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Transpac Racers Are Surfing to the Hawaii Finish Line

Little did we know, when we had our first dockside practice Transpac Live broadcast with Dave Moore and Andy Schwenk aboard Dave’s Santa Cruz 52 Westerly, that we were talking with the eventual class and overall Transpac winners! Since the first race to Hawaii in 1906 there have been huge technological leaps in boat design, equipment, weather and navigational information, and communications. The installation of Starlink on many boats in this year’s Transpac added the opportunity for all of us to follow the action more closely with trackers, audio and mid-ocean Transpac Live broadcasts.

Sailing the Transpac is a huge achievement for all participants, with winning in class and overall being the dream result. If you’re really fortunate, you finish during the daylight hours so you get the added bonus of awesome Sharon Green photos of you pulling off the feat. The overall win earned Westerly the King Kalakaua Trophy, honoring the team that has sailed the best relative to their rating against all other boats on the course, regardless of their starting date.

2023 Transpac, Finish 07.08.23, Transpac Race, Westerly 52
Westerly surfed down the Molokai Channel on her way to Division 5 Cabrillo Boat Shop class and overall  victory.
© 2023 Sharon Green / UltimateSailing.com

Another bonus from this year’s now hyper-connected world of offshore racing was the drone video coming from Cecil and Allyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe, while still mid-race. As of this morning, they were leading the Division 6 Pasha class, surfing along at almost 12 knots with less than 50 miles to the finish.

With boats still on the course, the current results are “provisional,” though the pecking order appears firmly established. It looks as if the Thursday, June 29, starters have taken four of the five overall fleet positions, with Mike Sudo’s Beneteau First 47.7 Macondo being the only Tuesday, June 27, starter to break the top five. The “fast boats” drew the short straw for wind by starting the following month (on July 1) and battling light air during their start, and also much farther along the 2,225-mile course. As of early this morning, just three of the 20 boats in the three divisions starting on Saturday have finished. Roy Disney’s Andrews 68 Pyewacket is finally enjoying fresh trade-wind breezes and surfing along at about 14 knots, 200 miles or so from the finish.

Macondo
Mike Sudo’s Beneteau First 47.7 Macondo scored a win with a Friday-evening finish in Division 7 Boatswains Locker class.
© 2023 Stephan R Cloutier / UltimateSailing.com

For Stephen Lewis and crew aboard his Newland 368 Pegasus, the first 2,215 miles brought the classic fast downwind Transpac that the boat was designed for. Unfortunately, 100 miles from the finish, they lost their rig. They managed to create a jury rig with the spinnaker pole and carry on to the finish at 6-7 knots for sixth place among the eight entries in Boatswains Locker Division 7. The boat will get shipped home.

Pegasus
Stephen Lewis’s Dan Newland 368 limped to the finish with a jury-rigged spar after losing her rig 100 miles from the finish.
© 2023 Sharon Green / Ultimatesailing.com

Finishing at 11 p.m., Sebastian Moshayedi’s Bakewell White 100 Rio100 earned the Barn Door trophy for the fastest elapsed course time while racing in the Cal Maritime Division, finishing in 7 days 13 hours 16 minutes and 38 seconds. She also won the Barn Door trophy in 2015 and 2017.

Dean Treadway’s Farr 36 Sweet Okole finished just before 1 a.m. Monday, followed a couple of hours later by Dan Marino’s Express 37 Juno, which corrected out to win Division 8 smithREgroup by two hours. The closest finishes were in the Division 7 Boatswains Locker, where 14 minutes separate third, fourth and fifth, with third being Dean Stanec’s J/130 Night’s Watch. Fourth was Greg Dorn’s Dehler 46 Favonius, and fifth place went to Ian Edwards’s Dehler 46 Wings. First in class was Macondo, and second in class was Charles Devanneaux’s Beneteau First 44 Lenny.

As of right “now” the only Saturday starters to finish are the MOD 70s Orion, Maserati, and Argo (which took a joyride after retiring) plus Division 1 Cal Maritime racers Tom Holthus’s Botin 56 BadPak, and Mark Comings and George Hershman’s R/P 63 GoodEnergy.

Transpac Finish Yellow Brick
Most of the rest of the fleet should converge on Ala Wai Harbor in the next couple of days.
© 2023 Transpac / Yellow Brick

Boats continue to finish as we write, with another busy day ahead for the Hawaii-based Transpac race committee off Diamond Head. The farthest boat back is Russ Johnson’s Jeanneau 52.2 Blue Moon, which can enjoy the champagne sailing conditions longer than any of the other boats in Hawaii. The Pacific High was farther north than normal, allowing most boats to stay close to the rhumb line. Lighter airs across much of the course, especially for Saturday starters, yielded lower speeds, but the full moon and aloha welcome in Hawaii make up for whatever holes were found on the course.

1 Comment

  1. Neal Woods 9 months ago

    Love the drone work! Used to be expensive helos to get shots like that!

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Sailing Blind
Starlink is launching a new era for sailors. Like people on shore, sailors are debating the value of advancing technology's place in our lives, and how to incorporate time in the virtual world with time in the real world.