Hap Fauth's Bella Mente, re-jiggered to race Transpac, fulfilled her mission just before dawn today, crossing the Diamond Head Light finish line to capture the Barn Door Trophy as first finisher of the 46th Transpacific Yacht Race, Los Angeles to Honolulu.
Bella Mente's race began on July 8 at 1300 PDT. Her official finish time is 0534 HST for the measured distance of 2,225 miles.
Fauth's Reichel-Pugh designed sloop was lengthened five feet, to 74 feet overall, and apparently that mattered. She was able to hold off a strong bid from Doug Baker's Magnitude 80, reconfigured for this race from canting-keel to fixed keel, to make it eligible to race for the Barn Door. Magnitude was expected to finish at about 0800 HST.
In the final two days of the passage, Baker and his navigator, Ernie Richau, made life interesting for Fauth and his navigator, Ian Moore, by breaking away to the south, out of cover, to roll the dice. At one point they took 40 miles out of Bella Mente's lead and at another point were equidistant from the finish, but Bella Mente had the more favorable sailing angle and put the angle to best use.
Transpac will have further bulletins and interviews with the crews after they come ashore.