Pacific Cup: Early starters winning lottery

Published on July 12th, 2018

San Francisco, CA (July 12, 2018) – The third wave of starters got underway today for the 20th edition of the Pacific Cup to Hawaii. One division of the slower ORR fleet, ranging from a Melges 32 to a Farr 52, join the 2,070 nm race from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. The final start is tomorrow for the faster ORR fleet.

Photos of today’s starters:

This morning showed much of the same among the first starters on July 9, while yesterday’s starters proved the forecast accurate by getting off to a slow start. As a result, most divisional and overall rankings remain somewhat the same as yesterday and are generally unaffected by the second group of starters, as they are all very deep on corrected time.

It’s become more and more apparent that the first group of starters have indeed won the weather lottery – at least in these early stages – as originally predicted as early as last week.

Yesteday’s two starts saw a total of seventeen boats begin their own 2,000+ mile journeys to Hawaii under mostly sunny skies and a brisk, puffy breeze. The Weems & Plath B division saw 10 racer cruisers between 40 and 57 feet in length cross the start while the Alaska Airlines C division saw an incredibly competitive fleet of seven 30-something race boats charge the line like a buoy start with Kyle Vanderspek’s Hobie 33 Aloha winning a dramatic start.

Shortly after crossing outside the Gate however, the fun factor surely began to dwindle, as did the breeze with competitors flopping around in the Gulf of the Farallones for much of the night. Most boats took a northern route to try to play the shore breeze and punch out to the synoptic winds first, while just two boats took the more direct rhumb line route. In the end, there’s not much in it as the fleet has now generally compressed along the rhumb line with a few outliers sailing a more southerly course and the Archambault 35 Mirthmaker blazing her own trail far north.

Up at the front of the fleet with the latest starters, A Fond le Girafon continues to lead the race for line honors, and has committed themselves firmly to the north, the furthest boat north of rhumb line. As of this writing, A Fond le Girafon is 1,433 miles to the finish. A quartet of boats are sailing in the foiling Beneteau’s wake including overall race leader, the Cal 40 Green Buffalo.

A bit further south along the rhumb line, the Hanse 505 Outremer leads the cruisers while the J/120 Jamani continues to impress and lead the Mount Gay Rum DH2 division. Motorcycle Irene continues leading Pau Maui Vodka / DH1, and continues to pull away at a steady pace, now some 26 miles ahead of second placed Loose Cannon.

All of the first starters are still making excellent speed, while the latest starters are at least moving again, though comparatively much slower than her earlier rivals who almost immediately set out into heavy and fast reaching conditions.

The course should continue to get lighter and lighter over the next few days, hampering all of the later starting divisions and eventually catching up to the first starters. The north-south split among the first starters continues to grow with some boats sailing towards the pent house, and some towards the poor house, though no one quite knows which at this very point in time. We can only watch on with bated breath as this situation unfolds.


Race detailsEntry listStart timesTrackerFacebook

Background: This is the 20th edition of the 2,070 nm Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. The start of the fleet was staggered with divisions beginning on July 9, 11, 12, and 13.

Source, Ronnie Simpson, Pacific Cup

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