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ALOHA! First monohull finishers arrive in Transpac

by Transpacific Yacht Club 8 Jul 22:06 PDT
2023 Transpac © Sharon Green / ULTIMATE SAILING

The first of the waves of monohulls from multiple divisions have crossed the Transpac finish line at Diamond Head and are now tied up safe and sound in their slips at the Ala Wai Marina getting re-acquainted with friends, family and a return to life on terra firma having been at sea for over a week.

The first to get in at 02:12:17 Hawaii time was Bill McKinley's Ker 46+ DENALI3. This team was leading Ocean Navigator Division 4 for most of the race, and recorded an elapsed time of 8 days 16 hours 12 minutes 17 seconds after starting on Thursday of last week. Next in was Greg Dorn's Dehler 46 FAVONIUS, finishing at 06:38:22 HST for an elapsed time of 10 days 20 hours 38 minutes 22 seconds, the earliest finish of a Tuesday starter in Boatswain's Locker Division 7.

About three and a half hours later Dean Stanec's J/130 NIGHT'S WATCH crossed the line at 11:00:59:41, only 1 hour ahead of FAVONIUS sistership WINGS, skippered by Ian Edwards and his team from Australia. The corrected times among these three teams are remarkably tight: after 10 days of racing only 14 minutes separates the current division leader NIGHT'S WATCH from WINGS in their current third place position.

In recognition of their sportsmanship despite a strong rivalry throughout the race, the FAVONIUS team greeted the WINGS team upon their arrival at their slip with the traditional Hawaiian welcome: beautiful floral leis.

Most of the remaining teams in this division are expected within the next 24 hours, with a notable exception: Stephen Lewis' Newland 368 PEGASUS reported breaking their mast this morning at about 100 miles out from Diamond Head, but have fashioned a jury rig and are sailing unassisted to the finish - fortunately no one aboard was hurt and the spar was cut away without damaging the hull. This is the sort of incident that teams prepare for in Transpac when their seamanship skills are put to the test.

With their two Dehler 46 sisterships locked in battle nearly the entire race but their rivals FAVONIUS in the end coming out ahead, Ian Edwards reflected on what he thought they could have done differently on WINGS in this race had he to do it over again.

"I researched what all the experts said about this race in preparation," he said, "and I think I would not change our configuration. Our Code 65 headsail was ideal for close power reaching and we put this to good use early in the race where we had the lead. But when the wind went aft the larger spinnakers on FAVONIUS really kicked in for them. Regardless this was a great rivalry, we really had fun."

Edwards and his team - veterans of many Sydney-Hobarts and other offshore races in the western Pacific - also admitted he wished he had a little more insight on the weather, the kind that comes from Transpac experience in knowing when to get leveraged out to one side on final approach to take advantage of an anticipated shift.

"We used the GRIB files and our routing program for guidance, and it was for much of this race not favorable to get too far away from the rhumb line. Later then the wind lifted I think we just did not recognize an opportunity on how to use that to come back into the lead, having not done the race before. Nonetheless, this was a great race."

The next to arrive at Diamond Head at 15:06:02 HST was Dave Moore's Santa Cruz 52 WESTERLY 52, the leader of Cabrillo Boat Shop Division 5. Like DENALI3, Moore and his team got an early jump away from their Thursday start rivals and held both the division and corrected time lead throughout nearly the entire race. While still awaiting other finishers to arrive to confirm this title, their finish time today nonetheless places them in a strong position to claim one of the most prestigious perpetual trophies in this race, the King Kalakaua Trophy for overall best corrected time.

WESTERLY 52 is not a stock SC 52: it has had some turbo-charged upgrades to improve performance. For example, instead of stainless rod standing rigging she has carbon fiber shrouds to both increase stability and reduce pitching moment. This and a thorough analysis of the boat's polar performance, sail inventory and measurement trim (assisted by ORR optimization guru Greg Stewart) gave the team a strong preparation for this race.

Navigator Chris Busch said "I think 80% of the success in offshore racing is determined before you leave the dock, and this team exemplifies this: this is the best-prepared boat I've sailed in some 15 Transpac's I've raced. The boat and the team are so good this made my job easy."

Moore was thankful to his team and their performance, but also the TPYC media team for providing daily video analyses of the race.

"My father - Westcott Stone Moore, for who this boat is named - was an adventurer and risk-taker but was never able himself to do Transpac. While in failing health years later he discovered the daily video analyses and really enjoyed these. I'm convinced this had a positive influence on him, and I thank TPYC for making this possible."

Daily analyses of the race, interviews, blogs and more are found on the TPYC YouTube channel at

All entries in Transpac can be tracked on the YB system, sponsored by Pasha Hawaii. The positions, speeds and headings of each entry can be found on this system on either the browser of app versions. There is a built-in 4 hour delay for each entry, except when within 200 miles of the finish when the tracker goes live. Use this link to follow the fleet:

For more information on the 2023 Transpac, visit

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