A total of 57 entries and counting at the discount entry fee deadline promises that the 42nd biennial Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii will have its largest fleet since the mid-80s when the ULDB 70 sleds held sway.
From what looms as a match race for the Barn Door trophy between Philippe Kahn's Pegasus and Roy E. Disney's record holder Pyewacket to a vintage mix of competitive Cal 40s, the West Coast's most prestigious offshore event offers a wide range of rivalries at every level, large and small.
The current list, representing five countries, three continents and home ports from Honolulu to Florida, includes 34 boats in the four racing divisions and 10 in the Aloha class, along with four doublehanders and nine Cal 40s celebrating the 40th anniversary of the class and their dominance of the race in the 60s. Entry fees were discounted until March 7, but more entries are anticipated before the final deadline of May 23.
Transpac entries hit a peak with 80 in 1979, followed by 74, 66, 64 and 55 through 1987. This year's race, scheduled to start July 1, 4 and 6 off the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles, includes six foreign entries---two each from Australia and Canada, one from New Zealand and Karl Kwok's new Transpac 52, Beau Geste, from Hong Kong, with Gavin Brady on board.
One of the Canadians is Bill Allan, sailing Lawndart, a Cape Bay Fast 40 from Nanaimo, B.C. with a past and a purpose. Allan is an investment advisor who said, "I work with ordinary people who have dreams and goals that are a part of what makes up the real world."
Allan's lifelong dream has been to sail---and finish---the Transpac. He fell somewhat short two years ago when he dropped out on the second day at sea and returned to the mainland. Those daunting 2,225 nautical miles still separate him from his dream.
"I have been working hard to ensure that the boat is perfectly prepared this time, and I am mindful of the lessons learned last time,"
he said. Allan became enamored of the Transpac at age 10 while reading an uncle's sailing magazines. "Never did I think a time would come that I would have the courage or the opportunity to cross the ocean in a Transpac race, to follow in the wakes of other great men and great sailors who made the trip before me,"
he said. "Now wild horses could not keep me away. My crew and I have a sense of unfinished business."
Disney, who raced his first Transpac in 1975, could relate to Allan's feelings for the Transpac. "My first two races that's all I was thinking about---finishing,"
he said. "Just getting that boat there was a reward in itself."
Nowadays Disney's goal is the Barn Door, a 3 1/2-by-4-foot slab of carved native koa wood awarded to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time, dating to 1949. Pegasus and Pyewacket, the only entries to date in Division 1, have dominated it for the last three races and will be "turbocharged" into even faster configurations this time.
However, there is plenty of hardware at stake for large and small boats alike, including the equally prestigious King Kalakaua trophy for first place overall on corrected handicap time. The 2001 winner was Bull, Seth Radow's Sydney 40 from Marina del Rey.
Meanwhile, a safety at sea seminar is scheduled March 15 at the Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship in Newport Beach. A Transpac rule requires that 30 per cent of the crew have attended a Safety at Sea Seminar within the last five years.
OFFICIAL ENTRIES (as of March 7, 2003):
Division 1 (starts July 6)
Pegasus 77 (Reichel/Pugh 77), Philippe Kahn, Honolulu.
Pyewacket (R/P 75), Roy E. Disney, Los Angeles.
Division 2 (starts July 6)
Alta Vita (Transpac 52), Bill Turpin, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Beau Geste (Transpac 52), Karl Kwok, Hong Kong.
Grand Illusion (Santa Cruz 70), Lahaina, H.I.
Helsal II (Adams 60), W.E. Rawson, Melbourne, Australia.
Icon (Perry 65), Richard Robbins/Jim Roser, Seattle.
Medicine Man (Andrews 61), Bob Lane, Long Beach, Calif.
Mongoose (Santa Cruz 70), Robert Saielli, San Diego.
Pendragon 4 (Davidson 52), John MacLaurin, Marina del Rey, Calif.
Vicki (Andrews 68), Al and Vicki Schwartz, Long Beach.
Division 3 (starts July 4)
Dasher (Santa Cruz 50), Roger Groh, San Francisco.
Horizon (Santa Cruz 50), Jack Taylor, Dana Point, Calif.
Innocent Merriment (J/160), Myron Lyon, San Diego.
Maitri (J/160), Peter Johnson, San Diego.
Pipe Dream IX (J/160), Scott Piper, Coral Gables, Fla.
Reinrag (J/125), Tom Garnier, Portland, Ore.
Division 4 (starts July 4)
Bolt (Olson 40), Craig Reynolds, Balboa, Calif.
Bravado (Elliott 46), Charles Breed, Alameda, Calif.
Challenged America (Tripp 40), Urban Miyares, San Diego.
Cool Man Cool 2 (Sydney 38), Harrell Jones, Dana Point.
Lawndart (Cape Bay Fast 40), Bill Allan, Nanaimo, B.C.
Paddy Wagon (Ross 40), Richard Mainland, Marina del Rey, Calif.
Swept Away (J/120), Louis Bianco, Seattle.
Terra's XL (ILC 40), Anthony Barron, Las Vegas, Nev.
There and Back Again (Tripp 40), Robert Rice, Long Beach.
Uproarious (Olson 40), Robert Bussard, San Diego.
Divisions to be determined
Axapac (Wylie 39), Barry Ruff, Vancouver, B.C.
Krakatoa (Young 32), Rod Skellet, Sydney, Australia.
Masquerade (Choate 40), Timothy Coker, San Diego.
Pipe Dream (Choate/Feo 37), John Davis, Long Beach.
Rapport (Farr 1104), Gavin Morris, Auckland, N.Z.
Tabasco (1D35), John Wylie, San Diego.
Wild Thing (1D35), Chris and Kara Busch, San Diego.
ALOHA DIVISION (starts July 1)
Enchanted Lady (Roberts 55), Andy Sibert, Seal Beach, Calif.
Incredible (Swan 53), Rick Gorman, Los Alamitos, Calif.
Just Imagine (49' cutter), Thomas Camp, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Lady Bleu II (Dynamique 62), Roger and Brenda Kuske, San Diego.
Maria R (Beneteau 50), Jon Richards, Mesa, Ariz.
Windborne (Gulfstar 50), Tom Ryan, Marina del Rey.
Barking Spider (Catalina 38), David Kory, Point Richmond, Calif.
Sea Dancer (Ericson 35), Alvin Wheatman, Marina del Rey.
Tango (Beneteau 40), Howard Raphael, Sausalito, Calif.
Wind Dancer (Catalina 42), Paul Edwards, Wilmington, Del.
Aloha B/Cal 40
California Girl (Cal 40), Don and Betty Lesley, Point Richmond, Calif.
Celebrity (Cal 40), Gerald Finnegan, Redondo Beach, Calif.
Flying Cloud (Cal 40), Darrell and Scott Wilson, Long Beach.
Illusion (Cal 40), Stan Honey, Palo Alto.
John B (Cal 40), Greg Boyer, Newport Beach, Calif.
Ralphie (Cal 40), Jack and Taylor Pillsbury/Eleanor and Davis Pillsbury, San
Ranger (Cal 40), William Partridge, Richmond, Calif.
Redhead (Cal 40), Andrew Opple, Ketchum, Idaho.
Willow Wind (Cal 40), Wendy Siegal, Seal Beach, Calif.
DOUBLEHANDED (start dates to be determined)
Beach Music (Tayana 52), Kirby Coryell, Lafayette, Calif.
Beautiful Day (Beneteau 47.7), William Boyd, San Diego.
Lucky Dog (J/125), Peter Putnam, Newport Beach.
Starbuck Black Soo 31), Greg Nelson, Piedmont, Calif.