TRANSPAC: Leaders on approach

Published on July 18th, 2013

(July 18, 2013) – The good news is that with its 6-hour delay, the Transpac Race tracker offers little advantage to the race competitors. The 2225 mile route between Los Angeles to Honolulu is a navigational challenge, and minimizing the tracker’s value keeps the race true to its roots.

The bad news is the tracker’s 6-hour delay, race followers are living in a time warp. This is fine when the boats are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but not so fine when the boats are on approach. Like now.

Of the first wave of starters that left LA in fast conditions on Monday afternoon, July 8th, the largest boat, Bob Hayward’s Seastream 650 Manatea, was leading the pack at the morning roll call. And then they filed this report:

“260 miles from the finish at 0800 the AIS alarm started ringing of an imminent impact. We spotted the mast of Lending Club bearing down on us doing 25 knots in 18 knots of breeze. They came up and passed leeward of us, slowing down to wave and probably enjoy the aroma from our galley. After a minute or two they accelerated away then switched to a bigger headsail and just vanished while we were doing 10 plus knots. From horizon to horizon in about an hour.”

The 72-foot trimaran Lending Club has had the bone in her teeth, eager to eclipse the race record set by Bruno Peyron in 1997 aboard Commodore Explorer, an 86-foot catamaran, in five days, nine hours, 18 minutes, and 26 seconds. To do so, it is believed they must finish by 19:28 (local time) today.

It looked to be nip and tuck to break the record, but then Lending Club called in to report they had ‘issues’, and had backed off on the throttle. The record appears to be safe. When boats are within 100 miles, the tracker delay is lifted and the data is live. Both boats are now within that circle.

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