Occasionally the Transpacific Yacht Club’s race from Los Angeles to Honolulu has its odd-year biennial schedule coincide with the Pacific Ocean’s cycle of unusual weather called El Nino. Those that live in or around the Pacific know exactly what this means: the normal and predictable pattern of weather goes haywire for a year or two, a consequence of equatorial current reversals and the havoc this wreaks on weather patterns.
Fifty-six monohulls and two multihulls hailing from six countries around the Pacific and two from Europe entered the 47th biennial edition of the Transpacific Yacht Club’s race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, with all but two completing the 2225-mile course. The race was characterized primarily by light and irregular wind conditions for the fastest boats, so no course records were broken this year. However, steadier weather for the smaller and slower entries gave them an advantage to claim trophies awarded for overall results in corrected time.
Following the precedent set by Commodore Dale Nordin in 2008, in 2012 Transpac again accepted challenges for the race from Los Angeles to Tahiti. Initially it appeared that 5 boats might accept the challenge, but in the end only Steve Rander with RAGE and Karl Kwok with BEAU GESTE came to the foggy start line off Pt. Fermin. With the clock winding down to the start, 1300 from Point Fermin, Rage skipper Steve Rander was sounding nonchalant. “We’re just sitting around trying to think of anything we’ve forgotten,” he said. “I’ve done 23 Transpac crossings, all between the West Coast and Hawaii. Now it’s time for something different.” And if that something different, all the way to French Polynesia, turns out to be a race with only two boats entered? “You have to commit a long way ahead,” Rander said. With a veteran crew of longtime friends and family (“no rock stars”) the argument comes down to doing it now, regardless, “because if not, we’ll be too old.” So how does he feel now? “It’s still a race. We’re racing every boat that ever sailed to Tahiti.” And who wouldn’t like to sail to Tahiti?
Interview with TPYC Commodore Bill Lee in 2011.
Transpac (TP): Congratulations on your appointment as TPYC Commodore. Any big news for the 2011 race???
Bill Lee (BL): We are looking forward to a great race is 2011. To make things easier for first time and returning entries, we have made two changes. First, a sat phone can be carried in place of a SSB if it is left on full time. Second, the celestial sight is optional rather than required—serious navigators can enter their sights in a contest. On the organizational end, the NOR has already been issued, discussions are in place with sponsors, and the Honolulu Committee had their first meeting. At this point, everything is falling together.