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A Fast Finish and a Record Broken in the Singlehanded Transpacific Race

Well, that went fast. The Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race started from Golden Gate Yacht Club on June 25. The 16 finishers began arriving in Hawaii on Friday evening, July 7. By Tuesday evening (yesterday), they were all in. Although overall monohull records were not broken (and no multihulls entered this year), at least one record did fall.

Cal 40 sailors Jim Quanci on Green Buffalo and Michael Polkabla on Solstice were #1 and #3 into Hanalei Bay, but they didn’t quite top Stan Honey’s Cal 40 record. The great navigator-to-be completed the race in 11 days and 10 hours in 1994. Jim and Michael sailed the course in 12 days and change this year — still an amazing accomplishment for 60-ish-year-old boats rated 114 sailed by 60-ish-year-old skippers.

John Wilkerson and Jim Quanci
The first two finishers, John Wilkerson and Jim Quanci, go ashore on Friday night aboard the race committee’s rented shore boat. John sailed the Express 37 Perplexity. John and Jim both also completed the 2021 edition. (And Jim won overall in 2012.)
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

OK, so no overall record and no Cal 40 record. So what record was broken? Not only was the Westsail 32 record broken, but all three Westsailors in the race, including the guy with the banged-up knee, broke it. The previous Westsail record goes all the way back to the first year of the race, 1978. Michael Linter set and held his class record of 16 days for 45 years (!) aboard My Star.

Randy Leasure hugs a tree
Randy Leasure of the Westsail 32 Tortuga steps ashore at Black Pot Beach and hugs a tree.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

The new elapsed-time record for the Westsail 32 goes to Bill Stange aboard Hula. He finished in 14 days and 20 hours. Gary Burton, sailing Elizabeth Ann, finished close behind Hula; because the ratings of the Westsail vary a bit due to different optimizations, Elizabeth Ann actually corrects out above Hula for third place overall and a division win. A Cal 2-34 and a Beneteau First 305 round out the slow-boat division. Piyush Arora’s Beneteau Horizon was the final boat in.

Elizabeth Ann anchored
Gary Burton aboard the Westsail 32 Elizabeth Ann anchored in Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

A remarkable number of finishers sailed into Hanalei Bay in the dusk or dark. The first four finishers came in Friday night/Saturday morning, a challenge for the sailors finding their way into the anchorage and for the volunteers guiding them. The race committee barely had time to launch the chase boat in time to greet Jim Quanci.

Kim Mulvihill paddled out to meet her husband Sean aboard the J/120 Jamani, the fourth boat to finish.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Wondering what the overall records are (maybe you could break them)?

  • The late great record-setter/breaker Steve Fossett holds the multihull record with the VLP trimaran Lakota. Set in 1998, Steve’s record is 7 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes, 26 seconds.
  • Alex Mehran holds the monohull record, set in 2012, aboard the Open 50 Truth. The time to beat is 08:12:21:00. Remember that these are all singlehanders, and the course is approximately 2,120 miles (though that’s not necessarily the official distance).
Christophe Desage waves
Christophe Desage finished on Monday aboard the Xc 42 Elmach. The Frenchman, who now lives in British Columbia, had the one international entry in the event.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have much more in the August issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, check out these links:

Keep in mind that the times shown are in Pacific Daylight Time, not Hawaii Standard Time. There’s a three-hour difference.



  1. Jeff Deuel 1 year ago

    If my times are correct, I think the first rowers from the World’s Toughest Row (Monterey to Hanalei) finished just before the final SHTP boat. What a great group of people converging on Kauai’s North Shore right now!

  2. Christine Weaver 1 year ago

    Jeff, congratulations to the rowers! I believe that the first rowers were spotted by the last sailors.

  3. Christine Weaver 1 year ago

    It’s official! The results are final and the overall corrected-time finish order has been posted. Jim Quanci not only finished first in clock time and won his division, but his Cal 40 Green Buffalo has won overall too. See

  4. milly Biller 1 year ago

    It has been really fun to meet this wonderful gang at the skipper’s meeting and then follow the race. Big congratulations to all !

  5. Ronnie 1 year ago

    Small correction, but Jim
    Won in 2012, not 2010. Adrian Johnson on the Olson 30 Idefix won in 2010.

    • Christine Weaver 1 year ago

      Thank you Ronnie. I’ll fix that.

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