Transpac 2011 starts July 4 and July 8.
The earthquake and tsunami tragedies in Japan visited lesser calamities upon other locations, including harbors in Hawaii, where a number of boats and piers were destroyed by the force of the tsunami.
While extending deepest sympathy to victims at all levels, at Transpacific Yacht Club we want to assure our sailing friends that just beyond the finish line and the Lighthouse at Diamond Head, Honolulu's Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, end point of Transpac 2011, will be ready to host the fleet.
There are harbors on Maui that suffered extreme damage, as did Keehi Lagoon on Oahu. Farther east on Oahu, the combination of the bottom configuration outside Ala Wai and an entrance angled away from the oncoming force protected the harbor from catastrophe.
There was no damage to Ala Wai Harbor piers or to those at Waikiki Yacht Club, though the more-exposed Hawaii Yacht Club suffered damage to four piers, including the popular Aloha Dock directly in front of the clubhouse. (Thumbs-up to the many skippers who evacuated the harbor ahead of the tsunami surges.) HYC's Aloha Dock is often used for race arrivals and is popular for post-race berthing. Hawaii YC and its insurance agents are currently assessing a timetable for repair (updates to come, as they come).
With 60 refugee boats from Keehi Lagoon presently berthed at Ala Wai, we foresee some artful juggling along about race time. We have met more difficult challenges in the past, however, and we fully expect that a proper Transpac experience will be waiting for all.
Transpac meanwhile is pleased to receive word from two Japanese competitors that they still intend to race. Akio Matsumoto of the X-41, Petite, writes, 'We sail for California at the end of April.' Bengal 7 team captain Yoshihiko Murase writes, 'We look forward to seeing you.'
And we look forward to seeing them. Transpac YC Commodore Bill Lee says, 'Many Japanese crews have raced Transpac over the years, and they've brought something special to the experience for all of us. We wish them the best in 2011.' Other Japanese hopefuls say they cannot commit at this point, and we understand. Our hearts go out along with the hope that, yes, we will see them on the starting line in July.
Bo Wheeler, Honolulu Committee Chairman, reports from the islands, 'It's exciting to see 62 boats already entered in the 46th Transpac, with an international contingent. The Honolulu committee is actively and energetically planning for the arrival of the fleet and an unrivaled 'Aloha' at latitude 21N/longitude 157W.' Wheeler notes that Transpac has arranged for competitors and their families to receive discounts of 12 percent off the best-available rates at facilities on Waikiki operated by Aqua Hotels: the Aqua Palms and the Ilikai. Best-available rates fluctuate with availability and type. See details at the race website, http://www.transpacrace.com
, to learn how to reserve your rooms. And please act soon.
In the tradition of these matters, Transpac Village in Long Beach promises to be bigger, better - and better yet, even more useful - reports Mainland Committee Chairman Warren Wolfe, who also is a staff commodore of the organization providing boat hosts, the Shoreline Yacht Club. Need help with directions, referrals, a search for parts?
Turn to your boat host. Have family to entertain? There will be tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific just steps away. Making the first start on July 4 and looking for your share of the glory? In addition to the Sendoff Gala, plan to attend the first-starters-only mixer on Friday night. And if your crew hasn't met the SAS requirement - at least 30 percent of crewmembers must have attended a US Sailing Sanctioned Safety at Sea Seminar within the last five years - you're still in luck. Sign them up HERE for the last-chance (no foolin') session on July 3.
First start: July 4.
Second start: July 8. www.transpacrace.com