On Sunday, June 25, 17 singlehanded sailors pointed their bows out the Golden Gate with their final destination a virtual finish line in Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai. Their crafts, all monohulls, vary wildly from three Westsail 32s to a 1D35. Finishers in the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race should arrive at the Garden Isle in about 12 to 20 days.
Skip Allan gave the weather briefing at the skippers’ meeting on Saturday at Richmond Yacht Club. He correctly predicted the conditions at the start. About 10 knots from the southwest and an ebb current propelled the starters off the line at Golden Gate YC in the 10 a.m. hour. With south in the breeze, port tack was heavily favored for the exit out of San Francisco Bay.
The skippers, all men, range in age from 39 to 70. Piyush Arora of San Francisco is the youngest, and Max Crittenden of Borrego Springs the oldest.
We’ll head over to Hawaii on July 7 to greet the sailors. Will we beat the two fastest-rated boats, Such Fast and Sean Mulvihill’s J/120 Jamani? The fleet made amazingly quick work of the first 24 hours; they’re sailing on a fast reach today. But the Pacific High is a hot mess right now, spread out and morphing shape like Jell-O. It’s a year to dip south of the rhumb line.
We’ll have a couple more reports here on ‘Lectronic Latitude and a feature in the August issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, head over to the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s website at www.sfbaysss.org/main/shtp-2023 and check out the tracker on Jibeset. As of this morning, Such Fast was farthest south. Michael Polkabla’s Cal 40 Solstice was farthest west with the shortest distance left to sail. Sistership Green Buffalo is hot on her heels.
We’ll leave you today with a thought from 13-time SHTP sailor Ken “The General” Roper, passed along at the skippers’ meeting from another multiple recidivist, Mike Jefferson: “It’s easy to do a SHTP. Just get in your boat and go.”