Sunday, July 14, 2013

West Coast Tour - Downhill to Paradise

by Kate Sheahan
West Coast Tour Coordinator

The Transpacific Yacht Race, or “Transpac,” competes with the East Coast Bermuda Race as one of the two most enduring long distance races in the world. The two races both began in 1906, however the Transpac’s open ocean course to Hawaii measures 2,225 nautical miles, eclipsing the 635 mile Bermuda Race.

Stitched with the past Transpac races of her beloved husband, Barbara Wallace, 2013 Transpac race committee member, reflected on cruising the Hawaiian islands post Transpac in 1953 before the big tourism push - "when daily life was as simple as storytelling and reading books." She recalled when the Transpac started all classes together on the Fourth of July. Staggered starts sent the slower boats this past Monday, a second round Thursday and the fastest yesterday in order to let all racers celebrate together in Hawaii.

Transpac Yacht Club Commodore, Dave Cort, commented, “the worldwide reputation of Transpac is one that draws sailors who want to compete and sail ‘Downwind to Paradise.’” Sixty boats were entered this year, representing seven countries. Six boats from Japan, two from Australia, one Italian, and one German, in addition to Canadian, Mexican and American teams from Hawaii, California, the Mid-west, and the East Coast.

On pre-race calls with various crew the tone was universally upbeat and with resolve to tackle the job ahead. Ben Allen (Newport, RI), sailing the Reichel Pugh 63 Invisible Hand, was just out of a weather briefing where 10-15 knots is expected throughout the race with upwards of 25 today. He was feeling well prepared, looking forward to sailing with a good group of friends and testing his navigation skills with the stars. Brian Janney (San Diego, CA), mentioned he was one of three newbies aboard the Kernan 70 Peligroso and excited for the spike in knowledge he expects to take away from the week at sea.

It was a charge of giants at the starting line, as the Grand Prix divisions 1/2/3, started in sunshine and building breeze. The Australian, canting keel, Elliot 100 Ragamuffin, a good thirty feet longer than most of the competition, was a steady force off the line and within minutes took a solid lead west.

Wishing all racers a safe passage!

A special thanks to Ron Wood and Mark Saxon of Toyon II (LAYC) for hosting a front row seat of the start.

On Monday, the West Coast Tour will be making a stop at the Dick Sweet Sabot Team Race, hosted by the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, Calif.

Check out
 The West Coast Tour Schedule

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