The Reichel/Pugh 77 seemed to put away its chief rival, Roy E. Disney's R/P 75 Pyewacket, by breezing 356 miles in the 24 hours leading to Sunday morning's roll call and was 74 miles in front with 288 to go. The former record was 353 miles by Doug Baker's Andrews 70 Magnitude, in 1999.
Roger Kuske, who owns a plumbing and appliance business in San Diego, knows that his dark blue Dynamique 62 was the first boat to finish only because he got a five-day head start on Pegasus 77 and the other high-speed, high-tech racing machines When Pegasus 77 finishes early Monday morning the spotlight will shift to the boat that has a shot at becoming the first in 10 years and fourth in history to score a sweep of honors for fastest elapsed time, as well as first in class and overall on corrected handicap time.
But Kuske will still be parked in the No. 1 spot on Transpac Row at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, and, he said, "We're happy with that." Or, as navigator Barry Ault said as he swigged an island refreshment, "We are looking forward to greeting everybody else in the [54-boat] fleet."
Generally, the Aloha boats are either older or more heavily laden with creature comforts than the single-purpose competitors in the racing divisions. Sailors call them "furniture boats." Lady Bleu II, for example, has three staterooms, three heads (bathrooms to landlubbers), a TV and a large refrigerator. It weighs 30 tons, about equal to the longer Pegasus 77 and Pyewacket, combined.
"It's a very comfortable boat," said Brenda Kuske, who greeted her husband from the official escort boat at the finish line off Diamond Head. "We did have a washer-dryer, but we took it out for more refrigeration."
Such are the sacrifices of the Aloha class, although Ault also said, "We sailed the boat hard all the time, 24 hours a day."
Ault was hauled up the mast four times to make repairs. His wife Sally and Kuske's 77-year-old mother Helga also braved the heaving seas and 30-knot winds to meet the boat off Waikiki Beach. The winds were so strong that Lady Bleu II blew out a spinnaker within sight of the lighthouse that marks the end of the race but hoisted another well before crossing the line.
Helga Kuske, a native of Germany, told her son by radio, "Honey, I'm so proud of you. This is the most fantastic day of my life." Brenda Kuske said, "This race was one of the top 10 things Roger wanted to do in his life."
Lady Bleu II was the race's frontrunner from the day it started July 1. The most stressful time was having to surrender most of the lead to seek stronger winds to the south, well off the direct course to Honolulu. "We got sucked up into a hole," Kuske said. "We had to do it." But they came out still a few miles in front then stretched their lead again.
A few other Alohas were projected to beat Pegasus 77 to the finish line, but Kahn will collect his second consecutive Barn Door award for the fastest elapsed time, although missing Pyewacket's '99 record of 7 ½ days by just a few hours after suffering light winds earlier in the race.
"Our projections show that we will be crossing the finish line around [5 a.m. Hawaii time]," Kahn said through his web site, "or maybe a little earlier, before daybreak. [The wind is] lighter but we are pushing really hard."
His remaining goal is to correct out on Bill Turpin's Transpac 52, Alta Vita, and Stan and Sally Honey's Cal 40, Illusion, in handicap time.
"We just realised that we had a chance at top three in corrected time," Kahn said. "We really never thought that we'd play in the handicap game. So, now we have a new goal."
Meanwhile, Alta Vita still had its hands full of Karl Kwok's Transpac 52, Beau Geste, as the two were virtually even, boat for boat, and due to finish around mid-day Tuesday.
JULY 13 POSITION REPORTS
(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, 288 miles to go.
2. Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, 362.
Division 2 (started July 6)
1. Alta Vita (Transpac 52), Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, Calif., 529.
2. Beau Geste (Transpac 52), Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, 528.
3. Pendragon 4 (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Marina del Rey, Calif., 642.
4. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Lahaina, H.I., 620.
5. Icon (Perry 65), Richard Robbins/Jim Roser, Seattle, 618.
6. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 527.
7. Bengal II (Ohashi 52 ),Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 734.
8. Helsal II (Adams 60), W.E. Rawson, Melbourne, Australia, 813.
9. Vicki (Andrews 68), Al and Vicki Schultz, Long Beach, 681.
WD---Renegade (Andrews 70), Dan Sinclair, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Division 3 (started July 4)
1. Maitri (J/160), Peter Johnson, San Diego, 378.
2. Reinrag2 (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore., 373.
3. Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego, 426.
4. Jeito (J/145), Francisco Guzman, Acapulco, Mexico, 394.
5. Pipe Dream IX (J/160), Scott Piper, Coral Gables, Fla., 509.
6. Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), Jack Taylor, Dana Point, Calif., 558.
7. On Point (Schock 40), Nick Martin, Wilmington, Calif., 606.
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, 521.
2. Tera's XL (ILC 40), Antony and Daniel Barran, Northridge, Calif., 527.
3. Hot Tamale (J/120), Tom and Doug Jorgensen, Glendora, Calif., 611.
4. Tabasco (1D35), John Wylie, San Diego, 581.
5. Two Guys On the Edge (1D35M), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, 585 (DH).
6. Cool Man Cool2! (Sydney 38), Harrell Jones, Dana Point, Calif., 630.
7. Swept Away (J/120), Louis Bianco, Seattle, 639.
8. Paddy Wagon (Ross 40), Richard Mainland, Marina del Rey, Calif., 572.
9. Krakatoa (Young 32), Rod Skellet, Sydney, Australia, 686.
10. Bolt (Olson 40), Craig Reynolds, Balboa, Calif., 686.
11. Lawndart (Cape Bay Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C., 697.
Division 5 (started July 1)
1. Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Wilmington, Del., 255.
2. There and Back Again (Tripp 40), Robert Rice, Long Beach, 155.
3. Masquerade (Choate 40), Timothy Coker, San Diego, 273.
4. B'Quest (Tripp 40), Challenged America/Urban Miyares, San Diego, 300.
CAL 40 (started July 1)
1. Illusion, Stan and Sally Honey, Palo Alto, 236.
3. Seafire, John T. Harrison, Honolulu, 328.
3. Ranger, William Partridge, Richmond, Calif., 330.
4. Ralphie, Jill and Taylor Pillsbury, Laguna Beach/Eleanor and Davis Pillsbury, Snowmass, Colo., 330.
5. Flying Cloud, Darrell and Scott Wilson, Long Beach, 348.
6. John B, Greg Boyer, Newport Beach, Calif., 364.
7. Celebrity, Gerald Finnegan, Redondo Beach, Calif., 372.
8. California Girl, Don and Betty Lessley, Point Richmond, Calif., 345.
9. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif., 365.
10. Redhead, Andrew Opple, Ketchum, Idaho, 454.
ALOHA DIVISION (started July 1)
1. Between the Sheets (Sun Odyssey 52.2), Ross Pearlman, Calabasas, Calif., 114.
2. Enchanted Lady (Roberts 55 ketch), Andy Sibert, Seal Beach, Calif., 235.
3. Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif., 163.
4. Beautiful Day (Beneteau 47.7), William Boyd, San Diego, 169.
5. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 269.
6. Marla R (Beneteau 50), Jon Richards, Mesa, Ariz., 211.
7. Lady Bleu II (Dynamique 62), Roger and Brenda Kuske, San Diego, 61.
8. Beach Music (Tayana 52), Kirby Coryell, Lafayette, Calif., 374 (DH).
1. Barking Spider (Catalina 38), David Kory, Point Richmond, Calif., 424.
2. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Alvin Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 598.
3. Pipe Dream (Choate/Feo 37), John Davis, Long Beach, 636.