First Start for Pacific Cup Gets Underway

Published on July 11th, 2016

Pt. Richmond, CA (July 11, 2016) – The first two dozen competitors in the 19th Pacific Cup crossed the start line this morning in nearly perfect conditions on their way to Hawaii. With 12-15 knots of breeze, bright sunshine over San Francisco Bay, fog rising over the Golden Gate Bridge, and an ebb tide, all the boats made their way under the Golden Gate quickly after crossing the line on port tack.

“The conditions were awesome for a Pac Cup start,” says Bobbi Tosse, who was heading up the race deck at the St. Francis Yacht Club. A special treat greeted the racers as they sailed beyond the Golden Gate — several pods of whales, actively spouting and breaching. Luckily there were no reports of any whales coming in contact with any of the boats.

Many of the racers have expressed concerns with the hurricanes and tropical storms developing to the south and moving on a track toward the Hawaiian Islands. Meteorologist Lee Chesneau believes that Celia will not be an issue, since it will diminish as it hits the colder Pacific waters. However, racers will need to watch their weather data for other systems that may follow. “Weather models are really only accurate up to seven days out,” Chesneau says, “Longer range grib data should be noted, but not relied on.” Chesneau is providing morning weather briefings for the race participants.

Honu Division A
The first boat to cross the start line in the 2016 Pacific Cup was the Cal 40 Psyche. This Division, Honu, is named for the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle and symbolizes good luck, endurance and long life. The slowest boat speed division of the 2016 Pac Cup racing boats, teams comprise many veteran skippers and crews of previous races. Psyche is making her Pac Cup debut, but skipper Stephen Calhoun has done three Transpacs, including two on Psyche.

Next across the line was the division’s other Cal 40, Redhead. It’s a first Pac Cup for Walter Smith, but by no means his first offshore race. A fourth generation sailor, he’s done four Spinnaker Cups and two Coastal Cups. It will be the eighth Pac Cup for his crew member Robin Jeffers and the second for Rowan Fennell whose previous crossing was double handling on a Moore 24.

There will be more food – and more work – for the crew on Shadowside, an Allied Mistress Ketch. The initial crew of six became four by the start line. It’s Lad Burgin’s first Pac Cup, but crew member Kathleen McGraw has done the race twice before.

For Mel Morrison, it’s his sixth Pac Cup but his first on his Orion 35 Nicole and his first as skipper. “This time, whatever goes wrong, it’s my fault!” says Morrison.

Kolea Doubled Handed
First across the line in Kolea Double Handed 1 was the Express 27 Alternate Reality. Coming down from Seattle, WA, the boat is crewed by two brothers, Doug and Jon Darrel Jensen. This is Pac Cup number five for John Jensen, who was 15 when he did his first Hawaii race – the 1980 Kauai Yacht Race that became the first Pacific Cup. Alternate Reality took second in class in the 2008 Pac Cup.

Crossing the line second was the Archambault A27 Alchimiste, crewed by the husband and wife team of Amanda and Steve Kleha. Although this is their first Pacific race, the Klehas have been preparing with recent coastal races, and took division firsts for both the 2016 Double Handed Lightship and the 2016 Spinnaker Cup.

Moore 24 Evermoore crossed the line third. It’s a first ocean crossing for skipper Rhys Balmer and crew Martin Gibson who have each said, “Our budget isn’t a shoestring. It’s half a shoestring.” Although it’s his first Pac Cup, Balmer is no stranger to life on the water. “I was home schooled on a boat,” says Balmer. “My family and I sailed a 60-foot wooden ketch from Port Townsend WA to Annapolis MD.” The competition between the two Moore 24s, Evermoore, and Mas!, could be close – with the scrappy youngsters on Evermoore hoping to edge out the more experienced team on Mas!. Evermoore certainly won at the start.

Latitude 38 Cruising Division
And in our last send off for the day, our ever enthusiastic cruisers charged or barged the start line in true competitive racing style. As always with this popular Latitude 38 Cruising Division, the focus is on fun. First over the line at the start was Islander 48 Pacem, followed closely by Jeanneau 57 Ticket II and Jeanneau 42 Aquavit.

For many boats in this division, it’s a family affair. On the Beneteau First 40 Vera Cruz, skipper Michael Johnson has tapped his wife, two daughters, their boyfriends and a family friend. Johnson may be in the cruiser division, but he has serious sailing credentials, including 11 Transpacs, a Pac Cup and several deliveries back from Hawaii. On Alegria, a Nelson Marek 366, skipper Matt Shore and crew will be celebrating before they get to the finish line. His daughter Gabrielle who is on the boat turns 10 on July 15. His wife Alexia and 13-year-old son Jacob are also aboard, along with crew Huned Botee.

Cetacea, a Berkeley Yacht Club boat doing the race for the first time, was appropriately named for the whales it sailed though after leaving the Bay.

Upcoming Starts
Pac Cup racing starts continue this week with the Weems & Plath Division B and Alaska Airlines Division C (both PHRF) and North Sails Double Handed Division 2 starting tomorrow, July 12, and continuing with the ORR starts on Thursday and Friday.
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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.

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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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