Civilized approach to offshore racing

Published on May 26th, 2020

The health crisis of 2020 has taken a toll on the competition calendar, with the casualty count including the Transpac Tahiti Race. Last held in 2012, optimism was high this year with some big boats eager to swallow miles, but rather than bad meals and body odor, the Organizing Authority reveals a more civilized approach to the course. Here’s their report:


After having attracted a near-record turnout for the 2020 edition of the Transpacific YC’s Transpac Tahiti Race, organizers had to finally succumb to pandemic restrictions and postpone this year’s race to the future. The dream of sailing to the South Seas on a 3570-mile journey from Los Angeles to Papeete would have to wait until the next planned running in 2022.

However, the dream of this journey is not completely lost for this year, thanks to the infectious enthusiasm of Stephanie Betz and her team at Archipelagoes, the Tahiti-based co-organizers of the race. They have partnered with Virtual Regatta to offer a simulated online version of the race.

The online race will start at 1400 PDT on the original race start date of May 28, 2020, and will feature the same real-time weather conditions found on the actual race course, with some additional options valuable to players to increase the performance of their entry during the race.

Competitors will use polar performance data from Comanche, the 100-foot current first-to-finish Barn Door Trophy champion in the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac race, because as Betz explains, “The course record of 11 days 10 hours and 13 minutes is rather old and with the right weather could be beaten by a modern fast boat of this type.”

French ocean racing legend Loick Peyron has been the official race ambassador for the Transpac Tahiti Race, and has also endorsed this virtual approach in lieu of being able to go to sea.

“This is not the same of course,” said Peyron, “but it is a clever way to experience some of the strategic challenges we face in offshore sailing, and who knows, may inspire some new ocean racers to try this in person on their own.”

The winner of the online version of the race will receive two free air tickets to Tahiti, courtesy of race sponsor Air Tahiti Nui.

Register here: www.virtualregatta.com/en/offshore-game

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