Transpac 2011 - Slowing down
by Kimball Livingston on 6 Jul 2011
2011 Transpac is a 2,225-mile race from California to Hawaii, San Pedro to Honolulu.
From such a promising start on the Fourth of July, there are 19 crews in the 2011 Transpac who would gladly trade off the way the fifth began. It's no surprise in the inner coastal waters of Southern California if the wind shuts off in the night. But if you're trying to get to the big breeze in the outer coastal waters, it's a pain.
At morning report, the best distance-made-good number came from Alex Farrell's 1D35, Alpha Puppy, at 68 miles and a scintillating average speed of 4.0 knots. Sometimes it is good to be the little guy, and this is a boat with serious talents aboard, including Sean Doyle. You should remember him from Two Guys on the Edge, also from putting together a youngest-Transpac-crew ever to out-do Disney's Morning Light squad. This is his fourth Transpac.
On the trackers, it looked as if the fleet hit a wall in the middle of the night, but we know it wasn't that. The lines got reeeeal squiggly and we began to receive reports on the order of 3.2 knots of breeze at 205 degrees. Two boats, early on, tried a southerly track. That would be PK Edwards with the Catalina 42, Wind Dancer, and Philip Sauer with the Swan 44, Second Chance. It wasn't working. They have more recently been exploring the neighborhood of San Nicholas Island.
Your reporter looked over developments with Matt Gregory of Weather Underground, and his observation went like this, 'There's a problem going south because the wind is coming from the southwest, the more so because there is less wind down there. Farther out, there is a line of healthy north wind, but it's receding from the coast, pulling farther away from the fleet, and these guys could be struggling for a while. If anything, it looks like the Friday starters could see something that will pass for 'normal' on the Pacific Ocean.'
As Tuesday racing developed, it appeared that Alpha Puppy was continuing to do well, working north of west and making more distance off the beach than most, along with the SC37, Celerity, and the J/130, BeBe.
There's an echo here, and you're not imagining things. It's Celerity crewman telling us what we reported yesterday. There's wind out there, 'if we can just get to it.'
We note that Crash, Jeff Braugh's Aerodyne 43, is not sending transponder reports through Yellowbrick tracking. More on that, when we know the story.
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