Transpac: Waves of finishers
Published on July 24th, 2021
Honolulu, Hawaii (July 24, 2021) – Having start dates staggered this year over five days and near-perfect strong breeze over the 2225-mile course has resulted in the first big wave of competitors coming across the finish line at Diamond Head today in the 51st edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac.
Since yesterday 10 more teams have finished the race today, with 9 more teams expected in tonight before dawn tomorrow. This makes more half the fleet of 41 entries expected to be in to their berths at Hawaii YC or Waikiki YC before another large wave of 18 finishers are expected tomorrow and tomorrow night.
One of the first in today’s wave was Chris Sheehan’s Pac 52 team on Warrior Won, who finished at 2:18 AM local time for the second-lowest elapsed time in this race: 6:16:18. This is a remarkable feat, given that many who finished close to her were several feet longer in length. She bested her closest rival in Division 3, Thomas Furlong’s R/P 51 Vitesse, by 11 hours. And in having only manual-powered systems on board, Warrior Won will also win the Merlin Trophy for being the first monohull to finish the race in this category.
Other division winners in the marina now are Tom Holthus’s Botin 56 BadPak (Division 1), Doug Baker’s Kernan 68 Peligroso (Division 2) and Bob Pethick’s Rogers 46 Bretwalda3 (shown above at speed – Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing), a repeat champion in Division 4. A division crown is also secure for Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe, who finished yesterday morning, in Division 8.
All the teams are telling stories about thrilling high-speed downwind sailing: continuous spray and even entire waves washing over the deck, with some coaxing that water to stay on deck while on others the interior was getting a regular fire hose of water. Some boats handled the ingress with bilge pumps but one team said they had to use buckets.
Meanwhile out on the race course the team on Steve Schulze’s Santa Cruz 50 Horizon are still locked in a corrected time battle for supremacy of Division 6, the Fabulous Fifties class, with rival Triumph, Steve Sellinger’s Santa Cruz 52. The two are separated by less than 2 hours in corrected time. With only 170 miles left to the finish the Triumph team is pushing hard to close this gap before running out of racecourse.
In the meantime their daily reports give us a glimpse of life aboard, “It has been a thrilling and exhausting 24 hours for Triumph and her crew, with 11 gybes and 4 sail changes. We are doing what we can to fend off the faster Horizon. We are taking advantage of the wind shifts and cloud formations for greater pressure. Win or lose, we left it all on the race course.
“Last night had a close crossing – too close for me as I was on watch as Mr. Bill (newly named Rock & Roll) came towards us on Starboard while we were on Port. She had the right of way, although ColRegs applies at night and this means both vessels must avoid regardless. Maneuvering these beasts in the middle of the day is tough – nighttime with impaired visibility can be impossible.
“No way can we gybe within 2 miles to avoid. She was not receiving our hails on the VHF Channel 16 Emergency Channel (not sure why) and as we saw their lights approach, she crossed roughly 20 boat lengths astern of us. Likely they may have not had someone below to make the call – we will find out when we talk on land. Not much other news. The crew continues to perform at a high level.”
Here are the eight division leaders (as of 11:15 pm PDT):
Division 1. BadPak – Botin 56 (finished)
Division 2. Peligroso – Kernan 68 (finished)
Division 3. Warrior Won – Pac52 (finished)
Division 4. Pied Piper – Santa Cruz 70
Division 5. Bretwalda3 – Rogers 46 (finished)
Division 6. Horizon – Santa Cruz 50
Division 7. Favonius – Dehler 46
Division 8. Ho’okolohe – Farr 57 (Finished)
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.
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