Transpac Race: Mai Tais instead of Margaritas

Published on July 24th, 2015

John Sangmeister on the Santa Cruz 70 provides this update on Friday (July 24) about the battle within Division 3 on the 2015 Transpac Race…

We’ve all been racing across a zone of high pressure that between Long Beach and Diamond Head. On the western edge of the zone the wind traditionally shifts to the right 15-35 degrees. Now 1,300 nm later, everyone faces an important decision as to when to gybe.

We follow our competitors in much the same way viewers at home watch tracker. We download delayed position reports in text files and our routing software Expedition, plots the track of all the competitors.

On Friday afternoon, the fleet started to make the move south. Maverick had gybed a couple of days earlier and sailed into lighter wind. As we remained patient, the next to go were Holua, GI and Pyewacket, which in subsequent position reports showed they had all gained on us by cutting the corner. But out plan was to delay the gybe in search of a streak of stronger wind and oh boy did we get it!

Our 3 to 6 AM watch featured three big squalls with 30 knots stingers rolling through regularly. The horizon was absolutely pitch black but an occasional star peeked through around the second spreader to help with steering. We put two guys on the grinder handles and put the gear in low 1 and ground every wave last night.

We were sailing with a full main, 2A gennaker and spinnaker staysail making for an exciting ride on deck and below. We eventually moved into asset preservation mode and did a bald headed change to a smaller and stronger 4A gennaker.

Amid the excitement our battery voltage alarm went off. After several unsuccessful attempts to start the engine, followed by countless hours bleeding the fuel line, we finally discovered that algae had fouled our fuel lines. Thankfully, the engine turned over to again charge batteries and make water.

The morning reports showed that last night’s efforts paid off, with our gains putting us back into the conversation. With the Diamond Head finish ahead, it is all about the final push.

Australians measure distances by the mileage of a Sydney Hobart Race. Southern Californians use Cabo as our yard stick, meaning we’re within one Cabo race of Hawaii. Only difference is it will be Mai Tais instead of Margaritas.

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.

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.

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