Smooth sailing


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Using the same MotionX software that he developed for Apple's iPhone, inventor-entrepreneur Philippe Kahn successfully navigated a record-breaking course from Long Beach, Calif., aboard Pegasus 50, sweeping across the Diamond Head finish line of the Transpacific Yacht Race early yesterday morning.

Kahn and crew mate Mark “;Crusty”; Christensen made the crossing in a record seven days, 19 hours, 38 minutes, shaving more than 2 1/2 days off the crew-of-two record set in 2001 on the same type of boat, an Open 50.

The victory was a second for Kahn's team, Pegasus Racing, which broke another “;double-handed”; record during the last year's Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Kaneohe. Kahn and co-skipper Richard Clarke crossed the finish line at a time of seven days, 15 hours and just under 18 minutes.

“;Double-handing the Open 50 to Hawaii is one of the highlights of my year,”; Kahn said. “;I love being out in the open ocean. Once we're out there, that's all that matters — we had our sights on the record, and we beat it.”;

Pegasus 50 was the first Hawaii-based sailboat to cross the Transpacific Yacht Race finish line, at 4:38 a.m., followed by Maury Myers' Hula at 5:24 a.m.

The others, Bloodhound, Addiction and Roy's Chasch Mer, were still hundreds of miles away.

In his daily blog, Kahn shared the trials and tribulations that he and Christensen faced during the crossing, including a temporary loss of battery power.

“;Down to flashlights, mechanical compass and add-on batteries for iPhone MotionX and hand held iridium,”; said one entry on Saturday, nearly six days into their journey.

The man behind the mast is widely known as a technology innovator, credited for creating the first camera phone that allows users to share pictures instantly on public networks. Kahn has also founded four technology companies in addition to Fullpower Technology, where he is chief executive officer.

The 100-foot Alfa Romeo was the first to cross the finish line for the 2,225-nautical-mile race, rounding Diamond Head early Saturday morning, beating by more than a day the record set by Morning Glory in 2005.

Magnitude 80, another of the larger boats allowed for the first time this year, finished at 2:17 a.m. Sunday, just 14 minutes short of Morning Glory's time, but still earned the Barn Door trophy for fastest elapsed time. Alfa Romeo, ineligible for the Barn Door, won the newly created Merlin Trophy.

Criminal Mischief, which started the race on July 2, three days ahead of the bigger boats, arrived just before sunset Saturday.