Transpac Fully Underway – Many Hawaii Connections Tied to Today’s Start

The 2017 biennial Transpac sailing race from California to Hawaii is now fully underway. The final three divisions with the fastest and biggest boats, including two 100-footers among them and a fleet of five multihulls, crossed the starting line this afternoon with hopes of breaking records in the 2,225-mile journey from Point Fermin on the Los Angeles coast to Diamond Head on Oahu.


There are many Hawaii connections among the racers that started today, including James McDowell and his yacht Grand Illusion from the Waikiki Yacht Club, the 2015 Transpac overall winner and a three-peat winner of this race; Pyewacket, skippered by Roy Pat Disney Jr., is also sailing under the Waikiki Yacht Club flag; Aszhou and her crew, half of which are locals from the islands; and Merlin, skippered by noted sailor and yacht designer Bill Lee (who designed and also built Merlin), has Maui-native Keahi Ho on crew.

In 1977, Merlin set an elapsed time record of 8 days 11 hours 1 min. This record would stand for 20 years until it was broken in the 1997 race by Pyewacket, a Santa Cruz 70 ultralight also designed by Bill Lee, with an elapsed time record of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds. The record fell once again in 2005, with Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory, a maxZ86 from Germany. Morning Glory was the scratch boat when it led a five-boat assault on the record for monohulls. She finished the race in 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds to win the “Barn Door” trophy, a slab of carved koa wood traditionally awarded to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time.

In a class of their own, Phaedo3, Mighty Merloe, Maserati and others are all going for a course record. If the record should fall, one of these boats will cross the Diamond Head buoy at the lighthouse this coming Monday, July 10, arriving in Hawaii in under 4 days. The current unofficial course record set my Phaedo3 this past May is 3 days 16 hours 52 min 3 sec.

The other divisions of smaller boats set out on Monday and Wednesday. For more information on how to get involved, attend the functions surrounding the race and/or to track the race live (four-hour delay), visit the Transpac website at www.2017.transpacyc.com. Contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160 for any inquiries.

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