As of this morning, 13 of the 21 remaining boats in the 2008 Singlehanded TransPac have finished off beautiful Hanalei Bay, Kauai. The latest two were Dwight Odom’s Na Na and Alan Hebert’s Ankle Biter.
Twenty-two boats started the 16th running of this west coast classic race off Corinthian YC on July 12. One retired and returned to the Bay last weekend. Odom returned to the Bay twice to repair a faulty electrical charging system. The third departure was a charm — not only for his electron generating capabilities, but for the good breeze he got, which was painfully absent for the rest of the fleet the first few days. Dwight sails Na Na, a Saga 43, very well and crept past a half dozen of the slower boats on the way over. As one competitor pointed out, he also had the unique experience of passing the Farallones five times in one race.
A more serious problem befell Ruben Gabriel on the Pearson Electra Sparky when his mast came down 680 miles from the finish. As reported in Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, Ruben recovered the spar and fashioned a quick jury rig. At last report, he had replaced that with a taller jury rig using the remains of the mast. He was once again underway, flying twin headsails, and making 3.5-5.5 knots with a hair over 500 miles to go.
Until Ruben arrived, the most visually interesting finish occurred yesterday when Ken ‘The General’ Roper sailed in sporting the perfect storm of spinnaker wraps. It occurred about halfway across and involved the sheets, spinnaker sock . . . well, basically everything forward of the mast. When it was over, Ken — a 10-time veteran of this race — could no longer fly headsails. The good news was a bit more than half the spinnaker was still full and pulling. Between that ‘chicken chute’ and the main, the 31-ft Harrier actually made pretty good time.
No official winners of the Solo TransPac will be announced until the race deadline on Saturday. For more on finish times, racer bios, log entries and other information, visit the sponsoring Singlehanded Sailing Society website at www.sfbaysss.org.
We’ve begun to notice that when things aren’t going well for BMW Oracle Racing, their press releases get pretty short. Such was the case yesterday, when the New York Appellate Court reversed Justice Herman Cahn’s earlier ruling and finding that CNEV was a valid challenger for the 33rd America’s Cup, which effectively drops the Golden Gate YC as the challenger of record for the next event. The reversal is subject to appeal should BMW Oracle Racing decide it wants to go that route. The decision does create a bit of an issue for everyone, as the Spanish team that initially set CNEV up along with America’s Cup Management in order to challenge, has already severed ties with it.
"We are surprised and disappointed by this ruling," said club spokesman Tom Ehman. "We will now be taking legal advice and considering the next step.”
Nearly two days after Division E’s first finisher crossed the line off Kaneohe Bay, Chris Calkins and Norm Reynolds’ Sabrina rolled into Hawaii, correcting out to a division win by a mere hour-and-a-half. When they arrived at the dock, the crew of the San Diego-based Calkins 50 were confronted with the question, "which pointy end should we put the boat lei on?" If you were walking the dock and didn’t know what you were looking for, a nearly 50-year old double-ender with impromptu fish flags flying above the large pilothouse, copious brightwork, and pushpit-mounted barbecue would probably not automatically register as "the boat that beat the boat that beat the only Volvo Ocean Race veteran in the division."
If sailing the race with his kids was the realization of a "dream" for Paul Cayard, it was the realization of a ‘dream deferred’ for Calkins, whose father Skip designed the boat in 1958. In 1967 the elder Calkins invited his son — who was preparing to go off to law school — to sail in the Transpac. He declined the invitation, thinking that "I’d just do the next one." A career took over before that could happen, but the desire to sail the race never abated. "I always felt bad about not doing it."
Fast forward to 2007. Calkins owned a sistership, Kathleen, and wanted to do the race. He and a third boat partner who didn’t sail this race, yacht designer Doug Peterson, looked at updating her appendages but established that it would be too costly. Serendipitiously, Sabrina was on the market, and her owner had made the changes they’d wanted to do. So they purchased the boat along with Reynolds, a veteran of five Transpacs. "He’s the guy," Calkins said of his partner. "He’s the skipper, and the one responsible for this." Their first outing ended in an early exit from the slow 2007 Transpac, but by the time March of 2008 rolled around, the classic yacht had added an overall win in the Corona Del Mar to Cabo race. The group stayed on that roll all the way to Kaneohe Bay, and probably one of the more commodious trips of the race.
"It’s a cruisey boat," Calkins said. "It seems like yacht racing has gone in a direction of professionalism. It’s less about the experience and the voyaging. We had a great trip, we caught 7 mahi mahi and had five cases of wine on board — but we were still doing a consistent 12-15 knots with the spinnaker up."
Andy Hamilton’s Santa Cruz-based Moore 24 Bar-ba-loot crushed Doublehanded 2 with the Bay Area’s Sarah Deeds aboard. Sitting on 13-14 knots of boatspeed in a massive squall and winning Doublehanded 2 were welcome rewards for the preparation involved for doing the race, but there was another.
"It was pretty cool," said Hamilton, an engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute who’s staying aboard his boat while in Hawaii. "I didn’t think about anything other than sailing the boat the entire time. When do you get to do that?"
For Nathalie Criou and Nathan Bossett on Criou’s Express 27 Elise, a broken forestay and a mast step pin that worked its way out of the hinge on the step on day four meant slowing way down until the pair gained confidence in their repairs.
"From a racing standpoint it was pretty disappointing because we were in second at the time," Criou said. "But from the standpoint of adventure it was really awesome."
Although we weren’t able to confirm it, we were told that the Henderson 30 Buzz Off sailed here under storm trysail after their main blew up — off the Farallones! Being a Hawaiian entry, it wasn’t like they had another sail waiting on the dock, and decided to just tough it out anyway. We’ll look into that for September’s Latitude 38.
One thing cruisers learn, is that when s_ _t happens, you’ve simply got to beathe deep and deal with whatever chaos has arisen. That’s exactly what a group of westbound cruisers did recently after getting hammered by abnormally strong winds after departing from French Polynesia.
As reported last week, both the the Seattle-based Bristol Channel Cutter Little Wing and Steve and Wendy Bott’s Seattle-based J/44 Elusive suffered substantial damage — Little Wing‘s mast was totalled and Elusive suffered a cracked gooseneck and blown main. At this writing, however, we have some encouraging updates: According to John and Renee Prentice of the San Diego-based Serendipity 43 Scarlett O’Hara, technicians at Forespar have already begun production of a new mast for Little Wing, which should be ready ship to Samoa within days. Other cruisers have donated fuel and jerry jugs to the little cutter, and the sailing vessel Fearless will escort Little Wing to Pago Pago, Somoa.
Elusive‘s main will have to be shipped back to the States for repairs, but the boat’s mast manufacturer, Hallspars, is currently manufacturing a new gooseneck fitting for her. Scarlett O’Hara will escort her to Pago Pago.
"One good thing about all of this," notes John Prentice, "is that the repairs to both boats will be occurring in American Samoa with American shipping and US Postal Service, which should speed the process greatly! The other thing is the cruising community has once again risen to the challenge and is helping each other. It reminds us all that on any given day, it could be you in need!"