This year’s Transpac race from Los Angeles to Hawaii started out with a chaotic weather scene and freakishly slow going, but appears to be ending with the high speed downwind conditions the race is known for. Our Northwest boats are more than holding their own. In Division 8, which started first, Martha is nearing the finish and projected to be 7th in class.
In Division 4, Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 Hamachi is in a tough fight but is currently leading on projected corrected time. This is despite a leak at a bow fitting that had to be dealt with early on. And in Division 5, Allure, a Santa Cruz 50 navigated by Northwest Yachting’s roving racer Bruce Hedrick, is also leading on projected corrected time.
The first boat has actually crossed the famed finish line, the Santa Cruz 37 Celerity. Several more are expected to finish tonight, and then rest will follow quickly. Coming fast is Wild Oates XI which will in all likelihood record the fastest elapsed time. Check out the tracker here.
Hedrick has been sending out daily reports to Allure fans and followers. Here are some excerpts:
Friday, July 24: This mornings meeting started off with a brutal demonstration of the efficient administration of corporal punishment. Capt. Gray had Doug Grant step forward and remove his shirt. He then picked up a squid off the deck, ripped its tentacles off and proceeded to give Doug 20 lashes for having been caught reaching over the bunk board and trying to grab Mike by the, well you get the picture. Not missing a beat having finished with the lashes, the Capt picked up the body of the squid and with an obviously practiced flick of his legendary blade, proceeded to clean the squid, slice the body and lay it out as well as any sushi chef. He then calmly ate the squid, looked over at us and said, “Gentlemen, this is calamari. Learn to appreciate it and you will raise your status with your peers, if, of course, there is anyone else at your level.”
Thursday, July 23: The big news of the day we finally had to switch directions and get over to the port pole. There were any number of indications it was time to gybe, the first being that we were lifted on the starboard gybe with the wind going from 20°-30°to 40°-50°, which meant the swell was on our beam and rolling the boat around. The last one was that since we had been on starboard so long with the boat heeled to port, left legs were beginning to grow longer than the right legs.
Also, our designated grinder, Kyle who is Mike’s son, was beginning to get his left arm totally ripped from grinding so much and he wanted to work on the right arm to balance. He’s amazing, you just put another quarter in him and he’s good to go for pretty much the entire day. So we decided to gybe. It was right at dawn and the windspeed had built to a little over 20 knots which should not have been a big deal however in the gybe the spinnaker got wrapped up in the offside sheet and we had to drop the kite to get it all sorted out. We estimate we lost about 2-3 miles.
Wednesday, July 22: So let me the set the scene from yesterday. For breakfast, Magic Mike served up eggs (your choice of style), sausage and potatoes. For lunch we had the last of the fresh fruit and yes Patty, Gregg was forced to eat his full share of fresh fruit. Saving the best for last, we never really have an appointed time for dinner, Mike just asks if everybody is hungry and off he goes. To paint the scene, it was sunset and with the sun over the horizon, the underside of the clouds were lit up like an artists palette of yellows, reds and oranges with shafts of sunlight creating an almost biblical scene. Charlton Heston could have appeared, parted the waters and we wouldn’t have been surprised. Next, our skipper Eric appears with a note pad and wanted to know what we’d like for our evening cocktail. Since he wanted a Manhattan, I said I’d join him. Next out of Mike’s galley was fabulous spaghetti with a marinara sauce made from scratch. Eric then appeared again asking if we’d like a fine Chianti or perhaps a Barbera de’ Alba. Amazing. After dinner Eric then asked what kind of ice cream we wanted for dessert and did we want a specific liqueur with our coffee. Eric is one first class skipper. Now we’ll see if he ever gets around to serving any of what we ordered.
On a much more serious note, all the boats are reporting an enormous amount of plastic in the water. For those who don’t think this is a serious problem, talk to some of the Transpac guys after the race. KH