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19 July 2006, 11:45 am
Length and Racing Limits Set
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Transpac 2007
Los Angeles, USA to Honolulu

Transpacific Yacht Club board of directors has spoken: Boats sailing the 44th Transpac a year from now may not have a hull length overall (LOA) greater than 30 meters (96.65 feet)-and those with Barn Door ambitions may be racing a ghost.
Along with the hull length limit, the rating limit has been established to equal the speed of a canting keel maxZ86 on the Transpac course-specifically, a limit conforming to Pyewacket's configuration when it sailed in the 2004 Newport to Bermuda Race when it was first to finish.

Transpac commodore Al GARNIER said, 'Pyewacket is still the scratch boat even if it doesn't sail'-meaning that the rating limit will apply even if no maxZ86s enter the race, and Pyewacket probably won't. Roy E. DISNEY donated his boat to the Orange Coast College of Sailing & Seamanship when he retired from racing after Transpac 2005.

That rating limit is secret, determined by the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) as administered by US SAILING with the Transpac Course Mix formula and the Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) updated for 2007 factored into the calculations. If it were made public a competitor might find a loophole for an advantage. Otherwise, boats may submit rating data as many as 10 times on various setups and told each time only whether they are over or under the limit.

And they're shooting at a moving target.

'The rating limit is constantly updated by the VPP program and the Pacific Swell Factor,' GARNIER said. 'The program is always being updated to provide the most accurate speed prediction based on all available and known information.'

It had been anticipated that some of the world's 30-meter racing machines of recent vintage would join Transpac 2007. None has indicated interest as yet, but the new LOA leaves the door open for them, as long as they don't exceed the rating limit. Boats meeting the 30-meter LOA but not the rating limit would be required to power down.

For all boats, the deadline for submitting final rating data to US SAILING is 1200 EDT Thursday 7 June 2007.

No improvements scheduled at Ala Wai

A year after there was no traditional 'Transpac Row' for the Centennial Transpac race, prospects remain grim for restoration of Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, the island destination home for competitors until last year.

For decades an aloha community atmosphere abounded when race boats occupied slips in order of their finishes, from the inner end of the 500 channel to the outer end near the Hawaii Yacht Club.

When those deteriorating dock spaces were condemned by the state of Hawaii before the 2005 race, boats were scattered around the basin to tie up at the Hawaii and Waikiki Yacht Clubs and on a narrow temporary dock arranged by the latter. The clubs were gracious and hospitable, but it wasn't Transpac Row.

Roy DISNEY, following his 15th and final Transpac, wrote a letter published in the Honolulu Advertiser bemoaning the situation.

At about the same time, Curtis A. (Bud) THOMPSON, a former commodore of two Hawaiian yacht clubs and general chairman of the Honolulu Committee for the 1969 Transpac, wrote a letter to Gov. Linda LINGLE. She responded last October:

'My administration is concerned about the condition of the State's small boat harbors, as we do want them to be places that our citizens and visitors can enjoy. We also recognize the economic value of prestigious yachting competitions and will continue to support events like the Transpac.

'I wish to assure you that we are looking into various solutions for the repair and upkeep of our harbor facilities and, in addition, we continue our efforts to persuade legislators to dedicate additional funds.'

Nine months later the state has made no apparent moves to improve the marina, despite LINGLE's stated concern and assurances.

Last month THOMPSON wrote her another letter pointing out the potential added benefits of Transpac to her state through Disney's Morning Light project that will see 'the youngest crew ever to sail Transpac' racing a Transpac 52 to Honolulu. As of this release he has received no response.

Race Starts - 9, 12 and 15 July 2007

Rich Roberts. Image, Morning Glory smashed the Race Record in 2005 © Sharon Green/www.ultimatesailing.com
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