Transpac fast approaches
THE start of the Transpacific Yacht Race's second century of competition is just a month away. However, that start on July 9 will be but the first of three, with progressively faster boats following on July 12 and 15.
The object of using a staggered start in recent years has been to give the smaller and slower boats an opportunity to finish the 2,225-nautical mile race at about the same time as the bigger yachts.
So that begs the question, when will the first boat cross the finish line this year?
Naturally, much depends on the location and strength of that clockwise circling of air called the Pacific High that produces our trades and creates that downwind "sleigh ride" every racer enjoys.
With the help of a favorable high-pressure ridge, the present elapsed-time record of 6 days, 16 hours, 4 minutes, and 11 seconds may be eclipsed, meaning the first-to-finish yacht will need to arrive before 2:04 a.m. on July 22.
And, with Roy E. Disney back from racing retirement with his redesigned 94-foot sloop "Pyewacket" and his crew of sailing rock stars, his boat would be one to bet on.
Still, the great thing about Transpac is that the "Barn Door" trophy (a coffee table-sized slab of koa) for the first-to-finish boat is just one of more than 50 trophies in various classes.
That makes the odds for winning an award pretty good, even though this year's fleet will apparently number close to 80.
One boat that will surely be watched and cheered on by our local sailing community will be the 1D35 "On the Edge of Destiny," owned by Waikiki Yacht Club's Dan Doyle.
After some extensive offshore sailing with his two sons, Sean and Justin, Doyle is letting them take the helm without him.
"When we started off in last year's Pacific Cup, I took one watch and put them together (on the other watch)," Doyle said. "After about three days it was real clear they were totally confident and reliable, so we split up into three watches."
Sean, as skipper, and Justin, as navigator, will be joined by three others: Tedd White of Goleta, Calif., and Cameron Biehl of San Diego as watch captains, and Honolulu's Roscoe Fowler as medic.
As their ages are respectively: 19, 18, 23, 19, and 20, it will make them Transpac's youngest-ever crew with an average of 19.8 years.
"It's gonna be cool because it's a bunch of guys around my age, and I get to sail with my brother," Justin noted.
Justin's father knows, too. Dan and long-time sailing partner Bruce Burgess took first place in Division IV, sailing double-handed in 2005.