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Ho'okolohe passes halfway point in Transpac

by Transpacific Yacht Club 19 Jul 22:32 PDT From July 13, 2021

With less than 1000 miles to go at 0800 Hawaii Standard Time today, Cecil and Alyson Rossi's Farr 57 Ho'okolohe is the first in the 40-boat fleet to pass the halfway point in this year's 2225-mile Transpac race from LA to Honolulu, organized by the Transpacific YC.

At their tracker position of 27 degrees 08' North, 140 degrees 44' West they were speeding towards the finish at Diamond Head on Oahu at 11.8 knots, having traversed 227 miles in the past 24 hours.

The team on board is a mix of nine old and young offshore sailors from both California and Hawaii, with skipper Cecil being one of the most experienced. The above photo shows the team heading off the start line last Tuesday, July 13th.

"My first Transpac was in 1965, on a South African boat called Storm Vogel," he said prior to their start. "I've done a lot of them since, but missed a few when we had our kids. I've probably done pretty close to 20 including Tahiti races." The 3570-mile LA-Tahiti Race is also organized by the Transpacific YC, was raced first in 1928 and has been held 16 times since.

Cecil (shown left, Justin Edleman/1080Media) shared a deeply personal perspective about this race as well. "Its kinda hard with age, getting older," he confessed. "You miss not sailing with your friends." On board Ho'okolohe (which in Hawaiian means "to make mischief") are urns with the ashes of four former crewmates who have asked after passing to be dispersed at sea, a testament to the deep and abiding commitment sailors make to each other while sailing this race. The years and races may blur together over time, but the emotional attachments among Transpac crew mates never seems to fade.

The reason Ho'okolohe is out in front of the pack is not that she is the fastest boat on the course, but the fastest among the first wave of starters that left California 6 days ago. The leader in the next wave of starters who left last Friday is Bob Pethick's Rogers 46 Bretwalda3 from Palos Verdes, CA (inset photo, Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing) and his crew of eight. They too are speeding along at 11.8 knots and have 1500 miles left to sail.

And only a few miles close behind Bretwalda and in front of the Saturday starting group is Roy Disney's turbo Volvo 70 Pyewacket, who is sailing a whopping 50% faster at 17.6 knots, and will be where Ho'okolohe is now in 28 hours. At current speeds Pyewacket would pass the Hawaiian team only on the final approach into the finish, probably sometime on Friday off of Molokai.

Meanwhile reports are coming in by emails and the daily position reports of life at sea. Mark Ashmore's Cal 40 Nalu V described breaking an after guy and repairing a torn spinnaker, but still enjoying nice cuisine. Standish Fleming's J/125 Nereid reported narrowly missing a large wood object, a "reality check" in an otherwise fast and fun race. They also reported that their youngest crew member, 17-year old Calvin Schmid, did not miss colliding with another more common hazard on the Transpac course: getting hit by a flying fish.

Pyewacket navigator Peter Isler's early prediction of this being a "classic" Transpac in the wind patterns and route choices seems to be holding true: boat tracks show an initial sag - but not a deep dive - to the south off the start to get across the ridge of pressure extending south east from the center of the Pacific High. Then the teams are lining up to be on straight tracks parallel and not too far south of the rhumb line, since the wind pressure seems solid in the course area without the light air of the High threatening to move south. Eventually the wind will shift further aft and they will be in full running mode to Hawaii, planning their next moves on where to be on final approach to Oahu.

This is explained in the daily race analysis videos being made by Seahorse Magazine technical editor Dobbs Davis, a veteran of many Transpacs and other ocean races, who uses the YB tracker software to evaluate the course and how the teams are performing. The YB tracker software with 4-hour delayed positions is at yb.tl/transpac2021, and Davis's show today is below.

For more information visit transpacyc.com.

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