Transpac Race: No Records for Wild Oats XI

Published on July 24th, 2015

All record-setting hopes have been erased for the the 100-foot Australian supermaxi Wild Oats XI, which was competing in the 48th edition of the Transpac Race in hopes of making her mark in the history book.

Skipper Mark Richards and his cosmopolitan 16-man crew comprising Australians, Americans and two New Zealanders, had to accept days ago they had no chance of beating the record time for the Transpac. That opportunity evaporated when the strong tradewinds, which are usually a feature of this downwind race, failed to appear on cue.

But the game hasn’t changed… it is still about racing to the Diamond Head finish.

“We’ve got only a Sydney Hobart race to go – 630 nautical miles,” said Richards.

He was referring to the distance remaining to the finish in the 2225 nautical mile Transpac race from Los Angeles to Hawaii; the 630 nautical mile Sydney Hobart race being the event where he had steered Wild Oats XI to line honours on eight occasions in the past decade.

However, it was becoming increasingly likely late today that Wild Oats XI would still secure fastest time for the course this year.

Her arch rivals among the big boats, Ragamuffin (sailed by Australia’s Syd Fischer), and RIO100 (Manouch Moshayedi, USA), were 50 and 110 nautical miles respectively astern. Wild Oats XI is entered in the Transpac under a co-charter arrangement between Roy P. Disney, and the yacht’s Australian owner, Bob Oatley AO.

The yacht most likely to be first across the finish line off Diamond Head was the 37ft Celerity (Harry Zanville, USA). This is because the race features a staggered start over five days. Celerity was in the first group to depart Los Angeles while Wild Oats XI and the other larger yachts in the fleet, set sail five days later.

“Considering the conditions we have experienced we will be happy with fastest time,” said Richards, “but we have to stay on our toes. This race is a long way from over. The great thing for me is that this crew, which has never sailed together as a team before, has been awesome. They’ve sailed their hardest around the clock.”

Asked if he would consider skippering Wild Oats XI in another Transpac, Richards said without hesitation, “I’m not sure. It’s a great race, but it’s a bloody long way.”

Source: Rob Mundle, Scuttlebutt

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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 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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