Pegasus, Pye Even: Shanakee II a Winner in its Own Way

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

July 7, 2001
For Immediate Release

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

PEGASUS, PYE EVEN; SHANAKEE II A WINNER IN ITS OWN WAY

Shanakee II became the first boat to finish the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii early Saturday morning, but because of a head start on other classes it won’t win the Barn Door trophy for fastest elapsed time.

That’s the plum awaiting one of the three “super sleds” – Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus, Roy E. Disney’s Pyewacket and Bob McNulty’s Chance – which remain locked in a tactical dogfight looking at an ETA of pre-dawn Tuesday. Pegasus and Pyewacket were eyeball to eyeball at the morning’s roll call, in a virtual dead heat about a mile apart.

When the final tale is told, Shanakee II, a 75-foot cutter-rigged performance cruiser from Newport Beach, Calif., probably won’t even win its Aloha-A Division on corrected handicap time. But nobody will top Jim Warmington’s crew on style points.

“We did laundry every day,” watch captain Brad Avery said.

Another crew member, Ron Merickel said, “One day it got so hot we turned on the air conditioning. We were 68 degrees (F.) below deck.”

Navigator L.J. Edgcomb, a veteran of eight Transpacs in far less comfortable conditions, said, “The full moon was a highlight and we had more sunshine than I’d ever seen in a Transpac, without the typical hard sailing in the first 48 hours. We had more wind the last day than we had the entire race – about 30 knots out of Molokai.”

Avery, also a Transpac veteran, described the weather as “the best in years . . . clear skies every day, no rain, not real strong wind but consistent wind. A boat owner’s dream.”

There are four heads – lavatories to landlubbers. Three are for the crew, each with a shower, and one is off the owner’s master stateroom, which has a king-size bed from where, it is reported, he watched “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” one night over satellite TV.

The sails are all roller furled; nobody has to go forward on deck except to deal with the spinnaker, although Edgcomb’s 15-year-old son Grant took an E-ticket ride on the end of the spinnaker pole coming through the Molokai Channel.

The watermaker produces 40 gallons per hour. There is an icemaker and, of course, a freezer – no freeze-dried chow for these guys.

“There was a lot of eating,” skipper Carson Jefferson said. “Nobody lost any weight.”

They trolled a fishing line that landed albacore, mahi mahi and other game fish, which were barbecued on the afterdeck. A swordfish got away.

“We saw him coming up,” Merickel said. “He struck [the lure] and tore it right out.”

That’s the only delight that escaped Shanakee II, which sailed the 2,225 nautical miles from Los Angeles in 11 days 15 hours 51 minutes 38 seconds, crossing the finish line off Diamond Head at 1:51:38 a.m. local time with a waning full moon high on its left and the lights of Waikiki to the right. Despite the hour, the crew was met at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor with a personal luau, as are all Transpac competitors.

The time was well off the monohull record of 7:11:41:27 set by Roy E. Disney’s Pyewacket in the previous Transpac in 1999, but that isn’t in jeopardy this year. One of the big three would have to finish around midnight Sunday – a 700-mile-plus run in well under two days.

Pegasus owner/skipper Philippe Kahn called it “a lesson in patience and composure.” In an e-mail report a day earlier, Kahn noted, “It’s hard to win every position report. At this morning’s position reports Chance and Pyewacket were ahead on distance to Hawaii. During the night they were able to cover more distance directly to Honolulu than Pegasus. However, there is much more to it.

“For centuries navigators have known about the Pacific Ocean trade winds. The seas become livelier, the sky cover is made of a patchwork of puffy clouds and the wave patterns are well formed and predictable. At about daybreak today it became clear that we were getting over the southeast ridge of this dissipating high-pressure zone and entering the real of the trade winds. Things just started to feel different. ”

“What this meant on the race course is that as we approached the zone of fluky weather characterized by lighter winds that make up the ridge, the boats to the north of us, Chance and Pyewacket continued to get more wind than we did and in the morning’s position reports they’re ahead of us in “pure distance” to Hawaii. “However, strategically we are where we wanted to be: Pegasus is in the south position. Our strategic bet: The winds should now start to fill consistently for us before them and with the expected 20-plus-degree right wind shift that we expect, we end up in a controlling position. This should be reflected in the position reports in the next 48 hours. We would not exchange our position with any of our competitors.”

“This is now a patience game; our dice are cast. However, if it is not apparent in 24 hours that this is a winning strategy, we’ll cut our losses and get back in touch with our two worthy competitors.”

That appears to be what happened over Friday night into Saturday.

Meanwhile, Shanakee II waits and counts the hours. Competing in the Aloha Division, Shanakee II got a five-day head start on the Division 3 and 4 boats and six days on the 1 and 2 fleets. Its real rival is Wendy Siegal’s 36-year-old Cal 40 from Sunset Beach, Calif., which leads the Aloha-A Division and gets about 69 hours in corrected time from Shanakee II. Willow Wind is projected to finish mid-day Monday, well inside its handicap window.

But Merickel said, “We’d love to win this because it would get other people with cruising-type boats to enter Transpac. It’s such a great adventure.”

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.

Standings in order of handicap ratings at 8:30 a.m. PDT July 7:

DIVISION 1 (started July 1)
1. Pegasus (Reichel/Pugh 75), Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif., 324 miles in past 24 hours/739 miles to go.
2. Pyewacket (Reichel/Pugh 73), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, Calif., 322/739.
3. Chance (Reichel/Pugh 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif., 315/749.
4. Merlin’s Reata (Lee 68), Al Micallef, Ft. Worth, Tex., 290/828.

DIVISION 2 (started July 1)
1. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Haiku, H.I., 258/890.
2. J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif., 272/876.
3. Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Brian W. Mock, Corona del Mar, Calif., 260/918.
4. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Hui Holokai Syndicate, Owen Minney/Trisha Steele, Honolulu, 256/961.
5. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 281/927.
6. Yassou (Transpac 52), Jim and Nancy Demetriades, Beverly Hills, Calif., 278/964.
7. Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif., 270/1,011.
8. DH–√Čtranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 277/1,056.

DIVISION 3 (started June 30)
1. Bengal II (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 234/672.
2. Cantata (Andrews 53), Brent Vaughan, Oceanside, Calif., 211/810.
3. Firebird (Nelson/Marek 55), Greg Sands, Long Beach, Calif., 212/824.
4. Rocket Science (Riptide 55), Nguyen Le, Amsterdam, 201/756.
5. Baronesa V (Open 40), Shuichi Ogasawara, Miyagi, Japan, 228/797.

DIVISION 4 (started June 30)
1. Bull (Sydney 40 OD-T), Seth Radow, Marina del Rey, Calif., 201/873.
2. Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich., 217/907.
3. Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 213/933.
4. DH–Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I., 203/1,088.
5. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M., 204/996.
6. DH–Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif.,154/1,093.
7. Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 172/1,119.
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., 186/375.
2. Shanakee II (Pedrick 75), Jim Warmington, Balboa, finished 11 days 15 hours 51 minutes 38 seconds.
3. Seda (Ericson 41), Josef Sedivec, Bonita, Calif., 131/558.
4. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Al Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 142/656.
5. Gecko (Tartan 41), Jim Fabrick, Laguna Beach, 135/582.
6. Bonaire (Moody 65), Gil Jones and Associates, Newport Beach, 208/403.

ALOHA DIVISION B (started June 25)
1. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 197/340.
2. Stardust (Wylie 46), Peter and Patricia Anderson, Laguna Beach, 195/244.

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)