Los Angeles, CA (July 9, 2009) - Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton’s Reichel Pugh 100, is on track to set a new course record for a monohull. As the team surfs closer to Hawaii, their eye will be on the clock. Their focus on Hasso Plattner and Morning Glory's record of 6:16:04:11 may shift to two other faster elapsed times that are not touted as much as the monohull records. Those times are held by multihulls and go back to the 1995 and 1997 Transpacific Yacht Races.
In 1995, Steve Fossett and Robert D. Hanel were the first multihull owners to take the Transpacific Yacht Club up on its invitation to participate in the Transpacific Yacht Race. Fossett purchased the former Route de Rhone-winning Jeaneau 60 and worked with the Huntington Beach design and engineering firm, Morrelli & Melvin, to modify his multihull entry, Lakota. Hanel’s entry was Double Bullet. Both multihulls shaved over a day off of Merlin’s long established elapsed time record of 8:11:01:45. Lakota’s elapsed time was 6:16:07:06 and Double Bullet’s was 7:06:27:29.
The multihull contingent doubled for 1997’s Transpac Race. Four entered including Bruno Peyron with Commodore Explorer, an 86-foot catamaran that broke the mythical 80-day barrier for going around the world in 1994. The multihull race pitted the 86-foot monster cat against the 60-foot Lakota tri.
The 1997 Transpac is the year that Roy Pat Disney skippered Roy E. Disney’s turbo sled, Pyewacket, to a new elapsed time record of 7:15:24:40. In the same race, the Commodore Explorer took off two days after the sleds, overhauled and passed them. The invited multihull guest finished the race in 5:09:18:26 and claimed the new Rudy Choy Trophy for the best multihull elapsed time by averaging 17.2 knots. The much shorter Lakota also slipped in well ahead of the monohulls on elapse time also. Lokata’s time was 6:00:30:46.
Lakota sailed the first half of the 2,225 miles in less than three days. Commented Pete Melvin of Morrelli & Melvin, who was on board Lakota for the 1995 and 1997 Transpacs. “We had perfect conditions for the race. The Transpac and the southern Californian coastal races are ideal races for the multihulls because the boats are so fast downwind. Ideal conditions for the sleds are ideal conditions for multihulls.”
Morrelli & Melvin has designed record setting ocean-going multihulls such as Steve Fossett’s PlayStation and continues to do so. Recently, they have been defining and dominating the luxury performance catamaran category. Comments Melvin on the possibility of the merits of sailing a luxury performance cat such as the 65-footers, which are being built at Westerly in Costa Mesa, CA. “The large performance cruising multihulls have more than double the living space, they are comfortable and they perform right along with the 80-foot monohulls. It would be good for everyone if the multihulls participated in the Transpac.”