Lindsey AUSTIN (USA), 22, will be skipper on Bill MYERS' (USA) Standfast 40, Cirrus, with an all-woman crew, except for MYERS. AUSTIN was one of 30 finalists for the Morning Light team before it was trimmed to 15 in tryouts at Long Beach last summer.
'I knew I was going to do Transpac with or without Morning Light,' AUSTIN said. 'I wasn't going to let that stop me.'
AUSTIN, who has a 100-ton Master's license from the Pacific Maritime Center in Hawaii, comes from a family of mariners, including her mother Donna, who also will be on the boat. She met MYERS when she delivered his boat to San Francisco for the start of last year's Pacific Cup, after bad weather foiled MYERS' earlier effort.
'So when Transpac came around and I didn't have a boat to do it, I asked Bill,' she said.
It is believed that AUSTIN will be the second youngest female skipper in Transpac history after Terri CLAPP (USA), who at 21 led the race's first all-woman crew on Concubine in 1979. They plan to leave Honolulu on Saturday to bring MYERS' boat to Long Beach for final pre-race preparations and activities in Rainbow Harbour, the new mainland home of Transpac.
MYERS, 71, spent a 40-year scientific career at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California doing research and development on dynamic nuclear properties. He retired to Hawaii several years ago and started sailing Cirrus seriously. He was keen on giving AUSTIN this opportunity, he said, because of 'my excellent experience with women sailors. I also had friends on the [Linda ELIAS] all-woman crew that raced in 1997, which was my first Transpac.'
Cirrus' rivals will include On the Edge of Destiny. The DOYLE brothers sailed the 2006 Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Kaneohe with their dad, who also has done four Transpacs double-handed but will not sail this time. Sean will be skipper, Justin navigator, and other crew members will be Tedd WHITE (USA), 23, and Cameron BIEHL (USA), 19, watch captains, and Roscoe FOWLER (USA), 20, medic.
Their average age of 19.8 could make them the youngest Transpac crew ever. That distinction is currently endowed on the seven young men averaging 22.57 years who sailed on Jon ANDRON's (USA) victorious Cal 40, Argonaut, in the 1969 Transpac.
Dan DOYLE cannot race this time because of his role on Transpac's Honolulu Committee.
'I have to be here to greet the boats when they come in,' he said. 'I started talking to Sean and Justin and thought it would be a great year for them to take the boat, if they wanted to. Morning Light had a little bit to do with it . . . the inspiration to put a bunch of kids together came from there.'
He said he will not worry about them, 'When we started off in Pac Cup I took one watch and put them together [on the other watch],' DOYLE said. 'After about three days it was real clear they were totally confident and reliable, so we split up into three watches.'
Justin said, 'It's gonna be cool because it's a bunch of guys around my age, and I get to sail with my brother. I've spent a lot of time on the boat. We know what it likes to do and how it goes fast.'
Transpac activities will start with 7 July unveiling of 11 Walk of Fame monuments - one for each decade of the race - to be placed around Rainbow Harbour, a popular tourist site surrounded by restaurants, shops and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
This summer's month-long schedule of pre-race activities will be integrated into the city's annual Sea Festival celebration.
As in 2005, complimentary dock space will be provided in Rainbow Harbour for all boats, local and from out of town, to make their final preparations there in the days and weeks before the race. This year they will include DISNEY's modified 94-foot Pyewacket and the Morning Light team.
On the three start days 9 July, 12 and 15 the various divisions will depart amid public fanfare past the Queen Mary and to the starting line below Point Fermin Park in nearby San Pedro.