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2015 Honolulu

Race News

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

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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