Pacific Cup: Lead changes, Unintended drama

Published on July 17th, 2014

(July 17, 2014) – The past 24 hours have produced numerous lead changes and some unintended drama for the 55-boat fleet competing in the Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Steve Stroub’s Santa Cruz 37, Tiburon, reported losing its rudder yesterday afternoon. Cayenne, a Passport 40 and one of the communications boats, skippered by Michael Moradzadeh, suspended racing and provided extra water and their emergency rudder.

Approximately 800 miles from the finish, Tiburon expects to continue sailing under a double headsail rig with their alternative steering system. Morale on-board is reported to be good, there are no injuries, and they have adequate food and water for their remaining passage.

The Yellowbrick tracking will likely go LIVE (6 hour delay will vanish) on Thursday as the first boat comes within 200 miles of the finish. The first boat to trip the line should be Venture, a Jenneau 49 in Cruising Division). The tracker is being delayed to prevent, to some degree, a racing boat’s ability to view what its competitors are doing at the moment.

Prior to the implementation of tracking systems, the only information racers, friends and family received about other boats was at the daily morning check-in, a once-a-day snapshot of competitors’ positions. Trackers have proven to be a game-changer especially for the shore-based crowd who can now follow the race in detail throughout the day. As Blade Runner’s blog warned, “Try it, pretty addictive.”

Many of those who drove north of the rhumb line have now gybed over onto port and are close to their heading for the finish. The fleet is now spread out over 450nm from north to south and the leaderboard has once again seen some changes.

Snafu in the ‘Iwi Division appears to have a firm hold on the lead with only Blade Runner and Green Buffalo in striking distance. Wolfpack has a similar grip in the Kolea Division, again posting a remarkable 219nm day. Thirsty is the only other boat in this division with a shot.

California Girl has wrestled the lead away from sister-ship Azure by a slim margin – watch for these two to swap the lead all the way to the finish. Both of these boats trail Green Buffalo for the Cal 40 One-Design trophy, and collectively they are currently in 3rd, 4th, and 5th positions in the PHRF Rating Division.

Sweet Okole continues to lead the Weems & Plath Division, and Free Bowl of Soup will need magic to catch them. Time is running out for Encore to overtake Por Favor in the Matson Division and the rest of the group is not a threat.

Hamachi has solidified her lead in the competitive Sonnen BMW Division, moving into 4th in the ORR Rating Group and 7th overall. Swazik and Surprise are pressing hard but may not have enough time to reel Hamachi in before the finish.

In the Latitude 38 Division, Scarlett Runner has a bowsprit-length lead over Pyewacket, but this race is far from over – both are extremely well sailed boats, so watch for many lead changes here. Invisible Hand will likely be first to finish, overtaking Venture in the last 200nm.

Report by event media.

Event website:
Starting times for all divisions:

The 2070-mile Pacific Cup has staggered starts on July 6 through July 11 for the nine divisions. Since 1980, the race has been sailed from San Francisco Bay to Hawaii every other year, and since 1988 the finish has been at Kaneohe Yacht Club on Oahu. The Pacific Cup is organized by Pacific Cup Yacht Club in association with Richmond Yacht Club.

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