Photo: Sharon Green /

Ragamuffin 100 and Maserati neck and neck

Transpac fleet Honolulu bound

Sunday July 14th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

It’s been almost 24 hours now since the last wave of boats crossed the start line, so the entire fleet of 58 entries from eight countries is now on the race course of the 47th Transpac, with the next stop Honolulu. For some this has been a fast trip so far, and for others a mix of fast and slow, but at the moment everyone is moving well down the course, in three distinct groups defined by their start date.

The leading group are the slower Division 7 and 8 boats which started Monday and are approaching the halfway point in the race. The wind for them has shifted far enough east that some are already gybing to port to stay on the favored gybe to Hawaii. They are being led as always by the largest boat in that group, Bob Hayward’s Seastream 650 Manatea. At 0900 PDT Manatea was sailing at 7 knots on a heading of 226°, with 1017 miles left to the finish.

In corrected time, however, Manatea is sitting in 5th place, with Matt Brooks' classic 1932 S&S yawl Dorade leading Division 8, and her classic rival, Sam & Willie Bell’s Lapworth 50 Westward, over eight hours behind in corrected time even though the two are within sight of each other only six miles apart.

In Division 7 there has been an intense match race between two entries from Japan – Hiroshi Kitada’s X-41 KIHO and Yuichi Takahashi’s First 40 ten quarter – where the two have not been separated by more than a few miles nearly the entire race. This has pushed the teams to lead 1-2 in corrected time over their four other rivals in this class.

Of the Thursday group with their light and fluky start to the race, Bob Pethick’s team from Michigan have pushed their Rogers 46 Bretwalda 3 into a corrected time lead in Division 4, while Gordon Leon’s Farr 40 Foil has done the same in Division 5 and Jack Taylor’s Santa Cruz 50 Horizon is doing the same in Division 6.

Yesterday’s starters had a much better launch off the coast, and aside from a brief tack to port to clear the last point of land at the West End of Catalina, this group is now reaching fast down the track. Some were holding high towards the rhumb line – like David Askew’s Reichel/Pugh 74 Wizard, which is leading this group – while the canting keelers and some others have already veered slightly south in an effort to use the fresh 15-20 knot breeze before it may die out in 2 days according to some forecasts

Of the three classes in this group, Syd Fischer’s Elliott 100 Ragamuffin 100 is furthest out, although nearly even with Giovanni Soldini’s Volvo 70 Maserati in terms of distance to Hawaii. On corrected time these two are both losing to the Division 1 leader Peligroso, a Kernan 70 owned by Lorenzo Berho.

In Division 2, populated by old and new TP 52s, Isao Mita’s 2011 TP 52 Beecom is the furthest down the track, but on corrected time is being beat by Bryan Erhardt’s Lucky, with the early generation 2004 TP 52 winning now by nearly two hours already.

In Division 3, the ULDB Sled revival class is being led by a perennial corrected time winner, James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion, with runner-up Pyewacket – an Andrews 70 - ahead by 4 miles but over an hour behind in corrected time. All five sleds in this division are leading the entire fleet in overall ORR scoring.

Among the Multihulls, John Sangmeister's 73ft elongated ORMA 60 trimaran Lending Club is screaming along now doing 22 knots, and had already done 306 miles in the first 24 hours for an average speed of 18 knots - not bad considering the relatively mild upwind start to the race.

The weather for the next 24 hours is expected to remain about the same for most of the fleet, with the Pacific High forecast to strengthen a little more and move slightly further west. But this may create problems for some of the slower boats as an extensive zone of light air is forecast to develop in the first half of the course.

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