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Back to Basics for the Singlehanded Transpacific Race Awards

Due to COVID restrictions still in place in Hawaii, the Singlehanded Sailing Society volunteers were unable to find a venue to host the awards for the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race on July 10. (Nawiliwili Yacht Club had hosted the last couple of editions.) So the volunteers, solo sailors and various family members and supporters went to a park in Hanalei. They put together a couple of picnic tables, gathered food to go from various sources around town, and had an absolutely lovely DIY event. It was a day that exemplified the can-do spirit of the organization.

Because the event was held at Black Pot Beach, we thought it would be fun to recreate this photo from the first race in 1978.

1978 skippers sitting on the grass
The 1978 sailors gathered for Tree Time, with the Hanalei River in the background.
© 2021 Courtesy Skip Allan
2021 skippers sitting on the grass in front of the river
The 2021 skippers. Left to right: Brendan Huffman, John Wilkerson, Rolf Meissner, Jamie Wylly, Robb Walker, Jim Quanci, Bill Stange, Cliff Shaw, and Will Lee. Not pictured: Kyle Vanderspek and Reed Bernhard. (Kyle had to hurry back to SoCal for the start of the Transpac. Reed had to return to his job as a corporate pilot.)
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Two singers with ukuleles
Following a picnic feast in Hanalei, the official festivities kicked off with a song. MJ King and Mary Lovely led the group in a rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon. Puff, you may recall, lived by the sea in a land called Honah Lee.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The perpetual trophies are numerous and impressive. But when race chair Brian Boschma handed out the first prize, it was the MacGyver award.

knives for Bill and Jamie
The MacGyver award this year went to two skippers, Bill Stange and Jamie Wylly. They both finished the race with hopeless spinnaker wraps. Brian gave them each a serrated sickle knife, to aid in cutting spinnakers free from headstays.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
sailor up the rig hanging onto headstay.
In a rainstorm too relentless to be called a “squall,” Bill Stange spent six hours aloft after his finish freeing the tatters of his spinnaker from the headstay of his Westsail 32 Hula.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The next award went to the final finisher.

Will Lee kisses the ground
Will Lee, the recipient of the Perseverance Award, kissed the ground when he reached dry land for the first time after his 17-day passage. His last two days at sea were fraught with uncertainty. The rudder bearings on his Hinckley 42 Sea Wisdom had failed.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more in the August issue of Latitude 38; in the meantime, check out the standings here. Green Buffalo, Perplexity and Northern Star are now sailing back to the West Coast with tracking; check out their progress here. The Cal 40 Green Buffalo returns to Richmond, while the other two are heading for the Seattle area.

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