In 1977 the yacht Merlin, designed by Bill Lee, set an elapsed time record of 8 days, 11 hours, 1 minute and 45 seconds. This record would stand for 20 years. Ending Merlin's record, in the 1997 race Roy P. Disney sailing the familys Turbo'd Santa Cruz 70 Pyewacket finally broke the record by getting to Honolulu in 7 days, 15 hours, 24 minutes, and 40 seconds. Taking almost a day off Merlin's long lasting time.
In 1999 Roy E. Disney built a new Pyewacket, a 73 foot maxi ultralight designed by Reichel/Pugh. He then recaptured the record from his son with an elapsed time of 7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes, and 27 seconds. The record fell once again in 2005, with Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory, a maxZ86 from Germany. Morning Glory was the scratch boat when it led a five-boat assault on the record for monohulls. She finished the race in 6 days, 16 hours, 4 minutes, and 11 seconds to win "the Barn Door" trophy, a slab of carved koa wood traditionally awarded to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time.
In the double-handed division, Pegasus 50, sailed by Philippe Kahn and Mark Christensen, set a new record of 7 days, 19 hours, 38 minutes and 35 seconds. They pioneered use of an iPhone, with Fullpower-MotionX GPS technology.
On July 7, 2009, Alfa Romeo II beat the Morning Glory record for best day's run set in the 2005 race, by sailing 399 nautical miles (459 mi; 739 km) in 24 hours. The next two days she broke her own best-day record by sailing 420 nautical miles (480 mi; 780 km) and 431 nautical miles (496 mi; 798 km). Also first to finish the 2009 Transpac, Alfa Romeo II set a Transpac race elapsed-time record of 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds. However, because she must use "stored power" (a diesel engine) to move her controls, Alfa Romeo II, sailing in the "unlimited" class, was not eligible for the traditional "Barn Door" trophy, but instead was the inaugural winner of a new trophy dedicated by Trisha Steele, called the "Merlin Trophy". The new "Merlin Trophy" started a new tradition in Transpac awarded to the most advanced and radical boats allowed to race.
In 2017, multiple records were broken. Comanche set the new Merlin trophy elapsed time record at 5 days 01:55:26. Comanche also set the best 24 hour distance record at 484.1 nm, a new Transpac record, a 20.2 knot average speed. Mighty Merloe set the multihull elapsed time record at 4 days 06:32:30.
In 2008, Doug Baker, with his four-year-old Magnitude 80 speedster ripped about 3 1/2 days off Kathmandu's 1994 elapsed time record, sailing to Tahiti in 11 days 10 hours 13 minutes 18 seconds (average speed 13.0 knots). He said, "When you have a boat like this, any record is always your goal. It's an adventure, not just a race."