Race Archives

2009 Honolulu

Who Will Win the Transpac Bet?

The bet is on again between Philippe Kahn and Dave Ullman. Once again, it’s for a pittance. It certainly won’t affect either’s net worth. It will, however, give one of them bragging rights on Transpac Row in Honolulu and some more acclaim among the international fraternity of sailors. When they meet in Hawaii sometime during the first half of July, they’ll shake hands and one will reach into his pocket and turn over a soggy dollar bill to the other. The bet? Whose boat will have the shortest elapsed time during Transpac ’09?

Their last $1 bet was over the 2008 Pacific Cup. Ullman sailed the fully crewed Santa Cruz 70, Holua, and Kahn double-handed his Open 50, Pegasus 50, with Richard Clarke. Kahn pocketed the $1 in 2008. Not only did Pegasus 50 beat Holua boat for boat, but Kahn and Clarke set a double-handed record of 7:15:17:50. Theirs was the fastest elapsed time among the entire 61-boat fleet.

On July 5th, Kahn and Mark Christensen will set off for Hawaii on Pegasus 50. Three other Unlimited Class yachts, Alfa Romeo, Pendragon 6 and Medicine Man, will share the starting line. They will be racing to be the first to claim the Merlin Trophy for the fastest elapsed time achieved by an Unlimited Class yacht. Kahn and Christensen have yet another goal in mind. Theirs will be to topple Howard Gordon’s and Jay Crum’s 10:4:4:49 double-handed Transpac record, which was set in 2001 with Etranger.

Since acquiring the Open 50, a fully carbon fiber hull with a hydraulic canting keel, prior to the 2007 Transpac Race, Kahn has given it an extensive refit. Turboed with eight feet more of mast height, more sail area, a longer bowsprit, a deeper keel, new sails, some handrails on the foredeck and two pedestal compasses, Pegasus 50 is sitting in the harbor in Santa Cruz, CA and waiting for Kahn and Christensen to take a break from their latest business venture, Fullpower’s MotionX.

Kahn resides in Santa Cruz, yet he considers Hawaii his spiritual home. He’s sailed from the West Coast to Hawaii 11 times. “I love sailing on that stretch of ocean,” says Kahn, who, like the ancient Polynesian navigators, is enamored with celestial navigation. He continued, “You can get to Hawaii just by looking at Arcturus, Vega and Polaris; just like the ancient navigators. That’s what the Transpac means to me.”

Sailing a boat half the size of Alfa Romeo, Kahn and Christensen have no aspirations of winning and fully expect to be sleep deprived when they reach Hawaii. According to Kahn, they are looking forward to being, “jacks of all trades and trying to master all of them.” Mixed in with sail changes, navigation and sleep, Kahn and Christensen will talk about one of their other shared interests, MotionX, the leading GPS app for the iPhone.

Follow the double-handed Pegasus 50 www.pegasus.com and expect them to use their MotionX app.