Japanese Boat SHowing the (New) Way

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TRANSPAC 2001 41st Transpacific Yacht Race/
L.A.-Honolulu Transpacific Yacht Club, Sandy Martin, Commodore

July 4, 2001
For Immediate Release

*** See start photos at www.transpacificyc.org ***

JAPANESE BOAT SHOWING THE (NEW) WAY

For Bengal II, the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race is just a way of island-hopping home. The Japanese entry sailed all the way across the Pacific to start the race and now is leading the way back along a risky route that has brought it nearer Hawaii than any of the other 24 boats in the four racing divisions.

Yoshihiko Murase’s 52-foot sloop from Nagoya sails today where for the last half-century Transpac racers have feared to tread — all alone above the rhumb (direct) line between Los Angeles and Honolulu. Normally, that would mean living dangerously close to the ubiquitous Pacific High, the high-pressure zone that lurks in the northeastern Pacific sucking the wind out of the air.

The strategy has paid off so far, especially in the 24 hours before Wednesday morning’s roll call when Bengal II logged 251 nautical miles and climbed to second place overall in corrected handicap time only four hours behind Brent Vaughan’s Cantata, an Andrews 53 from Oceanside, Calif.

Bengal II was 1,331 miles from Honolulu – not quite halfway – while the larger Divisions 1 and 2 boats that started a day later were in winds of only 10 to 12 knots but bearing down from behind, led by Philippe Kahn’s 75-foot Pegasus at 1,561 miles after a 304-mile day. Bob McNulty’s 74-foot chance was six miles farther back and Roy E. Disney’s 73-foot Pyewacket another 11 miles.

Those three high-powered boats are all paralleling the rhumb from below, but their savvy navigators – respectively, Mark Rudiger, Dale Nordin and Stan Honey – must be wondering if Bengal II is on to something good.

Out in front with the eight Aloha Division boats that started five and six days ahead of the others, Jim Warmington’s 75-foot racer-cruiser Shanakee II had 595 miles to go. Its ETA was upgraded to late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

A few boats have found strong but isolated breeze. One of the smallest boats, Mike Thomas’ 1D35 Sensation from Detroit, Mich., currently second in Division 3, reported: “We repaired damaged power lead for [single sideband radio] tuner and were able to communicate directly with [communications officer] Grant [Baldwin] on Alaska Eagle. Big relief on board. Wild ride burning south with small asymmetric spinnaker. Hit 18.3 knots on one ride.”

Michael Abraham, sailing doublehanded with Phil Rowe on Watercolors from Newport Beach, Calif., told of their adventures: “So far, Disasters 0, Watercolors 4. It isn’t because Disaster isn’t trying. Shims in mast fell out, spinnaker wrap and watermaker 86’d. All solved. Still [flying] jib and main. Both need rest.”

And later: “Making better progress. Wind is steady at 8-26 [knots]. [Boat] speed 8-9 knots. Still reaching with jib and reefed main. Food is no joy yet — just sticking to business. Lots of porpoise yesterday. Sky is clear, but sky is building.”

Meanwhile, although Transpac has introduced several breakthrough designs over the years, this doesn’t appear to be a race where one of those will prevail. Only David Janes’ J-Bird III from Newport Beach, Calif., one of two new Transpac 52s, is in contention for honors.

J-Bird III, designed by Alan Andrews of Long Beach, currently leads James McDowell’s standard ULDB 70 Grand Illusion, boat for boat, by 10 miles in Division 2. After a 293-mile day, almost as far as the three super sleds, J-Bird III leads the other Transpac 52, Jim Demetriades’ Yassou from Beverly Hills, by 102 miles in their private contest for the race’s newest trophy. Yassou is a Nelson/Marek design.

The legendary Merlin, which held the Transpac record for 20 years, is now Merlin’s Reata, highly modified at a cost of almost $1 million by new owner Al Micallef of Fort Worth, Tex. Micallef said before the start, “If it’s light air to start, I think we’ll have a chance to keep up with [Pegasus, Chance and Pyewacket].”

The start was dreadfully light, and Merlin’s Reata now trails Pegasus by 100 miles, averaging 8.4 knots to 9.9 for the leader.

Bob Lane, a Long Beach, Calif. pharmacist, also had hopes for his venerable Medicine Man, now stretched from 56 to 61 feet. “There’s really no clue to what we can do,” Lane said earlier. “In 20 knots of breeze the boat’s supposed to be really fast.”

But there hasn’t been much 20-knot breeze, so the blue boat – first to finish with a three-day head start in 1997 – is among the stragglers in Division 2, 40 miles ahead of what may be the race’s most extreme boat, √Čtranger, Howard Gordon’s Open 50 from San Luis Obispo, Calif., which is sailing doublehanded.

Brookfield Homes’ Coconut Plantation at Ko Olina is a supporter of Transpac 2001. Stratos Mobile Networks is the official communications supplier, providing satellite telephones to facilitate monitoring of the fleet. For more information please contact Stephanie Thomassen at (800) 250-8962 or (206) 633-5888.

FRESH FISH, ANYONE?

Something fishy is going on out there. With winds generally light, some of the less serious Transpac participants have satisfied their competitive urge with angling. “Alaska Eagle moves into third place with a 20-pound yellowfin,” the communications vessel reported this week.

Bonaire, the 65-foot, 24-year-old Moody ketch with several Transpac old-timers on board, leads the unofficial Transpac fishing derby with eight catches total, but Shanakee II closed the gap with a pair of mahi mahi Tuesday.

The catches have also included albacore. Yellow and green feather lures seem to be working best.

Brad Avery aboard Shanakee reported that chef Ron Merickel has outdone himself in preparing the prizes. He also reports that fishing king Gary Hill has been up at dawn daily trying to catch more fish then the boys on Bonaire.

Bonaire’s only complaint is that it has no more room in its refrigerator. Refrigerator? Most of the race boats do without such weighty luxuries for the sake of speed, subsisting on freeze-dried food, instead.

Standings at 8:30 a.m. July 4 (by handicap ratings):

DIVISION 1 (started July 1)
1. Pegasus (R/P 75), Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif., 1,561 miles to go.
2. Chance (R/P 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif., 1,567.
3. Pyewacket (Reichel/Pugh 73), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, Calif., 1,578.
4. Merlin’s Reata (Lee 68), Al Micallef, Ft. Worth, Tex., 1,661.

DIVISION 2 (started July 1)
1. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Haiku, H.I. 1,654.
2. J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif., 1,644.
3. Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Brian W. Mock, Corona del Mar, Calif., 1,693.
4. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Hui Holokai Syndicate, Owen Minney/Trisha Steele, Honolulu, 1,722.
5. Yassou (Transpac 52), Jim and Nancy Demetriades, Beverly Hills, Calif., 1,746.
6. Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif., 1,772.
7. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 1,760.
8. DH–√Čtranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 1,800.

DIVISION 3 (started June 30)
1. Cantata (Andrews 53), Brent Vaughan, Oceanside, Calif., 1,390.
2. Bengal II (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 1,331.
3. Firebird (Nelson/Marek 55), Greg Sands, Long Beach, Calif., 1,418.
4. Rocket Science (Riptide 55), Nguyen Le, Amsterdam, 1,365.
5. Baronesa V (Open 40), Shuichi Ogasawara, Miyagi, Japan, 1,408.

DIVISION 4 (started June 30)
1. Bull (Sydney 40 OD-T), Seth Radow, Marina del Rey, Calif., 1,468.
2. Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich., 1,496.
3. Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 1,531.
4. DH–Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif., 1,602.
5. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M., 1,587.
6. DH–Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I., 1,648.
7. Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 1,646.
WITHDRAWN — LawnDart (Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C., 2,175. DH-Doublehanded

ALOHA DIVISION A (started June 25)
1. Willow Wind (Cal 40), Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif., 853.
2. Shanakee II (Pedrick 75), Jim Warmington, Balboa, 595.
3. Seda (Ericson 41), Josef Sedivec, Bonita, Calif., 960.
4. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Al Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 1,035.
5. Gecko (Tartan 41), Jim Fabrick, Laguna Beach, 975.
6. Bonaire (Moody 65), Gil Jones and Associates, Newport Beach, 904.

ALOHA DIVISION B (started June 25)
1. Stardust (Wylie 46), Peter and Patricia Anderson, Laguna Beach, 767.
2. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 872.

TRACKING CHART
Who is making the boldest move south? Who is hanging too long in the north? Who will have the best sailing angle to the finish? Follow your favorite Transpac boats across the Pacific with the tracking chart on the official Web site at www.transpacificyc.org.

ATTENTION WEBMASTERS
Please feel free to post these releases to your Web sites and establish a link to the Transpac Web site at www.transpacificyc.org.

TRANSPAC PUBLICITY
Rich Roberts (310) 835-2526 cell phone (310) 213-2526 richroberts@compuserve.com

WEB PAGE
www.transpacificyc.org
Walt Niemczura, Web Master

ENTRY LIST
(In alphabetical order)

Division I (starts July 1, 1 p.m.)

Chance (R/P 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif.
Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif.
Merlin’s Reata (Lee 68), Al Micallef, Ft. Worth, Tex.
Pegasus (R/P 75), Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Pyewacket (Reichel/Pugh 73), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, Calif.

Division II (starts July 1, 1 p.m.)

DH–√Čtranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Haiku, H.I.
J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif.
Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif.
Ragtime (Spencer 65), Hui Holokai Syndicate, Owen Minney/Trisha Steele, Honolulu, Hawaii
Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Brian W. Mock, Corona del Mar, Calif.
Yassou (Transpac 52), Jim and Nancy Demetriades, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Division III (starts June 30, 1 p.m.)

Baronesa V (Open 40), Shuichi Ogasawara, Miyagi, Japan
Bengal II (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan
Cantata (Andrews 53), Grant Vaughan, San Francisco, Calif.
Firebird (Nelson/Marek 55), Greg Sands, Long Beach, Calif.
Rocket Science (Riptide 55), Nguyen Le, Amsterdam

Division IV (starts June 30, 1 p.m.)

Bull (Sydney 40 OD-T), Seth Radow, Marina del Rey, Calif.
LawnDart (Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C.
Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich.
DH–Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I.
Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M.
DH–Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif.

(DH-Doublehanded)