Saturday, 11 July 2009

Transpac Race: Alfa Romeo Poised for Transpac Record

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo is on track to break one record and keep us holding our breaths right down to the last second. After knocking out couple of 400-nautical mile days since departing Los Angeles, Alfa Romeo's pace slowed a bit on July 9th and she posted an awesome 391-nautical-mile day. The 0600 position report shows Alfa Romeo within 367 nautical miles of Hawaii and the 20-knot easterly winds and two to three meter seas stretch between her and her Diamond Head destination. She is less than a day away. Her ETA according to the 0600 position report is 04:17 am PDT, or 01:17 am HST. Everyone is routing for perfectly executed maneuvers from the 16-member crew.

Alfa Romeo, the 100-foot Reichel Pugh, owned by Neville Crichton, is poised to be the first boat ever to collect the Merlin Trophy, for the RSS 51 and 52 waiver yachts (exempt from the Racing Rules of Sailing limitations on moveable ballast and/or stored power) up to 100 feet with the shortest elapsed time. These boats are ineligible for the Barn Door Trophy, which leaves the Barn Door wide open to boats that are fully compliant with RRS 51 and 52.

Alfa Romeo is also set to become the tenth boat in the history of the Transpac, the most enduring and greatest ocean race in the world, to have its name on the Clock Trophy. If all goes according to plan, Crichton will participate in a recent Transpac ritual in which he will join the likes of Roy E. Disney and Hasso Plattner in turning back the dials on the face of the Clock Trophy to indicate the elapsed time record set in 2009.

A few boats are battling to lay claims on the coveted Barn Door trophy for the fastest elapsed time recorded by a traditionally ballasted monohull. Akela is holding on to the lead and the TP52's, Samba Pa Ti and Flash, are trying to reel her in.

Flash has kept its clutches on the King Kalakaua Trophy for yet another 24-hour period. The King Kalakaua Trophy is for the overall winner on corrected time.

The battle on the high seas between OEX and Pyewacket continues to rage. Pyewacket is ahead by a mile but behind by 23 minutes on corrected time.

Criminal Mischief is looking as if it will have its Aloha party before Magnitude 80 on Saturday. Criminal Mischief is the leader in Division III by over a day on elapsed time.

Bad Pak, Horizon, Relentless, and Charisma have retained their leads in Divisions IV, V, VI and VII, respectively. All but Bad Pak are leading on distance traveled and elapsed time. Tachyon III has the least distance remaining to travel to reach Hawaii in Division IV.

A number of fun traditions await the racers once they surf across the finish line. The boats will be escorted from the finish line to the dock. The deep draft boats will dock near Aloha Tower in Honolulu. After their official inspection has been completed, the crew will be given leis, photos will be taken, friends and family will be able to join them and then they go to their Hawaiian host-sponsored party.

Hosting boats and teams is a tradition that dates back to the first race in 1906 when Clarence MacFarlane, a Honolulu racing sailor, invited friends from San Francisco and Los Angeles to race him to Hawaii in a race inspired by King Kalakaua. Over 600 Hawaiians and 50 companies and organizations are playing host to the Transpac sailors. Regardless of when Alfa Romeo arrives, Cades Schutte LLP and Jimmy Buffett's Restaurant & Bar will sponsor the team's party. Maybe knowing that they have Jimmy Buffet's famous slider burgers waiting for them will spur the Alfa Romeo team on to crossing the finish line in time for a late night snack on land.

After the boat and crew pass inspection they will jump into Alfa Romeo cars and be driven to Waikiki Yacht Club for a press conference followed by a party thrown by their hosts, Cades Schutte LLP and Jimmy Buffett's Restaurant & Bar.

Transpac Race

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