Transpac Race: Offwind sailing toward the Mai Tai Mainland

Published on July 20th, 2015

(July 20, 2015) – The three staggered starts of the 48th Transpac Race is guaranteed to accomplish two things. It will help the fleet of 66 entrants arrive in Honolulu in closer proximity, and it will fuel debate on which start day proved superior.

For the time being, the first wave of starters (July 13) appear to be the primary beneficiaries as they hold down the top positions in ORR Overall. This group reports good pressure and progress, albeit a bit wet due to rain squalls, with nearly every boat north of rhumbline.

Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot continues to lead Division 7 and the fleet overall, while Ron Simonson’s Jeanneau SO44 Sleeper is leading Division 8 and is third overall. Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity, with now under 800 nm to the finish, leads the field on elapsed time and is sitting second overall.

The track of the second wave (July 16) shows good girth from north to south, indicating winds to this point have not shown much favoritism. However, this group may be bemoaning their start time as they are the worst on overall handicap, and have already been forced to watch the 100-footer Wild Oats XI play through.

Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 Hamachi is leading Division 4, Bill Durant and Jeff Shew lead Division 5 with their Santa Cruz 52 Relentless, and John Chamberlain and Dean Fargo are enjoying both comfort and success as their Swan 651 Second Wind leads Division 6

The final group (July 18) have had a tricky exit from California, with remnants from Delores creating a chutes and ladders landscape. There is general agreement to stay north of rhumbline, but the division leaders are not favoring any one spot of the ocean.

Roy P. Disney and Robert Oatley lead Division 1 with the formidable Wild Oat XI, Craig Reynold’s TP52 Bolt leads Division 2, Chuck Nichols’ Andrews 70 Pyewacket leads Division 3, and the Multihull division is led by the Gunboat 66 Extreme H2O owned by Pat Benz.

While the warm tradewinds are still a rumor, the field is enjoying offwind angles as they aim toward the Mai Tai mainland. Looking forward, there are some potholes ahead that the northern route will help to avoid, though the wind has been clocking, enticing some of the northern teams to bite on the shift and gybe. Time will tell whether the consolidation bites back.

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Transpac schedule:
Monday, July 13: First Transpac Start: Divisions 7 & 8; 22 entrants
Thursday, July 16: Second Transpac Start: Divisions 4, 5 & 6; 18 entrants
Friday, July 18: Third Transpac Start: Multihulls, Divisions 1, 2 & 3; 19 entrants
Friday, July 31: Honolulu Awards Ceremony – The Modern Hotel
Saturday, Aug 1st: Kaneohe YC Party and Plywood Cup Regatta

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.


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