After months of preparation, the boats in Divisions 6 and 7 will parade away from Transpac Pier at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach and head out for the first of three starts in the 45th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race, the most enduring and greatest yacht race in the world. The start will take place off of Point Fermin. Spectators will be able to watch from the water and from the bluffs of Point Fermin Park, the most southerly point in Los Angeles.
The start is scheduled for 1300 on Monday, June 29th. The traditional and spirited Aloha send-off begins when the tall ship, Lynx leaves the dock at 0900.
Boats in Division 6 are:
RELENTLESS (San Diego, CA), a Nelson Marek 35 skippered by Tim Fuller.
NARROW ESCAPE (Nanaimo, Canada), Greg Constable’s Fast 40.
J World’s J 120 (Honolulu, HI), skippered by Wayne Zittel.
BLOODHOUND (Kaneohe, HI), Reed Bernhard’s Hobie 33, the smallest boat in the fleet.
ADDICTION (Honolulu, HI), Richard Blackburn’s J 35, skippered by his stepdaughter, Lindsey Austin.
CHARISMA, (Barcelona, Spain), a Sparkman & Stevens 57 owned by Alejandro Perez Calzada.
Boats in Division 7, the Aloha Division, are of many shapes and sizes and their crews know that they have a long trip ahead of them. Aloha Division boats include:
LYNX, a 78-foot square topsail schooner, designed by Melbourne Smith and launched in 2001.
BETWEEN THE SHEETS (Marina del Rey, CA), a Jeanneau 50 skippered by Ross Pearlman.
FAR NIENTE (Dana Point, CA), Patrick Hearne’s Catalina 42.
SILENT RUNNING (Santa Cruz, CA), a Jeanneau 42.5 owned by Bruce and Pam Orisek.
HASSEL (Long Beach, CA), Larry Martinberg’s Catalina 38.
ALASKA EAGLE, (Newport Beach, CA) a Sparkman & Stephens 65, which also serves the communications vessel for the entire 48-boat fleet.
It is hoped that the entire Transpac fleet, including the boats that start on July 2nd and July 5th, will arrive in Hawaii at about the same time. That could be anytime between July 12 and July 15, depending on the weather conditions that the fleet will encounter during the 2,225 nautical mile race.
During Saturday’s Skippers Meeting at the Long Beach Aquarium, weather specialist, Lee Chesneau, reviewed the conditions that the Divisions 6 and 7 boats are expected to encounter as they head around the top of Catalina Island and then dip south under the Eastern Pacific High. The sailors will use their navigational skills and play a balance between trying to sail the shortest distance and finding the weather and sea conditions that will deliver them most quickly to Hawaii.
The Transpacific Yacht Race is rich in tradition. Friday evening kicked off the traditions with an Opening Ceremony and party. Sailors were busy cleaning boats, splicing lines and checking sails, gear and food and water supplies throughout the day on Saturday. Many took a few minutes off and availed themselves of a free skin cancer screening and other skin care tips provided by Coast Dermatology of Torrance, CA.
A show of hands at the Skippers Meeting, in which race procedures were reviewed, indicated that about 75% of those competing have sailed a previous Transpac. Roy P. Disney’s 18 Long Beach to Hawaii Transpacs had topped all others, although it will be hard to beat veteran ocean racer John Jourdane’s record. This Transpac will mark Jourdane’s 50th crossing between west coast of the US and Hawaii.
Sailors, friends and family attended the Aloha Send-off dinner modeling Hawaiian crew shirts of all colors and floral varieties. In a traditional ceremony, a representative of each boat received a lei and their Transpac ’09 pennant on a stage in which the backdrop was a banner with the Transpacific Yacht Club burgee, the burgees of the receiving clubs in Hawaii and a floral design, hand-stitched by teams from the Waikiki, Kaneohe and Hawaii Yacht clubs. Volunteers took to the stage and tried their best to wiggle their hips as well as their Luau dancing instructors. In the traditional invocation, sailors were wished that, “God will take care of you and preserve you. May you encounter light and variable winds and be united with your loved ones on the other side.”