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‘Kalakaua Cup’ Contenders Continue

July 12, 2017, 12:36 PM HST (Updated July 13, 2017, 10:04 AM) · 0 Comments
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2017 Transpac Comanche. PC:  © Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

2017 Transpac MightyMerloe. PC:  © Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

2017 Transpac Comanchee. PC:  © Sharon Green / Ultimate Sailing

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Yacht Racers Vie for ‘Kalakaua Cup’

Yachts Head to Transpac’s Diamond Head Finish Line

UPDATE: Monday, July 11, 2017

One week after the first wave of starters and four days after the last wave, the bulk of the 55 entries in the 2017 biennial Transpac—the 49th Transpacific Yacht Race—were about halfway to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu.

On the 2225-mile

On the 2,225-mile course, less than a dozen were still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race by Sunday, July 11.

The conditions of relatively steady 10- to 20-knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head.

At 9 a.m. on Sunday,  the three leading multihulls—H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 Phaedo and Giovanni Soldini’s MOD 70 Maserati—were locked in battle, with Merloe in the lead ahead of Phaedo by 57 miles, with only 168 miles to go on their final approach to O‘ahu.

At current speeds, Merloe’s finish time on Sunday night was sure to not only break the multihull race record set in 1997 by Bruno Peyron’s Commodore Explorer of five days, nine hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds, but possibly smash it by more than a day.

(This is not the overall, main winner of Transpac, as this is a multihull, which has a class of its own.)

The other two MOD 70’s were also likely to beat the previous mark by coming in only a few hours later.

“We’re still dealing with marine debris,” said Will Suto, reporting on board Might Merloe just hours before being in sight of the islands. “Today, I had to crawl out onto the sterns of both the starboard and port amas and dangle off the very back to clear chunks of polypropylene fishing net from in between the top of the rudders and the hull. We had to keep going at full speed to keep the hull out of the water. If we had touched down the force of the water would have dragged me off. I was tied to the boat three different ways, but it was still a nice moment of clarity.”

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At 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jim Clarke’s 100-foot monohull Comanche was comparatively close—only 482 miles out and also going fast at 20.2 knots. After having set a ne24-hour position report record (0800 Friday to 0800 Saturday) of 484 miles, she was also on track for breaking the monohull race record set in 2009 of five days, 14 hours 36 minutes and 20 seconds set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. Comanche had to cross the finish line at Diamond Head  before12:36:20 a.m. on Wednesday morning to set a new record time.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division were: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52 Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68 Peywacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’s Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6 and Rod Pimental’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

Visit the event website.

UPDATE: July 10, 2017

The next boat to come over the eastern horizon into the Molaka‘i Channel towards the finish was Jim Clark’s 100-foot Comanche, and at 11:55:26 local time today, they too decisively established a new course record for monohulls with an elapsed time of five days, one hour, 55 minutes and 26 seconds.

This new record is half a day faster than the previous mark set in 2009 by Neville Crichton’s R/P 90 Alfa Romeo II. (Note that Comanche is not in contention for the Transpac Overall Winner, “Kalakaua Cup,” which is awarded to the fastest, corrected time Monohull, not power assisted.)

Skipper Ken Read had high praise for the team, saying, “This was the perfect boat with the perfect crew. We did a lot of work to mode this boat to the lowest safety limits of stability and to minimize the weight wherever possible.” This included crew, with only 15 on board (“one for every handle on the grinders”), and sails, which is ironic given that Read is President of North Sails: for this trip the inventory was reduced to a main, masthead Code 0, three jibs two staysails, and—amazingly—only one A3 spinnaker. For an offshore greyhound of this size, its several crew and sails less than normal.

“This was another proof of concept for this boat,” he continued. “we can adapt it to be competitive in any race around the world. We are all just stunned at what this boat can do.” For navigator Stan Honey this was his 7th first-to-finish achievement in Transpac, and the 4th time he has helped win the Elapsed Time Record Trophy (aka The Clock Trophy) as navigator. The hands on the clock on this trophy will now be set to the new record time.

One week and one day after the first start, the bulk of the 55 entries in this year’s 49th edition of the Transpac have passed their halfway points to the finish at Diamond Head in Honolulu. On the 2,225-mile course less than a dozen are still to reach the half-way points in their projected tracks in the race. This year’s race conditions of relatively steady 10-20 knot winds with few holes has been perfect for the fleet leaders, who have been speeding along at over 20 knots of boat speed and are quickly consuming the remaining miles left to Diamond Head.

In corrected time standings based on current positions and rates of speed, leaders in each division are the same as yesterday and include: Mighty Merloe in Division 0, Frank Slootman’s Pac 52Invisible Hand in Division 1, Roy Pat Disney’s Andrews 68′ Pyewacket in Division 2, Tim Fuller’s J/125 Resolute in Division 3, John Shulze’s SC 50 Horizon in Division 4, Larry Andrews’ Summit 40 Locomotive in Division 5, Chris Lemke and Brad Lawson’s Hobie 33 Dark Star in Division 6 and Rod Pimentel’s Cal 40 Azure in Division 7.

For more information—position reports, photos, videos and stories new and old, visit the event website.

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