Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Transpac Race Update

J/125 Resolute (Los Angeles, CA)- 49th edition of the 2017 biennial Transpac Race has starts on July 3rd, 5th, and 6th for the course from Point Fermin in Los Angeles to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu 2225 miles away. Among the 55 entrants, there will be extra anticipation for the one of the boats to start on that final day, as Paul Allen reports for Adventure Sports Journal.

The cold 57-degree water sprays over the bow as the crew stacks heavy sails on one side for stability. Not long after the stack of sails is secured, it’s time to change sails. All hands are required to raise the new sail and pull the old sail down as the boat leaps over the waves. A crew member on the leeward side vomits over the side and quickly returns to his task, for there is no time for seasickness.

The boat continues to pound and smash through waves into the night. The next day comes and another sail change is needed. This time it’s a sail change to accommodate downwind sailing. The boat begins to surf down the large following swell instead of smashing into it. This is typical of the first 24 hours of the 2,225- mile race from Los Angeles to Honolulu known as the Transpac.

For the next several days of downwind sailing the air and wind will get warmer as the boat enters the tropical tradewinds. Evening squalls must be handled with caution and efficiency to gain the most from their high winds. The finish line off the Diamond Head lighthouse is among the best in yacht racing and is often the warmest and windiest part of the entire course.

Monday start
Seventeen yachts, including Ed Sanford’s J/105 CREATIVE from San Diego YC, set off on Monday, July 3rd in the first wave of three starts to the 49th edition of the 2017 biennial Transpac Race. Under sunny skies and light winds, the fleet left the start area promptly at the start signal of 1:00 PM local time to head west towards the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu 2,225nm away.

This was both an end and a beginning for these teams: an end of months and even years of preparation and planning, and likely a welcome relief after this arduous task, especially those doing the race for the first time. Finally setting out to sea will be a break from all the endless checklists that go along with planning a race of this length and endurance.

And of course, the race is also the beginning of an adventure of many days and even weeks of sailing ahead, where crew camaraderie, seamanship, navigation and strategy and other skills will be tested. The best in each division will be rewarded with trophies and prizes at the end of the race, but even those who do not fare well will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having completed one of the world’s oldest and greatest ocean races.

The morning started with a parade of boats out of Rainbow Harbor en route to the start, with friends, family and well-wishers lining the shore to wish the fleet a fast and safe passage to Hawaii.

The weather at the start featured a pleasant westerly sea breeze and enough sun to reduce the chill of the coastal water, which for the teams will get colder as they head west into the first few nights of the race.

The long-term forecast for this fleet is for the typical northwest coastal winds to start out to be moderate in strength, and as the fleet moves south and west it will bend more towards the northeast and become the famous downwind slide to Hawaii.

While the wind speeds in the current forecast do not show to be very strong, the pattern does look more typical and normal to this time of year than that experienced in the unusual El Nino conditions experienced in the last race in 2015.

Wednesday start
On Wednesday, July 5th, the second wave of three divisions started and left Pt Fermin in a pleasant 8-10 knot Southern California seabreeze, en route to a finish line awaiting them 2225 miles away at Diamond Head in Honolulu.  The group of 16 boats in Divisions 3 and 4 were today faster and livelier than the cruiser/racers crossing the line on the first start (July 3), with plenty of action and even one boat over the start line at the gun.  Starting in that fleet were two notoriously fast J/125s- Frank Atkinson’s RAISIN’ CANE from West Palm Beach, FL and Tim Fuller’s RESOLUTE from San Diego YC.

Follow these teams each day and give them your support- Yellow Brick’s YBTracking is providing the hourly updates.  For more Transpac Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.