ALL IN AT THE 48TH TRANSPAC
Honolulu, HI – With the arrival today of the final finishers in the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac, race organizers from the Transpacific YC may now declare the race concluded for its 48th edition.
Yasuto Fuda’s Feet 30 Fortissimo 11 may have taken over 17 days to finish the course, but the small Italian-built sportboat with a crew of four intrepid sailors from Japan persevered through some tough conditions to arrive today as the final finishers in the race.
First raced in 1906, this race is famous for its predominantly reaching and downwind sailing conditions. But this year’s Transpac was unusual in two key respects:
(1) Weather: like the last edition in 2013, the first of three waves of starters in Divisions 7 and 8 on Monday, July 13th had the best conditions to get off the coast fast. Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity was first boat across the finish line and for a while the first corrected overall by sailing fast and smart, with a track that resembled the classic Transpac S-curve across the rhumb line course, with some bias to the north.
James McDowell’s overall winner Grand Illusion and his close rivals in Division 3 were in the last starting group on Saturday, July 18th, with strange weather getting off the coast: a wet southerly breeze generated by an adjacent tropical storm system to the south actually gave them downwind sailing early in the race, but lots of unsettled weather that drove them north to find more consistent breeze. Their track was not a classic S-curve, but an arc-like path well north of the rhumb line.
The 100-foot Merlin and Barn Door Trophy winners Wild Oats IX and Rio 100, respectively, went even further north right off the start in search of consistent breeze – Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 may have sailed the furthest north of any yacht in this race in recent memory in search of more breeze: above 37°N, the same latitude as Santa Cruz, California. Accordingly, the elapsed times of these boats were well-off the record paces some were expecting in an El Nino year.