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Azure, Winner of Division 7, Transpac Hero Assisting Distressed Team at Sea Costing Them 7 Hours in Race

At 11:39pm last night the winner of Division 7, Azure crossed Diamond Head Finish line, finally.  Azure will be remembered in this Transpac as Incredible Heroe’s. They went out of their way to help a fellow team, Medusa, costing them 7 hours out of the race, to assist, the first calling of sailors at sea, regardless of a race or not.

Team Azure

During the past 12 hours we welcomed the only Russian boat to ever enter and race in Transpac, Weddel, skippered by  Avanasy Isaev, in his Grand Mistral Italian Made One Design boat; a Lord from England who sailed ALL THE WAY through the Panama Canal from Great Britan to Long Beach, to race in Transpac, and many “kids” with their dads, boys and girls alike, as young as 12 years old.

With all Hawaii affiliated boats having crossed the finish line at Diamond Head safely we now give our final 4 boats the traditional ALOHA WELCOME, during the next 24-30 hours in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor at Hawaii Yacht club, including  our “Tail End Charlie”, the final boat to cross the finish line, projected to arrive late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, Kastor Pollux.  Yes, Transpac is a very prestigious race, started in the late 1800’s by King Kalakaua, but nothing says race orgainzers don’t have tons of fun and throw the best parties for sailors the world knows, in fact our Welcome Parties greeting sailors from across the globe are legendary. And this has been done the same way for over 100 years.

Read more about it here:

We are about 800 miles away from Honolulu and all is well on board. We are still in first place for our division so far. Today the sun finally came out and Tony saw his favorite albatross to start the day. Our next challenge will be to determine our gibe mark to head for Hawaii. You do not want to wait too early or too late, so we are doing a bunch of calculations to determine the correct time.

We received a distress call from the Santa Cruise 52 Medusa at about 11:30am this morning. They reported their fuel was contaminated with water, they were out of power, and were requesting assistance. We measured the fuel we had and offered 5 gallons, and we converged for the transfer at about 4:30 pm – I am sure the yellow brick must show us stopped for some time. Transferring fuel in the middle of the pacific in 18 knots of wind with big swells is not easy. Then we had to figure out how to get the fuel out of our tank. Luckily Medusa had and electric transfer pump and some empty containers. They put everything in a big drybag with a fender attached and sailed by to toss in on Azure. We successfully transferred at least 5 gallons of diesel, in milk containers, OJ containers, and spent motor oil containers. We were able to set everything afloat and they were able to swing by and pick it up. Medusa radioed us later to say every thing was ok, the engine was running and batteries were charging.

The clouds out here in the middle of the ocean are really nice. You can see under them forever, so they make for great sunsets and create some unusual shapes. Jim cracked me up this morning looking at one strange cloud – “Angry Birds” he yelled.

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/.

Transpac Update: First Multi-Hull Boats Expected to Cross the Diamond Head Finish Line Tomorrow

The Diamond Head buoy will welcome the first finishers of the 2017 biennial Transpac sailing race tomorrow after a 2,225-mile trek across the Pacific Ocean from Pt. Fermin in Long Beach, California to Oahu. (These are NOT the Winners of Transpac, these very fast multi-hulls are in a separate division/class competing against eachother only.)

In a class of their own, the Multi-hulls, including Mighty Merloe, Phaedo3 and Maserati are all in contention for a new Transpac Multihull Record. The current Transpac Multihull Race Record, set 20 years ago by Skipper Bruno Peyron aboard “Explorer”, in a time of 5:09:18:26, is currently the Transpac Fastest Multihull Elapsed Time Record.

It is currently projected that “Mighty Merloe”, leading the fleet of Multihulls, may finish first in the fleet tomorrow afternoon, but as wind-speed conditions can change dramatically, they could be in sooner or later.. If they break the current record it could be by more than one full day, to become the fastest multi-hull to have ever competed in a Transpac race.

This year’s race attracted a strong turnout of new racers, including Ken Read with his 100-footer Comanche, who yesterday set a new monohull 24-hour 0800-0800 distance record of 484 miles, an average of 20.2 knots, and is seeking to break the overall monohull race record of 5 days 14 hours 18 min 20 sec set in 2009 on Neville Crichton’s 90-foot Alfa Romeo 2. To do this Comanche must average 16.7 knots or better over the entire 2225-mile course.

The Barn Door trophy in Transpac goes to the first monohull boat to cross the Diamond Head Finish Line, there are several boats in contention for this prestigious honor.

There are many Hawaii connections among the racers, 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.

For more information on how to track the race visit:  https://yb.tl/transpac2017 or to get involved, attend the functions surrounding the race such as all the parties and events, please visit the Transpac website at 2017.transpacyc.com.

Contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160/285-7712 for any inquiries.

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.

And They’re Off! Today Marks Second of Three Starts of 2017 Transpac

The second start of the 2017 Transpac Race went off beautifully in light winds off Pt. Fermin in Long Beach today at 1 p.m. PST. Sixteen boats in classes 3 and 4 started today to head west towards the finish 2,225 miles away at Diamond Head in Honolulu.

In the first start, seventeen yachts in three divisions set off this past Monday in the first wave of three starts in the 49th edition of the biennial Transpac Race. You can track the race at 2017.transpacyc.com in an online tracking system utilizing transponders on each boat. It does include a four-hour delay to give no competitors an advantage.

This was both an end and a beginning for these teams: an end of months and even years of preparation and planning, and likely a welcome relief after this arduous task, especially those doing the race for the first time. Finally setting out to sea will be a break from all the endless checklists that go along with planning a race of this length and endurance.

And of course the race is also the beginning of an adventure of many days and even weeks of sailing ahead, where crew camaraderie, seamanship, navigation, strategy and other skills will be tested. The best in each division will be rewarded with trophies and prizes at the end of the race, but even those who do not fare well will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having completed one of the world’s oldest and greatest ocean races.

The final start of the 2017 Transpac Race is schedule for a 12:55 p.m. PST warning signal. Classes 0, 1 and 2 are scheduled to start tomorrow.

Lots of sailing activities are available to the public throughout Transpac as the first boats to finish are expected early next week, possibly Monday, July 10. If you would like to become involved as a race volunteer or attend one of the many parties open to the public at the three supporting yacht clubs (Hawaii, Waikiki, Kaneohe), please contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160.

Transpacific Yacht Race 2017 Begins – Organizers Expecting a Record-Breaking Year

Today, dozens of boats will make the 2,225-mile journey from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to Diamond Head in the 49th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race, more commonly known as Transpac. There are currently 55 monohull and multihull entries from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Norway, Italy, Canada, Peru, England and Russia, ranging in size from 33 to 100 feet. There will be three separate waves that start today, Wednesday and Thursday.

“This year’s race attracted a strong turnout of new racers, including Ken Read with his 100-footer Comanche, navigated by well-known racer Stan Honey,” said Bo Wheeler, Commodore of the Transpacific and Kaneohe yacht clubs. “Read and crew will be seeking to add another elapsed time race record to Comanche’s outstanding record inventory. Weather permitting, Comanche will try to beat the current monohull course record of 5 days 14 hours 36 minutes 20 seconds, set by Alpha Romeo in 2005, and have her name recorded permanently on the Transpacific Honolulu Race Elapsed Time Trophy that was created and donated by Transpac veteran Roy Disney.”

Wheeler said that Manouch Moshayedi’s 100-foot, fixed keel Rio 100 is back to defend and break her 2015 Barn Door Trophy victory for the first to finish monohull to cross the Diamond Head buoy. He added that the current multihull course record is also expected to be broken by contenders that include Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 and H L Enloe’s ORMA60 Mighty Merloe, among others. The bulk of the rest of the fleet will be competing for corrected time trophies in their classes.

Transpac was originally inspired by King David Kalakaua to initiate the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. His yacht, Healani, won the first Challenge Trophy on July 4, 1889. During the years that the king was an active yachting enthusiast, it was his custom to invite the skippers and crews of the competing boats to join him at his boat house following the July 4 race.  He would fill the Challenge Trophy, as it was originally named, with champagne and pass it around for all to enjoy; hence the trophy’s colloquial name—the Kalakaua Cup.
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There is currently one entry from Hawaii: last Transpac winner, Grand Illusion, skippered by James McDowell. In 1999, 2011 and 2015, McDowell and Grand Illusion won the King Kalakaua Trophy, which is awarded to the first place overall yacht in corrected time.

There will be traditional Aloha Welcoming parties as each boat crosses the finish line and a variety of celebratory events for all participants. (Full Transpac Race 2017 Event Schedule below.) The prestigious King Kalakaua Cup and other trophies will be handed out at the Honolulu Awards Ceremony at The Modern Honolulu ballroom on Friday, July 21.

Transpac Race to Hawaii This July

In less than 6 weeks, dozens of boats will make the 2,225-mile journey from Los Angeles to Honolulu in the 49th biennial Transpacific Yacht Race, more commonly known as Transpac. There are currently 59 monohull and multihull entries from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Norway, Italy and Canada, ranging in size from 33 to 100 feet. Once class divisions are decided, there will be three separate waves on July 3, 5 and 6, 2017.

All entered teams are ticking off their lists of race requirements before they make the trek from Point Fermin in L.A. to Diamond Head, including assembling of safety gear, receiving training, accumulating offshore qualifying miles, building crew lists, planning boat logistics, scheduling pre-race inspections, and arranging boat and sail measurements for rating certificates.

“This is an important time for every entry in Transpac, whether a veteran or a newcomer,” said Transpac Race Chairman Tom Trujillo. “Preparation determines success in this race, and we are pleased to have a deep pool of talent to assist everyone in being ready for their start. We’re also pleased to have the new ORR-MH rating system available for us to use to rate our multihulls, given the broad variety of boat types we have racing in this class.”

Transpac was originally inspired by King David Kalakaua to initiate the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. His yacht, Healani, won the first Challenge Trophy on July 4, 1889. During the years that the king was an active yachting enthusiast, it was his custom to invite the skippers and crews of the competing boats to join him at his boat house following the July 4 race. He would fill the Challenge Trophy, as it was originally named, with champagne and pass it around for all to enjoy; hence the trophy’s colloquial name—the Kalakaua Cup.

There is currently one entry from Hawaii: last Transpac winner, Grand Illusion, skippered by James McDowell. In 1999, 2011 and 2015, McDowell and Grand Illusion won the King Kalakaua Trophy, which is awarded to the first place overall yacht in corrected time.

There will be traditional Aloha Welcoming parties as each boat crosses the finish line and a variety of celebratory events for all participants. (Full Transpac Race 2017 Event Schedule below.) The prestigious King Kalakaua Cup and other trophies will be handed out at the Honolulu Awards Ceremony at The Modern Honolulu ballroom on Friday, July 21.

Entries are being accepted until May 30. For more information visit 2017.transpacyc.com.