While the bulls went on their annual stampede in Pamplona, Spain, another male bovine was on a rampage of its own in the Pacific.
Seth Radow's new Sydney 40 from Marina del Rey, Calif., featuring an angry, fire-snorting toro on the hull, ran down Philippe Kahn's 75-foot Pegasus with a pre-dawn finish Wednesday to claim victory on corrected handicap time in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race. The honor recognizes the crew that theoretically sailed its boat nearest to its potential.
Pegasus, about twice Bull's size, had a Transpac rating of 0.21 seconds per mile (X 2,225) to Bull's 104.85. Pegasus finished two days earlier to claim the race's unique Barn Door trophy for fastest elapsed time but owed Bull about 65 hours in time. To collect the debt, Bull had to finish by 5:20 a.m. local time and made it with 1 hour 32 minutes 8 seconds to spare. The high-tech racer sailed across the Diamond Head finish line at 3:49 a.m. illuminated only by a searchlight from the historic Coast Guard station.
Pegasus' elapsed time was 8 days 2 hours 34 minutes 3 seconds. Bull, with a one-day head start in Division 4, had an elapsed time of 10 days 17 hours 49 minutes 19 seconds. Bull's average speed for the 2,225 nautical miles was 8.6 knots, compared to 11.4 for Pegasus.
Bull, built in Australia, was a boat right out of the box when the race started but seized the lead in Division 4 from the start by boldly starting on port tack, without right of way, and crossing the entire fleet.
"It was fantastic," Radow said as a jubilant welcome luau got under way before sunrise. "Off we go, and never looked back. The guys sailed like demons for 24 hours a day."
Other finishers Wednesday included Ragtime, the 1973 and '75 Barn Door winner under charter from Scott Zimmer to Maui resident Trisha Steele and Owen Minney of Newport Beach. The sleek black wooden boat was sixth among eight boats in Division 2.
"The old girl just can't keep up with the big guys," Steele said. "She's always been rated to go in 20 knots of wind, and we never had anything over 20 until this morning in the Molokai Channel."
But Ragtime still made history. It shares the record for most Transpacs with Merlin - now Merlin's Reata - at 12, and Steele is the third generation of her family to do the race. Radow, a 37-year-old investment counselor, was met at the dock in Waikiki by his wife Stacey and their six-week-old daughter Leah.
"I got the boat on the 26th [of May] and the baby on the 29th," Radow said. Getting the boat to the U.S. was a problem. Because of the foot-and-mouth disease plaguing Europe at the time, Australian beef exports were boosted so heavily that Radow's boat kept getting bumped off the freighters. Once it arrived, he said, "We had shipwrights working 14 to 16 hours a day to get it ready. We were working up until the time we left for the start."
Bull is the smallest boat to win Transpac overall since Notorious, an Olson 40, in 1989. It sailed with a crew of seven: Radow, navigator Steve Steiner, Lee Lewis, Rick Valdes, Vince Valdes, Joe Dervin and Mark van Gessel. Their most serious problem was a shattered mast track where the spinnaker pole is mounted.
"We lost the mast track hard-reaching in 25 knots of breeze about a thousand miles out," Radow said. "A 12-inch section blew out in the middle. We never really had a chance to work up the boat much. There's only so much load you can put on in Marina del Rey, so we didn't know what the boat could do once we got into heavy wind." Rick Valdes repaired it twice.
"We call him 'MacGuyver' now," Radow said. "He started pulling parts from everything else on the boat that we weren't using and rebuilt the mast track. It broke again 200 miles later. We lashed the car and track to the mast with Spectra. That held up until Koko Head [off Oahu], then that blew up. We had 30s [wind velocity] for a while, doing 17-18 knots of boat speed. At that point we said, 'We gotta get to the finish line. We don't have time to rebuild anything else.' "
As the race progressed, the crew knew where it stood.
"Steve Steiner is the best amateur navigator in the world," Radow said. "This week he proved it. We knew where we were every step of the way. We knew exactly how many hours we were in front, how much time we had on everybody and when we fell behind. That was the night we blew our [mast track] up. We spent quite a few hours rebuilding it that night."
Bull sailed a relatively northern course near the rhumb (direct) line. Steiner set the course to take advantage of a major wind shift he anticipated.
"Every forecaster missed it," Steiner said. "I saw that other high [pressure pocket] coming to form a big high. I'm sure the real navigators saw it long before I did, but we had wind all the way."
Radow said, "We didn't follow the rest of the small boats. The sleds were following us up until [Bob McNulty's] Chance finally passed us on day five, literally abeam of us. They were in first place at the time. We were talking on VHF and [Chance's navigator] Dale Nordin said, 'I won't know which way to go anymore.' "
Seven boats remained at sea, all but one in Bull's Division 4.
Standings in order of handicap ratings at 8:30 p.m. PDT July 11:
DIVISION 1 (started July 1)
1. Pegasus (Reichel/Pugh 75), Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif., finished 8
days 2 hours 34 minutes 3 seconds.
2. Pyewacket (Reichel/Pugh 73), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles, Calif.,
3. Chance (Reichel/Pugh 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif.,
4. Merlin's Reata (Lee 68), Al Micallef, Ft. Worth, Tex., 8:17:45:35.
DIVISION 2 (started July 1)
1. Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), James McDowell, Haiku, H.I.,
2. J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif.,
3. Taxi Dancer (R/P 68), Brian W. Mock, Corona del Mar, Calif., 9:04:17:13.
4. Yassou (Transpac 52), Jim and Nancy Demetriades, Beverly Hills, Calif.,
5. Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif., 9:04:47:43.
6. Ragtime (Spencer 65), Hui Holokai Syndicate, Owen Minney/Trisha Steele,
7. Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif., 9:16:18:32.
8. DH--Étranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 239
miles last 24 hours/92 miles to go.
DIVISION 3 (started June 30)
1. Cantata (Andrews 53), Brent Vaughan, Oceanside, Calif., 10:06:44:54.
2. Firebird (Nelson/Marek 55), Greg Sands, Long Beach, Calif., 10:07:16:10.
3. Bengal II (Ohashi 52), Yoshihiko Murase, Nagoya, Japan, 9:16:20:56.
4. Baronesa V (Open 40), Shuichi Ogasawara, Miyagi, Japan, 10:00:49:34.
5. Rocket Science (Riptide 55), Nguyen Le, Amsterdam, 10:01:26:49.
DIVISION 4 (started June 30)
1. Bull (Sydney 40 OD-T), Seth Radow, Marina del Rey, Calif., 10:17:49:19.
2. Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich., 215/63.
3. DH--Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I.,
4. Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 188/164.
5. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M., 206/223.
6. Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 149/505.
7. DH --Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif.,
RETIRED -- LawnDart (Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C., 2,175.
ALOHA DIVISION A (started June 25)
1. Willow Wind (Cal 40), Wendy Siegal, Sunset Beach, Calif., 14:06:48:25.
2. Shanakee II (Pedrick 75), Jim Warmington, Balboa, 11:15:51:38.
3. Seda (Ericson 41), Josef Sedivec, Bonita, Calif., 15:11:48:05.
4. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Al Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 146/58.
5. Bonaire (Moody 65), Gil Jones and Associates, Newport Beach,
6. Gecko (Tartan 41), Jim Fabrick, Laguna Beach, 15:15:09:09.
ALOHA DIVISION B (started June 25)
1. Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C., 3:23:55:26.
2. Stardust (Wylie 46), Peter and Patricia Anderson, Laguna Beach,