Last February, when would-be Pacific Puddle Jumper Sally Hein of the Bainbridge Island-based Peterson 46 Grace was run down and badly injured in Mexico by a speeding motorcycle, other sailors on the scene agreed that it was one of the most bizarre and unlucky incidents they’d ever experienced — especially since Sally had made a sarcastic comment immediately before attempting to cross the highway: "We’ll be lucky to get across this highway, let alone 3,000 miles of open ocean."
The accident put Sally in a Puerto Vallarta hospital, where she endured several surgeries and faced a slow recovery. She insisted, however, that her husband, Geoff Lane, and a couple of friends make the crossing to French Polynesia without her, promising that she’d catch up with Geoff there. We’re happy to report that she recently did just that. "We are thrilled to report that we are back together aboard Grace," wrote Geoff from Moorea. "While Sally still has an open wound on one leg, she is 90% well, and is ecstatic to be back ‘home’."
Having been around for both ‘debuts’, we’re struck by the parallels of the 30th Annual Singlehanded TransPac Race to the return of Indiana Jones. Both feature great adventures spanning three decades, great characters, great settings, occasionally unbelievable plotlines, fresh new faces — and a number of returning stars, all of whom have, of course, aged most gracefully. One month from now (July 12), they all head out the Golden Gate for the kingdom of the crystal harbor: Hanalei Bay, Kauai — 2,120 miles away.
The 16th running of this biennial (every two years) event has attracted 23 solo sailors, the third largest fleet ever. Half are returning veterans, including 2006 overall winner Mark Deppe on his J/120 Alchera, and the grand old man of the event, Ken “This is My Last One” Roper. The General, as he is affectionately known — he retired from the Army as a Brigadier General — turns 79 this year, and this will be his 10th Solo TransPac. All have been sailed aboard his trusty Finn Flyer 31 Harrier.
The ‘last mark’ in this race is the finish line off Kauai’s spectacular Hanalei Bay. This and the surrounding area have been the site of many film shoots, including parts of a little 1981 flick called Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Goofy analogies aside, the Singlehanded TransPac, run by the Bay Area-based Singlehanded Sailing Society, is the epic West Coast event for singlehanded sailors. Look for profiles of participants in the July issue of Latitude, and complete coverage of the race in the August issue. In the meantime, check out the official race website at www.sfbaysss.org.
Global climate change has been a hot topic for several years but with the skyrocketing costs of fuel in the U.S., more and more Americans are looking to reduce their ‘carbon footprints’ by limiting their reliance on fossil fuels. We’ll be running a story on the footprint of sailors and need your help with photos. We’re looking for good shots of the basics — solar panels and wind generators — but would also like to hear about any other ‘green’ energy solutions you might have used. Email your photos to LaDonna.