Transpac: Searching for sunshine

Published on July 20th, 2021

(July 20, 2021) – With most of the iconic offshore races hovering at 600-700 nm, the biennial Transpac Race is another kind of beast at 2225 nm. Staggered starts offer a four day jump for the slower boats which have now been on the course for one week.

The Division 8 leader of the earlier starters, the Farr 57 Ho’okolohe, had 787 nm to the finish today as of the 0800 roll call… by dinner they’ll just have a Sydney Hobart Race to go. However, double that distance and that’s where the Division 7 leader Dehler 46 Favonius, which started in the second wave, shares an update from their racer-cruiser:

“The nights continue to be very dark and we feel as if we are sailing into a mine shaft, though we did have some sunshine yesterday and the temperatures are rising which brought out the shorts as jackets came off. We have the A4 poled back with spinnaker stay sail up and a full main. The boat is planning nicely above 16 knots with a speed record of 18.1 knots.”

In between these two teams is the Volvo 70 turbo Pyewacket 70 which started in the final group but has been muscling their way through the fleet for dinner reservations later this week in Honolulu.

“We made the halfway point in the wee hours of the morning,” reports navigator Peter Isler. “The second half should be faster than the first half, as we are now running downwind (if you call sailing along with the apparent wind at 60 degrees off the the bow ‘running’) in building NE winds that should officially be the trade winds pretty soon.

“However, to me they are not trade winds until you can see some blue sky and that’s yet to happen since we left the California coast and ducked our 115 foot mast under the stratus cloud bank offshore of Catalina Island.

“No new 24 hour speed records to report as our gybe to the south didn’t help those numbers since the calculation is point to point for 24 hours – not distance over the bottom. However, we are happy with our move south last night (six hours of port gybe). We won’t see any benefits/results from it until later today because of the race tracker’s 4 hour delay – kind of a weird feature – not my favorite.

“The big news on board is that watch captain Gary Weisman’s boot broke… another sole delamination (his other boot suffered a similar fate in the Cabo race). Luckily Pyewacket comes prepared and our Team Cobbler, Mark Callahan, pulled out the sea boot repair materials and soon it was good to go. (3M’s 5200 fixes anything that duct tape and a hammer can’t fix)

“Speaking of footwear, our Hawaiian team member, Mark Towill, has worn sandals the entire race.. he didn’t even bring any boots, he says its not that cold. Everyone else on board is rocking boots with gaiters, and full foul weather gear with dry tops. The temperatures are on the rise, so we’ll probably see some more shoes and sandals make the runway later today.

“The team is all getting along well, with the hot topic of conversation being how good the next freeze dried meal is – or isn’t. The Pyewacket regulars also love hearing the sea stories of the Volvo Ocean Races that this boat’s sister ships have raced in. Four-time Volvo veteran, Kiwi Daryl Wislang has lots of great stories from this class’ glory days to keep us entertained, especially in the wee hours.

“We still are sailing under cloudy skies, which makes for pitch black sailing at night.. not easy for the helmsmen. But nothing is harder than the full team effort that transpires when we decide to throw in a gybe. For those two gybes, the entire stack of our incredibly heavy sails has to be moved from being strapped down on the old windward side to the new windward side. (Race rules allow the stacking of sails on deck and moving them wherever we want).

“The ‘stack’ gets transferred before the gybe, one sail at a time (five guys moving each sail in two foot increments) to the other side of the boat. It takes 15-20 minutes from the call to gybe is made to the moment the boat is clear to be turned, and in that time everyone is working as hard as they work the entire race to ‘move the stack’ and keep sailing fast. Suffice to say, you can’t gybe on every wind shift – and there are plenty of them out here.”

Here are the eight division leaders (as of 12:30 pm PDT):
Division 1. BadPak – Botin 56
Division 2. Artemis – Botin 65
Division 3. Warrior Won – Pac52
Division 4. Pied Piper – Santa Cruz 70
Division 5. Bretwalda3 – Rogers 46
Division 6. Triumph – Santa Cruz 52
Division 7. Favonius – Dehler 46
Division 8. Ho’okolohe – Farr 57

Event informationRace detailsEntry listTrackerJuly 20 Roll Call

Forty-one teams started the 51st Transpac Race which takes the fleet on a 2225 nm course from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to the finish line off Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii.

2021 Schedule
July 13 start – Division 8
July 16 start – Division 5, 6, 7
July 17 start – Division 1, 2, 3, 4
July 30 – Honolulu Awards Ceremony

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