so what

Dear friend and shipmate extraordinaire Jon Shampain is doing something only the very insane would do. Yes he is.
So, the editor asked for some write up from the Loe Real an older Orma 60′ doing this years Transpac. Not from the standpoint of the competitive aspect of this Transpac but from the experience of sailing one of these beasts across the pond. I’ve done more than a few of these races, aboard various 50’s, a few IOR 40 footers back in the day, a sled hear and there…
So what was I thinking. It’s like going into space, climbing a mountain, taking a big drop at Todos Santos…not many people ever get to have this experience. So when the opportunity presented itself to sail a generation 2 ORMA 60′ to Hawaii with a geriatric group (hell I’m in my 60’s sad as that is) I knew if I passed this up it would be one of those regrets I’ve tried to minimize throughout my time here. So here I am, just passed Catalina Island, next stop Hawaii. The big mono hulls started today at 1300 and the 5 dark siders started at 1330.
By the island we had passed most of the big boats, the Commanche and Rio were still in front of us but the Italians aboard Maserati, the all conquering Phaedo and the boys on Mighty Merlot with a trio of 3 of the very best French multigods aboard are well into the lead and stretching out maybe for a new Transpac record. We are cracked off for a bit of a southerly run for the 1st day or so, trying to line up into a narrow band of developing breeze in a very dynamic weather scenario.
So here we are, outside Catalina Island, 15 kts of breeze and building, 20 kts boatspeed (the Mod 70’s and the Merlot must be doing close to 30 kts) and being conservative & big multi inexperienced we’re reefed down a bit already and ready for more as the breeze comes up all though tonight.
We’re a crew of Australians, Kiwis and a trio of Americans. Nobody has BIG tri experience but a group of competent sailors none the less. Blasting along at 20 kts, flying a bit of the main hull is a bit unnerving if you haven’t done it before, I’m awestruck.
So our next change will be the headsail from the Solent down to the weather staysail. I’m sure coming soon. I’m sure most people know the Loe Real as the WaterWorld boat, Kevin Cosner’s ride as he struggled to survive in a very dark future. Like Mad Max in the ocean. Reworked by Melvin & Marelli for the Mighty Merlot owner a multi hull pioneer here on the left coast. She is much simpler, no side appendages only a center board, mast only rotates, does not cant, no spinnakers as all points of sail have the apparent wind way, way forward.
Settling in for what is bound to be a long and interesting night. So there.
– – hip out
Track them here.