Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Boats in a Tub

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

July 2, 2001
For Immediate Release

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

RUB-A-DUB-DUB, THREE BOATS IN A TUB

When the sun broke over the western Pacific Monday morning the crews of Pegasus, Chance and Pyewacket looked out on tranquil seas and saw . . . Pegasus, Chance and Pyewacket. The three super sleds were within three miles of one another virtually drifting in winds too light for stretching their legs or even dreaming of setting a record in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race.

They had sailed only about 90 miles in the 20 hours since Sunday’s start, an average of 4.8 knots – about the pace of a champion freestyle swimmer.

Philippe Kahn’s 75-foot Pegasus was farthest west, about a mile ahead of Bob McNulty’s 74-foot Chance, which was south, with Roy E. Disney’s 73-foot Pyewacket to the north another mile back. That’s about the way Transpac’s nautical mathematicians had it figured. When they calculated the speed ratings they determined that at the Diamond Head finish Chance would be 11 seconds ahead of Pyewacket and 29 seconds ahead of Pegasus. Any bets?

Meanwhile, Bill Allan’s LawnDart, a Fast 40 from Nanaimo, B.C., dropped out because of trouble with its generating system and returned to Long Beach, leaving 32 boats in the race.

The Transpac’s rating limit is meant not only to keep the competition close at the top of the fleet but also to handicap the sundry types of boats specifically for this race. No boat may be configured with a combined mathematical computation of sail area, waterline length and displacement to be potentially faster than 339 seconds per mile, based on “normal” conditions.

Normal in Transpac means a lot of downwind sailing. Wind velocity and location can vary considerably from race to race, as the current competitors have found, but the current rating translates to the conclusion that a boat rated right at the limit should sail the 2,225 nautical miles in 8 days 17 hours 31 minutes 12 seconds. Pyewacket’s record set in 1999 is 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds.

Chance, essentially the “scratch” boat for the race, stands nearest the standard with a rating of .008 seconds per mile. Pyewacket is next at .013, followed by Pegasus at .021.

McNulty, from Corona del Mar, said before the start, “I think it might turn into a three-boat race. These boats are pretty similar.”

Ten years ago McNulty campaigned another Chance, also dark blue but a standard ultralight displacement 70-rater sled. With Dennis Durgan as the primary helmsman, that boat scored a rare Transpac sweep: first to finish, first in class, first overall on corrected time. Then McNulty and Chance disappeared from the scene, until recently.

“We were sitting around with the bunch who did it in ’91 and we decided to see if the old guys could do it again,” he said.

He rounded up Durgan, Mark Olsen, Dale Nordin, Larry Leonard, Lexi Gahagan, Cliff Stagg, Dave Tank, Deane Tank, Duffy Duffield, Park Eddy and Tom Garrett and ordered a new boat.

“That’s the only way you’re gonna get there [first],” McNulty said.

The designers were Reichel and Pugh, the San Diego design firm that also created Pegasus and Pyewacket. Jim Pugh was asked which boat he would pick.

“Theoretically, they should all get there at the same time,” he said, tactfully.

All three had nominally good starts, considering the light wind.

“It’s fair to say that we won the start,” Kahn wrote in an email report Sunday night. “Not for long! Although Pegasus and Chance are almost sisterships, because of optimization choices that we both made, the boats perform differently in different wind conditions. Because of their larger mainsail (more power in light air) and smaller keel (with less drag), it became rapidly clear that Chance has an edge over Pegasus in very light conditions. After 30 minutes, the narrow lead that we established at the start evaporated and Chance got ahead of us.

“On Pegasus we’re a bit frustrated: We know that we’re fast in heavy air, but we didn’t realize that Pegasus would be slower than Chance in very light air. When the breeze started filling we started to gain both height and speed on Chance. It was time to tack [to starboard] as the wind had just clocked right to 280 degrees. It seemed that we could almost lay the western tip of Catalina [Island]. With a freshening breeze, Pegasus was sailing higher and faster. Two hours into the race we were back solidly in the lead and rounded Catalina first. But again it’s a long race, and anything can happen.”

Pegasus is sailing with Kahn’s 11-year-old son Samuel (nickname “Shark”), who may be the youngest crew member in this or any other Transpac. Stephanie Baker Elliott was 12 when she sailed on her mother’s boat Quascilla in 1957.

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 on July 2 (by handicap ratings):

DIVISION I (started July 1)
1. Pegasus (R/P 75), Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif., 2,133 miles to go.
2. Chance (R/P 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif., 2,134.
3. Pyewacket (Reichel/Pugh 73), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, Calif., 2,135.
4. Merlin’s Reata (Lee 68), Al Micallef, Ft. Worth, Tex., 2,146.

DIVISION II (started July 1)
1. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Haiku, H.I. 2,143.
2. J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif., 2,143.
3. Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Brian W. Mock, Corona del Mar, Calif., 2,145.
4. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Hui Holokai Syndicate, Owen Minney/Trisha Steele, Honolulu, 2,151.
5. Yassou (Transpac 52), Jim and Nancy Demetriades, Beverly Hills, Calif., 2,156.
6. Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif., 2,161.
7. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 2,163.
8. DH–√Čtranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 2,163.

DIVISION III (started June 30)
1. Cantata (Andrews 53), Brent Vaughan, Oceanside, Calif., 1,840.
2. Firebird (Nelson/Marek 55), Greg Sands, Long Beach, Calif., 1,855.
3. Bengal II (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 1,837.
4. Rocket Science (Riptide 55), Nguyen Le, Amsterdam, 1,851.
5. Baronesa V (Open 40), Shuichi Ogasawara, Miyagi, Japan, 1,860.

DIVISION IV (started June 30)
1. Bull (Sydney 40 OD-T), Seth Radow, Marina del Rey, Calif., 1,886.
2. Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich., 1,903.
3. Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 1,911.
4. DH–Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif., 1,955.
5. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M., 1,957.
6. DH–Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I., 1,986.
7. Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 1,983.
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., 1,193.
2. Seda (Ericson 41), Josef Sedivec, Bonita, Calif., 1,269.
3. Shanakee II (Pedrick 75), Jim Warmington, Balboa, 1,018.
4. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Al Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 1,310.
5. Gecko (Tartan 41), Jim Fabrick, Laguna Beach, 1,287.
6. Bonaire (Moody 65), Gil Jones and Associates, Newport Beach, 1,190.

ALOHA DIVISION B (started June 25)
1. Stardust (Wylie 46), Peter and Patricia Anderson, Laguna Beach, 1,098.
2. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 1,173.

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)