Rage and Beau Geste do a classic Port and Starboard match racing start heading for Tahiti. The two boats lined up on opposite sides of the line set by Los Angeles Yacht Club exactly as you would expect Beau Geste's sailing master Gavin Brady would. Having just come with inches of winning the Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup only a month ago, he clearly has those starts in mind.
It was the second foggy start in a row for Transpac's Tahiti Race. In 2008 the fog was even heavier, but today's scene looked very familiar. LAYC's PRO Tom Trujillo was sure the fog would lift before the start, but as the boats sailed in and out of view it became clear that it would stay gray and gloomy as the gun went off. Fortunately there was a nice 10 knot westerly breeze to get the boats going on this longest of Pacific races.
With 3700 miles to go both boats took different tacks to head for the expected wind offshore. Shortly after the start Beau Geste was headed straight West past Pt. Vicente toward the heavy breeze outside the Channel Islands, while Rage was headed for Catalina in a more normal Transpac path.
As the days pile up we will see which approach pays off for the two boats. Magnitude 80's 2008 record run of 11 days and 10 hours will be under threat. Beau Geste will need to finish on April 30th to steal the record. Karl Kwok's international crew will be pushing hard for that. On Rage, Steve Rander's Oregon based crew will be trying to grab the corrected time win for the Fritz Overton Trophy which waits in the Yacht Club de Tahiti. Papeete is still a long way away for these sailors.