Celerity first to finish Transpac Race

Published on July 24th, 2015

(July 24, 2015) – With an elapsed time of 10d 20h 1m 12s, Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity was the first entry to cross the finish line at Diamond Head in the pre-dawn hours this morning in the 48th biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac.

Celerity’s crew included Zanville and Michael Downing, Tom Jenkins, Eric Kownacki, Robert Martin, and Thomas Ripard.

“The highlight of our trip was not breaking the boat or the people,” said Zanville. “We knew if we didn’t break the boat we would win. Also the people – we’re an all-amateur effort, compared to the all professional crews that are out there.

“We have an old crew, so to win we had to push the envelope,” Zanville continued. “Our guys are old gladiators, and I promised I would get everyone back home healthy, alive and safe. I got worried about one of our guys, though, because the faster we went the bigger the smile he got on his face!”

Zanville gave further credit to his team for keeping everything operating on the boat.

“Tom Jenkins is a rancher from So Cal, our MacGyver guy. When the alternator belt shredded itself, he was down in there getting it fixed, all I saw was his feet. Fifteen minutes later he said “What’s next,” and when we said the watermaker, he was straight into that, and 30 minutes later he was done with that too.”

The Celerity team’s claims to victory may be premature, however, as the next finisher expected at the finish line at Diamond Head tonight is Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot, who for a few days earlier in the race had the Division 7 and overall lead before being passed by Celerity. Just hours away from the finish, the tracker calculation of time-on-time scoring has switched that overall corrected time lead back to them, so the winner of Division 7 is still uncertain.

And there is another entry closing in on the finish line fast from south of rhumb: the current leader in Division 8, Tracy Obert’s BBY 59-foot ketch Marjorie, who started on Monday July 13th alongside the Division 7 and 8 competitors. The ETA for the finish of Patriot and Marjorie is expected to be in the evening local Hawaii time.

While Patriot may be back in the running as an overall corrected time contender, so are many others who are many hundreds of miles and days away from the finish and are making great time towards Hawaii. One of them – James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion – was a corrected time overall winner twice, in 1999 and again in 2011.

And finally at a few hundred miles out – but traveling at speeds of 16-20 knots – is Roy Pat Disney and Bob Oatley’s 100-footer Wild Oats XI, who may also come into Diamond Head about the same time as the fastest monohull in the race, having started last Saturday in Los Angeles while the others finishing today started the previous Monday. But to get this title they have to stay ahead of Syd Fischer’s rival Australian contender Ragamuffin 100, who is about 50 miles behind at this stage and will likely also finish some time tonight.

Out on the race course the rest of the fleet was now well past the halfway point and reporting this morning generally favorable 15-20 knot winds across the course area, although Rick von Heydenreich’s Santa Cruz 52 Paranoia gave a worrying report about 900 miles out from the finish seeing some significant pieces of floating debris: “An approximately 10-foot log came within a few feet of the boat while we were traveling 10-12 knots. There is lots of trash out there.”

And the weather models suggest another patch of potentially light winds for the weekend to the south of the rhumb line that may affect any racers considering a southern approach towards the finish on Oahu.

TRACKING: When boats approach within 100 miles of the finish, there is a real-time window set up on the tracker here. For other entries still on the course, there is a 6-hour delay on the tracker.

Report by Dobbs Davis, Transpac 2015 Media Manager

Race websiteDaily video analysisFacebook

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 2,225 nm. 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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