Honolulu, HI (July 12, 2009) - Bengal 7, Yoshiko Murase’s Ohashi 46 and his crew, Haruhiko Mori, Masaki, Takasu, Takeshi Hara,Yasuharu Ando, Yasuyuki Hirano and Yoichi Ito were the first Japanese boat to finish Transpac 09. The sun was still high in the sky and Executive Chef, Ken Taijeron of Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber prepared Japanese inspired dishes for the crew and a cadre of supporters who have been waiting for all of the Japanese boats to finish. While there was friendly competition among the Japanese teams, there is certainly unity among those championing them during the race.
Owner/skipper Yoshihiko Murase and some of his experienced crew from Laguna Yacht Club in Gamagori, Aichi, Japan near Nagoya completed their fifth Transpac. Their first three Transpacs were on Bengal 2 and Murase used Bengal 7 for the 2001, 03 and 05 Transpacs. Bengal 7 is all carbon fiber and slightly smaller than Leglus, formerly known as Bengal 2. Leglus is still out on the Pacific working its way toward Hawaii.
The crew, which includes a member of the Japanese America’s Cup Challenge team, Nippon Challenge, made a pass by the Hawaii Yacht Club docks and was the first boat to pull into Transpac Row. They were whisked to the nearby tent and went right for the bowl of cherries. The Poke (raw cubed Ahi tuna), Edaname and Soba in lime cilantro dressing, toasted coconut and crushed peanuts hit the spot.
Murase and the crew were very happy with their performance. Navigator Haruhiko Mori said, “The first three days were very slow. We stayed to the north and waited for the wind to come. After the fourth day, we had a nice sail with good wind.”
Yashuharu Ando, a crew member and the delivery captain, spent 37 days aboard Bengal 7 while sailing from Aichi, Japan to Long Beach, California and over 10 days racing from Los Angels to Hawaii, will leave on July 22nd to sail Bengal 7 back to Japan with some of the other teammates.