Transpac Race: Pineapples and Pickle Dishes

Published on July 31st, 2015

Honolulu, HI (August 2, 2015) – “Aah – loooh – haaah!” is how the final awards ceremony began for the 48th Transpac in celebration of not only the achievements of the winners in this 2225-mile ocean race, but the dozens of beautiful perpetual trophies that symbolize the deep heritage and traditions in the 111-year history of this classic ocean race organized biennially by the Transpacific YC.


The evening’s opening act of Hula dancing celebrated the strong influence and richness of Hawaiian culture integral to this race, which was born of an idea by Hawaii’s King Kalakaua in the late 19th century to enhance his nation’s ties to the mainland.

2015 Transpac finish 7_31_15 sg Trophy Presentation

Rio 100 wins the Barn Door Trophy

The program then proceeded with help from emcee Chuck Hawley to bring to the stage the skippers, crews and navigators to receive 31 divisional awards in ORR, HPR and multihull handicap scoring, along with four specialty size awards, 11 navigator awards, 4 overall elapsed time awards, three overall corrected time awards, and 15 specialty awards to teams and individuals who made outstanding contributions and accomplishments to the race. In all, an impressive total of 68 awards and trophies were recognized in the ceremony.

2015 Transpac finish 7_31_15 sg Trophy Presentation

Keith Kilpatrick (left) won the Don Vaughn Memorial Trophy as Outstanding Crewman on Rio 100, presented by TPYC Vice Commodore Bo Wheeler

The Don Vaughn Memorial Trophy, for example, is awarded to the most outstanding crewmember in the Barn Door Trophy winning crew. This year that award was given to Keith Kilpatrick, the boat captain on Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio 100, for his extraordinary efforts in New Zealand last year in the extensive modifications to the boat, as well as the many months spent this year in preparation to this race.

Another specialty award was the Tail End Charlie trophy, awarded to Yasuto Fuda’s tiny 30-foot sportboat entry Fortissimo II, who finally crossed the finish line on Thursday afternoon after 17 days 3 hours 22 minutes and 28 seconds on this race. The applause for this intrepid crew of four from Japan was among the most thunderous of the evening, in a display of admiration for their perseverance and tenacity to complete such a long ocean passage in such a small boat.

2015 Transpac finish 7_31_15 sg Trophy Presentation

King Kalakaua Trophy winners Grand Illusion, first overall in corrected time

Another wildly popular award for the evening was for the local-based overall corrected time winner, James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion, who has now won the King Kalakaua Trophy three times, a feat achieved by only one other entry in the long history of Transpac. Congratulations go to the crew of Grand Illusion and its navigator, Patrick O’Brien, who won the Chuck Ullman Trophy for providing guidance to the overall winning team.

On a more sobering note but significant nonetheless for all offshore sailors, Boyan Slat from the Ocean Cleanup took the stage to thank and congratulate all those who participated in the Transpac and provide reports of sightings of debris. He also thanked the 20 boats from the race who will be participating in the Mega Expedition over the next few weeks in what is being described as the largest scientific experiment in history: simultaneous logging of trash and debris sightings on their return trips to the West Coast. Slat explained how invaluable this data collection will be to help rid the North Pacific of 1000’s of tons of trash in the Ocean Cleanup’s efforts over the next decade.

The evening concluded with an inspiring and entertaining video celebrating the race and its participants by Jeremy Leonard, social media guru for Transpac.

“This was an outstanding year for Transpac,” said TPYC Commodore Dan Nowlan. “The race had its challenges with the weather and then the waves, but everyone – competitors and organizers alike – were great, we had very few problems for such a complex operation. Between the mainland and Honolulu committees we had over 500 volunteers involved, and all of them helped make this race a fantastic experience and success.”

Report by Dobbs Davis, Transpac 2015 Media Manager

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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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