Maui News

Transpac 51 Launches Tuesday from Long Beach with 41 Boats Racing to Hawai‘i

July 12, 2021, 4:30 PM HST
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2019 overall winner, Hamachi. Drone footage, courtesy: Transpac YC.

After a long winter and spring that made planning even more difficult due to COVID-19 uncertainty, the fleet for this year’s Transpacific Yacht Race (aka, the Transpac) is now in their final day of preparation. This biennial ocean racing classic organized by the Transpacific YC is in its 51st edition. The 2,225 mile race starts at Point Fermin in Los Angeles and continues across the Pacific to Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

With a total of 41 boats in the race TPYC is staggering the start dates in an effort to compress the fleet’s finish times, with the slower entries setting off on Tuesday July 13. Faster entries will depart on Friday, July 16 and the fastest entries start on Saturday, July 17.

At 1 p.m. PDT on each date, all divisions on that day will start together on a line set 1 mile south off Point Fermin. The next mark of the course is to leave the West End of Catalina island to port, then proceed to the finish at Diamond Head.

Bob Pethicks Bretwalda with the Waikīkī Yacht Club is sailing a Rogers 46 foot boat in Division 5, and will start in the 2nd wave of boats on Friday, July 16 at 1 p.m. 

The speed each entry will make on the course will be determined by the size of the boat, the skill of the navigation team in developing a strategy based on the weather forecasts, and the skill of the on-watch team on deck to keep the boat moving at its maximum potential throughout the race. Corrected time positions will be determined based on each entry’s ORR ratings determined from the Transpac race model of wind speeds and wind angles.

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Seven entries in Division 8 are included in the first wave of boats setting off tomorrow, July 13, 2021. They range in size from Andy Schwenk’s Express 37 Spindrift from Richmond, CA to Cecil and Alyson Rossi’s Farr 57 Ho’okolohe from Novato, CA.

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For each race TPYC divides the fleet into divisions of similar size, speed and type, and this year they vary in size from the seven entries in Divisions 5 and 8, to only three entries in Division 7. A total of 41 monohull entries will start the race next week.

“The planning for this year’s race had many challenges,” said TPYC Commodore Jim Eddy, “and we miss having our friends from elsewhere in the Pacific and around the world join us for this race. Yet we are very thankful for the support we have received from our volunteers on both the mainland and in Hawaii, our owners, sailors and our sponsors to run the race this year. Everyone has worked hard to continue the Transpac tradition of ocean racing to paradise.” For more information about Transpac51, visit 2019.transpacyc.com.

Transpac was originally inspired by King David Kalakaua to initiate the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. His yacht, Healani, won the first Challenge Trophy on July 4, 1889. During the years that the king was an active yachting enthusiast, it was his custom to invite the skippers and crews of the competing boats to join him at his boat house following the July 4 race. He would fill the Challenge Trophy, as it was originally named, with champagne and pass it around for all to enjoy; hence the trophy’s colloquial name—the Kalakaua Cup.

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