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SHTP Finishes Up


With the arrival of Randy Leasure’s Westsail 32 Tortuga, the 18th Singlehanded TransPac has come to a close. The deadline for the race is this Saturday, but all boats — with the exception of Derk Wolmuth’s Vindo 40 Bela Bartok (more on that in a moment) — were in and swaying in the warm Hawaiian breeze by yesterday afternoon, giving racers plenty of time to rest up for Saturday’s awards party at Tahiti Nui’s new Luau Lounge.

Ken Roper’s Finn Flyer 31 Harrier suffered from a severe case of spinnaker wrap at the finish.

© Robbie Gabriel

Ken ‘The General’ Roper was determined to finish his 12th, and supposedly final, SHTP — but he’s said that before — in style by crossing the line with Harrier‘s star-adorned spinny flying. Unfortunately a spinnaker wrap soon became a spinnaker knot, so while his finish was definitely memorable, it probably wasn’t what he’d hoped for. Regardless, the 84-year-old retired brigadier general was greeted like the hero he is.

Tough indeed. The General was greeted by his daughter Lee and a coconut cup full of mai tai.

© Robbie Gabriel

In the meantime, the racers have worked out a plan to recover Bela Bartok before she comes ashore at Maui. Through their incredible generosity — in time and money — they’ve secured a boat to go out to her location today and drop two racers aboard to bring her safely into port. Wolmuth, who reports that he’s recovering nicely from a case of septic shock due to a staph infection, is due into Oakland on a cargo ship today.

We’ll have a full report on the race, as well as Wolmuth and Bela‘s rescue, in the August issue of Latitude 38.

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