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Doublehanded Divisions Prove Popular for Pacific Cup

Published on June 23rd, 2016

Pt. Richmond, CA (June 23, 2016) – Fathers, sons, brothers. Husbands and wives. Old friends and new crew. The two doublehanded divisions in the Pacific Cup always contain some of the most interesting human dynamics – and some of the most varied vessels. In the 2016 race from San Francisco to Hawaii, 15 of the 67 entries will be racing doublehanded, the most of any Hawaii race.

The Kolea Division is named for the Pacific Golden Plover, a small but mighty bird that migrates over 3,000 miles between Hawaii and Alaska without stopping to rest or feed. Like the Kolea, the well-sailed boats in this division are tenacious and are likely be serious contenders for the Pacific Cup.

The North Sails Division comprises the faster doublehanded boats, and the competition should be close with all but one boat sailed by two Pac Cup veterans. These boats will also be among the favorites for the overall Pacific Cup.

Kolea Division, Doublehanded 1 (DW-PHRF) – Monday, July 11, 10:15 PDT Start
“The Pac Cup is my favorite of the three Hawaii races,” says Darrel Jensen, who will be sailing with his brother Doug on his Express 27 Alternate Reality. “There really isn’t the same doublehanded competition in the other races. And I like the Pac Cup course a lot better.” Jensen’s previous Pac Cup was in 2008 when he doublehanded with his brother Duane. He’s already lined up crew for the 2018 race: his son, now 19.

The eight boats joining Alternate Reality in Kolea Division include boats ranging from 24 to 40 feet in length. The Moore 24 Mas! will be crewed by two three-time Pac Cup veterans Mark English and Ian Rogers. After a decade of successful fleet and coastal racing, this will be their first ocean crossing on the Moore 24.

“I think being a new father is the best training one can have for the Pacific Cup,” quips English, who has twin boys. “I’ve learned that you really only need a few hours of sleep to function.” As the father of a two-year old and a four-month old, Rogers is in agreement.

The team is off to a good start: Mas! was the first boat to pass the race inspection — 11 months before the first start. They’ve been testing their systems and performance during Northern California coastal races, and finished first in division in the 2016 Coastal Cup, a race they won overall in 2015. Mas! will have competition from the Portland-based Moore 24, Evermore, sailed by first time Pac Cup sailors Rhys Balmer and Martin Gibson.

Zipper, a Santa Cruz 27, is one of the many coed doublehanded teams. Hailing from Seattle, Alexia Fischer has only been sailing for nine years, but her sailing resume includes the 2014 Vic-Maui race and two offshore deliveries. Her co-skipper/navigator is Bob Rinker. They’ve crew together on other boats in the Seattle area as well as in the 2014 Vic-Maui race.

Alchimiste, an Archambault A27 is making its Pac Cup debut sailed by the husband and wife team Amanda and Steve Kleha. Steve grew up sailing Sabots, FJs and 420s in Newport Beach and was a winning varsity sailor while attending Stanford. He continued racing after college on 505s, Moore 24s and J/105s.

The couple has taken their ocean racing preparation seriously, sailing in most of this spring’s Bay area coastal races. They won their division in the 2016 Spinnaker Cup and the Doublehanded Lightship Races. Amanda was new to sailing when she met Steve, learning from him and classes at Berkeley’s OCSC.

“Most sailors wonder how we can handle sailing/racing together and keep the marriage healthy,” Amanda says. “Steve was a sailing instructor for many years so that helps. We’ve certainly had our moments but overall it is a wonderful gift for me to share with him. And I’ve pointed out a lot more marine life than he ever noticed before sailing with me.”

The larger boats in the Kolea Division include seasoned ocean racers. This is the third Pac Cup for Rowena Carlson and Robb Walker on their Cal 40 Nozomi. The couple met while crewing for boat builder Carl Eichenlaub in 1977 on his beloved Cadenza. Walker had a lot of offshore experience before the 2010 Pac Cup, but it was Carlson’s first long distance race. “I loved it and knew I wanted to do it again before we even got to the finish line.”

On the Southern California based Tartan 38 Sanguine, skipper Keith Fullenwider and navigator Donald McLennan’s combined sailing experience reaches almost a century with multiple Transpac and Mexico races, as well as Pacific deliveries. The skipper of Dart, a Peterson 34, is John Crutcher, who has more than three decades of sailing experience, including two prior Pac Cups and races in Asia and the Atlantic. He’s looking forward to introducing his crew, Suzanne Miller, to the joys of ocean racing

North Sails Division, Doublehanded 2 (DW-PHRF) – Tuesday, July 12, 11:30 PDT Start
Bill and Melinda Erkelens won the overall Pacific Cup in 1994 doublehanding their Dogpatch 26, Moonshine, a feat the duo hopes to repeat in the just slightly larger Donovan 30, Wolfpack. It’s difficult to imagine a couple with a broader range of racing experience than the Erkelens.

Melinda has a reputation as an exceptional driver and lists among her major sailing accomplishments five Pacific Cups, five Maxi World championships and the 2005 Transpac, where she was a member of the four-woman crew that placed second in a fleet of fourteen Cal 40s. Highlights of Bill’s sailing CV include two Sydney-Hobart races (including the disastrous 1998 event) with a first-to finish in both, eight Transpac races, twelve Mexico races, the Fastnet, a Transatlantic Race record, and first overall and the record in the Cape Town to Rio race.

However, he says “The Pac Cup 1994 is and will always be my favorite race EVER!!!!! Windy race to umbrella drinks with Melinda. Can’t beat that!” What is one of Melinda’s favorite things about double handling? “Racing doublehanded, I never feel like I’m hogging the helm!”

Another Pac Cup couple, Justin and Christine Wolfe met racing dinghies and won the 2014 Pac Cup award for Best First Passage on a J/120. After their 2014 Pac Cup experience, the Wolfes started looking for a boat that would be more competitive and fun to sail (planing) in an ocean race, and that was also small enough to put on a trailer. This year they are back with Spadefoot (formerly After Math and Silver Lining), a one-off custom Schumacher 28 designed by Carl Schumacher in 1999 after the introduction of the Express 27. Over the last year they’ve been campaigning the boat in Lake Travis, Texas, and have enjoyed several of the Bay area coastal races in preparation for the Pac Cup.

The father-son Devaney team is back this year on an Antrim 27 Mirador. In 2014, the family sailed a J/109, with father Eric as skipper and son Will as bowman. “Will’s main sporting interest is ice hockey, but he was kind enough to agree to sail to Hawaii doublehanded with his old man,” says Eric. “The Antrim 27 has done well in previous Pac Cups. However, we are not pros, and our goal is to have a fun and safe journey.” Mirador will be representing San Diego Yacht Club in competition for the yacht club team trophy with team members J World’s Hula Girl and Nozomi.

Race veterans Buzz Blackett and Jim Antrim are back again with the Antrim Class 40 California Condor. This will be Blackett’s fifth Pacific Cup, Antrim’s tenth, and the boat’s fourth. The boat’s first Pac Cup was in 2010, only weeks after she was first launched. The boat suffered some damage in the 2012 race after hitting some unknown debris. In 2014 they were first to finish in their division.

Also back for 2016 are Charles Devanneaux and Fred Courouble sailing the Beneteau First 30E Sailing for ALS (also known as Thirsty). Once again their campaign is focused on raising awareness and funds for ALS, the disease that took the life of one of their close friends. Finishing second in division in 2014, they also joke about special recognition as the “fastest wine cellar in the Pacific.”

While many of the doublehandlers have sailed together for years, Jason Lauer found himself in the unfortunate situation of recruiting for his Olson 30 Double Espresso only a month before the race after his crew member had to drop out. With 25 years sailing experience and several ocean passages, he has owned his Olson 30 for 13 years but this will be his first Pac Cup. After putting the word out, he was able to score new crew member Paul Kamen, a veteran of 13 Pac Cups, five Transpacs and one Singlehanded Transpac.

Kamen says the Pac Cup is his favorite of the Pacific races in part because of the course. “Compared to Transpac, Pac Cup has the advantage of starting closer to the open ocean and further up the synoptic wind flow. The Pac Cup start is on an ebb tide, and after two tacks you’re at Pt. Bonita and easing sheets (most years, at least).”
The race begins from the starting line at or near the St. Francis Yacht Club. Viewing opportunities for the starts include the StFYC race deck, Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Bridge, and on the water. Richmond Yacht Club volunteers will be organizing “Aloha Boats” to take competitor family and friends out on the Bay to cheer the sailors on to Hawaii.

Event detailsDivision splitsFacebook

Background: The Pacific Cup Yacht Club is responsible for organizing the biennial Pacific Cup, dubbed the “FUN race to Hawaii.” Since 1980, the Pacific Cup has been sailed from San Francisco Bay to Hawaii every other year, and since 1988 the finish has been at the warm and welcoming Kaneohe Yacht Club on the island of Oahu. With an emphasis on pre-race preparation for the 2070 nm race, PCYC’s volunteer membership has helped to ensure that thousands of racers have been delighted with their Pacific Cup experience.

Source: Pacific Cup Yacht Club

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