Gray but Great Final Start to Transpac

July 1, 2023 — Los Angeles, CA — Today off Point Fermin not only did the fastest group of 20 boats arrive for the third and final start of Transpac, so did the westerly sea breeze to get them off quickly on their 2225-mile journey to Hawaii. Contrary to the earlier starts on Tuesday and Thursday of this week with their light air conditions, today’s 10-12 knots of wind in the start area had the fleet heeled over and going fast towards their first mark of the course, the West End of Catalina Island 25 miles away.

TRANSPAC

Some got off a little too fast: a 10-degree left shift made the pin end of the line very attractive, prompting three OCS calls from the race committee for entries in Cal Maritime Division 1: Cal Maritime’s Andrews 77 T/S CAL MARITIME, Tom Holtus’ Botin 56 BADPAK, and Michael Firman’s Infinity 52 ZEUS. Breaking free of the pack early is the largest monohull in the fleet, Manouch Moshayedi’s Bakewell White RIO100.

An hour earlier in the Epic Insurance Division of multihulls, three MOD 70s crossed the start in slightly less breeze on their way west, with Jason Carroll’s ARGO taking the start for an early lead.
A good example of this is the navigator racing aboard John Brynjolfsson’s TP52 SAGA. For his relatively young age (38), Parker Mitchell is bearing the weight of responsibility of guiding the team of 10, a burden that is usually entrusted to those much older given all the factors that are considered in getting on a fast-track to Hawaii.

TRANSPAC

Before leaving their berths, teams made their final farewells and preparations for the long journey ahead, loading gear and provisions to sustain their crews for a trip that could be more than a week. One team also sought help from higher powers: Roy Disney and the PYEWACKET team held a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony on the dock to ensure they have a safe and bountiful ocean voyage. Disney’s team racing their Andrews 68 are competing against 9 rival ULDB Sleds in Whittier Trust Division 3.

TRANSPAC

The consensus for navigators this morning remained about the same as among their colleagues who left on Thursday: the northern position of a relative weak Pacific High prompts everyone to get off the coast as fast as possible and stay close to rhumb line to minimize the distance to the finish at Oahu’s Diamond Head.

“The forecast is suggesting a progressively slower race with moderate breeze,” said Peter King, navigator on Raymond Paul’s Botin 65 ARTEMIS, “but the good news is it looks relatively stable. Our challenge will be to stay in the pressure without straying too far north.”

“Our forte with this boat is power reaching,” said Paul, “since we are a bit beamier with the stability to carry the sail area needed in those conditions. The other boats in this division are generally narrower and proportionally faster in lighter conditions. If we can set a triple-headsail combination with the Code 65, a #4 jib and a staysail in breezy conditions we will be very competitive.”

TRANSPAC

Another boat that anticipates high speed reaching prowess is Michael Firman’s brand-new Inifinity 52 ZEUS. She has an unusual feature that deploys a horizontal shaped foil protruding from the hull to leeward which provides lift to counteract the heeling force from the sail plan. This system, called DSS (Dynamic Stability System) developed by UK-based designer Hugh Welbourn, was also a feature on the 2019 Transpac entry MAVERICK, a smaller version Infinity 46. ZEUS Tactician Stu Bannatyne admitted “We have not had much time to test this, but I think this feature gives them a distinct speed edge over conventional TP 52s in power-reaching conditions.”
Meanwhile out on the race course, the PASHA HAWAII YB tracker shows there is a match race among Dehler 46 sisterships for the lead in Boatswain’s Locker Division 7, with Greg Dorn’s FAVONIUS only a few miles (and no doubt in sight) of Ian Edwards’ WINGS from Australia, who currently has a narrow 1.7 mile lead at 1500 PDT. With this close margin, no doubt these two will be pushing each other hard throughout this race with less than 1400 miles left to the finish.

Mike Sudo’s Beneteau First 47.7 MACONDO is leading the Aloha Class, and Dean Treadway’s Farr 36 SWEET OKOLE is in the lead of smithREgroup Division 8.

The Thursday starters are more tightly grouped and going fast: Bill McKinley’s Ker 46+ DENALI3 is leading this pack at speeds of over 11 knots, leading Ocean Navigator Division 4 with Dave Moore’s Santa Cruz 52 WESTERLY 52 astern by about 30 miles going over 10 knots in the lead in class in Cabrillo Boat Shop Division 5. Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 HO’OKOLOHE is further astern but in the lead of their rivals in PASHA HAWAII Division 6.

Another interesting development shown on the tracker in Division 4 are the two J/125s – Standish Fleming’s NEREID and Thomas Garnier’s REINRAG2 – have crossed north of the rhumb line, an unusual move to make this early in the race compared to “normal” Transpac routes but indicative of the preference among many to keep close to the shortest route to Hawaii.

All entries in Transpac can be tracked on the YB system, sponsored by Pasha Hawaii. The positions, speeds and headings of each entry can be found on this system on either the browser of app versions. There is a built-in 4 hour delay for each entry, except when within 200 miles of the finish when the tracker goes live. Use this link to follow the fleet: https://cf.yb.tl/transpac2023#.

For more information on the 2023 Transpac, visit www.transpacyc.com

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