The rodent connection is obvious, and the boat is named for the mystical feline in the movie, "Bell, Book and Candle." But the combination also heralded what promised to be not just a contest of speed in the 2,225-nautical mile dash to Hawaii but also a game of---right! - cat and mouse.
Monday morning's position reports radioed to the Communications vessel Alaska Eagle placed Pyewacket, a Reichel/Pugh 75, 11 miles closer to the Diamond Head finish line although, as Philippe Kahn, owner/skipper of the rival Reichel/Pugh 77, noted that his boat had sailed two more miles than Pyewacket.
"What does this all mean?" Kahn asked in a report on his Web site. "On all the race reports Pyewacket will be shown leading in distance to Honolulu [but] there is more to this. We all know that both boats are going to get lifted as the winds clock around the [Pacific] high, and in a lift it's nice to be the inside boat, which is what Pyewacket is doing.
"However, our weather analysis on Pegasus tells us to expect more wind along a more southerly route [and that] it's well worth sailing extra distance to get south. So Pyewacket is betting on shift, Pegasus is counting on more pressure. Given a choice, Pegasus wouldn't trade places with Pyewacket. The next 24 hours are going to be critical."
As that battle of wits develops, the 25 boats that started Tuesday, July 1 were at the halfway point experiencing what communications officer Grant Baldwin described as "stable" weather conditions with north-northeast winds of 10-17 knots and "seas still smooth with little squall activity."
That's not what anyone with records on their minds wanted to see. On the other hand, Kahn reported: "The tropical depression that is headed for our projected path has now officially been upgraded to 'tropical storm' and they gave her a beautiful name: Dolores. She apparently carries gusts over 45 knots and is picking up strength. We'll stay away from that one."
That could alter his strategy relative to Pyewacket.
Meantime, Maitri, Peter Johnson's J/160 from San Diego, enjoyed the best 24-hour run in the fleet with 228 miles at an average speed of 9.5 knots to seize the lead on projected overall handicap time from the week-long leader, Stan and Sally Honey's Cal 40, Illusion.
Kahn also replayed the first hours of the race when Pegasus 77 took the lead from Pyewacket but then lost it before crossing the San Pedro Channel toward Santa Catalina Island.
"The Pyewacket team lost the start," Kahn said. "Robbie Haines was driving the Pyewacket, while I was helming the Pegasus. When I handed the helm to Morgan [Larson] a good hour into the race we became overconfident and stretched too much to windward, letting them foot to leeward and gain lots of gauge to the right.
"Then a massive 40-degree shift happened and we fell into a wind hole. I am glad that we are learning our lessons early in this race."
JULY 7 POSITION REPORTS AND START SCHEDULES
(Listed in order of projected corrected handicap time, noting actual miles
Division 1 (started July 6)
1. Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, 2,009 miles to go.
2. Pegasus 77 (Reichel/Pugh 77), Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, 2,020.
Division 2 (started July 6)
1. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Lahaina, H.I., 2,043.
2. Beau Geste (Transpac 52), Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, 2.043.
3. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 2,039.
4. Vicki (Andrews 68), Al and Vicki Schultz, Long Beach, 2,049.
5. Alta Vita (Transpac 52), Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, Calif., 2,066.
6. Icon (Perry 65), Richard Robbins/Jim Roser, Seattle, 2,075.
7. Renegade (Andrews 70), Dan Sinclair, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 2,076.
8. Pendragon 4 (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Marina del Rey, Calif., 2,087.
9. Bengal II (Ohashi 52 ),Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 2,096.
10. Helsal II (Adams 60), W.E. Rawson, Melbourne, Australia, 2,099.
Division 3 (started July 4)
1. Maitri (J/160), Peter Johnson, San Diego, 1,611.
2. Pipe Dream IX (J/160), Scott Piper, Coral Gables, Fla., 1,637.
3. Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), Jack Taylor, Dana Point, Calif., 1,640.
4. Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego, 1,643.
5. Jeito (J/145), Francisco Guzman, Acapulco, Mexico, 1,641.
6. Reinrag2 (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore., 1,654.
7. On Point (Schock 40), Nick Martin, Wilmington, Calif., 1,671.
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. Hot Tamale (J/120), Tom and Doug Jorgensen, Glendora, Calif., 1,689.
2. Wild Thing (1D35), Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego, 1,680.
3. Tabasco (1D35), John Wylie, San Diego, 1,690.
4.Tera's XL (ILC 40), Antony and Daniel Barran, Northridge, Calif., 1,675.
5. Swept Away (J/120), Louis Bianco, Seattle, 1,718.
6. Bolt (Olson 40), Craig Reynolds, Balboa, Calif., 1,716.
7. Krakatoa (Young 32), Rod Skellet, Sydney, Australia, 1,728.
8. Paddy Wagon (Ross 40), Richard Mainland, Marina del Rey, Calif., 1,700.
9. Cool Man Cool2! (Sydney 38), Harrell Jones, Dana Point, Calif., 1,724.
10. Two Guys On the Edge (1D35M), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, 1,720 (DH).
11. Lawndart (Cape Bay Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C., 1,753.
Division 5 (started July 1)
1. Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Wilmington, Del., 1,234.
2. There and Back Again (Tripp 40), Robert Rice, Long Beach, 1,202.
3. B'Quest (Tripp 40), Challenged America/Urban Miyares, San Diego, 1,237.
4. Masquerade (Choate 40), Timothy Coker, San Diego, 1,275.
CAL 40 (started July 1)
1. Illusion, Stan and Sally Honey, Palo Alto, 1,236.
2. Redhead, Andrew Opple, Ketchum, Idaho, 1,273.
3. Seafire, John T. Harrison, Honolulu, 1,282.
4. Ralphie, Jill and Taylor Pillsbury, Laguna Beach/Eleanor and Davis
Pillsbury, Snowmass, Colo., 1,275.
5. California Girl, Don and Betty Lessley, Point Richmond, Calif., 1,271.
6. Flying Cloud, Darrell and Scott Wilson, Long Beach, 1,278.
7. Ranger, William Partridge, Richmond, Calif., 1,298.
8. John B, Greg Boyer, Newport Beach, Calif., 1,297.
9. Willow Wind, Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif., 1,301.
10. Celebrity, Gerald Finnegan, Redondo Beach, Calif., 1,333.
ALOHA DIVISION (started July 1)
1. Between the Sheets (Sun Odyssey 52.2), Ross Pearlman, Calabasas, Calif.,
2. Beautiful Day (Beneteau 47.7), William Boyd, San Diego, 1,133.
3. Marla R (Beneteau 50), Jon Richards, Mesa, Ariz., 1,141.
4. Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif., 1,165.
5. Lady Bleu II (Dynamique 62), Roger and Brenda Kuske, San Diego, 1,074.
6. Enchanted Lady (Roberts 55 ketch), Andy Sibert, Seal Beach, Calif.,
7. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 1,265.
8. Beach Music (Tayana 52), Kirby Coryell, Lafayette, Calif., 1,278 (DH).
1. Barking Spider (Catalina 38), David Kory, Point Richmond, Calif., 1,324.
2. Pipe Dream (Choate/Feo 37), John Davis, Long Beach, 1,305.
3. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Alvin Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 1,423.