Transpac 09 Division 6 & 7 boats have been heading SSW since their start on Monday, June 29th. Their three-day head start over the next group of 19 larger boats has only given them a 150 to 250 mile advantage.
The Division 6 & 7 boats have been pointed in a SSW direction and coasting along at a top speed of less than 7 knots. Charisma, Alejandro Perez Calzada's Sparkman & Stephens 57 continues to be the most northerly and westerly of the fleet. Charisma has not yet dipped below 30º N and is approaching 123º. Transpac 09's only Spanish entry is sailing along at approximately 6.5 knots and is over 30 nautical miles ahead of her closest Division 7 competitor, Ross Pearlman's Jeanneau 50, Between the Sheets.
The tall ship, Lynx is the laggard in the fleet. Less than 12 hours into the race, the crew was ghosting along through an area just west of San Clemente, California. The area on the shows that it is an explosives dumping area, not a restricted area, yet they were informed by the Navy that they had to leave the area, no if's, and's or but's. You can only imagine what it is like to tack a tall ship in the wee hours of the morning in very light winds. Needless to say, that effort alone, set the Lynx back several hours. The consolation – chef aboard the Lynx was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and the crew worked through the tacks with the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the cabin and up onto the deck.
Meanwhile, in Division 6, Relentless and J World are within sight of one another. Relentless is retaining the lead, but once again it has narrowed. We'll see what happens when the Tim Fuller and Erik Shampain, the double-handed sailors on Relentless switch their watch and Shampain takes over.
The communications vessel, The School of Sailing & Seamanship at Orange Coast College's Alaska Eagle, is right in the thick of it. The 1977-78 Whitbread Round the World Race winner is not racing although the yacht, with her professional crew of four and 9 students, did set out with the first two Transpac 09 Divisions on Monday.
Many of the boats that are reporting back to their friends, families and followers via blogs and e-mails are reporting slow and steady sailing, warming conditions and visits by playful and friendly pods of dolphins.
The 19 boats in Divisions 3, 4 & 5 receive their Aloha send-offs from Transpac Pier in Rainbow Harbor and are scheduled for a 1300 start under Point Fermin. Five Santa Cruz 50's, including hull #1, ROY's Chasch Mer, constitute Division 5. Half of the boats in Division 4 are Santa Cruz 52's. Reinrag2, the overall winner on corrected time for the 2007 Transpac, is also in Division 4. Division 3's entries include two Japanese and one Mexican boat and Bruce Anderson's comfortable and fast, Free Range Chicken. They will leave the docks under hazy skies and very light winds. While Divisions 6 and 7 have a jump on them, it could be a matter of a few days of sailing in light wind before the late starters catch up to those that left on Monday.
Tracking information reported by Ionearth is delayed by 4 hours.
Stay tuned to www.TranspacRace.com for news of about the Division 6 and Division 7 boats that started to head south after their start on Monday, for weather updates and for news of the Division 3,5 and 5 start scheduled to take place on July 2 at 1300 off of Point Fermin.