Designed and built to race to Hawaii, Olson 30s were the first boats to finish the 2018 Singlehanded TransPac on Thursday. Both were sailed by first-time SHTP skippers. Philippe Jamotte came in just before the gorgeous dawn (5:38:11 a.m. HST). Almost as soon as he stepped onto the damp sand (not quite dry land) of Hanalei Pavilion Beach, the morning’s downpour washed off the ocean salt.
"The hardest part was here," he reported as soon as he’d greeted the volunteers on shore. "The squalls just kept coming, then the wind would be back, then it would veer, then die, the rain would come, and the wind would come again from behind. It was on fire like that. And then there was no wind. So finally this small breeze came up. It took me five times to catch that breeze. The rest was just par for the course, but I was not expecting this, like the Triangle of Bermuda. Am I going to disappear here or what?"
Philippe sailed the 2,200 or so miles in 11 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes on Double Espresso — without ever setting a spinnaker. The Olson 30, like other boats of her ilk, will make her new home in Kauai — Philippe is anticipating a sale to the Kauai Sailing Association, based in Nawiliwili.
The second Olson 30, David Clark’s Passages, arrived after sunset, and anchored in the dark. The shoreboat took David as close to the beach as it could go, but then the tired solo sailor had to swim a few yards, carrying his dry bag. At the race committee house, Philippe welcomed him, and the two immediately began discussing their experiences aboard their Olson 30s.
Greg Ashby on the Wilderness 30 Nightmare was next, approaching Kauai in blustery conditions, doing 9-10 knots. He finished after midnight.
Next up: Don Martin, who has struggled with damage to his mainsail (his only sail) and two non-working tiller pilots on the Wyliecat 30 Crinan II, is expected tonight.