Beginning on Friday morning with the 8:18:50 HST arrival of Jirí Šenkyrík’s Olson 30 Kato, the solo sailors in the Singlehanded TransPac rounded Puu Poa Point to emerge in view of Hanalei Bay, thus finishing the race’s 20th edition.
As of this morning, 12 of the 23 entries have arrived, their boats filling out the anchorage framed by a half-moon-shaped sandy beach, backed by towering, craggy, lushly tropical mountains — one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
The biennial race began on July 2 off the race deck of the Corinthian Yacht Club, and will wrap up with an awards ceremony on July 23 at Nawiliwili YC in Lihue on the opposite side of Kauai from Hanalei Bay.
Tom Burden’s Cal 40 Shaman, George Lythcott’s Express 27 Taz!!, Yves Vergnolle’s Mini Transat 6.50 Minibar and Grégory Saramite’s Pogo2 Libra finished on Sunday, in that order. George Lythcott on Taz!! has been plagued by autopilot problems, but his troubles were followed by the reward of a daylight landfall. "I’ve done this race twice before and arrived in darkness," he commented. "Finally get that picturesque scenery."
We’ll check in with the race again later this week in ‘Lectronic Latitude, and we’ll have much more in the August issue of Latitude 38.
"We’re all wondering when the sun is going to come out. It’s been cloudy and overcast for days and nights now," wrote the crew of the Allied Mistress 40 ketch — ironically named Shadowside — in their Pacific Cup blog this morning. "Every so often the sun or moon will show themselves and we are washed in a brilliant light across the sea. But, even in the absence of the sun and stars, The Big P (Pacific Ocean) is so beautiful."
In addition to inspiring scenery, the presence of strong winds of 20 knots or more on the course to Kaneohe, Oahu, has also been a beautiful thing. During the weekend, the biggest boat in the fleet, Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio100, clocked 470 miles in 24 hours, with an average VMG speed of 20 knots. Smokin’! And she is potentially in contention to beat Mari Cha‘s record of 5 days, 5 hours, 38 minutes, and 10 seconds. Also in the maxi division, the German Ker 56 Varuna VI has logged a 434-mile day, while the Andews 70 Pyewacket (the current division leader on corrected time) has logged 363 miles in a day.
At the other end of the spectrum, in the Latitude 38 Cruising Division, Rick Niello’s Jeanneau 57 Ticket II is still miles ahead of division competitors, but her brief reign as fleet leader has come to an end, as bigger, faster boats charge past her.
Today, as many boats approach or cross the halfway point, reports indicate the skies are clearing — at least for some entrants — and crews are drying out. But according to race officials, there’s a good chance the brisk winds will continue to the finish line.
"The boats are now ‘in the slots’," writes Pac Cup correspondent Elisa Williams, "having gybed to a position that should carry them all the way to Hawaii. Concerns about the tropical storms are waning, with Cecilia moving off to the north and hurricane Darby forecast to weaken to a tropical storm and track South of Hawaii as it hits cooler waters. The High has moved west and with the tropical storms coming up from Mexico, strong trade winds are present over the whole fleet."
As we often note, thanks to the magic of transponder tracking technology, you can enjoy all the fun vicariously from the comfort of your easy chair, but without the cold spray and windburn. (Find tracks here, with six-hour delay.)
Look for additional updates here and on the official Pac Cup website. And don’t miss our Pac Cup feature in the August issue of Latitude 38 magazine.
The Wanderer stopped to chat with an Aussie guy in the Arsenal Marina with a Fisher 28 catamaran that he and his wife had just bought — sight unseen — in Strasbourg, France. Which is about as far from the ocean as you can get in France.
In time it came out that the Wanderer was the publisher of Latitude 38.
"I know Latitude 38," he surprised us by saying. "I used to have a lot of the issues. I sailed from Hawaii to California in 1977 [the year Latitude started], and was on the boat that won the Master Mariners Regatta."
The Aussie and his wife and son have bought the Fisher cat to live on while they search for an oceangoing cat. "I’d like to find a nice Leopard 45," he says.
Anyway, it’s an interesting story, but we can’t tell you about it until the September 1 issue.