Pacific Cup: Sporty weather for first wave
Published on July 10th, 2018
San Francisco, CA (July 10, 2018) – Fresh winds, reported by weather authorities as sustained in the high 20s on the beam made for a demanding first night for the 29 original starters of the Pacific Cup to Hawaii. Race veterans compare last night’s conditions to the 2002 and 2016 races which were marked by unusually stiff breezes.
The 20th edition has its first retirement as the Hudson 50 Cetacea shows a track returning to port due to steering system issues while the cream begins to rise after a full day on the course in each of the respective divisions. Following the four starts that were yesterday, there are 30 more teams that will get underway during the three more additional start days on July 11, 12, and 13.
History continues to be made as Charles Devanneaux and co-skipper Matthieu Damerval have surged to the front of the fleet to take an early Line Honors lead. Just behind their revolutionary Beneteau Figaro 3 A Fond le Girafon, Emmanuel Sauquet’s Hanse 505 Outremer is engaged in a close battle with sistership Anais. All three boats are sailing at close to 10 knots and blazing a fast path to Hawaii. Should the forecasts prove to be correct and the day one start turns out to be the best one, we could well see these same three boats lead the charge into Kaneohe.
Thrilling as the battle at the front may be, it’s between an “experimental” rocketship Beneteau equipped with hydrofoils and the two fastest boats in the cruising division. But per the race rules, none of those three boats will figure into the overall results in determining who wins Pacific Cup 20.
The first two boats to cross the starting line of this Pacific Cup, Cal 40s Green Buffalo and Highlander, are leading the Coral Reef Sailing Apparel A division (PHRF-DW <= 615). It’s no surprise to see veteran skipper Jim Quanci and his venerable Cal 40 Green Buffalo assuming an early overall race lead despite some reported damage to his steering. Likewise, in the DH1 Pau Maui Vodka Doublehanded Division (Express 27s), pre-race favorites Will Paxton and Zachery Anderson on Motorcycle Irene have been consistently a few tenths of a knot faster than their competitors and have built a 3 mile lead, sailing both higher and faster than he rivals. Paxton, a Quantum Sails representative has dialed the boat in with a very optimized sail inventory that is surely paying big dividends in these early reaching stages of the race. Fired Up!, Loose Cannon and YETI are all just slightly slower than Motorcycle Irene and locked into their own close boat-to-boat battles. DH2 Mount Gay Rum is currently being led by A Fond le Girafon, both boat for boat and on handicap, but with that boat having an “experimental” rating, they will not be eligible to figure into the official race results. Sailing at speeds between 9 and 10 knots, sometimes faster, we can only assume that the leeward foil on A Fond le Girafon is doing its thing and adding quite a bit of lift and resistance to heeling, therefore adding more righting moment. Living up to the pre-race hype, the foiling Beneteau has certainly added a degree of excitement to the division. Behind A Fond le Girafon, Sean and Kim Mulvihill on Jamani are certainly on the right horse for the course in the early stages of this race, with their J/120 effectively leading the doublehanded division. Antrim 27’s are known to be a handful in breeze, and so it exceptionally impressive to see Frederic Berg and Mikey Bacon on Bacon Berger sailing at more than 7 knots and doing well both on the water and on the handicaps. Representing Kaneohe Yacht Club, Bacon Berger could truly be a weapon once off-the-breeze, especially if they can stay in touch with the leaders during the early stages. Class stalwart Wolfpack has her work cut out for her in this tough, competitive division. Fellow husband-wife duo Bill and Melinda Erkelens have their Donovan 30 moving well, asserting themselves as the most southerly boat in the fleet. We were starstruck when we ran into Tanguy de Lamotte at the skipper’s meeting. The Vendée Globe veteran is an exceptionally talented sailor, engineer and boat builder. So when we found out he was sailing on Emmanuel Sauquet’s Hanse 505 Outremer, in the cruising division no less, we knew they would be a boat to watch. Locked into an intense battle with sistership Anais, skippered by Matt Soljhem, the two big Hanse’s are sailing in A Fond le Girafon’s wake, making boat speeds of more than 9 knots and leading the cruising division. Peter Masson’s Hudson Force 50 ketch Cetacea has retired with steering issues and is returning to San Francisco. There are no injuries reported. Also, the division’s two multihulls, Surya and Cross 40 did not start. There are now only 11 boats on the course, sailing towards Hawaii in the cruising division. A word on the six hour tracker delay - This is done intentionally to preserve the "strategic" element of ocean racing, where boats only get a few glimpses of each other. Were the tracker fully live, boats with unlimited data budgets and navigator time could simply watch the tracker 24/7 and treat the race like a giant round-the-buoys exercise. But do not despair as the tracker will provide live updates when it counts. Race details – Entry list – Start times – Tracker – Facebook
Source, Ronnie Simpson, Pacific Cup