Although yet to be officially ratified, during the final days of the 5,800-mile Transatlantic Race Jim and Kristy Clark’s 100-ft supermaxi Comanche laid claim to being the world’s fastest monohull, having clocked more than 618 miles in 24 hours. If she hadn’t had to battle light winds early on, she might have set a new course record (currently 6d, 22h, 8m, set by Rambler 100 in 2011). Dampening the crew’s excitement, however, was the fact that renowned Bay Area navigator Stan Honey fell and hit his head while belowdecks during the end of that record run.
Skipper Kenny Read explains, "He showed immediate concussion symptoms, but was never unconscious. He was monitored not only by our on-board medics, but also by doctors off the boat, just to make sure that everything was done correctly." After confinement to his bunk for at least six hours, Honey continued his duties at the nav station. Shortly after the finish, he disembarked at Falmouth, where he will undergo a concussion protocol at the local hospital. Honey was slated to rush back to L.A. to navigate Wild Oats XI in the Transpac (she starts Saturday).
Many other recent finishers made the most of strong southwesterlies during recent days, including Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo3, recording more than 610 miles in four days, and at one point hitting 41.2 knots with navigator Miles Seddon at the helm. Thornburg explains: "The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!" Despite such glory, she corrected out second in Open Class behind Peter Aschenbrenner’s Irens 63 tri Paradox. Thornburg will now jet home to skipper his Gunboat 66 Phaedo in the Transpac (Saturday start).
On Friday, the R-P 62 Lucky took line honors, having passed previous fleet leaders during the final days. Among these was the spectacular schooner Mariette of 1915 (previously owned by San Francisco’s Tom Perkins). She took third in line honors, first in IRC Class 4 and in Classics. The Bay Area favorite, Dorade, which won the Tranatlantic in 1931 overall, placed second in IRC Class 4 and in Classics.
The first of four Transpac starts will take place at 1 p.m. today off Point Fermin, the southernmost point of San Pedro, just outside Los Angeles Harbor. With moderate westerly breeze of 12 to 16 knots predicted in the Catalina Channel, Divisions 7 and 8 (each containing 11 boats) may gain some advantage over later starters on their 2,225-mile sprint to Honolulu, as some forecasting models show winds diminishing mid-week.
Divisions 4, 5 and 6 of the 48th Transpac’s 61-boat fleet will start Thursday at 1 p.m. On Saturday the multihulls will head west at 12:30 p.m., followed by Divisions 1 and 2 — the maxi monohulls — at 1 p.m. Armchair racers can keep track of the action (albeit with a six-hour delay) via the Yellowbrick Tracking site.
If wind and sea conditions cooperate we could see any or all of the monohull, multihull, and Barn Door records broken. This year’s fleet includes the ultra-fast 105-ft tri Lending Club 2, whose crew hopes to complete the course in less than five days. Roy Pat Disney chartered the 100-ft super maxi Wild Oats XI in hopes of making a record-breaking run, but ace navigator Stan Honey’s ability to make the trip is currently questionable, after his injury (above) during the Transatlantic Race. Manouch Moshayedi’s Newport Beach-based fixed-keel 100-footer Rio100 will be vying for the Barn Door trophy (currently 6d 19h 44m, and not available to canting-keelers such as Wild Oats XI).
With a fleet ranging from the 108-year-old schooner Martha to Lending Club 2, the cutting-edge tri that’s been called the fastest muItihull in the world, the 48th edition of the Transpac promises excitement from start to finish. See the complete entry list, and much more, at the official website and Facebook site. And look for updates here in the coming days.
Jason Kopps, his 18-year-old son Eric, and their border collie mix Roxie have been doing the Delta Doo Dah aboard the Richmond-based Hunter 33 Resolute every year since 2011. This year, their Delta adventure began in mid-June at Owl Harbor, along the San Joaquin River, where they joined in the celebration of the marina’s fabulous new building.
From Owl Harbor, Resolute cruised south via Middle River to Mildred Island, a flooded tract south of the San Joaquin.
Sometimes the adventures one has while cruising the Delta — or anywhere, for that matter — are not what one was expecting. Resolute’s ‘adventures’ started with a lost fuel line. As all cruisers know, the dinghy is an essential tool, especially if one has a dog that needs ‘walking’. A year ago around Antioch Resolute’s dinghy’s gas tank went over the side. It floated and didn’t leak and the Kopps were able to retrieve it. This year it went overboard again in Middle River, and this time, though they were able to pick up the tank itself, they lost the fuel line. So their dinghy was powered by oars after that.
Once they’d anchored Resolute in Mildred Island near a little beach, about 75 yards from shore, Eric rowed Roxie to shore for her last potty break of the evening. He heard a loud splash and a 2-ft long fish hit the bottom of the small inflatable. The fish wasn’t the only aggressor at Mildred. Their chosen spot was favored by the kind of bugs you hear about but rarely actually encounter in the Delta. Pursued by the angry fish and the swarming bugs, Eric rowed back to Resolute as quickly as he could. To foil the bugs, father and son shut off all the lights that evening and talked in the dark. (On the plus side, the water at Mildred was good for swimming, and there were no other boats.)
From Mildred, Resolute continued east to Stockton Sailing Club, where, having just graduated from high school, Eric took advantage of the air conditioned lounge to write thank you notes. The Kopps endured a triple-digit heat wave in Stockton thanks to the AC and the cheap honor bar at SSC, and the ice cream next door at Ladd’s Marina.
From SSC they traveled up Disappointment Slough but were disappointed when they couldn’t find a good place to anchor. So they went to Bedroom 2 in Potato Slough, where they were able tie up so close to shore that the dinghy could just drift there with a good push off from the hull of the mothership. In Potato Slough they saw coyotes, a pig, and river otters.
We caught up with Resolute at Tiki Lagun Marina, which hosted a potluck on Summer Sailstice for the marina tenants and Delta Doo Dah guests. From there the plan was to go to Decker Island, just east of the Sacramento River. "The wind cools it down, but the currents are crazy there," said Jason. They also planned stops at Rio Vista, then Pittsburg on the way back to Richmond. Eric had joined the Air Force and would report on July 7 to ship out to Blackman AFB in San Antonio, TX. His test results had qualified him for a special assignment: SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape), and once his training is complete, he’ll become an instructor for pilots. We hope he’ll be able to get leave next summer and cruise the Delta with his dad again, full of new adventures to recount.
The next (planned) adventures offered to Delta Doo Dah cruisers are coming up this weekend, when some of the entries will cruise from Richmond YC to Owl Harbor on Saturday, then to Stockton Sailing Club on Sunday. On Friday night, RYC will welcome the Doo Dah sailors at the club’s usual Friday night dinner. A long but mostly downwind sail the next day will culminate in a potluck supper and movie at Owl Harbor. SSC will welcome the cruisers the following day with a BBQ dinner and music. For details and to sign up for the Doo Dah (it’s free, and extremely flexible), see www.deltadoodah.com.