Rolling along, beautiful day here in the deep Pacific Hula Girl in the 2015 Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. We are currently on day 5 of our race, and have some 1500 miles to go. Yep, we have averaged somewhere around 140 miles a day up until this point. And for a boat like Hula Girl in a race like the Transpac, that's not really very good at all. It's been an unusual race.
We have been struggling with the remnants of the hurricane Dolores that have spun up our way from Mexico. And there are the remnants of another depression along our track, a bit farther west, that is messing up the usual Tradewinds that carry us seamlessly to the Islands. It's an El Nino year, and the water in the Eastern Pacific is warmer than usual so these tropical disturbances that feed off warm water are working their way farther north than is typical.
All three starting groups now en route to Hawaii, but are sailing in very different conditions
San Pedro, CA - As the lead group that started nearly a week ago continue their speedy progress towards Hawaii, the influence of the tropical depression Delores is being felt by the trailing two groups that started on Thursday and Saturday in the 48th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac. This has resulted in very distinct weather conditions for each of the groups on the course.
In the morning reports, boats in the lead group reported Northeast winds 15-20 knots, with higher gusts in squalls, and good progress being made to Hawaii, even if they are looking for some sun. Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot continues to lead Division 7 and the fleet overall, while Ron Simonson’s SO44 Sleeper is leading Division 8.
Strange rainy weather and light southerly breezes greet the fastest boats in the fleet; first wave leaders pass halfway point to Hawaii; second wave starting to slide out of light air slump on their second day of racing.
San Pedro, CA – Tendrils of moisture spinning off tropical depression Dolores centered several hundred miles south in Mexico were making their way into Southern California today, bringing clouds, light southerly breezes, the occasional rain shower and a clap of thunder for the third and final starting day of the 48th biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac. And while this was bizarre weather for July, it did not discourage dozens of spectator boats assembled in everything from kayaks to cruise boats to watch the two starts held off Pt Fermin in Los Angeles today.
First off the start line at 12:30 local time were the three Gunboats in the multihull class, just able to get moving in the light air off the start line, but as a puff from the south rolled in they were quickly off. Pat Benz’s bright green GB 66 Extreme H2O took an early jump off the start for being the only boat with a masthead genoa, but Lloyd Thornburg’s bright orange Phaedo, another GB 66, was holding close once the breeze filled in a few knots.
In a deferential nod to the Hawaiian gods, Wild Oats XI co-skipper Roy P. Disney invited Kahu minister Danny Akaka Jr. and his wife Anna to conduct a traditional Hawaiian christening ceremony today as the boat prepared for tomorrow’s final start of the 48th edition of the Transpac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. In a moving tribute to a Polynesian culture that reveres the sea, the ceremony blessed the yacht and its crew for a fast, safe passage to Hawaii.
“We started this tradition in 1997, the year we broke the course record [on Pyewacket],” said Disney. “We felt this may have had some influence on our good luck that race, so we did it again in 1999, and broke the record again, so its become a tradition every race since.”
Over-eager starters now en route in their first day of good breeze; first wave starters now nearly 25% down the course; weather ahead looks light
San Pedro, CA – A second wave of 18 entries in Divisions 4, 5 and 6 are now on their way west towards the finish at Diamond Head, 2225 miles away in the 48th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpac.
The group’s start today was in picture-perfect sunny skies and a building 10-15-knot seabreeze that had everyone so excited that a large pack of starters crowded the start line on final approach, with Bill Durant’s and Jeff Shew’s Santa Cruz 52 Relentless called back after the obligatory 2 minute delay specified in the Sailing Instructions.
JH Ocean Sailing Team: For the Whippersnappers
Top of the mornin’, landlubbers! We be the Jackson Hole Ocean Sailing Team, and we sail Transpac with an uncommon mission. It’s not that our brains don’t spurt lucid dreams of downwind speed and victory along with everyone else. It’s simply that we feel another calling on top of that.
We run a non-profit focused on building a sailing program for youth of all backgrounds. We believe that 1) sailing develops life skills that enrich mind and character, 2) the sense of discipline aboard a sea vessel can’t be duplicated in any other competitive experience, and 3) that every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have this opportunity.