Second wave heads to Hawaii in Transpac

June 29, 2023 — Los Angeles, CA — Under sunny skies and a light westerly breeze, the second group of entries has started their 2225-mile journey to Honolulu in the 2023 Transpac. Nineteen boats divided in three classes – Ocean Navigator Division 4, Cabrillo Boat Shop Division 5 and Pasha Hawaii Division 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 on Tuesday this week, 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.

Yet will the winds be strong enough to threaten any course records? No talk of this yet, but tune in on Saturday for the start of the fastest boats in the fleet and their navigator’s views on the new forecasts.
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. Chris said Nicholas is fitting well in the crew and is looking forward to a great race.

TRANSPAC – Oliver Ernest

Fifteen year old Oliver Ernest is also looking forward to the race, having already crewed on his dad Steve’s J/145 AIMANT DE FILLE in the SoCal 300, Cabo San Lucas and Long Point races. Having had extensive experience in his summers of sailing Naples Sabots, then 420s, Oliver was assigned to be the starting helmsman of the race (see lead photo). The team’s front-row start validated these skills.

When asked if he’s comfortable in that position, he admitted “At first I was steering too fast through the tacks and gybes, like a 420, but I’ve learned to slow it down. I’m actually comfortable in most positions, but my dad won’t let me on the bow at night.”


Another interesting twist to the fleet’s start today was related to a boat that was late for their intended start on Tuesday and was reassigned to be in Pasha Hawaii 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.


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:

For more information on the 2023 Transpac, visit

Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
Jeanneau JY55