Transpac Race: The sweet taste of victory
Published on July 18th, 2019
Honolulu, HI (July 18, 2019) – After Jason Carroll’s Argo crossed the finish line at Diamond Head last night 20:52:32 local time, only 29 minutes later Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay crossed the line, followed 6.5 hours later by Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati, ending the rivalry between all three MOD 70 trimarans in the 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race.
For over four days these teams battled with each other, one (Maserati) limping for a while due to impact damage after the first day of the race, but never giving up.
“Crossing the finish line was a great moment for us,” Carroll told local TV news teams. “It was 4 1/2 days of anticipation to find out if we were going to beat out the competition and it came down to a pretty close race in the end, so this was a great celebration.”
Asked about conditions leaving the coast, Carroll said, “The conditions were very different there then they are here in Hawaii where it blows 26 knots every day; it was very light and variable and out navigator [Anderson Reggio] did a great job getting us out of [that hole] which gave us a leg up on everybody.”
This is Carroll’s first Transpac, to which he said, “Every offshore yacht racers dream is to sail [this race], and this is my first time ever in Hawaii. So it’s great to come and do this. The full moon was with us pretty much every night guiding us safely here.”
When asked what it was like being 4 days with his team, Carroll said, “Ya know I spend a lot of time with these guys, we get to see each other everyday!”
Argo team member Brian Thompson is a highly-experienced veteran of offshore multihull projects, and even he was impressed with this race.
“It is amazing to be back here. I think this is my sixth time in Honolulu racing from California. So I’ve got the course record with Phaedo and after the fourth attempt, being the first multihull to finish, the first boat to finish this race here on Argo tonight – which is incredible.
“It turned out the racing was really close. The start was incredible. There was an eddy off the coast of California which made it super light. Much lighter than normal and at night it shut down and we were the boat that got out the best. And just got out before the wind shut down, so we got out into the wind and extended through the night to have about an 80-mile lead.
“So four and half days is not a bad time at all to 2,200 miles. We are all chuffed to be here.”
Meanwhile still charging towards the finish is the fastest monohull in the race, Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s VPLP 100 Comanche from Australia. At 1500 Hawaii time they are about 115 miles from the finish travelling at 23.4 knots, so they’re expected sometime after sunset tonight.
The remainder of the fleet is enjoying beautiful tradewinds sailing, with many reports of fantastic sunsets and sunrises, moon rainbows, challenging squalls, and the like. This account from Chip Merlin’s team on his custom Lee-designed 68 Merlin:
“Day 5 turned into an intense night after a few spinnakers went up and down and dodging little black clouds and intermittent showers. Today Day 6 the sun is out, nice trade winds are blowing, the crew is in good spirits and moments of offshore humor are more frequent. Last night we were treated to a special phenomena – when under the full moon a moonbow appeared which is a white halo like ring similar to a rainbow but without the colors.”
And from John Miller’s Beneteau 46 Tropic Thunder on their 8th day, a similar account:
“So, as sailing goes it is wash, rinse, repeat. The other watch seems to get all the sail change fun. My watch gets all the cool sights.
“Overnight we had a brief light rain that felt wonderful. The moon was once again bright and beautiful. We were treated to a full moonbow; rainbow made from moonlight. I have no idea what the actual term for it is and Google is not exactly available out here so you are stuck with moonbow.
“We are starting to see schools of flying fish which is really cool and increasing amounts of trash which is not so cool. There was a small squid that tried to make itself into calamari on the jacklines but he wasn’t quite successful, poor little thing.
“We are having a good time out here. Life is good. Except there were some hurting puppies this morning from the 1/2 way celebration. When will they learn. Now starting to ration ibuprofen.”
Another story from the race course on board Scott Deardorff and Bill Guilfoyle’s SC 52 Prevail is less jolly. A crewman had got his finger caught in a winch and sustained a compound fracture to his arm. The team received medical advice via sat phone from Hoag, the Transpac official medical assistance provider, wherein antibiotics were prescribed, but of a type not in the Prevail medical kit.
With help from Transpac Race HQ, an alert notice went to the fleet to ask who had the specific type of drugs needed. Luckily only 5 miles away was Vela, another SC 52 owned by Steve Davis, Tim Dornberg, and Clark Davis, who made the rendezvous with Prevail. The patient is reported to be in stable condition.
And lastly, another problem on the course has arose on The Eddy Family’s Cal 40 Calisto, where their YB tracker is now officially dead. The device had been behaving erratically throughout the race, so now Race HQ has directed navigator Kerry Deaver to report positions every 4 hours.
Leaders based on positions (as of 0925 HST):
Multihulls 0: Argo – MOD70
Multihulls 0A: Kastor Pollux – 43-foot catamaran
Division 1: BadPak – Pac52
Division 2: Taxi Dancer – R/P 70
Division 3: Hamachi – J/125
Santa Cruz 50/52: Horizon- Santa Cruz 50
Division 5: Good Call – Swan 60
Division 6: BlueFlash – J/121
Division 7: Chubasco – S&S Yawl 67
Division 8: Dark Star – Hobie 33
Division 9: Nadelos – Wasa 55
Cal 40: Callisto
Overall: Hamachi – J/125
Daily standings from 0800 roll call: click here.
Note: There is a 4-hour delay on the tracker but goes live within the final 200 miles.
• Mayhem, Hobie 33, Steven Eder
• Aloha, Hobie 33, Kyle Vanderspek
• Nalu V, Cal 40, Mark Ashmore
• Trouble, Santa Cruz 50, Tom Camp,
• Live Wire, Olson 40, Tim Jones
• OEX, Santa Cruz 70, John Sangmeister
• Pyewacket, Andrews 70, Roy Disney
• Macondo, Beneteau First 47.7, Mike Sudo
Background: First organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club in 1906, the biennial Transpacific Yacht Race or Transpac is an offshore sailing race from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Diamond Head, just east of Honolulu, a distance of 2225 nm. The 2019 edition has 12 divisions with staggered starts on July 10, 12, and 13.
Boats racing in Divisions 6, 7, 8, 9, the Cal 40s, and the Multihulls in Class 0A will start on July 10. The second start on July 12 will be for the boats in Divisions 3, 5 and the Santa Cruz 50/52s, with the final start on July 13 for the remaining monohull entries in Divisions 1 and 2, along with the Multihull class 0 entries.
The current race records were set in 2017 when Comanche set the new Merlin trophy elapsed time record at 5 days 01:55:26. Comanche also set a 24 hour distance Transpac record at 484.1 nm, a 20.2 knot average speed. The ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe set the multihull elapsed time record at 4 days 06:32:30.