Honolulu, HI (July 12, 2009) – Doug Baker’s Magnitude 80, specifically designed by Alan Andrews Yacht Design for West Coast distance races, crossed the Diamond Head finish line at 2:17:41 am on Sunday. Magnitude 80’s elapsed time of 6:16:17:41 (subject to ratification) was within minutes of Morning Glory’s record run of 6:16:04:11 in 2005 that established a course record, which held until Alfa Romeo’s finish yesterday.
Magnitude 80 started the race on July 5th along with the other Unlimited Class boats. It finished over a day behind the 100-foot Alfa Romeo, also an Unlimited Class Division I boat. Magnitude 80, like Alfa Romeo, has a canting keel. It also has a single retractable daggerboard on centerline. With an active racing program, the boat has taken line honors, won numerous races on corrected time and holds records in the Tahiti Race, Marina del Rey to Cabo, LA to Cabo and Newport to Ensenada races, among others.
Owner, Doug Baker, and navigator, Ernie Richau, were pleased with how hard the crew worked the boat to chase down Morning Glory’s record. “We even talked about the possibility of matching the record within the last hundred miles of the race,” said Richau. The consolation for Baker, Richau, Chris Hamel, Erik Mayol, George Peet, Keith Kilpatrick, Mark Callahan, Michael Howard, Mike Pentecost, Mike Van Dyke, Rob Synders, Sean Couvreux and Steve Dodd is that they now have the bragging rights as the fastest American boat to ever cover the 2,225-mile distance in the world’s most enduring and greatest ocean race.
Richau, like many others, has been glued to the Akela – Samba Pa Ti race for the Barn Door and is interested in seeing if Samba nailed the layline from 300 miles out and whether and when the TP52 will overhaul and pass Akela.
Four –time Hawaii Yacht Club Staff Commodore, Al Bento, treated the Magnitude 80 crew to a fantastic feast when they arrived at Hawaii Yacht Club. In addition to having a massage therapist ready and waiting for the team, Bento had Boolie (Paul Whitmire), the RC for Power at Hawaii Yacht Club, heating and flipping the tortillas and adding a lot of spice to the early morning party. This is the second time in a row that Bento has hosted the crew. Bento is an angler and a fishing buddy of a number of members of the Magnitude 80 crew and called his good friend of 25 years, Mike Elias, who had to stay behind at the last minute, to let him know that his team had landed in Hawaii as soon as he saw Magnitude 80’s running lights enter the basin.
Bento has been catching fish and preparing the Mahi Mahi and Ono for the fish tacos and ceviche wrapped in tortillas for the past three weeks. Bento caught a 950-pound blue marlin during the process. His record catch was in 1994. It was a 1,207-pounder that was 16’4” long. So for those who aren’t in the hunt for prizes in the Transpac, there are some other big trophies in the waters around Hawaii and fish stories get better every time they are told. (Bento carries a photo of his 1,207-pounder with him).
Magnitude 80 will turn around and start heading to California on Friday. Barker likes to keep the boat racing and plans to have her back in time for the Santa Barbara King Harbor Race.