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Let the 2016 Pacific Cup Begin!

As you can see, Pac Cup fleet members were in high spirits during the Bon Voyage party at Richmond YC. Today, the first of these Hawaii-bound racers departs for Kaneohe. 

© Leslie Richter /

By the time that you read this, the first three divisions of this year’s Pacific Cup fleet — including the Latitude 38 cruiser’s division — should be out the Gate and headed to the promised land of Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. With light to moderate breeze predicted on the Bay this morning, the end of an ebb to flush the fleet out to sea, and strong coastal northwesterlies, conditions look right to get these first fleets off to a quick start.

With the first gunshot firing off the St. Francis Yacht Club’s race deck at approximately 10:10 a.m. this morning, Division A "Honu" charges the starting line to officially get the 2016 Pacific Cup under way. Among the starters is a unique mix of mostly classic racer/cruisers, including a pair of match races between familiar West Coast classics. Kit Wiegman’s Alameda-based Islander 36 Cassiopeia faces off against Eric Mueller’s San Francisco-based sistership Serenity (though Serenity rates ever so slightly faster). The second match race of the Honu division stars Steve Calhoun’s Los Angeles-based Cal 40 Psyche and Walter Smith’s Richmond-based Cal 40 Redhead. Honu is rounded out by Mel Morrision’s Orion 35 Nicole, Lad Burgin’s 40′ Allied Mistress ketch Shadowside and Kerry Sheehan’s X-Yacht 362 Windswept Lady.

This screenshot from shows conditions in the NE Pacific Ocean during the first start of the Pacific Cup race. After the fleet’s departure in solid northwesterly breeze, the Pacific High is forecast to consolidate itself farther north, allowing the fleet a pretty straightforward lane to get to the trade winds quickly. Farther down the course, the fleet may be required to sail through, or around, the storm that is predicted to form after Hurricane Celia (the outskirts of which can be seen on the bottom of this image).

© 2016 Courtesy

At Latitude 38, one thing we’re passionate about is relating the oftentimes epic stories of the small Santa Cruz ULDBs that take on a big patch of blue water and race to Hawaii. With another classic match race and an interesting mix of small ULDBs, classic plastic and displacement racer/cruisers, the Kolea Doublehanded division is as diverse as they come, and only brought together by small crew sizes. Mark English and Ian Rogers have certainly put in the time and effort to do well in this race, logging some impressive victories along the way, and look to be a factor in their Moore 24 SC Mas! To win, they’ll be racing nearly heads-up against the Portland-based Moore 24 Evermoore, which rates just slightly slower than Mas! Also repping the PNW will be the race’s sole Express 27 entry Alternate Reality, sailed by brothers Darrel and Jay Jensen. The fleet’s scratch boat is an interesting entry in the quick and sexy Archambault 27 Alchimiste, while a trio of larger heavier-displacement boats, including the Cal 40 Nozomi, round out the division.  

The largest fleet to start on Monday is the Latitude 38 cruisers’ division, which includes 11 boats ranging in size from the Nelson Marek 36 Alegria to the Jeanneau 58 Ticket II. Not officially a "racing" division, the Latitude 38 cruisers’ division is bound by different rules that include no ratings, no sail limitations and the ability to motor if the wind goes light.

Stay tuned to ‘Lectronic Latitude for more updates throughout the course of the Pacific Cup. You’ll find the official site here, which allows you to follow the race via onboard tracker technology. 

Meanwhile, the Singlehanded TransPac fleet is midway between the Bay and Kauaii (see updates here), and the Vic-Maui (Victoria, BC to Maui) will run the last of four starts tomorrow. More info here

These days it’s easy to follow race fleets wherever you are, thanks to transponder technology. The solo TransPacers are now more than a week into their crossing. 

© Courtesy

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