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Divisions Set for 49th Transpac

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Los Angeles, CA – Race managers at the Transpacific YC have divided this year’s fleet of 55 entries into seven Monohull and one Multihull divisions for next month’s start of the 49th biennial Los Angeles-Honolulu Transpac Race. Each of the three starts planned for this ocean racing classic will be held near the Point Fermin buoy near San Pedro in Los Angeles, with the finish being 2225 miles west off the Diamond Head buoy in Honolulu.

The only other mark of the course in this race is the West End of Catalina Island, 26 miles away from Point Fermin, which they must leave to port. From there all entries will choose their paths to Hawaii based on their predictions of weather, sea state, and the performance envelopes for their boat.

The starting order is in reverse order of rated speed, with three classes – Divisions 5, 6 and 7 – being first to start the race on Monday, July 3rd, with the starting gun to fire at 1:00 PM local time. In all, 17 yachts will be leaving the west coast of the continent on this day, and amongst the three start days this is among the most diverse fleet in terms of size, style and international hailing ports: boat sizes range from Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s light and fast Hobie 33 Dark Star from Alberta, Canada to Ross Pearlman’s more stately and comfortable Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets from Newport Beach. And besides Dark Star, there are three other international entries in this group: Hiroshige Ikeda’s XP 44 t Draconis from Kansai, Japan, Karl Otto Book’s Wasa 44 Cubaneren from Aasgaardstrand, Norway, and Michael St Aldwyn’s J&J 50 Zephyr from London, England.

On Wednesday, July 5th the second wave of 16 starters from Divisions 3 and 4 will start the race at Point Fermin also at 1:00 PM local time. These boats are more performance-oriented than those in the first wave of starters, and range from Scott Grealish’s carbon fiber Farr 400 BlueFlash in Division 3 to the 10-strong group of fast but more conventionally-built Santa Cruz 50’s and 52’s in Division 4. Being of similar size and speed, this is the largest and could possibly be the most competitive class in this year’s fleet.

And on Thursday, July 6th the final wave of the fastest boats will start to leave Point Fermin once again at 1:00 PM local time, starting with Division 2’s competitive mix of eight Bill Lee and Alan Andrews-designed ULDB Sleds, including Lee’s newly-renovated 67-foot Merlin, celebrating her 40th anniversary of winning the 1977 Transpac and setting a course record that stood for 20 years. And starting with them will be Division 1’s collection of eight fast designs from both the past – such as Avanasy Isaev’s 80-foot Grand Mistral maxi from the 1970’s – and the present: Tom Holthus’s Pac52 is brand new this Spring. And among this group are two 100-footers: Manouch Moshayedi’s Bakewell-White-designed Rio100 and the VPLP-designed 100-footer Comanche, a first-to-finish course record contender, skippered by Ken Read.

The last wave to start are the fast multihulls, also starting on Thursday, whose ranks include two MOD 70’s – Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati and Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 – that may be exciting with match race their way to Honolulu. Just a few weeks ago Phaedo set a new multihull course record of 3 days 16 hours 52 minutes and 3 seconds, so it will be interesting to see if favorable weather and a close rival will produce similar spectacular speeds to set a race record as well…among both the multihulls and monohulls.

“We have compressed the starts by a few days this year in the hope to further condense the finish dates and also to give everyone a little better chance of experiencing the same weather patterns during the race,” say TPYC Race Director Tom Trujillo. “This we hope will make the overall prize scoring more fair for all.”