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First Transpac Boats Arriving

Mighty Merloe and Comanche on race record pace in 2017 Transpac – Most of the remainder of the fleet at halfway point in the race

One week after the first wave of starters and four days after the last wave, the bulk of the 55 entries in this year’s 49th edition of the Transpac are at about their halfway points to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu. On the 2225-mile course less than a dozen are still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race.

Mighty Merloe

The conditions of relatively steady 10-20 knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head. At 0900 Hawaii Time today the three leading multihulls – H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo and Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati – have been locked in battle, with Merloe in the lead ahead of Phaedo by 57 miles with only 168 miles to go on their final approach to Oahu.

At current speeds, Merloe’s finish time tonight will not only break the multihull race record set in 1997 by Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer of 5 days 9 hours 18 min and 26 sec, but possibly smash it by more than a day. (This is not the overall, main winner of Transpac as this is a multihull, which has a class of its own.) The other two MOD 70’s also likely to beat the previous mark by coming in only a few hours later.

“We’re still dealing with marine debris,” said Will Suto, reporting on board Might Merloe just hours before being in sight of the islands. “Today I had to crawl out onto the sterns of both the starboard and port amas and dangle off the very back to clear chunks of polypropylene fishing net from in between the top of the rudders and the hull. We had to keep going at full speed to keep the hull out of the water. If we had touched down the force of the water would have dragged me off. I was tied to the boat three different ways, but it was still a nice moment of clarity.”

Comanche

At 1130 HST Jim Clarke’s 100-foot monohull Comanche is comparatively close, only 482 miles out and also going fast: 20.2 knots. After having set a new 24 hour position report record (0800 Friday – 0800 Saturday) of 484 miles, she is also on track for breaking the monohull race record set in 2009 of 5 days 14 hours 36 min 20 sec set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. Comanche has to cross the finish line at Diamond Head tomorrow night before 12:36:20 AM HST on Wednesday morning to set a new record time.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division include: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52 Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68 Peywacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6, and Rod Pimental’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

Since Saturday veteran Transpac sailor and offshore racing analyst Dobbs Davis has provided his race analysis show viewable on the Transpac website. For this and more information – position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website at https://2017.transpacyc.com and www.facebook.com/TranspacRace/.

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