Moore 24 Sweeps Pacific Cup
Published on July 22nd, 2016
The biennial Pacific Cup attracted 64 entrants for the 2070 nm course from San Francisco to Hawaii, with the fleet divided among four staggered starts on July 11, 12, 14, and 15. Here’s a report from July 22.
In a year when strong winds made for record crossing times, the double handed team of Mark English and Ian Rogers on the Moore 24 Mas! have become sailing rock stars. Their elapsed time of just 10 days 14 hours 30 minutes gives them provisional honors in the overall Pac Cup, division honors in the Kolea Double Handed Division 1, and first overall for the PHRF group. It also breaks the previous Moore 24 Pac Cup record of 11 days 9 hours, 48 minutes, 25 seconds that stood for 18 years.
“It was like an amusement park ride; rounding up, rounding down, and getting blown sideways,” English said. “This is my fourth Pac Cup,” said Ian Rogers. “My fastest trip was on the smallest boat.”
The duo sailed hard in extremely challenging conditions — big wind, and big, confused seas.
Mas!’s 200-plus nautical mile day runs were the talk not only of the Moore 24 fleet cheering them on from land, but also of experienced crew on other boats. “While I was on the helm in this weather I kept thinking: ‘I can’t believe there are two guys out there in a Moore 24’,” said Scott Easom, a regular on the Andrews 70 Pyewacket. “They are insane, but that’s awesome.” As Easom stepped onto to the dock as Pyewacket arrived he shook hands with Rogers and said, “That is a major, major accomplishment.”
Thursday afternoon, Melinda and Bill Erkelens crossed the line on their MORC 30 Wolfpack, the provisional leader in the North Sails Double Handed Division 2 and second in both PHRF and Pac Cup rankings. Their 9d 05:19 handily beat their 2014 Pac Cup time of 12d 13:21. Melinda Erkelens said the crossing was her fastest since the 2008 Pac Cup she did on the Schumacher 46, Surprise. Wolfpack had a few mishaps, including having the MOM unit accidentally deploy after a big wave washed over it. “I was down below and it looked like a disco was going on up on deck,” said Bill Erkelens. Wabbit racers, they were comfortable sailing without instruments, a skill that came in handy when they lost their wind arrow shortly after the start and their speedometer after having the boat lit up to 20.5 knots. Conditions were wet the whole way to Hawaii, and the couple said they only changed out of their foul weather gear on the last day of the race.
Also in the North Sails Double Handed Division 2, Buzz Blackett and Jim Antrim finished on Wednesday, July 20, on Blackett’s Antrim 40 California Condor with a provisional time of 8 days 11 hours 38 minutes, taking a full three days and eight hours off their 2014 time. Blackett and Antrim estimated they got only three to four hours of sleep a day. “We were just flying,” said Blackett. They blew out two spinnakers, and at one point had to drop the kite and back down to relieve whatever was hooked on the keel or the sail drive.
Cal 40 Redhead was first to finish in the Honu Division A after a consistent division lead throughout the race. It was a first Pac Cup for Walter Chedester Smith, but the eighth Pac Cup for crew Robin Jeffers and the second for Rowan Fennell.
The first to finish in the Alaska Airlines Division C was race veteran Aero with an elapsed time of 9 days 10 hours and 34 minutes, a significant drop from their 2014 time of 13 days 2 hours 26 minutes. How did the 2016 Pac Cup differ from 2014? “It was four days shorter!” said Synthia Petroka. Her crew mates agreed. “It was intense,” said skipper Joe Wells. “There was so much wind out there.”
Perfect conditions helped Roy Disney’s Pyewacket break the previous Pyewacket’s Pac Cup record set in 1998 on the turboed Santa Cruz 70, earning him a provisional first in the BMW of San Rafael Division D and ORR overall. “We had a 370-mile day run,” Disney said. “No sled has done that before.”
The Ker 56 Varuna VI finished after Rio 100. Although not winning division honors, the Pac Cup was a warm up for the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart race. Bay Area sailor Matt Noble joined the boat as last minute crew. “That was quite a ride,” says Noble.
While the small boats described days of damp conditions and freeze-dried food, Ticket II’s crew looked well fed and dry when they arrived at the dock. The first boat to finish in the Latitude 38 Cruising Division, Ticket II didn’t even wait until the docklines were on to begin bragging about the quality of the cuisine prepared by their dedicated chef. It was a first Pac Cup for skipper Rick Niello and his boat, a Jeanneau 56. Niello said the voyage was designed to focus on fun, but but when they found themselves leading the fleet for most of the way across the Pacific they decided they had to “put away the Scotch, we have to race.” They never used their engine – something that is within the rules in the cruising division – and they never went slower than 8 knots.
Note: All results provisional.
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