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2015 Honolulu

Race News

Honolulu, Hawaii - A loud and resounding "Aahh - looohh - haaahh!" is how the final awards ceremony began for the 48th Transpac in celebration of not only the achievements of the winners in this 2225-mile ocean race, but the dozens of beautiful perpetual trophies that symbolize the deep heritage and traditions in the 111-year history of this classic ocean race, organized biennially by the Transpacific YC.

The evening's opening act of Hula dancing celebrated the strong influence and richness of Hawaiian culture integral to this race, which was born of an idea by Hawaii's King Kalakaua in the late 19th century to enhance his nation's ties to the mainland.

Honolulu, HI – With the arrival today of the final finishers in the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac, race organizers from the Transpacific YC may now declare the race concluded for its 48th edition.

Yasuto Fuda’s Feet 30 Fortissimo 11 may have taken over 17 days to finish the course, but the small Italian-built sportboat with a crew of four intrepid sailors from Japan persevered through some tough conditions to arrive today as the final finishers in the race.

Honolulu, HI – As the three remaining boats traverse the remaining 200 miles towards the finish line to come in sometime pre-dawn tonight, all nine division winners have been determined for the 48th edition of the 2225-mile biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac.

These include the following: Division 1: Roy P. Disney and Robert Oately’s R/P 100 Wild Oats; Division 2: Craig Reynolds’s TP 52 Bolt; Division 3: James MacDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion; Division 4: Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 Hamachi; Division 5: Eric Gray’s Santa Cruz 50 Allure (who won by a mere 2 min 52 sec after nearly 7 days of racing!); Division 6: John Chamberlain and Dean Fargo’s Swan 651 Second Wind; Division 7: Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity; Division 8: Tracy Obert’s BBY Custom 59-foot ketch Marjorie; and Lloyd Thornburg’s Gunboat 66 Phaedo in the multihull Division 0.

Grand Illusion has now equaled the record for most overall wins, joining the 88-foot Lurline which won the first two races in 1906 and 1908, and again in 1912. However, Grand Illusion holds the status alone for winning overall three times under the same Owner/Skipper.

What was the pathway to success in this race, given the unusual weather patterns this year? The answers are somewhat varied for each division winner, but in general a northerly route without straying too far kept the right balance between sailing excess distance versus sailing faster by being in stronger winds.

Monday July 13 Start

Yacht Sleeper flew protest flag reported that they had completed two turns.

Picante taking on water around keel.  Returned to San Pedro, all crew well, boat returned safely.

Vivacia taking on water from deck.  Returned to So Cal, all crew well, boat returned safely.

Avanti had rudder structure damage, taking on water.  Returned to Marina del Rey, all crew well, boat returned safely.

Bazinga suffered rudder failure.  Returned to San Diego.  All crew well, boat returned safely.

Honolulu, HI – Boats from the two classes that symbolize Transpac more than any other have taken the top of the leaderboard in the 48th edition of this biennial ocean racing classic. Local-based James McDowell on his Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion has taken the top of the provisional results in overall ORR scoring, followed by Chuck Nichols racing the Andrews 70 Pyewacket, with Craig Reynolds’s TP52 Bolt in third place.

Results are considered Provisional untill all boats are finished and any protests have been resolved by organizers from the Transpacific YC.

Honolulu, HI – At just about two weeks from the first start of the 48th Transpac, more than half the fleet will by midnight local time tonight be still at sea making their way to the finish of this biennial 2225-mile race from LA to Honolulu. Since Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity was the first to cross the finish line in the early hours of Friday, boats from the Monday, July 13th start for Divisions 7 and 8, and starters on Saturday, July 18th in Divisions 0, 1, and 2 have crossed the finish line at Diamond Head.

One of the boats to finish today in Division 8, the Aloha Division, after nearly two weeks at sea was Ross Pearlman’s Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets, a perennial competitor in the Aloha Division of Transpac. Pearlman was unable to make the race, and turned over the skippering responsibilities to Kerry Deaver, a regular member of the Between the Sheets team. Deaver was thankful for the opportunity to skipper, despite some rough first days on this trip.

Phaedo wins class in Transpac

Lloyd Thornburg and the crew of his blood orange Gunboat 66 Phaedo came from behind in the final hours of the 2015 Transpac to win the Multihull Divison 0 of the classic biannual race. And Thronburg admits the win is just a little sweeter since he and his team had to come all they way back from being dismasted in the 2013 Transpac

Elapsed times were short of record pace, but still a great achievement in a difficult race

Honolulu, HI – The Barn Door Trophy is made from a large ornately-carved piece of Hawaiian Koa wood, and is an iconic symbol of excellence for the Transpac: many of the most famous racing yachts in the world of offshore sailing have their names inscribed on the brass plaques around its perimeter.

In 2009 when the existing course record was smashed by over a day by Neville Crichton’s canting-keeled Alfa Romeo, Transpac YC recognized that this class of designs was unique and needed its own trophy, so the Merlin Trophy was born to honor the boat that did so much to encourage high-speed offshore-capable design.

Four other finishers expected tonight, overall corrected time winner in doubt, Wild Oats may also arrive tonight as fastest elapsed time yacht

Honolulu, HI – With an elapsed time of 10d 20h 1m 12s, Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity was the first entry to cross the finish line at Diamond Head in the pre-dawn hours this morning in the 48th biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac.

Celerity’s crew included Zanville and Michael Downing, Tom Jenkins, Eric Kownacki, Robert Martin, and Thomas Ripard.

Saturday starters overtaking Thursday starters in continued light air, while Monday starters are on final approach towards Hawaii; trash starting to appear in the course area
San Pedro, CA - The three fleets defined by their start days started to converge into two over the past two days in the 48th running of the LA-Honolulu Transpac. This biennial 2225-mile classic ocean race is organized by the Transpacific YC.

Most of the first wave of starters continue to enjoy conditions that while punctuated by occasional squalls are still getting them downwind and towards Hawaii at a reasonable pace. Current elapsed time leader of this pack is Harry Zanville's Division 7 Santa Cruz 37 Celerity, who on the tracker (delayed by 6 hours) is shown to be only 425 miles to the finish. At about 200 miles/day they are therefore expected sometime on Friday morning.

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Blogs from the Boats

DAY 12: Shark Gazers and Alien Watch

“It ain’t no J Crew ad out there, honey.” - Elizabeth

At any given moment, a sailor can make any number of mistakes, ranging from the dangerous (grabbing a running halyard), to the humorous (Scott inflating his PFD while sliding into the nav station). Today, we discovered we’d committed mistake perfection: We’d filled Hokahey’s water tanks too high.

After some 2225 miles of ocean racing, we just about have the finish line in sight!

Well, here aboard Hula Girl we certainly had our trials and tribulations on this one. The light and difficult conditions for the first days of the race made for some really tough going. Then I got us stuck in a lane too far south where we simply didn't have the wind that our competitors to the north had. But, as strange as it may sound, as we sail for the finish line now, coming around the eastern end of Oahu into the Molokai Channel with preparations beginning for the final gybe towards Diamond Head, I don't think I would risk changing much about this race.

Hey all friends and family, just a bit overdue in getting out a report from onboard Hula Girl in the 2015 Transpac, but here we go.

So after our slow start and getting pinned in the funk- wind plagued southern lane on the way to Hawaii, we finally managed to get out and into the Trades. And man, is it nice. We have had beautiful days of great sailing in winds mostly 18- 22 knots. The squall activity has been mostly light, with the busiest night having been Friday night. But even then, the mid to high 20s what the breeziest we saw

"We protect the NORTH! Dare to come past the 33 latitude, we will find you and lee bow you!" - Groggy pit man

Glorious wind! We savored the feeling of it whipping around our ears and pushing us across the Pacific. Our northern route around Hurricane Dolores' dead zone was longer and colder, but after two days without breeze we felt like 11-yr-olds earning back Xbox privileges after a long period of confiscation. Hokahey was back.

The crew took turns at the helm, competing with each other for fastest driving time. We maneuvered the boat to surf northern swells. Spray flew across deck. Elizabeth and G4 were tied in first place for most of today, with a high speed of 13.2 knots. At dusk, JT pushed Hokahey to 13.3 knots. Just when we were about to award him Top Gun title, 19-year-old Connor surprised everyone with a speed of 14.3 knots. Not too shabby for a young scallywag, eh?

Day 11


"Pay to play sailors got a great deal this year. Pay 10 days get 5 days free!"

Most northern monohull on any Transpac ever! We raised our gloved fists toward the heavens, as we gathered round the cockpit for our half way point celebration. Then, shaking with laughter, we scarfed pickled sweet potato salad and rosemary leg of lamb out of our plastic boat bowls. We'd all been looking forward to this occasion, for which Jeff had donated and prepped such luxurious grub. However, we'd expected to meet the the half way mile marker about two days earlier, and we certainly had not expected to be sailing the 34th latitude.

Man, it's nice out here. A couple gorgeous days and nights of sailing. The blue skies had some pretty spectacular cloud formations, a full 360 degrees around us. The water has the shade of aqua that you only seem to get when you are out in the deep blue. And it's some three miles deep around here, according to the charts. The only unfortunate thing is that this tranquil scene is in the middle of our racecourse! Yep, another frustratingly slow day for our team out here in the 2015 Transpac.

We are stuck to the south of most of our fleet, with no real opportunity to get north. We have been in a completely different wind pattern, with breeze much farther west and lighter than the boats above us. We managed to hang in there ok on Monday, gaining on four boats while losing against three. But last night was a different story. We parked the boat for three hours in a dead calm sea. Not a breath of wind anywhere. And then barely moved for the rest of the night. So it's not looking pretty for Team Hula Girl at the moment. The good news is that we have not even reached the halfway point (so there is a lot of time to catch up). The bad news is that we have not even reached the halfway point (the first half of the race is taking a whopping 7 days!!!).

Day 3, and the wildlife gods are smiling down on us. Humongous whales surface regularly, leatherback sea turtles bob on by, shark fins cut through the water's surface, and Portuguese Man of War jellyfish float past us looking like deadly plastic bags. To top this party off, there's the age-old tradition for dolphins of the Pacific: swimming up against bows and sterns to play in sailboat wakes. They come so close that if we wanted to, we could brush our fingers across their smooth, gray dorsal fins. 

The weather gods haven't been quite so benevolent. Don't get me wrong--at the start, we were slot cars speeding with 15 knots of wind. But as those of you following along at home may know, Hurricane Dolores is at large. Once we rounded Catalina, she hit us with her "calm before the storm," killing our precious wind dead.

Well all right now. This is feeling more like a Transpac.

On Saturday morning, the wind started to steady out a bit, and it shifted around to the south. So while it felt a bit strange to be putting up a spinnaker for the first time on a port tack, we here aboard Hula Girl welcomed the opportunity to, well, go for a sail! It had been a tough couple days.

We had a 12 hour run (7am to 7pm) somewhere along the line of about 20 miles down the rhumbline. Some 58 miles in 24 hours, and a series of tacks through 130+ degrees?? Are you kidding me? All while looking at the computer and seeing 2100 miles to go! Ouch.

And we are off in the 2015 Transpac Race from LA to Hawaii!

J/World's Hula Girl got a nice start a couple of boatlengths down from the committee boat, with a wide lane and good speed. The beat to Catalina Island was pretty much normal, although maybe a bit lighter than usual. We had a nice 10 knots, and carried our heavy #1 jib all the way. For a while it looked like we might lay the island, but it ended up taking a couple tacks to get around the West End. Then we were off on the starboard tack drag race, pushing out to sea, through the last of the Channel islands and into the beautiful Pacific.. The breeze held wonderfully through the night, and we had a fantastic sail.... but in the morning, well, it was a different story. The Pacific is certainly living up to her name. 

Close Start: You know you're cutting it close at the start when there's a racer on another boat shouting your name in disbelief.

Day 1 started out innocently enough, with some old school hip hop and final phone calls to loved ones. 15 minutes before the 13:00 start, we set strategy: start on the furthest windward side of the committee boat. the radius around the line was already simmering with the combined adrenalin of every racer in Division 5. You could see crew on each deck scrambling from rail to rail as the pack tacked back and forth across each other in pursuit of advantage numero uno: be first to cross the starting line.

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