Thursday, 9 July 2009

Transpac Race: Updates from Competing Boats

Ryan Godfrey trimming the down wind Code Zero on Alfa Romeo near dusk. Image copyright Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo Update

Alfa Romeo Captain, Murray Spence reports in from the pacesetter:

"Day 2 dawned grey and stayed that way. The wind kept to schedule, lifting and lightening as we progressed through our sail wardrobe, Heavy, Jib Top, R2 reacher and lastly the down wind Code Zero. We have had work hard to keep Alfa Romeo bowling along quickly with the large variations in pressure and direction as the mean wind changed. These seem to be exaggerated by the huge amount of apparent wind we generate.

"We have been averaging 16kts boat speed in about 11kts of wind.

"Everyone is settling down into the watch system and making the most of the comfortable sleeping conditions knowing that it will get very sticky down below once we hit the trade winds and sunshine. The freeze dried food is better than expected, though we are still making big inroads into the snack food.

"We are keeping a watchful eye on the boats that started 6 days before us and we will pass most of them in the next 24hrs. I can only imagine what they are thinking as they see us storming by to the north of them."

Pegasus Racing Update

Notes from Philippe Kahn doublehanding with Mark "Crusty" Christensen - "Tactically and strategically, we feel that we are far enough south, sitting on the 1018 isobar, hunting for that elusive 1020 and sticking to it. When we eventually find it, and when the shift is right, we'll start jybing and surfing our way to Honolulu.

"After the full night's shift I finally got 4 hours of sleep this morning. Crusty is happy sailing the boat at day-time. He's hopping around and getting real busy with lots of odds and ends jobs. I can hear his "paws" on the cabintop while I am trying to fall asleep.

"Today I thought about the video camera on my 3GS and used it on the bow to put up a little ambiance video. I called it "Making Tracks". It's short and shows how it feels to sail this boat in moderate winds. She's fast and wet.

"The sky is one hundred percent overcast. No sunrise, sunset, stars or moon. It's essentially a huge extension of the California coastal fog. For now we see it as sun-protection. We're happy! Pegasus is making tracks towards the barn."

Transpac Fleet Milestones

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

eville Crichton's Reichel Pugh 100, Alfa Romeo, established a new 24-hour run Transpac record from yesterday's early morning position report through 0600 on July 7th. Alfa Romeo covered 399 nautical miles and surpassed the previous record set by Morning Glory during the 2005 Los Angeles to Hawaii Transpacific Yacht Race.

flashTim Fuller and Erik Shampain's suntanned backs have the outline of the yellow jersey etched on them for yet another day. The two have been in the lead for over a week and have been wearing it for longer than Fabian Cancellara has been wearing his in the Tour de France.

Up to the north, Charisma continues to lead Division VII. The Division is strewn out over 250 miles, with Lynx in the rear averaging 3.5 knots.

We have a new leader among the Santa Cruz 50's in Division V. The 0600 roll call shows Horizion with 1,473 nautical miles to go in the 2,225-nautical mile race. Jack Taylor, John Shampain, Clancy Salway, Gene Batalia, John Taylor, Kenneth Cooper, Scott Taylor and Tom O'Keefe, worked a little magic and covered nearly 250 nautical miles yesterday. They sit just 6 nautical miles ahead of Allure although Rob Sjostedt's Mighty Tongaro is ranked second in fleet on corrected time at the moment.

Eric Conn, aboard Chasch Mer, gives us a feel for what the new and improved wind conditions mean for the Division V, VI and VII sailors who set out in light air over a week ago, "We have been sailing either to windward or close reaching from the start (which makes the boat heel over). Which makes living in a world tilted 30 to 45 degrees very interesting. Nothing stays where you put it. Putting on your heavy weather gear to go on deck at night is a major achievement. Preparing meals and eating are a hang on and pray situation. Then comes attempting to sleep; a heeling bouncing boat crashing through waves, assorted blocks (pulleys) and lines creaking and groaning make a sound that rocks the blue water sailors to sleep."

Bad Pak, Tom Holthus' J/145 out of San Diego, is picking its way through the Division V, VI and VII boats and is the front-runner in Division IV on corrected time although Hula, Bill Mills' and Maury Myers's SC 52 is just a few miles closer to its homeport of Honolulu.

Maybe Chip Megeath, aka Dr. Megadeath; Jeff "Elvis" Thorpe; Robin Jeffers; Tryone Reed; Joe "Trunk" Penrod; Cameron "Clams" Biehl; Patrick "Whitey" Whitmarsh; Cambpell "Junior" Rivers; Morgan "Mo" Gutenkunst aboard Criminal Mischief, have been pumped up on Transpac 09's sponsor's Coffees of Hawaii's, sensational blends, because their Reichel Pugh 45 has been smoking along and they have nearly caught up with Charisma, the Division VII leader that started three days earlier.

Their ratings may be different, but the Division II sleds looks as if they are in a one-design race. Peter Tong's OEX, Disney's Pyewacket, Per Peterson's Alchemy and James McDowell's Grand Illusion have between 1795 and 1797 nautical miles left to go in Transpac 09. Grand Illusion, with a 99.816 rating, is approximately four hours ahead on corrected time and she currently holds the first in class and first in fleet position. Pyewacket and Alchemy are second and third in fleet, and Flash and Samba Pa Ti, the TP 52's that also started in breeze on July 2nd are leading Division I on corrected time and are fourth and fifth in fleet.

Not needing to dip as low as the Divisions that started ahead of her, Alfa Romeo, is sailing a course that will have the Reichel Pugh 100 go over the top of Bruce Anderson's comfy cozy Perry 59, Free Range Chicken, which is the only Unlimited boat in Division III. Magnitude 80, also in Division I, is steaming right along and is just 100 miles behind Alfa on a similar track.

Alfa's average over the 24-hour period was over 15 knots. It's not out of the realm of possibility that she will have another record-setting 24-hour run during this race. Her ETA is July 11th at 11:45 am. Expect that to improve, especially as the rock stars close in on Hawaii and the squalls and big breezes that mark the final approach.

Flash, Tom Atkin's TP52, with Paul Cayard and his children aboard and top navigator, Jay Crum and his son Joe, sailing along with Hogan Beatie, Paul Allen, Will Paxton and Skip McCormack are first in Division I on corrected time.

All this, and Alaska Eagle, Transpac 09's communications vessel, passed the half-way point late this morning.

A Second Century Across the Pacific

The Transpacific Yacht Race, 2,225 nautical miles from Los Angeles to Hawaii, is sailed in odd-numbered years as the oldest and longest enduring ocean race in the world. Originally, it was the vision of Hawaii's King Kalakaua as a way to build the islands' ties with the mainland U.S., although he didn't live to see his dream come true in 1906, when Clarence MacFarlane organized the first race. The many famous celebrities who have sailed and won the 44 Transpacs include Roy E. Disney, actor Frank Morgan and such business tycoons as Hasso Plattner, Larry Ellison, Richard Rheem, Doug DeVos, Jim Kilroy and Philippe Kahn. In the past 100 years, Transpac has become synonymous with challenge, adventure, teamwork and excellence ... inspiring a sense of achievement and camaraderie in participants, that lasts a lifetime.

Transpac Race '09

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