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Second wave of Transpac Race starters

Published on June 29th, 2023

Los Angeles, CA (June 29, 2023) – Under sunny skies and a light westerly breeze, the second group of starters have begun their 2225-mile journey to Honolulu in the 2023 Transpac Race. Nineteen boats divided in three classes – Division 4, 5, and 6 – set off from Point Fermin to first clear the West End of Catalina Island 25 miles away and then out into the open Pacific Ocean.

Like the first group of starters two days prior, they face an initial upwind challenge to clear the West End – the entire fleet tacked to port just after the start to have better pressure along the Palos Verdes coast – and then follow their navigator’s advice on the next steps.

Do they carry on upwind to stay north close to rhumb line, thereby minimizing the extra distance sailed to Hawaii? Or bear off a few degrees once they clear the coast for increased speed at the expense of sailing extra distance in order to get an initial jump on the fleet and then maneuver to stay in front as the weather allows?

This morning around the docks at Cabrillo Way Marina the talk was of using the first strategy – that is, stay north because the position of the Pacific High would allow for sailing a reduced distance without getting caught in the notorious light winds near the High.

The 1020 mb isobar, for example, has been a traditional guide for Transpac navigators for years: don’t stray further north than this lest your get caught in the clutches of the High. Right now the rhumb line just skirts the edge of this isobar.

Regardless of weather, today there were young sailors doing their first Transpac on the crews of two boats. Both are father-son pairs, upholding a long-standing Transpac tradition of encouraging family participation in offshore sailing.

The youngest is 13-year-old Nicholas Messano, whose father Chris is partners with Bill Durant in their renovated Santa Cruz 50 Deception. Another is fifteen-year-old Oliver Ernest who has already crewed on his dad Steve’s J/145 Aimant De Fille in the SoCal 300 and Cabo San Lucas.

Another interesting twist to the fleet’s start today was related to a boat that was late for their intended start and was reassigned to be in Division 6. Russ Johnson and John Turner are double-handing their Jeanneau 52.2 Blue Moon from Hawaii back to Hawaii, and Johnson says their mission is more than just yacht racing.

“The reason I do the Transpac is to raise awareness about plastic waste in the ocean. On the return trips I do research in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for different organizations, and I have my own non-profit called OPDERA: Ocean Plastic Debris Education Research and Awareness.”

Johnson’s website has numerous resources to educate the public about the enduring problem with oceanic plastic debris and its effect on the ocean’s ecosystems.

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From the inaugural race in 1906, the biennial Transpac Race in 2023 is the 52nd edition for the 2225 nm course from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Staggered Starts
June 27 – Division 7, 8
June 29 – Division 4, 5, 6
July 1 – Division 1, 2, 3, 9

Source: TYC

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