By 2 PM we had passed Pyewacket to Leeward, sailing lower and faster in general. I think that we anticipated the heading puffs better than they did, making small gains with each puff. Now the wind is up to 25+ knots and both boats are surfing the big North East Pacific waves seeing boat speeds of 20+ knots consistently. Its going to be a 30 hour sprint both teams push hard. We’ve learned from our early mistakes and plan to be both smart and fast!
The start: At 9:55 the warning gun went off. Five minutes to the start. Pegasus circled around and played cat and mouse with Pyewacket. Well we had a perfect start to windward. But that didn’t matter because Pegasus was now the mouse and Pyewacket the cat: They started in much better current to our left. Theoretically in abstraction of local knowledge in a much weaker position. We completely missed the fact that there was so much current relief close to shore in the strong flood. We made a couple of other tactical mistakes getting caught in worst current than they were on several occasions. An hour later we were 30 lengths behind slightly to windward of them. All they have to do is stay between us and the finish for another 30 hours. All we have to do is pass them! And that won’t be an easy task. The good news is that we sail Pegasus 77 fast. You don’t have to win the start of an offshore race, you just have to stay in touch and wait for your opportunity. Now, we just need to make the right tactical decisions!
We have a great team, but we have a new team. Four of our Transpac team members are racing across the Atlantic: Mark Rudiger our navigator, Mickey Joubert, Richard Clark and Juggy. We have great sailors on Pegasus 77 but I am no replacement for Mark Rudiger and with our competition Pyewacket having their full team, they have a clear advantage. My personal navigation skills are quite basic. This is the first time that we will be racing Pegasus 77 in full Transpac 2003 mode. After winning Transpac 2001 and beating Pyewacket, we turbo charged Pegasus for Transpac 2003. In fact according the Reichel-Pugh VPP all things being equal over the Transpac 2001 course we would have gotten to Honolulu about 14 hours faster. That is a huge difference and the Coastal Cup 2003 is our first race in the full turbo-charged configuration and the second time that we race Pyewacket after our victorious Transpac 2001.
Tomorrow in the morning we will be starting off Baker’s Beach in a dying ebb. Both boats will be racing to be first to the gradient wind which should not be too far offshore. The fog came in around 7 PM but then cleared out by midnight. We will have a full moon for the run down the coast. After the Pegasus victory against Pyewacket in Transpac 2001, this will be the first time that we line-up together. And the first time with both yachts fully turbo-charged.
The team and supporters at dinner in the Pacific Room at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The Sprint Sanyo 8100 camera-phone doesn’t have a flash, yet the picture is acceptable given the fact that the dining room has essentially no lighting and the group was large. I was surprised to actually have that “instant memory” of our fun dinner. Imagine the new models with the flash built-in!
With a strong low pressure pushing in the Eastern Pacific Coastal Cup 2003 will be very windy and fast.