61 boats enter Transpac
Four that just made last week's final entry deadline reflect the character of this year's fleet: Dan Sinclair's Andrews 70, Renegade, from Canada; Francisco Guzman's J/145, Jeito, from Mexico; John Harrison's Cal 40, Seafire, from Honolulu, and Tom and Doug Jorgensen's 39-foot J/120, Hot Tamale, from California.
Big and small, old and new, and from everywhere on the map - this Transpac has it all. There are boats from 77 feet (Philippe Kahn's defending Barn Door winner, Pegasus) to 31 feet (Greg Nelsen's doublehanded Black Soo 31, Starbuck) and from every corner of the U.S. and five foreign countries, including three from Australia.
"It's very healthy that the fleet is so diverse," said Brad Avery, the Transpacific Yacht Club commodore. "It's a grass roots phenomenon. People are starting to feel again that they can sail Transpac and win, no matter what kind of boat they have. It's not just a Grand Prix event."
Trophies will be awarded by divisions, and any boat is eligible to win the Governor of Hawaii Trophy for first overall on corrected handicap time. Division assignments are currently provisional and will be finalised within the next two or three weeks.
The match race for the Barn Door (fastest elapsed time) between Kahn's Pegasus 77 and Roy E. Disney's record holder, Pyewacket, will command international attention, but there figures to be lively competition in Divisions 1 through 4, as well as among the Cal 40s and nine Aloha entries.
Harrison's entry boosted the Cal 40 group to 10 boats for the 40th anniversary celebration of its glory days when it dominated Transpac on corrected time for three successive races. "That's from the efforts of Wendy Siegal," Avery said.
Siegal sailed the only Cal 40, Willow Wind, when she won the Aloha class in 2001. Then she launched a campaign to round up a full fleet for 2003. Her biggest catch was Stan and Sally Honey's Illusion. Honey, himself a Transpac icon as a navigator, would normally be on Pyewacket but has given up his spot to another world-class competitor, Peter Isler, to join the Cal 40 group.
Ironically, 40 years after its inception the Cal 40 is the first Transpac class devoted to a single production boat.
Transpac hasn't topped 60 entries since 64 boats raced in 1985. The record is 80 in 1979.
Hawaii's Dan Doyle and Bruce Burgess, sailing the Sonoma 30 Two Guys On the
Edge, dedicated their doublehanded success in 2001 to lymphoma survivor
Natalie Frazier, then 12.
This time, sailing a 1D35 of the same name, they have a similar motivation, according to an interview with Ray Pendleton of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "By sailing on [Gary] Jobson's behalf, it is our hope to raise at least $10,000 between Bruce and I," Doyle said, "and then look to other Transpac participants and the sailing community at large for additional donations. And because there has been no Transpac trophy for the Doublehanded class, we also hope to establish one this year and have it dedicated as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Gary Jobson Perpetual Trophy."
Jobson was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and has been receiving chemotherapy treatments. Recent reports indicate he is recovering...
Roy E Disney discusses Transpac and other issues in an interview with Sailing World magazine editor John Burnham in the current June edition. It also may be read at www.sailingworld.com...
Pegasus 77, Pyewacket and Karl Kwok's, new Transpac 52, Beau Geste - all with
world-class crews - will race the Coastal Cap as a tune-up for Transpac. The 360-nautical mile race starts June 14 from San Francisco to Santa Catalina Island.