One of my all time great fiends is Jon Shampain, the renowned Hippie, superb sailor and boat captain extraordinaire. He has the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon ready to go to Hawaii and here is his first day report. Look for regular onboard reports from him…
We’re settled in after a 2 year wait and some serious preparation completed since our class win in this year’s Ensenada Race. A haulout in Ensenada, swine flu that stopped all progress for a week, new rudder bearings, the usual new spin sheets, halyards, runners, rebuilt the entire steering system, new main & 2A and our 1A less than a year old…we’re feeling pretty good. The yacht looks good! We’ve all been sailing together for a few seasons and we only have 2 crew who weren’t with us last time around. Consistency of crew is a good thing. We don’t have Bruce Cooper from the Ullman loft but we’ve got his younger twin Kenny also a sailmaker for most of his life. He knows his sails. The start was with 12-15 kts, right enough to lay the West End of Catalina Island but it’s dropping in velocity, down to 10-12 from 270.
The Criminals (Criminal Mischief, R/P 45) were over, and went back and already they’re gone. That thing is a rocket. Very long line with the pin end a half a mile closer to Catalina…duh. Bottom third of the line with a good lane. We had Passion, another SC 50 from Texas, next to us and Allure another SC 50 right next to us on the other side. We’ve been sailing lower (right to the west end) and we’ve advanced forward on both of them. Most boats all had #3’s at the start and #2’s and hvy#1 are ready to be changed to if it drops any more.
The forecast has been rather dismal for the last few days and routing solutions showing 13-14 days. Yuk! The Ed and I spent a rather long time together in 95 with Pressure Cooker, SC 52. I remember a 13+ day trip with lots of light air…oh yea, the owner never did another ocean race.
In the last day or so it seems like things are changing and our current routing shows a 12 day ordeal. It should get better. There are a few land mines between here and Hawaii and those issues will determine the final results. The boats that started on Monday ran into the first wall this morning and they have all stopped after a decent beginning. We are hoping they will stay stuck and let us get back some of the extra time the committee has given each subsequent starts. 3 days between starts is ridiculous. The handicap delta would suggest 1, maybe 2 days at most. If all things were equal, my son on Relentless should be drunk and sober twice before I even see the Islands and we would have the same experience with the sleds. They owe SC 50 about a day and they spot us 72 hours. It would seen alcohol is consumed during those TP board meetings.
But things will not be equal and my guess is the big boys will crush the fleet with the forecast I’ve seen. Whatever it is Transpac is a great race, sailing it Hawaii is a gift, doing it on a cool boat with your mates is a wonderful experience and doing it for a living should be against the law.