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Posts Tagged ‘Transpac’

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UPDATE: It is no longer if they can – they fucking did it! Mighty Merloe was first to finish at 17:03 HST, smashing the elapsed time record! Pictures coming asap!

If the Mighty Merloe can hold off her much newer (and theoretically much quicker) Transpac competition for another half a day, her crew will have pulled off the greatest upset of the year in offshore racing.  H.L. Enloe’s 2004 vintage ORMA-60 gives away 10 feet in length and the better part of a decade in boat design to the 70s – the foiling Maserati and the multiple-record-setting Phaedo – but that doesn’t seem to be bothering Merloe.  She sits on 29 knots with just 345 NM to the finish line, and once again our man crush grows for the indomitable Loick “lo-lo” Peyron (enlisted for the trip along with French tri superstars Jacques Vincent and Franck Proffit). And navigator Artie Means is showing what we already knew – the boy can play.

In other news, the boat that weighs and costs more than the entire multihull fleet combined sits a day back.  Chat about the Transpac here.

July 10th, 2017 by admin

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The Transpac multihull start is a mere hours away and the ratings authority* (ORR) still hasn’t issued ratings! Our understanding is that Mighty Merloe is the only one of the ‘big three’ to have submitted all data, but Phaedo and Maserati did not. That doesn’t seem right at all.

From ORR: “The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) will distribute ratings for the Transpac multihull fleet by the end of the day on July 5th.  There has been a significant delay due to the absence of design information on two of the boats.  ORA is working to create representative hull and foil data to be used in lieu of actual measurements.

ORR-MH uses a velocity prediction program.  The polars from that program are then combined with the same wind speed and direction model use to generate ratings for the Transpac ORR fleet.  (It should be noted that the multihull fleet has a different scratch boat than the monohull fleet so that comparisons of corrected times will be invalid.)”

We’ll be watching closely to see how this turns out… Title thanks to the U2’s best live song.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified US Sailing as the ratings authority. We got a note on that:

“US Sailing has no involvement whatsoever with the Multihull Rule currently being developed by ORA, nor is US Sailing involved in processing of certificates for the Multihull rule.  This is 100% an ORA project.

“Also for clarification, US Sailing does process ORR certificates for monohulls, but does not have any ownership interest in the Rule or the VPP, which is owned exclusively by ORA.

“We do know there is a need for a robust VPP Rule for Multihulls and wish ORA success in their launch of this Multihull rule.  There are many challenges that lie ahead in this development including the gathering of accurate design and measurement data on the boats.

“Ron White, Offshore Chair, Director
US Sailing”


July 5th, 2017 by admin

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Ronnie Simpson breaks down the 49th Transpac fleet for you ocean racing junkies. 

While the America’s Cup hangover subsides, it’s easy to forget that the West coast’s most famous yacht race is already underway. Back for it’s 49th biennial edition, Transpac kicked off yesterday with the slowest boats starting in perfect weather, while the faster boats starting tomorrow and Thursday, respectively.   While the race won’t set any entry records this year with just fifty-five boats signed up, off a tick from year’s past, the fleet more than makes up for it with quality entries from top to bottom.

The world’s fastest monohull, the West coast’s lone supermaxi, a pair of MOD 70s (and two of their progenitors) and a Gunboat headline this year’s race which, if mother nature plays ball, should see both the monohull and multihull race records fall. Behind the big boats that grab the lion’s share of the media coverage, we’ll see battles amongst the west coast sleds, a revitalized Santa Cruz 50/ 52 division, the trans-Pacific debut for the Pac 52 fleet, several interesting handicap divisions, and more.

As usual, Anarchists will be embedded throughout the fleet to bring you some strong on-board coverage, but until then here’s SA’s form guide for the 2,225 mostly-downhill classic from Long Beach to Honolulu:

All-out assault on the records

As we’re all well aware by now, Bruno Peyron and Explorer’s two-decade old multihull record in Transpac is incredibly soft, and has been outright obliterated on multiple occasions by both Lending Club 2 and Phaedo’s sub 4-day runs. Both of those were course record attempts run outside of the race; the official multihull race record stands at 5 days 9 hours and 18 minutes. While the record may be a bit long in the tooth and inevitably waiting to fall, it has thus far proven to be an elusive target. Lending Club’s 2013 attempt was marred by Japanese tsunami debris and repeated collisions, while Lending Club 2′ came up against decidedly atypical el niño conditions which forced them to abandon the race two days before the start, to instead get ideal conditions to break the outright course record.

For 2017, a quartet of ultra-quick trimarans stand ready to finally break the race record, should they get anything other than sub-optimal conditions. Lloyd Thornburg’s world-conquering MOD 70 Phaedo 3 recently sailed the course in a record breaking 3 days 16 hours 52 minutes, some 40 hours under the race record, so we know she’s got the goods. She’ll line up against Giovanni Soldini and crew aboard Maserati, whose MOD 70 is equipped with lifting foils and just last week hit a new top speed record of more than 44 knots in San Francisco. Making matters even more interesting, H.L. Enloe’s ORMA 60 Mighty Merloe has been nipping at Phaedo’s heels – especially in lighter airs during some of the West coast’s offshore regattas – and will have none other than Jacques Vincent and Loick Peyron onboard for the Transpac. She’s the ORMA that was so quick she killed the class (ex-Groupama 2), so no one should count this dark horse out. While all eyes will be on those three, former Waterworld prop boat Loe Real looks to play the role of ultimate spoiler. With legendary west-coast navigator Jon “the Hippie” Shampain onboard and a group of funny talkers from down under, Loe Real is bound to have a trick or two up her sleeve…. She’s not likely to break any records, but will surely be one to watch.

In addition to Transpac‘s burgeoning fleet of multihulls, the monohull record is under attack as well. The world’s fastest monohull – Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s VPLP 100 Comanche – is loaded with her usual group of rockstars and ready to take on Alfa Romeo’s 2009 monohull race record of 5 days 14 hours and 36 minutes. If the breeze is heavy enough during the first third of the race, when it typically backs from northwesterly to northeasterly, Comanche may even be able to take a crack at her own 24-hour monohull record of 618 miles. Should Comanche falter in any way, Manouch Moshayedi’s fixed-keel Bakewell-White 100 Rio 100 has shown that she certainly has the pace to break the record as well. In last year’s breeze-on Pacific Cup race, she stormed into Kaneohe in a time of just 5 days 3 hours and 41 minutes to claim a course record in that race. A shorter race track to be sure, but she was nearly half a day quicker to Hawaii than the Transpac record – and that was before Moshayedi signed up Bouwe Bekking to make sure he left no stone unturned.

Division 1

In addition to the 100-footers listed above, Division 1 encompasses a wide range of yachts which should prove to be exciting, though practically impossible to handicap fairly. Fresh off her Vic-Maui triumph of last year, David Sutcliffe’s Vancouver-based TP 52 Kinetic V joins two brand-new Pac 52’s, who this year make their Transpac debut. Frank Slootman’s SF-basd Invisible Hand squares off against Tom Holthus’ So Cal-based Pac 52 Bad Pak for a highly anticipated battle that could go down to the wire. Steve Meheen’s R/P 63 Aszhou won this division last time she raced in Transpac (as Invisible Hand), and with a proven and thoroughly optimized platform, she should hang tough both on the water and on handicap, though she struggled against the new, smaller Hand in a breezy So Cal 300.

Division 2

Headlined by the return of Bill Lee’s 68-foot Merlin, a hearty fleet of 8 sleds have entered this year in a division that frequently produces the overall winner. Re-fit and more thoroughly optimized from her canting-keel days up on the Great Lakes, Merlin has been modernized with the fitment of a TP 52 keel and a higher-aspect ratio rudder. With top-tier talent like Morgan Larson onboard, Merlin hopes to hang tough against the competition which includes James McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion; the most successful syndicate to ever enter this race, having won it overall three times, including two of the last three races. (’11 and ’15) Defending J/70 World Champ Joel Ronning has entered the fray with his SC 70 Catapult, which recently claimed overall victory in California Offshore Race Week. John Sangmeister’s OEX and Roy Disney’s Pyewacket, both class stalwarts, have returned for ’17 with ultra wicked-up crews that make their intentions clear. Division 2 should be a barn-burner all the way to the islands.

Division 3

Essentially the HPR/Fast 40 division of Transpac, six quick 40-something’s are on the line for 2017. J/125’s are notorious for their success offshore and on the way to Hawaii. Two are on the line, including Tim Fuller’s Resolute, which has been winning hardware for years and has some top-tier talent on board. Chris Hemans’ Rogers 46 Varuna always puts up a good fight, and with recent optimizations that include a lighter keel and longer bowsprit, look for the stealthy black boat to find another gear downwind in her long-fought battle against the J/125’s. They’ll all have their hands full with Naomichi Ando’s R/P 45 Lady Kanon VI (ex-Criminal Mischief). The “wet pussy” is back, this time with a group that includes some strong talent from both the USA west coast and Japan. Last time she entered Transpac, she took the division win by just 3 minutes and 47 seconds, underscoring how closely these boats are likely to race. Coming up from behind, keep an eye on John Raymont’s Andrews 40 Fast Exit, the slowest-rated boat in division.

Division 4

The largest division in this year’s race, 2017 Transpac sees an impressive fleet of 10 Santa Cruz 50’s and 52’s on the line, in what is always one of the most hotly contested divisions. With a good mix of both amateur and professional talent dispersed throughout the fleet, and a large group of well sorted and evenly paired boats, Division 4 often produces some of the closest racing in the fleet. No clear favorites emerge in this fleet, though John Shulze’s Santa Cruz 50 Horizion has historically done extremely well in Transpac and most other west coast offshore races. Bill Guilfoyle’s Santa Cruz 52 Prevail, another class stalwart, has been going well as of late, and it’s from this good ship that i’ll be sailing and logging onboard reports during the race. Michael Moradzadeh’s SC 50 Oaxaca is hoping to rely on girl power to help power them to a division win, acquiring the talents of both Liz Bayliss and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Dee Caffari. By our math, something like 5 to 6 boats entered in this division could realistically win. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Divisions 5-7 encompass a wide range of handicap divisions including mostly racer/ cruisers with the odd Hobie 33 or J/105 thrown in the mix. There’s also a 1-boat cruising multihull division and a 5-boat performance multihull division which includes the four trimarans listed above plus John Gallagher’s quick Gunboat 62 Chim Chim

With quality battles throughout the fleet from top top bottom, Transpac 2017 is shaping up to be epic. Start dates are July 3, 5, 6. Head to for more info, and stay tuned to SA’s front page throughout July for all the dope on this biennial classic.

-Aloha from Ronnie

Gorgeous finish photos from 2015, props to the one and only Lauren Easley

July 4th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 11.33.54 PMA pile of the West Coast sled Merlin’s alumni got together to celebrate Merlin’s Ruby anniversary, and thanks to SA’er sleddog, we got pics. No matter how frankenturbo’d the Bill Lee classic gets, she’ll always be magic, and she’ll always have history.

A sunny afternoon for MERLIN’s 40th Birthday celebration at Santa Cruz Harbor. Many familiar faces among 150 paying homage, with docks filled, tours below, and MERLIN’s cockpit filled with smiles, guitar and mandolin music. Much emotion too, realizing we are all 40 years down the road. Yay, MERLIN, bringing us together again!

Hit the thread for Merlin’s fan club and chat group.

March 5th, 2017 by admin

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post-17096-0-66375300-1476471989An epic story of a piece of history’s restoration ends with a splash…with thanks to sleddog;

Last evening, as the sun set into a thick fog, the acerbic and perpetually weird Bill Lee’s iconic ‘Fast is Fun” MERLIN was lowered into the Pacific at Santa Cruz Harbor after an absence of many years in Great Lakes waters.

Bill and crew spent recent months removing the dysfunctional canting keel, daggerboard, hydraulics, and massive internal structure, and installing a new, Alan Andrews designed, torpedo type keel. Bill had a broad smile last evening when he saw MERLIN floating evenly and exactly on her original, 1977, designed lines, indicating a displacement of 25,000 pounds had been met.

MERLIN will compete in next summer’s Transpac, 40 years after breaking the Transpac elapsed time record.

Welcome Home, MERLIN! A re-christening ceremony will be held February 26, all invited. Regarding questions about the paint job, cabin shape, and other refinements, Bill would say MERLIN remains a “work in progress,” with nothing off the table, but jesus, can’t  ya at least paint the god damn thing something other than that? Say, white?

It is worth noting that design hack Leif Beiley is the one who orchestrated the butchery, as noted above, to virtually destroy as much of the originality of Merlin as possible. Y’all remember that tool, don’t ya?


October 14th, 2016 by admin

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Many have called Bill Lee’s Merlin the boat that launched the West Coast’s love of high speed downwind sailing.  The ultra-narrow icon has been bastardized and frankenboated to near death (thanks Leif Beiley) in her recent years of Great Lakes racing, but with her long-awaited return to a Santa Cruz that once loved and worshipped her, all that is about to change.  For a beautifully written look at the full and fascinating history of one of the sport’s most important milestones, click over here.  Here’s the arrival report from SA’er “sleddog”, from the thread. Photos from the same dog.

At 9:30 this morning, with police escort lights flashing, Driver Mike with MERLIN in tow made the last turn, gently bottomed out on the boatyard hill, and MERLIN was home.
Mike had been delayed at Donner Pass Ag Station when an inspector, doing his job, had found a Zebra Mussel infestation in the keel box and canting mechanism and quarantined the boat.  It took Mike 4 hours to find someone who would hot pressure wash the boat….but he seemed in good humor and no worse for wear, given the size and length of his eye catching cargo.
post-17096-0-51626300-1446061441Three of MERLIN’s original TransPac crew were on hand for her arrival:  Designer/builder Bill Lee, “Bosun” Dave Wahle, and Phil “Cosmic Flush” Vandenberg.  As MERLIN was backed into the boatyard for unloading by TraveLift, there was a brief moment of serendipity when MERLIN passed close astern of Bill Lee’s first ocean racing boat, the shoal draft, centerboard, John Alden designed, 38′ FRIDOLF, on which Bill crewed in Southern California in the mid-60’s, and later on Monterey Bay.
There’s a lot to be done to make MERLIN ocean worthy again.  First up is to locate a used TP-52 keel to replace the canting monstrosity. Bill has feelers out from Canada to Mexico.  The “leaky” canard trunk has to be cut out, and glassed over.  Even though Bill agreed the forward sloping, carbon fiber, cabin top is ugly, I doubt it is going anywhere soon. There are bigger fish to fry.   Ditto the ” MERLIN’S REATA”  graphics, a leftover from when she was sold to a Texas restauranteer.
Everyone was smiling this morning to see MERLIN back home. I’m sure there will be more stories to come


October 30th, 2015 by admin

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Driven in large part by one of SA’s closest friends, Renaud LaPlanche’s 6-month record-breaking campaign aboard the monster trimaran Lending Club helped cement the United States’ ascendency as one of the world’s preeminent multihull powers.  Along with Lloyd Thornburg’s busy Phaedo 3, Taylor Canfield’s US-One’s dominance of the M32 Series and now odds-on favorite status to win next year’s $1M World Match Racing Tour, and Oracle Racing “USA”‘s likelihood of taking home the Auld Mug, Lending Club has moved the goalposts for anyone looking to make a mark in outright speed under sail (or introduce huge numbers of people to the pointy end of the sport). For a wrap of their season, we go to Ryan (and be sure to follow as Ryan goes for doublehanded glory in the massive 21-boat fleet for the Transat Jacques Vabres next month).

After an action-packed 6 month charter, today the maxi-trimaran Lending Club 2 project has come to an end and we hand the boat back to its owner.  We knew from the start back in March that this was going to be a busy year, but I don’t think anyone realized how many people would come and see the boat or come sailing with us.

From the start we agreed we would have an open door policy and whenever possible we made the boat available for visits at the dock. Our skipper, Renaud invited all the Lending Club employees to come sailing and over 1000 of them took him up on the offer. We took children from sailing schools and students from all backgrounds and as young as 5 and 6 years old. We took hundreds of Lending Club guests and business partners in both New York and San Francisco. Everyone without exception had the opportunity to drive the boat if they wanted to and everyone came back to shore with a huge smile and an unforgettable souvenir.

We set three new world records in Europe, the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.

We made friends.

We had fun.

Heartfelt thanks to the entire team for working so hard; literally every single day for weeks on end and for taking such great care of all 1500+ guests. Thanks to the racing team who stepped up to the challenge and brought home three new records. Thanks to our technical partners Switlik, Marlow, Guy Cotten, Events Clothing and Underwater Kinetics who supported us from the start and finally a huge thanks to our leader Renaud Laplanche for making all this possible.

Here’s a short video that sums up the whole adventure in a few minutes, I hope you enjoy watching as much as we did living it.



September 17th, 2015 by admin

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Fresh off the obliteration of a decade-old Transpac record, Ryan Breymaier sat down with Mr. Clean for another of their excellent Skype chats about life, liberty, and the pursuit of speed.  Listen to the details of their incredible 3 day run from California to Hawaii, get the goss on their even crazier trip ahead – basically, a race back to Europe via the Panama Canal to get a few more records in before the Lending Club goes to her new owner. And perhaps most interestingly, listen to Ryan’s take on the major monohull records, and what kind of boat will be necessary for mono records to really start falling.

One of the brightest stars for the future of American sailing, and we’re lucky to get another great 36 minutes from him, with big thanks to Petey Crawford/Penalty Box Productions for the late night editing assist.


July 24th, 2015 by admin

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We dig this posterized shot of Manouch Moshayedi’s Bakewell-White 100 Rio shot yesterday cruising up Newport Harbor as she gets ready for her run at the Barn Door Trophy when the final Transpac gun sounds off tomorrow.  As required by the Transpac There’s no canting keel, powered ballast pumps, or powered winches for this bad boy, though there is a seriously stacked crew for this pure sailing machine.

In a world where it takes $35 million dollars and a diesel-burning 100-footer to beat a 7-year old record held by a 70 footer (by about 4%), and where both those records are a sad joke compared to what unpowered multihulls have been doing for a decade, we applaud Manouch’s purer goal, and we wish he and the crew the best of luck.

Track the fleet here, head over here to add a few views to the almost entirely unwatched video updates and highlights from the TPYC, and head here for the much busier SA thread.

And if you don’t get the title allusion, just remember: you’re never too old to be crazy. Thanks to Berkley Green at SoCalSailSport for the shot.

And look for onboard race reports from boat captain Keith Kilpatrick.


July 17th, 2015 by admin

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Rio 100 2

Thanks to income inequality and the booming markets, the maxi class continues to roll; Fresh off a huge acquittal in one of the biggest insider trading trials in years, Flash memory tycoon Manouch Moshayedi bought a motherfuckin’ boat, then made her a Transpac weapon.  Here’s the story from our friends at Doyle NZ.  Back to Eddie Murphy’s “Raw” for the title shout.

Following her major refit at Cookson’s, Rio 100 (ex. Zana/Konica Minolta/Lahana) is back on the water this week and she is raring to go. Purchased in 2014, the yacht has been redesigned and reconfigured by her Kiwi designer Brett Bakewell-White for use on the West Coast of the USA. “As part of her refit, Doyle Sails supplied her with a new set of Stratis carbon ICE sails, including a mainsail, two jibs, two reaching sails and two spinnakers,” says Mike Sanderson, Head of Sales at Doyle Sails NZ. “This was an exciting project for the Doyle team, particularly since Doyle NZ built so many sails for this boat during her previous life.”

Choosing a sailmaker was a key consideration for the refit. “Between the top sailmakers, there is really very little between the products, so we also looked closely at the customer service side in making our choice,” said Keith Kilpatrick, captain and project manager for the Rio refit. “I was very impressed with the Doyle operation. Just seeing it in action, and the hands on approach, reassured me that we would get the attention we needed for a programme like this; we felt that with other big sailmakers we would be just another customer. We are looking forward to seeing the sails in action in sail trials.”

Sail trials are scheduled for this week, with the upcoming Coastal Classic the yacht’s first official outing. The yacht will then be gearing up for the 2015 Transpac race, where the Barn Door Trophy is firmly in her sights.


September 18th, 2014 by admin