2.5 hours ahead of Pyewacket
But, then, the Transpacific Yacht Race is no longer Disneyland. Early Sunday morning on a moonlit sea the torch was passed to Hasso Plattner, the man whose team outsailed Roy Disney's and broke his record in the latter's 15th and final Transpac.
Both were sailing futuristic maxZ86s in the centennial sailing of the event and both broke Disney's race record of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 11 seconds set in 1999, but Plattner's Morning Glory was 2.5 hours faster than Disney's fourth and last Pyewacket, lowering the standard to 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds. Pyewacket's elapsed time was 6:18:32:25.
Their average speeds were 13.9 and 13.7 knots for the 2,225 nautical miles from California's Palos Verdes Peninsula to the volcanic landmark called Diamond Head just east of Waikiki. Randall Pittman's Genuine Risk, a Dubois 90 with similar lines, also beat the record with an elapsed time of 6:22:02:35, and Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 and Doug DeVos's Windquest were expected to join the club later in the day.
Their performances were remarkable because it wasn't a particularly windy Transpac. Grant Baldwin, the retiring communications chief, referred repeatedly to "wimpy trade winds," and Peter Isler, who co-navigated Morning Glory with Ian Moore, said, "we didn't see 20 knots [of breeze] until the Molokai Channel." And yet the maxZ86s often exceeded that speed along the way.
"These boats are fantastic," Plattner said. "With the canting keels we have less weight and better righting moment. It's a pity that more people aren't joining in."
Isler said, "This boat goes so fast effortlessly it's amazing...21, 22, 23 knots, and you don't have the sensation of speed you have on a smaller boat. Everybody got a lot of sleep. It's a pretty painless way to go on this boat in these [relatively mild] conditions."
It was the longest race ever sailed by Russell Coutts, the three-time America's Cup winner who sailed as a watch captain with Morgan Larson and said, "I really enjoyed it. It's pretty easy to go 20 knots." Larson joked, "It's not fair. It shouldn’t be allowed. It's too fast."
Morning Glory led most of the way after the three top boats surprised some observers by going their own ways as soon as they passed Santa Catalina Island 22 miles off the California coast. "We stayed together for the first five hours," Plattner said, smiling. "Then we saw that Pyewacket was going north and we were heading south. Then the next day we swapped."
The gamesmanship continued until Genuine Risk dropped off the pace and Morning Glory was able to put Pyewacket behind her by as much as 71 miles, but then Pyewacket steadily cut that deficit in half the last couple of days.
"It was great fun until the last minutes when we had a little adrenaline rush with Pyewacket," Plattner said. "When they came back [Saturday] we were worried."
Isler sailed the previous race on Pyewacket when Philippe Kahn's Pegasus ducked south early to gain an edge it never relinquished. Asked if he was thinking about that, Isler said, "Oh, yeah. Having got stung once by just relying on [technical data], we relied more on what was the best path to take."
Plattner drove the windiest part of the race the final night through the Molokai Channel to the finish, but Morning Glory was a rare Transpac sight when it passed Diamond Head without flying a spinnaker. Plattner and Isler explained that they overstood by delaying their final gybe to be sure they could lay the finishing buoy and had to sail too high an angle to keep the asymmetrical chute filled. "But we still crossed the line doing 16 knots," Isler said.
Meanwhile more key middle-of-the-night finishes loom on the horizon. Philippe Kahn's new boat, the Transpac 52 Pegasus, had an ETA around midnight Monday night (local time) to secure its bid for the King Kalakaua Trophy for first overall on handicap time, currently holding a 33-minute edge on Roger Sturgeon's Rosebud and six hours on Morning Glory.
Davis Pillsbury's Ralphie, with a 69-mile lead in the Cal 40s, was due at 2:31 a.m. Monday, and Challenged America's B'Quest team of sailors with disabilities - now sailing two crew short - was looking at 0400 in Division V.
"I have not been working the boat at all," said B'Quest's Urban Miyares. "Ten days ago, I up-chucked a little and evidently tore my esophagus. I’ve had difficulty swallowing and eating so I’ve been down below. I’ve been in touch with doctors both in Hawaii as well as San Diego so everything’s cool. It’s just been extra burden on the crew, and because of it we now have two new foredeck crew who are amputees. They’ve been learning how to do foredeck on Transpac, a little on-the-job training. Other than that, everybody is doing well here. Everyone’s tired and has been working hard and we’re anxious to get to Hawaii. It’s been an amazing run as we have been more conservative and not so aggressive, keeping high. We wanted to keep things a little more stable, especially with the new guys on foredeck. We didn’t want to bang things up with the strong winds---and wouldn’t you know it, we’re staying up with everyone."
Miyares is a Vietnam veteran who sailed the race in 2003, was co-founder of Challenged America. He is blind, hearing impaired, a diabetic, stroke survivor, has had a kidney transplant and suffers other military-related medical conditions.
The title outcome in that class was settled Sunday when the doublehanded Soap Opera from Texas finished at 11:10 with solid leads over Cliff Thompson's Super Gnat in miles and handicap time.
Making the most of a six-day head start on the big boats, Ross Pearlman's Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets repeated as the Aloha A class winner by a mere 8 minutes 10 seconds over Odyssey after outrunning the 68-year-old yawl the last two days. Both boats preceded Morning Glory across the line.
Out in front of all the other boats except Odyssey most of the race, Pearlman said he ignored conventional Transpac wisdom of going south to avoid the notoriously light winds of the Pacific High.
"We went rhumb line," he said. "We did not go south. [In that sense,] we split from the fleet and had our conditions."
(At 8 a.m. PDT Sunday in order of projected corrected handicap time; total handicap time allowances in parentheses by hours/minutes/seconds; actual nautical miles to go listed last.)
Division I (Started July 17)
1. Morning Glory (R/P maxZ86), Hasso Plattner, Kiel, Germany (0:00:00), elapsed time 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds (betters record of 7:11:41:27 by Pyewacket 3, 1999).
2. Pyewacket (R/P maxZ86), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles (0:00:00), 6:18:32:25.
3. Magnitude 80 (Andrews 80), Doug Baker, Long Beach (9:44:58), 138 miles to go.
4. Scout Spirit (R/P 77), Bill Turpin, Newport Beach, Calif. (32:21:35), 399.
5. Genuine Risk (Dubois 90), Randall Pittman, La Jolla, Calif. (0.00:23), 50.
6. Beecom (Reichel/Pugh 72), Isao Mita, Yokohama, Japan (30:16:07), 404.
7. Windquest (R/P maxZ86), Dick & Doug DeVos, Holland, Mich. (6:51:07), 184.
Division II (Started July 17)
1. Pegasus 52 (Transpac 52), Philippe Kahn, Honolulu (51:49:29), 464. 2. Rosebud (Transpac 52), Roger Sturgeon, San Francisco (55:04:54), 501.
3. Coruba (N/M 68), Rob and Suzanne Fleming, Seattle (57:52:37), 561. 4. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach (45:59:58), 472.
5. Trader (Transpac 52), Fred Detwiler, Pompano Beach, Fla. (52:18:39), 529.
6. Skylark (S/C 70), Doug Ayres, Newport Beach (52:18:53), 530.
7. Mongoose (Santa Cruz 70), Bradley Thorson, Bellevue, Wash. (57:38:37), 592.
8. Ragtime (Spencer 66), Peterson/Richards/Welsh, Honolulu (69:08:37), 675.
9. Braveheart (Transpac 52), Charles Burnet, Seattle (55:23:53), 606.
10. Merlin (Lee 68), Patricia Steele, Maui, H.I. (41:54:03), 577.
11. Bengal 2 (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan (64:07:15), 776.
12. Renegade (Andrews 70), Dan Sinclair, Vancouver, B.C. (40:03:46), 635.
13. Pendragon IV (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Encino, Calif. (65:20:10), RETIRED.
Division III (Started July 15)
1. Reinrag2 (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore. (90:15:09), 493.
2. The Cone of Silence (Super 30), Jamie and Jenny Neill, Sydney, Australia (83:69:39), 469.
3. Cipango (Andrews 56), Bob & Rob Barton, San Francisco (84:08:21), 490.
4. Stealth Chicken (Perry 56), Timothy Beatty, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (80:52:12), 492.
5. Bolt (Nelson/Marek 55), Craig Reynolds, Newport Beach, Calif. (90:16:35), 550.
6. Artemis (Andrews 53), Louis Bianco, Seattle (90:58:29), 562.
7. Jeito (J/145), Francisco Guzman, Acapulco, Mexico (86:10:42), 571.
8. Blue (J/160), Ken and /Cheryl Sears, Nashville, Tenn. (93:03:17), 615.
9. Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego (91:10:54), 630.
10. DH-Serena (T1150), David Kuettel/Dave Van Houten, Bel Marin, Calif. (84:32:16), 628.
11. Barking Spider 3 (MacGregor 65), David Kory, Concord, Calif. (74:38:45), 616.
12. Dasher (S/C 50), Roger Groh, Sausalito, Calif. (89:38:24), 828. 13. Chasch Mer (S/C 50), Gib Black, Honolulu (95:31:20), NO REPORT.
Division IV (Started July 15)
1. Tabasco (1D35), Alamitos Bay Syndicate, Long Beach. (115:31:05), 613.
2. DH-Two Guys On the Edge (1D35), Dan Doyle, Kailua, H.I. (114:54:33), 689.
3. Wild Impulse (J/120), Larry Barels, Santa Barbara, Calif. (122:19:04), 733.
4. Sensation (1D35), Rodney Hagebols, San Francisco. (115:11:28), 707.
5. Kahoots (Andrews 43), Kerry Deaver/Bob Williamson, Newport Beach (119:24:28), 753.
6. Pursuit (Custom 48), Norman and Rosemary Dawley, Solomons, Md. (121:2:04), 775.
7. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, San Diego. (123:41:45), 818.
Division V (Started July 11)
1. DH-Soap Opera (Hobie 33), Scott Self/Nigel Brown, Rockwall, Tex. (141:56:43), 53.
2. Brown Sugar (Express 37), Steve Brown, Santa Ana, Calif. (141:30:59), 126.
3. Super Gnat (Beneteau First 40.7), Cliff Thompson, San Diego (132:16:04), 79.
4. B'Quest (Tripp 40), Challenged America, San Diego (136:41:18), 155.
5. Showdown (IMX 38), Pete Meade/Mike Luna/ Paul McDonald, Irvine, Calif. (136:02:44), 171.
6. DH-Diablo (J/35), Reed Bernhard/Brian VanderZanden, Anacortes, Wash. (150:24:54), 311.
7. Iataia (Beneteau First 40.7), Marcos Rodriguez, Acapulco, Mexico (133:59:14), 242.
8. DH-Jacaré (J/35), Jeff Young/Rich Blackman, San Diego (148:46:04), 367.
Cal 40 (Started July 11)
1. Ralphie (Cal 40), Davis Pillsbury, Woody Creek, Colo. (165:37:14), 146.
2. Psyche (Cal 40), Steve Calhoun, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. (166:05:17), 218.
3. Illusion (Cal 40), Sally Honey, Palo Alto, Calif. (167:07:37), 225.
4. Far Far (Cal 40), Don Grind, Naples, Fla. (164:53:27), 215.
5. Seafire (Cal 40), John Harrison, Honolulu. (168:13:35), 237.
6. Shaman (Cal 40), Steve Waterloo, Alameda, Calif. (166:13:50), 241.
7. Callisto (Cal 40), Jim Eddy, Glendale, Calif. (164:44:47), 233.
8. Radiant (Cal 40), Fin Beven, Pasadena, Calif. (164:09:20), 243.
9. Dancing Bear (Cal 40), Mark Schrader, Sitka, Alaska. (165:01:55), 270. 10. Azure (Cal 40), Rodney Pimentel, Alameda, Calif. (165:50:20), 287.
11. Willow Wind (Cal 40), Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif. (166:28:31), 312.
12. Spectre (Cal 40), Lee Rogge, Seattle. (165:13:28), 328.
13. Bubala (Cal 40), Lloyd Sellinger, Newport Beach. (168:51:37), 468.
14. California Girl (Cal 40), Don and Betty Lessley, Richmond, Calif. (163:20:29), RETIRED.
Aloha A (Started July 11)
1. Between the Sheets (Jeanneau 52), Ross Pearlman, Marina del Rey, Calif., elapsed time 12:12:22:08, corrected time 7:06:08:51.
2. Odyssey (58' yawl), Audrey Steele Burnand, Newport Beach, ET 12:15:10:48, CT 7:06:17:01.
3. Plan B (Peterson 48), David Johnson, Long Beach, ET 12:16:52:51, CT 7:09:45:32.
4. Madrina (Cabo Rico 56), Dick Simon, Dana Point, Calif. (124:52:04), 46.
5. Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif. (126:14:24), 100.
6. DH-Charmed Life (Catalina 470), Patricia Garfield/Diane Murray, San Francisco (131:54:20), 325.
7. Enchilado (Jeanneau 54), Cesar de Saracho, Mazatlan, Mexico. (112:22:50), 265.
8. Shanakee II (Pedrick 74), James Warmington, Costa Mesa, Calif. (83:26:25), 537 (started July 15).
Aloha B (Started July 11)
1. So Far (Swan 48), Larry Hillman, Chicago (147:28:54), 107.
2. Pipe Dream (CF 37), John Davis, Long Beach. (164:43:08), 312.
3. Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Ventura, Calif. (149:50:14), 234.
4. Azure (Swan 441), Samuel Beckey, San Diego. (138:17:59), 539.
5. DH-Camille (Stewart 42), James and Ann Read, San Francisco (141:52:48), 1,022.