Steve Rander’s Oregon-based Wylie 70 Rage corrected out to win the two-boat Tahiti Race last night over Karl Kwok’s Hong Kong-based Farr 80 Beau Geste, which had arrived two days earlier.
Due to substantial stretches of light air, no speed records were set in this year’s 3,700-mile epic, but Rage holds the unique distinction of being the first competitor to collide with a whale and still take top honors.
According to Transpac YC Commodore Dave Cort, "Rage hit a whale on the last night, taking a good notch out of the bow. Apparently no other damage, although a keel inspection will be carried out. No word on the whale." After the awards tonight at the co-sponsoring Tahiti YC, Beau Geste will head to Auckland, New Zealand for the Auckland to Noumea (New Caledonia) Race. Rage will linger in Polynesia for a couple of weeks, then tackle the 2,400-mile reach to Hawaii before returning home to Portland.
Cort was instrumental in resurrecting this 87-year-old contest in 2008, after it went through a long hiatus. So long, in fact, that members of the Tahiti YC initially had trouble finding the venerable Fritz Overton Trophy, to which the name Rage will soon be added. Needless to say, it’s tough to build momentum for such a far-distant race, but the Transpac YC is determined to promote it. Dates for the 2016 race are already being discussed.