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Singlehanded TransPac’s Big Day

Birders might have what they call a ‘Big Year‘; the Singlehanded Sailing Society had a Big Day when seven boats out of a 16-boat fleet finished the Singlehanded TransPac yesterday, Sunday, July 8.

Some, though not all, of the finishers so far in the 2018 Singlehanded TransPac gather at the race committee HQ house across the street from the beach. Left to right: Mike Cunningham, Jacqueline; David Clark, Passages; Bill Meanley, Dolfin; Greg Ashby, Nightmare; Tom Boussie, JouJou; Cliff Shaw, Rainbow; and Philippe Jamotte, Double Espresso.

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The Big Day started in the wee-est of hours with Charlie Casey on the Cal 40 Riff Rider coming into Hanalei Bay shortly after 1 a.m. A couple of hours later, the Cal 40, which had lost engine and battery-charging power, was snug in the anchorage, thanks to the assistance of race committee volunteers pulling an all-nighter.

Shad Lemke and his pretty yellow Dark Horse came all the way from Montana.

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After dawn and a brief nap, the shore crew mobilized again to welcome the third Olson 30, Dark Horse, and her cowboy-from-Montana skipper, Shad Lemke. It’s so much easier to accomplish the last leg of the passage — the journey from finish line to beach — in the daylight. Oh, wait, until the gray-out squalls come through. Tom Boussie on the Capo 30 JouJou endured a frustrating and frightening aftermath to his finish, as he struggled to enter the bay in poor visibility, fluky breeze and big sea swell. Tom had an engine but it was disabled when a line wrapped around his prop. 

The San Francisco-based JouJou had to put in innumerable tacks between the reef to the west and the bigger reef to the east in order to enter the bay.

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©2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The Freedom 30 Jacqueline and Pacific Seacraft 37 Dolfin, both second-timers, were self-sufficient and required no assistance to enter and anchor. Their skippers, Mike Cunningham and Bill Meanley, later reported having been within 10 miles of each other for the whole race.

Dennis Maggard from the San Francisco-based cruiser Pamela, a Pacific Seacraft 37, greets Mike Cunningham. Dennis just happened to be in Hanalei Bay; he became an enlisted SSS reserve corps volunteer, using his dinghy to give rides between the beach and the anchorage.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
After finishing, Bill Meanley prepares Dolfin to enter the anchorage.

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© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The last two finishers of the Big Day, a Hylas 42, Iris, and a Santa Cruz 27, Crazy Rhythm, were an unlikely duo for a to-the-wire drag race, but their arrival was particularly entertaining for spectators. Both have masthead rigs, and one was close in while the other was farther out to sea, so it was hard to tell which was which, until the near boat rose on a wave and we saw her navy blue hull — it was John Colby on Iris who won that race within a race.

The drag race to the finish between Iris (left) and Crazy Rhythm. The dark green boat in the foreground is Pamela.

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Finishing on Friday evening through Saturday evening were Crinan II, Rainbow and Fugu — all nighttime arrivals. Still on the ocean are Kyntanna, Owl and Morning Star. By our next post on Wednesday, all should be safely nestled in beautiful Hanalei Bay. Follow their progress and check the race standings here.

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