Alfa Romeo, the McConaghy built super maxi owned and skippered by Kiwi yachtsman Neville Crichton, has smashed the race record in the TransPac race by more than a day, arriving in Hawaii in the fastest time in the 103 year history of the event, further confirming Alfa Romeo as the yacht to beat in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart race in December.
Alfa Romeo and Neville Crichton crossed the finish line just after midnight on Saturday 11 July Hawaii time, with an elapsed time of 5 days, 14 hours and 36 minutes, beating the previous race record by one day, one hour, 27 minutes and 51 seconds. Indeed, so quick was Alfa Romeo’s completion of the 2225 nautical mile race from Los Angeles to Hawaii, she came tantalizingly close to beating the multihull record – an amazing feat for a monohull.
The only issue faced by the crew was the problem of ocean debris. Six times they had to stop – or back down – and take down all the sails so that fishing nets, sheets of plastic and seaweed caught up in floating debris could be removed from the keel and the rudder. Each time they stop it cost more than 30 minutes, or more than three hours in total, around the same time Alfa Romeo came within the multihull record. But Alfa Romeo has added the two prizes that really matter – her 141st line honours and a new race record to – her race record.
“It was a very good race, no problems, other than having back down to clear litter from the keel and the rudder,” said Skipper Crichton at the finish. “The highlight? Crossing the line in Hawaii, winning the race and smashing the race record. Alfa Romeo performed faultlessly, taking everything that the race threw at her in her stride. At the start we decided to steer a course north of the rest of fleet to look for more consistent wind and then come back down with a good push behind us: in fact the boat sailed at speeds of up to 25 knots, only a little under 50 kmh. The tactics paid off and the yacht and her crew responded as they always do, in other words giving their all.”