In The Piper’s Footsteps
Published on December 14th, 2021
Jack Jennings and his crew won their class and finished third overall in the 2021 Transpac, which is no small feat. Yet, the journey and bringing people together—what originally motivated Jennings at the outset—and successfully complete—this project—is the real story here. Story by Dave Powlison for Sailing World:
Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of Oregon’s Columbia River, is a lonely place in late winter. It can be windy and the water is always cold. Air temperatures hover near freezing. Fishing boats are the only vessels you’re likely to see plying this remote piece of the North Pacific. But on this day in March there’s a dark blue Santa Cruz 70 heading south at pace. It’s Pied Piper, owned by 41-year-old Jack Jennings. The youngster and his crewmates are San Francisco bound and then Los Angeles for the start of the 2021 Transpac Race in Los Angeles.
“We stuck out like a sore thumb,” says Jennings. “Nobody sails around there, especially that time of year.”
En route to San Francisco, they would cover 300 miles in one 24-hour period, which is really fast for a SC70—especially one built more than three decades ago. “At night it was 30 degrees, and you could see your breath down below,” Jennings says. “That’s when I knew these were the guys I wanted with me on the Transpac. I didn’t really care what the results were going to be because that type of stuff—the challenging delivery, bringing these guys together and having that kind of adventure—I loved that part of it.”
Four months later, Jennings and his crew would sail Pied Piper to first in its class and third overall in the Transpac while recording the fastest time for a traditional sled and breaking the old record by three hours. Yet, the journey and bringing people together—what originally motivated Jennings at the outset—and successfully complete—this project—is the real story here. – Full report