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Lending Club Just Misses TransPac Record

Tritium Lending Club missed the TransPac record by 2.5 hours, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

© Christophe Favreau

There have been some close finishes in the Los Angeles-to-Hawaii TransPac. In 1973, for example, the Spencer 65 Ragtime beat the Guerney 72 Windward Passage for elapsed time honors by a mere 4m, 31s.

That was nothing compared to eight years later, when for days the Nick Frazee-chartered Lee 67 Merlin looked like a sure thing to break Merlin‘s 1977 elapsed-time record. But the wind fizzled on the last day, and Frazee missed the record by less than one minute.

This year’s elapsed time close call wasn’t as close as either of those years, but it was still close as John Sangmeister’s Long Beach-based ORMA 73 trimaran Tritium Lending Club came up 2.5 hours short of besting the record established by Bruno Peyron with the 80-ft catamaran Commodore Explorer in 1997. Sangmeister and his outstanding crew were thwarted by lighter-than-hoped-for winds, having to sail a greater than normal number of extra miles to keep their speed up, plus they had no less than six collisions — two of them significant —with debris from the Japanese tsunami. One required pulling the daggerboard out for lengthy repairs, then reversing it in its case. To be fair, the entire fleet has had to deal with lighter-than-hoped-for wind and a tremendous amount of tsunami debris.

This has been an interesting TransPac, with lots more racing to go. Perhaps the most delicious aspect is that Matt Brooks’ St. Francis YC S&S 52 Dorade, which won the TransPac in 1936 — that’s no typo — is once again the corrected time leader in fleet. As of today’s standings, she was a little more than three hours ahead of Division 8 compratriot Sleeper, and six hours ahead of Westward, another Division 8 woody. At the time of that posting, Dorade was 270 miles out of Honolulu and moving along reasonably well.

Dorade is at the top of the leaderboard.

© 2013 Christophe Launay

We don’t claim to be TransPac corrected-time analysts, but it seems to us the boats with the best chance to overtake Dorade for corrected time honors are Beecom, Isao Mita’s Yokohama-based TransPac 52, which is 8.5 corrected-time-hours behind Dorade, and Roy Patrick Disney’s Andrews 70 Pyewacket, which is 13 corrected-time-hours behind. What gives these two boats a chance is that they still have nearly 800 miles of course to sail, both can surf like mad, and both have all-star teams — Beecom‘s is half Japanese and half Kiwi. These three things give them a shot at overtaking the old woody’s lead. But if the wind goes soft at all, they’re toast.

In any event, it looks likely that either an ancient woody or a Japanese entry will correct out in the 34th TransPac. We would welcome either. The one sure bet is that it’s going to be fun to follow the rest of the race, but not as fun as being on the Ala Wai docks in Honolulu this weekend. Party on!

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