT she was 136 miles north of Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe who is leading not only Division 6 but the entire fleet now in shortest distance to Hawaii at 1807 miles. Other division leaders at this time are Tim Jones’s Olsen 40 Live Wire for Division 6, Michael Yokell’s Oyster 56 Quester in Division 7, Ian Ferguson’s Wasa 55 Nadelos for Division 9 and Lior Elazary’s Lagoon 400S2 Celestra in Multihull 0A.

2019 TRANSPAC START 071219

And for the next few days as faster boats start overtaking the slower boats there will be the occasional thrill of a visual contact made with a running light at night, a silhouette at dawn, or a sail plan seen just on the horizon. This is breaking news on a boat at sea, and for a while the crew is focused on this target, armed with binoculars, hand bearing compasses and a lot of speculation on who this could be.

This is the sort of entertainment that has replaced the digital life left behind on the coast, and what drives us to the sea to reconnect with nature and our shipmates.

Yet the digital life has not been completely removed on many boats, since tales are coming in to TPYC race headquarters via email that range from facts-only reports that read like log entries to some quite amusing accounts of life on board. For example, take this from Celestra’s morning report:

Flying a Code 0 and main. Things have been a bit difficult on Celestra. First my steak was over done after I specifically asked for medium rare, and then our projector bulb went out. So much for movie night (and people said it would be easy on a cruising catamaran). Over all the sailing is good, with a consistent 15-18kts true wind with 3-4 ft waves. However, we all wish we knew what to do with these large white clothes flapping in the wind. The thing that makes this somewhat bearable is ice cream sandwiches and the fact that we are crossing an ocean as part of the Transpac 🙂 Thank you for putting on such a great event.

Another from one of the smallest boats in the fleet being double-handed by Charles Devanneaux and Fred Courouble is Devanneaux’s new Figaro 3 A Fond Le Girafon, who say

“Cold and still wet outside…a bit of drizzle…seems like home in Brittany…waiting for the sun to dry the boat [and] the jackets. The baby giraffe (girafon) is a wet animal on the deck, spinnaker is up… going to Hawaii now. Let’s get Mai-Tai’s ready.”

Reports like these, YB tracker tools and more are available on the race website at www.transpacyc.com.

Photo Credits: Ronnie Simpson, Doug Gifford, Emma Deardorf, Allyson Bunting and Sharon Green of the Ultimate Sailing Team