Four other finishers expected tonight, overall corrected time winner in doubt, Wild Oats may also arrive tonight as fastest elapsed time yacht
Honolulu, HI – With an elapsed time of 10d 20h 1m 12s, Harry Zanville’s Santa Cruz 37 Celerity was the first entry to cross the finish line at Diamond Head in the pre-dawn hours this morning in the 48th biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac.
Celerity’s crew included Zanville and Michael Downing, Tom Jenkins, Eric Kownacki, Robert Martin, and Thomas Ripard.
“The highlight of our trip was not breaking the boat or the people,” said Zanville. “We knew if we didn’t break the boat we would win. Also the people – we’re an all-amateur effort, compared to the all professional crews that are out there.
“We have an old crew, so to win we had to push the envelope,” Zanville continued.“Our guys are old gladiators, and I promised I would get everyone back home healthy, alive & safe. I got worried about one of our guys, though, because the faster we went the bigger the smile he got on his face!”
Zanville gave further credit to his team for keeping everything operating on the boat.
“Tom Jenkins is a rancher from So Cal, our MacGyver guy. When the alternator belt shredded itself, he was down in there getting it fixed, all I saw was his feet. Fifteen minutes later he said “What’s next,” and when we said the watermaker, he was straight into that, and 30 minutes later he was done with that too.”
The Celerity team’s claims to victory may be premature, however, as the next finisher expected at the finish line at Diamond Head tonight is Paul Stemler’s J/44 Patriot, who for a few days earlier in the race had the Division 7 and overall lead before being passed by Celerity. Just hours away from the finish, the tracker calculation of time-on-time scoring has switched that overall corrected time lead back to them, so the winner of Division 7 is still uncertain.
And there is another entry closing in on the finish line fast from south of rhumb: the current leader in Division 8, Tracy Obert’s BBY 59-foot ketch Marjorie, who started on Monday July 13th alongside the Division 7 and 8 competitors. The ETA for the finish of Patriot and Marjorie is expected to be in the evening local Hawaii time.
While Patriot may be back in the running as an overall corrected time contender, so are many others who are many hundreds of miles and days away from the finish and are making great time towards Hawaii. One of them – James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion – was a corrected time winner twice, in 1999 and again in 2011.
And finally at a few hundred miles out - but travelling at speeds of 16-20 knots - is Roy Pat Disney and Bob Oatley’s 100-footer Wild Oats XI, who may also come into Diamond Head about the same time as the fastest monohull in the race, having started last Saturday in Los Angeles while the others finishing today started the previous Monday. But to get this title they have to stay ahead of Syd Fischer's rival Australian contender Ragamuffin 100, who is about 50 miles behind at this stage but will likely also finish some time tonight.
Out on the race course the rest of the fleet was now well past the halfway point and reporting this morning generally favorable 15-20 knot winds across the course area, although Rick von Heydenreich’s Santa Cruz 52 Paranoia gave a worrying report about 900 miles out from the finish seeing some significant pieces of floating debris: “An approximately 10-foot log came within a few feet of the boat while we were traveling 10-12 knots. There is lots of trash out there.”
And the weather models suggest another patch of potentially light winds for the weekend to the south of the rhumb line that may affect any racers considering a southern approach towards the finish on Oahu.
For those that wish to follow finishers on the Yellowbrick tracker system for when they arrive within 100 miles of the finish, there is a real-time window set up at this link: http://yb.tl/transpac2015-Finish. For other entries still on the course the tracker has a 6-hour delay and is found at http://yb.tl/transpac2015.