First of four waves of 61 entries to race 2225 miles to Honolulu from Los Angeles in the biennial ocean race classic
San Pedro, CA - The first of four separate waves of 61 entries will embark today for the start of the 2015 Transpac. This is the 48th edition of this classic ocean race that stretches 2225 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and is organized biennially by the Transpacific Yacht Club.
After leaving Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach to the waves and cheers of spectators and well-wishers, today 22 entries of Divisions 7 and 8 will proceed west to the starting line set near the Point Fermin Buoy in San Pedro. After the starting gun fires at 1300 Pacific Daylight Time, this largest of the starting groups will head west towards the first mark of the course: the West End of Catalina Island, which must be left to their port side.
There are no other marks of the course to honor until finishing at the Diamond Head Buoy east of Waikiki on the south coast of Oahu, 2225 miles to the west.
The three other remaining starts will be held at 1:00 PM PDT on Thursday (Divisions 4, 5 and 6), at 12:30 PM (Multihulls) and at 1:00 PM (Divisions 1,2 and 3) on Saturday July 18.
This is one of the world's oldest and longest biennial ocean races, first sailed in 1906 from an idea inspired by Hawaii's King Kalakaua in the late 19th century. The overall winner of the race in corrected time wins the trophy named for him: the prestigious King Kalakaua Cup. In the last edition of this race in 2013 the overall winner was from Division 8: the classic S&S-designed 52-foot ketch Dorade, who repeated her first win of the same trophy in 1936.
This race thus has a unique combination of traits: a long history, a spirit of adventure, an intense ocean racing challenge in the North Pacific, and infused with the legendary Aloha spirit of Hawaiian culture and hospitality...
This year the oldest boat is also the largest in the start tomorrow, the Division 8 entry Martha, a Crowninshield-designed 84-foot schooner built in wood in 1907 by W.F. Stone in San Francisco. Skippered by Robertd'Arcy, Martha is based in Port Townsend, Washington, where as a sail training vessel she is the oldest working sailboat in the state, as well as the oldest living flagship of the San Francisco YC. She will have a crew of eleven for Transpac.
Martha is not the only wooden boat in the race: the Division 8 entry Westward, Sam and Willie Bell's Lapworth 50, was built in wood in 1962 at Cheoy Lee in Hong Kong, and the Division 7 entry Sweet Okole, Dean Treadway's Farr design from Kentfield, CA, was built in Hawaii in 1976 in cold-molded cedar and Koa wood. Sweet Okole won Transpac overall in 1981 and placed second in 1985.
The smallest entry this year is a sportboat racing in Division 7, the Feet 30 Fortissimo 11, built in Italy by BS Boats in Brescia to a design by Maurizio Cossutti and owned by Yasuto Fuda of Yamaguchi, Japan. Fortissimo is one of three entries from Japan in this race, with the others being Yasuhide Kobayashi's J/120 Julian from Minatoku and Akimitsu Harai's S-40 Crescent III from Yokohama, who is racing in Division 6.
Where space and weight is at a premium for this mostly downwind race, Fortissimo is one of four entries to be sailed by a crew of only four. The three others are also in Division 7: Alex Farrel's 1D35 Alpha Puppy from Santa Clara, CA; Steve Campo's Hobie 33 Bazinga from Scottsdale, AZ; and Ed Sanford's J/105 Creative from Poway, CA.
In this starting group today there are five entries returning from the last race in 2013: Ross Pearlman's Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets from Newport Beach, CA; Ron Simonson's Jeanneau SO44 Sleeper from Redondo Beach, CA; Alpha Puppy; Creative; and Westward. Sleeper finished second in Division 8 in 2013 to Dorade, and Westward finished third.
All boats entered in Transpac are required to make daily position reports by email or Sat Phone by 7:00 AM PDT each day for their 6:00 AM positions. Sea, sky and wind conditions are requested to be reported as well. All boats will have GPS trackers provided by Yellowbrick, where the boat's position, speed and heading will be continuously reported on the Yellowbrick website, with a 6 hour delay in the reports viewable at http://yb.tl/transpac2015.