Two new Australian-built boats are in a battle for overall corrected time honors in the 41st Transpacific Yacht Race, from Los Angeles to Honolulu, that is too close to call.
Philippe Kahn's Pegasus, already in port with the Barn Door secured for logging the fastest elapsed time, will find out Wednesday by dawn's early light whether it can claim Transpac's first sweep in eight years and only the fourth in modern times.
Seth Radow's Bull, a Sydney 40 One-Design Turbo with the image of an angry toro on its hull, must finish by 5:20:51 a.m. local time. At Tuesday evening's roll call, Bull was only 17 minutes 4 seconds behind the magic number and gaining time by leaps and bounds at an average speed of 8.6 knots.
Although Pegasus' elapsed time of 8 days 2 hours 34 minutes 3 seconds missed Pyewacket's record by about 15 hours Monday, those two boats and Bob McNulty's Chance posted the 10th, 13th and 14th fastest Transpac times ever.
The reason was the robust trade winds that kicked in halfway across the course. With following winds continuing to blow a steady 20 knots down the final straightaway Tuesday, boats were finishing like runaway floats in the Rose Parade. At times there were as many as four welcome luaus going on at once along a sweltering Transpac Row in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.
Nineteen of the original 33 starters had finished by day's end. Tuesday's 10 finishers for the day were, in order, Bengal II at 2:20 a.m. local time, Merlin's Reata at 3:45, J-Bird III at 9:36, Rocket Science at 11:26, Grand Illusion at 12:34 p.m., Medicine Man at 12:47, Taxi Dancer at 2:17 and Yassou at 4:17, Cantata at 5:45 and Firebird at 6:16.
A common theme of this Transpac has been the wonderful cruising conditions - full moon, clear skies, whale sightings, steady but manageable winds. "It was, astonishingly, one of the most pleasant races I've ever done," said Stan Honey, Pyewacket's navigator. "The only time we had water on deck was when we put our bow into a wave [while] running [downwind]. If every race was this way we'd have 200 boats. We should tell everybody it's always like this." . . .
The report was less upbeat from Sensation, Mike Thomas' smallish One-Design 35 from Detroit, Mich. that for a time challenged Bull for overall honors. That boat's terse message Tuesday, edited for clarity: "Exhausted mentally and physically. No sleep. Bad wind squalls all day. We fear the worst. Broke spinny pole in light-air jibe this afternoon, then 30 minutes later had to drop asymmetric [spinnaker] to jibe, it was so wrapped. Now to sleep in this sauna." . . .
Wendy Siegal of Sunset Beach, Calif., with her apparent overall victory in Aloha-A Division, is one of the rare women to win class in Transpac - maybe the first since Sally Blair Ames won Class A with Constellation in 1959. Siegal sailed the 36-year-old Cal 40 Willow Wind, the oldest boat in the race. The six-person crew included navigator Duncan Harrison, who two years ago rebuilt their broken boom in mid-ocean just to finish the race. This win was built on a bold dive south the first day, then a 13-day spinnaker run from last place, picking off the other five boats, one by one. Siegal, 49. Said, "I'm not a rich sailor. I sell clothes at Nordstrom's. I quit my job to do this race. I don't know if I'll get it back. But this is the ultimate." . . .
David Janes' new Transpac 52 J-Bird III from Newport Beach was the first finisher in Division 2 ahead of all the 70-rater sleds. But J-Bird III, designed by Alan Andrews, owed the sleds about seven seconds per mile and just missed correcting out on James McDowell's Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion for overall in class. G.I. was the race's overall handicap winner in '99. Janes said, "I understood we were expected to sail fast, but to beat [the sleds] boat for boat is special. We saw G.I. about three-quarters of a mile to leeward when we passed them a couple of days ago. The boat is very stable, fast, well-balanced and takes off like a jackrabbit in a spurt." Jim Demetriades' sky blue Yassou, the other new 52, was fourth overall in Division 2. Janes highly recommends the new class to others. "They can sail up there with the big guys and they don't need 5 million bucks," Janes said. . . .
Bob Lane's Andrews 61 Medicine Man from Long Beach, Calif. - five feet longer than it was in previous Transpacs - climbed from next-to-last to fourth among the eight boats in Division 2 by the end. Navigator John Jourdane said, "That boat is really fast. Our problem was we got stuck for 12 hours behind San Nicolas Island [70 miles offshore] the first night with no wind, but once we got in a breeze the boat just took off."
Standings in order of handicap ratings at 6:30 p.m. PDT July 10:
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., 8:03:36:58.
3. Chance (Reichel/Pugh 74), Bob McNulty, Corona del Mar, Calif., 8:05:08:24.
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., 9:02:34:24.
2. J-Bird III (Transpac 52), David Janes, Newport Beach, Calif., 8:23:36:10.
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., 9:07:00.
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,
Honolulu, 251 miles in last 24 hours/132 miles to go.
7. Mongoose (SC 70), Robert Saielli, La Jolla, Calif., 248/133.
8. DH--Étranger (Jutson 50), Howard Gordon, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 247/230.
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., 234/125.
2. Sensation (1D35), Mike Thomas, Detroit, Mich., 209/187.
3. DH--Two Guys On the Edge (Sonoma 30), Dan Doyle, Honolulu, H.I.,
4. Ouch (J/120), Ted Mayes, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., 184/269.
5. Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, Santa Fe, N.M., 202/342.
6. Mystere (Swan 42), Jorge Morales, Laguna Niguel, Calif., 138/590.
7. DH --Watercolors (Sabre 402), Michael Abraham, Newport Beach, Calif., 158/591.
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., 156/44.
4. Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Al Wheatman, Marina del Rey, 143/146.
5. Bonaire (Moody 65), Gil Jones and Associates, Newport Beach, 13:22:53:56.
6. Gecko (Tartan 41), Jim Fabrick, Laguna Beach, 157/71.
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, 13:05:01:24.