Strange weather has persisted in the last half of the 2225-mile LA-Honolulu Transpac race, with a low pressure deepening between Hawaii and the Pacific High to the north, making for vacuum-like conditions in the “normal” northerly approach to the finish.
The Sleds and TP 52’s, which were the third start a week ago Saturday (July 13), saw this in the forecasts and dove south early to stay away from the light air closer to the rhumb line, but in so doing have sailed many miles longer than the slower Monday and Thursday starters (July 8 and 11).
The slow Monday starters actually had the most consistent conditions in the race, getting off the coast fast and clean in 15-20 knot northerlies, staying close to the rhumb line to minimize their distance, and having just enough residual pressure to stay on their proper angles all the way to Hawaii.
It’s not over yet, but due to this atypical weather pattern the S&S 52-foot wood yawl Dorade will likely win the race overall in corrected time, a repeat of her victory in 1936. Impeccably renovated and maintained, her victory may be aesthetically pleasing for the classic boat crowd but will not be a fluke: with a pro-level crew and weeks of sail testing and training, her achievement is the result of having all the right elements of preparation, execution and luck with weather come together.
The HPR Class of 9 boats spread among the 52’s and the Division 1 manual-powered boats is close – within minutes in corrected time after over a week of racing – but it looks like the Judel/Vrolijk TP52 Beecom will win this one, with Meanie (R/P 52) a close second and Vincitore (R/P 52) an even closer third. This is the debut of this new rule’s use in Transpac, and the close results in corrected time help validate its use for these style boats.
And not finishing until tonight, the ULDB Sleds are so close that they show they can still provide close racing together as a group…the Andrews 70 Pyewacket’s superb preparation and depth of team talent (having more Transpacs per capita than any other team) explains how they were able to take the early lead and tactically maintain it for the entire race.
Editor’s note: This story originally stated that Dorade was a ketch. She is a yawl.
Original article from Scuttlebutt.com found here.
Photo by Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing