Splendid Conditions for Pacific Cup

Published on July 12th, 2016

Pt. Richmond, CA (July 12, 2016) – After the first two dozen competitors in the 19th Pacific Cup crossed the start line yesterday, ideal conditions again greeted the next wave of twenty five competitors that got underway today on the course from San Francisco to Hawaii.

“This is such a gorgeous day — for both racers and their cheerleaders,” says Danielle Wells, who was one of the many spectators on the St. Francis Yacht Club race deck to cheer on the Hobbie 33 Aero skippered by her husband Joe.

The competitors have been focused on weather forecasts as they plan their course to Hawaii, carefully watching the all-important position of the Pacific High as well as the development of tropical systems to the South. Mary Lovely, veteran of eight Pac Cups and one Transpac, had an early prediction.

“It’s going to be a fast race,” she says. “There are heavy winds out to the Farallones and then going across it will be in the 20s all the way to Hawaii.” Early concerns about two hurricanes have dissipated as meteorologist Lee Chesneau has forecasted that Celia would diminish as it hits the colder Pacific waters. However, other systems are likely to develop that racers will have to take into consideration during their ongoing routing decisions.

Weems & Plath Division B
First over the line in the Weems & Plath Division was the J/42, Velocity. It’s the first Pac Cup for Hood River’s Oregon Offshore veteran Tom Keffer. They were followed closely by the Sydney 36, Encore, skippered by Wayne Koide who has well-respected Pac Cup veteran Jim Quanci as navigator. Also starting today was the J/109 RV Aloha, whose Kaneohe, Hawaii based skipper, Ray Sanborn, filled the boat with family and friends. “We’ve got a father/son pair, a godfather/son pair and in Hawaii we’re one big happy family – everybody is an uncle or auntie,” says Sanborn.

Glen Margolis sailed to the starting line in a boat he only acquired within the past two months. He initially entered his Tartan 37 Ardea but switched boats when he acquired the Farr 44 Confetti. “We may have pulled off a first, at least in my PacCup memory, which goes back 30 years,” says Confetti crew member Tony English. “This is the only time I know of when an owner has changed boats a month before the start, after qualifying the first boat and then passed a second inspection a week before the start. If we can sail half as well as we prepare, then we’re in!”

Alaska Airlines Division C
The start of the Alaska Airlines Division resembled a close buoy race start with four Express 37s mixing it up with the rest of their PHRF fleet. Having four Express 37s in the 2016 Pac Cup makes it fun not only for the Pac Cup racers, but also for those who follow the popular Schumacher fleet. Bullet and Elan are frequent competitors in San Francisco Bay races and Limitless hails from Southern California and One-Eyed Jack from Hawaii.

“Having four Express 37s entered in Pacific Cup is going to be a blast for them,” says Kame Richards, Pac Cup veteran and owner of a well-known Bay Area Express 37. “Racing on identical boats allows you to compete in a one-design class, which is a huge simplification and clarification for racers. The never-ending education and improvement of racing sailors is enhanced by observing identical boats sailing in identical conditions and learning from the people who are doing it well. It will be very educational for them as a group.”

It’s a first Pac Cup for everyone on Bullet, but Larry Baskin says the crew has been sailing together regularly in Bay Area races. “We are all rookies with respect to the Pac Cup and sailing to Hawaii, although we have been doing a lot of offshore sailing in preparation,” says Baskin. One of his crew members, Nick Grebe, says, “We’ve done all the research and homework we could, prepared everything we could think of, but it really is a big step into the unknown for all of us and we couldn’t be happier about that!”

Also sailing in the Alaska Airlines Division is the Beneteau 423, Tiki Blue, skippered by Pacific Cup Yacht Club commodore Gary Troxel who is doing his fifth race. In a very last minute crew change, Pac Cup veteran and sailmaker Will Paxton joined the Tiki Blue team with only 24 hours notice, after a crew member had to withdraw. A veteran of the 2014 Pac Cup, Aero, is skippered by Joe Wells who tapped ocean racing veterans Bruce Ladd as navigator and Synthia Petroka as driver. “The hardest part is always getting to the start line,” said Petroka as she pushed off the dock on her way to the line. “I’m ready for some racing!”

North Sails Double Handed Division 2

There are decades of Pac Cup experience in the North Sails Double Handed Division. Bill and Melinda Erkelens were first over the line on their MORC30 Wolfpack, a promising start for a husband/wife duo who won their division in 2014 and the overall Pac Cup Trophy in 1992. Following closely was the Olson 30 Double Espresso. A last minute crew change paired skipper Jason Lauer with Pac Cup veteran Paul Kamen. It’s Kamen’s 14 Pac Cup and his 20th Hawaii race.

Also back for 2016 are Charles Devanneaux and Fred Courouble sailing the Beneteau First 30E Sailing for ALS. 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.

Upcoming Starts
Pac Cup racing continues with the ORR starts on Thursday and Friday.
There are four starts on July 11, 12, 14, and 15 for the 64 entrants. 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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