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Excitement Builds for 50th Transpac

“We’re really excited about this year’s Transpac race,” says entry chairman John Sangmeister. “The 50th running of the race is a great milestone, and we have an incredible turnout,” he added. In addition to the 92 amazing teams listed on the race website, Sangmeister claims to have loose verbal commitments from several others that would push the fleet past the century mark.

“After the Sydney to Hobart, James Cooney said that they’re coming and going to bring back Comanche. Philip Turner said that Alive is coming up, and Ichi Ban told us that they are coming. We could have six or seven boats that just raced the Sydney to Hobart race. It would be an incredible turnout from the Australians. We’re very excited about it,” John added. Each of these boats would be a remarkable addition to the fleet. Comanche, the world’s fastest monohull and current course record holder, would be eligible for the ‘Barn Door’ trophy for the first time in 2019. Alive, an R/P 66 canting-keeler, just won the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall and could be one of the first boats over the line in a Transpac. Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban — either the TP52 or the Carkeek 60 — could be a serious threat to win the race overall.

Philip Turner’s Hobart, Tasmania-based R/P 66 Alive is rumored to be headed to California as part of a large Aussie invasion for July’s Transpac. The canting-keel 66-footer and her sistership Wild Oats X just went 1-2 overall in the Sydney Hobart in conditions not that different from what most of Transpac should be.
© 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart

Three MOD70s have signed up for Transpac, including race veteran Maserati. No word on whether the Italian campaign will be trying to foil this go-round, but in either case, they will have their hands full with fleet newcomers PowerPlay and Argo. The latter is owned by Jason Carroll, the first man to ever win two Melges 32 World Championships. Argo’s crew includes MOD70 guru and Phaedo record-setting veteran Brian Thompson. East coast legend Anderson Reggio will do the navigating.

MOD70 Argo
Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo. Carroll’s team has won at every level from Viper 640s to Melges boats to foiling cats.
© 2019 Gus Carlson

Aside from the high-profile programs, the classic Transpac boats that we know and love have continued to register in force this year. Four Hobie 33s have signed up, with entries coming from Hawaii, Canada and SoCal. Rumors persist of more Hobie 33s aiming to enter. The biggest Cal 40 fleet since the historic 2005 race, seven of the revolutionary classic sloops will do what they were designed to do and race to Hawaii in Transpac 50. Ten Santa Cruz 50s and 52s have also signed up, as well as an impressive fleet of sleds new and old.

Hawaii Yacht Club
Hawaii Yacht Club, a hive of activity and beacon of aloha within Honolulu’s Ala Wai Harbor, will be pumping this summer during this record-setting Transpac. Hawaii and Waikiki YCs do an impressive job of welcoming the fleet.
© 2019 Ronnie Simpson

Still six months out, the 50th running of the Transpac — and the California Offshore Race Week that precedes it — are shaping up to be the biggest ever. Look for more updates and a thorough race preview and form guide before this summer’s once-in-a-lifetime race.


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