As soon as Alfa Romeo took its prominent position at the end of Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, it became everybody’s darling. Its mast towers above the palm trees along Shoreline Drive and it is the first thing that pedestrians and boaters notice when they enter Rainbow Harbor.
There hasn’t been a more generous owner or crew at Transpac Pier than Neville Crichton, Murray Spence and the rest of the Alfa Romeo crew. They have hosted everybody – other racing sailors, Transpac Yacht Club Board Members, VIP’s, government officials, Alfa Romeo Owners and even some of the super curious and dumbstruck visitors to Rainbow Harbor who marveled at the super maxi as they strolled the docks on their way to restaurants and attractions such as the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Whether Alfa’s guests were Transpac Yacht Club Commodore, Tom Garrett; Santa Cruz 70 sled owner, Peter Tong; US Sailing Coach, Mark Ivey or TV news personality, Gayle Anderson; they were impressed by the amount of time and attention Crichton and his crew gave them. Crichton arrived close to sunrise on May 29th and opened Alfa Romeo and yacht racing up to hundreds of thousands of morning news viewers in the LA Basin and around the world.
Transpac 09 and the yachting community owes a great bit of thanks to Neville Crichton and Alfa Romeo for making their decision to participate in the World’s most enduring and greatest yacht race. Not long after the news that the rules had been changed, in keeping with many races elsewhere in the world, to allow for super maxis that incorporate the technology found on Alfa Romeo, Crichton committed to entering Transpac 09. Preparations included shipping the 100-footer from Genoa in May to ordering and fitting new sails, making crew arrangements and stepping a new mast at Knight & Carver in San Diego.
Looking at the weather conditions, Murray Spence, Alfa’s Captain, suggested that a record is still possible, but it may not be as easy to set as it would have been had the race been sailed in the conditions that existed during the last weeks of May. Long Beach and everyone who has been touched by Alfa Romeo wishes them fair winds in Transpac 09 and a favorable passage during their Hawaii to New Zealand passage and the Sydney Hobart Race later in the year. Thank you for adding to the history of the most enduring and greatest ocean race in the world.
Photos of Neville Crichton at the helm of Alfa Romeo as it pulls out of Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor and Alfa Romeo's mainsail were taken by Lynn Fitzpatrick.