Just when we thought we were ready to show some serious aloha-love to the Aloha Division - Eric Gray's Morris 46, Gracie, led most of the way in Transpac 2011 and finished mid-day Monday - in comes Jack Taylor's Horizon to polish off a brilliant win in the SC50 division and raise the question, how do we tell this? Which story is the story?
On a day in which many recently-finished Transpac crews went off exploring beaches or waterfalls, Yoshihiko Murase rallied up his race crew, delivery crew and friends and cast off Bengal 7's lines for a mission of his own. The last Transpac boat still at sea was inbound, and he wanted to be there to greet Larry Malmberg's Hassle at Diamond Head.
Guy Wilding has been out for a paddle in his 18-foot kayak every day for months, since moving to Honolulu from Sydney, Australia. Today seemed like any other day under the blue skies of the tradewinds until, as luck would have it, his paddle broke. He was dumped into the drink. This wasn't good, but Wilding swam to the kayak and grabbed on. He tried to get in, to rescue, in kayak-speak. It didn't happen. And there he was. Minutes went by. The tide was outbound, carrying him away from the beach, away from the lovely island of Oahu, upwind against the oncoming waves, toward oblivion. Without a paddle, he really couldn't do anything about it. His first thought: "I'm in trouble."
Hap Fauth's Bella Mente, re-jiggered to race Transpac, fulfilled her mission just before dawn today, crossing the Diamond Head Light finish line to capture the Barn Door Trophy as first finisher of the 46th Transpacific Yacht Race, Los Angeles to Honolulu. Bella Mente's race began on July 8 at 1300 PDT. Her official finish time is 0534 HST for the measured distance of 2,225 miles.
As Transpac reporting and transponder tracking switches to Hawaii Standard Time (reminder to navigators), we're seeing not much change in the leaderboard, with the biggest chance of a turnover looming as boats make their tactical gybes to line up for the Molokai Channel.
Lighter winds, as predicted, and a bit of lane-shifting re-sorted parts of the Transpac racing fleet overnight, but James McDowell's SC70, Grand Illusion, continued to run 1-1, first in the Sleds and first overall, with about 1,200 miles to go at 0800 roll call. Positioning on the north-south line suddenly goes from being very important to Very Important.
At the ready: A few Transpac racers are playing catchup today at the US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar at Shoreline Yacht Club, while around Rainbow Harbor the other crews of 53 entries in the 46th Transpacific Yacht Race are preparing their boats in various levels of stress. In a few cases, gear is still being installed; in other cases it's about getting a last load of laundry washed.