ways and means

Artie Means (second from left) navigated the Mighty Merloe to am all-time elapsed time record in this year’s Transpac. We caught up him for a brief interview. 
SA: Tell people a little about yourself and what you do.
AM: I split my time with my business, Waypoint Racing, between wiring & navigating race boats. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up around SDYC and sail with D.C, Isler (who taught me to navigate), Rudiger amongst the other California legends. Our company sells what we use onboard, so it’s a good mix of sailing and real work.
SA: Going into this Transpac, did you guys feel you had a speed advantage over the MOD 70’s in any particular condition?
AM: The Mighty Merloe is definitely strong in the light winds, but Transpac often isn’t a light air race; so we knew that it would be tough to pace with the MOD’s on this course.
SA: How is sailing with the owner?:
AM: First of all, Enloe deserves huge props for this win. 81 years young and loves multihull sailing; I actually think he has never sailed a monohull. He (& longtime advisor Nat Iyengar) had the vision to buy the most extreme Orma 60 ever built and assemble the best team I’ve ever raced with: Enloe, Loick, Franck, Jacques, Steve, Will, Jay & myself.
SA: How intense was the racing for 4 days?
AM: Intense is an understatement. Although half as long as a normal/monohull transpac, sending it through the open ocean at these speeds is thoroughly crazy! I think Franck maxed us out at 37 knots.
SA: Was there one thing – besides everything, of course – that you felt could have been a huge problem for you guys?
AM: There are a thousand unknowns for this race, and especially fragile multihulls. Being light is key, so what we carry for spares was a big discussion. Jay Davis & Will Suto did an epic job prepping the boat. We were super light and had zero failures. The tool bag was never opened, which is rare for a 2200 mile race!
SA: How was the trash/garbage situation for you guys?
AM: Definitely too much trash in the ocean. Fortunately the weather and routing this year had us south of the major pacific garbage zone. But the combination of 3 rudders, 3 foils & 60 feet wide makes us a big rake for anything out there. We caught a big net on Saturday which stopped the boat (30 knots to <10) but luckily no real damage. A few other polypropylene fishing lines but nothing hard.
SA: Did you break anything?
AM: Nothing. After 2500 miles of hard sailing, all she needs is a good bath! Jay & Will (again) keep the boat in really good shape..
SA: What makes Loick the maestro?
AM: Hard to quantify, but he is a magician! Supported by our other Frenchmen: Jacques Vincent & Franck Proffit, the three pushed MM harder than we had ever done before.
SA: Tell us about your navigational plan. Did you modify it as you went?
AM: A very tricky year as the typical pacific high was disturbed by a upper low, so we actually had 2 high pressures to work with and transition through. 1000 miles offshore with 40 degree shifts kept things dynamic.
SA: What is your single most important instrument that you use to sail this boat effectively?
AM: Hard to name just one, but Expedition software is on the top of the list. Nick White (the name behind Expedition) is always refining the program & a navigator by trade. It’s impossible to race offshore without Expedition.
SA: It looked like Phaedo sliced into your lead towards the end. Nervous?
AM: VERY! The Phaedo team sets the bar. They are a great team, know their boat, and push it harder than anyone. I think we setup a nicer line for the last 400 miles, had a bit of good luck, and of course the 3 Frenchmen (Loick, jac, Franck)!
SA: What’s next for Mighty Merloe?
AM: A few local races & then the SDYC Vallarta race. Hopefully we can get a few trimarans for PV, as it’s a great race.
SA: Besides getting the Mighty Anarchy up to speed (!), what’s next for you?
AM: A few days off! Then get the new Anarchy wired up. We are working on a new 100+ footer electronic’s package, and then the SF Pac-52 series with Bad Pak
SA: Thanks mate. We’ll see you back in Dago soon!
AM: Thanks Scot.