Winners and winners

Transpac 52s and disabled sailors reach Hawaii in Rich Roberts' latest installment of news from Hawaii

Wednesday July 16th 2003, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: Transoceanic
There are different kinds of winners in the Transpacific Yacht Race, some measured by their boats' performances, others by triumphs of the human spirit and a few by a combination of those qualities.

A day after Philippe Kahn's Pegasus won the Barn Door for the fastest elapsed time two races in a row and between the disabled sailors of Challenged America and Wendy Siegal's Willow Wind - the heart of the Cal 40 revival - there came Bill Turpin's Transpac 52, Alta Vita, early Tuesday to claim the King Kalakaua and Governor of Hawaii trophies with the best overall corrected handicap time.

It's meaningful recognition of the crew that raced its boat nearest to its rated potential, and none worked harder than Alta Vita's team of Californians and Hawaiians. "We've been preparing for this since the first of the year," Turpin said.

Their campaign was a compact version of a Volvo Ocean Race or an America's Cup, including sail testing, rig tuning and all the competition they could find, from Key West in January to Ensenada, Mexico in April.

Finally, in the pre-dawn darkness Tuesday morning Jay Crum, a lei around his neck and a Polynesian cocktail in his hand, recalled how an old-time competitor told him early on, "Y'know, kid, when you've done this 12 times you're going to be pretty good at it."

In his 12th Transpac, Crum, the navigator, and his mates were virtually perfect. Their closest competition for ratings honours was another Transpac 52, Karl Kwok's Beau Geste, which actually finished 48 minutes ahead of them off Diamond Head at 2:14 a.m. local time, completing the 2,225 nautical miles in 8 days 16 hours 13 minutes 49 seconds.

But the Hong Kong entry, with Gavin Brady and other world-class New Zealanders, owed Alva Vita about seven seconds per mile in handicap time because of its stronger configuration for Transpac's downwind emphasis - foremost, a hull design by Farr that gave it the effect of a longer waterline than Alta Vita. Measured from the scratch boats Pegasus 77 and Pyewacket, Alta Vita and Beau Geste were allowed 46.407 and 39.318
seconds per mile, respectively. That computed to corrected times of 7:12:20:29 for Alta Vita and 7:15:56:42 for Beau Geste.

The Transpac 52s started with the biggest and fastest boats July 6 off the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles.

Besides Turpin, who lives in Los Gatos, and Crum, Santa Cruz, the crew included Pete Heck, Long Beach; Fuzz Foster and Ty Pryne, Honolulu; Ernie Richau, Huntington Beach; Jim Slaughter, San Diego, and Ian Klitza, Santa Cruz. Foster, a North Sails agent, was the team's sailmaker. "They're all pros except for me," Turpin, 42, said, "and I'm retired."

Alta Vita's elapsed time was 8 days 17 hours 1 minute 25 seconds, but it didn't look like a contender in the early stages of the race. "We were the farthest boat south the first three days," Crum said.

Turpin said, "We were confident. We knew south was best, [although] Ernie was uncomfortable that we were pointing so far away from Hawaii." But then Alta Vita turned west toward Hawaii and, as Klitza noted, "the other boats went to find us and nobody was home."

In 2001 Crum sailed to first place in the doublehanded category with Howard Gordon on the latter's Open 50 E'trange. But this victory was especially satisfying, he said, because "it's my first Transpac overall win. It's important for me that we were able to take the lead halfway and hold it the rest of the way."

Although it was not a particularly windy Transpac, there were high moments, like when Heck was driving in the Molokai Channel on the last full day at sea and rode one wave for two miles. "This boat planes like a Melges 24," he said.

The men on B'Quest, a Tripp 40 sailed by Transpac's first team of disabled sailors, also had earned their thrills by the time they finished Monday afternoon. They were met at the Hawaii Yacht Club by video teams and reporters from four local TV stations, one of which also did a live remote telecast - a possible first for Transpac.

"The end was pretty heavy," said Sam Gloor, a paraplegic who plays rugby. "We blew out our three-quarter-ounce spinnaker, and Sunday night we blew our topping lift when it was blowing 25 knots steady, with gusts." Would he do it again? "Absolutely," Gloor said. "Doublehanded next time. It's revived my bluewater dream."

Skipper Joshua Ross, the only able-bodied member of the six-man crew, said, "In one word, we rocked. When we blew out the chute we didn't miss a beat. We were surfing at 11 knots coming in here." As for hardships, Ross said, "All they complained about was the food---and I'm responsible for that."

Paraplegic Bob Hettiger, co-founder of Challenged America with Urban Miyares, a blind watch captain, said, "We were 100 yards from the finish line and Urban said, 'Twelve years.' How short that distance was from the dream we had 12 years ago."

B'Quest finished last in the four-boat racing Division 5, won by Paul Edwards' Catalina 42, Wind, from Wilmington, Del., but was competitive at only eight hours behind third-place Masquerade, Timothy Coker's Choate 40.

"We tried our hardest," Hettiger said. "We didn't slough off. When things started to hurt we just fought through it."

Greg Scott, a physically underdeveloped adult, said he loved driving from the special helmsman's chair in 20 knots of wind, until he pulled a muscle in one shoulder. "But the other guys stepped in for me, as any team would do," he said. His other best moment: "Calling my father [by satellite phone] from the middle of the ocean."

Willow Wind, winner of the Aloha class in 2001, finished ninth among 10 Cal 40s, but without Siegal's efforts there probably wouldn't have been any of the regal boats to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Transpac glory days. "I was rooting for Stan [Honey] to win overall [on Illusion]," she said. "But it's not about him or me. It's all about the boat. We made our point that anybody can do Transpac. You don't need to be a millionaire with a sled and a professional crew. Who knows? In 40 years I might be down here greeting another fleet of Cal 40s."

By mid-day Tuesday 29 of the 54 boats had finished.


(Listed in order of corrected handicap time; actual miles to go noted)


Division 1 (started July 6)

1. Pegasus 77 (Reichel/Pugh 77), Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, elapsed time 7
days 16 hours 31 minutes 17 seconds/corrected time 7:16:31:17.
2. Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, ET 7:20:48:55/CT

Division 2 (started July 6)

1. Alta Vita (Transpac 52), Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, Calif., ET
8:17:01:25/CT 7:12:20:29.
2. Beau Geste (Transpac 52), Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, ET 8:16:13:49/CT
3. Pendragon 4 (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Marina del Rey, Calif.,
139 miles to go.
4. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Lahaina, H.I., 107.
5. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., ET 8:15:42:47/CT
6. Icon (Perry 65), Richard Robbins/Jim Roser, Seattle, 107.
7. Bengal II (Ohashi 52 ),Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 268.
8. Vicki (Andrews 68), Al and Vicki Schultz, Long Beach, 161.
9. Helsal II (Adams 60), W.E. Rawson, Melbourne, Australia, 353.
WD---Renegade (Andrews 70), Dan Sinclair, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Division 3 (started July 4)

1. Reinrag2 (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore., ET 10:06:28:38/CT
2. Maitri (J/160), Peter Johnson, San Diego, ET 10:11:37:08/CT 7:23:46:39.
3. Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego, ET 10:16:00:52/CT
4. Jeito (J/145), Francisco Guzman, Acapulco, Mexico, ET 10:12:09:47/CT
5. Pipe Dream IX (J/160), Scott Piper, Coral Gables, Fla., 97.
6. Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), Jack Taylor, Dana Point, Calif., 69.
7. On Point (Schock 40), Nick Martin, Wilmington, Calif., 172.
WD---The Cone of Silence (Australian Super 30), James and Jenny Neill,
Newport, NSW, Australia.
WD---Lucky Dog (J/125), Peter Putnam, Newport Beach (DH).

Division 4 (started July 4)

1. Wild Thing (1D35), Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego, 109.
2. Tabasco (1D35), John Wylie, San Diego, 160.
3. Tera's XL (ILC 40), Antony and Daniel Barran, Northridge, Calif.,
4. Hot Tamale (J/120), Tom and Doug Jorgensen, Glendora, Calif., 221.
5. Paddy Wagon (Ross 40), Richard Mainland, Marina del Rey, Calif., 146.
6. Two Guys On the Edge (1D35M), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, 193 (DH).
7. Swept Away (J/120), Louis Bianco, Seattle, 242.
8. Cool Man Cool2! (Sydney 38), Harrell Jones, Dana Point, Calif., 244.
9. Krakatoa (Young 32), Rod Skellet, Sydney, Australia, 292.
10. Bolt (Olson 40), Craig Reynolds, Balboa, Calif., 276.
11. Lawndart (Cape Bay Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C., 293.

Division 5 (started July 1)

1. Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Wilmington, Del., ET
13:01:34:12/CT 9:08:45:49.
2. There and Back Again (Tripp 40), Robert Rice, Long Beach, ET
12:13:01:20/CT 8:12:06:22.
3. Masquerade (Choate 40), Timothy Coker, San Diego, ET 13:06:19:31/CT
4. B'Quest (Tripp 40), Challenged America/Urban Miyares, San Diego, ET
13:05:12:19/CT 9:01:37:29.

CAL 40 (started July 1)

1. Illusion, Stan and Sally Honey, Palo Alto, ET 13:00:21:05/CT 7:16:02:04.
3. Ranger, William Partridge, Richmond, Calif., ET 13:13:51:21/CT
3. Seafire, John T. Harrison, Honolulu, ET 13:13:39:49/CT 8:04:19:30.
4. Ralphie, Jill and Taylor Pillsbury, Laguna Beach/Eleanor and Davis
Pillsbury, Snowmass, Colo., ET 13:15:01:10/ET 8:10:15:54.
5. Flying Cloud, Darrell and Scott Wilson, Long Beach, ET 13:16:09:57/CT
6. California Girl, Don and Betty Lessley, Point Richmond, Calif., ET
13:16:28:36/CT 8:13:15:07.
7. Celebrity, Gerald Finnegan, Redondo Beach, Calif., 22.
8. John B, Greg Boyer, Newport Beach, Calif., 16.
9. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif., 20.
10. Redhead, Andrew Opple, Ketchum, Idaho, 117.

ALOHA DIVISION (started July 1)

Aloha A

1. Between the Sheets (Sun Odyssey 52.2), Ross Pearlman, Calabasas,
Calif., ET 12:08:07:10/CT 8:15:07:10.
2. Enchanted Lady (Roberts 55 ketch), Andy Sibert, Seal Beach, Calif., ET
13:02:24:59/CT 8:11:56:32.
3. Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif., ET
12:14:29:40/CT 8:22:00:16.
4. Beautiful Day (Beneteau 47.7), William Boyd, San Diego, ET 12:15:00:28/CT
5. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., ET 13:04:18:33/CT
6. Marla R (Beneteau 50), Jon Richards, Mesa, Ariz., ET 12:19:41:25/CT
7. Lady Bleu II (Dynamique 62), Roger and Brenda Kuske, San Diego, ET
12:01:54:15/ CT 9:12:13:40.
8. Beach Music (Tayana 52), Kirby Coryell, Lafayette, Calif., 13 (DH).

Aloha B

1. Barking Spider (Catalina 38), David Kory, Point Richmond, Calif., 88.
2. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Alvin Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 295.
3. Pipe Dream (Choate/Feo 37), John Davis, Long Beach, 315.



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