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Transpac updates and LVC news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 22 Jul 2013
R P 74 WIZARD - LA-Honolulu Transpac race 2013 Sharon Green/
In offshore sailing news, many boat have now crossed (or are about to cross) the finishing line of the 2,225-mile Transpac Yacht Race, which saw a diverse fleet of racing hardware sail from Los Angles to the sun-drenched Hawaiian island of Oahu, where the jaw-dropping Diamond Head formation helps serve as the official finishing line to this bluewater classic. Line honors went to John Sangmeister's 73-foot trimaran, 'Lending Club', which came within a few hours of setting a new course record. While plenty of sailors were still racing at the time of this writing, you can rest assured that the celebrations ashore grow louder with each successive boat to finish racing.

'At times it felt like we were in the Doldrums,' reported Dee Smith, strategist aboard the R/P 74 'Wizard' (ex 'Bella Mente'). 'The clouds had us in their grip, and we could not get to the south where we knew the weather was better. We did 13 sail changes just the other night, trying to keep the speed up while the wind went around in circles. I think we sailed really well, but just did not have any good luck with the conditions.'

While state-of-the-art boats like 'Lending Club' and 'Wizard' exist to press the boundaries of what’s possible, other yachts, such as 'Dorade', the 1929 masterwork from the venerable design firm of Sparkman & Stephens, speak to sailing’s elegant past. 'We spent many months and some 30 days of sail training to prepare for this race,' said Matt Brooks, who, along with his wife, Pam Rorke Levy, co-own this magnificent piece of history. 'And it may pay off for us with another victory in corrected time. I brought the trophies this boat won in 1936 and hope to add some more with this race.'

Irrespective of whether trophies are a reality, each crewmember that has competed in this world-class event will no doubt walk away with indelible memories of some of the best ocean sailing imaginable. Get the full media download, inside this issue.

Meanwhile, in Louis Vuitton Cup news, the much anticipated second showdown between Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Luna Rossa is set to take place later today on San Francisco Bay, marking only the second time in over two weeks of LVC sailing that two boats have come together on one racetrack. The first time that ETNZ and Luna Rossa met on the water ended badly for the Italians, who lagged more than five minutes astern of their Kiwi rivals.

'Obviously we have lots of ground to make up on the Kiwis, and we knew it,' said Chris Draper, Luna Rossa helmsman. 'We’re sailing better, tacking better, our upwind performance seems better, and the gybing is getting there. We’re feeling more confidant handling the boat, and hopefully we’ll have bridged the gap when we’re racing tomorrow.'

Weather forecasters are calling for plenty of air on San Francisco Bay for today’s race, thus setting the stage for the some big straight-line speed numbers and also upping the tension and intensity in the competing sailors.

'San Francisco Bay is a fantastic spot to sail,' said Glen Ashby, ETNZ’s wing trimmer. 'The breeze is in just about every day. This is a wonderful place to sail. The AC72 is a showcase when there’s good breeze. At the end of day that’s what sailing is all about.'

Stay tuned to the website for the latest news from this on-the-water battle, and don’t miss all the great image galleries and post-racing debriefs from this exciting event.

Also inside, get the latest news from the Optimist Worlds, the Farr 30 Worlds and the Chicago Match Racing Center’s Grade Three Summer Invitational A regatta.

And finally, don’t miss the fantastic image galleries of Oracle Team USA out sailing both of their AC72 class catamarans around the racecourse on San Francisco Bay.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Naiad/Oracle SupplierZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82Giacomo Yacht Sale