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Big Winds Push Pac Cup Fleet

"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."

Seen here are Maxi Division starters blasting out of the Central Bay on Friday. Thanks to strong winds offshore, some are now logging eye-popping 24-hour runs.

© 2016 Leslie Richter

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.

Even though this tracker site is on a six-hour delay, you can see that many boats have crossed the halfway point and are beelining to the finish. 

© 2016 Courtesy YBT Tracking

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.  

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 Finishing in the rain, Jirí Šenkyrík circles his Olson 30 Kato around to meet the shore boat after finishing the Singlehanded TransPac.