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24 July 2005, 10:50 am
And The First To Finish Is . . .
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Transpacific Yacht Race 2005

Eagle, quietly crossed the finish line off Diamond Head early Saturday morning, less than 24 hours before higher drama was due.
According to the latest position reports, the Centennial Transpac's oldest and fastest boats are now expected in Sunday's pre-dawn hours, the 68 year old Odyssey 19 minutes before Hasso PLATTNER's high-tech maxZ86, Morning Glory, at 0320 hours HST. Odyssey's Aloha A class rival, Between the Sheets, is due only 23 minutes later.

Odyssey is a 58 foot yawl that first sailed the race in 1939. The owner is Audrey Steele BURNAND, who is not on board, but the skipper is her son-in-law, Cecil ROSSI. Ross PEARLMAN's Between the Sheets, a Jeanneau 52, won Aloha A in 2003. Those two had a six day head start on Morning Glory and the other boats in Divisions I and II and were still running in front of everybody in Saturday morning's reports with 163 and 168 miles to go, respectively.

Morning Glory was 312 miles out but sailing almost twice as fast at 13.8 knots for the race, although it lost 28 miles to its nearest rival, Roy DISNEY's Pyewacket, now 34 miles behind. Although winds were growing lighter, those two and three other boats were still on pace to beat the record of 7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes and 27 seconds set by DISNEY's previous Pyewacket in 1999.

Alaska Eagle, meanwhile, was at rest at the Hawaii Yacht Club after tracking the 75 boat fleet over 2,225 nautical miles from the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Once a winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race, it is owned by the Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship.

Grant BALDWIN, the radio 'voice' of 20 Transpacs, upon arrival sipped a mai tai and said it would be his last Transpac, not mai tai.

'This is my swan song,' he said. 'I've been doing this since 1979, mostly on this boat. It's time for somebody whose voice isn't as scratchy and who doesn't talk back [to the racers].'

But he is still savvy enough to offer an assessment of this race: 'Very light [wind], practically no [rough] seas, a few squalls. The people who got low [south] and got low early did better, like Morning Glory and Ralphie.'

Ralphie is Davis PILLSBURY's Cal 40 that is 58 miles ahead of the next boat in that fleet with 331 miles to go. Two former winners, Steve CALHOUN's Psyche and Sally HONEY's Illusion, moved up to second and third Saturday. Psyche's last Transpac was 1965 when it won overall on handicap time. Illusion won the Cal 40 class and was third overall in 2003.

Other boats also were making strong late moves. Tom GARNIER's Reinrag2, the J/125 that won Division III in 2003, leapt from fourth to first overall with a 229 mile day while Jamie and Jenny NEILL's Super 30, The Cone of Silence, from Australia put a 246 mile day behind Friday's spectacular 255 to close on the leaders.

In the race for the King Kalakaua Trophy (first overall on handicap time) that is dominated by Division II, Philippe KAHN's newest Pegasus, a Transpac 52, answered a late challenge by Roger STURGEON's Rosebud by stretching its lead back to about five hours with 729 miles to go. Six of the top seven Kalakaua threats are in Division II, the exception being Morning Glory in fifth.

In Division IV, the Alamitos Bay Syndicate's Tabasco is now cruising for a double triumph 61 miles and about 14 hours ahead, but Hawaii's own Dan DOYLE and Bruce BURGESS have been driving their 1D35 Two Guys On the Edge hard enough, nearly 400 miles the last two days, to where they are now in second place, boat for boat.

Like Tabasco, Larry HILLMAN's Swan 48, So Far also is home free with a 117 mile lead and 306 to go in Aloha B, while James and Ann READ's 42-foot Camille was just at the halfway point Saturday with an ETA of midday 4 August.

Rich Roberts. Image, Morning Glory:© Sharon Green/www.ultimatesailing.com
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