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Winners and non-winners alike given warm Hawaiian welcomes upon arrival, any time of day or night

HONOLULU, HI – A large wave of finishers in the 2017 Transpac race have arrived in the Ala Wai last night and in the pre-dawn hours to start to fill up the slip spaces set aside in the Marina for the finishers, known as Transpac Row. From tallest mast to shortest, most of the race entries are moored here, bedecked with leis and ti leaves as symbols of Aloha hospitality from a culture that recognizes the special nature of having completed a long sea voyage.

After crossing the finish line, all boats are escorted to the narrow (sometimes treacherous) entrance to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, a safe haven from the Pacific swells. Donned in their flowered shirts, the crews stand on deck to be greeted like conquering heroes by the amplified sounds of native drums, slack key guitar music and a loud and resounding “Aaaahhh- looohhh – haaaaah” given by staff commodore Howie Mednick from the second deck of the Hawaii YC.

“We welcome you to Hawaii, and ask only that you do Drink well, Sing well, Eat well, Sleep well… and Drink well some more!”

Boats then proceed to their assigned slips, get boarded and inspected for rules compliance, and then are released to the awaiting leis and hugs of family, friends and well-wishers. Regardless of the time of day or night, every crew is given an Aloha Party of food and drink, some more traditionally Hawaiian than others, with the unshaven and weary crews growing their smiles with each re-told story and re-acquaintance with terra firma.

This is a unique feature of the Transpac race among the world’s ocean races: nowhere else will you find this intimate and embracing level of hospitality and respect. Finishers of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vendee Globe will experience their re-entry into life ashore under the glare of TV lights, crowds and microphones, whereas at Transpac it will be under the flickering flames of a tiki torch and the inner glow from a Mai Tai.

The lore of this hospitality reaches far and wide, as evidenced by not only entries who come every two years from around the Pacific Basin, but also those who come from the other side of the world. This year two entries from Europe were here to have the Aloha experience.

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Light air patch plaguing the middle and back of the fleet are sealing off the remaining corrected time titles

HONOLULU, HI – In a race that has featured more elapsed time records set than any in recent memory, its ironic that in the 2017 Transpac race the bulk of the fleet has still to finish due to some light-air conditions in the middle of the course. At Noon local time today, only 22 of the 55 boats entered in this year’s race have finished, although several are due into the finish in the next several hours.

This is in contrast to the last two cycles of this biennial 2225-mile ocean race where the early starters had more favorable conditions and it was the later faster boats that struggled in light air.

As such, the faster-rated boats in each Division are faring well in corrected time by being positioned ahead of a large area of lighter winds that has been affecting the last half of the fleet. Today Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive finished in the morning to be the first to cross the line in his Division 5, and his lead in corrected time is virtually unbeatable based on the current positions and speeds of his rivals on the course: he owes time to only one boat in his class (John Sandrolini’s Beneteau 47.7 La Sirena), but they are 171 mi away and cannot get to the finish line fast enough to overcome the time allowance.

Yet Larry was not really focused on this in the morning at his Aloha Party at Hawaii YC, where he and his crew were enjoying the hospitality of his hosts and grateful to be on terra firma once again.

“I lived here in Hawaii for a while many years ago, and saw boats coming in from the Transpac race and vowed I would do this myself someday,” he said. “Its many years later, but I’m really happy to be here now and fulfill that dream. In my business life I put good people in charge and let them run things the way they know how, and I have been lucky to do the same with this project – we have a great team.”

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Joel Buffa, crew member aboard Rapid Transit in the 2017 Transpac Race will become the first ever 5th-generation sailor to compete in the history of the Transpac Race. Joel shares his family's Transpac racing history and looks forward to joining the Comyns/Buffa family tradition.

"It has been my life long dream to compete in this race and it has special historical meaning to my family. I am very fortunate that I will now be crossing the same ocean as my great-great grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother have all crossed before me."

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It was 40 years ago Merlin changed the course of Transpac – and ocean racing – forever… now she’s back, faster than ever

HONOLULU, HI – Today a Transpac legend crossed the finish line at Diamond Head 40 years after she did it the first time: Bill and Lu Lee’s venerable Lee 68 Merlin. Her elapsed time of 8 days 02:34:09 did not set any records this year, but this was still better than the elapsed time of 8 days 11:01:45 that she set in her original configuration when Lee and his team raced her in a very windy 1977 Transpac, a testament to the upgrades made to the boat over her long and storied life.

“Lu and I are the eighth owners of this boat for the second time,” said Lee, who navigated this race to be second (currently) in corrected time behind another legendary finisher today, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68 Pyewacket. Disney’s newer boat rates slower than Merlin, so being only 2 hours behind but allowed several more hours gave her the corrected time edge. Nonetheless, Lee said they had a fantastic race on Merlin.

“We had no major failures or breakdowns, and this boat has had 7 keel changes, 4 mast changes, deck layout changes and countless sails through its life. Right now it is set up nicely. She sails better, easier and faster than the original boat, so much so its really a different boat and a pleasure to sail.”

It was this boat that in 1977 turned offshore yacht design in an entirely new direction when Lee’s design concept was to keep the boat long, narrow, and intentionally light weight to sail efficiently in the offwind races of the US West Coast, yet to also be at the prevailing IOR Rating of 70.0 feet, which was the defined Maxi rating limit of those days. Other conventional IOR Maxis were often referred to as “lead mines” because of the large keels they needed to keep their stability for their massive sails and 80-foot lengths. The conventional Maxi’s of this era were designed to perform well relative to their rating in all conditions, whereas Merlin excelled in one direction alone: downwind.

It was this design feature that then prompted a new generation of ULDB (Ultra Light Displacement Boat) designs to not necessarily rate well and win on corrected time, but to be first to finish. When Merlin set a new race record in 1977, she not only beat it, she smashed it by defeating Windward Passage’s record time set in 1971 by over 22 hours. So remarkable was this boat that this record stood for 20 years before beaten by Pyewacket in 1997.

And here she was again: finishing at Diamond Head under sunny skies and tradewinds with the same rainbow color scheme on her spinnaker that she had in 1997. Lee even donned his Wizard cape at his team’s Aloha party at Hawaii YC, just to complete the nostalgia.

Asked about his vision of the future of this race, Lee said “I think it will continue to do what it does now: it attracts the really fast boats with all-pro crews who will continue to hunt for records on big 49-ers, and the amateur teams who are sailing boats they can handle comfortably. There’s a lot for both in this race.”

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HL Enloe and the crew of the ORMA 60 trimaran Mighty Merloe crossed the finish line on July 10 of the 49th Transpac Race, beating all entrants and eclipsing the 20 year old multihull record of Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer by more than a day, previously set at 5 days 9 hours 18 min and 26 secs.

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Post Race Interview with Gavin Brady of the Invisible Hand Pac52. Invisible Hand is currently standing 1st in Class and 1st in ORR Overall in the 2017 Transpac Race.  

Q: What was the most challenging part of the race for you?

A: The build up. The 3 days before the race. There was a lot going on, a lot of things had to come together quickly. There was one of those moments where if everybody achieved their goals, we knew that when we got to the start line on the same piece of water as our competitors we were going to have an edge.

Q: How much strategy was directed towards beating Bad Pak.

A: I think not a lot of strategy was put towards just Bad Pak, because we felt that each team would actually push each other harder. So if we were on the same piece of water, we've raced against them in 3 of the Pac52 series, we know their performance, we're sister ships so we've got the same boats, and the modes are the same. We knew what they had, and they know what we've got, so I think we felt that actually working with them was an asset, and then let the games play out in the Molokai Channel. So we were thinking it was going to come down to 3-4 miles in the last part of the race. We thought them being strong was an asset, we wanted them to be strong so they would push us. So to be honest, we did in the last 3 days probably leave a little on the table by being more defensive rather than attacking. We sort of jibed across and took some wind shifts that we normally wouldn't have just to basically let the clock run down and be safe so I think in some ways not having them close to us actually cost us some on our performance.

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June 29, 2017

VIP Mixer and Presentation by Farmers & Merchants Bank
Gladstone's Long Beach
1800 - 2100

June 30, 2017

First Start Kick-Off Party
Shoreline Yacht Club
1700 - 2300

July 1, 2017

Aloha Sendoff Party
Bandshell next to Gladstone’s Restaurant
1800 - 2200

July 2, 2017

Porsche Palooza and Yacht Review
Gladstone's Long Beach
1100 - 1600

July 3, 2017

First Transpac 2017 Start
Pt Fermin
1255 Warning

July 5, 2017

Second Transpac 2017 Start
Pt Fermin
1255 Warning

July 6, 2017

Third Transpac 2017 Start
Pt Fermin
1255 Warning

July 6, 2017

Multi Hull Transpac 2017 Start
Pt Fermin
1325 Warning

July 16, 2017

Pau Maui Happy Hour
Hawaii YC
1600 - 1900

July 19, 2017

Goslings Party
Hawaii YC
1700 - Close

July 20, 2017

Waikiki YC Party (Purchase tickets in advance)
Waikiki YC
1700

July 21, 2017

Navigator's Debrief
Waikiki YC
0930

July 21, 2017

Honolulu Awards Ceremony
The Modern Honolulu
1630 - 1930

July 22, 2017

Kaneohe YC Party
Kaneohe YC
1000 – 1700

July 2019

1st Start of 50th Transpac Yacht Race