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27 July 2005, 11:45 am
Rosebud Claims King Kalakaua Trophy
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Transpacific Yacht Race 2005

'I think they probably won,' Philippe KAHN said after sailing his new Pegasus past the Diamond Head finish line far ahead, but not quite far enough ahead, of Sturgeon's three year old Rosebud in the final battle between Transpac 52s for the coveted King Kalakaua Trophy in the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race.

Pegasus finished at 2314 hours HST Monday night and Rosebud followed at 0225 on Tuesday with 39 minutes to spare on the 3 hours and 50 minutes Pegasus owed her in corrected handicap time as an older generation member of the TP 52 class.

'I didn't know if we'd won until we crossed the finish line,' STURGEON said. 'We didn't know when [Pegasus] finished. We were blasting all out up to 23 knots off Molokai. The winds were over 25 with gusts to 30.'

So Transpac's big winners duplicated last year's Newport-Bermuda Race when Hasso PLATTNER's maxZ86 Morning Glory was first to finish in record time, as it won the Barn Door here, and Rosebud won overall, the latter a rare double in America's premier ocean races believed to be last achieved by Dorade in the 1930s.

Rosebud, whose home port is Santa Cruz, California, USA, said the contest 'was for the most part like leapfrog,' although he thought the daily position reports were often misleading.

'You have to think of the angles,' he said. 'All the way you're trying to beat somebody you can't even see.'

KAHN, who switched to a TP 52 after winning the Barn Door with a bigger boat the last two years, said, 'It was a tough race from a competition standpoint when you don't know who wins [at the end]. But these boats are fun to sail. It's more of a sailing challenge.'

'The handicapping is tricky. We're all right with it, but to put [almost] four hours on an almost identical boat is difficult.'

Both boats spent the last few days before their start in Long Beach's Rainbow Harbour, the new mainland home for Transpac.

KAHN told a Transpac official, 'The sendoff in Long Beach was fantastic. You guys ought to start the race right off Long Beach.'

For years the race has started 13 miles away off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, offshore from Donald TRUMP's golf course reconstruction project.

Australia's The Cone of Silence, the smallest of 75 boats in the race, reeled off some of the largest daily mileage numbers over the final week - 223, 210, 255, 246, 263, 216 - and finished well ahead of everybody in Division III on Tuesday, but it was not quite enough to eclipse Reinrag2 on handicap time.

The GARNIER family's J/125 from Portland, Oregon, USA, finished about two and a half hours later to easily save the six hours owed by Jamie NEILL's Down Under flyer, which wound up second overall. It was the third division win in four years for Reinrag2.

Davis PILLSBURY, 67, had said this would be his last Transpac, and after three days his beloved Cal 40 Ralphie had a two mile lead on that venerable fleet and a shot at beating the entire 75 boat fleet on handicap time. Then, on crew member Don JESBERG's advice, it made a left turn and went its own way south and, day by day, slipped from second to third to fourth.

'Davis thought I was nuts,' JESBERG said. '[He said,] 'What have we done? I've spent all this money and time to do this right and you have us 80 miles south of everybody in fourth place.' '

JESBERG described that day as 'distraught.'

But the next day, the northern boats ran out of wind and bailed south, falling into line behind the boat from Colorado, and Ralphie was back in first place and running away.

What happened, JESBERG said, was that the others had bet on sailing a shorter Great Circle Route north of the rhumb (direct) line to Hawaii through what appeared to be a 'fractured' high pressure area, which soon became bad news.

'As our group caved south we flattened our course out,' JESBERG said. 'All we needed to do was stay between them and Hawaii.'

Take five sailors with disabilities racing a 40 foot boat to Hawaii with one able-bodied skipper, subtract one crew member the day before the start and another soon after and you have B'Quest, the Challenged America entry from San Diego.

Jeff REINHOLD, a paraplegic, did not go because of an infected elbow and it was too late to replace him. Urban MIYARES, the organization's blind co-founder with multiple ailments, soon became so violently seasick that he tore his esophagus.

'For ten days I wasn't part of the crew,' he said.

Jim HALVERSON, who is missing a leg, said, 'He was a stowaway.'

And HALVERSON cracked a rib falling out of his bunk one night.

MIYARES said, 'I couldn't eat or swallow a drink of water for about five days. Even now I can't take a handful of pills, I have to take one at a time, and I have about 90 pills I take in a day. My role was not to become a medical emergency.'

That left HALVERSON, Kevin WIXOM, also one-legged, and one-armed Scott MEIDE to carry on with skipper Josh ROSS, and somehow, this remarkable group of men finished fourth boat for boat and on corrected time among eight competitors in Division IV.

MIYARES saw one benefit of the experience.

'They found out what the two most difficult positions on the boat are,' he said. 'Foredeck and galley. I had some wonderful meals planned, too.'

Rich Roberts. Image, Merlin had a wild finish to its 13th Transpac off Diamond Head Tuesday when its spinnaker flew out of control in 25 knot winds gusting to 30:© Geri Conser
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