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Solo TransPac Update

As you can see via the magic of transponder tracking, the solo TransPac fleet will be converging on Hanalei during the next few days.

© 2016 Pinnacle Tracking

Jirí Šenkyrík’s Olson 30 Kato has been leading the 2,120-mile Singlehanded TransPac Race on and off since the July 2 start. He’s also often been in the lead of this Tiburon, CA, to Hanalei, HI, race on corrected time, which is no great surprise to some. He is, after all, sailing a boat that was designed in the late ’70s for the very purpose of sailing downwind to Hawaii faster than the competition. Kato‘s chief competition has been the 21st century-designed J/88 Ventus, owned by Chris Cartwright, which is just a bit more than 50 miles behind Kato as we post this. Both boats have been sailing south of the rhumbline, and one or both should arrive in Hanalei before Friday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude posting — Kato is less than 350 miles from the finish line.

The following reports from the 23-boat fleet give insights into the challenges of soloing to Hawaii in racing mode: George Lythcott on the Alameda-based Express 27 Taz!! has been having trouble with battery charging. The overcast skies have been blocking out the sunshine that Taz!!‘s solar panels crave. On Tuesday, Lythcott sailed through 3 or 4 squalls, described as "full-out rain" in the afternoon. "Everything is soaking wet including me. I am soaked to the inside of my boots and bones — no dry spot on my body. My body heat is steaming up the inside cabin." Lythcott says he’s hydrating well, eating well and sleeping well. He tore his twin headsails twice. On Tuesday evening he was sailing with the #3 jib poled out, with two reefs in the main, in 20-25 knots of breeze. "Sky and sea angry most of this race," he noted. "This passage has been a handful."

George Lythcott on the Alameda-based Express 27 Taz!! looked dry enough as he headed out the Gate July 2, but he’s been soaked to the skin by squalls since then.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

David Nabors of the Olson 34 Temerity described nasty, steep mixed seas, which sorted themselves out yesterday afternoon into longer, lower swells. The wind was still above 20 knots, so he didn’t set a spinnaker. He had managed to get eight hours of sleep, however, "Thanks to finding the ‘good’ earplugs which had been mislaid."

With light air driving his poled-out headsail, David Nabors of the Olson 34 Temerity scans the horizon for more breeze.

© David Nabors

During the crossing, fleet members have been keeping a close watch on Tropical Storm Celia, which is far to the southeast of the fleet. It is now moving toward the northwest and expected to weaken, but is causing building sea swells of 11 to 14 feet. The Weather Routing, Inc., recommendation is for the slower, easternmost boats to stay well to the north. The NNE trades are forecast to strengthen today, with winds of 12 to 23 knots depending on the position of various fleet members. See this site for more detailed weather info, and the event site for updates and fleet info.

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Buzz Blackett’s Antrim-designed Class 40 California Condor (foreground) is currently smoking toward the finish line at around 10 knots.
Yesterday, the South Pacific cruising community was stunned to learn that one of its own, singlehander Louis Schooler, 64, had been found dead aboard the San Diego-based Hylas 42 Entertainer, which had grounded on Takapoto Atoll in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu archipelago.