The fastest monohulls ever to sail the Transpacific Yacht Race will be even faster for the 42nd dash to Hawaii in 2003.
Transpacific Yacht Club directors this week voted to boost the boundary of performance to a more generous upper limit.
It means the three Reichel/Pugh 75 maxisleds that led the way last summer will no longer need to be configured to the rating limit that has been in force since 1995. They may use much larger spinnakers and poles and discard internal ballast in favor of slightly heavier ballast bulbs.
The purpose of limits, of course, is to create close racing. This year Philippe Kahn's Pegasus, Roy E. Disney's record-holding Pyewacket and Bob McNulty's Chance finished the 2,225-nautical mile race in that order within 2 1/2 hours of one another. All were optimized to a system that limited their rated speed potential to reaching Hawaii, theoretically, in an elapsed time of about 8 days 17 1/2 hours, based on "normal" Transpac conditions.
The new rule, based on a "box" formula that considers sail area, waterline length and displacement, drops the theoretical ET by about 14 hours.
Disney, whose R/P 73 set the record of just under 7 1/2 days in 1999, said, "We're all in favor of a limit that will let the present boats sail closer to their potential."
Kahn, who won in lighter wind this year in 8 days 2 1/2 hours, paraphrased the slogan of legendary Transpac designer Bill Lee that "fast is fun." Kahn said, "Faster is much more fun."
A fourth R/P 75, which raced Transpac as Zephyrus in 1997 and '99 and has been renamed Bright Star under new ownership in England, would also be eligible under the new system.
In related moves, the directors also voted to:
-- Establish a box rule for a "Transpac 70" whose performance could equal that of the larger 75s in the chase for the Barn Door trophy, which Transpac awards to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time.
-- Entertain the eligibility of an emerging group of 86-foot boats for the 2005 race if three or more indicate serious intent to start.
The Transpac's rating limit is meant not only to keep the competition close at the top of the fleet but also to equitably handicap the various types of smaller boats specifically for this race, which is predominantly downwind.
The system was spot on in the 2001 race when Seth Radow's Bull, a Sydney 40 OD-T, finished some 63 1/2 hours after Pegasus but corrected out by 1 ½ hours to become the smallest overall winner since the Cal 40 Montgomery Street in 1985.
Starting Dates For 2003
Some star-spangled starting dates and full-moon finishes are lined up for the 42nd biennial Transpac in 2003.
Directors approved a schedule calling for the first start on July 1, followed by two on the Fourth of July weekend -- Friday, July 4, and Sunday, July 6.
Specific starting dates for classes, including the Aloha for older and/or heavier displacement "furniture" boats and Divisions 1 through 4, will be assigned as entries develop.
If four or more multihulls also enter and at fewest three start, they will go on July 8. Multihulls must measure a minimum length of 45 feet overall
Many boats finish at night, but this time they should find Diamond Head illuminated by a full moon scheduled to peak on July 13.
Clothier Trohpy Re-awarded
Transpac's new Don Clothier Trophy, awarded to the performance cruiser under 49 feet with the fastest elapsed time, has been re-awarded to Ted Mayes' Ouch!, a J/120 from San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
The trophy was initially presented to Brent Hughes' Cantata, an Andrews 53 from Oceanside, Calif., before organizers realized it was too large to be eligible for the award.