Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Transpac 2011 - First spinnakers

by Kimball Livingston on 11 Jul 2011
The helo view of Bella Mente getting out of town - Transpac 2011 © Sharon Green/ ultimatesailing.com http://www.ultimatesailing.com
Psst! Don't tell the old girl there's a replacement on the way. Hap Fauth's mini-maxi, Bella Mente, set a blistering pace overnight - not just another Saturday night - and in these early stages of Transpac 2011 is threatening the 7 day, 11 hour Barn Door record set in 1999 by Roy Disney's RP75, Pyewacket III. A record, that is, for fixed-keel monohulls employing no stored energy. That's the regulation for Transpac's most coveted prize, the Barn Door Trophy.

To be clear about this: Hasso Plattner's cant-keeled Morning Glory lowered the monohull course record to six days, 16 hours in 2005, and Neville Crichton's cant-keeled Alfa Romeo in 2009 lowered it to five days, 14 hours. But for a lot of these boats, this year, it's about fixed keels and the Barn Door. Some 32 miles astern of Bella Mente and 12 degrees to the north (at morning roll call; not subject to the six-hour transponder delay) was Magnitude 80, built with a canting keel but reconfigured for this race with a fixed keel so that Doug Baker could have another crack at the Barn Door.

With Friday starters winning the luck of the draw - a fast pass through the inner coastal waters and an easy launch into the synoptic wind on the ocean - the navigators will soon be showing their hand as they 'pick a lane' for rounding below the calms of the Pacific High Pressure Zone. To that end, the smaller, slower Monday starters who worked north of the rhumb line, just to keep moving, are likely to be twice-punished.

Or thrice, in the case of Harry Zanville's SC37, Celerity, farther north than anybody and reporting that, overnight, they tangled with a fishing net and spent 45 minutes overboard, diving and knifing, to set themselves free. Celerity, racing in Division six, showed 1,324 miles to go at morning roll call. Meanwhile, a couple hundred miles to the south, P.K. Edwards' Catalina 42, Wind Dancer, showed a pokey 1,509 miles to go, race-cruising in the Aloha division.


But Wind Dancer's southerly track, purchased with a lot of torture in the light winds suffered early-on, puts her right where the hotshot navigators on Bella Mente, Magnitude, Pendragon VI, etcetera, are aimed. Provided Wind Dancer doesn't get run over (Bella Mente, closing from astern, showed an average speed over 24 hours of 15.4 knots), Edwards is headed toward a happy patch of water.

Meanwhile, O Canada navigator Kevin McMeel is making a big play and committing his boat even farther to the south. We may see some nose-to-nose racing down the final stretch, but these are the hours when the navigators put their cards down. These are the moves that determine who will be racing nose-to-nose at the front, and who will be racing nose-to-nose back in the swamp.

The six-hour delay in transponder updating was imposed for this purpose, so that navigators must think strategically about how to play the course, rather than act tactically and perhaps cover an opponent's moves hour by hour or even cover minute by minute. O Canada blew the tapes out of their A2 at sundown Saturday and were last reporting sailing with an A2 they bought second-hand just weeks ago. 'Our first non-intentional sail change,' as McMeel referred to it. He sounded quite pleased with the second-hand purchase.

Around the fleet there are some great battles forming. 'Dr. Laura's' Katana led the handicap standings this morning in Division two but was also farthest north in the group and possibly vulnerable for that.

The sleds are still tightly grouped, led by Pyewacket, and the six SC50s racing as a class are, frankly, as bunched as you would expect to see them without a transponder delay.

Flaca had the lead this morning, but I like this note from Jack Taylor's never-to-be-counted-out Horizon. It's Jon 'Hip' Shampain reporting as the boat sails under Code Zero and genoa staysail 'toward the ridge where the trades should kick in.

The breeze has been backing all the time, and finally we see it east of north occasionally. . . The big boy Belle Mente is over 200nm right down our intended track, posting a 395 nm daily run (quite impressive) and the Criminal Mischief gang is 40+ miles in front of us taking a similar route.'

And a possible key to success? 'This morning we finally see some sun, and with the code up we sail flatter and a few knots faster. But we're anxious for the kites. We should be able to start drying out this yacht now.

As usual we are eating good food, organic salad makings from my garden along with frozen dinners that each crew member makes. No freeze dried for the group. The boys are beginning to get into the ebb and flow of being offshore. Hawaii awaits.'

And this report was done wrote and ready to be posted when a note popped up in the Inbox from the northernmost of the SC50s, Bill Helvestine's Deception from San Francisco Bay. Here's Bill: 'After sailing through the night with a reefed main and jib top (a high-cut reaching sail), we were able to shake our reef and put up our brand new genoa staysail.

About five hours later, the wind veered enough that we've been able to hold our A3 (small reaching spinnaker) and our spinnaker staysail. Winds are averaging around 18 knots and oscillating between 340 and 350 degrees and we're averaging 12 knots. The water is warmer. The sun is out.' Yes, children, the heading and speed numbers shown on the Yellowbrick tracking are six-hours delayed along with the position reporting. This will continue until the lead boat crosses a line 100 miles out from Diamond Head Light.

Bella Mente is a Reichel-Pugh 69, first-to-finish in the 2006 Newport-Bermuda. She broke her rig in a Cabo Race in the spring, and the crew has been rushed to get a replacement installed and tuned while a new boat is coming along. Before flying east to oversee work on the new boat, team manager Rob Ouellette watched Friday's start from ashore at Point Fermin and commented:

'From our vantage point, Bella seemed to be moving nicely against our main competitor, Magnitude 80. Magnitude seemed overpowered sailing upwind in 15-18 knots of breeze . . . Routing as of Saturday had Bella finishing in about 6.5 days (early morning on Friday, July 15th). This could be a record breaking run.'

Two more boats have withdrawn. Andy Costello's J/125, Double Trouble, should have been a threat for a time allowance win overall. Instead, navigator Trevor Baylis reported 'rudder damage issues' as the boat turned back for the mainland. And a boat that had many admirers - Jeff Urbina's sexy RP45, Bodacious 3, out of the Great Lakes - made the dock in San Diego this morning after turning back due to a shoulder injury to one of the crew.

The boat is set up for solo racing. Urbina and four of his Transpac crew race against each other, solo, on the lakes, and a couple of years ago they teamed up to race the East Coast classic, Newport-Bermuda, on a previous Bodacious. This was their shot at the West Coast classic. The injury apparently is painful but not serious, and I get the idea that these guys might be back in 2013.

The parched crew of Jeff Brauch's Crash arrived back in Long Beach this morning and were met at the dock by Principal Race Officer Dave Cort, Heinekens in hand. Crash turned back when the crew realized they had lost their fresh water supply. All of it. First there was the one tank that was leaking, so they pumped that water over to the next tank.

Then they found that tank was leaking itself to empty. No watermaker. Case closed on what decision to make (turn back while we can) and there are theories as to the cause of the failure, but so far, only theories. The boat had a previous owner and a previous life in Massachusetts . . .

Finally, congratulations from Transpac to George David, Hartford, Connecticut and his crew aboard Rambler 100. Rambler has claimed a new Transatlantic Race record of 6:22:08:02 for the course from Newport, Rhode Island to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, a measured distance of 2,975 miles. A lot of ocean. A lot of boat.

Transpac website

Kilwell - 3Barz Optics - FloatersBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr