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What a Great TransPac!

The Dorade crew are the big kahunas in this year’s TransPac.

© Trans Pacific YC

While a new elapsed-time record wasn’t set, the 47th TransPac has proven to be one of the more interesting and exciting races to Hawaii in years.

Overall honors went to the classic S&S 52 Dorade, which was built in 1929 and had previously won overall TransPac honors 77 years ago in 1936. Dorade is owned by Matt Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy of Fremont and the St. Francis YC, who consider themselves "caretakers" of this remarkable piece of American sailing history. The couple are in the middle of one of the more unique sailing quests we’ve ever heard of, which is to sail competitively in all the great events that Dorade won in her early days, including the Bermuda Race, the TransAtlantic Race, the England’s Fastnet Race (twice) and the TransPac.

To that end, Matt and Pam had the yawl rebuilt in the Northeast a couple of years ago, with no expense spared. For the TransPac they assembled a fine crew consisting of Brooks, skipper Eric Chowanski, Ben Galloway, John Hayes, Hannah Jenner, Kevin Miller and Matt Wachowicz. According to Brooks, they spent 30 days practicing for the TransPac. Pop wisdom says success is where preparation and luck intersect, and Dorade and the other boats in Division 8 were lucky to have the best get-away conditions of the three starts. Nonetheless, after leading overall early, Dorade fell to as low as 15th in fleet, then came back to take a comfortable lead.

What really made this TransPac thrilling is that Dorade‘s corrected-time lead of as much as nine hours was being rapidly trimmed, after she finished, by several of the big sleds. Could Roy Pat Disney’s Burbank-based Andrews 70 Pyewacket, with her all-star crew, surf from behind to correct out? She made up a lot of time, but fell 2.5 hours short, which left her in second overall. Also hot on Dorade‘s heels was Per Peterson’s San Diego-based Andrews 68 Alchemy, which corrected out 3 hours back to take third in fleet.

Chip ‘Dr. Megadeath’ Megeath and his Criminals pulled a class win from the hands of Bretwalda.

© 2013 Trans Pacific YC

There was also some terrific racing within the divisions. Tom Akin of Sausalito sailed his R/P 52 Meanie to a mere four-minute victory over Isao Mita’s Yokohama-based TP52 Beecom in Division 2. Fellow Northern Californian Chip Megeath of the Tiburon-based R/P 45 Criminal Mischief managed to come from behind to record a similar four-minute victory over Bob Pethick’s Michigan-based Rogers 46 Bretwalda in Division 4. Four minutes is a mightily slim margin after more than 2,200 ocean miles. Frank Slootman’s Pleasanton-based R/P 63 Invisible Hand had a little more cushion, clenching the top spot in Division 1 by just over two hours.

But all those stories are secondary to Matt and Pam’s big victory with Dorade — which, by the way, is correctly pronounced ‘Dor-odd’, as opposed to ‘Dor-aid’. Matt and Pam are class acts, so their victory is not only a credit to them, St. Francis YC, Northern California, but sailing in general. Well done! Really well done!

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