Monday, 6 July 2009
by Lynn Fitzpatrick
The July 3rd Daily Standings as of 0600 PDT for Transpac 09 have the Spanish crew aboard Charisma leading the charge to Hawaii. Charisma is 1,734 nautical miles from Hawaii and over 150 miles ahead of her nearest competitor in Division VII, Between the Sheets, a Jeanneau 50. The doublehanded sailors aboard Relentless continue to set the pace in Division 6. They have stretched their lead to 10 miles over the Canadian boat, Narrow Escape.
Lynx, the heavy tall ship, has only chipped about 220 miles off of the vast 2,225-nautical mile journey. They may be plodding along, but the Lynx crew is enjoying themselves. They have left the near shore cloud cover behind and have shed a layer or two of clothing and are making the best of the Pacific High. Crews report that the water is an indigo blue and they have spotted more pods of porpoises, bottle-nosed dolphins, the carcass of a giant Hombolt squid and shooting stars among other things.
Relentless 2 and Viggo Torbensen's TP52 crew from Dana Point burst out of the gates the fastest among all of the Division III, IV and V boats that started at 1300 on July 2nd. They logged over 130 nautical miles from the start to their 0600 check in. Free Range Chicken, Bruce Anderson's Perry 59 and by far the most comfortable ride to Hawaii in Transpac 09, is out in front in Division III along with Bengal 7, Yoshihiko Murase's carbon fiber Ohashi 46.
Gib Black's thirty-year old Santa Cruz 52, Roy's Chasch Mer is leading Division V and is just a few miles out in front of Passion. Black and the crew discovered that their shaft strut had cracked wide open hours before our starting gun. They went through our limited parts and tool kits, found dive gear, parts and even machined some others to repair the problem. Says Black, "(We have) a bit more drag at the prop now, but we are moving AND we made our start. Nice start at that."
From Reinrag2, with generations of Garniers on board, "After rounding the West End at about 1600 we cracked off a little and picked up some wind and about 20 dolphins that started to lead our way to Hawaii!! We are looking forward to the warmer weather and hoping for more wind!!"
Addiction, a J 35 returning to Hawaii and traling the rest of the Division VI boats, tells tales of slow going. Skipper, Lindsey Austin reports of their progress on July 2nd, "The wind dropped almost to nothing. The sails were flogging, so we decided to throw up a kite and see what happened. We got it to fly for a bit but the main seemed to be sucking the wind out of it. So we dropped the main. I know for all those cool guy racers out there you must just be shaking your head, oh well; it was what would work the best. We ran like that for half the day and into the night. We had the poll down almost on the head stay and the kite strapped. Really, I can't stress how it was the only sail we could get to stay full and keep the boat moving in just barely, almost, kind of, not really a good direction." She also reports other boats within her vision were resorting to similar measures.
Light air near the California Coast and a large high front has the five divisions that have started thus far off to a slow start. As of 0600 PDT on Friday, the predictive standings report lists ETA's for the various boats in the fleet at a little as 14 days for Relentless 2, who smoked everyone out of the gate to over 30 days.
Navigators and weather forecasters are pouring over data hoping for some heavier winds to start to sweep over the course so that everyone arrives in Hawaii well hydrated and well fed following the most enduring and greatest ocean race in the world.
Transpac Race '09