Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2019 - Leaderboard

Paul Cayard reports from the TransPac 50

by Paul Cayard 19 Jul 10:13 PDT October 5-15, 2018
Crew of Pyewacket and OEX arrival in los Angeles - 2019 TransPac © Paul Cayard / Cayard Sailing

While the 2019 Trans Pacific Yacht Race was the 23rd consecutive for Pyewacket owner Roy P. Disney, this was a special race. It was the 50th anniversary of the iconic race, with 92 yachts competing. On July 13th, we left the dock in Long Beach with aspirations to win. As fate would have it, our mission this year, would be of a higher calling.

After a slow first day, fighting the light southeasterly winds of a Catalina Eddy, we finally got the northwesterly gradient winds around 15:00 on Sunday the 15th and started hitting speeds of 12 knots on a heading of 220.

As night fell and a full moon rose on the cloudless sky, the wind increased to 18-20 knots and the boat speed rose to 15 knots. We were sailing with a reefed Mainsail, Genoa staysail and Blast Reacher as we passed into the early hours of Monday.

At 01:55PDT, Monday July 15, a distress call was made to the US Coast Guard by the yacht OEX, on channel 16. Onboard Pyewacket, Ben Mitchell, who was getting dressed for his watch, heard the call and asked out navigator Tom Addis to check on the location of OEX. We soon found out that the sinking yacht was just 3 miles and almost directly ahead of us.

In an instant, and without hesitation, our mindset shifted from full race to full rescue. At 15 knots of boat speed, the target would be just 12 minutes ahead. It was dark and fairly windy. There was a lot to do.

A flare went off and we could see the strobes from life rafts containing our fellow competitors.

A crew of veteran ocean racers, we slowed our boat, dropped, flaked and lashed down all three sails, We made sure all lines were out of the water before starting the engine. Doing any of the above tasks incorrectly could have rendered us useless as a rescue vessel.

As we pulled up alongside and to leeward of the two rafts, we immediately asked if all of the crew were accounted for. They were. We proceeded to board the 9 sailors. We then recovered and stowed their two life rafts. The speed with which we executed the rescue made it seem benign.

Just 100 meters away, with it decks now awash, the sinking yacht, with its mainsail haplessly flapping in the darkness, looked like a ghost ship.

10 minutes after arriving on the scene and with all onboard, we asked if any of the crew were injured or hypothermic. While all 9 were in good condition, some had been waist deep in water trying to plug the giant hole in the hull where the rudder had parted company with the yacht. We got them down below and offered some dry clothes and hot drinks.

The crew of Pyewacket maintained its watch system to operate the yacht in a professional an orderly manner, albeit toward a new destination.

The Coast Guard asked Pyewacket if we were capable of getting our entire charge back to Los Angeles safely to which we responded in the affirmative. Approximately 24 hours later Pyewacket docked at Windward shipyard in Marina Del Rey with 19 souls onboard. Several of the OEX spouses were there to greet their men and all were very appreciative of Pyewacket's efforts.

In Summary

Fundamental Rule #1.1 of Sailing states: A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.

The very experience that we on Pyewacket were planning to put to use to win a race got put to use for a much higher purpose.

Rather than sharing a trophy we, the crew of Pyewacket 2019, share a strong sense of camaraderie, honor and pride in rendering assistance to fellow competitors in peril. There is no greater calling as a sportsman!

Pyewacket crew:

Roy P. Disney
Gary Weisman
Ben Mitchell
Tom Addis
Scott Easom
Brad Jackson
Mark Callahan
Mark Towill
Robbie Kane
Paul Cayard

Related Articles

Transpac Tahiti Race Commodore's Challenge
Calling all Commodores: Get a free trip to Tahiti! The Transpacific Yacht Club (TPYC) created the Tahiti race almost 100 years ago in 1925, and it has been run only 15 times in this time. The most recent editions were in 2008, with 5 boats, and in 2012, with 2 boats. Posted on 7 Oct
Transpac Tahiti at the entrance of the Golden Gate
Race promotion presented at St Francis Yacht Club Race promotion presented at the St Francis YC for next year's 16th edition of the longest Pacific ocean race. Nine entries already signed on, including 8 monohulls and 1 multihull. Posted on 5 Sep
Aloha spirit at final awards of Transpac 50
Lots of leis and trophies distributed in Honolulu "Aaaalloooh-haaah!" This greeting repeated in unison by the crowd of over 600 attendees is how Transpacific Yacht Club Commodore Tom Hogan commenced the Awards Ceremony to the 50th edition of the LA - Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race on Friday night. Posted on 29 Jul
J/121 and J/125s crush 50th Transpac Race!
The J/Race horses are back in the barn and celebrating! First organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club in 1906, the biennial Transpac Race attracted a record fleet of 90 boats for its 50th edition. Three waves of starts over a four-day period got the fleet onto the 2,225.0nm race track. Posted on 28 Jul
All in at Transpac 50
The final tally of boats completing the course successfully is 81 With Jason Seibert's Schock 40 Gamble making it across the finish line this morning after a long passage of almost 11 days, the Transpacific Yacht Club can declare all boats have finished this year's 50th edition to the LA-Honolulu Race. Posted on 25 Jul
Last wave see rough conditions in Transpac 50
Final finishers get rough seas and big breezes on approach By sunset on Monday, only a handful of yachts were still at sea heading towards the finish in the 50th edition of the LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race, organized by the Transpacific YC. Posted on 23 Jul
Transpac 50 - Half the fleet are in Hawaii
A flood of both fast and slow entries converging together on the finish Mostly favorable weather conditions for this race and the staggered start paradigm has created for the 50th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race what was intended: a flood of both fast and slow entries converging together on the finish in Hawaii. Posted on 22 Jul
Finishers start pouring in at Transpac 50
A large wave of finishers has started to cross the finish line With the conditions on the race course remaining perfect, the first of a large wave of finishers has started to cross the finish line at Diamond Head in the 50th edition of the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race. Posted on 21 Jul
RIO100 wins Merlin Trophy in Transpac 50
Fastest monohull without powered performance systems With a finish time of 19:34:25 HST today, Manouch Moshayedi's Bakewell-White 100 RIO100 has become the fastest monohull without powered performance systems to finish the 50th edition of the biennial 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Race. Posted on 20 Jul
Comanche wins Barn Door Trophy in Transpac 50
Comanche team will win the coveted First to Finish carved slab of Hawaiian Koa wood From 2009-2017 this award was given only to yachts with no powered systems, but was re-dedicated this year for monohull yachts of all sizes and types. Posted on 19 Jul
Melges 14 2019 FooterMarine Resources 2019 - FooterFestival of Sails 2020 GIF - FOOTER