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26 July 2005, 01:49 pm
Soap Opera Follows The Simple Course To Success
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Transpacific Yacht Race 2005

They bought their combination ham-single sideband radio on the Internet for $550, thoroughly grounded it with aluminum foil off the kitchen shelf and checked standard weather reports daily to see where the best winds would be...

'We didn't try to be original,' said Scott SELF, who with Nigel BROWN sailed his Hobie 33 Soap Opera to first place in Division V and among seven double-handed boats in the Centennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii.

Oh, and their sails were green.

'My favourite color,' said SELF, a soap manufacturer from Rockwall, Texas, USA. 'We didn't have any sail problems at all, and our radio worked better than some of the state of the art stuff on the million dollar big boats. All that carbon fiber causes problems.'

Their only problem was when their heavy duty aluminum tiller broke at the head of the rudder on the 13th and final night as they were about to enter the blustery Molokai Channel with their spinnaker up.

'The boat went on its side, but the hatch was sealed, so we weren't going to sink,' SELF said.

They rigged their emergency wooden tiller in 30 minutes and were under way again, but without a spinnaker.

'We knew we had won the division and double-handed, so we went very conservative,' SELF said. 'But we were still hitting 15 knots.'

Their elapsed time for the 2,225 nautical miles was 13 days, 1 hour, 10 minutes and 35 seconds, an average speed of 7.1 knots.

Their watch system was four hours on and four hours . . . on. They finished with a plastic crate still full of food because, 'it was so rough we could eat only one meal a day,' SELF said. 'One guy couldn't leave the helm and the other had to trim all the time.'

Sleep? 'About one hour a day,' SELF said.

SELF and BROWN have been sailing together for 20 years so obviously are past becoming incompatible during two weeks on a small boat.

BROWN said, 'There's a real risk of that happening with some people, but Scott and I know what to expect from each other.'

Of the other key finishers Davis PILLSBURY's Ralphie came inat 2300 HST on Sunday, winning the 14 boat Cal 40 class by more than ten hours, followed by a flood of wrong way rivals Monday. Steve CALHOUN's Psyche, which won overall under Don SALISBURY in the Cal 40s' historic debut in 1965, was second in its first appearance in the race since.

Challenged America's B'Quest, a team of sailors with disabilities from San Diego, USA, put in an excellent performance to finish fourth overall among eight boats in Division V. Despite sailing short one crew and with veteran Urban MIYARES ailing, they finished their second successive Transpac just half and hour behind Ralphie.

Larry HILLMAN's Swan 48, So Far, won Aloha B at dusk Sunday for a runaway sweep on both elapsed and handicap time.

As expected, five boats beat the older Pyewacket's Transpac record of 7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes and 27 seconds, led by Hasso PLATTNER's Barn Door win with Morning Glory early Sunday morning in 6:16:04:11. The others were Roy DISNEY's new Pyewacket in 6:18:32:25, Randall PITTMAN's Genuine Risk in 6:22:02:35, Doug BAKER's Magnitude 80 in 7:03:02:57 and Doug DEVOS' Windquest in 7:05:58:03.

Magnitude 80 was second overall to Morning Glory on handicap time in Division 1, but the King Kalakaua winner is now a battle between two Transpac 52s. Philippe KAHN's Pegasus holds a 25 minute handicap lead over Roger STURGEON's Rosebud. Pegasus led by 40 miles at Monday morning's position report but owes Rosebud, an earlier generation TP 52, more than three hours. Pegasus was due to finish late Monday night or early Tuesday, and then start counting.

Meanwhile, the smallest boat in the race, Jamie and Jenny NEIL's Super 30, The Cone of Silence from Australia, threatened to steal the show with its surge to the front of the Division III pack, and is now twelve miles in front of Tim BEATTY's Perry 56, Stealth Chicken. Tom GARNIER's J/125, Reinrag2, is next and leads The Cone of Silence by four and a half hours on handicap time. With strong trade winds now blowing in the islands, all are expected to finish Tuesday morning into midday.

Rich Roberts. Image, B'Quest:© John Fuller
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