What looked like a 5 boat Mini Transpacfleet by last weekend, but is now a 1 boat fleet.
Three anxious but eager sailors crossed the starting line, each on their own 21-foot Mini 6.50 TransAt boat knowing that an arduous 2,200 nautical miles trek lay before them.
The daunting nature of the proposition and the preparation required had already claimed two other competitors – Luiz Eduardo and Charles Calkins were unable to complete their qualifying obligations and were therefore disqualified. On race day, another surprise drop-out occurred when Przemyslaw Karwasiecki got a terminal case of “cold feet” and made for the exit door.
As disappointing as these DNS’s were to organizers, it was still set to be a captivating two-boat dual between favorite Jerome Sammarcelli and strong contender Sean McGinn. Despite initial problems at the start with his wind instruments McGinn quickly recovered and sailed USA 530 back to the top of the leader-board before sunset. With mere miles between the two racers, the stage was set for an epic 2,200-mile match race – an ocean duel, but then another blow struck.
A medical emergency onboard USA 806 on Sunday afternoon forced Jerome Sammarcelli to turn USA 806 around. Even though the injuries sustained were minor, Jerome (father of two), put safety first and made the tough decision to abandon what was to be his second Pacific crossing onboard USA 806. Sammarcelli was visibly gutted as he reached the docks of Marina del Rey.
On learning the news early Sunday morning that he was the last man standing, McGinn was disappointed, but still in good spirits. Having survived a windy night, which required him to take a 3rd reef, he pledged to soldier on and carry the burden of making the Mini 650 Pacific Challenge a part of sailboat racing history. Video here.