Harken Derm

Transpac Race: Second wave off to fast start

Published on July 16th, 2015

San Pedro, CA (July 16, 2015) – A second wave of 18 entries in Divisions 4, 5 and 6 are now on their way west towards the finish at Diamond Head, 2225 nm away in the 48th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac. This biennial ocean racing classic is organized by the Transpacific YC.

The group’s start today was in picture-perfect sunny skies and a building 10-15-knot seabreeze that had everyone so excited that a large pack of starters crowded the start line on final approach, with Bill Durant’s and Jeff Shew’s Santa Cruz 52 Relentless called back after the obligatory 2 minute delay specified in the Sailing Instructions.

Other than this hiccup, the second wave looks good to have a fast and clean break from the coast, at least until nightfall, when the wind may start to go into a lighter trend for the next 24-48 hours.

Unfortunately missing out on this fun is Jeff Urbina’s Santa Cruz 52 Bodacious IV, who decided that for the poor medical condition of two of their crew they had to withdraw from the race, reducing the Fabulous Fifties fleet in Division 5 to eight boats.

Nonetheless, the first wave of starters from Divisions 7 and 8 from Monday are still enjoying great conditions and are well on their way to Hawaii, with the leaders having completed nearly 25% of the course. Going over 9 knots, Tracy Obert’s 59-foot ketch Marjorie still leads in the standings both in Division 8 and overall, while Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot is runner-up overall and leading Division 7.

The tracks of this lead group have ceased going south and are starting to converge northwestwards back towards the rhumbline, indicating the breeze is also starting to rotate right for this fleet. Reports this morning confirmed this: skies were overcast, winds from 320° to 355° from 14-20 knots – conditions that had Steven Grinder’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.2 Exit Strategy exclaiming in their report “Fun night!”

The sailing instructions for this race require every entry to do a daily position report, and after not hearing from the smallest boat in the fleet, Yasuto Fuda’s Feet 30 Fortissimo 11, for nearly four days, the Race Committee decided to lodge a protest against them. Even though the boat’s tracker had been showing progress on the course so race managers were never concerned for their safety, they felt a protest was in order to emphasize the importance of this rule. Finally today the Fortissimo team did report in, and all is well.

And making good on their intent to set a multihull course record, Renault Laplanche and Ryan Breymaier’s Lending Club 2 set off yesterday afternoon just before 3:00 PM local time from Pt Fermin, and their tracker indicates them hurtling towards Hawaii at great speed. In the first 25 hours they have nearly caught the first wave fleet and are doing 31 knots towards the islands, well ahead of the average pace needed to set the course record.

Looking ahead, the weather for the weekend looks light and unsettled, with a remote possibility of some influence from a tropical depression heading northwest from the tropical waters off southern Mexico. But more likely the main feature will be the lighter forecasted breeze, which will have weather routers and navigators working hard over the next 36 hours before their start of the last wave of racers in Divisions 1, 2 3 and the Multihulls on Saturday, July 18th.

Race websiteTrackerDaily video analysisFacebook

Transpac schedule:
July 13: First Transpac Start: Divisions 7 & 8, 1300 PDT
July 16: Second Transpac Start: Divisions 4, 5 & 6, 1300 PDT
July 18: Third Transpac Start: Multihulls (1230 PDT), Divisions 1, 2 & 3 (1300 PDT)
July 29: Mt Gay Rum Party, Waikiki YC
July 30: Hawaii YC Bacardi Rum Okole Maluna Party
July 31: Honolulu Awards Ceremony – The Modern Hotel
Aug 1st: Kaneohe YC Party and Plywood Cup Regatta

ABOUT TRANSPAC
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.

Report by Dobbs Davis, Transpac 2015 Media Manager

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