Attitude Overcomes All Hurdles

Published on July 24th, 2018

Sometimes life isn’t fair, but attitude overcomes all hurdles which was the scenario for the Hobie 33 Aloha as they sailed the final miles of the 20th edition of the 2,070 nm Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.

For Kyle Vanderspek, Brian Vanderspek, Joel Buffa, and Matt Van Rensselaer, their race was not without challenges but they were all smiles after completing the course in 12d 18:54:31. Here Brian shares their final report before the finish:


Everything was going smooth, we were cruising along at 10+ knots until the 02:00 watch change. Almost perfectly timed as we were handing over the watch, Matt felt the helm go completely sloppy. We rushed to get Joel up and proceeded to go kite down and sailing under the spin staysail and main only.

Kyle rushed into action with the tool kit as we assumed maybe the bolt that held the rudder into the boat had backed off. This was unfortunately not the case, and until we haul the boat we won’t know what the problem is, but our best guess is the rudder post is spinning inside the rudder making it very sluggish with 15-20 degrees of play.

With the rudder unresponsive, we made a group decision to not push the boat any harder and came down with the spinnaker staysail and are proceeding to the finish with the main only, cutting our boat speed from 11 knots to 6.5. Absolutely painful.

To add insult to injury, after proceeding two miles down the track under main only, the boom snapped in half. We were quick to put back up the spinnaker staysail and the storm trysail to continue progress towards the bright light of Kaneohe at 6.5 knots. Wow, what a way to finish. The boom snapped right at the rivet of the boomvang with no visible signs of wear on the exterior.

Our overall break down report is as follows, and before I mention this, I have got to say it is an absolute pleasure sailing with engineers and knowledgeable, experienced racers who quickly jump into action to get it fixed and back to racing:

• Snapped the tiller connection and installed emergency tiller.
• Starboard water blaster leaking large amounts of potable water into bilge – found leak and repaired.
• 4 winch rebuilds.
• Leak in engine bay stopped.
• Rudder post failure.
• Boom snapped in half.

That being said, it was a super fun race with great people, a good boat, a lot of lessons learned, and a project list built. The planning for the next race has already begun. Until next time,fair winds and following seas.

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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.

Note: Like a few other boats, Pyewacket and Blue are not eligible for ‘overall’ Pacific Cup honors. They are using new specialty reaching sails sometimes called “tweeners.” These sails are recently approved under ORR but not permitted under PHRF, which is being used to score the Pac Cup overall.

When using multiple ratings systems, as is done in Pacific Cup to provide broad competition between divisions, these kinds of strategic choices can arise. This will get attention for the 2020 edition of the race with that hindsight.

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