PEGASUS 77 WINS TRANSPAC 2003

Competitor: Pyewacket

Pegasus Racing team accepting the Barn Door award for First to Finish in the Transpac 2003.

Designer: Reichel-Pugh
Sail number: 50008
Rig: Sloop

LOA (ft.): 77
Draft (ft): 12.5 Beam (ft): 15
Hull color: White / Blue
Yacht Club: Waikiki and St. Francis Yacht Club
Builder: McConaghy, Sydney, Australia
Year launched: 2001, turbo-charged in May 2003

Skipper: Philippe Kahn

Navigator: Mark Rudiger
Watch Captain 1: Mark Christensen
Watch Captain 2: Morgan Larson
Crew: Zan Drejes, Samuel “Shark” Kahn, Sean “Doogie” Couvreux, Jeff Madrigali, Mark Christensen, Morgan Larson, Steve Erickson, Mike Mottl, Adam Beashel, Richard Clarke, Mikey Joubert, Justin Clougher

Pegasus 77 crosses the finish line and wins the Transpac 2003 race.

42nd TRANSPACIFIC YACHT RACE Transpacific Yacht Club
www.transpacificyc.org

July 14, 2003 For Immediate Release

PEGASUS 77 RIDES A MOON RIVER TO VICTORY

HONOLULU—A full moon lighted the way past the Diamond Head finish line for
Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus 77 and a second consecutive Barn Door victory in the
42nd Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles early Monday.

Kahn’s archrival later described the path laid by the lunar reflection on
the water as “like sailing down the moon river,” but Roy E. Disney and his
crew aboard Pyewacket were nearly five hours behind in a match of equally
powerful sailing machines.

The Barn Door is a 3 ½-by-4-foot slab of carved Hawaiian koa wood that goes
to the boat with the fastest elapsed time for the 2,225 nautical miles. Four
Aloha boats that started five days earlier finished ahead of Pegasus 77 by
as much as 15 hours, but their ETs were days slower.

Finishing at 2:31 a.m. local time, Pegasus 77’s time was 7 days 16 hours 31
minutes 17 seconds, the fourth fastest ever for the race but nearly five
hours over Pyewacket’s record of 7:11:41:27 in a windier 1999 race.
Pyewacket’s time was 7:21:18:01, the eighth fastest ever.

“Records aren’t something you can control,” Kahn said. “Either the weather
was going to cooperate or not. We did break a record for the daily run, and
what was interesting about that is we did it without a lot of wind.”

A day earlier, with no more than 18 knots of breeze, Pegasus 77 completed a
24-hour run of 356 miles, breaking the record of 353 set by Magnitude in
1999.

Disney, whose boat has been highly modified since ’99, said, “Both of these
boats are much faster than what we set the record with.”

When the wind increased late in the race, Pegasus 77, then in a commanding
position against Pyewacket, seemed to have a shot at the record.

“We thought about that a lot,” Disney said, laughing. “Quite a lot.”

At the time, Pegasus 77 still had an outside chance of achieving a rare
Transpac sweep: fastest elapsed time and first in class and fleet on overall
corrected handicap time.

But, ironically, a 40-year-old Cal 40 whose crew included Pyewacket’s usual
navigator, Stan Honey, finished in time late the same morning to correct out
on Pegasus 77 by about half an hour. However, Bill Turpin’s Transpac 52,
Alta Vita of San Francisco, has the inside track on the honor with about a
two-hour edge and needs to finish before 7:12 a.m. local time Tuesday to
clinch it. If the trade winds hold, that is well within its reach.

Illusion, with Honey’s wife Sally and Transpac veterans Skip Allan and Jon
Andron joining Stan, was first overall on handicap time through most of the
race but slipped back as the larger, faster boats accelerated in stronger
breeze.

The problem was, as Stan Honey said, “If [the wind] picks up from 10 to 20
knots, we go from 7 to 8.”

But, flying a full-blown spinnaker in 30 knots of following wind, they flew
down through the finish line, surfing at 16 knots to beat nine other Cal 40s
in a revival of the class that dominated the race in the late 60s.

Later, several of the disappointed Pyewacket team, including Disney, greeted
their teammate at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, where Doug Rastello told Honey, “We
needed that.”

The outcome of the Pegasus 77-Pyewacket contest was determined early on, not
by boat speed but by strategic differences of opinion.

“We led them past [Santa] Catalina [Island] by a mile, but then we went
right and they went left, and they were right and we were wrong,” Disney
said.

The Pyewacket crew was stunned by the second day’s morning roll call and
position report that showed Pegasus 77 100 miles south of them.

“We were surprised how low [south] they went the second day,” said Peter
Isler, who replaced Stan Honey as Pyewacket’s navigator for this race.

Then, when the shift they were expecting failed to produce a lively breeze,
they had to eat their mistake and give up a lot of miles to find better wind
south. That’s when Pegasus 77 came slightly north to drop into a controlling
position directly in front.

Mark Rudiger, Pegasus 77’s navigator, said, “It was [wind strength] pressure
versus angle, and I’ve learned the hard way over the years that the first
half of this race you have to go for the pressure and the second half you
can start working on angle. So I just tell the guys, ‘Send the boat the
fastest way it can go.’ Speed rules.

“Originally our plan was to stay with them, but we decided to sail our own
race. Our goal was always to hold at least 30 miles of southing on them to
make sure we had a little more pressure but try to put them back on bearing
so they had no angle they could get at us with. Crusty did a really good job
of masterminding that [plan].”

Crusty is Mark Christensen, who was on the winning team in the last two
Volvo Ocean Races but had never sailed a Transpac.

“The first couple of days I was having trouble getting a grasp on how far
off course we were going,” he said. “Rudi’s [saying], ‘Get south, get
south.’ After that we just had to try to think what they were thinking and
do the jibes so we’d always set ourselves up between them and the mark.

“We were pretty confident with all our forecasts. It was kind of scary. We
just got every shift. Even today, Rudi would say, ‘Well, the wind’s supposed
to go to [a compass direction of] 060 . . . be patient, be patient.’ So we
waited and waited and finally jibed on 050 and an hour later it was 060 and
we came screaming in. The whole race was like that.”

On the last night, sailing in 26 knots of wind in the Molokai Channel, the
wind shifted after Pegasus 77 jibed—a quirk that turned into a half-hour
shortcut toward the finish.

“Again,” Christensen said, “Rudi could do no wrong.”

The young veteran Morgan Larson said, in a way, the race was routine.

“I like it when things go wrong,” he said. “It was too easy.”

Tracking charts for selected boats or the entire fleet may be viewed by
clicking on the link at the right side of the www.transpacificyc.org home
page. Daily position reports and photos also will be posted until the
completion of the race.

Boats’ handicap ratings may be checked at
www.transpacificyc.org/03/tp03-ratings.html

COMMODORE
Brad Avery
(949) 645-9412
brad@occsailing.com

ENTRIES CHAIRMAN
Bill Lee
(831) 464-4782
wizard@fastisfun.com

PRESS OFFICER
Rich Roberts
Honolulu Press Office: (808) 949-9425
cell phone (310) 766-6547
richsail@earthlink.net

Sunday, July 13th: 08:00 HST

253 nm to Honolulu at a bearing of 241 degrees magnetic

It’s lighter but we are pushing really hard. We just realized that we had a chance at top three in corrected time. We really never thought that we’d play in the handicap game. So, now we have a new goal: Let’s try to be top 3 for the overall handicap trophy.

The weather is now overcast and squall-prone. Click here for the latest squall chart. We’re on the watch.

Pegasus, smells the barn. We're making tracks!

Sunday, July 13th: 06:00 HST

Pegasus 77's bow slicing through Hawaiian waves

Lat: 22 North
Lon: 153 West

Another good report card this morning. In the last 24 hours we gained another 14 Miles. Now Pyewacket is 75 miles behind Pegasus dead astern. We sailed point to point 356 miles compared to 336 to Pyewacket.

There is a fierce battle between TP52s about a day behind us: The Kiwi big guns on Beau Geste versus the Santa Cruz smoking guns on Alta Vita. They are within a mile of each other, in-sight.

Now where is Stan this morning? Stan is doing just fine with 236 miles to go and is third on handicap. Alta Vita is surprising everyone and winning the handicap battle. But surely Stan isn’t going to give up.

Our projections show that we will be crossing the finish like around 05:00 or maybe a little earlier. Before daybreak.

It’s a bit lighter this morning and the skies are overcast. There will be squalls for the last 24 hours of Transpac 2003 and the whole team will be on the lookout.

 

2003 Transpacific Yacht Race Daily Standings 07/13/03 (PDT)
ID
Yacht
LAT
LON
DST 2GO

CORR TIME

STD CL

GS FL
AVE SOC
24H DOC

24H SOC

FIN TIME/ ETA
DIVISION 1:
1A
Pegasus 77
22-36
152-51
288
187:14:26
1
2
11.9
356
14.8
14/08:14
1B
Pyewacket
22-43
151-30
362
194:41:57
2
7
11.4
336
14.0
14/15:41
 DIVISION 2:
2A
Alta Vita
24-25
148-53
529
185:10:37
1
1
10.4
277
11.6
15/10:51
2B
Beau Geste
24-26
148-55
528
189:23:58
2
4
10.4
304
12.7
15/10:41
2C
Bengal II
26-17
145-38
734
209:00:36
7
27
9.1
273
11.4
16/16:10
2D
Grand Illusion
24-56
147-19
620
196:53:00
4
10
9.8
286
11.9
15/22:57
2E
Hesal II
25-19
143-44
813
220:03:34
8
41
8.7
253
10.5
17/05:52
2F
ICON
24-54
147-20
618
203:21:13
5
15
9.9
280
11.7
15/22:45
2G
Medicine Man
24-23
148-55
527
204:03:48
6
16
10.4
282
11.7
15/10:33
2H
Pendragon 4
24-45
146-50
642
192:19:31
3
5
9.7
278
11.6
16/02:03
2I
Renegade
Retired
2J
Vicki
25-51
146-30
681
220:56:03
9
43
9.5
271
11.3
16:07

Saturday July 12th, 23:00 HST

Another fabulous night of sailing. The waves are just right. We are being conservative and will let Pyewacket take a more risky road. We expect that we could lose 10 to 20 miles in the last 24 hours as we are protecting our lead. Our lead is such that we can well afford this insurance policy.

We saw more Dolphins, dozens of them. Short and gracious. They were leaping 3 to 4 feet out of the water and surfing the waves with us. It’s as if they were here to welcome us to Hawaii and whisper in our ears playfully: “Fly Pegasus fly!”. We are flying!

Saturday, July 12th: Honolulu, Hawaii

During this voyage I sent a lot of Picture-Mails, they are all collected in this log. I had a terrific surprise when I received one from my daughter, Sophie, who is 6 years old. The Sprint PCS picture-phones are amazing and you can now get them for less than $100 and a $15/month subscription that allows you to send as many pictures as you want. As you can see its fun and a great way to share emotions and memories. I highly recommend it.

Dad sail fast and safe, I'll be watching you from Diamond Head. Mom took this Picture-Mail with her brand new Sprint 8100 Camera-Phone

Saturday July 12th, 14:45 HST

Lat: 22 North
Lon: 148 West

Around the 14:00 HST race organization roll, call Pyewacket’s private jet called the Pyewacket on the SSB. The planes call sign was “Shamrock” and they were overseeing our portion of the race-course having most competitors around lat 22 North and lon 150 West in sight. Pyewacket responded with a lat/lon position to look to and a dialog was initiated. It’s neat to see the Pyewacket yacht talking to the Pyewacket jet. This all reminded me of how airplanes and sailboats are similar in many ways, share the same physics as well as the same communication technologies. Sailboats and airplanes are all about foils, lift, drag, apparent airflow. Wireless communications from a sailboat and from a modern jet depend on satellites. So a jet, the fastest mode of transportation, and a sailboat, the slowest mode of transportation share a lot. Humans always dream of sailing and flying.

All day we saw whales breaching, Dolphins, lots of flying fish and even had a squid wash-up on deck. Its quite hot, 85 deg F down bellow and much hotter in the sun. Grinding every wave forces fluid and electrolyte replacement almost constantly. We’ve got powdered Gatorade that we mix into the water made with our Spectra water-maker. It seems like there is constantly someone mixing Gatorade. Its like a busy bar on Saturday nights in the Marina in San Francisco, except we only mix Gatorade with water and the bar-tender doesn’t get tips.