The racers in the Singlehanded Sailing Society’s Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race are moving slowly along toward the finish in Hanalei, Kauai. Close to the halfway point after six days and change, Kyle Vanderspek on his Hobie 33 Aloha is leading the fleet of 11 boats so far. But this year’s race is turning into a slow one. The East Pacific High is heading south and splitting up, causing light winds and a minefield of holes on the way to the trade winds.
Aloha is the only light surfing-style boat in this year’s race and can scoot along in the light breeze compared to the heavyweights like the Cal 40s and J/109. As of this report on Friday morning, Aloha is 61 miles ahead of Jim Quanci on the Cal 40 Green Buffalo, 74 miles ahead of Robb Walker on Nozomi, the other Cal 40, and only 49 miles from Reed Bernhardt on the J/109 Mountain.
With a light-wind parking lot forming, the others in the back may still have a chance to catch up. While they try, let’s catch up with the messages from the boats.
From Reed: “Greetings from Mountain, where the ship smells of feet and the Captain wishes he smelled half that good. All is well here. Mountain and I are working hard. According to the latest fleet position reports though, so is everyone else! Really fun race so far — just hitting my stride. Taking naps, tweaking the sails, making repairs, enjoying the view.”
From Jim on Green Buffalo: “The sun peeked out today and then went away — four days overcast — getting old. Sardine sandwich for lunch. Thinking tortellini with red sauce for dinner.” Almost a week into the race, it sounds as if Jim’s got his sea legs — and stomach.
From Will Lee on the Hinckley 42 Sea Wisdom after some email communication problems, “Greetings SHTP Race Committee! It seems like my email system likes to function in a light wind area. But I need wind; please send me some.” And the RC’s response? “Dear Sir, We have escalated your complaint to those with higher pay grades.”
That same RC will be flying out to the finish line in Kauai next week. They may have to wait a while for the first boat.