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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 Calisto. Felix 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.
Breaking news: Pyewacket rescues OEX crew in Transpac 50
LOS ANGELES, CA – July 15, 2019
On the 50th edition of the Transpacific YC’s 2225-mile race from LA to Honolulu, at 0200 Pacific Daylight Time this morning the YB tracking system had activated an emergency signal from John Sangmeister’s Santa Cruz 70 OEX, followed one hour later by a message from Roy Disney’s Andrews 68 Pyewacket contacting the Transpacific YC’s race headquarters that they had picked up the crew of OEX and all were safe.
Email communications indicate the trouble experienced by OEX and their cause to abandon ship was from water ingress due to damage to their rudder post.
“At this stage we’re not certain about the cause of that damage,” said TPYC Race Chairman Tom Trujillo. “Pyewacket reported the position of OEX at the time of the rescue, which at 0300 was at the position 031° 38.652N, 121° 52.644W, and this was reported to the US Coast Guard. We have subsequently learned that OEX has sunk.”
Fortunately there are no reports of injuries, and all 9 crewmembers from OEX and 10 on Pyewacket are about 200 miles out and are proceeding back to port at about 10-11 knots of speed, and are expected to be arriving into Marina del Rey some time early tomorrow morning.
Also overnight there were reports of damage to Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 multihull Maserati, who was well north of the normal race track taken by most of the fleet heading west from their search for wind just south of the Channel Islands near Santa Barbara.
While sailing at 23-24 knots, at 2130 PDT last night the big trimaran collided with “a big floating object” that damaged the left side hull’s bow and the rudder’s wing.
Soldini explained: “We couldn’t understand what it was, but it was very big, at least one meter high out of the water. It hit the left side hull with great force, severely damaging it, then it glided along the hull and hit the rudder. The fuse system worked, but the object was so big that we lost the outer half of the wing. We had to stop for one hour: we took off the wing completely so we could use the rudder’s blade. Now we’re sailing with the bow out of the water using the foil.”
Team members on the veteran all-pro team were shaken by the incident, sharing their views on the video: “We suddenly stopped during the night, it was quite scary. If we had hit the object one meter to the right, quite tall and heavy, we would’ve wrecked the whole engine.”
As of now, Maserati is proceeding at 21.7 knots on a heading of 260° and about 100 miles behind their division leader Argo, Jason Carroll’s MOD 70, who is charging west at 26 knots. The damage is impeding their progress, but the team is continuing undaunted.
Besides OEX, three of the other six boats that have retired are back in port – Nalu V, Aloha and Trouble – while Mayhem, Macando and Live Wire are still on their way back to the coast.
In contrast, reports coming from some members of the 84 boats still racing are generally upbeat and the teams are enjoying the race. The first wave starters are enjoying classic downwind Transpac conditions and their leaders are thinking about their halfway celebration plans. In the next wave of Friday starters there is also upbeat energy as the members of this wave are starting to exit from the cold coastal winds and into the warmth and sun of the trades.
Watch captain Chuck Skewes wrote a great summary of their trip thus far:
We had a great start and trip to the west end of Catalina. Good Call crossed us just before we cleared the point at the West End without having to tack from the start. Many in our fleet tacked up right after the start and that became lost distance to us. Once we cleared the end of the island it was light for a few hours then we got into the breeze. It became very choppy and with winds in the 20’s it was sloppy and the boat was on it’s side making the general task of eating, dressing or any other life skills extremely difficult.
The start of day 2 we decide to go to a Code 0, this made the boat plane faster but we were on the edge of disaster for the next 20 hours with a reef, the 0, and jib all up at once. The closer we sailed to the edge the better we did on the fleet. We are now into Day 3 and flying a Code A2 spinnaker.
We had one scare with the charging: our usual charging RPM was causing the batteries to turn off. Jay played around and finally got it to start charging. Since we make our own water it was a bad situation: we use dehydrated food for the most part, and guys are trading their portions of some of the flavors for others already. [In all] everyone is doing great and pressing hard.
The first 24 hours on most of the Saturday starters was not so upbeat: that Catalina Eddy was a vortex of no wind keeping most of the fleet trapped between Catalina and San Nicholas progressing at only 1-2 knots before finally getting out to the stronger winds offshore. On board Quentin Stewart’s Infinity 46R Maverick, the only entry from England in this race, Mike Firmin reported the following:
“Patience paid off, [we are] blast reaching since we broke into the synoptic breeze yesterday feeling good as we charge along the routing.
Had some fun with the Navy life firing demonstration yesterday. Had to commence negotiations with them at 0800 hrs on the 14th as they politely requested we deviate from our 230 degree course heading to head 50 degrees off course due south at 180 degrees for 35 nautical miles. Once we explained to them what we were up to, and noted another 20 boats were following a similar line they agreed to allow us to steer 200 degrees…a great result given the alternative. Heard two missile launches but nothing more.
Hope everyone is having a great race, next 24-48 hrs tweaking the slot will be interesting.“
The “slot” being making the tradeoff between speed and distance sailed towards Hawaii in the next phase of the race: sail closer angles for less distance at slower speeds versus broader angles for more speed but for more distance.
Current leaders in each division are as follows: Div 0: Argo, Div 0A: Celestra, Div 1: Rio100, Div 2: TaxiDancer, Div 3: Bretwalda 3, Div 4: Prevail, Div 6: Kialoa II, Div 6: BlueFlash, 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 mornings during the race.
First organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club in 1906, the Transpacific Yacht Race or Transpac is an offshore sailing race from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Diamond Head, just east of Honolulu, a distance of 2225 miles. This is among the world’s great ocean races, and biennially attracts some of the world’s fastest sailing yachts, some of its most talented offshore racing sailors, and a wide variety of offshore sailing adventurers.
Transpacific YC also conducts occasional races to Papeete, Tahiti. Membership is open to all sailors who have completed a TPYC race to either of these destinations in paradise.
ABOUT TRANSPAC SPONSORS
TPYC is appreciative of support from the following sponsors: Prince Waikiki, Whittier Trust, Mt Gay Barbados Rum, Reyn Spooner, Pasha Hawaii, L. Gaylord Sportswear, Circle Porsche, Gladstone’s Long Beach, SD Boatworks/Marlow, Hoag, Yanmar, Boatswain’s Locker, Sevenstar, North Sails, Novamar, Cal Maritime, and The Moorings.