On a personal journey across the Pacific

Published on September 12th, 2021

With so many of the classic offshore races at around 600nm, the biennial Transpac Race is a monster at 2225nm. With a lot of water between Los Angeles and Honolulu, the Mai Tai greeting is well earned.

While one design champion Chris Snow is more accustomed to hotel rooms than hot-bunking, he shares the experience of racing to the 50th state of the Union:


Someone’s tugging on my foot. What the %^&*? It’s my crew mate, Brad Wheeler, and I hear a muffled “You can sleep when you’re dead, Chris, you’re going to want to see this, get up.” I am hearing him through the foam ear plugs I am wearing to muffle the sound of the primary winch that’s 12” over my head, not exactly sure I’m hearing him right.

Nevertheless, I slither backwards out of the quarter berth I’m in. It’s hot and sticky down below and I’m shirtless and shoeless, I can smell myself. It’s not good. I poke my head out of the hatch. It’s just barely getting light. Brad’s close by and I give him a nod.

I keep my head low to not block the instruments, so the helmsman can see their red glow in the darkness. Astern, to the east, the edges of towering tropical clouds are just becoming visible. Ahead it looks black, scary black. Squall cloud black and that’s not what you want to be sailing toward in this part of the Pacific. I’d only been asleep for a couple hours.

I pop back down below and get my gear on. I grab my deck shoes, hat, glasses, safety harness with tether and gloves from near my bunk and put them on. Back on deck, I take a spot in the cockpit out of the way and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. It’s blowing 22 knots and we’re going 14,15,16 straight into the darkness, I can make out the white spray of the bow wave as we surf over wave after wave.

We are on port jibe and have our A 2.5 spinnaker and spinnaker staysail up. Justin’s driving, Nick’s on the grinding pedestal and Zack on the spinnaker sheet. We’ve been at this now for nine days racing our way 2225 miles across the Pacific from LA to Honolulu in the 2021 Transpac Race. – Full report

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